“Chicago officer sues estate of teen he shot, claiming trauma”

“A white Chicago police officer who fatally shot a black 19-year-old college student and accidentally killed a neighbor has filed a lawsuit against the teenager’s estate, arguing the shooting left him traumatized.” The lawsuit by Robert Rialmo is a countersuit against a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Antonio LeGrier, father of Quintonio LeGrier. [AP, Washington Post]

P.S. Ann Althouse on why reporters should not leave the counterclaim angle buried in paragraph 6:

Rialmo didn’t file the lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed against him. When someone sues you, you’re required to answer, and you are intensely motivated to think through whether you have any counterclaims. … I understand why the estate’s lawyer wants to portray this as outrageous, but it’s not as if the police officer reached out and dragged this family from its private condition of mourning into the brutality of litigation.


  • Given the Illinois Supreme Court’s abrogation of the public duty doctrine, counter-claims against the estates are warranted. The estates sue the police for wrongful death. The cop then counter-claims against the estates. If the estates (or one of them) win, there is money to satisfy a judgment or settlement with the estates. And, the attorneys for the estates and the cop both collect their contingencies from the Chicago PD’s judgment or settlement. Everyone wins (except the decedents and the taxpayers).

  • As a physician, I have had my share of malpractice suits, usually as my name was the only one that could be read and another doctor had screwed up or because someone only wanted to see if they would win the court lottery. I have always advocated that to protect me, a countersuit should be filed. The attorneys have never, ever done so. I think if they did it would end malpractice suits, or for that matter any suits. If you don’t have skin in the game, the game is rigged. Also, I have become aware that the plaintiff attorneys are not necessarily the bad guys, the defense attorneys have just as much to gain by keeping the status quo. In fact, the really bad guys are the hospital administrators and Obamacare just gave them the power of God.

    • I am curious as to what your legal theory would be when counter-suing in a malpractice case. How did the patient harm YOU? (And the lawsuit itself doesn’t count, even if frivolous.)

      • A doctor is harmed in many ways with a malpractice suit. First, pain and suffering, it is very traumatic to any physician to have to be confronted with a legal action, especially when the issue is unjustified. Then, time spent, it is very difficult to quantitate the amount of time given over to defense, especially when you have to defend yourself against the presumption of guilt (not innocence). Then there is the significant amount of paper work to all agencies, health insurance carriers, board, malpractice carriers, hospitals, etc. Then, loss of reputation, this is a public proclamation and the public takes the side of the plaintiff. If you are a lawyer, you should be aware that it only takes $50 as reason to file a suit and that the possibility of winning the worst case is about 50%. Further, the attorney should be held accountable for frivolous filling, yes, I know I countered my previous statement, but then that is American justice, which sucks.

        • David7134,

          The malpractice lawsuit itself is privileged. You can not counter sue for damages caused by the suit itself. To have a valid counter-suit, the plaintiff would have had to have injured you in some actionable way separate from the lawsuit itself.

          “Further, the attorney should be held accountable for frivolous filling”

          You can seek legal costs and / or sanctions against the lawyer, but only after a judge has ruled that the filing was frivolous. It’s not something you can counter-sue for up front.