The Mirror Dimension: An Alternative View of an Alternate Reality

By: Michael M. Berger
– California Litigation

Manatt Appellate Senior Counsel Michael Berger wrote an article for California Litigation focused on the nature and history of litigation involving the Government Claims Act and discussed how governmental entities do not have absolute immunity from liability despite the often-cited defense that all government liability had to be based on statute. 

In the article, Berger provided background on the Government Claims Act’s origin, explaining how it was an attempt to codify government liability rather than leave it to common law development, and examined several cases surrounding the Act’s statutory clause. He encouraged lawyers to be open-minded when navigating a potential governmental immunity roadblock, however, noting that immunity is often less rigid than the Act has historically implied. He concluded that a potentially immunizing statute is only one data point within the larger story, and highlighted how it is necessary to examine the underlying facts before deciding a case. “Just as plaintiffs need to take care to avoid the trap of governmental immunity, so must defendants take care not to read those immunities too literally and too expansively,” he said. 



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