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Warrior King
10-22-2013, 10:40 AM
This occurred in California.

I know a person who is on permanent disability and in pain. Her infant son was in the house.

Ex husband was outside her home. I believe he was talking about killing himself drunk and high.

She called 911 and the dispatcher told her to unload her gun and hide the bullets. The ex, a huge guy, broke in and assaulted her demanding the bullets.

She sustained permanent debilitating injuries and can not work and needs strong pain killers.

Is there a lawsuit for dispatcher telling her to disarm? Is there a statue of limitations on lawsuit against the city/co for this type of case?

AAShooter
10-22-2013, 10:47 AM
I am not a lawyer but I doubt there is any liability there. They are not the police and have not authority to command you to do anything. -just one man's opinion.

Lifeon2whls
10-22-2013, 11:16 AM
I would also not expect that there is any liability on the dispatcher. There are a litany of reasons why but the main is that the dispatcher is not on site and only knows what the person on the phone is telling them. Good or bad advice, they could be held liable for anything they say if things go wrong.

In this case there are no details to support why the dispatcher told the disabled woman to unload the firearm. The only thing I can guess from the few details you provided was that she may have been untrained on how to use it and was afraid that the Ex would break in and take the gun. The dispatcher MAY have told her to unload the gun and hide the bullets so that the drunk/high ex would not gain access to the gun and use it against her. This seems most logical as someone who is trained with a firearm and in fear of their life would most likely not follow the course of action this woman did.

However, in any situation its up to the individual to protect themselves, not someone over the phone. I'm sorry to say that if she had a weapon, knew how to use it and made the choice to discard that weapon and/or its ammo, then she left herself in a situation where she was unarmed and at the mercy of the police to arrive in time to protect her.

Tincon
10-22-2013, 1:15 PM
The person you know should speak with a lawyer directly. You should not be asking people on the internet for legal advice and giving it to her. Most lawyers will do a free consultation, the best thing you can do it help her find one.

That said, did she file a police report? Has she talked with the DA about a restraining order and restitution? If she cannot work, has she filed for disability?

Warrior King
10-23-2013, 11:07 AM
The person you know should speak with a lawyer directly. You should not be asking people on the internet for legal advice and giving it to her. Most lawyers will do a free consultation, the best thing you can do it help her find one.

That said, did she file a police report? Has she talked with the DA about a restraining order and restitution? If she cannot work, has she filed for disability?

Yes she has life restraining order against the ex. The husband did hard time for this. She is on disability with a destroyed back and brain damage.

The main issue here is a dispatcher told someone to disarm themselves in a self defense situation.

Plenty of people come on here with legal issues seeking non case specific info. Obviously I want to know what others think and will weigh your opinion accordingly so telling me to consult a lawyer is not constructive.

YoungKee
10-23-2013, 11:23 AM
It's highly unlikely that your friend has a cause of action here against anyone but her ex. My recollection, without researching this, is that in the absence of some sort of special relationship a government agency/employee has no duty to protect a citizen. Even if she could sue, given the facts conveyed to the dispatcher, the advice given may have been reasonable. The way I read your post, the ex was threatening to kill himself, not threatening her. If she is interested in pursuing something she should speak to a lawyer directly, but I'm not seeing it here. For PI claims against a government agency, you generally have to give the agency written notice of the claim within 6 months. Written notice is a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit.

ramathorn
10-23-2013, 11:23 AM
I don't think this started as a self defense situation, not when the dispatcher was involved. Unloading the weapon and hiding the ammo was probably mentioned to protect the suicidal man from hurting himself. If they would have known he would get aggressive toward her it may be different. Really, if the gun was not unloaded they both may be dead. Her situation is bad but could have been worse, imo.

Tincon
10-23-2013, 11:47 AM
Obviously I want to know what others think and will weigh your opinion accordingly so telling me to consult a lawyer is not constructive.

Actually, it is. Why would you rather get advice from a bunch of people on the internet with unknown credibility, instead of an actual lawyer? This isn't really even 2A related.

Warrior King
10-23-2013, 11:57 AM
Actually, it is. Why would you rather get advice from a bunch of people on the internet with unknown credibility, instead of an actual lawyer? This isn't really even 2A related.

If dispatchers start telling people to stand down and disarm themselves it is 2A related. This is about the greater policy implications of a person being in their home and calling the police and being told to disarm. Yes their are specifics to this incident, but every situation is unique that's why we have judges and lawyers.

RANGER295
10-23-2013, 7:56 PM
If dispatchers start telling people to stand down and disarm themselves it is 2A related. This is about the greater policy implications of a person being in their home and calling the police and being told to disarm. Yes their are specifics to this incident, but every situation is unique that's why we have judges and lawyers.
In a home invasion type situation, I may agree with you to a point. In this case, I agree with ramathorn based on what you said about the description. This was called in as a potential suicide. Dispatch's lawyers would argue that the dispatcher had no reason to believe that your friend was in danger and recommended, a recommendation that your friend was free to ignore as the dispatcher has not authority mind you, that your friend remove the bullets so that he would not use the weapon to take his life. In my experience, it is a common instruction from dispatch to remove dangerous items/weapons if possible.

teetsjones
10-23-2013, 8:50 PM
Without knowing the full content of the 911 conversation, it is impossible to speculate whether there is any basis for a lawsuit.

CBR_rider
10-23-2013, 9:41 PM
So if she hadn't unloaded the gun, he grabbed it, and then shot her/himself with the loaded gun, would it be the dispatchers fault because he/she didn't suggest unloading the gun and hiding the ammunition?

It really sounds like a terrible situation for your friend, but this is something that really needs to be brought up with a competent attorney. I'm sure there are some in her area that would at least look over the case for free.

Kukuforguns
10-24-2013, 4:01 PM
Without knowing the full content of the 911 conversation, it is impossible to speculate whether there is any basis for a lawsuit.

+1

That being said, you may want to read Eastburn Regional Fire Protection Authority (http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-supreme-court/1445759.html), which discussed "whether public entities employing emergency dispatchers are subject to direct or vicarious tort liability for injury attributable in part to a dispatcher's failure or delay in responding to a 911 call." Your situation is different in that the 911 operator took and responded to the 911 call.

You should make a Public Records Act request for the transcript and audio of the 911 call. Without this evidence, any lawsuit is likely a pipe dream.