KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the Tennessee Valley Authority can be sued over its commercial activity. But it left a lower court to decide whether the case of an Alabama man injured by a power line can proceed.
The Monday decision comes in the case of Gary Thacker, who was boating in the Tennessee River in 2013 when he struck a low-hanging wire being worked on by TVA crews. Thacker was injured and a passenger killed.
Thacker sued TVA for negligence. Lower courts ruled the utility has immunity from such lawsuits because it is a government agency.
The high court unanimously decided TVA can be sued when it performs the same functions as private companies. Under certain circumstances, TVA may have immunity when acting more like a government agency.