Federal Court Dismisses Claims Made Against Fall River Chief Of Police In Case Alleging That Plaintiff Had Been Raped By A Police Officer

In a recent civil lawsuit seeking $750,000.00 in damages, the plaintiff accused a Fall River police officer of sexually assaulting her while the officer was on duty. Named as defendants were the officer, the City of Fall River and the Fall River Police Chief; the Chief was represented in the litigation by RJA.

Although the plaintiff filed her lawsuit in state court, believing that a motion to dismiss could be used to remove the Chief as a party to the case, RJA removed the case to federal court. Once in federal court, RJA convinced the plaintiff’s attorney to dismiss voluntarily two of the three claims made against the Chief; after the dismissal, the only claim left against the Chief was a federal civil rights allegation that, in essence, the officer’s lengthy disciplinary history should have served as a warning to the Chief and the Chief should have done more to supervise the officer. If additional action had been taken in response to past events, the theory went, the plaintiff never would have been raped by the officer.

On March 18, 2015, the federal judge agreed with the arguments presented by RJA as to the Chief and granted the Chief’s motion to dismiss. The judge concluded that, as a matter of law and despite the officer’s history, the plaintiff had failed to demonstrate that she had a viable civil rights claim against the Chief.

RESULT: Dismissal of all claims against the Chief.

RJA Counsel: Andrew J. Gambaccini

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