Mississippi Tort Claims Act
Injuries caused by the negligence of another or by another’s breach of some legal duty are generally referred to in legal terms as “torts”. Historically, the State and its agencies were protected from tort liability under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. The State waived its sovereign immunity, however, for some tort claims when it adopted the Mississippi Tort Claims Act (“MTCA”). The MTCA defines, prescribes, and limits the University’s liability for injuries caused by an act or omission of the University or its employees. The MTCA limits the University’s liability for injuries caused by an act or omission of the University or its employees to $500,000. The MTCA also protects State employees from personal legal liability for injuries caused by that employee’s negligence, including automobile accidents, which occur during the scope and course of the employee’s job performance. Any act or omission of an employee within the time and at the place of employment is presumed to be within the course and scope or his or her employment. However, the protections and coverage afforded State employees under the TCA do not extend to conduct that constitutes fraud, malice, libel, slander, defamation, or any criminal offense.
While the employee may be named as a defendant in an action against the State, any judgment entered against a State employee arising within the course and scope of the employee’s duties will be paid by the State. In such situations, the State will also provide the employee, in either state or federal court, with legal representation at no cost to the employee.