In a case brought to the Michigan Supreme Court by Carson J. Tucker in 2008, Odom v. Wayne County, a seminal (and essentially unanimous) decision and a lasting jurisprudential pillar of governmental tort liability law in Michigan, the Court interpreted the “subjective, good-faith” exception to intentional tort and gross-negligence claims found in Michigan’s Governmental Tort Liability Act (GTLA), MCL 691.1401, et seq.
Decades of uncertainty had surrounded the issues of the parameters of an individual law enforcement officer’s liability when he or she was performing the governmental function of enforcing the law. Odom clarified the scope of the so-called “intentional tort” exception to governmental immunity, the “gross negligence” exception in the GTLA, and the necessary burdens of proof to overcome the presumptive immunity granted to all individual governmental employees in Michigan.
As demonstrated by this March 3, 2020 Court of Appeals opinion, Mendoza v Robinson, et al, Odom’s protection of the discretionary actions and day-to-day decision making that law enforcement officers have to engage in is still protected by the well-established “subjective, good faith” exception.
This standard allows law enforcement officers to focus on the necessary tasks of serving and protecting the public. Establishing strong judicial precedent and clarifying the parameters of liability within which governmental employees must consider their day to day actions significantly reduced litigation and, more importantly, liability payouts by the government in the state of Michigan.
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.
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