Justice moves to dismiss $100K lawsuit against Paul Ryan

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday asked that Washington’s federal district court dismiss a $100,000 lawsuit filed against Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Legal Times reported Wednesday that Kevin Seifert, Ryan’s chief of staff, was involved in a February 2014 accident on I-395 in Washington, D.C. Ryan owned the vehicle but was not present for the incident, the Legal Times said.

{mosads}The DOJ said in papers filed Monday that Ryan and Seifert are shielded from the lawsuit by sovereign immunity. That status protects lawmakers from civil suits and criminal prosecution over certain duties they fulfill as government officials.

Santos Perez and Adan Bamaca Cajas, the case’s plaintiffs, first filed suit against Ryan in January with Washington’s Superior Court. According to their complaint, Seifert allegedly hit the car Perez was driving on Feb. 25, 2014.

Perez said in the complaint he had stopped driving because of traffic. Cajas was his passenger, and both men accused Seifert of failing to drive at a “safe and reasonable speed” before the collision. Their suit also charges him with being a negligent driver and failing to keep a safe distance between each of their cars.

Both plaintiffs are seeking $50,000 for each of the two negligence claims in their complaint. The pair also claimed they suffered concussions and other injuries in the incident.

The DOJ’s filing on Tuesday charged the lawsuit was not valid as Seifert “was acting within the scope of his employment” during the crash. This would shield Ryan and his chief of staff under sovereign immunity.

“This a routine process for matters involving House employees acting in the scope of their duties and is being handled by the U.S. Department of Justice and House Counsel,” said Robert Swift, a spokesman for Ryan.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg has been assigned the case. There are no hearings scheduled for it yet.  

This story was updated at 5:17 p.m.

Tags Kevin Seifert Paul Ryan

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