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Police Liability Claims from Start to Finish  

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This basic-to-intermediate level seminar provides practical knowledge on police liability claims for: Attorneys, Law Enforcement Officers, Local Government Officials, Paralegals

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Training Course Syllabus:


An Essential Guide to Police Liability Claims

Increased media focus on police misconduct has brought the issue to the forefront of the public conscience. How prepared are you to handle the complexities of a police misconduct lawsuit? In this comprehensive overview of these contentious claims, experienced attorney faculty will share their years of experience so you can more effectively weigh the strengths and weaknesses of a claim, overcome document discovery hurdles, recognize inconsistencies in incident reports and more. Don't miss this practical seminar on the in's and out's of police liability claims - register today!

  • Obtain a solid bedrock knowledge of the state and federal laws under which a police liability claim can be brought.
  • Analyze police policies, records and reports for inconsistencies which can cast doubt on the other side's version of events.
  • Navigate the complexities of qualified, absolute and other law enforcement immunities, and understand the difficulties they cause for plaintiffs in police liability cases.
  • Confidently determine whether going to trial or reaching a settlement is the best option in a police liability case.
  • Understand how plaintiff attorneys use expert witnesses in police liability cases to highlight key errors in department policies.
  • Explore the ethical obligations attorneys must adhere to in a police liability case.


  1. Understanding the Legal Fundamentals of Police Liability Claims
    9:00 - 10:00, Douglas R. Thorn
    1. Civil Actions Under State Law
      1. Intentional Torts
      2. Negligence Actions
    2. Civil Rights Violations: 42 U.S. Code §1983 Basics
    3. Burdens of Proof and Statutes of Limitations for §1983 Claims
    4. The Duality of Liability Claims: The Individual and the Entity
    5. Choice of Venue
    6. The Role of Police Liability Insurers in a Claim
  2. Obtaining Key Information to Make or Break a Claim
    10:15 - 11:05, Kevin A. Flautt and Christopher Onstott
    1. The Top Documents That Make or Break a Claim
    2. Discovery Restrictions on Police Records: State and Federal
    3. Obtaining Personnel Files, Disciplinary Records and Other Contentious Documents
    4. Motions in Limine and Other Defense Strategies to Limit Discoverable Material
    5. How Plaintiffs Prove the Scope of Discovery Requests are Relevant to the Case
    6. Key Individuals to Depose: the Obvious and Not-So-Obvious
    7. Spotting Inconsistencies in Policies, Records, Reports and Depositions
  3. How the Defense Gets the Case Thrown Out: Qualified Immunity and Other Considerations
    11:05 - 12:00, Kevin A. Flautt and Christopher Onstott
    1. Qualified Immunity
    2. Absolute Immunity
    3. State Tort Immunities
    4. Plaintiff Strategies for Overcoming Immunity Hurdles
    5. Defense Strategies for Showing Immunity is Warranted
  4. Settling Police Liability Claims
    1:00 - 1:45, John L. Burris
    1. When to Settle vs. When to go to Trial
    2. Negotiating Settlement Amounts
    3. Attorneys' Fees and Rule 68 Traps
  5. Trial Essentials for Police Liability Cases
    1:45 - 2:45, Douglas R. Thorn
    1. Jury Selection
    2. Ensuring Juries Understand Complex Legal Concepts
    3. Using Experts and Other Key Witnesses at Trial
    4. Proving or Disproving Damages are Warranted
  6. Recent Police Misconduct Case Law and Legal Updates
    3:00 - 3:30, Douglas R. Thorn
  7. Ethical Considerations
    3:30 - 4:30, John L. Burris
    1. Contingent Fee Agreements
    2. Attorney's Obligation as an Officer of the Court
    3. Rules of Conduct for Advertising and Soliciting Clients
    4. Potential Conflicts Between Client's Civil Rights Case and Criminal Prosecution

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