Communities get sued just like any other business entity, as there is no particular designation of immunity for a town only because they are authorized to form a government. All community governments are responsible to its residents regarding standard safety and reasonable duty of care that is consistent with civil law precedent. However, there are some instances where cities are sued similarly to a company and other times when they may be sued based on overuse of governmental authority or failure to perform a particular act.
The first and most apparent legal action against a city is usually for personal injury. Injuries can occur in many ways such as public transportation auto accidents and slip-and-fall incidents when a property is not adequately maintained. Many cities even have a designated policy regarding the handling of injury claims, which sometimes can shorten the time a claimant has to submit a filing. These types of injury claims increase during the winter months because of inclement weather, but they typically happen on a regular basis.
Unlawful Detainment and Police Brutality
Many small towns employ police officers who are not necessarily trained well on arrest protocol. Officers are restricted from arresting whomever they please and must find probable cause while conducting a legal investigation. Many times charges are dismissed when the evidence was gathered unlawfully or does not amount to probable cause. Anyone arrested without probable cause is being illegally detained and could have the standing to sue.
Towns are required to comply with the workers’ compensation insurance law just like companies and employees are injured commonly. However, this does not mean that cities will always agree with claims of employees regarding how an injury may have happened, often resulting in a lawsuit when compensation is denied. In addition, discrimination suits can be filed against towns for a variety of reasons that also include employment-related issues.
One of the most controversial actions of local governments involves zoning a town into business and residential districts. As cities grow and city management officials look at facilitating the growth, many residents in the rezoned areas do not always like the business district coming to their neighborhood. These problems arise more commonly than people realize and can quickly lead to a very contentious situation resulting in legal action requesting a restraining order.