Even if Law Enforcement Officer Had No Basis to Arrest the “Good Faith” Test of Odom v. Wayne County Provides Immunity from Intentional Torts

Here is another important (albeit unpublished) decision from the Michigan Court of Appeals in the wake of the Michigan Supreme Court’s decision in Odom v. Wayne County et al (read it here:  Odom) that clarifies what good faith performance of duty really means for purposes of a law enforcement officer’s immunity from state intentional tort claims, here, assault and battery, false arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution.

The panel in this case correctly reasons that even if an after-the-fact analysis ultimately reveals that a law enforcement officer had no basis to arrest an individual, the fact that the officer is performing his or her discretionary functions in “good faith”, without ill-will, malice or corrupt conduct, exonerates the law enforcement officer from civil liability.

This flows naturally from the reasoning in Odom and in modern federal cases that a mistaken belief that a crime has been committed or is underway will not result in the imposition of civil liability for those individual law enforcement officers who must exercise their judgment and discretion in deciding when and how to prevent or arrest crime.

Here is the decision, which goes step-by-step through the Odom analysis.

Wilson et al v Officer D. McCormick et al

About cjtucker06

Owner of law firm since July 2014; Handles all types of appellate matters and assists other lawyers with complex litigation and insurance coverage issues; Admitted to the Supreme Court of the United States, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the State Bar of Michigan; Expertise in prosecuting and defending appeals with several significant successes in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Michigan Supreme Court and the Michigan Court of Appeals; Author of briefs amicus curiae in the Michigan Supreme Court for the Michigan Defense Trial Counsel and the Insurance Institute of Michigan; Represents Insurance Companies, Major International Business, Governmental Entities, Law Enforcement Officers and County Sheriffs. Board of Directors, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Amicus Committee Co-Chair, Michigan Defense Trial Counsel Military - Retired Major in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps of the United States Army, Brigade Judge Advocate and Staff JAG officer for the Maneuver Training Center, Camp Grayling, Michigan; Recipient of the Army's Meritorious Service Medal (the highest medal of honor available to Soldiers serving in non-combat roles); 2012 Graduate of the Judge Advocate Officer Advanced Course, at The Judge Advocate Legal Center and School, Charlottesville, Virginia. United States Navy Reserves, Combat Warfare Qualification, January 1989 to July 2003 Former law clerk to Justice Stephen J. Markman, Michigan Supreme Court, Research Attorney, Michigan Court of Appeals. Insurance Coverage Associate Plunkett Cooney; Environmental Law Attorney at Squire Sanders, now Squire Patton Boggs; Master's Degree in Environmental Law; Environmental Law Scholar, ALI/ABA Washington, D.C., Juris Doctorate, Vermont Law School, Environmental Editor, Vermont Law Review; Treasurer and Finalist, Moot Court Advisory Board.
Gallery | This entry was posted in County Sheriffs, Law Enforcement Issues, May It Please the Court, Michigan Court of Appeals Unpublished Opinions. Bookmark the permalink.

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