AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Civil Liability of Law Enforcement Agencies & Personnel
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Negligence: Vehicle Related
See also: Pursuits - Law Enforcement
The plaintiff sued
for injuries suffered when a Texas state trooper collided with him while
running a red light while pursuing a reckless driver. The state Department
of Public Safety argued that a damage claim should be rejected based both
on the trooper's official immunity and the emergency response exception
to the state Tort Claims Act's waiver of sovereign immunity. The Texas
Supreme Court overturned the lower courts' rejections of these arguments.
The need to establish the "good faith" of the trooper was not
equivalent to a general negligence standard, but rather protected all but
the plainly incompetent. Texas Depít of Pub. Safety v. Bonilla, #14-0694,
2015 Tex. Lexis 1085.
A police sergeant ending his shift drove home in his squad car, going at a high rate of speed and with his lights flashing. After he ran a red light, he hit a motorist's car, killing the driver and seriously injuring a passenger. The surviving passenger and her parents filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the sergeant seeking damages. A trial court rejected his motion seeking qualified immunity. A federal appeals court upheld this result. "We've encountered plenty of cases involving officers responding to emergency calls who unintentionally cause traffic accidents," the appeals court stated. "But we haven't encountered many cases involving deadly traffic accidents with officers speeding on their own business ó presumably (hopefully) because such things happen rarely. Even so, the Supreme Court and this court have both spoken unmistakably to this situation." When a private person suffers a serious physical injury due to a police officer's intentional misuse of his vehicle, a viable due process claim can arise. Browder v. City of Albuquerque, #14-2048, 787 F.3d 1076 (10th Cir. 2015).
A jury returned a $280,500 verdict for the daughter of a man struck and killed by a county sheriff's car driven by a deputy at a time when the decedent was standing near his own car following a highway accident. The judgment attributed 14 percent of the fault to the decedent, however, because of his marijuana use at the time, reducing the award accordingly. An intermediate California appeals court ruled that the evidence of marijuana use should not have been admitted as there was no showing that it in any way contributed to causing the accident, and its admission was prejudicial. A new trial was therefore ordered. Hernandez v. County of Los Angeles, #B243294, 2014 Cal. App. Lexis 525.
In a lawsuit for wrongful death arising out of a collision between a police squad car and a minivan, the trial court erred in admitting into evidence a line of site video produced by the defense during an experiment. The defendant officer did not show that the essential conditions concerning the driver's line of site at the time of the accident were substantially similar to the conditions that were present when the experiment was conducted. The admission of the tape prejudiced the plaintiffs and a limiting instruction given by the court was inadequate to inform the jury that the limited purpose of the video only related to line of site as the basis for the opinion of an expert witness testifying for the defense. Lorenz v. Dayton, 2014 IL App.(3d) 130137, 2014 Ill. App. Lexis 55.
The trial court properly awarded $250,000 in damages as well as attorneys' fees and costs to the surviving family of a male motorist who died after his vehicle collided with a police car. The officer was traveling in excess of the speed limit and did not have his lights or siren activated as he entered the intersection. The trial judge did not abuse its discretion by excluding evidence of the decedent's consumption of alcohol before the collision as there was no evidence that he was intoxicated nor did the defendants offer expert testimony as to what the effect on his driving would have been from the amount of alcohol he consumed. Further proceedings were ordered though on the calculation of the attorneys' fees, including whether the fees charged for paralegals and office staff were reasonable. Las Vegas Metro. Police Dep't v. Yeghiazarian, #59382, 2013 Nev. Lexis 96.
A California officer's action in opening his or her door prior to exiting a patrol vehicle and making contact with a driver during a traffic stop puts them in "immediate pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law" for purposes of statutory immunity. An officer therefore could not bew held liable for a motorcyclist injury when the door was opened in their path. Moreno v. Quemuel, #B241998, 2013 Cal. App. Lexis 738.
A deputy pursued a motorcycle he observed speeding after it failed to stop when he asked it to. Ultimately, the pursued motorcycle crashed and the deputy found it off the pavement. The motorcyclist died from injuries suffered in the accident. Upholding summary judgment for the deputy and the county, the court found no evidence to support the argument that the deputy's actions caused the motorcyclist to lose control of his vehicle. There was nothing to show that the deputy's vehicle was anywhere near the motorcycle at the time of the accident. Nor was there any evidence of a physical crash between the motorcycle and the deputy's vehicle. A reconstruction of the accident also seemed to support the conclusion that speed did not cause the crash. Estate of Smith v. Cumberland County, #12-10, 2013 ME 13, 2013 Me. Lexis 13.
Two police vehicles sped towards the scene of a 911 call concerning a domestic disturbance. The officer in the lead car stopped his vehicle, and told two men walking along the road a distance from the house to stay put. After they complied, the second police car came along, and hit the rear end of the first, then hit and injured one of the men. The officer who hit the man with his vehicle did not violate his civil rights, as he did not do so intentionally. The first officer properly asked the men to stop, as he could reasonably have suspected that one of them was the reported ex-boyfriend who had allegedly just "trashed" a woman's porch. Both officers were entitled to qualified immunity on the injured pedestrian's claims. Eldredge v. Town of Falmouth, #11-1151, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 23329 (1st Cir.).
A road patrol deputy in New York was responding to a radio dispatch concerning a stolen vehicle when he received a second dispatch about a burglary alarm, which he determined was more important to respond to first. He was unable to stop before rear ending a vehicle in front of him when traffic slowed down. He did not have his emergency lights or siren activated. The injured motorist sued for damages. The deputy claimed that a state law applied, making him liable only if he acted with "reckless disregard for the safety of others." The highest court in New York held that this standard only applies when the driver of an emergency vehicle is engaged in specific conduct exempted from the ordinary rules of the road, such as speeding, running a red light, or violating other specified traffic laws while responding to an emergency. Any other conduct by the driver causing an injury is governed by the principles of ordinary negligence, which the court ruled applied in this case. Kabir v. County of Monroe, #28, 2011 N.Y. Lexis 156
An Indiana intermediate appeals court upheld a jury's award of $750,000 in damages to a motorist injured in a collision with a police vehicle at an intersection. At trial, it was disputed which of the vehicles had the red light, and whether or not the police vehicle had its emergency lights and siren activated. The appeals court rejected arguments that the award was excessive in light of the motorist's injuries of a broken rib, a lung contusion, and a broken shoulder blade. Under a state statute, however, the motorist's recovery was limited to $500,000, and the parties agreed that the plaintiff would not recover more than that amount. Rice v. Osborne, #45A03-0910-CV-463, 2010 Ind. App. Unpub. Lexis 1239.
The City of New York and one of its officers were not liable for the death of a man struck and killed by the officer's vehicle while he was responding to a radio call of an officer in need of assistance. There was no evidence that the officer acted in reckless disregard for the safety of others, as he activated his vehicle's emergency lights and siren and was passing through an intersection where he had a green light before striking the decedent. The failure to see the decedent before striking him could not be described as reckless. Perez v. City of New York, # 4127, 2011 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 433 (1st. Dept.).
A federal appeals court, in an Oregon state law lawsuit over the death of a woman struck and killed by a police cruiser as she walked across a highway, has certified some questions to the Supreme Court of Oregon for an interpretation of state law: "1) is plaintiff's negligence action constitutionally protected under the Oregon constitution's remedy clause, Or. Const. art. I, section 10, irrespective of the juryís finding of comparative negligence? To what extent, if any, do the common law defenses to contributory negligence of last clear chance, the emergency doctrine, and gross negligence effect this determination? 2) If plaintiff's action is protected, is $200,000 an unconstitutional emasculated remedy despite the juryís finding of comparative negligence? To what extent, if any, do the common law defenses to contributory negligence of last clear chance, the emergency doctrine, and gross negligence effect this determination?" Howell v. Boyle, #09-36153, 2011 U.S. App. Lexis 756 (9th Cir.). Editor's note: In this case, at trial, the jury found that both the officer and the woman were negligent, and that each was 50% responsible for the accident. The trial judge reduced the jury's verdict under Oregon's comparative negligence law to $507,500, after which the officer and city asked the court to cap the damages at $200,000 under a state tort claims law, but the trial court ruled that the cap was unconstitutional under a provision of the Oregon state constitution guaranteeing remedies for harm, and declined to reduce the damages further. The Supreme Court of Oregon's answer to the certified questions, which will be reported on in this publication later when rendered, will determine whether this result is upheld.
The federal government was not liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act for the actions of a U.S. Special Agent who became involved in an auto accident during a car chase with a motorcycle rider. He did not act within the scope of his employment and acted as a private person while driving home from work in an unmarked government vehicle when he became involved in the dispute with the motorcyclist. Merlonghi v. U.S., #09-2387, 620 F.3d 50 (1st Cir.2010).
A deputy was driving his patrol vehicle on a rural road while on duty at night. He lost control of his vehicle, crossed the center line, and smashed head-on into an oncoming vehicle driven by a female motorist, who died of her injuries. He was traveling at 88 miles per hour at the time, well in excess of the speed limit, and did not have his emergency lights or sirens activated. He subsequently claimed that he was responding to a dispatch call about a vehicle fleeing the scene of a suspected armed robbery. The plaintiff in a lawsuit against the county based on the death of the motorist argued that it was "unlikely" that he was, in fact, responding to that call, because the robbers were far away and outside of his patrol area, and other officers were closer. The federal appeals court rejected any federal civil rights claim based on the accident, since the officer's actions, even if negligent, did not violate any constitutional right. The lawsuit also included state law negligence claims, but they were not addressed in the appeal. Barnwell v. Douglas County, #09-14574, 2010 U.S. App. Lexis 15892 (Unpub. 11th Cir.).
An officer and the city that employed him were both entitled to immunity under Ohio law in a lawsuit seeking damages by a motorist whose car the officer collided with, causing her serious injuries. At the time of the accident, the officer was engaged in responding to an emergency, an accident, and he clearly slowed down as he entered the intersection, and warned other motorists by activating his sirens and overhead lights, as well as checking the intersection for traffic. Under the circumstances, there was insufficient evidence to show that he acted willfully and wantonly, as required to impose liability in the face of the immunity statutes. Browning v. City of Fostoria, #13-09-28, 2010 Ohio App. Lexis 1771 (3rd Dist.).
A suspect left unrestrained in a running police vehicle jumped in the driver's seat and drove away. Occupants of another car were subsequently injured when their vehicle was struck by another police car pursuing the suspect. A jury awarded $4,052,572 and $159,069 to the two injured plaintiffs on claims against the city, after the trial court directed a verdict for the defendant officer on a claim that he acted in a willful and wanton manner by failing to turn off the engine, remove the car keys, restrain the suspect, or place the suspect in a vehicle with a protective divider or lock or secure the vehicle's rear door. The city was held, on appeal, to be entitled to sovereign immunity under a statute immunizing municipalities for failure to provide adequate police protection or service or failure to prevent a crime, as well as for injuries resulting from the actions of an escaped prisoner. The city could not be liable for the result of the officer's actions where the officer was not liable. As for claims relating to the conduct of other officers in pursuing the suspect, a section of the statute providing an exception to immunity for willful and wanton misconduct applies to municipal employees, and not to municipalities themselves, and the city was the only remaining defendant. Ries v. City of Chicago, #1-07-3085, 2009 Ill. App. Lexis 1177 (1st Dist.).
A jury found an officer liable to two motorists both injured in a traffic accident that occurred while he was responding to an emergency call. The jury instructions made it clear that the officer was to be judged on a different standard than other drivers involved in the incident, and the officer failed to preserve for appeal his argument that the trial judge did not properly charge the jury on the question of how to consider police department rules. The judgments against the officer were upheld, but the trial court's award to one of the motorists of costs for expert witnesses was reversed. Alvarado v. Dillon, #504825, 2009 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 8367 (3rd Dept.).
While it was "surely negligent" for a deputy to speed through a yellow light while responding to a non-emergency call (which still required a swift response), the family of a man killed when his vehicle was struck by the deputy's car did not show what was needed to impose liability for violation of federal civil rights. There was no indication that the deputy had any intent to harm the decedent, as required to show a substantive due process violation. Further, even under a less strict deliberate indifference standard, there was no showing that the deputy acted with conscious deliberate disregard to a risk of serious harm to the struck motorist. Green v. Post, #08-1122, 2009 U.S. App. Lexis 17736 (10th Cir.).
A police officer responding to a disabled car cut in front of a motorist's vehicle in rush hour traffic on an expressway. While the motorist had time to stop her vehicle and avoid colliding with the police car, another vehicle struck the rear of her car. An appeals court upheld a jury verdict finding the officer 50% at fault for the accident and finding that the officer drove in reckless disregard for other's safety. The court stated that the officer came to an extremely abrupt virtual stop in front of the plaintiff motorist's vehicle, without any warning, and in 40 mile per hour rush hour traffic, doing so just seconds before the collision occurred. Tutrani v. County of Suffolk, #2006-04840, 2009 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 3633 (A.D. 2nd Dept.).
A passenger in a vehicle claimed that he was injured when a parole officer turned in front of the vehicle in which he was riding and collided with it. The officer allegedly failed to use a turn signal, horn or warning lights or siren before turning. At the time, the officer was pursuing a parole absconder and trying to cross southbound lanes and turn into a parking lot to reverse direction and pursue a vehicle meeting the description of the suspect's vehicle. Because the officer's car was a police vehicle involved in an emergency operation under New York state law, the court found that his failure to signal or sound his horn before turning was not reckless disregard or conscious indifference, the type of conduct required to impose liability on the driver of an emergency vehicle. Summary judgment was granted to the defendant state. Rusho v. New York, #112572, 2009 N.Y. Misc. Lexis 1018 (Ct. of Claims).
A police officer was negligent, but did not act willfully and wantonly when he pulled back onto a highway to investigate the presence of a vehicle with hazards lights on in a breakdown lane, and collided with the back of the vehicle. The officer was responding to an emergency within the meaning of an Ohio state statute, and therefore was entitled to immunity from liability for the resulting damages. Longley v. Thailing, #91661, 2009 Ohio App. Lexis 1062 (8th Dist.).
In a lawsuit concerning an accident between a motorist and a police vehicle, the fact that the motorist was convicted in traffic court of violating a law on operation of vehicles on the approach of an emergency vehicle, and ruled that the officer's sirens and lights were operating at the time of the collision (and that the officer was acting with reasonable care) did not bar the motorist from pursuing her claims. Traffic convictions, under New York state law, do not have a preclusive effect in later civil lawsuits. The plaintiff was entitled to an adverse inference based on spoliation of evidence based on the fact that the officer's vehicle was towed by the police to a remote storage area where it was vandalized, with its lights and siren removed, making it impossible for the plaintiff's expert to conduct an examination concerning its condition following the accident. Marotta v. Hoy, #504466, 2008 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 8102 (A.D. 3rd Dept.).
Passengers injured when the car in which they were riding was struck by a police vehicle could not recover damages from the city and police department when the officers operating the vehicle was engaged, at the time of the accident, in an emergency operation, and their actions did not constitute reckless disregard for the safety of others. Meade v. Chestnut, Index No. 11913/02, 2007-03778, 2008 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 6299 (A.D. 2nd Dept.).
A trial judge improperly instructed a jury to consider a state law providing an exemption from liability for vehicles responding to emergency calls in a lawsuit for damages suffered by two persons injured in a traffic accident with a police vehicle. At the time of the accident, the police vehicle was responding to a type of non-emergency radio call that required that he obey all traffic rules, including the posted speed limit. The jury returned a verdict finding that the officer was not negligent based on this erroneous instruction, when all evidence presented demonstrated that the officer was exceeding the speed limit at the time of the accident. The trial court also erroneously excluded the admission of deposition testimony of a civilian witness who supported the argument by the plaintiff that the police vehicle's overhead lights were off at the time of the collision. That deposition was admissible under California law because the witness lived over 150 miles from the courthouse. The judgment below was reversed. Monroy v. City of Los Angeles, No. B196916, 2008 Cal. App. Lexis 948 (2nd Dist.).
A New York jury found that an officer's reckless conduct and another motorist's negligence were each a substantial factor in causing the motorist's injuries when her vehicle was rear ended by a third motorist after she slammed on her brakes to avoid hitting the officer's vehicle directly in front of her, which had suddenly come to a near stop on the busy highway. The jury apportioned fault, finding the officer and the injured motorist each 50% at fault for her injuries. An intermediate New York appellate court overturned an award to the plaintiff, ruling that the officer's conduct did not proximately cause the plaintiff's injuries. Reversing, the highest court in New York found that a jury could reasonably have found, on the basis of the evidence in the record, that the officer's conduct substantially caused the collision, even though there wasn't any physical contact between the plaintiff's car and the officer's vehicle. Further proceedings were ordered on other issues raised but not previously decided in the appeals court below. Tutrani v. County of Suffolk, No. 100, 2008 N.Y. Lexis 1489.
A police officer driving at high speed without emergency lights or sirens was responding to an emergency even though the other officer who requested his assistance did not say that he or others were in immediate danger. A motorist who was injured in a collision with the officer's vehicle had not been deprived of an ability to yield the right of way by the officer's actions. The officer did not act for a malicious purpose or in a wanton or reckless manner, so he was entitled to qualified immunity from liability under Ohio state law. VanDyke v. City of Columbus, No. 07AP-0918, 2008 Ohio App. Lexis 2221 (Ohio App. 10th Dist.).
A deputy whose vehicle collided with another was engaged in an emergency operation at the time, based on his pursuit of a speeding vehicle, and his actions, which included activating his emergency lights, pulling over to the shoulder of the road, and initiating a U-turn, did not constitute reckless disregard. The deputy had assumed that the speeding vehicle, which was following behind him, was going to stop in response to the activation of his lights. The speeding motorist, however, did not stop and collided with the deputy's vehicle. The deputy sued the motorist for his injuries. The court found that whether the deputy was a plaintiff or defendant, under New York state law, his conduct was judged by the "reckless disregard" standard under these circumstances, so that the other motorist's defense that the deputy's actions constituted ordinary negligence was rejected. Ayers v. O'Brien, No. 2006-1020, 2008 N.Y. Misc. Lexis 621 (Sup.).
A deputy sheriff pursued a car traveling 73 miles per hour in a 55 mph zone, and the motorist accelerated to speeds in excess of 85 mph. After ten miles and six minutes of pursuit, the deputy tried to use a precision intervention technique to stop the pursued vehicle but wound up applying his push bumper to the rear of the pursued car. The pursued car crashed, and the motorist was rendered a quadriplegic. Negligence and battery claims under Georgia state law were rejected on the basis of the plaintiff's failure to show that the deputy or other defendants had an "actual intent" to cause injury or acted with malice. Harris v. Coweta County, Ga., No. 07-13941, 2008 U.S. App. Lexis 353 (11th Cir.).
City was not liable for injuries suffered by motorist and his passenger, whose vehicle was struck by a municipal ambulance responding to an emergency call, in the absence of any evidence that the ambulance driver engaged in willful and wanton conduct. An alleged failure to stop before entering an intersection was, at most, negligence. Williams v. The City of Evanston, No. 1063392, 2007 Ill. App. Lexis 1369 (1st Dist.).
Death of volunteer fire fighter whose auto was hit by one driven by a county deputy, allegedly speeding while responding to an emergency call, did not violate due process. The plaintiffs claimed that the deputy had violated a county policy that barred him from driving at a speed more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit while responding to such calls, and that the deputy therefore violated the fire fighter's due process rights by violating the policy. The court found that the post-deprivation opportunity to bring a state law lawsuit over the accident was adequate to satisfy the requirements of constitutional due process. Moore v. Board of County Commissioners, County of Leavenworth, Kansas, No. 07-3053, 2007 U.S. App. Lexis 26864 (10th Cir.).
Following a jury verdict in favor of the estate of a motorist who was killed when his car was struck by a police vehicle, the city that employed the officer agreed to pay $2 million to the plaintiff. During the trial, the city and officer asserted that the motorist, an undocumented Honduran immigrant, was actually to blame for the accident, but the jury rejected that argument. Lopez v. City of Waukegan, No. 05L191, Circuit Court of Lake County, Illinois, reported in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, pg. 3, November 5, 2007.
Intermediate Florida appeals court overturns jury award of $81,250.44 to motorcyclist injured when he struck the rear of a state trooper's car after the trooper pulled onto the road to pursue a vehicle. A jury had found the plaintiff 85% at fault and the state trooper 15% at fault. The appeals court found that the trial court should have granted a motion for a directed verdict for the defendant since there was insufficient evidence to refute a presumption of negligence on the part of a motorist who strikes the rear of another vehicle. In this case, there was no showing that the state trooper was engaged in a sudden stop or lane change, and evidence presented at the trial showed that the sole cause of the accident was the plaintiff's own negligence in going between 80 to 85 miles per hour when the speed limit was 55. Dept. of Highway Safety v. Saleme, No. 03D06-1033, 2007 Fla. App. Lexis 14259 (Fla. App. 3rd Dist.).
Factual issues as to whether a police officer acted recklessly and caused an auto accident barred summary judgment for the city in a lawsuit brought by injuries parties. At the time of the incident, the officer was responding to a police dispatch, but it was not an emergency call, and he did not have his siren or emergency lights activated, and made a left turn despite limited visibility. Muniz v. City of Schenectady, No. 501392, 2007 N.Y. App. Div. Lexis 2246 (3rd Dept.).
Further proceedings were required to determine whether an officer whose vehicle struck and injured a child while driving to work was acting within the scope of his employment at the time. He was operating a marked "take-home vehicle," was in uniform, and had left an hour early for work because he wanted to study for a lieutenant's exam. Garcia v. City of Hollywood, No. 4D06-970, 2007 Fla. App. Lexis 2410 (4th Dist.).
Motorcycle rider who accelerated to 80-85 mph was the sole proximate cause of an accident in which his vehicle collided with a state trooper's car in a rear-end collision. Intermediate appeals court overturns jury award finding the trooper 15% at fault for the accident. Dept. of Highway Safety v. Saleme, No. 3D06-1033, 2007 Fla. App. Lexis 2362 (3rd Dist.)[N/R]
Police officer engaged in an emergency operation, with lights and siren activated, could not be held liable for rear end collision with motorist's car on the basis of mere negligence. Under New York law, he could only be held liable if he acted in a reckless manner, so summary judgment for the motorist's insurer in its claim against the city was denied. Allstate Insurance a/s/o Austin v. City of New York, No. 017823/05, 2007 N.Y. Misc. Lexis 316 (Civil Court of City of New York, N.Y. County).[N/R]
No reasonable jury could find that a sheriff's deputy whose vehicle collided with the rear of the vehicle of a volunteer firefighter intended to inflict deadly force on the firefighter. While the accident resulted in the firefighter's death, the deputy's actions were, at most, negligent, and could not be the basis for a federal civil rights claim. At the time of the incident, both he and the volunteer firefighter were responding to the same reported traffic accident. Moore v. County of Leavenworth, Civil Action No. 05-2556, 2007 U.S. Dist. Lexis 5511 (D. Kan.).[N/R
Motorist injured when his car was rear-ended by a car which had itself been rear-ended by a vehicle driven by an FBI agent was entitled to $651,037.01 in damages, including $100,000 for pain and suffering, future lost wages of $408,562 based on diminished earning capacity, and other damages for medical expenses and property damages. The award was made in a lawsuit for negligence againstthe FBI agent under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C.S. §§ 2671-2680, and the court ruled that such negligence was the cause of the accident. Roark v. U.S., No.6:05CV00041, 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 74784 (W.D. Va.). [N/R]
The issue of whether a city emergency vehicle's emergency lights were visible from a distance of 500 feet, as required by state law, was for the jury in a negligence lawsuit by a motorist against the city for injuries suffered in his collision with the emergency vehicle. Jury's verdict for the city upheld. Wynn v. City of Warner Robins, No. A06A0402, 630 S.E.2d 574 (Ga. App. 2006). [N/R]
Genuine issue of whether police vehicles actually blocked traffic going northbound on a road during a high speed chase, resulting in injuries to a motorist, barred summary judgment for defendants in negligence lawsuit. Charles County Commissioners v. Johnson, No. 104, 900 A.2d 753 (Md. 2006). [N/R]
$5.75 million settlement reached in lawsuit brought on behalf of the estate of a passenger who died after being thrown from a car struck by a vehicle driven by a sheriff's deputy which allegedly ran a red light at 70 miles per hour while en route to providing back up to officers responding to a call. The plaintiff claimed that the deputy's vehicle did not have its sirens or flashing lights activated at the time of the accident. Grimmett v. Cook County Sheriff, No. 01L-7194, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, County Department, Law Division, reported in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, pg. 25 (Aug. 4, 2006). [N/R]
Motorist was properly found 50% at fault for accident in which his vehicle and police vehicle engaged in high-speed chase through a red light without warning lights or siren collided, since there was evidence that the motorist was intoxicated at the time of the accident. Award against city of $11,466 upheld, including $1,012 for pain and suffering. Lock v. City of Philadelphia, 895 A.2d 660 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006). [N/R]
Police officer whose vehicle collided with a motorcycle while responding to an emergency call was not liable for the motorcycle rider's injuries in the absence of evidence that he acted recklessly. In this case, the officer activated his lights and sirens prior to the accident, and slowed down as he approached the red light, which did not constitute reckless conduct. Daniels v. City of New York, 813 N.Y.S.2d 164 (A.D. 2nd Dept. 2006). [N/R]
Jury awards $26.9 million to woman rendered quadriplegic when sheriff's deputy smashed into her car at an intersection. The deputy was allegedly driving at a speed in excess of 70 miles per hour and ran a red light at 2:28 a.m. She claimed to be responding to a call requesting backup at the scene of a domestic disturbance, but the plaintiff alleged that she was actually responding to a low priority call. The city also settled, for $5.75 million, a claim for wrongful death by the estate of another passenger in the struck vehicle. The sheriff's department criticized a decision by the trial judge barring evidence to show that the motorist had herself been driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, and had a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.116 an hour afterwards. News reports stated that the defendants would seek to have the size of the award reduced or to be granted a new trial, and would pursue an appeal if their motions were denied. Petraski v. Debra Thedos, No. 01L6368, Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, County Department, Law Division, May 23, 2006, reported in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, Vol. 152, Issue 102, pg. 3 (May 24, 2006). [N/R]
Louisiana police officer was 100% at fault for an auto collision that killed a motorist when he was traveling at more than twice the posted speed limit without his emergency lights or siren activated. Additionally, the court determined that the officer was not pursuing a speeder, but a friend. Trial court's determination that the officer and motorist were each 50% at fault for the accident is reversed. A surviving accident victim is awarded $644,000 in damages, and each of the deceased motorist's five children is awarded $25,000 for wrongful death. Smith v. Municipality of Ferriday, No. 05-755, 922 So. 2d 1222 (La. App. 3rd Cir. 2006). [N/R]
In negligence claim brought by driver under Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Secs. 1346(b), 2671-80, for injuries allegedly suffered during accident involving a car driven by an FBI agent, the driver did not suffer "serious" injury as required for recovery under New York's No-Fault Insurance Law. The driver had pre-existing cervical and spinal damage and permanent injuries already in existence at the time of a car accident did not qualify as "serious injuries" under New York law applicable to FTCA lawsuit. Jones v. U.S., No. CV-04-1276, 408 F. Supp. 2d 107 (E.D.N.Y. 2006). [N/R]
Police officer's action of approaching and then continuing on through an intersection in his unmarked police car constituted gross negligence, so that a motorist who broadsided the police vehicle in the intersection should not have been allocated any fault for the accident. Damage award of $5,000 to injured motorist for pain and suffering was "abusively low," and should be increased to $12,000, along with $1,000 for future medical treatment. Court upholds award of $6,000 to motorist's husband for loss of consortium. Spears v. City of Scott, No. 05-230, 915 So. 2nd 983 (La. App. 3rd Cir. 2005). [N/R]
City was entitled to sovereign immunity under Texas state law in a lawsuit for wrongful death brought by the estate of a juvenile arrestee who died when he exited from a police car traveling on a freeway and another car hit him. An officer's alleged negligent failure to properly secure the arrestee in the back seat of the patrol car did not come within a waiver of sovereign immunity for use of motor vehicles. City of Sugarland v. Ballard, No. 01-04-00418-CV, 174 S.W.3d 259 (Tex. App. 1st Dist. 2005). [N/R]
Police officer did not act with reckless disregard for safety of child he struck while traveling approximately 30 miles above the speed limit. At the time of the accident, the officer was responding to a call to provide back up to another officer, and had activated his vehicle's lights and sirens. Additionally, he slowed when he observed children on the sidewalk, and braked and swerved in an attempt to avoid hitting the child, who had run into the street in order to avoid a dog. Kettles v. City of Rochester, 802 N.Y.S.2d 572 (A.D. 4th Dept. 2005). [N/R]
Motorist who was run over by Indian tribal police vehicle while hiding on the ground in alfalfa field after abandoning vehicle at the conclusion of high-speed chase could not recover damages under Federal Tort Claims Act. His own negligence in eluding officers and hiding in the field contributed to his injuries, barring recovery under applicable South Dakota law. Good Low v. US, No. 05-1114, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 24517 (8th Cir.). [2006 LR Jan]
Illinois state trooper was entitled to sovereign immunity under state law for claims arising out of vehicle collision with motorist's car on a state toll highway which occurred while she was responding to a report of an accident involving injuries, which she was required to treat as an emergency. Because she was acting in a manner "unique" to her employment by the state, she was not required to have her lights and sirens activated for the court to find that she was entitled to sovereign immunity. Kawaguchi v. Gainer, No. 2-04-1017, 835 N.E.2d 435 (Ill. App. 2nd Dist. 2005). [N/R]
Passenger who suffered spinal disc injury requiring surgery when the vehicle he was riding in was rear-ended by a state police car awarded $1,700,437 in damages. Damron v. Mitchell, No. 04L-191, Circuit Court for the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria, Illinois, reported in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, pg. 25, November 18, 2005. [N/R]
City could not be held liable for either injuries suffered by pedestrian struck by car or injuries suffered by motorist when police officer ordered motorist to move her car forward after accident and she moved it backwards instead, crushing the pedestrian's legs. There was no special relationship between the pedestrian and the officer, and they had no direct contact with each other. In a second case, a county could not be held liable for injuries a motorist suffered after being told by an officer to move his car to a nearby service station, despite the motorist's statement that he had chest pains and was not feeling well. The motorist subsequently lost control of his car and suffered serious injuries after driving it into a guardrail and a telephone pole. The motorist did not, the court noted, tell the officer that he was too ill to drive, and "we cannot expect the police to make a refined, expert medical diagnosis of a motorist's latent condition." Kovit v. Estate of Hallums, 829 N.E.2d 1188 (N.Y. 2005). [N/R]
Jury's finding that a police officer was negligent in suddenly stopping his vehicle in order to avoid a possible traffic accident, resulting in injuries to a passenger in his vehicle, was not supported by the evidence, resulting in the overturning of a $100 damage award. Appeals court also overturns $1.5 million award for passenger against city for allegedly violating his constitutional rights of due process and equal protection in failing to offer him a settlement in the case, even though it had purportedly offered settlements in other similar cases. The passenger's claims against the city were barred by governmental immunity under North Carolina law, and the decision to offer a settlement under such circumstances was a matter of discretion. Clayton v. Branson, No. COA04-884, 613 S.E.2d 259 (N.C. App. 2005). [N/R]
Police officer was not entitled to summary judgment in lawsuit by motorist whose vehicle was struck when the officer's car crossed over the double yellow line. Crossing the double yellow line into the opposing lane of traffic is negligence as a matter of law, the court stated, unless justified by an emergency situation not of the driver's own making, and the officer, who was driving to work at the time, failed to show that he was free of negligence in relationship to his vehicle allegedly being struck from the rear and forced into oncoming traffic. Foster v. Sanchez, 792 N.Y.S.2d 579 (A.D. 2nd Dept. 2005). [N/R]
Texas city was entitled to a ruling on its motion for sovereign immunity before trial in motorist's personal injury lawsuit against city, police department, and officer who allegedly caused the motorist's auto accident. In re Greenwell and City of Texarkana, No. 06-05-0035, 160 S.W.3d 286 (Tex. App. 2005). [N/R]
Jury's verdict in favor of an officer who allegedly ran over a victim who was lying in the road, resulting in his death, was not so clearly against the weight of the evidence in the case as to justify granting a new trial, in light of conflicting evidence as to whether the officer would have had a chance to avoid the accident, even if he had not fallen asleep. Hayes v. Garcia, No. 04-2009, 123 Fed. Appx. 858 (10th Cir. 2005). [N/R]
Factual issue as to whether state trooper had acted with gross negligence in beginning and failing to end a high-speed pursuit of a motorist suspected of driving under the influence (DUI), resulting in the death of the pursued driver, was an issue for the jury, so that award of $250,000 in damages (reduced from jury's $3.75 million award under applicable limits under state law) was proper. Officer was not entitled to discretionary immunity for his decision to start or continue the immediate pursuit of a suspect. Clark v. South Carolina Department of Public Safety, No. 25926, 608 S.E.2nd 573 (S.C. 2005). [N/R]
Neither deputy nor sheriff's office was liable for damages motorist suffered when the deputy's vehicle entered an intersection against a red light during his response to a domestic violence call, even though the deputy had not activated his emergency lights and siren. The deputy had mistakenly believed that the light had changed to green when he proceeded and he was only driving 5 to 7 miles per hour at the time. The deputy was entitled to sovereign immunity from ordinary negligence claims under the circumstances, and did not act in a grossly negligent manner. Muse v. Schleiden, No. 1:04CV880, 349 F. Supp. 2d 990 (E.D. Va. 2004). [N/R]
Police officer and city were not entitled to summary judgment under Indiana state law on claims asserted by a motorist for damages allegedly suffered in a collision with the officer's vehicle when it went through a red light and entered an intersection. Intermediate appeals court rules that a state statute creating a duty on the part of the driver of emergency vehicles to "drive with due regard" for the safety of all persons governed the facts of the case, rather than another statute providing immunity to government employees engaged in enforcing the law within the scope of their employment. Patrick v. Miresso, No. 45A03-0405-CV-224, 821 N.E.2d 856 (Ind. App. 2005). [N/R]
Even though deputy sheriff was technically off-duty at the time his patrol car struck another vehicle in its rear end, he was acting within the scope of his employment. The accident allegedly occurred when he glanced down at his computer terminal to see the result of his inquiry as to whether a truck nearby was stolen, which fell within the performance of his duties. Further, his doing so was a "ministerial" act rather than a discretionary one, so that he was not entitled to official immunity under Texas state law. Texas appeals court upholds $27,000 jury award to motorist against county. Harris County v. Gibbons, No. 14-02-00398-CV, 150 S.W.3d 877 (Tex. App. 14th Dist. 2004). [N/R]
Passenger in parked police vehicle could not recover damages against city for injuries suffered when the car was struck in the rear by another parked police vehicle which was itself struck in the rear by a truck. Under Texas state law, the city did not waive sovereign immunity when the cause of the injuries was not attributable to the car in which the passenger was sitting, but rather to the negligence of a third party, the truck driver. City of Kemah v. Vela, No. 14-03-01091-CV, 149 S.W.3d 199 (Tex. App. -- Houston 14th Dist. 2004). [N/R]
Genuine issues concerning the speed of an officer's vehicle, visibility, and traffic conditions barred summary judgment for the Michigan State Police in a lawsuit brought by the estate of a motorist who died from injuries suffered in a collision with a state trooper's car as he was responding to a reported breaking and entering in progress. Newton v. Michigan State Police, No. 247482, 688 N.W.2d 94 (Mich. App. 2004). [N/R]
Motorist who allegedly was injured when a police officer directed him to move his vehicle off of the shoulder of an expressway was not required to show that there was a special relationship between the officer and himself in order to pursue a claim against the county which employed the officer. The officer's alleged negligent conduct was properly characterized as "misfeasance rather than nonfeasance," so not showing of a special relationship was required, as there would be for imposing liability for failing to act to provide protection to an individual. The court also found that there was a triable issue of fact as to whether the officer was negligent under the circumstances. Lazan v. County of Suffolk, 783 N.Y.S.2d 70 (A.D. 2nd Dept. 2004). [N/R]
Driver of fire truck was not entitled to sovereign immunity under Virginia state law for liability for injuries a motorist suffered when the fire truck struck his vehicle. At the time of the accident, the fire truck was responding to a call concerning an infant locked inside a vehicle, and was driving in a non-emergency manner without his sirens or lights activated, and was therefore required to obey all traffic regulations. Supreme Court of Virginia reverses judgment for the defendant, ordering further proceedings. Spivey v. Collier, No. 032315, 601 S.E.2d 591 (Va. 2004). [N/R]
Officer was entitled to official immunity under Texas law from liability for injuries suffered by motorist whose vehicle struck officer's car as the officer drove around other cars stopped at an intersection during his response to a domestic violence call. The officer was acting in good faith and within the scope of his duties. His actions were reasonable in light of a report that the suspect was threatening his wife or girlfriend and was going to shoot her. Johnson v. Campbell, No. 06-04-00016-CV, 142 S.W.2d 592 (Tex. App. 2004). [N/R]
Alabama deputy sheriff was entitled to sovereign immunity under state law against liability for injuries suffered by motorist his vehicle collided with while he was working within the "line and scope of his employment," as conceded by the motorist. The motorist claimed that the deputy had negligently or wantonly sped through an intersection without utilizing his blue overhead lights and his audible siren, but under Alabama law, the deputy was entitled to sovereign immunity, now called State immunity, even under these circumstances, so long as he was acting in pursuit of his official duty. Ex parte McWhorter (In re McCarley v. McWhorter), 1021638, 880 So. 2d 1116 (Ala. 2003).[N/R]
Statute of limitations was tolled (extended) during the time that court ordered mediation of the case was attempted. Plaintiff injured in a traffic accident with a county deputy sheriff could therefore pursue his personal injury claim even though the five-year statute of limitations had passed since the accident. Gonzalez v. County of Los Angeles, No. B168867, 19 Cal. Rptr. 3d 381 (Cal. App. 2nd Dist. 2004). [N/R]
Postal inspector's undercover vehicle qualified as a "police vehicle" under a New York statute granting qualified exemptions from traffic laws when engaged in emergency operations. The defendant inspector did not act in "reckless disregard" of others' safety in following a person under surveillance through a red light. The U.S. government was not, therefore, liable under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2671 et seq., for injuries to another motorist in an ensuing traffic accident. Hodder v. United States, 328 F. Supp. 335 (S.D.N.Y. 2004). [N/R]
A genuine issue of fact as to whether the driver of an emergency vehicle that proceeded through a red light while responding to a fire should have seen the motorist's vehicle that he collided with precluded summary judgment for the defendant city in a personal injury lawsuit by the motorist. While Florida law allowed the emergency vehicle to proceed through a red light, and the driver had his lights and sirens engaged, he was not relieved, under the statute, from the duty to "drive with due regard for the safety of all persons" or from liability for conduct in "reckless disregard" of such safety. Evans v. City of Miramar, No. 4D03-3895, 879 So.2d 684 (Fla. App. 4th Dist. 2004). [N/R]
Police officer was not acting with reckless disregard for others' safety when he struck another motorist's vehicle in an intersection while responding to a report of a disturbance. The officer was only traveling at 37 miles per hour, and had his blue lights and sirens activated, and there was no obstruction to the view of either the officer or the other motorist. The officer was therefore immune from liability under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act, A.M.C. Sec. 11-46-9(1)(c) which requires a showing of reckless disregard before imposing liability on a public employee engaged in the performance of police or fire protection duties. Davis v. Latch, No. 2003-CA-00511-COA, 873 So. 2d 1059 (Miss. App. 2004). [N/R]
In a lawsuit against a town for the death of a motorist whose vehicle was struck by an officer's car, the nature of the call that the officer was responding to at the time was relevant to determining whether the officer acted in reckless disregard of the safety of others, and therefore was admissible. Allen v. Town of Amherst, 778 N.Y.S.2d 598 (A.D. 4th Dept. 2004). [N/R]
Delaware Supreme Court rules that state statutes waived sovereign immunity only to the extent that any loss was covered by insurance. Trial court therefore properly granted summary judgment in favor of police officer and state in lawsuit seeking to collect more than the amount of insurance available for injuries sustained by vehicle occupants in an accident involving a state police vehicle. Pauley v. Reinoehl, No. 679, 2002, 848 A.2d 561 (Del. 2004). [N/R]
Deputy sheriff, who was acting within the scope of his duties in driving evidence to a forensic lab at the time that his vehicle had an accident with another motorist's car, causing injuries, was entitled to sovereign immunity from liability for negligence under Alabama state law. Ex Parte Haralson, No. 1020783, 871 So. 2d 802 (Ala. 2003). [N/R]
Deputy sheriff was not entitled to summary judgment on personal injury claim brought by passenger of car struck by her vehicle when she was responding to an emergency call regarding an officer needing assistance. Factual disputes about the speed at which she was proceeding and the amount of traffic at the time, as well as other conditions prevented a finding that the deputy necessarily was acting in good faith in responding to the emergency call. Harris County v. Smyly, No. 14-03-00322-CV, 130 S.W.3d 330 (Tex. App. -Houston- 14th Dist. 2004). [N/R]
Delaware Supreme Court rules that state statute prevents the state, as owner of a police emergency vehicle, from asserting sovereign immunity as a complete defense to a personal injury claim based on the alleged negligence of the vehicle's driver, but that any liability is limited, under state law, to the amount of liability insurance purchased. Pauley v. Reinoehl, No. 679,2002, 2003 Del. Lexis 625 (2004). [2004 LR Jun]
Motorist whose vehicle was accidentally hit by car driven by sheriff's office lieutenant was properly awarded $26,000 in general damages based on evidence that the accident aggravated her prior cervical and lumbar injuries, and that plaintiff had difficulty sitting following incident. Appeals court also upholds award of $3,000 in damages to motorist's spouse for loss of consortium. Prudential Ins. Co. v. Gideon, No. 2002 CA 0532, 845 So. 2d 437 (La. App. 1st Cir. 2003). . [N/R]
Mississippi statute that provides that a municipality's purchase of liability insurance waives a $50,000 limitation on the amount of liability stated in the Mississippi Tort Claims Act, A.M.C. Sec. 11-46-15, did not apply to a municipality's participation the Mississippi Municipal Liability Plan (MMLP), an agreement which constituted self-insurance or a risk-sharing pool. Town's maximum liability for death of motorist killed in collision with police officer, therefore, was $50,000. Mississippi Municipal Liability Plan v. Jordan, No. 2001-IA-01590-SCT, 863 So. 2d 934 (Miss. 2003). [N/R]
A city's sovereign immunity limiting liability for the negligence of a driver of a government vehicle except to the extent of insurance purchased did not prevent the recovery, by injured parties, of underinsured motorist benefits under their own auto insurance policy, despite a policy requirement to show damages "due by law" and a legal right to recover damages. Supreme Court of Kentucky rules that the insurer's attempt to exclude government-owned vehicles from the definition of "underinsured" vehicles was void under Kentucky state law. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company v. Hatfield, No. 2001-SCk-0969-DG, 122 S.W.3d 36 (Ky. 2003). [N/R]
Genuine issues of fact concerning whether funeral director arranged with sheriff's office for a police escort for a funeral procession, and whether the sheriff had a duty to provide such an escort made summary judgment for the sheriff inappropriate in a lawsuit brought by a motorist in the procession injured in a collision with another driver, claiming that the sheriff was negligent in failing to provide such an escort. Siripanyo v. Allstate Indemnity Company, No. 03-559, 862 So. 2d 1254 (La. App. 3d Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Introduction into evidence, in lawsuit against sheriff's department for injuries arising out of collision of his squad car with another motorist's vehicle, of motorist's conviction for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle was prejudicial, requiring a new trial. Injured motorist, despite violating a motor vehicle safety statute, still might have acted as a reasonably prudent person would act under the circumstances, and the introduction of evidence that another court had already decided that the plaintiff violated the statute "usurped" the jury's function in the personal injury lawsuit. Lepucki v. Lake County Sheriff's Department, No. 45A03-0212-CV-439, 801 N.E.2d 636 (Ind. App. 2003). [N/R]
Insurer of parked police cruiser assisting motorist with stalled motor vehicle was liable for the payment of no-fault benefits to surviving spouse of motorcyclist and motorcyclist's passenger, after motorcyclist's collision with police car. Police cruiser's status as an emergency vehicle did not bar insurer's liability under Michigan law, and police cruiser was "involved in the accident" as defined in the no-fault statute. Amy v. MIC General Insurance Corp., No. 237055, 670 N.W.2d 228 (Mich. App. 2003). [N/R]
Officers who followed stolen vehicle, but were not engaged in pursuit of it, were not liable for injuries to a motorist whose vehicle was struck by the stolen car. Officers' purpose was to provide other officers with information as to the location of the stolen car, and not to actively attempt to apprehend his vehicle, since their unmarked car was not equipped with lights and sirens required to engage in active pursuit. Lalley v. City of Omaha, No. S-02-966, 670 N.W.2d 327 (Neb. 2003). [N/R]
Police officer did not act recklessly in striking a motorist's vehicle from behind at a traffic light, even though he was reading a warrant while stopped at the light and was not paying attention to traffic in his lane. The officer acted in reflex in moving his car forward when he saw traffic in the adjacent lane starting to move forward, and he did apply his brake when he looked up and saw the vehicle in front of him was still stationary. Officer and city were therefore immune from liability for the motorist's injuries under Mississippi state law. Joseph v. City of Moss Point, No. 2002-CA-00872-COA, 856 So. 2d 548 (Miss. App. 2003). [N/R]
Proper legal standard for establishing liability of police officers engaged in a high-speed chase which injures third parties is "willful and wanton misconduct" under Illinois law, not ordinary negligence, rejecting argument by plaintiff motorists injured in collision with pursued vehicle in question certified for decision by the trial court. Lanning v. Harris, No. 3-02-0637, 796 N.E.2d 667 (Ill. App. 3d Dist. 2003). [N/R]
Police officer was 100% at fault for collision with motorist's vehicle at intersection when, despite speeding to respond to a report of a sexual assault, he failed to activate his siren, making it impossible for the motorist to avoid the collision by the time she observed the officer's car during her left turn. Pope v. Prunty, No. 37,395-CA, 852 So. 2d 1213 (La. App. 2nd Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Sheriff's department was 55% at fault in case where a pedestrian was hit by a drunk driver while helping to direct traffic around an accident scene. The injured pedestrian sued both the drunk driver and the sheriff, claiming sheriff's deputies negligently failed to stop at the first accident scene. Award against sheriff was limited to proceeds of $1 million insurance policy, from which attorneys' fees for defense were deductible, but the cost of an appellate bond was not. Edwards v. Daugherty, No. 02-354, 848 So. 2d 787 (La. App. 3d Cir. 2003). [N/R]
Court rejects motorist's claim that an officer's use of a police car to transport him to the police station after the alleged use of excessive force to apprehend him was a negligent act coming within an exception to sovereign immunity applicable to the operation of a motor vehicle in the control of a governmental agency, so that he could assert a claim against the municipality for negligent infliction of emotional distress. No moving part of the car, the court found, was involved in the complained of events and the officer's use of the car was, "at best," merely "incidental" to the officer's allegedly unlawful conduct. Lakits v. York, 258 F. Supp. 2d 401 (E.D. Pa. 2003). [N/R]
Off-duty, but "on-call" police officer did not act within the scope of his employment in driving a city vehicle, allegedly under the influence of alcohol, and striking and killing a man doing yard work, and then leaving the scene without rendering assistance to the victim. The officer was engaged in doing personal errands and his actions were in no way for the benefit of the city. Russell v. City of Memphis, 106 S.W.3d 655 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2002). [N/R]
Sheriff's office was not entitled to the dismissal, with prejudice, of a pedestrian's claim for injuries arising out of being struck by the side mirror of a patrol car based on a videotape showing her performing tasks that she denied, in a deposition, being able to do because of her injuries. Jacob v. Henderson, #2D01-5718, 840 So. 2d 1167 (Fla. App. 2003). [2003 LR Aug]
Woman who gave birth to a brain-damaged boy after a 1997 car accident with a police vehicle receives an $8.1 million settlement from municipality employing officer. Her lawsuit alleged that the officer was responsible for the accident. Lara v. Village of Barrington Hills, No. 98L4793, Circuit Court of Cook County, Ill., reported in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, p. 3 (June 10, 2003). [N/R]
Pedestrian struck by police department motor scooter in mall area of public park was properly awarded $5,795,015 in damages when expert testimony showed that her brain injuries placed her at risk for Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, seizures and dementia. Reed v. City of New York, 757 N.Y.S.2d 244 (A.D. 1st Dept. 2003). [2003 LR Jul]
Mississippi Supreme Court upholds finding of liability of city for death of bystander killed when her vehicle was hit by a car driven by a check forgery suspect who was fleeing from police pursuit through a residential neighborhood. Court rules that officers acted in reckless disregard for the safety of others in conducting the pursuit, and were therefore not entitled to governmental immunity when they did not know whether the pursued suspect had committed a felony or a misdemeanor, violating the department's own order concerning the beginning of pursuits. City of Jackson v. Brister, No. 2001-CA-01393-SCT, 838 So. 2d 274 (Miss. 2003). [2003 LR Jun]
A police officer, even though responding to an emergency, acted in "reckless disregard" of the safety of others by turning his vehicle in front of another motorist's car while attempting to cut off suspected auto thieves. Mississippi Supreme Court rules that city and officer were therefore not entitled to immunity from lawsuit for damages, especially in light of officer's failure to turn on his sirens, blue lights, or headlights. City of Jackson v. Lipsey, No. 2001-CA-01271-SCT, 834 So. 2d 687 (Miss. 2003). [2003 LR May]
Trial court improperly allocated 80% of fault for an accident to a motorist and 20% to the police officer in a case where the officer was traveling 99 miles per hour in violation of the speed limit while responding to an emergency call at the time of the collision. The officer had not activated his siren and therefore was not entitled to a statutory exemption from liability. He therefore would be treated the same as any private person using a public highway for purposes of allocating blame. Appeals court finds equal fault on the part of the motorist and the officer, resulting in an award of damages to neither in their cross-complaints against each other. Bonds v. Emerson, 94 S.W.3d 491 (Tenn. App. 2002). [N/R]
A factual issue existed as to whether a federal employee was acting within the scope of his employment when his vehicle struck a motorist's car as he was driving his own car at the time and made no effort to attend purported work-related meeting after the collision despite the drivable condition of his vehicle. Plaintiff could therefore challenge U.S. government's attempts to substitute itself as the proper defendant and have the case dismissed for the plaintiff's alleged failure to pursue administrative remedies under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2401(b) within two years of the accident. Ware v. Doane, 227 F. Supp. 2d 169 (D. Me. 2002). [N/R]
Driver of all-terrain vehicle struck by car operated by deputy under the supervision of the sheriff, who was also present in the car, alleged sufficient facts about collision to assert a negligence claim against the defendants in their official capacity under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. Dillon v. Brown County, Nebraska, 214 F. Supp. 2d 1031 (D. Neb. 2002). [N/R]
There was a genuine issue of fact as to whether a police officer drove his vehicle recklessly when he responded to a burglary report, precluding summary judgment in a lawsuit for injuries which occurred after he collided with a motorist's car. Dunlea v. Township of Belleville, 349 N.J. Super. 506, 793 A.2d 888 (N.J. Super. A.D. 2002). [N/R]
Officer's use of pepper spray was not unreasonable when arrestee had been climbing stairs toward the officer, screaming threats to harm him and gesturing wildly with his arms, ignoring the officer's order to stay back. Jim v. County of Hawaii, #00-16979, 33 Fed. Appx. 857 (9th Cir. 2002). [2002 LR Aug]
Jury awards $5 million to waitress/motorist hit by police car when returning from work. Police vehicle is alleged to have been traveling at twice the posted speed limit without activated siren or emergency lights. Jury rejects defense argument that plaintiff was intoxicated based on blood alcohol test, when witnesses testified she looked sober and plaintiff argued test results were caused by breathing distress and trauma of the accident. Krall v. City of Des Plaines, No. 00L4096 (Cook County, Illinois Cir. Court), reported in The National Law Journal, p. B4 (Feb. 18, 2002). [N/R]
California Supreme Court rules that highway patrol officer had a clearly established duty under state law to exercise due care in directing a traffic violator to stop in a particular location. Passengers in vehicle injured after it was struck from behind while stopped on highway's center median could pursue negligence claim against officer and highway patrol. Lugtu v. California Highway Patrol, No. S088116, 28 P.3d 249 (Cal. 2001). [2002 LR Jan]
Father of minor awarded $20,000 in damages for child's permanent prominent facial scarring caused by accident after transit police officer's vehicle failed to stop at stop sign. Neason v. Transit Management of Southeast Louisiana, Inc., #2000-CA-1271, 789 So. 2d 31 (La. App. 2001). [N/R]
Jury awards $5 million to motorist who suffered brain damage from collision with speeding police vehicle. Six witnesses testified that officer's overhead lights were not turned on, while three officers stated that lights were operating. Jury rejects defense argument that motorist was intoxicated and ignored the police vehicle's lights when she turned left into its path. Krall v. Des Plaines and Neubauer, No. 00-L-004096 (Circuit Court of Cook County, IL.), reported in The National Law Journal, p. A6 (November 5, 2001). [N/R]
347:167 N.Y.C. reaches $500,000 settlement with motorist injured in collision with police vehicle which allegedly entered intersection against a red light without sirens or flashing lights. DePalma v. City of New York, No. 24006/92 (Kings Co., N.Y. Sup. Ct.), reported in The National Law Journal, p. B3 (July 30, 2001).
347:168 Jury assesses damages of $256 million for motorist's collision with off-duty police officer which left one child dead, one quadriplegic, and one paralyzed on one side with a damaged brain; $57 million settlement by county and construction company to be paid by insurer; officer, the only non-settling defendant, liable for $17.92 million. Jenkins v. Ranger Construction Industries Inc., No. 98009025AN, Circuit Court, Palm Beach County, Fla., reported in The National Law Journal, p. B1 (July 30, 2001).
345:138 New Jersey city would not be held vicariously liable for officer's auto accident, hitting pedestrian while driving his own vehicle home for lunch; mere possibility that he could be required to take action if he witnessed a crime did not render him "on duty." Rogers v. Jordan, 773 A.2d 116 (N.J. Super. A.D. 2001).
344:122 Motor vehicle exception to governmental immunity for negligence under Pennsylvania law applies to cars, but not to bicycles; pedestrian struck by officer riding a bicycle on the sidewalk in violation of a city ordinance could not sue city and officer for damages. Harding v. City of Philadelphia, No. 2189 C.D. 2001, 777 A.2d 1249 (Pa. Cmmw. 2001).
342:90 Jury's award of $1 million for past and future pain and suffering to police officer who was a passenger in a vehicle driven by another officer was appropriate; no recklessness on the part of the driving officer needed to be shown when the vehicle was not responding to an emergency call at the time of the accident. Criscione v. City of New York, 719 N.Y.S.2d 687 (A.D. 2001).
331:106 Officer and city were not entitled to immunity for injuries to pedestrian struck by officer's vehicle as he followed speeding motor vehicle; officer's actions did not qualify as "pursuit" as speeding motor vehicle was not attempting to flee officer. Torres v. City of Perth Amboy, 748 A.2d 125 (N.J. Super. A.D. 2000).
325:11 Officer was not entitled to immunity from liability for death of child he struck with his vehicle while driving towards scene where officers had been attacked; conflicting evidence would allow jury to decide that the emergency was over at the time of the accident, based on radio exchange between dispatcher and officer on the scene. Sanders v. City of Chicago, 714 N.E.2d 547 (Ill. App. 1999).
326:30 Illinois jury awards $5 million to university student struck and injured by speeding car driven by housing authority police officer. Gilchrist v. Benford, No. 96-L- 1707, Circuit Ct., Cook County, Ill., reported in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, p. 3 (December 7, 1999).
327:36 City was not immune, under West Virginia statute, from liability for injuries motorist suffered, allegedly caused by officer's parking of his vehicle in a place hazardous to oncoming traffic. Westfall v. City of Dunbar, 517 S.E.2d 479 (W. Va. 1999).
328:58 Speeding police officer who did not turn on his siren or flashing lights was not entitled to immunity from liability from ensuing traffic accident under Alabama state law. Williams v. Crook, 741 So. 2d 1074 (Ala. 1999).
316:60 City liable for $8.2 million to man struck by police vehicle not engaged in emergency assignment and for $100,000 to his wife; injured man suffered brain damage; award was reduced by trial court from jury award totaling $14.55 million. Davis v. City of New York, No. 41329/93, N.Y. Kings County Sup. Ct., May 22, 1998, reported in 42 (1) ATLA Law Rtpr. 17 (Jan. 1999).
315:44 City reaches $11 million settlement with man paralyzed after being struck by police vehicle at crosswalk; vehicle was not engaged in pursuit at the time of the accident. Espinoza v. City of Los Angeles, reported in The Natl. Law Jour. p. A8, February 8, 1999.
313:12 Decision to send only one officer to escort funeral procession was negligence on the part of city; city liable for accident which resulted in injury to procession participants. Anderson v. City of Chattanooga, 1998 Tenn. App. Lexis 236 (1998).
306:89 No liability on the part of the city for injuries to officer who was passenger in police vehicle pursuing suspect; officer driving vehicle did not act in "reckless disregard" of safety of others since he had lights and sirens operating when his car was struck by a van. Mulligan v. City of New York, 664 N.Y.S.2d 484 (A.D. 1997).
311:170 City reaches $3.45 million settlement in lawsuit over police vehicle striking 10-year-old girl on bicycle; girl was paralyzed; officer was not protected by governmental immunity when responding to non-emergency call, so plaintiffs did not have to show willful or wanton misconduct. Simpson v. City of Chicago, #93L-5484, Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago, Ill., reported in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, p. 3 (July 15, 1998).
289:10 Allegation that officer was driving recklessly when his vehicle collided with motorist's car was insufficient to state a constitutional claim; federal appeals court rules that federal civil rights claim in such cases must be based on "deliberate indifference" Hill v. Shobe, 93 F.3d 418 (7th Cir. 1996).
289:11 New York City jury awards $511 million to married couple injured in collision with police vehicle responding to emergency call; suit alleged that speeding police vehicle did not activate its siren or flashing lights Abdallah v. City of New York, 33463/91 (Sup Ct, Kings Co, NY), reported in The Natl. Law Jour., p. A9 (July 22, 1996).
289:11 North Carolina Supreme Court rules that officer's alleged negligence in pursuing vehicle without lights or sirens activated was insufficient to impose liability for collision with a motorist; recklessness or "gross" negligence is required for liability in such circumstances under state law Young v. Woodall, 471 S.E.2d 357 (N.C. 1996).
290:26 Supreme Court of New Jersey rules that police officer responding to report of possible bank robbery acted objectively reasonable and was entitled to good faith immunity from liability for traffic collision with another motorist's car while driving to the bank; such immunity also extended to municipality under the circumstances Canico v. Hurtado, 144 NJ 361, 676 A.2d 1083 (1996).
295:106 Deputy's alleged speeding, whether characterized as negligent or grossly negligent, could not be the basis for federal civil rights lawsuit by occupants of other vehicle injured in traffic accident with his car; deputy was not engaged in police pursuit or in responding to emergency call at time of accident Rooney v. Watson, 101 F.3d 1378 (11th Cir. 1996).
295:106 Police officer's decision to pass vehicle on the left in order to respond to radio call was discretionary, but it was a factual question, for a jury to decide, whether his decision to do so without activating his lights or siren was "merely negligent" or showed a "reckless disregard for the safety of others" Johnson v. Gonzalez, 478 S.E.2d 410 (Ga App. 1996).
277:10 Ohio Supreme Court rules that highway patrol was immune from liability for injuries caused by patrol vehicle striking a motorist's vehicle while responding to an emergency call, in the absence of willful or wanton misconduct Baum v. Ohio State Highway Patrol, 72 Ohio St 3d 469, 650 N.E.2d 1347 (1995). [Cross-reference: Defenses: Sovereign Immunity]
277:11 City liable for $375 million to passenger in vehicle struck headon by motorist pursued by officers based on domestic violence complaint; pursuit had previously been stopped and was begun again; plaintiff argued that officers could have arrested suspect at another time rather than again attempting to stop his vehicle Tomlinson v. City of Long Beach, No NC010680, LA Superior Court Long Beach, Cal., July 17, 1995, reported in LA Daily Journal (Verd. & Stl.) p. 4, Aug 11, 1995.
278:26 Tennessee Supreme Court finds both police officer and driver of private vehicle negligent in collision occurring at intersection when officer was responding to emergency call, but allocates fault so that officer was only 25% to blame for accident Wright v. City of Knoxville, 898 S.W.2d 177 (Tenn 1995).
279:43 Family of 13-year-old girl brain damaged following being struck by police car responding to emergency call turns down city's $7 million settlement offer at end of trial; jury returns verdict for city Sanders v. City of Chicago, No 91L-7200, Circuit Court of Cook County, Chicago, Ill, reported in Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, p. 3 (December 4, 1995).
279:44 County liable for $574,725 in damages for injuries to arrestee sustained in head-on collision of deputy's vehicle while transporting him Schmiett v. County of San Bernardino, SCV10969, San Bernardino Superior Court, Calif., 108 (196) Los Ang. Daily Jour. (Verd. & Stl.), p. 4 (October 13, 1995).
284:122 Pursuing a vehicle which had run a stop sign was a discretionary act; deputy was entitled to official immunity, under Georgia state law, for initiating and continuing pursuit and was not individually liable for injuries resulting from his vehicle's collision with another car during the pursuit Morgan v. Causey, 910 F.Supp. 651 (M.D. Ga 1996). [Cross-references: Defenses: Official Immunity; High Speed Pursuit]
284:122 Update: Judge grants new trial in case where family of 13-year-old girl brain damaged after being struck by police car turned down city's $7 million settlement offer and jury returned defense verdict Sanders v. Chicago, 91L-7200, Circuit Court of Cook Co., Ill, Feb 9, 1996, reported in The Natl. Law Jour. p. A13 (Mar 4, 1996).
272:119 Motorist/tennis instructor whose elbow was injured following collision with police vehicle which slid on ice awarded $1 million in damages against city Miles v. City of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, Cuyahoga County CCP, No. 247323, Sept 16, 1994, reported in 38 ATLA L. Rep.141 (May 1995).
274:155 California Supreme Court rules that city was not immune from liability for officer's alleged negligent operation of vehicle, even if officer was immune under state law Thomas v. City of Richmond, 40 Cal.Rptr.2d 442 (Cal 1995).
Montana Supreme Court rules that trial court abused discretion in changing its factual finding that deputy and motorist were equally negligent in causing vehicle accident in order to prevent motorist from receiving damages Marry v. Missoula County Sheriff's Dept, 866 P.2d 1129 (Mont 1993).
Indiana officer responding to a call for assistance by another officer conducting a pursuit of a criminal suspect was entitled to immunity under state law for traffic collision which occurred on his way to the scene of the pursuit Fries v. Fincher, 610 N.E.2d 291 (Ind App. 1993).
City reaches $300,000 settlement in suit for death of man struck by police vehicle speeding through a residential area to go to the scene of a fight Schuetz v. Draksler, Ill, Will County Cir. Ct, No 90L-11206, Oct 5, 1992, reported in 36 ATLA L.Rptr. 167 (June 1993).
Officer was not liable, under Missouri law, for failing to take steps to prevent collision caused by presence of stalled car in traffic lane; any duty to take protective steps was owed to the general public, rather than any specific individual Beaver v. Gosney, 825 S.W.2d 870 (Mo App. 1992).
Town liable for $100,000 for officer's collision with speeding vehicle, injuring passenger; negligence of driver of speeding vehicle did not absolve town of liability Stuart v. Town of Brookline, 412 Mass 251, 587 N.E.2d 1384 (1992).
City was jointly liable for $100,000 to motorist injured by second accident which occurred at the scene of an earlier accident; liability was based on officer's alleged failure to protect the accident scene; settlement of $100,000 by driver of the vehicle which hit motorist's car satisfied city's liability Freeman v. Berg, 482 N.W.2d 32 (S.D.1992).
Officer leading funeral procession was not engaged in "enforcing the law" when his vehicle hit a motorist's car; city was not entitled to immunity from motorist's negligence lawsuit Valpariso, City of v. Edgecomb, 587 N.E.2d 96 (Ind 1992).
Deputy on patrol to find license plate violations was not "enforcing a law" within the meaning of Indiana statute granting immunity from civil liability; city might be liable for deputy's rear-end collision with motorist's vehicle City of Wakarusa v. Holdeman, 582 N.E.2d 802 (Ind 1991).
Federal park police officer was negligent in pursuing traffic violators into intersection against red light; government liable for $125 million for death of motorist in car struck by officer's vehicle Groves v. United States, 778 F.Supp. 54 (DDC 1991).
Owner of parked auto struck by vehicle which officer was stopping could not recover damages from officer or city Vaquera v. Salas, 810 S.W.2d 456 (Tex. App. 1991).
Village liable for $75,000 to motorist who suffered back injury in collision with vehicle driven by police chief, despite the fact that she had not seen a medical doctor Ferguson v. Village of Dry Prong, 580 So.2d 1015 (La App. 1991).
Police lieutenant driving to the scene of a burglary his subordinates were investigating was entitled to immunity, under Indiana law, from negligence lawsuit arising from a traffic accident Bevis v. City of Indianapolis, 565 N.E.2d 772 (Ind App. 1991).
Evidence that headlights of deputy sheriff's vehicle were on supported finding that driver of vehicle which deputy collided with was inattentive; injured passenger in struck vehicle could not recover damages Fredericks v. Warren, 561 So.2d 208 (1990).
Court reverses award to bicyclist who travelled in the wrong direction on bike path for injuries caused by collision with sheriff's department vehicle Rosenthal v. County of Pima, 791 P.2d 365 (Ariz App. 1990).
Police officer was not grossly negligent, and therefore not liable, for striking fleeing arrestee with patrol car; $350,000 jury award overturned Meagher v. Johnson, 389 S.E.2d 310 (Va 1990).
Officer was not willfully and wantonly negligent in collision between his squad car and other vehicle while he responded to silent alarm Valiulis v. Scheffels, 547 N.E.2d 1289 (Ill App. 1989).
Officers' negligence was not proximate cause of death of 13- year-old riding unregistered dirt bike Jenard v. Halpin, 567 A.2d 368 (RI 1989).
Motorist stopped for suspected traffic violation was "in custody" and owed duty of care by officers to protect him from hazards of road traffic Kaisner v. Kolb, 543 So.2d 732 (fla 1989).
Estates of motorcyclists fatally injured when they struck vehicle stopped by officer could not recover damages in absence of special duty Trepachko v. Village of Westhaven, 540 N.E.2d 342 (Ill App. 1989).
Alabama Supreme Court holds that speeding motorcyclist killed himself by going off road; pursuing officer was not negligent Blair v. City of Rainbow City, 542 So.2d 275 (Ala 1989).
State troopers not liable for injury to third parties struck by vehicle driven by fleeing criminal suspect; they joined chase after being notified of it by radio Ducote v. Jackson, 542 So.2d 689 (La App. 1989).
Arkansas Supreme Court holds that city is liable for injury to motorist struck by police vehicle running red light with siren on; ordinary negligence standard applies City of Little Rock v. Weber, 767 S.W.2d 529 (Ark 1989).
Illinois Supreme Court holds that officer may not bring negligence lawsuit against fellow officer for injuries caused by his driving Mitsuuchi v. City of Chicago, 532 N.E.2d 830 (Ill 1988).
Children were contributorily negligent when their bicycles rear-ended a police car; case dismissed in favor of the officer Fusilier v. City of Houma, 421 So.2d 418 (La App. 1982).
City may be liable for accident caused by suspect during high-speed chase with police Fiser v. City of Ann Arbor, 339 N.W.2d 413 (Mich 1983); reversing 309 N.W.2d 552 (App. 1982).
No Section 1983 claim against deputy sheriff for alleged negligence in automobile accident which caused death Ellsworth v. Mockler, 554 F.Supp. 1072 (N.D.Ind 1983).
No liability for death of speeding motorcyclist being pursued by patrolman Riggan v. North Carolina State Highway Patrol, 300 S.E.2d 252 (N.C. App. 1983).
Damages awarded for injuries to motorist sustained in collision with vehicle being pursued by police officers Tetro v. Town of Stratford, 458 A.2d 5 (Conn 1983).
No liability for collision that occurred between police car on emergency run and another motorist Hancock v. City of Montgomery, 428 So.2d 29 (Ala 1983).
Jury awards $75,000 for death of deputy's passenger killed during chase for speeders Prater v. Arnett, 648 S.W.2d 82 (Ky App. 1983).
Parents have no claim for infliction of emotional distress since they had not witnessed their son's injury, but had arrived 15 minutes after the accident occurred during police chase Madigan v. City of Santa Ana, 193 Cal.Rptr. 593 (App. 1983).
State liable for three deaths which occurred from car crash during high-speed chase Zulauf v. State, 462 N.Y.S.2d 560 (App. 1983).
Suit against police for injury to third party resulting from police chase to proceed even though state's notice requirement was violated Tribe v. Borough of Sayre, 562 F.Supp. 419 (WD NY 1983).
Survivors have no claim for death of police officer struck and killed by fleeing driver at roadblock Oberkramer v. City of Ellisville, 650 S.W.2d 286 (Mo App. 1983).
No liability to officer pursuing vehicle that crashed into third party Thorton v. Shore, 666 P.2d 655 (Kan 1983).
No liability for death of suspects chased by police Estate of Custard v. McCue, 335 N.W.2d 104 (Mich App. 1983).
City liable for crash that occurred by off-duty officer with assigned vehicle Johnson v. Dufrene, 433 So.2d 1109 (La App. 1983).
Driver sues Board of Police Commissioners for injuries allegedly caused by negligent operation of police car Best v. Schoemehl, 652 S.W.2d 740 (Mo App. 1983).
Use of police car as roadblock to stop fleeing motorcyclists was excessive force; city liable for promulgating police of using the cars as roadblocks City of Amarillo v. Langley, 651 S.W.2d 906 (Tex.App. 1983).
State 5% negligent for collision that occurred during pursuit of motorcyclist in which passenger was injured Masters v. State, 668 P.2d 73 (Idaho 1983).
The following two cases find no liability to officers for death caused by fleeing traffic violators during pursuit McMillan v. Newton and Carranza v. City of LA, 306 S.E.2d 470 (N.C. App. 1983).
New trial ordered in suit accusing police of not using lights or siren during pursuit of vehicle that crashed and caused injuries to third party; city ordinance requiring usage of lights and sirens prevails over state law that does not Mobell v. City and County of Denver, 671 P.2d 433 (Colo App. 1983).
No immunity to West Virginia officials for alleged negligent police chase into Virginia, even though Virginia law grants immunity Bays v. Jenks, 573 F.Supp. 306 (WD Va 1983).
No liability for pursued vehicle's crash killing a person Almeida v. Town of North Providence, 468 A.2d 915 (RI 1983).
City liable for employee's negligent driving, which resulted in two other vehicles colliding Housey v. City of New Orleans, 441 So.2d 795 (La App. 1983).
Plaintiff waived right to jury trial by participating in non jury board of claims finding officer not guilty of negligence in emergency pursuit Faurakre v. Perry, 667 S.W.2d 483 (Tenn App. 1983).
There can be no recovery from state if vehicle is damaged while being ordered from highway for obstructing its uses Heagney v. Schneider, 677 P.2d 446 (Colo App. 1984).
Officers held to more liberal standard of care while in pursuit than are private drivers Madison v. Weldon, 446 So.2d 21 (Ala 1984).
Third party at fault for injuries she sustained during officer's emergency pursuit Russo v. City of New Orleans, 446 So.2d 331 (La App. 1984).
Police negligent in asking tollbooth collector to assist in catching speeding motorist Ast v. State, 474 N.Y.S.2d 174 (Ct Cl 1984).
Officer accused of negligently placing traffic violator in dangerous position during questioning; city adds bar owner as third defendant for serving drinks to intoxicated motorist AlHazmi v. City of Waukegan, 579 F.Supp. 1441 (N.D.Ill. 1984).
No liability for escapees' accident during pursuit Kisby v. State, 682 P.2d 1093 (Cal 1984). 204 Cal.Rptr. 428
Over $350,000 judgment reversed until plaintiff undergoes psychological testing to prove injuries from police car crash Thynne v. City of Omaha, 351 N.W.2d 54 (Neb 1984).
County and deputy sheriffs could be liable for injuries in high-speed chase Keener v. Kimble, 317 S.E.2d 900 (Ga.App. 1984).
No liability for arrestee's injuries in unpadded squad car Magayanes v. Terrance, 730, F.2d 1131 (7th Cir. 1984).
24-hour roadblocks unconstitutional; attorney's fees awarded following consent decree Garrett v. Goodwin, 588 F.Supp. 825 (E.D. Ark 1984).
No liability for shining search light at pursued vehicle causing suspect to crash; no claim regarding destroyed dispatcher tape. Spano v. McAvoy, 589 F.Supp. 423 (NDNY 1984).
No liability for failure to formulate guidelines for highspeed chases; leaving keys in car not basis for liability Dodge v. Stine, 739 F.2d 1279 (7th Cir. 1984). Jury awards $4 million to innocent bystander who lost both legs when officer violated "hot pursuit" policy for interstate chases Biscoe v. Arlington County, 738 F.2d 1352 (DC 1984).
Misinterpreted radio broadcast linked to innocent motorcyclist's injuries; liability results Jones v. City of Des Moines, 355 N.W.2d 49 (Iowa 1984).
Judgment modified upon finding that drunk pedestrian was 50% liable when struck by patrol car en route for back-up assistance Odom v. Byrne, 480 N.Y.S.2d 247 (Kings County, 1984).
No immunity for officer's injuring pedestrian when he put his car in reverse, since backing away from scene not enforcing law Thompson v. City of Chicago, 470 N.E.2d 47 (Ill App. 1984).
Drug paraphernalia found in car properly admitted as evidence that plaintiffs were at fault in colliding with police car on emergency run Foreman v. Minnie, 689 P.2d 1210 (Mont 1984).
Physical examination after action commenced no bar to suit Wallace v. City of New York, 480 N.Y.S.2d 989 (Sup 1984).
After juror writes judge telling of racial comments made by fellow jurors, a new trial is ordered resulting in $350,000 verdict for plaintiff Barnes v. Toppin, 482 A.2d 749 (Del 1984).
Officer must prove necessity of emergency pursuit to avoid liability for injuries Maxey v. Lenigar, 471 N.E.2d 1388 (Ohio App. 1984). High-speed chase to catch traffic violators not deadly force; garner rule not violated Galas v. McKee, 801 F.2d 200 (6th Cir. 1986).
Police chief's accident with motorist during pursuit of traffic violator doesn't result in liability Conly v. Town of Forest Hill, 463 So.2d 72 (La App. 1985).
Drivers of emergency vehicles subject to ordinary negligence standard Bouhl v. Smith, 475 N.E.2d 244 (Ill App. 1985).
Police officer's counterclaim for injuries when her vehicle collided with plaintiff's vehicle dismissed Allen v. State, 332 S.E.2d 321 (Ga.App. 1985).
Officers immune even if they disregard safety; city is not City of San Jose v. Super Court (Martinez), 212 Cal.Rptr. 661 (Cal App. 1985).
Step-parent prevented from suing over son's injuries from police car; sister can sue for emotional distress Garrett By Kravit v. City of New Berlin, 362 N.W.2d 137 (Wis 1985).
Officer accused of negligence in not using spotlight, as well as other equipment during high-speed chase; age requirement for Contributory negligence discussed Smith v. Bradford, 475 So.2d 526 (Ala 1985).
Merely exceeding the speed limit on city streets not grounds for liability Brown v. City of New Orleans, 464 So.2d 976 (La App. 1985).
Officer radios ambulance in anticipation of injuries Sammor v. Mayor & Aldermen of Savannah, 335 S.E.2d 434 (Ga.App. 1985).
Testimony properly admitted to impeach city expert's testimony on how far siren could be heard Stark v. City of Los Angeles, 214 Cal.Rptr. 216 (App. 2 Dist 1985).
No right to counsel before chemical test for intoxication Blake v. Commissioner of Public Safety, 374 N.W.2d 801 (Minn. App. 1985). Liability for police car accident affirmed Fowler v. Garcia, 687 S.W.2d 517 (Tex.App. 1985).
Use of car as roadblock could constitute fourth amendment violation Jamieson By and Through Jamieson v. Shaw, 772 F.2d 1205 (5th Cir. 1985).
State Supreme Court holds reversing patrol car away from crowd is within scope of employment for immunity purposes Thompson v. City of Chicago, 484 N.E.2d 1086 (Ill 1986).
Court grants affirmative defense of statutory immunity, even though it was raised after trial began Morris v. City of Chicago, 474 N.E.2d 1274 (Ill App. 1985).
Operating vehicle without siren or flashing lights not grounds for liability Mitchell v. State, 486 N.Y.S.2d 97 (A.D. 3 Dept 1985).
Indemnification statute does not make state a party in the suit Paone v. Tryon, 491 N.Y.S.2d 669 (A.D. 2 Dept 1985).
Automobile negligence not actionable under Section 1983 Cannon v. Taylor, 782 F.2d 947 (11th Cir. 1986).
Officer qualified to give chase West v. United States, 617 F.Supp. 1015 (DC Cal 1985).
Police officer did everything right on high-speed chase; motorcyclist negligent for own injuries and must pay for damages to squad car Maple v. City of Omaha, 384 N.W.2d 254 (Neb 1986).
Jury credits plaintiff's version that police car swerved across lane and struck him Thompson v. City of New Orleans , 487 So.2d 593 (La App. 1986).
Police guidelines create duty; general rule doesn't apply Fudge v. City of Kansas City, 720 P.2d 1093 (Kan 1986).
Other important issues on vehicle-related procedures discussed Weldy v. Town of Kingston, 514 A.2d 1257 (NH 1986); DeWald v. State, 719 P.2d 643 (Wyo 1986); Ashburn v. Anne Arundel County, 510 A.2d 1078 (Md 1986); Irwin v. Town of Ware, 467 N.E.2d 1292 (1984); Leake v. Cain, 720 P.2d 152 (Colo 1986); Hucko v. City of San Diego, 179 Cal App. 3d 520 (App. 1986).
Summary judgment denied in suit seeking damages for officer's ordering intoxicated woman to drive; collision occurred resulting in injuries Snyder v. City of Rochester, 508 N.Y.S.2d 863 (A.D. 4 Dept. 1986).
Victims of police automobile collision have no fourth amendment claims; substantive due process claims dismissed also Apodaca v. Rio Arriba County Sheriff's Dept, 647 F.Supp. 752 (DNM 1986).
No duty to assume intoxicated pedestrians are present at accidents Puearry v. Department of Public Safety, 496 So.2d 1372 (La App. 1986).
Statute immunizes city even if officer was guilty of misconduct Luber v. City of Highland, 502 N.E.2d 1243 (Ill App. 1986).
Police stops for traffic violations create no special duty to protect Hernandez v. Village of Cicero, 502 N.E.2d 1226 (Ill App. 1986).
Allowing intoxicated arrestee access to her car after she was bonded and released states a cause of action Kendrick v. City of Lake Charles, 500 So.2d 866 (La App. 1986). Internal order mandating inspection and removal of abandoned vehicles creates no duty to the public Posey v. State of California, CA 1st, A024640; 5/8/86
Detaining traffic violator en route to hospital was reasonable, but officer should timely call ambulance for sick passenger Krisko v. Oswald, 655 F.Supp. 147 (E.D. Pa 1987).
Using patrol car as roadblock to apprehend speeding motorcyclist not excessive force Chesney v. Hill, 813 F.2d 754 (6th Cir. 1987).
City not liable to motorist injured by fleeing suspect's auto; officers exercised due care during high speed pursuit Bickel v. City of Downey, 238 Cal.Rptr. 351 (Cal App. 1987).
Officers' action in intentionally ramming police vehicle into vehicle of fleeing suspect could be ground for liability to injured passenger Wood v. City of Linden, 526 A.2d 1093 (NJ Super AD 1987).
Parking police vehicle in private driveway at night without lights on may be negligent, but did not show wanton misconduct or civil rights violation Loftus v. @lingo, 511 N.E.2d 203 (Ill App. 1987).
Police officer driving to scene of accident immune from suit under Indiana state law Weber v. City of Fort Wayne, 511 N.E.2d 1074 (Ind App. 1987).
City's purchase of liability insurance constituted waiver of sovereign immunity on negligence claim Nelson v. City of Chester, Ill, 733 S.W.2d 28 (Mo App. 1987).
Alabama Supreme Court reverses judgment for defendant state trooper whose car struck and killed bicyclist; prejudicial irrelevant evidence regarding "catch-up" driving training presented to jury Smith v. Bradford, 512 So.2d 50 (Ala 1987).
Alleged negligence of deputy sheriff resulting in high-speed pursuit and death of "drag racer" did not violate constitutional rights Allen v. Cook, 668 F.Supp. 1460 (WD Okl 1987).
Agency's establishment of general liability trust fund to cover employees waived sovereign immunity; officer might be liable for injuries resulting from high-speed chase Martin v. Georgia Dept of Public Safety, 357 S.E.2d 569 (Ga 1987).
Police vehicle on way to domestic disturbance was engaged in law enforcement; no civil liability for injuries sustained in collision Crews v. Brockman, 510 N.E.2d 707 (Ind App. 1987).
Occupants of vehicle who were injured in collision with vehicle fleeing police failed to demonstrate police negligence Doran v. City of Decatur, 510 So.2d 813 (Ala 1987).
State tort claims act limits liability of municipality to percentage of its negligence; jury award in collision reduced Fuller v. Odom, 741 P.2d 449 (Okl 1987).
Officer injured by partner's alleged negligent driving can sue other officer but not city Mitsuuchi v. City of Chicago, 518 N.E.2d 313 (Ill App. 1987).
Officer can be sued for negligence in forcing intoxicated passenger of intoxicated driver to ride bicycle home Estate of Tittiger by Tittiger v. Doering, 678 F.Supp. 177 (E.D. Mich 1988).
Court dismisses appeal of case on failure to provide guidelines for high-speed chases Martin v. Georgia Dept of Public Safety, 257 Ga 300, 357 S.E.2d 569 (1987), cert denied and appeal dismissed, 108 S.Ct. 685 (1988).
Minnesota Court upholds statutory limit of $100,000 recovery from state; no violation of equal protection Lienhard v. State, 417 N.W.2d 119 (Minn. App. 1987).
Jury should have been allowed to decide whether officer was wantonly negligent in crossing double yellow lines while passing truck on hill Pike v. City of Lanett, 518 So.2d 747 (Ala Civ App. 1987).
Officers engaged in high speed pursuit of escaped criminal were immune from personal liability for injuries suffered from pursuit and roadblock Oppe v. State of Mo, 525 N.E.2d 1189 (Ill App. 1988).
Jury verdict of $60,000 against officer for vehicle accident reversed for failure to instruct jury on possibility pedestrian's friends threw him in front of car Chereskin v. Turkoglu, 369 S.E.2d 161 (Va 1988).
" See also: Defenses: Statute of Limitations, Defenses: Notice of Claim.
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