Commonwealth Could Claim Sovereign Immunity in ABC Arrest Lawsuit

Elizabeth Daly Suing for $40 million

Richmond, VA - A University of Virginia student is suing the Commonwealth of Virginia and seven ABC agents for $40 million after her arrest last April.

Elizabeth Daly was charged for assaulting an officer as she drove off from a Charlottesville grocery store.

Daly and her friends were walking out with a case of sparkling water, not beer.

Those charges were later dropped and ABC revised its policy.

Liberty University law professor Scott Thompson says the Commonwealth will likely attempt to claim sovereign immunity as a defense, in an attempt to get this suit thrown out.

"The question here will be whether the specific actions they took, surrounding the car, banging on the hood, various other things that have been alleged in the complaint exceeded their discretionary authority," said Thompson. "If those acts exceeded their authority, they will not be protected by sovereign immunity."

If Daly is awarded any money in this lawsuit, that money would be paid by the Commonwealth, or its insurer. Thompson says one of the reasons we have sovereign immunity is to protect the public purse.