Law Review Article on Police Chase Cases in the 6th Circuit

Do you have a Sec. 1983 lawsuit for injuries to a bystander arising out of a police chase?  Are you thinking about filing one?  Are you defending one?

If the answer to any of these questions is "Yes," I encourage you to read "When Innocent Parties Are Injured or Killed in High-Speed Pursuits, What Police Conduct Sufficiently Shocks the Conscience to Allow Recovery?" by Anna M. Krstulic.  The article appears in the Vol. 47, No. 3 of the Washburn Law Journal (Spring 2008).  Here is the conclusion she reached after studying the law in this area :

Given the high statistics of deaths and serious injuries that result from police pursuits, the Supreme Court should revisit the issue of fed­eral liability under § 1983 to define a workable standard.  Since both intent to harm and deliberate indifference can “shock the conscience,” courts must evaluate the totality of the circumstances in each case to de­termine which standard is appropriate. Police officers should be held accountable for violating pursuit regulations, and municipalities should be held accountable for failure to train their police officers. The gov­ernmental authority that police exercise in conducting pursuits must have clearly defined constitutional limitations.  As one commentator noted, “[w]hat is shocking is the continued willingness of many officers to engage in unwarranted pursuits in the face of widespread awareness in the police community itself of the likelihood of tragic conse­quences.”  [Footnotes omitted.]


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