US Supreme Court Rules Government Officers Liable

gavel+moneyIn what I would call a confirmation of the law, not a NEW ruling, the US Supreme Court One lays down the law for all to see, and USE if you choose.

One of the BIG legal fantasies promoted by governments and officials is the idea of officials’ having ‘immunity’ from prosecution and no liability… so they are not held liable for their corrupt and illegal actions.

Don’t buy the LIE.

Judges are liable, cops are liable, corporate officers are liable, ANY official is liable… when:

1. if they perform any actions while in office, not defined by their office, or

2. actions that are defined by their office but are done in BAD faith or

3. the actions taken are illegal by nature.

Any actions that they take NOT defined by their office or illegal by their nature are considered to have been done outside of their office therefore done in their private capacity and therefore they are fully liable, in their private capacity, without any protections of their office.

Unfortunately this lie of ‘immunity’ is also repeated unknowingly by people, again and again, who have a real case against government officials and therefore do not pursue very valid claims.

A recent US Supreme Court decision clarified and confirmed that the government and their agents can be held liable and accountable for wrongdoing carried out by officials in its employment while on the job.

Officials ARE Liable for Bad Faith and Illegal Acts, NO Immunity

This should be a a no brainer but in the land of legal fictions and unaccountable government officials being protected by legal process…someone FINALLY took the issue to the US Supreme Court for a common sense confirmation which lower level courts are now bound by.

This is a fundamental principle of law that nobody is above the law including all government actors. The government immunity clause only applies to government actors when they are performing their actions of their office defined by their office in good faith.

Any actions that they take not defined by their office or illegal by their nature are considered have been done outside of their office therefore done in their private capacity and therefore they are fully liable in their private capacity without any protections of their office.

So in effect the government is also liable for having employed them, their supervisors are liable for improper training and oversight and the actions carried out while they were employee and the individual is liable personally also.

In this particular case the complaint and Millbrook had been denied hearings for his claims that the lower courts and submitted a hand written, in pencil, complaint to the Supreme Court of the United States. Less than 1% of Supreme Court applications are heard by the court. I’m certain that this particular case was heard because it addresses a fundamental aspect of law and the only point of protection for a private person from the abuses of any government actor.

If you take the time to read the articles about the case you’ll find the disgusting actions of government lawyers and lower courts protecting the corrupt and abusive actions of government actors creating a series of faulty case law decisions that perpetuate the idea that violence and criminal actions by government actors is protected.

Millbrook filed a handwritten petition, in pencil no less, to the U.S. Supreme Court, and in a rare show of magnanimity, the Court agreed to hear his case and assigned a lawyer to represent him. Curiously enough, after the Court announced it could hear the case, the U.S. Justice Department—which had defended the government’s actions at every level of the judicial proceedings, including asking the Supreme Court not to take the case—did an about-face and switched its position to argue that the FTCA does apply to prison guards as law-enforcement officials.

Sadly much “case law” is biased garbage designed to allow corruption to continue as most people do not have the time, stamina or money to challenge bad decisions to higher and higher courts where the real law might be heard and decided.

This case ultimately should be a watershed decision to open the doors for all manner of complaints against abusive and corrupt actions by government actors, the legal profession and officials as it now clearly confirmed by the Supreme Court that they do not have protection for their illegal and unlawful actions.

MILLBROOK v. UNITED STATES ( )
477 Fed. Appx. 4, reversed and remanded.

    • https://www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/millbrook_v_us_holding_the_government_accountable_for_misconduct_by_la
    • http://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/11-10362
    • http://seattletimes.com/html/politics/2019258111_apussupremecourtneedalawyer.html
    • http://theweek.com/article/index/241977/how-one-prisoners-handwritten-petition-won-him-a-supreme-court-case

Canada

Odhavij Estate v Woodhouse  https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/2104/index.do

  • 54…. It is reasonably foreseeable that the officers’ failure to cooperate with the SIU investigation would harm the appellants.  As the Chief was responsible for ensuring that the officers cooperated with the SIU investigation, it is reasonably foreseeable that the Chief’s failure to do so would also harm the appellants.55                               The next question that arises is whether there is sufficient proximity between the parties that a duty of care may rightly be imposed on the Chief.  It may be that the appellants can show that it was reasonably foreseeable that the alleged misconduct would result in psychiatric harm, but foreseeability alone is an insufficient basis on which to establish a prima facie duty of care.  In addition to showing foreseeability, the appellants must establish that it is just and fair to impose on the Chief a private law obligation to ensure that the defendant officers cooperated with the SIU.  A broad range of factors may be relevant to this inquiry, including a close causal connection, the parties’ expectations and any assumed or imposed obligations.  See for example Norsk, supra, at p. 1153; Martel Building Ltd. v. Canada, [2000] 2 S.C.R. 860, 2000 SCC 60, at paras. 51-52; and Cooper, supra, at para. 35.56                               In the present case, one factor that supports a finding of proximity is the relatively direct causal link between the alleged misconduct and the complained of harm.  As discussed above, the duties of a chief of police include ensuring that the members of the force carry out their duties in accordance with the provisions of the Police Services Act.  In those instances in which a member of the public is injured as a consequence of police misconduct, there is an extremely close causal connection between the negligent supervision and the resultant injury: the failure of the chief of police to ensure that the members of the force carry out their duties in accordance with the provisions of the Police Services Act leads directly to the police misconduct, which, in turn, leads directly to the complained of harm.  The failure of the Chief to ensure the defendant officers cooperated with the SIU is thus but one step removed from the complained of harm.  Although a close causal connection is not a condition precedent of liability, it strengthens the nexus between the parties.57                               A second factor that strengthens the nexus between the Chief and the Odhavjis is the fact that members of the public reasonably expect a chief of police to be mindful of the injuries that might arise as a consequence of police misconduct.  Although the vast majority of police officers in our country exercise their powers responsibly, members of the force have a significant capacity to affect members of the public adversely through improper conduct in the exercise of police functions.  It is only reasonable that members of the public vulnerable to the consequences of police misconduct would expect that a chief of police would take reasonable care to prevent, or at least to discourage, members of the force from injuring members of the public through improper conduct in the exercise of police functions.58                               Finally, I also believe it noteworthy that this expectation is consistent with the statutory obligations that s. 41(1)(b) of the Police Services Act imposes on the Chief.  Under s. 41(1)(b), the Chief is under a freestanding statutory obligation to ensure that the members of the force carry out their duties in accordance with the provisions of the Police Services Act and the needs of the community.  This includes an obligation to ensure that members of the police force do not injure members of the public through misconduct in the exercise of police functions.  The fact that the Chief already is under a duty to ensure compliance with an SIU investigation adds substantial weight to the position that it is neither unjust nor unfair to conclude that the Chief owed to the plaintiffs a duty of care to ensure that the defendant officers did, in fact, cooperate with the SIU investigation.59                               In light of the above factors, I conclude that the circumstances of the case satisfy the first stage of the Anns test and raise a prima facie duty of care.  If it is reasonably foreseeable that the defendant officers’ decision not to cooperate with the SIU would injure the plaintiffs, a private law obligation to ensure that the officers cooperate with the SIU is rightly imposed on the Chief.  Consequently, the only issue that is left to consider is whether there exist any broad policy considerations that ought to negative the prima facie obligation of the Chief to prevent the misconduct.

McCrea v. White Rock (City), 1974 CanLII 1147 (BC CA) CanLii

 – Anns v. Merton London Borough Councilwikipedia

46                               It is now well established in Canada that the existence of such a duty is to be determined in accordance with the two-step analysis first enunciated by the House of Lords in Anns v. Merton London Borough Council, [1978] A.C. 728, at pp. 751-52:

First one has to ask whether, as between the alleged wrongdoer and the person who has suffered damage there is a sufficient relationship of proximity or neighbourhood such that, in the reasonable contemplation of the former, carelessness on his part may be likely to cause damage to the latter — in which case a prima facie duty of care arises.

Secondly, if the first question is answered affirmatively, it is necessary to consider whether there are any considerations which ought to negative, or to reduce or limit the scope of the duty or the class of person to whom it is owed or the damages to which a breach of it may give rise.

 

originally published May 2014, updated May 2017

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3 thoughts on “US Supreme Court Rules Government Officers Liable”

  1. Canada has had misfeasance in public office cases for some years, based first on a British case called Ashby v. White (1703) 92 E.R. 126. and the most recent Canadian Supreme Court of Canada case i’m aware of: Odhavij Estate v Woodhouse [2003] S.C.J. No. 74. In the latter case, the author of an article i have on this subject revers to “citizen” as the injured party, and that is not a private man/woman but a legal fiction. If a man/woman were to bring a case in Common Law Court against a wrongdoer, it might have broader application than the cases sighted. The author of the article is Robert C. Worthington of http://www.purchasinglaw.com.

  2. there are a number of other posts on this site dealing with accountability / liability of officers in Canada. This post highlights a principle of law recently confirmed by the highest court in the US which ALSO has value in Canada to Canadian courts.

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