Albemarle County has settled Gerry Mitchell’s lawsuit against them, the Progress reports. He filed suit two years ago after a 2007 incident in which he was struck by a county police officer’s patrol vehicle while crossing the street in his wheelchair, leaving him hospitalized and with permanent injuries. The value of the settlement is not public. Officer Gregory Davis, who was driving the cruiser, remains on the police force.
7 thoughts on “County Police Settle with Gerry Mitchell”
Could someone please explain to me the logic of having the details of a legal settlement being held confidential? I understand from the perspective of the plaintiff and defendant, but it seems to me that the public in general would be better served by knowing what actually was agreed upon in these settlements.
usually it gets you more money and no trial because governments don’t like to admit fault. Governments never want to go to court when they have to pay for a trial, lawyers and most likely lose. It’s not good press either so if you want the check and no trial you have to agree not to talk about the settlement.
Pete, I think the logic is that because it didn’t go to court and become part of the public record, it becomes a private matter. It may be part of the settlement is that Mr. Mitchell agrees not to discuss the matter publicly. That certainly is a good thing for the police department and would help them come to the decision to settle. It may be that Mr. Mitchell believes it’s nobody’s business how much he received.
You may be right that the public would be better served by knowing, but if a matter doesn’t go to court, how does it become part of the public record? Communication between the PD and their attorney’s could be shielded by the attorney-client privilege, I imagine, so therefore not FOIAable.
We may never know, but you can guess that Mr. Mitchell got a healthy settlement. He had a strong case and the PD would NEVER want to go to court over this. The media attention would have been intense and could have been national.
It would seem like the county police are answerable to the citizens of the county, and their settlement would be a matter of public record. It would show up in their public budget.
Wouldn’t this be an insurance company pay-out, or is the county self-insured?
Public money, public matter. Why can’t someone FOIA this?
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