quick facts

The Kansas Tort Claims Act

Under Kansas law, liability against government entities is governed by the Kansas Tort Claims Act (“KTCA”). 1 It broadly provides liability against state and local governments “for damages caused by the negligent or wrongful act or omission of any of [the government’s] employees while acting within the scope of their employment under circumstances where the government entity, if a private person, would be liable under the laws of the state.” 2 While there are exceptions to that liability, courts have made clear that the exceptions are to be construed narrowly. 3 4

Think Intentional Torts, Not Constitutional Rights

The KTCA imposes liability “under circumstances where the governmental entity, if a private person, would be liable.” 5 Because the Kansas Constitution generally does not impose duties on private persons, courts have interpreted the KTCA not to create a constitutional cause of action. 6

The KTCA does, however, impose liability for intentional torts. 7 Indeed, for intentionally tortious conduct “involving more than the lack of ordinary care and diligence,” the KTCA’s exceptions to liability do not apply. In other words, an officer cannot raise a discretionary-function defense. 8 9

Kansas does not generally recognize implied causes of action for violations of its state constitution. 10 Because of this, suits against government officials in state court are best brought under traditional theories of tort liability via the KTCA.