Hypothetical: Can you sue someone for "making you" shoot them in SD/HI?


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vicdotcom
July 16, 2009, 03:03 PM
Firstly I think it is mindboggling that a home invader or their families can sue you or your home insurance company for defending yourself after a SD/HI shooting.

But I always wondered if you are involved in a home invasion/self defense shooting, can you sue the bad guy/their family pre-emptively?

For example, I shoot someone because they invaded my home and I did everything "by the book". He doesnt die but is in the hospital. Can I sue him for "making" me shoot him? Ie. he didnt leave when instructed and made a threatening move towards me after the second warning. It caused me psychological pain and PTSD. Fear of being robbed again. That way at least I have a lawsuit already filed for when they try to sue me for shooting them and try to recover hospital bills or whatever.

Same thing with their families for raising the sh*t that tried to rob me. Especially if they are teenagers. Not being responsible parents enough to teach them better and ultimately causing the actions that resulted in me shooting the person.

Again just as a pre-emptive measure. Can even settle for protection against future litigation from the BG's/family.

Just a thought. I know that different states have different laws. And any civil suit CAN be filed for any reason (but might get tossed out just as fast). Again just curious of what you all thought.

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61chalk
July 16, 2009, 03:14 PM
I've never heard of it happening, but I'm sure if you filed on them first, they would then be inclined to sue back. It would be interesting if they did make a law in such cases, or maybe there is?

vicdotcom
July 16, 2009, 03:29 PM
Yea I haven't heard of any cases either. But that could mean that is a crappy idea lol As for making them sue also, chances are that is comming anyway so I figure it would be better to act than to react.

Oyeboten
July 16, 2009, 03:37 PM
Well worth considering...




Generally, this would be right for 'Small Claims' Court, recompense for 'Damages' and expenses however one may calculate them.


...for removal of Carpet Blood-Stains and any other related-to-the-incident cleaning Bills, Lost time from work, cost/value of Ammo expended, pro-rata depreciaion on firearm...and anything else one can add to the list.


Sure...whynot?


I think more people should!

Phatty
July 16, 2009, 04:08 PM
and made a threatening move towards me after the second warning. It caused me psychological pain and PTSD. Fear of being robbed again
You would have a cause of action against him for assault, which is an intentional tort, allowing you to obtain punitive damages against him.

they invaded my home
You would have a cause of action for trespass, another intentional tort.

Same thing with their families for raising the sh*t that tried to rob me.
You can't sue parents for the intentional torts of their minor children, much less their adult children.

Frank Ettin
July 16, 2009, 04:22 PM
As Phatty points out, you would have a number of bases upon which to sue someone who committed, or attempted, a crime against you. The bad news is that it would cost you a lot of money (except in Small Claims Court, where it would only cost you a little money), and if you win, you probably won't have much luck collecting.

vicdotcom
July 16, 2009, 04:23 PM
Same thing with their families for raising the sh*t that tried to rob me.

You can't sue parents for the intentional torts of their minor children, much less their adult children. Hey someone on my block sued the parents of a kid that busted the windows of their car and won. Wouldnt that be the same concept?

The bad news is that it would cost you a lot of money Well it will cost a lot anyways when you need a lawyer after a good shooting Im thinking. Unless they try to sue the homeowners insurance company, then they would likley provide representation but then your own your own again if there is a civil suit against the shooter.

Phatty
July 16, 2009, 04:36 PM
vicdotcom,

Your state may have a statute which imposes liability on parents. Or else, the judge ruled that the parents played a significant role in the tort ("Here, Johnny Boy, take some of these rocks and break the windows on Mrs. Smith's car.")

Frank Ettin
July 16, 2009, 04:51 PM
Hey someone on my block sued the parents of a kid that busted the windows of their car and won. Wouldnt that be the same concept?Some states by statute make parents responsible, up to some modest limits (usually a couple of thousand dollars) for damage cause by their minor children. That's not going to be much help with your situation. And in any case, it'll be pretty unlikely that the parents of a punk who broke into your house will have any money either.

Well it will cost a lot anyways when you need a lawyer after a good shooting Im thinking. Unless they try to sue the homeowners insurance company, then they would likley provide representation but then your own your own again if there is a civil suit against the shooter.[1] Suing the BG isn't going to stop him from suing you. He can still sue you even though you've sued him. And suing him pretty much guarantees he'll sue you.

[2] Nobody sues your homeowner's insurance. He sues you. If you have liability coverage as part of your homeowner's insurance, that insurance may have to pay for your defense.

[3] The homeowner's coverage in any case won't pay for your lawyer to sue the BG. You'll be paying him something like $200+ an hour out of your pocket (and he won't take the case on a contingent fee, where he only gets paid from the winnings, because even if you win, you'll be unlikely to collect). Even if the BG is convicted of the crime, it'll cost you a minimum of around $10,000 to sue him.

So you absolutely can sue the BG, but it just doesn't make economic sense.

vicdotcom
July 16, 2009, 05:06 PM
Hey guys thanks so much for the great info. It was just something that crossed my mind a while ago after watching someone on TV. Basically everyone shifting blame on everyone else but their own actions. And who gets the shaft is the person who was just doing the right thing.

freakshow10mm
July 16, 2009, 05:09 PM
Why would anyone want to clog up the legal system more than it already is with this kind of lawsuit?

wep45
July 16, 2009, 06:49 PM
sure, go ahead, sue away:neener:

jhco
July 16, 2009, 06:55 PM
You can sue for anything these days, Would you win is a bird of a different color.

Lone_Gunman
July 16, 2009, 07:07 PM
What are you going to sue him for? Money?

Here's a clue... most criminals are millionaires.

MagnumDweeb
July 16, 2009, 07:25 PM
I've often pondered this question. It'd be great if there was a law that if you robbed someone and they shot you, you had to pay bookoo bucks. There are always judgments by the courts, and unscrupulous debt collectors.

So mr. so and so. you robbed mr. x, he shot you and you deserved it justly, so you now owe 10,000. And we'll set an interest rate of 15% to it. Then you could sell it to a debt collector for 5,000(buy somore guns and ammo), and let the deby collector haunt the guy for the rest of their lives. If the guy is killed you get the estate(which may be nothing). Granted these are just fun ideas.

vicdotcom
July 16, 2009, 07:26 PM
Why would anyone want to clog up the legal system more than it already is with this kind of lawsuit? Why would they want to bog down the legal system by suing someone who did a good shoot? Again, I like acting better than reacting. Put thier nuts in a vice first and even maybe use that decision against them in their case.

What are you going to sue him for? Money?

Here's a clue... most criminals are millionaires. Or they will have YOUR money after suing you for a good shoot that you did. Maybe the two will cancel each other out haha

It'd be great if there was a law that if you robbed someone and they shot you, you had to pay bookoo bucks. There are always judgments by the courts, and unscrupulous debt collectors.
I'd be happy with a law saying that if you try to rob someone and you get shot for it, you ARENT allowed to take the shooter to court!

HKUSP45C
July 16, 2009, 09:32 PM
In reply to the "if you sue them, they'll sue you right back" sentiment many of you have presented I have to retort that many states have taken the teeth out of civil self-defence suits. Texas is a prime example of the fair and balanced way to do this. In Texas a person shot when the shooter was justified in using deadly force by criminal law standards can still be sued by the "person wot got drilled" but, they can't win.

Here's the law:

SECTION 4. Section 83.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is amended to read as follows:

Sec. 83.001. CIVIL IMMUNITY [AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE]. A [It is an affirmative defense to a civil action for damages for personal injury or death that the] defendant who uses force or[, at the time the cause of action arose, was justified in using] deadly force that is justified under Chapter 9 [Section 9.32], Penal Code, is immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results from the defendant’s [against a person who at the time of the] use of force or deadly force, as applicable [was committing an offense of unlawful entry in the habitation of the defendant].


We're working hard to get " who at the time of the] use of force or deadly force, as applicable [was committing an offense of unlawful entry in the habitation of the defendant]." removed, maybe 2011. We'll see.

In essence, Texas preserved the rights of the people to seek damages but also codified an affirmative defense to the civil suit for the "person wot did the drillin."

I suggest you all make appointments with your state level legislators, go see them in their office and tell them you will be happy to vote for their re-election if they'd be so kind as to get a similar law passed in your jurisdiction.

But, yes, the reason you don't often hear of victims who had to injur their attackers suing them later boils down to an old saw: You can't get blood from a stone.

BullpupBen
July 16, 2009, 09:45 PM
The idea of suing someone after you shoot them for crap like "emotional trauma" is both ridiculous and disgusting to me. however, it does help to put in perspective how equally ridiculous it is for a criminal to sue the person who shot them.

Also, in response to the post above, Texas law seems like a great remedy to this whole situation and I think it would be a great boon to our cause to push other states to accept similar laws.

2nd 41
July 16, 2009, 09:54 PM
I'd be happy with a law saying that if you try to rob someone and you get shot for it, you ARENT allowed to take the shooter to court!
How bout if a persons robs...get shot....they go directly to jail.

Good thread. Good point. But can't sue/win against a dead beat. Hard to employ a lawyer for a case that there is no $$$ on board.
I got held up. Terrified me. I think about it every other day. Something we never forget. I'd like to sue the lawyers that get these people off the hook.
And the judges and ...ah don't get me started.

legaleagle_45
July 16, 2009, 10:48 PM
I will litigate right down to your last nickel!!

The perp is probably judgment proof, otherwise he would not be doing HI... Liability of parents for the torts of their minor children is limited to 5k in Oregon, which might cover aboult 1/2 of your attorney fees.

I say GO FOR IT!!!

(want my card?)

TargetTerror
July 16, 2009, 11:13 PM
Yes, there are a bunch of causes of action that you would have (assuming of course that its a valid shoot and all that jazz). Assault, battery, trespass, trespass to chattel/conversion (ie theft), and any other damages stemming from damage to your home or person.

As to a cause of action for your actual shooting of the BG itself, the most likely would be Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, or failing that Negligent Infliction of Emotion Distress. You can do the math on how that would read as well as I: having to shoot caused you great mental anguish....

Alternatively, some states have what they call the "innominate tort," or "tort with no name." It is for situations where no cause of action on the book applies, but where there is nonetheless some sort of harm that should be corrected. "having to shoot someone" could arguably fall into this category. That said, it tends to be the more liberal states that have the "innominate tort," (eg NY), so you probably won't get much sympathy points for your cause there.

Realistically, its pretty much never worth it to sue your attacker as rich people don't attack in the first place (as a general rule of course). That is probably why you don't see such cases, rather than a lack of a cause of action.

SHvar
July 16, 2009, 11:57 PM
Never heard of a situation like that but it would be poetic justice to sue the guy who breaks into your house and causes you to shoot him in defence, make an example of them and serve to help reduce further break-ins.
I know there has been a load of home invasion robberies a few counties away from me, 3 are supposed to be related, and in the last one the home owner was killed in the process.
I do know of many situations where kids broke into house, damaged cars, etc and the parents had to make arrangements to pay up for damages or face criminal charges for their kids actions. After all in most states your kids are your legal responsibility until they are a certain age. The last example I know of that involved a friends house, the kids were identified by the neighbors kid, the police retrieved all of the stuff they stole except around $300 missing (the parents were required to pay that back). These kids were between 10-13 years old, the police even took tissue samples from the male boston terriers teeth (He bit one kid pretty badly in the process and was kicked, but not injured. Funny that the 2 pitbulls did nothing but hide, but the boston Terriers put up a fight). The DNA evidence would have busted the kid that was bit but an eye witness and possession of the stuff was all that was needed to get a confession.
The only drawback was that the witness didnt see them smash the door in, so the door wasnt paid for though.
Im all for using the system to go after the bad guys as much as possible. They deserve everything you can get them for.
Ask a lawyer if its possible or probable.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
July 17, 2009, 01:25 AM
What Phatty said. But you still have to prove up your damages. And good luck collecting your judgment from a thug. As a practical matter, 99% chance it's not worth it.

Jorg Nysgerrig
July 17, 2009, 01:28 AM
I've cleaned up this thread to keep it on topic.

vicdotcom
July 17, 2009, 09:54 AM
In reply to the "if you sue them, they'll sue you right back" sentiment many of you have presented I have to retort that many states have taken the teeth out of civil self-defence suits. Texas is a prime example of the fair and balanced way to do this. In Texas a person shot when the shooter was justified in using deadly force by criminal law standards can still be sued by the "person wot got drilled" but, they can't win.
....

I suggest you all make appointments with your state level legislators, go see them in their office and tell them you will be happy to vote for their re-election if they'd be so kind as to get a similar law passed in your jurisdiction.
See now this is the exact legislation I was thinking about to protect legally armed citizens from violent criminals. A simple "crime doesn't pay". I know similar laws were struck down up north but living in FL I would love to see something pass. Thanks for the suggestion and I am going to follow up with this through my legislative body.

rondog
July 17, 2009, 11:26 AM
Double taps help prevent lawsuits by injured perps.

G19x
July 17, 2009, 02:14 PM
Some states (MI included) have laws the remove any civil liability if the shooter is found to have had a clean shoot.
Great law that every state should incorporate. No downside since if it is a murder/assault you can take it to civil court anyway, but it keeps up safe.

vicdotcom
July 17, 2009, 02:33 PM
Double taps help prevent lawsuits by injured perps. Sure from the perp, but not by their families for a "wrongful death suit".

mgkdrgn
July 17, 2009, 08:08 PM
Suing is one thing.

Winning the suit is another.

COLLECTING from someone with little or no assets (who was the last millionaire home invader you heard of?) is pretty much impossible.

But, of course, YOU still get to pay your lawyer (and no, they won't take a case against someone with no assets on a contingency basis).

mgkdrgn
July 17, 2009, 08:12 PM
Sure from the perp, but not by their families for a "wrongful death suit".

In states with a good castle doctrine (like South Carolina) ... that isn't an issue. If it is a good SD shoot (ie, I am not charged) a civil suit can not be brought.

In the case of a "home invasion", the only question on the "good shoot/bad shoot form" is "Was the dwelling forcibly entered while the occupant was there?" If the answer is YES .... good shoot.

mgregg85
July 18, 2009, 04:28 PM
Might as well put the tort system to some good use, if you ever get the chance then go for it.

Zoogster
July 20, 2009, 03:35 PM
Well technicaly shooting someone is a crime in many states and self defense is merely a legal defense against commiting the crime. For example justifiable homicide is still homicide, which is a crime that has merely become justified under the circumstances. The required elements present in those circumstances to be a justifiable crime vary from state to state.


Personaly I would not sue unless I sustained significant financial loss. Civil court is very different from criminal court and a "preponderance of the evidence" far easier to arrive at than "beyond a reasonable doubt". You could be justified in shooting them, but find yourself still losing in a counter suit over medical bills or some other claim regarding thier own financial loss from the situation. Losses they really did clearly incur with the only question being whether you are responsible.
Some courts could even declare that while the criminal was 90% responsible for the incident, you were 10% responsible and therefor 10% of the financial burden (of possibly hundreds of thousands in medical bills) is on you. Judges and jury members are individuals and there is some with very different views.
Even if you have an 80% chance of not losing in a counter suit, is a 20% chance of losing tens or hundreds of thousands from the counter suit worth gaining a few thousand from your minimal losses?
Now if they sue you, then feel free to counter sue them for losses. Otherwise let it go.
There is some states on the other hand that forbid the criminal from suing under statute for losses sustained during a crime. I guess in those situations only one side can legaly sue? Maybe it would be worth considering then.

Might as well put the tort system to some good use, if you ever get the chance then go for it.
Clearly someone lucky enough to have limited experience with the court system.
In court outside of TV and massive judgments that make the news there is few winners in big cases. There is just losers and bigger losers. Especialy in lengthy cases.
You could win $10,000 and still have legal bills totaling several times as much, nevermind the loss of time and energy, while the criminal already sitting in prison is losing no time coming to court to fight it.
The court system can be used to punish people. If you don't mind losing some to make someone else lose more that is fine, but expecting to actualy win more than you spend is excessively hopeful. Especialy if the person you are suing is a criminal with few personal assets, who is going to be in prison for some time earning no wages, and when he gets out likely won't make enough to pay you back before inflation has cut any settlement into a mere fraction of the value if they ever do. Even being awarded a judgement is only the first step towards actualy receiving the money. It can take years to collect, if you ever even do from a career criminal that spends much of thier life in and out of prison not working.
You on the other hand as a productive member of society probably have a lot more in assets to lose in a countersuit and certainly a larger income than the $0 the criminal in prison will be earning in prison, and will be expected and legaly forced to pay it in a reasonable amount of time.

leadcounsel
July 20, 2009, 06:07 PM
Well, I would imagine that generally the reason you would shoot someone would be because they are destitute (poor), ex-cons, druggies, etc. basically with little or no money - hence that's why they are robbing you with a weapon, breaking into your house, etc.

Assuming that 1) they lived and 2) they have any assets to begin with, I see no reason for not sueing them on the basis of intentional infliction of emotional distress, damages to your property as proximate cause of their actions and the natural response that it elicits (you shoot them in self defense and they bled on your floor, or the damage they caused to your home, car, whatever...).

Whether you would win or not depends on the facts, jurisdiction, judge, etc.

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