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Unlawful Arrest - Excessive Force

August 8, 2014

A federal court dismissed a case in which the plaintiff claimed that an Alabama city and several of its officials had violated her constitutional rights relating to her arrest by the city’s chief of police. The plaintiff alleged that the police chief unlawfully entered her home, assaulted her, then arrested and took her to jail, where he again assaulted her even while she was handcuffed. The plaintiff alleged that while confined to the city’s jail for several days, she requested medical treatment for her alleged injuries, but her requests were ignored. The plaintiff sought to hold the city, its mayor, and the members of its city council (“the defendants”) liable for wrongfully training, supervising, and continuing to employ the police chief even though they allegedly knew about other similar previous complaints about him. The plaintiff sought damages against the defendants of at least $500,000. The court, however, concluded that the plaintiff’s allegations failed to plausibly establish a constitutional violation by the defendants. Terry Sides litigated the case for the Firm and argued that not only had the plaintiff failed to show the existence of the required established custom or practice of similar conduct by the city’s police chief or its other police officers, but she had also failed to show any personal actions by the defendants which resulted in her claimed constitutional deprivations; thus, under both federal and state law, the plaintiff’s claims against the defendants were barred by doctrines of immunity. The court agreed and dismissed the defendants from the case.

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