Georgia Department of Public Safety v. Johnson
The Georgia Court of Appeals held that when a case raises a defense of sovereign immunity the courts should address motions on immunity as early as possible. Johnson was fleeing police at high speeds and ignored law enforcement signals to stop. A Georgia State Patrol officer, in an effort to stop Johnson, conducted a PIT maneuver on Johnson's vehicle. Johnson left the roadway and struck a tree. He was injured in the crash. Johnson then sued the Georgia Department of Public Safety claiming that his injuries were proximately caused by the officer's negligent decision to use the PIT maneuver. Johnson argued that the officer did not follow policy to the letter and thus the maneuver constituted an assault and battery. The court held that the trial court abused its discretion by deferring determination of the sovereign immunity claim until trial and remanded.