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SPLIT DECISION–WAIVER OF GOVERNMENTAL IMMUNITY: Emergency Responses, 04-17-00572-CV, City of San Ant

In City of San Antonio v. Smith, the

majority reversed the trial court’s denial of the City’s plea to the jurisdiction. Smith had sued the City for damages he sustained in a motorcycle accident when he struck a light pole that had fallen on the highway. The majority held the “emergency exception” to the immunity waiver for dangerous property conditions applied because Smith was complaining about the City’s inadequate response to the emergency situation. The “emergency exception” renders the immunity waiver inapplicable if the claim arises from “the action of [a city] employee while responding to an emergency call or reacting to an emergency situation.” The dissent disagreed, and would have held the City failed to conclusively establish that the emergency exception applied because the City’s non-response and non-reaction to the emergency situation was not a “response” or “reaction” to an emergency situation that caused Smith’s damages.

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