Can you sue under a state tort claims act?
Yes and No.
The Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act generally permits you to sue a local government for the torts of its government agents. And the State Lawsuit Immunity Act and the Court of Claims Act permit you to sue the State for damages in cases sounding in tort. But the statutes do not provide causes of action; they only permit causes of action arising under other authority, and they supply governments and their employees with immunities in various situations.
Illinois State Lawsuit Immunity Act & Tort Immunity Act
Under Illinois law, liability against government entities is largely governed by the State Lawsuit Immunity Act and the Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act. 1 , 2 Although the Illinois Constitution formally eradicated sovereign immunity, these statutes reinstitute immunities for the state and local governments and for government workers in many circumstances. They do not create causes of action.
Think Traditional Torts
Because the immunity acts do not provide causes of action, lawsuits are brought under traditional common-law theories and—in rare occasions—directly under the state constitution. Illinois courts have recognized implied causes of action under the state constitution for gender discrimination in employment claims and search-and-seizure violations. 3 But the state legislature can (and has) enacted statutes that provide exclusive remedies for constitutional violations. 4 These exclusive remedies are not in the State Lawsuit Immunity Act or Tort Immunity Act, but those Acts do immunize the government and its workers in many situations, regardless of whether the legislature has specified an exclusive remedy. Still, no immunity will apply if a government worker’s conduct was willful and wanton. 5 Nor is the worker indemnified in that situation. 6 Victims of government misconduct may directly sue the official responsible for the injury.