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The Grenade in the Crib Trick

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070214_Habersham_toddler_jp02_2The police entered a home and assumed they would be met with armed guards and weapons.  None of that happened and no guns were found.  Nonetheless, they came armed with weapons including hand grenades.  Unfortunately, one of the hand grenades landed in the crib of an infant and detached his nose from his face leaving him permanently scared and a long stay in the hospital.

Even though no criminal charges were filed, it is possible that civil claims could be made.  Clearly, the child was the innocent party.  Were the police reasonably relying on information that was given by the sheriff’s office?  It seems plausible before they began throwing grenades that they needed to make sure that there was an actual threat.  Further, they should have made sure that the safety of innocent people was taken into consideration especially since they were acting offensively- not defensively.

The child’s medical expenses are likely significant and he may incur future medical costs.  Further, there will likely be some permanent scarring and disfigurement.   All of these things, plus pain and suffering are compensable.  However, if Georgia has a sovereign immunity statute like Florida does, the governmental entity (the police) will have limits on liability.  In Florida, the recovery against a governmental entity is limited to $200,000.  This means that no matter the amount of the damages, the maximum recovery is $200,000. In most cases these cases are defended quite vigorously because the entity knows that no matter how significant a verdict, recovery is never going to be over $200,000 without legislative permission. The only way to get around the $200,000 limit is to have a claims bill that is approved by congress for an amount in excess of $200,000.

Dena Sisk Foman


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