Policy and Procedure Defense

Many government and private managers fail to recognize that in addition to their employees, the governmental units or private corporations have direct liability in civil rights lawsuits, under 42 USC § 1983 and similar statutes. Municipalities are liable under Federal Law for the actions of employees who are implementing policies, procedures, customs and practices. Private corporations who are engaging in traditional governmental function, like providing health care to prisoners, have the same legal liabilities.

The US Supreme Court ruled that any policies, practices, customs or procedures that violate a person’s civil rights allow that person to recover money damages. Employees interacting with members of the public who implement such policies and customs open up their employers to liability, for example, police officers or health care workers who deny medical care to a prisoner with serious medical needs. For instance, jail staff may, based on a jail policy, refuse to send a prisoner with a serious medical need to the hospital without approval, and make the prisoner wait for the jail doctor to see the patient the next day.

Such violations leave the governmental unit or private employer open to lawsuits and substantial financial consequences, including the possibility of paying attorney fees to the individual winning such a lawsuit. Governmental and corporate managers understandably lose sleep over the threats of such lawsuits and the substantial costs of defending or paying compensation in such situations.

However, with legal assistance, these employers can avoid such liabilities with proper planning and defense. First, Chapman Law Group attorneys can review existing policies and practices for potential violations of civil rights laws, and corrected policies and practices can be put in place. Second, the seasoned attorneys of Chapman Law Group can aggressively pursue the defense of these lawsuits, obtaining early dismissal and saving substantial fees caused by engaging in extended litigation, discovery and trial.

Chapman Law Group has successfully defended hundreds of these “policy and procedure” claims by filing early motions challenging them. Federal law is specific that the plaintiff must plead specific information regarding the alleged policies and procedures that have violated their civil rights. Many plaintiff attorneys are not experienced in bringing such claims or fail to recognize the degree of specificity that must be plead in such situations. Challenging the failure to properly plead such claims often end up in early dismissal of the lawsuit against governmental units and private corporations. If early dismissal is not an option, our attorneys have thousands of hours of experience in completing discovery that will demonstrate no civil rights violations by our clients. Further, Chapman Law Group aggressively pursues filing dispositive motions with support from experienced experts in the industry to dismiss lawsuits prior to trial.

Policy and procedure claims need not be a significant threat to the financial health of governmental units and private corporations engaging in governmental work. Chapman Law Group will help in the prevention and defense of such claims and allow managers to focus on their other responsibilities, secure in the knowledge that experienced attorneys are working to dismiss the claims as soon as possible.

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