Chapter 5.3.2 Liability Associated with Ministerial or Operational Acts

Liability Associated with Ministerial or Operational Acts

A ministerial act, also called an operational act, involves conduct over which a state official has no discretion; officials have an affirmative duty to comply with instructions or legal mandates or to implement operational policy.  Ministerial acts are generally indicated by terms such as “shall” or “must.” A ministerial act is defined as an act “that involves obedience to instructions or laws instead of discretion, judgment or skills.”  See Black’s Law Dictionary, 7th Ed. (West 1999).   Ministerial acts generally do not enjoy official immunity because most states have waived their immunity in this area.  See Thomas v. Brandt, 325 S.W.3d 481 (Mo. Ct. App. 2010).