Three years ago the killing of Ferguson, Missouri teenager Michael Brown set the city on fire and sparked a nationwide conversation about protests about race relations and police enforcement. 18 year-old African American Michael Brown was unarmed at the time he was shot and killed by a white police officer when the two got into a physical altercation. Brown's parents filed suit against the city of Ferguson, the police chief and the officer involved in the deadly encounter. Among other things, the wrongful death lawsuit alleged that the officer was unreasonably aggressive and used excessive force. The suit also alleged some pretty major systematic racial practices by the police department including practices they believed devalued African American life in the city of Ferguson.
The Washington Post reports on the sealed settlement amount, "The settlement is fair and reasonable for this wrongful death claim and in the best interest of each plaintiff. Disclosure of the terms of the settlement agreement could jeopardize the safety of the individuals involved in the matter, whether as witnesses, parties or investigators."
The final resolution of the matter did not happen in trial like many expected (they even had a court date set for early 2018) but rather in a closed Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) meeting. ADR is a great way to save time and money and also to help keep the details of a settlement secret. Here's a look at some of the questions that some may have about this case:
- Michael Brown's parents were divorced but filed together, how does that work?: Not uncommon to have multiple parties under a single action. Sometimes it is divorced parents, sometimes it is siblings and sometimes it is a parent and child. Whatever it is, the court will devise a fair split of the settlement amount.
- Can you sue a city? Yes you can in certain scenarios but there are a lot of requirements that must be met and certain time restrictions as well. When dealing with a city or government agency, these cases immediately become more complicated which is why working with an experienced attorney can really help.
- Where is the money coming from in a case like this? While you can sue a city and its employees in certain limited situations, the money for scenarios like this almost always come from the liability insurance carried by the city or state
Michael Brown's wrongful death lawsuit is unique in the scale of publicity but that is about it. Unjustified and negligent deaths can take many forms. While no amount of money will ever bring the victim back, it can help provide much-needed financial support in the absence of the victim and more. If you are dealing with a wrongful death and not sure where to begin, please do not hesitate to give us a call to set up your free consultation to discuss things further. We are here to help, do not miss this important deadline to recover.