City files motion to dismiss the wrongful death lawsuit

City files motion to dismiss the wrongful death lawsuit

September 22nd, 2009 by Jacqueline Koch in Local - Breaking News

The city has filed a motion to dismiss the wrongful death lawsuit against itself, the police department and six officers in connection with the shooting of a man several times in July.

James and Margie Marine filed the lawsuit in August seeking damages for the children of Alonzo Heyward, who was shot multiple times by six Chattanooga police officers while standing on his porch.

City Attorney Mike McMahan argues in a brief filed Monday that courts have ruled that claims by family members for relief when constitutional rights have been violated do not state a valid cause of action.

Under the Tennessee wrongful death statute, only the deceased person's surviving spouse or personal representative can bring action against defendants or, in the case neither exist, the only proper parties to bring the action would be the minor children or their natural remaining parents, according to the brief.

"Any claims by the children for the wrongful death of their father filed by James L. Marine and Margie Marine in any representative capacity for the three minor children does not state a valid claim for wrongful death upon which relief may be granted," according to the motion to dismiss.

In its lawsuit, the family had argued that the officers, city and police department "knowingly permitted, encouraged and tolerated an official pattern, practice or custom of its police officers violating the constitutional rights of the public at large, including Mr. Heyward."

See tomorrow's Times Free Press for complete details.