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News & Press: Montana Supreme Court

Oral argument scheduled over officer's liability for injury

Tuesday, October 10, 2017  
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The Montana Supreme Court will hear an oral argument in a dispute over whether a Billings police officer is liable for injuries a man suffered when the officer tackled him.

The court will hear arguments on whether the public duty doctrine protects an officer from liability for negligence in cases where the officer "is the direct and sole cause of the harm suffered by the plaintiff."

Attorneys for Robert T. Bassett say a federal district court judge was wrong to grant summary judgment to Officer Paul Lamantia.

Lamantia, responding to a July 2012 call about a neighborhood disturbance, had chased a suspect onto Bassett's property. Bassett heard the commotion and went out to investigate. Thinking that Bassett might be a threat to his safety, Lamantia tackled him.

According to the suit, Bassett required surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff he suffered in the incident.

The oral argument has been scheduled for Nov. 29 at 9:30 a.m. in the Montana Supreme Court's courtroom in the Joseph P. Mazurek Justice Building in Helena.