Washington Law Review




Plaintiffs sought damages from the State of Washington for property destroyed by a juvenile escapee from Green Hill School, who set fire to a church and adjoining house. Plaintiffs alleged, inter alia, that the state was negligent in maintaining an "open program" in a "close security" institution, and in assigning the juvenile, regarded as a security risk, to the "open program."' Plaintiffs relied on a recent statute purportedly abolishing state immunity from liability for torts committed by officials, whether acting in a "governmental" or "proprietary" capacity. The trial court entered judgment on a verdict for plaintiffs. On appeal, the Washington Supreme Court, sitting en banc, reversed in a 7-2 decision. Held: The statute abolishing governmental immunity does not apply to discretionary acts of officials charged with implementing state policy; such acts are immune from judicial scrutiny as to possible negligence. Evangelical United Brethren Church v. State, 67 Wash. Dec. 2d 243,407 P.2d 440 (1965).

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