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Fl Supreme Court still deciding over Jacksonville soverign immunity case

By Regan McCarthy

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-989005.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – The state Supreme Court is considering whether an employee hired by a private firm, but driving a Florida city bus falls under the state's sovereign immunity protections. Regan McCarthy reports the court has yet to make a ruling.

When Jacksonville Bus driver Andreas Keck collided with Ashleigh Eminisor, Eminisor tried to sue. But Keck argued she couldn't because, as a government employee, he had what's called sovereign immunity. Eminisor's lawyer,Stephen Pajcic, argues Keck isn't a city employee. He says he works for a private company that oversees the bus service in the city so he's not covered by the clause.

"There's so much privatization going on and so many corporations are doing functions that the government used to do. Our argument basically is if we go back, which no one ever has really done, and look at the section that defines who are the people that should be subject to this, you can't be that many steps away from government to have sovereign immunity."

Pajicic says the issue could have far reaching implications. He says this case will answer questions about how broadly sovereign immunity can and should be applied in Florida.