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Ghost ship trial

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by cda, May 16, 2019.

  1. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    chris kennedy likes this.
  2. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    It is simple and is derived from English common law. Basically when performing a governmental function the governmental official is immune from liability. In some states, such as California, this concept has been codified into law.
     
  3. cda

    cda Sawhorse

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    Yea but if they do not take care of business, they can be sued or wind up in jail
     
  4. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    cda

    Point me to an appellate court ruling. Is there something different in your state. I speak to the situation in California.

    If they don't take care of business they can be voted out of office or fired if not elected. The courts can issue a writ of mandamus to compel them to enforce specific laws but compels action but does not create personal risk.

    They can be jailed if they break a law but not for not doing their job.

    Public employees can be sued only if they are doing something that is not a part of their job. If a building official were to design a building for somebody they could be sued the same as an architect or engineer. but if reviewing a building in the normal course of their job there is no liability.
     
  5. tmurray

    tmurray Sawhorse

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    It would be outdated English common law.
    In the UK, Anns v. Merton established that government entities can have liability where they have not properly exercised their duty of care. However, in Murphy v Brentwood , the courts backed away from this position, instead stating that the government function extends to life safety only and that they cannot have liability where the loss is purely economic. Some have criticized this reversal as an impact from the conservative political climate at the time. Many countries, including mine, continues to use a modified version of the Anns test.

    So, currently in the UK, if a building inspector misses something and someone gets hurt, the building inspector and employer are exposed to liability.
    In Canada, if someone gets hurt, or if the owner has to fix a critical code violation I missed, the building inspector and employer are exposed to liability.
     
    cda likes this.
  6. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    The historic common law relied upon the difference between misfeasance and malfeasance, id the employee missed something he and his AHJ were protected by sovereign immunity, if he did it intentionally he wasn't protected, but California has a "Tort Claims Law":




    ¹ https://www.shouselaw.com/personal-injury/tort-claims-act.html
     
  7. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    In California Government Code Sections 815 through 823 provide government pretty much complete immunity when performing a governmental function.
     
  8. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    What you have to look at here is the fact that one of the defendants is represented by Tony Serra, Tony was a buddy during college days, we lived a few doors apart as freshmen, Tony works for free and always against the government which he despises, he's been to prison three times for refusal to pay taxes, he tried working for free but the government imputed the value of his services and assessed gift taxes, now he's made a deal with them wherein he charges a small fee that is distributed through the state bar to help indigent defendants.

    The trial is ongoing now but I speculate that he's going to turn it around an the "evil" firemen and city inspectors who didn't do their jobs even through they knew full well what was going on in there, 60 Minutes did a segment on Tony in the 70s where they called him the best attorney in the country, saying that he could bring any jury to tears. In the 80s there was a movie made about one of his cases called True Believer, notice his modus operandi:

    If Tony goes as expected, the defendants should get off and charges brought against the firemen and inspectors involved.



    ¹ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Serra

    ² https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_Believer_(1989_film)
     
  9. e hilton

    e hilton Bronze Member

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    Im a little (pleasantly) surprised at this, i think its the right thing to do. No link, its easy to google multiple hits.

    (CNN)Former school resource officer Scot Peterson was widely criticized after he failed to confront a shooter who opened fire and killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year.

    The Broward Sheriff's Office active shooter policy calls for deputies to interrupt a shooting and search for victims when there's a ceasefire.
    More than a year after the massacre, the former Broward County sheriff's deputy now faces child neglect, culpable negligence and perjury charges.
     
  10. linnrg

    linnrg Sawhorse

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  11. conarb

    conarb Sawhorse

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    So I don't suppose that anybody is going to charge the real culprits here, the city officials, the fire department, the building department, or most of all the ICC that publishes a code making it so expensive to build that nobody builds anymore.
     
  12. e hilton

    e hilton Bronze Member

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    “Many of the families have also sued Almena and Harris, along with the owners of the building and others. The 31 cases, represented by a master complaint, say Oakland’s fire and building departments would have discovered the safety hazards in the near-10,000 square foot building, but failed to inspect it.“

    Probably failed to inspect it because there was no permit pulled, or CofO application, or anything else that would have alerted the city. And i suspect the city inspectors were fully occupied doing inspections on existing permits. So do you want to double the number of inspectors? Are you ok with inspectors proactively checking all buildings in town ... or would you resist on the grounds that would be something that only happens in communist countries?
     
  13. ADAguy

    ADAguy Sawhorse

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    There was a time when Fire Depts "did" routinely inspect "existing" commercial buildings. What has happened? $$$$
     
  14. tmurray

    tmurray Sawhorse

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    We still do that here. They had to develop a frequency list based on hazard assessments so they weren't overwhelmed.

    Apartments, schools, etc. are done every year (high risk).
    Stores and personal service are usually done every 3 years (lower risk).
     
  15. ADAguy

    ADAguy Sawhorse

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    Thank you, someone is still on the ball. You would think this case would wake up everyone.

    Same way the big apt fire in England last year killed all those people, who was found liable in that one?
     
  16. fatboy

    fatboy Administrator

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    We operate the same as tmurray.
     
  17. Mark K

    Mark K Platinum Member

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    In California building departments and their employees have no liability for failure to enforce any law.
     
  18. ADAguy

    ADAguy Sawhorse

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    Ultimately doesn't it still depend (on the specifics) or is it a get out of jail free?
     

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