Unformatted text preview: Supreme Court held that to prevail on a claim that the failure to adequately screen, the plaintiff would have to show that if the county sheriff had read the deputy’s file from cover to cover, he would have understood that the “plainly obvious consequence” of hiring Burns would be the particular constitutional violation that resulted.
The Bryan County case, thus, creates a very difficult standard for plaintiffs to satisfy. In essence, if the policymaker was not clearly aware, or if a reasonable policymaker would not have been aware, that the decision to hire the wrongdoer would, as a matter of reasonable certainty, result in the precise constitutional injury which occurred, then municipal liability will not attach. To prevail on a claim against the municipality, a plaintiff will have to affirmatively link the background of the officer involved to the constitutional violation alleged.
The plaintiff will have to establish that the policymaker exhibited “deliberate indifference,” a conscious disregard for the known and obvious consequences of the action in hiring the offending officer, in order to demonstrate that the municipal policy was the moving force behind the injury. Municipal Policy: Where We Are
Municipal Plaintiffs can establish municipal policy, custom or practice under section 1983 in four ways: Identify an officially adopted or promulgated written policy. Identify a custom or practice that is not written or formally adopted, but that is repeated, persistent, and widespread and has the force of policy.
Identify a failure on the part of the municipality to t...
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- Spring '11
- single act, Jill Brown, Bryan County