Governmental Liability

News & Analysis as of

Good Faith in Government Contracting: Board of Contract Appeals Adheres to Reasonableness Standard Revived by the Federal Circuit...

Ever since the Federal Circuit’s 2010 decision in Precision Pine & Timber, Inc. v. U.S., the controlling standard for the government’s duty of good faith and fair dealing has been in flux. Prior to Precision Pine, it was...more

California's Eastern District: Government Agency Liable for Costs When Site Cleanup Is Mismanaged

In a ruling last month (California Department of Toxic Substances Control v. Jim Dobbas, Inc., et al), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California held that the Department of Toxic Substances...more

Illinois Supreme Court Rejects Expansive Interpretation of Exception to Open-and-Obvious

In the recently concluded September term, the Illinois Supreme Court reaffirmed the “open-and-obvious peril” doctrine and gave needed definition to the “distraction” exception to that rule, unanimously reversing a decision of...more

Federal District Court Rules PRP Can Pursue CERCLA Cost Recovery Action Against State

Judge William B. Shubb of the Eastern District of California ruled last month that a state government agency can be held liable as a Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) even if the agency’s involvement at a particular site is...more

Illinois Court Holds No Coverage for Malicious Prosecution Claim

In its recent decision in St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. v. City of Zion, 2014 Ill. App. LEXIS 659 (Ill. App. Ct. Sept. 10, 2014), the Appellate Court of Illinois, Second District, had occasion to consider whether, under a...more

City’s Handling of Application for Subdivision Approvals May Trigger Liability Under Fair Housing Act

The Federal Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) prohibits discrimination in the sale or rental of housing, including discriminatory land use decisions, on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or familial status. The...more

The public is tired of governmental mismanagement

Let the elections begin - Ontario is deep in municipal election campaigns across the province. One issue without question within Ontario governments is the need to address an increasingly aged and inadequate public...more

Plaintiff Who Pursued Frivolous Suit Against a City Ordered to Pay Attorneys' Fees and Costs

A published appellate opinion last week followed successful arguments by Best Best & Krieger attorneys that an approximate $105,000 award of attorneys’ fees and costs under Code of Civil Procedure section 1038 applies to a...more

North Carolina Dental Board Urges Reversal of FTC’s “Radical” Stance on State Action Immunity

North Carolina’s State Board of Dental Examiners has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to reject the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC’s) “radical departure” from decades of established precedent that offers state actors immunity...more

The Woodward Case: Guidance to Trustees on Their Duties Under the Massachusetts Prudent Investor Act

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that, with few exceptions, trustees have a duty to invest with inflation in mind. While not required to follow an investment advisor’s guidance, they can’t ignore the...more

City May be Liable for Damage to Residence from Falling Tree Under Inverse Condemnation

When is a tree a “public improvement” for purposes of inverse condemnation? According to one court, when the tree was planted by a city as part of a forestry program and maintained over a period of time. City of Pasadena v....more

City May Be Liable for Damage to Home Caused by Falling Tree in Inverse Condemnation and Nuisance

During a windstorm, a tree owned by the City of Pasadena fell on Mr. O’Halloran’s residence, causing damage to his home. Mercury Casualty Company paid Mr. O’Halloran for the damage pursuant to his homeowner’s insurance...more

Ministry of Labour sued for hiring allegedly incompetent inspector

The Ontario Ministry of Labour is facing a negligence suit by the lone survivor of the Christmas Eve, 2009 scaffold collapse that resulted in Metron Construction being fined $750,000.00 for safety violations....more

Not My Brother’s Keeper: Varley v. Regional School District No. 4 and A School District’s Responsibility For “Free Speech” Claims...

When entering into contacts with vendors, school districts hope that 1) the vendor will comply with the law, and 2) in any event, the vendor will be responsible for its own employment-related disputes. In Varley v. Regional...more

BB&K Police Bulletin: Police Order To Stay Put While Conducting Background Check Is A Seizure Under Fourth Amendment

The Command Can Implicate Municipal Liability - Overview: The Ninth Circuit recently held that, when a police officer orders a suspect to “stay put,” that command constitutes a seizure under the Fourth Amendment of the...more

Seventh Circuit Holds Federal Agencies Can Be Sued for Public Nuisance, But Affirms Dismissal of Claim

On July 14, 2014, the Seventh Circuit decided Michigan et al. v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers et al. (Wood, C.J., writing for a unanimous panel). While the court ultimately affirmed dismissal of the underlying action, the...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Public Construction Bond Act

Our reports on the oral arguments from the May term of the Illinois Supreme Court continue with Lake County Grading Company, LLC v. The Village of Antioch. Lake County – which comes to the Court from the Second District –...more

Counties Beware – Your Governmental Status Does Not Protect You from Liability for a HIPAA Breach

As a county government, you may think that you have the protection of sovereign immunity and protection from other governments penalizing you. Your status does not protect you. The Department of Health and Human Services...more

Health Law Blog: County Government Settles Alleged HIPAA Violations

A small county in Washington has agreed to pay $215,000 to settle allegations that it violated HIPAA by failing to secure electronic protected health information. Skagit County maintained protected health information (“PHI”)...more

HHS Settlement: Reminder That HIPAA Applies To Local Governments Big And Small

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (HHS) recently announced that it had reached an agreement with Skagit County, Washington to settle potential HIPAA violations involving the County...more

February 2014: Life Sciences Litigation Update

Can the FDA Be Held Liable in a Private Lawsuit for Failure to Prevent Recent Drug Shortages? In Carik et al. v. United States Dep’t of Health & Human Servs. et al., CV 12-272, __ F. Supp. 2d __, 2013 WL 6189313 (D.D.C. Nov....more

United States of America v. DHL Express (USA), Inc.

Decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit regarding false claims against the government by carrier DHL (02/05/2014).

In this significant decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals Second Circuit regarding false claims against the government by carrier DHL, the Second Circuit ruled that the 180-day transportation statute, cited in the earlier...more

Silence Is Not So Golden

As illustrated in the recent decision issued by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Bell/Heery, a Joint Venture v. United States, No. 2013-5002, 2014 WL 43892 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 7, 2014), a contractor must carefully...more

No Immunity for School Counselor Who Disclosed Report on Suspected Child Abuse to Unauthorized Person

A mother sued a school counselor and a school district after the counselor gave a copy of a suspected child abuse report (“SCAR”) which indicated the mother abused their children, to the noncustodial father. A trial court...more

Public Officials, Financial Disclosure And A New Era Of Liability

The Securities and Exchange Commission is making it clear: Government leaders who issue misleading financial information are putting themselves at risk. Several recent actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission...more

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