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Thread: Immunity for government bodies

  1. #1
    Regular Member paul@paul-fisher.com's Avatar
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    Immunity for government bodies

    I was at a meeting last night and the county administrator basically said that the immunity clause of 175.60(21) doesn't add any immunity for governments because of their blanket immunity.

    I am working on a presentation for the executive committee and basically want to prove him wrong.

    175.60(21)(a) The department of justice, the department of transportation, and the employees of each department; clerks, as defined in sub. (11) (a) 1. a., and their staff; and court automated information systems, as defined under sub.(11) (a) 1. b., and their employees are immune from liability arising from any act or omission under this section, if done so in good faith.
    If the immunity section wasn't intended to give extra immunity for government agencies, why are 2 agencies (bolded above) specifically called out? If they enjoyed this so called blanket immunity, sub part (a) wouldn't be necessary, right?

    This give more credence, in my opinion, that the immunity in

    175.60(21)(b) A person that does not prohibit an individual from carrying a concealed weapon on property that the person owns or occupies is immune from any liability arising from its decision.
    (c) An employer that does not prohibit one or more employees from carrying a concealed weapon under sub. (15m) is immune from any liability arising from its decision.
    applies to governments as well, in this case as building owners/lessors and employers.

    What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    Founder's Club Member protias's Avatar
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    The law is clear, if you post, you are not immune to a lawsuit. If you get this ready, I'd gladly take a copy to show the Village of Sussex.
    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)

    If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor

    I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians. - George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

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    Paul:

    This has been perplexing me also. The typical response I have received from newspaper articles I have submitted and from various city council members. Is that the immunity paragraph in Act 35 does not apply to goverment agencies. I have done in depth search of statutes that address immunity. My search on '
    "immunity" had 861 hits. My search on "civil immunity" had 65 hits. I read and re-read each of them. There is no statute that I can find that gives blanket immunity from civil action to any local government. All issues of immunity that appear in my searches are specifically granted by statute. I don't know if those ill-informed people are responding out of presumption, or if somewhere I missed something, I'm sure I_K will let us know. If I did miss something that assigns blanket civil immunity to goverment bodies it must be well hidden. There is no question in my mind, barring new evidence, that the immunity paragraph in Act 35 applies to local goverments as well as businesses. If either posts signs that prohibit carry of firearms in their buildings they are just as liable for our safety as if we slipped on ice and broke a leg. In fact the very cases WCI has won against various cities for violation of our gun rights is testimony in itself that goverment units do not have blanket immunity from civil litigation.

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    Founder's Club Member protias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Nemo View Post
    Paul:

    This has been perplexing me also. The typical response I have received from newspaper articles I have submitted and from various city council members. Is that the immunity paragraph in Act 35 does not apply to goverment agencies. I have done in depth search of statutes that address immunity. My search on '
    "immunity" had 861 hits. My search on "civil immunity" had 65 hits. I read and re-read each of them. There is no statute that I can find that gives blanket immunity from civil action to any local government. All issues of immunity that appear in my searches are specifically granted by statute. I don't know if those ill-informed people are responding out of presumption, or if somewhere I missed something, I'm sure I_K will let us know. If I did miss something that assigns blanket civil immunity to goverment bodies it must be well hidden. There is no question in my mind, barring new evidence, that the immunity paragraph in Act 35 applies to local goverments as well as businesses. If either posts signs that prohibit carry of firearms in their buildings they are just as liable for our safety as if we slipped on ice and broke a leg. In fact the very cases WCI has won against various cities for violation of our gun rights is testimony in itself that goverment units do not have blanket immunity from civil litigation.
    I had asked WCI for some help when I was going to the Village of Sussex public safety meeting, here is what Joe Olson said, "The municipality that posts faces liability the same as a private property owner who posts - with one major tweak. There is a statutory cap of $50,000 on municipal tort liability (just about every theory of liability I have imaged is a tort theory) so while they expose themselves to liability if they post, they liability is not open ended."
    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. Thomas Jefferson (1776)

    If you go into a store, with a gun, and rob it, you have forfeited your right to not get shot - Joe Deters, Hamilton County (Cincinnati) Prosecutor

    I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians. - George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

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    Regular Member littlewolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul@paul-fisher.com View Post
    I was at a meeting last night and the county administrator basically said that the immunity clause of 175.60(21) doesn't add any immunity for governments because of their blanket immunity.

    I am working on a presentation for the executive committee and basically want to prove him wrong.



    If the immunity section wasn't intended to give extra immunity for government agencies, why are 2 agencies (bolded above) specifically called out? If they enjoyed this so called blanket immunity, sub part (a) wouldn't be necessary, right?

    This give more credence, in my opinion, that the immunity in



    applies to governments as well, in this case as building owners/lessors and employers.

    What do you guys think?
    I thought 175.60 (21)(a) made them immune from liabillity if they leaked your personal info
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  6. #6
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    Quote Originally Posted by littlewolf View Post
    I thought 175.60 (21)(a) made them immune from liabillity if they leaked your personal info
    Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wisc. Stats.
    (21) Immunity.
    (a) The department of justice, the department of transportation, and the employees of each department; clerks, as defined in sub. (11) (a) 1. a., and their staff; and court automated information systems, as defined under sub. (11) (a) 1. b., and their employees are immune from liability arising from any act or omission under this section, if done so in good faith.

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    Regular Member Interceptor_Knight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Nemo View Post
    .... There is no question in my mind, barring new evidence, that the immunity paragraph in Act 35 applies to local goverments as well as businesses. If either posts signs that prohibit carry of firearms in their buildings they are just as liable for our safety as if we slipped on ice and broke a leg......

    You can not equate slipping on the ice with a murderer ignoring a gun ban sign. There have been no cases brought forth from anywhere in the USA where a business or government entity was found to be liable for disarming someone by posting a no guns sign. By not posting City Hall, etc a municipality is shielded from liability resulting from an incident which results because someone carried a gun inside of City Hall, etc. Nobody gets "blanket" immunity, only protection from specific circumstances.

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    Founder's Club Member Brass Magnet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Interceptor_Knight View Post
    You can not equate slipping on the ice with a murderer ignoring a gun ban sign. There have been no cases brought forth from anywhere in the USA where a business or government entity was found to be liable for disarming someone by posting a no guns sign. By not posting City Hall, etc a municipality is shielded from liability resulting from an incident which results because someone carried a gun inside of City Hall, etc. Nobody gets "blanket" immunity, only protection from specific circumstances.
    I would say this though: That a municipality or government unit that is given a choice by the legislature as to whether or not to allow firearms is worlds different from one that isn't. Although the two examples Nemo gave aren't equal, they are similar. Just the simple fact that they have a choice to be negligent (not salting the sidewalks for example) opens them up for a claim of liability. In our case they have a choice to allow firearms or not. If they choose not to and do not provide for a way to make sure that people are not carrying weapons (metal detectors and security at every building) they could surely be found liable. On the other hand, if they choose to allow firearms the law says they aren't liable and it would be much harder to bring a case against them.
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    Protias:

    The cite to tort limit is ss893.80(3). The very fact 893.80(3) exists is evidence that state and local goverment units are not immune from civil litigation. Your source is correct in that awarded damages can not exceed $50,000. $25,000 for a voulunteer fire department. In spite of I_K's rhetoric I am convinced that state and local goverment units, with the exception of those locations described in 175.60(16), are affected by the Immunity described in 175.60(21). I am also of the inclination that because the statute lists specific state and local goverment buildings where firearm carry is prohibited that the addition of additional goverment buildings would contradict the premeption statute. I have to study that in more detail.


    my opinions:
    Last edited by Captain Nemo; 10-12-2011 at 06:20 PM. Reason: corrected statute citation 175.60(23) to 175.60(21)

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    Regular Member BROKENSPROKET's Avatar
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    Paul,

    I think 175.60(21)(a) has to do with disclosing an applicants confidential information and giving immunity if done so in good faith. Like if WAVE go a list, then they could be sued because there could be no good faith, but if a cop calls in to check a liscensee and the person giving out the information did so in good faith would have immunity, when in fact the cop did not have lawful authority to run the check.

    The DOJ and DMV are the two agencies that will have our information.

    As far as government bodies having blanket immunity, regardlesss if they post or not, is not something I am sure about. I don't think the do from what I have heard.
    Last edited by BROKENSPROKET; 10-12-2011 at 04:23 PM.

  11. #11
    Regular Member paul@paul-fisher.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BROKENSPROKET View Post
    Paul,

    I think 175.60(21)(a) has to do with disclosing an applicants confidential information and giving immunity if done so in good faith. Like if WAVE go a list, then they could be sued because there could be no good faith, but if a cop calls in to check a liscensee and the person giving out the information did so in good faith would have immunity, when in fact the cop did not have lawful authority to run the check.

    The DOJ and DMV are the two agencies that will have our information.

    As far as government bodies having blanket immunity, regardlesss if they post or not, is not something I am sure about. I don't think the do from what I have heard.
    I understand but it sounds like everyone is agreeing with my statement that if the government had blanket immunity, it would not have to get immunity as outlined in 175.60(21)(a), right? I am just trying to formulate my argument back to the county supervisors in contradiction to the dismissive response from the county administrator.

  12. #12
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    Quote Originally Posted by BROKENSPROKET View Post
    Paul, I think 175.60(21)(a) has to do with disclosing an applicants confidential information and giving immunity if done so in good faith.
    (21) Immunity.
    (a) The department of justice, the department of transportation, and the employees of each department; clerks, as defined in sub. (11) (a) 1. a., and their staff; and court automated information systems, as defined under sub. (11) (a) 1. b., and their employees are immune from liability arising from any act or omission under this section, if done so in good faith.
    Last edited by Herr Heckler Koch; 10-12-2011 at 04:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul@paul-fisher.com View Post
    I understand but it sounds like everyone is agreeing with my statement that if the government had blanket immunity, it would not have to get immunity as outlined in 175.60(21)(a), right? I am just trying to formulate my argument back to the county supervisors in contradiction to the dismissive response from the county administrator.
    Paul, I don't think that's quite it. S. 175.60(21)(a) applies only to that section of the law, which concerns issuing licenses. It grants immunity to the agencies involved in licensing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Nemo View Post
    Protias:

    The cite to tort limit is ss893.80(3). The very fact 893.80(3) exists is evidence that state and local goverment units are not immune from civil litigation. Your source is correct in that awarded damages can not exceed $50,000. $25,000 for a voulunteer fire department. In spite of I_K's rhetoric I am convinced that state and local goverment units, with the exception of those locations described in 175.60(16), are affected by the Immunity described in 175.60(23). I am also of the inclination that because the statute lists specific state and local goverment buildings where firearm carry is prohibited that the addition of additional goverment buildings would contradict the premeption statute. I have to study that in more detail.


    my opinions:

    s. 893.80(3) applies in limited circumstances -- only if the government body fails to perform a non-discretionary, ministerial duty. Tort immunity is covered under s. 893.80(4):

    https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/sta.../893/VIII/80/4

    "No suit may be brought against any volunteer fire company organized under ch. 213, political corporation, governmental subdivision or any agency thereof for the intentional torts of its officers, officials, agents or employees nor may any suit be brought against such corporation, subdivision or agency or volunteer fire company or against its officers, officials, agents or employees for acts done in the exercise of legislative, quasi-legislative, judicial or quasi-judicial functions."



    As I understand it the difference would be whether the damages arose from a failure to perform a ministerial (ongoing, routine) duty, or from a policy decision. It sounds as though the county may be relying on s. 893.80(4). So if a suit were filed, they would argue that the decision to post was a policy decision and the suit should be dismissed. Opposing counsel might argue that the county has an ongoing duty to provide safe conditions in its facilities. I'm not a lawyer, but it does sound like a question that could go either way depending on the court.
    Last edited by LaBomba; 10-12-2011 at 05:35 PM. Reason: Corrected my terminology.

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    Regular Member BROKENSPROKET's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaBomba View Post
    Paul, I don't think that's quite it. S. 175.60(21)(a) applies only to that section of the law, which concerns issuing licenses. It grants immunity to the agencies involved in licensing.
    Paul, ^^^^^ That is what I was trying to get to.

  15. #15
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    Chapter 175 MISCELLANEOUS POLICE PROVISIONS

    (Note no Subchapter)

    Section 175.60 License to carry a concealed weapon.

    (1)  Definitions. In this section: ...

    "Section" is not mentioned again in Section 175.60

    This section is the entirety of Wisconsin concealed carry permitting law, issuance and scope, possession and display of authorization, license content, restrictions on issuance, training requirements, application and renewal forms, ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Herr Heckler Koch View Post
    Chapter 175 MISCELLANEOUS POLICE PROVISIONS

    (Note no Subchapter)

    Section 175.60 License to carry a concealed weapon.

    (1)  Definitions. In this section: ...

    "Section" is not mentioned again in Section 175.60

    This section is the entirety of Wisconsin concealed carry permitting law, issuance and scope, possession and display of authorization, license content, restrictions on issuance, training requirements, application and renewal forms, ...
    You're right, the immunity applies to more than licensing. I think it's there because of licensing duties.

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    I think some of you misunderstand the point. The question is; do goverment agencies have blanket immunity from civil litigation. 175.60a implies they do not. If goverment agencies have blanket immunity from cilvil liability for their actions then there would be no need for 175.60a. In my opinion it is the intent of 175.60 that is most important. There are two intents. First: Any agency or person listed in 175.60a and d that makes a good faith error in administrative tasks and/or training is immune from civil liability. Second: Any owner and/or occupant of a building and any employer that does not prohibit carry of firearms(doesn't post) is immune from civil liability. In my mind the only question is; Are goverment units owners, occupants or employers. If the answer is yes then those units are subject to civil liability if any person qualified to carry a firearm is injured because he/she was prohibited from carrying a firearm. That is if the carry of a firearm may have prevented the injury.

    I repeat there is no state statute that give goverment agencies blanket immunity from their actions. There may be some that regulate methods, limits on damages, definitions of negligence and proper protocol for filing suit and collecting damages but there are none that say state and local goverment agencies have carte blanche immunity from civil liability for their intended actions. Immunity can only be given by specific statute. If blanket immunity of goverment agencies is the case then how did Brad Krause, Jesus Gonzales, Krista, Rock Hannah, The Culver five, etc. win their civil judgements from West Allis, Racine, Milwaukee et al.

    My opinions

  18. #18
    Regular Member paul@paul-fisher.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Nemo View Post
    I think some of you misunderstand the point. The question is; do goverment agencies have blanket immunity from civil litigation. 175.60a implies they do not. If goverment agencies have blanket immunity from cilvil liability for their actions then there would be no need for 175.60a. In my opinion it is the intent of 175.60 that is most important. There are two intents. First: Any agency or person listed in 175.60a and d that makes a good faith error in administrative tasks and/or training is immune from civil liability. Second: Any owner and/or occupant of a building and any employer that does not prohibit carry of firearms(doesn't post) is immune from civil liability. In my mind the only question is; Are goverment units owners, occupants or employers. If the answer is yes then those units are subject to civil liability if any person qualified to carry a firearm is injured because he/she was prohibited from carrying a firearm. That is if the carry of a firearm may have prevented the injury.

    I repeat there is no state statute that give goverment agencies blanket immunity from their actions. There may be some that regulate methods, limits on damages, definitions of negligence and proper protocol for filing suit and collecting damages but there are none that say state and local goverment agencies have carte blanche immunity from civil liability for their intended actions. Immunity can only be given by specific statute. If blanket immunity of goverment agencies is the case then how did Brad Krause, Jesus Gonzales, Krista, Rock Hannah, The Culver five, etc. win their civil judgements from West Allis, Racine, Milwaukee et al.

    My opinions
    I believe you are understanding my question.

    If 'they' already have immunity, why have 175.60(21)(a)? It would be like Superman wearing a bulletproof vest, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Nemo View Post
    I think some of you misunderstand the point. The question is; do goverment agencies have blanket immunity from civil litigation. 175.60a implies they do not. If goverment agencies have blanket immunity from cilvil liability for their actions then there would be no need for 175.60a. In my opinion it is the intent of 175.60 that is most important. There are two intents. First: Any agency or person listed in 175.60a and d that makes a good faith error in administrative tasks and/or training is immune from civil liability. Second: Any owner and/or occupant of a building and any employer that does not prohibit carry of firearms(doesn't post) is immune from civil liability. In my mind the only question is; Are goverment units owners, occupants or employers. If the answer is yes then those units are subject to civil liability if any person qualified to carry a firearm is injured because he/she was prohibited from carrying a firearm. That is if the carry of a firearm may have prevented the injury.

    I repeat there is no state statute that give goverment agencies blanket immunity from their actions. There may be some that regulate methods, limits on damages, definitions of negligence and proper protocol for filing suit and collecting damages but there are none that say state and local goverment agencies have carte blanche immunity from civil liability for their intended actions. Immunity can only be given by specific statute. If blanket immunity of goverment agencies is the case then how did Brad Krause, Jesus Gonzales, Krista, Rock Hannah, The Culver five, etc. win their civil judgements from West Allis, Racine, Milwaukee et al.

    My opinions
    Okay Captain, but if there's no state statute granting blanket immunity, how do you interpret s. 893.80(4)?

    https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/sta.../893/VIII/80/4


    "No suit may be brought against any volunteer fire company organized under ch. 213, political corporation, governmental subdivision or any agency thereof for the intentional torts of its officers, officials, agents or employees nor may any suit be brought against such corporation, subdivision or agency or volunteer fire company or against its officers, officials, agents or employees for acts done in the exercise of legislative, quasi-legislative, judicial or quasi-judicial functions."


    The judgments you mentioned stemmed from failures of employees to perform their ministerial duties, not from the legislative (policymaking) actions of the government employer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paul@paul-fisher.com View Post
    I believe you are understanding my question.

    If 'they' already have immunity, why have 175.60(21)(a)? It would be like Superman wearing a bulletproof vest, right?
    The immunity under s. 175.60 (21)(a) would be needed if an employee made a mistake performing his/her nondiscretionary (ministerial) duties. For example, say a clerk accidentally emailed a list of licensees to a reporter who published the names.

    The existing blanket immunity would apply if a City Council made a discretionary decision that resulted in damages. As I mentioned earlier, in my opinion there may be a gray area there that would allow a court could go either way on.

  21. #21
    Regular Member paul@paul-fisher.com's Avatar
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    A person who's name we cannot speak of anymore on this forum sent me this. While it specifically deals with liability for transportation/public works, it outlines general immunity.liability issues.

    What do y'all think?

    http://epdfiles.engr.wisc.edu/pdf_we...adway_Mgmt.pdf

  22. #22
    Herr Heckler Koch
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul@paul-fisher.com View Post
    "Tort Liability -- To Shoot or Not to Shoot," Alaskan Transportation Technology Transfer Program Planning, Design and Field Notes, University of Alaska - Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska. From References, page 12

    It's an intriguing title, unfortunately apparently obsolete and unavailable.
    Last edited by Herr Heckler Koch; 10-13-2011 at 09:03 AM.

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