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Dallas County Seeks Liability Legislature

The Dallas County commissioners, who have seen mounting lawsuits over constable actions, are attempting to get legislation passed that would protect the county when elected officials step outside their boundaries and create personal injury situations.

The county attempted to get a similar bill passed in 1999, but heavy opposition from various businesses and associations doomed the bill early on. Since 1999, the county has been hit with numerous lawsuits, mainly having to do with the actions of elected officials, stated a source.

The county budget office has reported that they do not track how much the county has spent defending itself against such lawsuits. Commissioners have already limited the liability by eliminating constable traffic units and constable canine units.

The county must pay to defend a county elected official who has been sued for doing something on the job, even if the county was against the action and had advised the official not to continue, described an observer. Justices of the peace, who serve as judges without a law degree, have given the county problems in the past. More recently constables have been the troublemakers and injuries to civilians occur.

Dallas Morning News came forward with a two-year investigation recently that showed questionable campaign fundraising, off-duty business relationships, SWAT team use, and towing practices. Several constables have been accused of forcing employees to help with their re-election campaigns. Elected officials like constables are accountable only to voters every four years.

According to a statement, in the proposed legislation, if the district attorney ruled that the elected official had acted improperly, the county commissioners could hold a public hearing to review the case. If four of the five court members ruled against the official, the official would be financially liable instead of the county. Nassau and Suffolk Counties are going through the same steps.

A New York Injury Attorney can help you to achieve the desired result in any case you may have. If you or a family member has suffered an injury at the hands of someone else, a New York Injury Attorney can help you receive the results you desire.

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