Frequency of civil suits?

Frequency of civil suits?

This is a discussion on Frequency of civil suits? within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I'm not sure which forum to post this is. There is lots of talk about violent encounters and everything involved with them and whether or ...

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Thread: Frequency of civil suits?

  1. #1
    Member Array SnareMan's Avatar
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    Frequency of civil suits?

    I'm not sure which forum to post this is.

    There is lots of talk about violent encounters and everything involved with them and whether or not you might be prosecuted, etc. What I haven't seen much of is how often people are sued civilly afterward by the bad guy or his family and how often they take the good guy for everything he owns. Anyone know how often this happens?


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    You know you are right recently I have not heard of any big time civil suits making the news. I have often wondered and could never get an answer to the questions in regards to suits following the Virginia Tech shootings. Were there suits filed and what was the outcome?
    Yes in our great nation you can try to sue for anything if you can show damages or a rights violation but in many states now it was passed into law that you cant be sued if you are involved in a lawful SD shooting.
    "A first rate man with a third rate gun is far better than the other way around". The gun is a tool, you are the craftsman that makes it work. There are those who say "if I had to do it, I could" yet they never go out and train to do it. Don't let stupid be your mindset. Harryball 2013

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    Member Array xXMens ReaXx's Avatar
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    While I don't have statistics or anything, I can tell you that as a third year law student I know that wrongful death suits are extremely popular.

    I think a large part of the reason they don't make the news is because the parties often agree to a settlement. Often a clause in the settlement is included such that the suit is not to be talked about with the media and the parties can ask the court to seal the record.

    Also, its not uncommon that the cases never make it past summary judgment (dismissal). While I would speculate that the suits are common, I would venture to say that most of them don't hold much water and are gone. The bad news is, it would easily cost several thousand dollars to hire adequate representation to get the case dismissed or settled.
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    If you're involved in a good SD/HD shoot in FL, you can eliminate the idea of a civil suit...can't happen! Gotta' love FL!
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    Most civil suits are not published in the press....you would have to see individual court dockets. I'm not sure who keeps track of those kinds of stats.
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    If you're involved in a good SD/HD shoot in FL, you can eliminate the idea of a civil suit...can't happen! Gotta' love FL!
    Sort of. You can still be sued. There is a bar to recovery, and the plaintiff is responsible for paying your legal fees (as is his attorney, if he found one dumb enough to take his case without investigating it).

    But the lawsuit can still be filed, and you can still go through a lot of grief before it gets dismissed.

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    There is a legal data base that keeps track of civil suits and the settlements. It is expensive to access it and you would need to be a lawyer to be able to use it. If there is a lawyer on the forum, s/he might be able to tell you how many suits and what sort $$ were involved in a typical year. There are probably no data on settlements that take place prior to filing an action.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Array DoctorBob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by retsupt99 View Post
    If you're involved in a good SD/HD shoot in FL, you can eliminate the idea of a civil suit...can't happen! Gotta' love FL!
    There are some limitations and the plaintif has to be "guilty" (by a preponderance of evidence, not beyond a reasonable doubt) for you to be protected

    776.085 Defense to civil action for damages; party convicted of forcible or attempted forcible felony.--


    (1) It shall be a defense to any action for damages for personal injury or wrongful death, or for injury to property, that such action arose from injury sustained by a participant during the commission or attempted commission of a forcible felony. The defense authorized by this section shall be established by evidence that the participant has been convicted of such forcible felony or attempted forcible felony, or by proof of the commission of such crime or attempted crime by a preponderance of the evidence. (2) For the purposes of this section, the term "forcible felony" shall have the same meaning as in s. 776.08.
    (3) Any civil action in which the defense recognized by this section is raised shall be stayed by the court on the motion of the civil defendant during the pendency of any criminal action which forms the basis for the defense, unless the court finds that a conviction in the criminal action would not form a valid defense under this section.
    (4) In any civil action where a party prevails based on the defense created by this section:
    (a) The losing party, if convicted of and incarcerated for the crime or attempted crime, shall, as determined by the court, lose any privileges provided by the correctional facility, including, but not limited to:
    1. Canteen purchases;
    2. Telephone access;
    3. Outdoor exercise;
    4. Use of the library; and
    5. Visitation.
    (b) The court shall award a reasonable attorney's fee to be paid to the prevailing party in equal amounts by the losing party and the losing party's attorney; however, the losing party's attorney is not personally responsible if he or she has acted in good faith, based on the representations of his or her client. If the losing party is incarcerated for the crime or attempted crime and has insufficient assets to cover payment of the costs of the action and the award of fees pursuant to this paragraph, the party shall, as determined by the court, be required to pay by deduction from any payments the prisoner receives while incarcerated.
    (c) If the losing party is incarcerated for the crime or attempted crime, the court shall issue a written order containing its findings and ruling pursuant to paragraphs (a) and (b) and shall direct that a certified copy be forwarded to the appropriate correctional institution or facility.

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    Doc Bob, I think the point he was making about a "good" SD shoot is that the DA or whomever rules it as justified, therefore not a criminal action.

    No matter what state we live in, if we do not, or hesitate to, defend ourselves, we have lost the war.
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    Right to redress is just that, a right. States can't legislate it away. They just make it a better playing field, but the game still gets played.. Preponderance of evidence about Felony occurance and the 50% rule (if there is a 50% chance defendent ,shooter, did something wrong, the plaintiff ,BG, wins), is a real quagmire. If you carry a gun, you need pre-paid Legal service or a good lawyer on retainer. Everytime you strap on a gun you walk in harm's way as far as civil suits are concerned.

    It doesn't keep me from carrying (I have pre-paid legal) but is just another factor to make me keep my head and not play hero.
    Retired Marine, Retired School Teacher, Independent voter, Goldwater Conservative.

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    VIP Member Array edr9x23super's Avatar
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    I think a large part of the reason they don't make the news is because the parties often agree to a settlement. Often a clause in the settlement is included such that the suit is not to be talked about with the media and the parties can ask the court to seal the record.
    Correct...... Usually the case settles out of court for an amount of money.
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    In Tx if it's a good shoot you can be sued but they won't win
    SECTION 4. Section 83.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is amended to read as follows:

    Sec. 83.001. CIVIL IMMUNITY [AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE]. A [It is an affirmative defense to a civil action for damages for personal injury or death that the] defendant who uses force or[, at the time the cause of action arose, was justified in using] deadly force that is justified under Chapter 9 [Section 9.32], Penal Code, is immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results from the defendant’s [against a person who at the time of the] use of force or deadly force, as applicable [was committing an offense of unlawful entry in the habitation of the defendant].
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    In a case in which you are 100% right...not likely.

    It's those cases which people don't like to talk about...the ones were the criminal court can't establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt of criminal acting, but which leave an ambigious factual situation that can rise to the level of a civil tort of assault...yeah. Happens.

    Happens not only in shooting, but in fights too.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array JohnLeVick's Avatar
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    Chapter 83 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, a portion of which Dukalmighty posted above, provides a reason why one might want a grand jury to review and no-bill, even if the police and DA don't want to go to the trouble, at least in Texas. (The 'affirmative defense" language is not in the statute anymore.) Not many plaintiff's lawyers would take the case in the face of a no-bill. As I've told many juries, "Anybody can sue anybody for anything. Doesn't mean they get to win." Several months ago, I served as a expert witness in a civil self-defense shooting case, which occurred before Section 83 was enacted. The defendant was no-billed, but the plaintiff was a "friend" who caught an overpenetrating bullet. Arguably, the defendant would have been immune under Chapter 83, but since it was a "bystander" who was plaintiff, that specific issue has not been definitively decided. I think he would have been immune, nonetheless.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array JJVP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dukalmighty View Post
    In Tx if it's a good shoot you can be sued but they won't win
    SECTION 4. Section 83.001, Civil Practice and Remedies Code, is amended to read as follows:

    Sec. 83.001. CIVIL IMMUNITY [AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE]. A [It is an affirmative defense to a civil action for damages for personal injury or death that the] defendant who uses force or[, at the time the cause of action arose, was justified in using] deadly force that is justified under Chapter 9 [Section 9.32], Penal Code, is immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results from the defendant’s [against a person who at the time of the] use of force or deadly force, as applicable [was committing an offense of unlawful entry in the habitation of the defendant].
    CPRC 83.001 was amended as follows:

    CPRC 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.

    Edit:

    Ooops. looks like what you posted includes the deleted text in brackets. Mine is the "clean" version.

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