Wisconsin Supreme Court
Torts — governmental immunity
A volunteer firefighter is entitled to public officer immunity, but he violated a ministerial duty by running a red light.
“We conclude that Burditt was acting within the scope of his employment when the collision occurred. Accordingly, he is within the class of individuals that may be shielded by public officer immunity.”
“However, we further conclude that Burditt is not entitled to public officer immunity because his acts in proceeding through the red stop signal without an audible signal violated a clear ministerial duty. He therefore falls within that exception to public officer immunity. The “rules of the road” statutes codified at Chapter 346 of the Wisconsin Statutes required Burditt to stop at the red stop signal because his vehicle lacked an audible signal. Because Burditt’s acts fall within the ministerial duty exception to public officer immunity, he is not shielded by immunity and summary judgment is not appropriate.”
Reversed and Remanded.
Attorneys: For Appellant: Prachthauser, Don, Milwaukee; Stachowiak, Keith R., Milwaukee; For Respondent: Grady, Lance S., Waukesha; Miller, Daniel K., Waukesha