AELE LAW LIBRARY OF CASE SUMMARIES:
Civil Liability of Law Enforcement Agencies & Personnel
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Off Duty/Color of Law: Vehicle Related
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.
Police officers and supervisors' alleged encouragement and "active facilitation" of off-duty officer's drunken driving during twelve-hour drinking binge could constitute a "state-created danger" violating the due process constitutional rights of a pregnant woman, her fetus, and two others struck and killed by the off-duty officer as he sped through a red light. Individual defendants were, however, entitled to qualified immunity from liability, as the law on the issue was not clearly established in 2001. Pena v. Deprisco, No. 03-7876, 2005 U.S. App. Lexis 26911 (2d Cir.). [2006 LR Feb]
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]
City of New York was not liable for off-duty officer's action in connection with dispute with another motorist. Off-duty officer was not in uniform, did not display his badge, and gave no indication that he was a police officer until after the other motorist obeyed his signal to pull his vehicle over to the side of the road. The officer acted on the basis of purely personal motives stemming from a traffic altercation with the other driver as the two passed through a toll plaza. The officer was not acting within the scope of his employment at the time of the incident. White v. Thomas, 784 N.Y.S.2d 54 (A.D. 1st Dept. 2004). [N/R]
New York intermediate appellate court upholds $321,000 jury award against city to motorist allegedly knocked to the ground and punched in the face by an off-duty police officer after he rear-ended the officer's vehicle. Evidence was sufficient to show that the officer was acting within the scope of his employment and used excessive force when the officer requested the motorist's driver's license and detained him for up to half an hour until other police arrived. Graham v. City of New York, 770 N.Y.S.2d 92 (A.D. 2nd Dept. 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]
City was not vicariously liable for off-duty officer's alleged action of injuring a pedestrian while driving in an intoxicated condition, or for the failure of another off-duty officer, a passenger in the vehicle, to prevent the first officer from driving. Carroll v. City of New York, 730 N.Y.S.2d 548 (A.D. 2001). [2002 LR Feb]
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).
Police officer whose department vehicle collided with another motorist's car was not acting within the scope of his employment since his normal tour of duty had ended, and he was using the police car to go to a football game; city was accordingly not liable for any damages Smith v. Rice, 613 So.2d 741 (La App. 1993).
Drivers of vehicle being pursued by police during high-speed chase were the cause of injuries to occupants of struck vehicle, officers were not Doran v. City of Madison, 519 So.2d 1308 (Ala 1988).
Officer and village liable for $20,010 after officer's car struck five year old who walked out from front of ice cream truck Toney v. Marzariegos, 519 N.E.2d 1035 (Ill App. 1988).
City was not liable for wrongful death action arising from officer's off-duty loss of control of vehicle Wolf v. Liberis, 153 Ill App. 3d 488, 505 N.E.2d 1202 (1st Dist 1987).
Sheriff's wife not liable for striking man who was fighting inside patrol car Price v. Baker, 693 F.2d 952 (10th Cir. 1982).
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