Monday, June 2, 2008

Want to sue the State?

Often I hear from clients that they would like to sue the Board (take your pick: Medical, Nursing etc.) for _______ (usually something to do with the investigation or disciplinary or monitoring action). I always tell them that it is very difficult to sue the State of Texas because you have to get permission from the state to sue the state. Yes, you read that correctly.

A current matter is discussed in today's Austin American Statesman, "Body parts at center of long-running feud" that further illustrates this issue. The story details how a man left his body to UT Medical Branch for research, but that after wrongdoings at "The Willed Body Program" the family began investigating what happened to their family member's body. Apparently 19 families, including the one profiled, sued the school. The article discusses how the school being a state institution is "protected from lawsuits under the sovereign immunity doctrine. The Legislature must approve lawsuits against the state and resolutions that lawmakers filed in 2005 and 2007 to allow the lawsuits by the Whitingers and other families to go forward died in committees. The article by Mary Ann Roser is a very interesting look into a complex issue within administrative law. I think it is yet another example of how powerful the government is and why one must be informed and then, hopefully involved.

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