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Personal Injury, Criminal Defense & Civil Litigation

© 2020 John E. Reynolds | Attorney at Law

Jessamine County office: 

203 W. Maple Street

Nicholasville, Kentucky  40356

(859) 881-1725

Fayette County office: 

101 W. Short Street, 3rd Floor

Lexington, Kentucky  40507

​(859) 212-3111

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$3.45 million jury award for "bad faith" lawsuit upheld by Kentucky Supreme Court against Indiana Ins. Co.

September 12, 2017

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Police Officer can be sued for injuries caused in high speed pursuit.

Ever see a police cruiser flying past you at high speed and think "he's going to hit someone!"  I have seen this happen on Main Street countless times through my office window. One, two or even three cruisers speeding through the center emergency lane down Main Street.  Who are they chasing?  Is the person being chased more dangerous than the danger they are creating by the pursuit?! Are they chasing someone suspected of a property crime, traffic infraction or a non-violent crime?  If so, the answer has to be "NO."

 

The Kentucky Court of Appeals in City of Brooksville and Martin Hause v. Justin Warner (2015-CA-000975-MR) ruled March 17th, 2017 that a motorcyclist's claim against a pursuing officer of the Brooksville Police could proceed as the officer was not entitled to qualified immunity.  Police officers have a duty to operate their vehicles in a safe manner, regardless of what they are doing.  The Court ruled, "An officer has discretion to decide whether to begin, continue, or end emergency pursuit, but not for the way he or she operates the police vehicle during the emergency pursuit."

 

The Plaintiff alleged Officer Hause "engaged in a a high sped, unnecessary and excessive pursuit, of the other driver, and while attempting to pursue the other driver, struck the rear of [Warner's] motorcycle, and/or forced him off the roadway and into a rock wall."  

 

The reason the two cyclists were being chased?  The officer knew that one was driving without a license, registration or insurance.  Not good reasons to endanger himself, the public or the person being pursued. Everyone has a duty to operate their vehicle safely, even the Police.