AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Civil Liability of Law Enforcement Agencies & Personnel
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Off Duty/Color of Law: Moonlighting
Monthly Law Journal Article: Civil Liability for Acts of Off-Duty Officers -- Part One, 2007 (9) AELE Mo. L.J. 101.
Monthly Law Journal Article: Civil Liability for Acts of Off-Duty Officers -- Part Two, 2007 (10) AELE Mo. L.J. 101.
A bus-station patron claimed that a police officer, without justification, compelled him to leave a bus station where he was eating. The plaintiff failed to state a federal civil rights claim against the District of Columbia, which employed the officer. At the time of the incident, it appeared, the officer did not act pursuant to any District policy or custom, but rather was working for a bus company while off-duty. Lewis v. D.C., Civil Action #08-1314, 2009 U.S. Dist. Lexis 72263 (D.D.C.).
Union adequately alleged that off-duty police officers serving as security guards outside facility where its members were picketing in support of strike acted under color of law. City was also providing on-duty police officers at the site, and union claimed that city, employer, private security firm, and on- and off-duty officers conspired to intimidate union members and unlawfully arrest and harass them. Memphis American Postal, AFL-CIO v. Memphis, #02-5694, 361 F.3d 898 (6th Cir. 2004). [2004 LR Aug]
347:169 Off-duty sheriff's deputy working as a department store security guard did not act under color of state law in a federal civil rights suit for stopping and searching a customer suspected of shoplifting, despite being in uniform and wearing his badge and gun. Chapman v. Higbee Company, No. 99-3970, 256 F.3d 416 (6th Cir. 2001).
345:138 Deputy working off-duty as store security guard was acting as a law enforcement officer rather than a store employee when he arrested a customer outside the store for allegedly disturbing the peace; store was not liable for deputy's actions, and deputy was entitled to official immunity from customer's false arrest/malicious prosecution claims under Texas law. Larkin v. Johnson, No. 14-98- 00789-CV, 44 S.W.2d 188 (Tex. App. 2001).
317:76 Off-duty police officers, not in uniform, and working as security guards at private party without departmental knowledge or permission, did not act as peace officers when the allegedly kicked and shot man, rendering him paraplegic. Jury award of $8.7 million to man and $1.5 million to his wife could not be imposed on city. Melendez v. City of Los Angeles, 63 Cal. App. 4th 1, 73 Cal. Rptr. 469 (1998), review denied, 1998 Cal. Lexis 4213.
315:45 Off-duty police officer working as mall security guard acted "under color of state law" in shooting and killing escaping shoplifting suspect who drove towards her in his car; use of deadly force was objectively reasonable when she had reason to fear for her life. Abraham v. Raso, 15 F.Supp. 2d 433 (D.N.J. 1998).
322:156 City's alleged policy of allowing off-duty officers not to attend the trials of those they arrest while moonlighting as private security stated claim for an unconstitutional policy. Sturm v. Ross, 11 F.Supp. 2d 942 (S.D. Tex. 1998).
309:137 Nightclub not liable for actions taken by off- duty police officers allegedly utilized as security; officers acted in their capacity as police in taking actions against patrons. Lande v. Menage Limited Partnership, 702 A.2d 1259 (D.C.App. 1997).
285:138 City liable for $102 million to restaurant patron shot in the back by off-duty police officer acting as security for canceled Halloween party scheduled there Melendez v. City of Los Angeles, No BC038583, LA Superior Central Ct, March 20, 1996, reported in LA Daily Journal (Verd. & Stl.), Vol 109, #82, p. 2, April 26, 1996.
285:133 County and sheriff's deputies were not entitled to governmental immunity, under Michigan law, on false arrest and malicious prosecution claims brought by concertgoers arrested by deputies serving as crowd control at private music theater; deputies, supplied to the theater by the county pursuant to contract, were essentially acting as private security guards, rather than carrying out a law enforcement function Pardon v. Finkel, 540 NW2d 774 (Mich App. 1995).
275:172 Briefly Noted: Illinois appeals court decision on employer's vicarious liability for employee's negligence while driving vehicle with company name painted on has implications for liability for allowing off-duty officers to "moonlight" in uniform Fulton v. Terra Cotta Truck Service Inc, 266 Ill 3d 609, 639 N.E.2d 1380 (1994).
271:106 Louisiana municipality could not be held liable for alleged assault on nightclub employee by off-duty officer in uniform while acting as private security for nightclub Luccia v. Cummings, 646 So.2d 1142 (La App. 1994).
272:120 Federal appeals court rules that off-duty officer, working in uniform as private security guard in fast food restaurant, may have acted "under color of state law" in placing restaurant patron under arrest; federal civil rights claims against officer and city reinstated Pickrel v. City of Springfield, 45 F.3d 1115 (7th Cir. 1995).
Alabama city liable for $16 million for death of minor assaulted outside bar where off-duty police officer was working as security guard; Alabama Supreme Court rules that off-duty police officer was still acting as an agent of the city when he failed to intervene to prevent the assault on the youth City of Birmingham v. Benson, 631 So.2d 902 (Ala 1993).
City can not be liable under respondeat superior for beating allegedly committed by off-duty assault on bar patron; fact that officer was subject to discipline for incident did not vary result Barton v. Gulf States Entertainment, 655 F.Supp. 782 (M.D. La 1987).
Working as security guard resulted in officer's dismissal Martin v. Matthys, 501 N.E.2d 286 (Ill App. 1986).
Widow of off-duty officer working as security guard awarded $125 million over inadequate security measures; "fireman's rule" no bar to suit Pucalik v. Holiday Inns, Inc, 777 F.2d 359 (7th Cir. 1985).
Pay for off-duty officers providing security at city events to be decided by arbitrator City of Rochester v. Rochester Police, 482 N.Y.S.2d 167 (A.D. 4 Dept 1984).
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