My father was killed by a teenager last year in TN, USA. We are still in the one year statue of limitation for wrongful death civil suit. The suspect has been transferred to adult court and the criminal case is pending.

The suspect has numerous charges prior committing the murder (aggravated assault, domestic violence, obstruction of emergency service, illegal handgun posession, etc). She was also in the probation period when she killed my father.

With her long history of violence, the court still allow her to be on the street and commit more crime, do we have a claim to sue the court or the government for 'state created danger' or other claims for government negligence?


  • Whatever answers you get here or elsewhere on the internet, you should talk to at least one lawyer who practices in Tennessee, and probably two or three, before you decide not to pursue the suit. If the lawyer says that the matter is outside his or her area of practice, ask for a recommendation for someone who does practice in this area. If a lawyer who does practice in this area says you have no case, get a second opinion. By the time the statute of limitations expires, you want to be very sure that your decision not to sue is correct. – phoog Nov 8 '18 at 16:50
  • As a general rule, governments cannot be sued for the results of judgment calls. If you have evidence that probation was granted despite some clear policy or (better) legal reason, you might have a chance. – David Thornley Nov 8 '18 at 17:14
  • In the United States, you can sue because you got a spider-bite at a post office... that does not mean the judge has to listen to your case though. – hszmv Nov 9 '18 at 17:17

State governments (and state courts, employees, etc., as part of that government) are generally immune from lawsuits for all liability. See Governmental Tort Liability : 2017 Tennessee Code : Justia.

You're really not going to be able to sue the state, the court, the prosecutor or parole officer over what you see as a negligent decision, considering the individuals' previous record or freedom while on parole, and/or whether they are charged as an adult or a minor. Most any lawyer will advise you of this.

You could contact a local legal aid clinic Legal Aid/Legal Services | Tennessee Bar Association for more of an explanation and explore the possibilities.

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  • Thank you very much for your detailed answer! – obvdso Nov 12 '18 at 0:33

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