What if...........(civil liability related)


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erik the bold
February 16, 2006, 03:52 PM
The following is a quote by mod B. R. on a different thread, pertaining to a good shoot:

Now in most states, you will also get sued in civil court by the person you shot or their family. At this trial they will probably be doing their best to be a nuisance to you so you will settle with them.

I hear this constantly on THR, TFL, and elsewhere, but have yet to see any documentation or news story to substantiate the above statement.

My thoughts would be to immediately have my lawyer file a civil suit against the perps estate/family for emotional distress, carpet/floor cleaning, etc. :eek:

Any of you legal eagles out there want to take a stab at this? (uh, no pun intended :D )



ETB

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antsi
February 16, 2006, 04:54 PM
I hear this constantly on THR, TFL, and elsewhere, but have yet to see any documentation or news story to substantiate the above statement.


I've heard mostly anecdotal accounts - I've never seen any numbers on the percentage of justifiable defensive shoots where the shooter gets sued.

However, I would not be at all surprised if the % is high. These days it seems like you can't look at someone cross eyed without getting sued.

Manedwolf
February 16, 2006, 05:46 PM
I wouldn't doubt it happens a lot as well.

One, the perp is always described on the news by sobbing relatives as "a good boy, he was turning his life around"...never mind the fact that he was shot peforming a home-invasion robbery, never mind the multiple arrests, convictions, history of violence, gang member, etc...

And two...people will always try to find a way to get money, and there will always be a sleazy lawyer who will try to help, so they can get a cut.

Car Knocker
February 16, 2006, 06:03 PM
I have read several newspaper accounts of the shooter in a good shoot being sued, usually by family of the dead BG, after it being determined that the shooter had no criminal liability.

anthillsinrome
February 16, 2006, 06:14 PM
The plausibility of such a lawsuit being filed has also been questioned on here before, and I remember at least one member on here talking about a family member who shot someone in self-defense and was subsequently sued.

"He was a good boy, never hurt a fly! Then this deranged NRA member with his arsenal of evil black assault rifles went and killed him!!"

Sigh. It does happen, probably not often, but this is a generally anti-gun, litigation society...

pcf
February 16, 2006, 06:32 PM
My thoughts would be to immediately have my lawyer file a civil suit against the perps estate/family for emotional distress, carpet/floor cleaning, etc. :eek:


My question in response to this is, sue for what? In general terms, people that your likely to have to defend yourself from aren't the type with assets. If you do sue them you're on the hook for all legal fees. If you have a decent lawyer he's probably going to reccomend that you save your money.

Pilgrim
February 16, 2006, 06:44 PM
My thoughts would be to immediately have my lawyer file a civil suit against the perps estate/family for emotional distress, carpet/floor cleaning, etc.
The chances of the deceased perp's estate having anything worth sueing for are for all practical purposes nil. You might have a chance of getting something if the dead one is a minor

You as the shooter on the other hand, have property and income. The attorney for the dead one's family has been convinced you are a fountain of wealth because he is suing you on a contingency basis.

Pilgrim

Jeff White
February 16, 2006, 06:58 PM
Pilgrim has it right. Being sued for a self defense shooting that was ruled legal under the criminal code is almost directly proportional to how much money a lawyer thinks he can squeeze out of you.

Police officers are almost always sued after a good shoot, because the government agency they work for is assumed to have deep pockets (your tax dollars).

Here in Illinois, it's not an issue because state law prohibits any civil action after a legal shooting.

Jeff

erik the bold
February 16, 2006, 08:18 PM
My question in response to this is, sue for what? In general terms, people that your likely to have to defend yourself from aren't the type with assets. If you do sue them you're on the hook for all legal fees. If you have a decent lawyer he's probably going to reccomend that you save your money.

My thought is a pre-emptive suit to "discourage" the family/estate from filing anything.

I'd still like to see some evidence of this happening though.......

Fly320s
February 16, 2006, 09:33 PM
Send a letter to Massad Ayoob at one of the magazines for which he writes articles. Maybe he can provide some info.

Or how about John Lott? He might have the stats that you want.

HankB
February 16, 2006, 10:30 PM
There was a case where a Japanese student, Yoshihiro Hattori, was shot when he approached a Louisiana homeowner while acting in a bizarre manner. Cleared of criminal charges, the homeowner was sued. An idiot judge (aided and abetted by the homeowner's idiot lawyer) awarded Hattori's next of kin $650,000 in a civil case.

Bernhard Goetz, New York's so-called Subway Vigilante, was cleared of most charges besides those related to his illegal carry of a gun, but also was on the losing end of a civil lawsuit filed by, of all people, the perps who tried to rob him.

You should be able to find ample documentation on the Web if you do a search.

Standing Wolf
February 16, 2006, 10:42 PM
Not where I live! Colorado prevents criminals and/or their heirs and assigns from suing people who shoot them legally in self-defense.

Assault lawyers weep real tears.

pcf
February 16, 2006, 11:03 PM
There aren't many self defense shootings, that's why there's not much out there on them. Check out www.atra.org to see some of the silliness. If you harm someone acting in self defense and you are not judgment or tort proof, you're going to get sued.

Before you get worried about getting sued, or preemptively suing, you need to assess your risk. If you're basically judgement proof (you have no assets that can be taken in a judgment) why worry about it? You're at a low risk of getting sued and there's no point in attracting a counter suit. Despite punitive damages of $43 million, Bernie Goetz was only worth $24,000 ($100 a month for 20 years).

The best thing you can do is spend a little money and quality time with a local civil attorney and assess your risk and review legal strategy incase this ever becomes an issue. It's a big country, what happens out there isn't nearly as important as what happens in your own backyard.

LJWebster1
February 16, 2006, 11:13 PM
The pre-emptive suit is a bad idea, as it gives the family a reason to get involved in a court case anyway. However, if you do get sued, your attorney will almost certainly recommend a counter claim. Talking to an estate planning attorney about how to protect your assets if a lawsuit such as this is a good idea. And, this doesn't happen only in self defense shootings. Car accidents, people falling on your icy sidewalk, your kid riding his bike into the street and causign an accident, etc. can all result in civil liability. Heck, your neighbor just might not like you and so will sue. I'm an attorney, and I hate the fact that anyone can just walk down to the court house and file a lawsuit, and that means someone has to go to the expense of hiring a lawyer. We need to fix this problem, but unfortunately, the special interests have screwed this up too, and so we are stuck with liability caps masquerading as tort reform. What a crock.

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