Family of UIW Student Allowed to Proceed with Wrongful Death Suit
The family of a University of the Incarnate Word student filed a wrongful death lawsuit after their son was killed by a campus police officer at a routine traffic stop. This lawsuit made it all the way to the Texas Supreme Court. The question of whether or not the officer and the university should have immunity was what needed to be decided by the court.
The Supreme Court decided that campus security does not operate as a department of the state and can thus be held liable under the law for using excessive force. Typically, cases like these against police officers are either barred by statute or have significant limitations in terms of compensation. These are known as sovereign immunity laws.
In this case, the court decided that suing a private university has no bearing on the public coffers which is where these types of personal injury lawsuits against the government come from. Because public funds were not at play, the court allowed the case to finally move forward. For the first time since the shooting occurred seven years ago, the parents of Cameron Redus will be allowed to move forward with their trial.
Redus was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. According to the police, Redus was belligerent and not obeying directions. An altercation broke out, and Officer Christopher Carter shot him five times. Toxicology showed that Redus was heavily intoxicated at the time. Carter resigned from UIW’s public safety but charges against him were dismissed by a grand jury.
Negligence Still Matters
While not everything is known about the circumstances surrounding Redus’ death, we do know that he was not following instructions and some kind of altercation occurred.
In other words, even though the Texas Supreme Court decided that the family can sue the University for the conduct of one of their employees, a jury still has to decide who was at fault for the shooting. If the struggle occurred in the heat of the moment, that would be a defense to a civil case. If Redus’ conduct warranted fatal force, that is another question that will need to be answered by the jury.
Talk to a Houston Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured by a negligent party, the Houston personal injury attorneys at Livingston & Flowers can help you recover damages related to your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.