MSC Rules Billings Cop Can Be Sued
Q2 reports the Montana Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a Billings police officer who injured a bystander– tackled while he was pursuing a suspect in 2012– is not protected from civil litigation.
Robert Bassett originally filed the lawsuit in Yellowstone County District Court against Officer Paul LaMantia, alleging the officer failed to exercise reasonable care in performing his duties.
LaMantia and his partner responded to a neighborhood disturbance before pursuing a suspect on foot at around 12:30 a.m. According to court documents, LaMantia dropped his flashlight climbing over the retaining wall into Bassett’s backyard. Bassett went outside to investigate the commotion and LaMantia– looking for his flashlight– tackled Bassett to the ground, the impact of which caused Bassett to suffer a torn rotator cuff.
The high court ruled public-duty doctrine does not shield the officer from liability.