A wrongful termination lawsuit has been filed against a law firm representing an immigration lawyer who sued a local sheriff’s department over a bicycle accident he says the officer caused.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the firm says the lawsuit “is based on the police officers claims that he was the aggressor” in the bicycle accident that killed a 16-year-old girl, and it claims the case was based on an erroneous interpretation of the Texas Constitution and the city of McAllen’s policy on motorcycle safety.
The firm is representing Sherri Johnson, who claims she was driving a BMW and hit a parked police car on July 1 while her brother was riding a bike with his hands up.
The lawsuit says the incident was a result of Johnson’s “failure to yield the right of way” to the police cruiser as it approached the vehicle and the motorcycle.
The law firm says it is not aware of any other lawsuit in Texas alleging the same things.
McAllen officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
McGill University law professor John Lassiter said the case raises important questions about the legality of the city’s policies and practices regarding motorcycle accidents.
“It’s very important for citizens to have the facts, so that they can weigh in on these matters,” Lassit said.
Lassit added that it is important to note that a jury is not required to conclude that the officer’s actions were justified under Texas law.
He noted that the lawsuit filed by Johnson’s firm is separate from the one filed in July by Johnson and the two other plaintiffs who sued the city.
“They’re not even speaking about the same thing,” Laski said.
“There’s a huge difference between them.
And that’s what makes it interesting.”
There’s also the issue of how you balance the conflicting claims of Johnson and her brother, and if it’s a matter of police officers’ subjective perception of the danger of the situation, then that would be an issue,” he said.
McGovern College of Law professor Michael R. Schoenberg agreed that the Johnson case raises a number of important questions, but said the city should not be held liable for a wrong that the officers acted reasonably under the circumstances.
The problem with the case is the city has been doing this for a long time, and there’s been no evidence that they’ve been negligent in that regard,” he noted.””
If it turns out that the plaintiff had a valid claim, then you could get a ruling that the city is liable, and then the city would have to pay damages,” he added.
“The problem with the case is the city has been doing this for a long time, and there’s been no evidence that they’ve been negligent in that regard,” he noted.
“McAllen is a very poor, low-income city.
There are many other cities that would have been much more negligent, or would have paid a much larger sum of money,” he continued.
The city’s Bicycle Accident Reconstruction Team, which investigates motorcycle-related crashes, did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the lawsuit.
McKinney police spokeswoman Ashley Loughlin said the department is not going to comment on pending litigation.