Law Enforcement Officers

911 Operators: Duty of Care

By on May 2, 2013 - Comments off

Greyhound Lines, Inc. v. Department of the California Highway Patrol, (Fifth District, January 23, 2013) — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 13 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 1839

Six people were killed when a Greyhound bus struck a disabled SUV which had been involved in a single vehicle collision. In the resulting actions for damages, the defendant bus company cross-complained against the California Highway Patrol, contending that CHP 911 operators were negligent in failing to properly report calls from motorists regarding the first accident to highway patrol officers. The cross-complaint alleged that CHP 911 operators had negligently failed to include lane blockage information in their description of the accident, despite the fact that lane blockage is one of the CHP’s highest priorities, and that their error resulted in an unreasonable delay in the CHP’s response. The defendant further alleged that a special relationship existed in that the 911 operators’ assurances that help was on its way lulled the callers into a false sense of security and dissuaded them from rendering further assistance, which could have prevented the second accident. Read the rest »


Law Enforcement Officers: Duty of Care

By on August 2, 2010 - Comments off

Camp v. State of California, (Second District, May 18, 2010) —Cal.Rptr. 3d —-, 2010 WL 1965878, 10 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 6037, 2010 Daily Journal D.A.R. 7222

A woman who was rendered quadriplegic as result of injuries sustained in a rollover accident filed suit against a California Highway Patrol officer who had responded to scene, asserting that his negligence contributed to her injuries. The plaintiff alleged that when officers arrived at the scene, she was on the ground outside of the vehicle and able to move her arms and legs, but an officer ordered her and her companions to leave the scene, and that when one of them carried her away, her initial injuries were aggravated, resulting in severe spinal cord damage. The plaintiff further alleged that one of the officers breached a duty of care toward her by failing to conduct a reasonable assessment of her medical condition despite her denial of an injury at the scene, by not ordering an ambulance for her because she was not competent to decline medical care, and by ordering her to leave the accident site.

The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff against the State of California and against the CHP officer. However, the court of appeal reversed, holding that the officer’s conduct amounted to nonfeasance that did not alter the risk of harm to the plaintiff, and therefore he owed no duty to her: Read the rest »