My mailbox was completely destroyed by a township snow plow. Two of my neighbors mailboxes were also destroyed on the same day. I notified the township by phone and email. Their response was that they were not responsible because of sovereign immunity. I have since learned differently and issued them a formal demand letter. According to the township, they do not have standard claim forms. The township has decided to ignore the issue and has not responded to my letter.
Usually sovereign immunity will protect governmental entities, but you may have a claim in this case if New Jersey's tort immunity law applies only to acts where government has discretion in how to act. For example, choosing which areas to police is a matter of discretion, but the proper operation of a snowplow is not. It seems that the the town is hoping that you will drop your complaint. Talk to a local attorney soon, as claims against local governments often have a short statute of limitations, even when they are not barred by sovereign immunity.
I hope that this answer helps you in a general sense, but it does not constitute legal advice, nor tax advice of any kind, and does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and myself or my firm.
I agree with Attorney Barry. The municipality has immunity for its decision whether or not to plow snow. But, once the municipality decides to do the plowing, it must do so in a reasonable and prudent manner. In most states, it would have no immunity for its failure to exercise reasonable care in plowing.
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