At common law, municipalities were immune from liability in tort for the misfeasance of their officers and employees. This principle of “sovereign immunity” was often summed up by the phrase, “The King can do no wrong.” Sovereign immunity was not merely a defense to liability, it was a true immunity.
This is my first entry as a regular contributor to the Municipal & Public Entity section of the Professional Liability Advocate blog. Municipal and public official litigation falls under Wilson Elser’s Municipal/Local Government practice group.
Among other topics, this blog will focus on cases and liability under 42 U.S.C. §1983. Section 1983 is a notably short statute – it covers less than a single page in the United States Code – yet is responsible for a very large volume of federal litigation. This is because section 1983 does not provide substantive rights as such, but rather a procedural mechanism, a cause of action, to enforce rights guaranteed elsewhere by the U.S. Constitution and federal laws. Continue Reading Albuquerque Police in the Crosshairs of Federal Oversight
I often speak to groups of professionals on how to avoid errors and omissions claims. When I started making such presentations more than 30 years ago, I would hold up a piece of notebook paper and explain that it was a professional’s “best friend” when it comes to avoiding future problems. A memo of a conversation with a client detailing and confirming the services that can (or can’t) be delivered and the realistic outcomes that can (or can’t) result from those services may provide the best defense when a client complains. This is only true to a point. Sometimes, written communications provide a client with ammunition for a claim of negligence.
As part of my blog training, I was asked to review my social media presence in general and in particular my LinkedIn account. My profile, admittedly, had not been reviewed in some time, so I updated my bio and skills section.
This made me think about “puffing,” which I learned about in my Contracts class in law school. For those unfamiliar with the term, it is something we experience daily in sales transactions and advertising. Puffing is the exaggeration of the positives of a service or product or anything else someone is looking to sell. Any advertisement that includes superlatives – such as “greatest,” or “best” – or statements that are clearly not intended as factual representations are not generally actionable if you buy the “product” and find it to be lacking. Consumers dealing with a salesperson should expect some level of “puffing.”