Police Departments Can Be Sued for Slow Response Time

By Driskill, Matt | THE JOURNAL RECORD, July 13, 1985 | Go to article overview

Police Departments Can Be Sued for Slow Response Time


Driskill, Matt, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Police departments, which in many cities and towns try to stay out of family fights, can be successfully sued for a slow response to domestic disputes, according to a recent issue of Lawyers Alert.

A Connecticut police force, which was repeatedly slow to respond to a woman's calls about her violent husband, now has been told by a federal court to pay the woman $2.6 million because of that response time.

The city was found liable under the civil rights act because the woman was denied "equal protection." The police literally ignored the woman's calls and complaints for eight months that her husbandwas threatening her life, even though a court had ordered him to stay away from her.

One day the husband arrived at her house and assaulted and stabbed the woman, while it took the police department 25 minutes to arrive at the scene and even longer for them to arrest the husband.

As a result of the attack and the police force's actions, the woman was awarded $2.3 million and her three year-old son, who witnessed the attack, was awarded $300,000. . .

- Members of the District Business Conduct Committee of the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) are immune from prosecution for their actions taken within the outer scope oftheir disciplinary duties, to the extent they act as prosecutors, according to a recent ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

However, the Fifth Circuit panel noted that such members may lack any immunity from actions falling outside their official authority and also that there is no absolute immunity for the firms that employ the committee members.

The committee had found a broker/dealer guilty of violation of Rules 10b-5 and Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

The broker/dealer appealed these convictions and the sanctions imposed against it to the NASD Board of Governors which dismissed two of the three counts and reduced the penalties assessed against it.

Instead of appealing the decision to SEC as it was entitled to do, the broker/dealer filed a court action against the defendants seeking monetary damages for its economic loss, humiliation and damage to its reputation.

The Fifth Circuit Court agreed that the defendants were entitled to summary judgement based on their absolute immunity from suit for actions connected with their official duties.

However, the panel found firms that employed the committee members were not entitled to absolute immunity merely because one of their associates serves on a disciplinary committee.

As an example, there is no derivative immunity from private persons who conspire with immune persons to violate the rights of others. . .

- Fred H. Miller, Oklahoma University professor of law, has been reappointed to represent Oklahoma on the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.

Miller joined the faculty at OU in 1966 and has served as a commissioner from Oklahoma since 1975.

Organized in 1892, the conference is composed of representatives from each state who are practicing attorneys, judges, law professors, legislators and legislative draftspersons.

Its purpose is to identify areas of law that need uniform treatment among the states and prepare statutory drafts for consideration by state legislatures. . .

- The Practising Law Institute will sponsor a seminar dealing with Acquisitions and Mergers: Tactics, Techniques and Recent Developments. …

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