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Roberts v. American Employers Insurance Company

221 So. 2d 550 (1969)

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Roberts v. American Employers Insurance Company

Louisiana Court of Appeal

221 So. 2d 550 (1969)

Facts

George Roberts (plaintiff) went to Haven’s Lounge, a bar. The bartender told Roberts to leave because a private party was going on, and the bartender would not serve Roberts. When Roberts refused to leave, a disturbance occurred. The bartender called the police. Roberts, a 24-year-old male weighing about 150 to 155 pounds, had an extensive criminal history, including several convictions for disorderly conduct, assault and battery, fighting, resisting arrest, and escape, and Roberts was on probation at the time. Officer Horace J. Randolph (defendant), a police officer who had served 17 years on the force and weighed 165 pounds, responded to the call. Officer Randolph was familiar with Roberts’s criminal history, having arrested Roberts several times. Officer Randolph arrested Roberts for disturbing the peace. At the time of his arrest, Roberts had consumed four beers. Officer Randolph walked Roberts outside to his police car, Roberts walking five to six feet ahead of Officer Randolph with his hands above his head. Roberts stopped twice and told Officer Randolph to shoot him in the back because he was not going to jail. Roberts said that he was on probation, so the judge would throw the book at him, and he would rather die than go to jail. The third time that Roberts stopped, he turned around, lowered his hands, and grabbed for Officer Randolph. Officer Randolph, who later testified that he was not sure whether Roberts was armed at the time, unholstered his gun and fired one shot from his hip, hitting Roberts in the jaw. Officer Randolph did have a slapstick in his pocket he could have used instead of the gun, but he later testified that he could not reach it in time because it was in his pocket. Roberts filed a civil action against Officer Randolph as well as American Employers Insurance Company (defendant), the city’s insurance agency, for an intentional tort. A jury found that Officer Randolph acted in self-defense. Roberts appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Culpepper, J.)

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