|Legal Opinion: |
Text of Document: June 22, 1993
Your question is, does the new law on solicitation roadblocks immunize municipalities from accidents occurring as a result of solicitation roadblocks?
The answer is yes.
Tennessee Code Annotated, § 39-17-307 makes it an offense to obstruct a highway, street, etc. Public Acts 1993, Chapter 148 amended that statute to permit solicitation roadblocks by charitable organizations under certain conditions outlined in the Act, including obtaining a permit from the administrative head of the local law enforcement agency.
But paragraph (d)(3) of the law also provides that, "No liability for any accident or occurrence which arises from such solicitations shall attach to the sheriff or government involved in issuing the permit, but shall be borne solely by the organization obtaining the permit." That section appears to completely immunize municipal governments from accidents arising from solicitation roadblocks.
Conceivably, that language might be in conflict with provisions of the Tennessee Tort Liability Act, specifically sections 29-20-203 and 29-20-205. However, that is not likely given the language of those provisions and the judicial interpretations given to them.
Sidney D. Hemsley
Senior Law Consultant