In this case, Norris v Police Officers of Lincoln Park et al the Michigan Court of Appeals continues to apply the decision I secured from the Michigan Supreme Court in Odom v Wayne County to further define and strengthen the discretionary arrest powers that law enforcement officers have in the performance of their duties. Here, the Court really pulls all of the relevant prior case law together, starting with the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision in Firestone v Rice (1888), which defined what is meant by “good faith” in the context of a law enforcement officer’s decision to arrest an individual and the means by which that arrest is effectuated. The Court makes clear that as long as a law enforcement officer is acting within the scope of his or her authority, performing a discretionary function like making an arrest, and acting without malice, he or she will be free from tort liability under Michigan’s governmental immunity provisions. Here, the individual officers were responding to a 911 call regarding a speeding vehicle on Interstate 75. After the officers managed to stop the vehicle, the occupant was combative with the officers and a K9 police dog. The vehicle’s driver sued the police officers and the city, claiming gross negligence, assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims. The trial court denied the motion for summary disposition filed by the officers, which was based on Odom’s governmental immunity analysis. The Court of Appeals reversed, noting that the decision to arrest and the means by which it was performed were to be judged from a subjective perspective of the officer responding to the scene and not by “hindsight” analysis of what the officer should have or could have done. This opinion is another example in a long line of post-Odom cases that continues to refine and strengthen protection for Michigan’s law enforcement officers as they go about their daily job of serving the citizens and protecting the public.
Published by Carson J Tucker, JD MSEL
Owner of law firm since July 2014; Handles all types of appellate matters and assists other lawyers with complex litigation and insurance coverage issues; Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the State Bar of Michigan; Expertise in prosecuting and defending appeals with several significant successes in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals; Author of briefs amicus curiae in the Michigan Supreme Court for the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel and the Insurance Institute of Michigan; Represents Insurance Companies, Major International Business, Governmental Entities, Law Enforcement Officers and County Sheriffs. Board of Directors, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Amicus Committee Co-Chair, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Military - Retired Major in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps of the United States Army, Brigade Judge Advocate and Staff JAG officer for the Maneuver Training Center, Camp Grayling, Michigan; Recipient of the Army's Meritorious Service Medal (the highest medal of honor available to Soldiers serving in non-combat roles); 2012 Graduate of the Judge Advocate Officer Advanced Course, at The Judge Advocate Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Virginia. United States Navy Reserves, Combat Warfare Qualification, January 1989 to July 2003 Former law clerk to Justice Stephen J. Markman, Michigan Supreme Court, Research Attorney, Michigan Court of Appeals. Insurance Coverage Associate Plunkett Cooney; Environmental Law Attorney at Squire Sanders, now Squire Patton Boggs; Master's Degree in Environmental Law; Environmental Law Scholar, ALI/ABA Washington, D.C., Juris Doctorate, Vermont Law School, Environmental Editor, Vermont Law Review; Treasurer and Finalist, Moot Court Advisory Board. View all posts by Carson J Tucker, JD MSEL