Sovereign Immunity – Revenue and taxation: St. Matthews Fire Protection District v. Aubrey (COA 3/27/2009)

St. Matthews Fire Protection District v. Aubrey
2006-CA-000518
03/27/2009
2009 WL 792493
Opinion by Senior Judge Henry; Chief Judge Combs and Judge Moore concurred.

The Court affirmed a summary judgment dismissing claims against various county tax collection officials arising from their failure to assess and collect a portion of tax revenue due to the St. Matthews Fire Protection District.

The Court held that the circuit court correctly found that the officers, sued only in their official or representative capacities, were protected from suit by the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

The Court next held that, because the District’s declaratory judgment claim was, for all practical purposes, a claim for damages for past negligent conduct, rather than a request for a declaration of rights to aid the parties in conforming their future conduct to the law’s requirements, sovereign immunity barred the action.

The Court then held because the District was not a party nor a third-party beneficiary to a letter memorializing an agreement regarding payment to the sheriff for preparation of tax bills, the contract claim failed. The Court finally held that sovereign immunity was not waived by the requirement that the officials post performance bonds or the authorization of recovery on the bonds.

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