Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

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mr surveyor
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Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#1

Post by mr surveyor » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:38 pm

Where would I find documentation of cases that involve civil immunity in self defense, justified, shootings? I still have friends pushing the idea of one losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in civil suits of justified self defense uses of firearms. Most of them are educated on the issue by the local gun shop guru types, but a couple of them are of the leo type.

I have a somewhat clear understanding of the statute law (somewhat), but I haven't found a Texas case that clearly involves the civil immunity clause.

Thanks for any help.


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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#2

Post by Pawpaw » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:43 pm

I suspect that will be hard to find. CPRC §83.001 is so clearly defined that I expect few attorneys would take such a lost cause case.
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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#3

Post by dlh » Sun Jun 24, 2018 4:32 pm

Hi mr surveyor and Pawpaw,

Attorneys pay for access to annotated cases through such vendors as Westlaw and others.

If you have a local library nearby you might call them because some from my understanding offer access to those services so you can sit down and look at the annotated cases.

I doubt there is much case-law on much of this in Texas.
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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#4

Post by OneGun » Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:03 pm

Not all states have civil immunity for self-defense or defense of others.
RISING SUN, Ind. — A Good Samaritan who feared for a police officer’s life when she shot and killed his attacker is now being sued by the deceased’s family.

In February 2017, an off-duty conservation officer responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle and encountered 25-year-old Justin Holland, according to Cincinnati.com. Holland then attacked the officer, overpowering him as bystander Kystie Jaehnen rushed to the LEO’s aid.

Jaehnen, who said she feared for the officer’s life, shot Holland in the shoulder. Holland later died from his injuries. Meth, benzodiazepines, marijuana, methadone, and dextromethorphan were later found in his system. Jaehnen was not charged in the shooting.

Holland’s family is now suing Jaehnen, the officer, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, claiming that Jaehnen used unjustified deadly force in the shooting.
See:
https://www.policeone.com/legal/articl ... -lawsuit/
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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#5

Post by johncanfield » Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:16 pm

One of my most favorite college classes was in business law. "Anybody can sue anybody for any reason."
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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#6

Post by mr surveyor » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:28 pm

so, no one has any stories, good or bad, related to civil suits after self defense shootings (Texas only)?


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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#7

Post by carlson1 » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:51 pm

Can you be sued in Texas after a shooting has been ruled justified?
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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#8

Post by OneGun » Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:29 pm

carlson1 wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:51 pm
Can you be sued in Texas after a shooting has been ruled justified?
See post #2

Text is:
Sec. 83.001. CIVIL IMMUNITY. A defendant who uses force or deadly force that is justified under Chapter 9, Penal Code, is immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results from the defendant's use of force or deadly force, as applicable.
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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#9

Post by Mike S » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:05 am

OneGun wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:29 pm
carlson1 wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:51 pm
Can you be sued in Texas after a shooting has been ruled justified?
See post #2

Text is:
Sec. 83.001. CIVIL IMMUNITY. A defendant who uses force or deadly force that is justified under Chapter 9, Penal Code, is immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results from the defendant's use of force or deadly force, as applicable.
Yes sir, you 'could' be sued in civil court. What the above quoted excerpt from the Texas civil code says is that if justified under Chapter 9 of the criminal code (the self defense statutes), that you have no civil liability (you owe nothing to the plantif).

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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#10

Post by ELB » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:22 am

OneGun wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:03 pm
Not all states have civil immunity for self-defense or defense of others.
RISING SUN, Ind. — A Good Samaritan who feared for a police officer’s life when she shot and killed his attacker is now being sued by the deceased’s family.

In February 2017, an off-duty conservation officer responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle and encountered 25-year-old Justin Holland, according to Cincinnati.com. Holland then attacked the officer, overpowering him as bystander Kystie Jaehnen rushed to the LEO’s aid.

Jaehnen, who said she feared for the officer’s life, shot Holland in the shoulder. Holland later died from his injuries. Meth, benzodiazepines, marijuana, methadone, and dextromethorphan were later found in his system. Jaehnen was not charged in the shooting.

Holland’s family is now suing Jaehnen, the officer, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, claiming that Jaehnen used unjustified deadly force in the shooting.
See:
https://www.policeone.com/legal/articl ... -lawsuit/
Indiana has civil immunity for self-defense, and it is not all that different than Texas. "Civil immunity" is probably a misnomer, and it does not mean you cannot be sued, and the fact that the DA does not prosecute you also does not mean that you cannot be sued. When a civil action is taken against you, under both Texas and Indiana law if you can show in the civil court that your actions were justified by self-defense, then the judge can terminate the suit. The law cannot be written so as to preclude a lawsuit altogether, as that would violate a citizen's right to take complaints to court.

Civil suits against legitimate self-defenders in Texas are apparently so rare that we have to go to Indiana (where they are also quite rare) just to find an example.

ETA:
Here's the thread on the Indiana case: viewtopic.php?f=136&t=92239&p=1198892&h ... t#p1198892
Also, this is Indiana's law on civil immunity:
IC 35-41-3-2:
"No person in this state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting the person or a third person by reasonable means necessary."
But the defender may still have to go to civil court to prove that what he did was "reasonable".

In the Indiana case cited above I believe the real target is not the civilian woman, but the much deeper pockets of the Indiana Department of Resources.
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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#11

Post by OneGun » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:22 am

ELB wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:22 am
OneGun wrote:
Sun Jun 24, 2018 5:03 pm
Not all states have civil immunity for self-defense or defense of others.
RISING SUN, Ind. — A Good Samaritan who feared for a police officer’s life when she shot and killed his attacker is now being sued by the deceased’s family.

In February 2017, an off-duty conservation officer responded to a call of a suspicious vehicle and encountered 25-year-old Justin Holland, according to Cincinnati.com. Holland then attacked the officer, overpowering him as bystander Kystie Jaehnen rushed to the LEO’s aid.

Jaehnen, who said she feared for the officer’s life, shot Holland in the shoulder. Holland later died from his injuries. Meth, benzodiazepines, marijuana, methadone, and dextromethorphan were later found in his system. Jaehnen was not charged in the shooting.

Holland’s family is now suing Jaehnen, the officer, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, claiming that Jaehnen used unjustified deadly force in the shooting.
See:
https://www.policeone.com/legal/articl ... -lawsuit/
Indiana has civil immunity for self-defense, and it is not all that different than Texas. "Civil immunity" is probably a misnomer, and it does not mean you cannot be sued, and the fact that the DA does not prosecute you also does not mean that you cannot be sued. When a civil action is taken against you, under both Texas and Indiana law if you can show in the civil court that your actions were justified by self-defense, then the judge can terminate the suit. The law cannot be written so as to preclude a lawsuit altogether, as that would violate a citizen's right to take complaints to court.

Civil suits against legitimate self-defenders in Texas are apparently so rare that we have to go to Indiana (where they are also quite rare) just to find an example.

ETA:
Here's the thread on the Indiana case: viewtopic.php?f=136&t=92239&p=1198892&h ... t#p1198892
Also, this is Indiana's law on civil immunity:
IC 35-41-3-2:
"No person in this state shall be placed in legal jeopardy of any kind whatsoever for protecting the person or a third person by reasonable means necessary."
But the defender may still have to go to civil court to prove that what he did was "reasonable".

In the Indiana case cited above I believe the real target is not the civilian woman, but the much deeper pockets of the Indiana Department of Resources.
So, what you're saying is that you beat the rap, but not the ride!
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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#12

Post by Liberty » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:23 pm

OneGun wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:22 am
So, what you're saying is that you beat the rap, but not the ride!
But the very rare ride should be short and pretty painless.
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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#13

Post by PriestTheRunner » Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:53 pm

Liberty wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:23 pm
OneGun wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:22 am
So, what you're saying is that you beat the rap, but not the ride!
But the very rare ride should be short and pretty painless.
I would say 2 1/2 years of riding is NOT pretty painless...
viewtopic.php?p=1209528#p1209528

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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#14

Post by The Annoyed Man » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:18 pm

Mike S wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 12:05 am
OneGun wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 10:29 pm
carlson1 wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:51 pm
Can you be sued in Texas after a shooting has been ruled justified?
See post #2

Text is:
Sec. 83.001. CIVIL IMMUNITY. A defendant who uses force or deadly force that is justified under Chapter 9, Penal Code, is immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results from the defendant's use of force or deadly force, as applicable.
Yes sir, you 'could' be sued in civil court. What the above quoted excerpt from the Texas civil code says is that if justified under Chapter 9 of the criminal code (the self defense statutes), that you have no civil liability (you owe nothing to the plantif).
From memory, I seem to recall that, as someone above said, anybody can sue anybody (except maybe the fedgovt) any time. However, once a suit has been filed, any judge worth his salt who follows the law will dismiss the suit because of your protections against civil liability under 83.001.

That said, I can see the possibility of a judge with an axe to grind against firearms carry who might allow the suit to proceed, in which case you might still be found civilly negligent, and have to proceed to appeal to get the courts to accurately apply the law. And even if you are found to not have been civilly negligent, you’ll still have shelled out a fair amount of your net worth to defend yourself.

EITHER way, it’s going to cost you something for the simple reason that you’ll need to hire an attorney, regardless of your 83.001 protections; and that’s going to cost you. In the end, that may prove to be enough satisfaction for the plaintiffs.... even in that even if they don’t win, you still get dinged a large amount of money for having had the temerity to defend yourself against the person they raised up into a criminal. I’m not enough of a lawyer (I am not a lawyer at all :mrgreen: ) to know whether or not you would be able to invoke the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code 42.004 to recover your legal costs. Maybe one of our attorneys here to expand on that?
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Re: Civil Immunity in Self Defense Cases

#15

Post by bblhd672 » Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:52 pm

Mr. Obvious says, “Remember, If you are dead because you are afraid of using legal deadly force to defend yourself there will be no need for the criminal or his family to sue you.”

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