The incident started when the victim, Tramaine Miller, then 27 years old, parked in a handicapped parking spot at the City View apartment complex. Mr. Miller said he was coming from his aunt’s apartment, where he was helping with her medication. Reginald Fisher, a 42-year-old off-duty police officer who had worked for the Atlanta Police Department for two years, was working a second job as a security guard at the apartment complex. Fisher went over to the car and ordered Mr. Miller to unlock the car door, which Mr. Miller refused. Fisher then smashed in the car window with a baton and shot Mr. Miller in the face. Witnesses said that Mr. Miller had his hands raised when he was shot, but Fisher claims Mr. Miller was reaching under the seat to grab for something he mistook as a gun, and that he feared for his life, especially as this was a high crime area known for drug dealing. It turned out Mr. Miller was just reaching for a cell phone. Mr. Miller survived the incident but still has the bullet in his neck. Fisher was charged in the shooting, but was acquitted by a jury in Fulton County in 2011. He was suspended without pay from the police force, and has been working as a truck driver.
Mr. Miller filed a civil lawsuit against the owner of City View apartments and the managing company, which has also been making its way through the court system. The Court of Appeals decided 5-2 that the owner of City View and the managing company can be held vicariously liable for the actions of Reginald Fisher. The judgment said that Fisher approached cars to verify their access to the apartment complex, which was not a police function. Due to this, summary judgment was not appropriate. A dissenting opinion stated that Fisher was actually trying to arrest Mr. Miller because of his belief that Mr. Miller possessed illegal drugs and the apartment manager had not given Fisher instructions on dealing with the drug problem. The dissent thus found that Fisher was acting as an Atlanta police officer during the incident with Mr. Miller, and City View and the company should not be liable. The Georgia Supreme Court has agreed to take this case, so it will be interesting to see the outcome and its impact on personal injury law in Georgia.
Atlanta Premises Liability Lawyers
If you or a family member has been hurt due to the negligence of another, the experienced personal injury attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter may be able to help get the compensation needed and deserved. To discuss whether you have a potential case and how to move forward, contact the Law Office of Sammons & Carpenter as soon as possible at 404-814-8948, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation today.