Public duty doctrine
White v Beasley
453 Mich 308 (1996)
Issue: Public duty doctrine
The city was dismissed from the lawsuit on the basis of governmental immunity. White claimed that Beasley was grossly negligent when he responded to the telephone call requesting aid on behalf of Obleton. Beasley claimed that he was not liable on the basis of the public duty doctrine.
The public duty doctrine insulates officers from tort liability for the negligent failure to provide police protection unless an individual plaintiff establishes that a special relationship exists between the police officers and the individual. Generally that relationship requires that several elements need to exist including an assumption of an affirmative duty by the municipality (governmental body) to act in the assistance of the injured person and reliance by the injured person on the municipality’s action.
|Why did the LDF get involved?
Historically, throughout the country, the public duty doctrine has been recognized as common law (judge-made law) in contrast to law enacted by a legislative body. Although other Michigan appellate courts had recognized the doctrine, the Michigan Supreme Court had not specifically recognized the public duty doctrine. The recognition of the doctrine was of extreme importance to local units of government.What action did the LDF take?
Filed a co-amicus brief with the Michigan Municipal League Liability and Property Pool with the Michigan Supreme Court
What was the outcome?
Who prepared the amicus brief?