Minn. Supreme Court Rules Injured Woman Can't Sue Hennepin Co. Deputy

Updated: 02/13/2014 12:33 PM
Created: 02/12/2014 9:24 PM
By: Jay Kolls

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled a Hennepin County Sheriff's Deputy did not break the law or act with malice when his squad car collided with another vehicle in 2009. 

Jolene Vasallo's car was struck broadside by the squad car as it ran a red light with its siren off while responding to a burglary call in Brooklyn Park; the squad's emergency lights were on, however. Those scenarios are legal under Minnesota law.

Attorneys for Vasallo argued the call did not constitute an emergency and that Hennepin County departmental rules require both lights and siren be on when a squad goes through an intersection with a red light.

Attorney Douglas Schmidt also says departmental protocol requires the squad to slow down when approaching a red light. Schmidt says evidence shows the squad was going too fast for winter conditions and did not slow down as required.

The state's high court did not agree and reversed an earlier appeals court ruling in favor of Vasallo. The supreme court's decision is the final legal stop in this case because Vasallo cannot appeal to a federal court in this case.

Vasallo's attorney also says the 38-year-old woman suffered brain damage and will require assisted care living for the rest of her life.

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