Suing the State
The Georgia Constitution grants the state and all its departments and agencies sovereign immunity. In Georgia, sovereign immunity is defined as a legal protection that prohibits an agency of the government from being sued without their consent. A 1991 Constitutional Amendment empowered the Georgia General Assembly to waive said immunity by enacting a State Tort Claims Act. The Georgia General Assembly enacted O.C.G.A. §50-21-23 (commonly referred to as the Georgia Tort Claims Act “GTCA”) waiving state immunity for acts of state employees and officers acting within the scope of their employment.
The GTCA makes clear that the exclusive remedy for injuries caused by negligent employees is an action against the State agency, not the employee personally. Waivers of sovereign immunity, and the extent of such waiver, are strictly construed by Georgia courts, and only an act of the Georgia General Assembly can waive state, county, and municipal immunity.
The GTCA represents a limited waiver of sovereign immunity and caps certain monetary damages depending on the type of occurrence. There are special exceptions and limitations regarding the types of actions, ante-litem notice of claim, venue and service that must be followed or else claims against the state will be barred before a jury gets a chance to decide your case. It is imperative when suing a state agency in Georgia that you speak with experienced government liability lawyers like the specialists at The Eisenberg Firm so that your right to a jury trial can be protected from procedural defenses.