A recent answer had this law quote

shall not be liable for damages in any action brought in a Federal or State court

and this explanation

they cannot be sued over their actions

I posted a comment

This statement is not accurate "they cannot be sued over their actions" they can be sued, anyone can be sued for anything in the US, per the law they can not be found "liable for damage" not the same thing.

Then I went looking for reference that supports my comment, and did not find one.

Can I be sued if if the law says I am not liable?

3 Answers 3


They can still be sued - they just can’t be found liable

For example, as an adjudicator, I have immunity for acts and omissions done in good faith as an adjudicator.

A suit could be brought alleging lack of good faith and/or acting as other than an adjudicator. If these were proved (and barring corruption it’s a very high bar) the adjudicator would be liable.

However, adjudicators are often joined with the claimant (usually the Respondent is the plaintiff) and the ANA (Authorised Nominating Authority - the organisation that appointed the adjudicator, who also have immunity) not so they can be held liable but so that they can be subpoenaed and forced to give evidence - if they aren’t parties to the suit they can refuse to do this. My standard response when this happens is to write to the court saying “I submit to the decision of the court save as to costs” meaning I am not going to contest anything unless you try to make me pay costs - which I don’t have immunity from.


Technically yes, a suit can be filed, but it would end up getting dismissed. It just depends on how much you want to nitpick the wording of it. You have to look at the intent of the person writing it, as nearly anything can be taken in different ways.

That protection only applies to actions you took because you needed to carry out the duties of your job though. Notice the part that says "gross negligence or willful misconduct".

What exactly qualifies as that would be up to a jury, but if you really did something wrong that you did not have to for your job you could be sued.


Anyone with a typewriters and the filing fee can sue you (and if they're poor they may even get the filing fee waived).

Of course, if there isn't a viable cause of action, the person suing will probably lose, and is likely to be sanctioned with costs and attorney's fees.

In Colorado, there are even a couple of kinds of lawsuits (heart balm actions and actions to enforce invalid non-competition agreements) which it is actually a crime to file. But, the fact that someone can be punished for filing a civil lawsuit doesn't mean that they can't do it.

There are a handful of people (literally, you can probably count the number of such people alive today on your fingers) who have been barred entirely from filing lawsuits with the clerks of the courts directed to refuse to accept anything that they file. But, that only happens in truly epic cases of a chronic, aggravated pattern of filing grossly frivolous lawsuits, usually by people who are already serving long prison sentences.

  • 2
    Citation for people being totally barred from filing suits, please.
    – user4657
    May 18, 2019 at 5:45
  • @Nij The relevant law and citations to cases where this has been upheld are discussed in this 9th Circuit opinion reversing such an order in the case before it. cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2014/08/04/11-57231.pdf
    – ohwilleke
    May 18, 2019 at 14:32

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