Here is another important (albeit unpublished) decision from the Michigan Court of Appeals in the wake of the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision in Odom v. Wayne County et al (read it here: Odom) that clarifies what good faith performance of duty really means for purposes of a law enforcement officer’s immunity from state intentional tort claims, here, assault and battery, false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.
The panel in this case correctly reasons that even if an after-the-fact analysis ultimately reveals that a law enforcement officer had no basis to arrest an individual, the fact that the officer is performing his or her discretionary functions in “good faith”, without ill-will, malice or corrupt conduct, exonerates the law enforcement officer from civil liability.
This flows naturally from the reasoning in Odom and in modern federal cases that a mistaken belief that a crime has been committed or is underway will not result in the imposition of civil liability for those individual law enforcement officers who must exercise their judgment and discretion in deciding when and how to prevent or arrest crime.
Here is the decision, which goes step-by-step through the Odom analysis.
Wilson et al v Officer D. McCormick et al
Published by Carson J Tucker, JD MSEL
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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.
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