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Reckless conduct is the equivalent of willful and wanton conduct.
A police officer, who attended the autopsy of a 14-year-old boy as part of his duties, took an unauthorized videotape of the autopsy. The next day, the officer invited three men to dinner at his home where they viewed the videotape. A few months later, a newspaper reported the viewing, and appellants, the boy's mother and sister, sued appellees, the city and police department, for outrageous infliction of emotional distress. After appellees' first motion for summary judgment had been granted, but reversed on appeal, the trial court granted their second motion for summary judgment on the grounds of sovereign immunity.
Was the officer’s reckless conduct equivalent of willful and wanton conduct?
The court held that because an element of appellants' claim was that the wrongdoer acted intentionally or recklessly, and because reckless conduct was the equivalent of willful and wanton conduct, and because Fla. Stat. ch. 768.28(9)(a) (1985) granted sovereign immunity to appellees for the willful and wanton acts of its employees, appellees were entitled to sovereign immunity. Because the court did not previously rule on appellees' claim for sovereign immunity, the law of the case doctrine did not apply. Therefore, the court affirmed the order.