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Florida Fourth DCA rules that high school basketball game was “operational level event” entitling defendant school board to sovereign immunity from lawsuit by student injured in crowd

On May 19, 2021 in School Board of Broward County v. McCall, No. 4D19-104, the Florida Fourth DCA ruled that the defendant School Board was not liable for injuries sustained by a student when he fell while running with a crowd of spectators following a high school basketball game. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant failed to provide adequate security and crowd control. The Fourth DCA concluded that the School Board’s security plan for the basketball game was a planning level function protected by sovereign immunity, rejecting the plaintiff’s argument that the basketball game was an “operational level event” and that the School Board’s alleged failure to provide adequate security was not protected by sovereign immunity. The Fourth DCA noted that the plaintiff did not allege any individual negligence by any of the security personnel nor did he accuse the School Board of failing to follow its own plan and procedures, and that this case was therefore distinguishable from Wallace v. Dean, 3 So. 3d 1035, 1053 (Fla. 2009) (actions of deputies were not necessary to or inherent in policy or planning, and merely reflected a secondary decision as to how preexisting policies, plans, programs, or objectives would be implemented”).

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