Finding City immune from liability for personal injuries pursuant to the Indiana Tort Claims Act

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Appellants-Defendants, City of Terre Haute, Engineer’s Office of the City of Terre Haute, and City of Terre Haute Street Commissioners (collectively, the City), appeal the trial court’s denial of their motion for summary judgment in Appellee-Plaintiff’s, Annette Pairsh (Pairsh), personal injury action. The City raises one issue on appeal, which we restate as: Whether the City is immune from liability for Pairsh’s injuries pursuant to the Indiana Tort Claims Act.
Conclusion (slip op. at 9):  We conclude that the trial court erred in denying the City’s motion for summary judgment. Therefore, we remand this cause to the trial court with instructions to enter summary judgment in favor of the City.  Reversed and remanded.
Key Analysis (slip op. at 5, 8):  Our supreme court has adopted the “planning-operational test” for determining whether a function is discretionary for purposes of the ITCA. The planning-operational standard “dictates that a governmental entity will not be held liable for negligence arising from decisions which are made at a planning level, as opposed to an operational level . . . Decker’s affidavit reflects the exercise of official judgment and discretion, the weighing of alternatives, an assessment of competing priorities, the weighing of budgetary considerations, and the allocation of scarce resources, all of which are “planning activities” under the “planning-operational test.”
MAY, J., dissents with opinion:  “The evidence the City designated does not establish as a matter of law that its decision not to repair the sidewalk where Pairsh fell was performance of a discretionary function that entitles the City to tort immunity . . . “

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Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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