Coolidge A LLC v. City of Waukesha (Governmental Immunity)

In Coolidge A LLC v. City of Waukesha (2018AP1441), the Court of Appeals District II held that the city and its contractor were entitled to governmental immunity when a public works project allegedly damaged an apartment building.

Coolidge owns an apartment building constructed on top of a former landfill. The City of Waukesha contracted with Tomasini Contractors for public works projects near the building. Coolidge filed this lawsuit, alleging negligence in the public works project construction caused property damage to the apartment building.

The court dismissed Coolidge’s claims, finding that the city and Tomasini were entitled to governmental immunity. Wis. Stat. § 892.80(4) provides immunity from liability to governments and their employees acting in legislative and quasi-legislative functions. Here, the city was acting in a legislative or quasi-legislative function when it planned and executed the public works project.

Tomasini was also entitled to governmental immunity as a contractor of the city. Tomasini met the conditions to assert government contractor immunity: First, it was following the city’s reasonably precise specifications for the construction. Second, it was implementing the city’s legislative or quasi-legislative project plan.

The court also dismissed Coolidge’s intentional nuisance, inverse condemnation, and regulatory taking claims.