Working to Get Civil Rights Case Dismissed

Jan 7, 2016 | News

Thomas (Tom) E. LeQuire, office managing member of Spicer Rudstrom’s Chattanooga location, reported a recent victory in a Motion for Summary Judgment in the Circuit Court in Bradley County, Tenn. That judge dismissed the case brought against the county, the county’s sheriff’s department, and the former county sheriff, finding the plaintiff could not show any civil rights violation in how he was detained.

The plaintiff, arrested during a routine traffic stop on a probation violation warrant, failed to make a bond and was therefore held in custody for 33 days. Although an earlier court date was available, he wasn’t taken before the judge until a second available date. During that hearing, the court determined the arrest warrant was invalid due to the expiration of time. The plaintiff was then released.

Following his release, the plaintiff filed suit for intentional tort claims and a claim for violation of his civil rights. Tom, retained by Bradley County, filed a Motion for Summary Judgment based on the immunity provisions of the Governmental Tort Liability Act (GTLA) and the plaintiff’s inability to show any custom or policy of unconstitutional conduct, which would make the county liable on a civil rights claim. The plaintiff’s attorney ended up admitting that all claims, except the civil rights allegation, should be dismissed. The circuit judge found the civil rights claim should also be dismissed.

Tom is a senior partner at Spicer Rudstrom. His practice is concentrated primarily in local government liability defense, including GTLA claims, federal civil rights claims, and general tort liability defense, particularly in serious personal injury cases.