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Exam 5
Civil Liability
Not Applicable

Additional Other Flashcards




Leading Causes of Civil Litigation

1. False Arrest

2. First Aid

3. Excessive Force

4. Vehicle Collisions

5. Illegal Search and Seizure

6. Failure to Protect

7. Workplace Harassment

What is the Distinction Between Criminal and Civil Law?

Criminal Law: Government complains of individual's conduct

Civil Law: Individual complains of another's conduct


Criminal Law: Fine or imprisonment is imposed if found guilty

Civil Law: Individual asks court for remedy (usually money)


Criminal Law: Guilt established beyond a reasonable doubt

Civil Law: Responsibility is established by a preponderance of the evidence


Criminal Law: Burden of proof is on the government

Civil Law: Burden of proof is on the plaintiff


Criminal Law: Jury must be unanimous

Civil Law: Jury need not be unanimous

What is a Tort? 
  • A civil wrong, other thana breach of contract, for which the court will provide a remedy in the form of an action for damages
  • Intentional torts (i.e. assault, defamation, false arrest)
  • Negligent Torts (i.e. automobile accidents)
  • Strict Liability (i.e. handling of explosives)
  • Constitutional Torts (i.e. civil rights violation)

Types of Liability



Direct Liability: The actor himself/herself is liable for the act that occurred and the damages associated with the act.


Vicarious Liability: Indierct civil liability for the actions of another.


  • Respondeat Superior: employer is responsible for wrongs committed by employee within scope of employment

Agency Policy/Custon

  • Agency's actions "caused" employee to act in a particular manner
  • Must prove in cases arising under 42 U.S.C. 1983, is only way plaintiffs can reach "deep pockets"


Examples of Vicarious Liability

Negligent Employment: knew/should have known employee should never have been hired


Negligent Retention: Knew/should have known employee should not have been retained


Negligent Assignment/Entrustment: Knew/should have known employee should not have been assigned to particular assignment or entrusted with a particular piece of equipment


Negligent Supervision: Knew/should have known employee needed better supervision


Negligent Failure to Train: Knew/should have known there was a need to train and failure to do so


Negligent Training: Knew/should have known the training was somehow insufficient


Examples of

Intentional Torts:

Direct Liability


Battery- offensive or unwarranted touching of a person


Assault- placing a person in "imminent apprehension" of a battery


  • All false arrest claims will also include assault claims
  • Usual Defense is that officer is entitled to use reasonable necessary force

Examples of

Intentional Torts:

Direct Liability


False Arrest and False Imprisonment

  • Generally, any arrest without probable cause
  • Whether person is guilty or not is NOT an issue
  • Good faith or reasonable belief defense may be available
  • Arrest with a warrant rarely result in false arrest verdicts, unless the warrant was invalid or defective on its face

Malicious Prosecution

  • Involves the right to be free from unjustified litigation
  • Must prove absence of probable cause
  • Actual malice must be shown


Common Defenses:

  • Existence of reasonable suspicion or probable cause
  • Right to use reasonable necessary force 
  • Good faith
Common Defenses:

Elements of a Negligence Case


  • Duty
  • Breach of Duty
  • Injury
  • Breach of duty is proximate cause of injury

Common Defenses

  • No duty
  • No breach of duty
  • No injury
  • No proximate cause
General Duties
  • Officers must remember that all duties, imposed or volunteered, MUST be performed with reasonable care
  • General police duties which may form the basis of negligence claims include:

- care of incapacitated persons

- reasonable medical care

- duty to protect property in your custody

- care of arrestee

Liability Created by Statute
  • 42 U.S.C. § 1983- basis for negligence litigation
  • Specifically authorizes recovery for violation of many different statutory rights as well as constitutional rights
  • State statutes may also be basis of negligence litigation (i.e. emergency driving, A.R.S. § 28-624)

Arizona has abolished sovereign immunity


Limitations found in A.R.S. § 12-820


Duties established by statue which could lead to a lawsuit if breached A.R.S. § 28-624 - Emergency Driving



A.R.S. § 13-201 defines "person"; makes NO exception for police officers! 

Justification for officers actions are based in Chapter 4 of Title 13


Federal Statutory Issues



The 14th Amendment


Criminal - Due Process 
(18 U.S.C. § 241) 


Criminal - Equal Protection

(18 U.S.C. § 242)


Civil - Due Process and Equal Protection

(42 U.S.C. § 1983)

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