Lawsuit Against DHR for Negligent Juvenile Placing In a Home

In Dept. of Human Resources v. Hutchinson, 217 Ga. App. 70, 71-72 (1) (456 S.E.2d 642) (1995), a juvenile who had been declared delinquent shot his foster parent after being placed in her home by the Georgia Department of Human Resources (DHR). The parent sued DHR alleging that it was negligent in placing the juvenile in her home and in failing to warn her of the juvenile's violent propensities. Hutchinson held: The exception to the waiver of immunity covers any and all losses resulting from the torts enumerated in O.C.G.A. 50-21-24 (7) , regardless of who committed them. The language used does not provide any limitation on the status of the person committing an O.C.G.A. 50-21-24 (7) tort; it provides instead that "the state shall have no liability for losses resulting from" the enumerated torts. "Loss" is extensively defined in O.C.G.A. 50-21-22 (3) and includes "any . . . element of actual damages recoverable in actions for negligence." The focus of the exceptions to liability in O.C.G.A. 50-21-24 (7) is not on the government action taken, but upon the act that produces the loss. Here, the government action taken, placing the juvenile in Hutchinson's home, itself produced no loss to her; it was the juvenile's independent tort, one specified in O.C.G.A. 50-21-24 (7) , that resulted in Hutchinson's injury and damages.Hutchinson, 217 Ga. App. at 71-72.