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Rumbough v. Tampa, City of

Citation: 12 ELR 20263
No. No. 80-2209, 403 So. 2d 1139/16 ERC 1817/(Fla. Dist. Ct. App., 09/23/1981)

The court affirms a holding that a nuisance suit against the City of Tampa for operation of a sanitary landfill near appellants' home is barred by the principle of separation of powers and the doctrine of sovereign immunity. Although cities formerly had no sovereign immunity, the court rules that a statute constituting a limited waiver of the state's sovereign immunity places cites on the same footing as the state and its agencies, giving them immunity except to the extent of the waiver. The court next holds that the doctrine of separation of powers precludes judicial scrutiny of certain discretionary or planning functions of coordinate branches of government, and that the city's operation of the landfill is such a discretionary function. In addition, the statutory waiver of sovereign immunity limits the payment of claims "arising out of the same incident or occurrence" to $100,000. The court construes the term "occurrence" to include a nuisance of a continuing nature. Since the city had already paid out $100,000 to other residents with claims resulting from the conduct of the landfill, appellants cannot recover.

Counsel for Appellants
George W. Phillips
8001 Dale Mabry Hwy. N., Tampa FL 33614
(813) 933-7891

Counsel for Appellee
Joseph G. Spicola Jr., City Attorney; James A. Sheehan
City Hall, 315 J. F. Kennedy Blvd. E., Tampa FL 33602
(813) 223-8996