Stacy L. Nagel


In Missouri, the doctrine of sovereign immunity has been plagued with confusion. Much of this confusion has resulted from wrangling between the Missouri Supreme Court and the legislature. Statutes offering little guidance have been developed, and hard to reconcile cases have been produced. Perhaps nowhere is this confusion more evident than in the area of tort liability under the "dangerous condition" exception to sovereign immunity. Martin v. Missouri Highway & Transportation Department is a prime example of the bewilderment bred by Missouri's statute of sovereign immunity and particularly the "dangerous condition" exception. The Martin court discusses the conditions under which a duty will be imposed upon a public entity for a failure to maintain clear zones along state highways. In its attempt to clarify the law in this area, Martin may have discretely opened the doors to the broadening of the "dangerous condition" exception to sovereign immunity through the possible imposition of a duty upon some public entities to adequately safeguard motorists

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