Monell Claim

Monell Claim

Does anyone ever win a Monell Claim?

A Monell Claim gives you a cause of action agains the government for failure to train and supervise. These are very hard to win. In our experience, when we have a valid Monell Claim, the defendants fold almost immediately and offer to settle.

A great example of a clear Monell Claim is the case of the Philadelphia narcotics offers charged in federal court. In that case, the officers are accused of doing terrible things to people they arrested from beating them, stealing from them, locking people in trunks of cars, holding people for ransom, tying people to chairs until they gave them money or jewelry, etc. Hundreds of complaints had been made about the officers over a period of time, yet they were still allowed to be on the force. No cameras or video cameras were ever used in their cases. The hire-ups within the police force did little if anything to supervise this group of narcotics officers, and for that matter, all special narcotics officers. Also, the district attorney stopped prosecuting arrests they made, and withdrew prosecution on many previous convicted individuals.

In this case, a Monell Claim is clear. However, how the city defends the matter will unfold in the coming months. The names of the officers are Licardello, Betts, Speiser, Spicer, Reynolds, Norman, and Walker. If any of these officers falsely arrested you, contact us now for a free consultation. Also, if you have a case similar to the narcotics officers’ cases listed above, contact us to discuss how we can help you.

The answer is clear, if you have the right Philadelphia Civil Rights Lawyer fighting for you, yes, you can win a Monell Claim.

Taser Malfunction

Taser Malfunction

When there is a taser malfunction, what happens and what are difference types of taser malfunctions?

A taser malfunction can happen in two ways. First the taser can fail to charge, so the officer believes that he is about to taser someone, but when they fire the taser, there is little or no electricity shooting through the prongs and the person is actually not tased at all. The second type of taser malfunction is when the taser keeps pulsing electricity into the person even though the officer is not trying to keep the electricity flowing through to the person. In this example the person is usually severely injured–even death.

In the second taser malfunction example, there are three possible legal claims unique to taser cases. First is the obvious police brutality or excessive force type of case. In that case, we are arguing the amount of force used is excess of the amount of force a reasonable officer would use faced with a similar amount of force in a similar circumstance.

The next cause of action is a Monell Claim against the city for not having tasers that function properly. The argument is that the city did not follow the proper protocol for managing the tasers before they were given to officers and taken out on the street. The tasers were not properly inspected, maintained, charged, etc., thereby causing the malfunction. The Monell Claim would be that the city failed to train and supervise the the maintenance of the taser inventory.

The third cause of action would be against TASER itself as a company. In this case, you would be arguing more like a products liability case then a civil rights case, but no matter. We would sue TASER for this claim and argue this model of taser was improperly manufactured, designed, etc., and that TASER knew or should have know the likely outcome that someone could get significantly injured as a result of the defect.

Prisoners' Rights

Prisoners’ Rights

If a corrections officer assaults an inmate, can the inmate sue the corrections officer. What are Prisoners’ Rights in these situations?

Prisoners’ rights cases are very difficult to win. However, the standard for excessive force is the same as if it would be against a police officer. Things that our lawyers look for in reviewing a case is whether the inmate was arrested and if so what is the outcome of that case. Next, we look to the injuries. Was the guard injured? If yes, did the guard get any type of medical treatment treat? Where was the injury to his hand or to his face? Was the inmate injured? How severe was the injury?

The analysis is just about the same as a normal police brutality case–was the amount of force used by the officer a reasonable amount of force considering the amount of force the officer was facing? If the force was too great, there is a claim.

Recently in Philadelphia, there was a great example of a prisoners’ rights case. In that example, an officer with a previous accusation of beating an inmate, was caught on tape beating another inmate. In light of recent technology, and that the CFCF (Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility) has a ton of cameras, you would think the officer would be a little smarter than to beat somebody and then have him charged with assaulting the officer.

This is a clear example of a great prisoners’ rights case, especially since it seems like the guard is not getting fired.

Malicious Prosecution

Malicious Prosecution in 42 USC 1983 Cases

What do I have to show to be successful for Malicious Prosecution in 42 USC 1983 Cases?

In these cases, the following elements must all be proved by the Plaintiff: (1) prosecution for a criminal offense; (2) instigated without probable cause; (3) with malice; (4) under a valid warrant, accusation or summons; (5) which has terminated favorably to the plaintiff; and (6) has damaged the plaintiff.

The standard may seem like a heavy burden to prove, but its not. You basically have to beat your criminal case entirely and show that you can real damages as a result of the arrest or prosecution.

An example is where you are on probation for something somewhat serious and you were fully compliant with probation and had no technical or direct violations of your probation. You are arrested for something that you did not do and charged and prosecuted. You were having an argument with an off duty cop over a parking space, and he called his fellow police officers–they arrested you for assaulting them. After the new arrest, the probation officer decides to put a detainer on you because of the new arrest. You are then held in custody on the detainer until the new open case is resolved. You didn’t do anything wrong, so you decide to demand your right to a jury trial. Because you want a jury trial, it takes a year for you to go to trial. You sit in jail for the entire year because of the detainer that was lodged against you because of your arrest. You go to trial and you are found not guilty. The day after the not guilty verdict, you are released from custody.

In the above example, you have a malicious prosecution claim. You were prosecuted for a criminal offense, there was no probable cause, the officer arrested you with malice, it was a real arrest, you won, and you sat in jail for a year.