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California: Under State's "Posse" Law, Couple May Not Sue County Sheriff for Misinformation that Lead to Severe Injuries Sustained in Attack

September 18, 2020 (1 min read)

The Supreme Court of California, in a 5-2 decision, held that the state's "posse" law--Cal. Labor Code § 3366--barred a civil action for negligence and misrepresentation filed by two private citizens against a California county and a deputy sheriff following a bizarre circumstance in which the plaintiffs barely escaped with their lives. After the sheriff's office had received word that a neighbor of the plaintiffs might be in trouble, a deputy called the plaintiffs, a husband and wife, and asked that they check on the neighbor. The deputy did not divulge information suggesting that there was criminal activity ongoing at the neighbor's house and instead indicated it was likely related to a winter storm. Upon their arrival, the couple were attacked by a man who had murdered the neighbor and her boyfriend. Both the husband and wife sustained grave injuries in the encounter. The majority held the couple had been engaged in "active law enforcement" and that their exclusive remedy was pursuant to California's Workers' Compensation Act.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis 

See Gund v. County of Trinity, 2020 Cal. LEXIS 5542 (Aug. 27, 2020)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 28.03.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law

For a more detailed discussion of the case, see

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