Hudson v. Town of East Montpelier

In Hudson v. Town of East Montpelier, 161 Vt. 168, 638 A.2d 561 (1993), the Court recognized that the doctrine of qualified official immunity serves primarily to shield government employees from exposure to personal tort liability that would: (1) hamper or deter those employees from vigorously discharging their duties in a prompt and decisive manner, and; (2) unfairly subject employees who have a duty to exercise discretion regarding matters of public policy to the judgment of those acting within a judicial system that is ill-suited to assess the full scope of factors involved in such decisionmaking. (161 Vt. at 172, 638 A.2d at 564.) Thus, courts will not hold government employees personally liable "for policy decisions that are based on factors such as availability or allocation of public resources or public acceptance because traditional tort standards do not provide an adequate basis for evaluating these types of decisions in coordinate branches of government." (161 Vt. at 173-74, 638 A.2d at 565.)