Police Litigation

Civil Litigation - Police and Municipal Defense Matters

Gallagher, Callahan & Gartrell is experienced in advising and defending municipal entities including law enforcement individuals and agencies, correctional officers and facilities, and officials throughout New Hampshire.

The Litigation group defends its clients in all federal and state courts and administrative agencies in New Hampshire. Our record of success for our clients (see sample case list below) is a result of aggressive trial strategies, a keen understanding of civil litigation and the courts, applied with a cost-effective approach.

Our litigation team is recognized as among New Hampshire’s best. The GCG municipal defense team has played a significant role in shaping legislation and court precedent affecting New Hampshire law governing municipal liability, including the establishment and operation of immunities for municipal defendants and police officers from claims for negligence and civil rights violations. (See: NH Supreme Court Recognizes Statutory Immunity for NH Police Officers, and NH Supreme Court Rules on Procedural Due Process for Police Officer Termination Hearings.)

We routinely defend public safety officers and police departments against civil claims involving:

  • False Imprisonment
  • False Arrest
  • Malicious Prosecution
  • Constitutional Claims Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
  • Defamation
  • Invasion of Privacy
  • Intentional or Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress
  • Excessive Force Including the Use of Tasers and Service Weapons
  • Negligence
  • Negligent Hiring, Training, and Supervision
  • Assault and Battery
  • Unreasonable Search and Seizure
  • Due Process
  • First Amendment

For example, the GCG municipal defense team recently successfully obtained summary judgment for a police officer against Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment excessive force claims involving the use of a taser on a stairway. In this federal court case, the plaintiff sued a police officer for using excessive force, a taser, to effect his arrest. Given the circumstances, which include the officer’s objectively reasonable belief that the plaintiff was evading a felony arrest by descending an outdoor stairway to a platform before jumping fifty feet into a fast-flowing river, the police officer was entitled to qualified immunity from the plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment excessive force claim. This matter was handled by Attorneys Caroline Leonard and Charlie Bauer for the police.
Dixon v. Somersworth, 2015 D.N.H. 190 (Oct. 5, 2015)

Sample of Reported Municipal & Police Cases

United States Supreme Court Case
Town of Newton v. Rumery, 480 U.S. 386 (1987)

1st Circuit Court of Appeals Cases
Mlodzinski v. Lewis, 648 F.3d 24 (1st Cir. 2011)
Foote v. Town of Bedford, 642 F.3d 80 (1st Cir. 2011)
McNamara v. City of Nashua, 629 F.3d 92 (1st Cir. 2011)
Statchen v. Palmer, 623 F.3d 15 (1st Cir. 2010)
Naser Jewelers v. City of Concord, N.H., 513 F.3d 27 (1st Cir. 2008)
DePoutot v. Raffaelly, 424 F.3d 112 (1st Cir. 2005)
Alwyn v. Duval, 26 Fed. Appx. 17 (1st Cir. 2001)
King v. Town of Hanover, 116 F.3d 965 (1st Cir. 1997)
Rumery v. Town of Newton, 778 F.2d 66 (1st Cir. 1985)
Cloutier v. Town of Epping, 714 F.2d 1184 (1st Cir. 1983)
Chiplin v. City of Lebanon, 712 F.2d 1524 (1st Cir. 1983)

U. S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire Cases
Dixon v. Somersworth, 2015 D.N.H. 190 (Oct. 5, 2015)
Guay v. Burack, 2010 WL 4781789 (D.N.H. November 16, 2010)
Statchen v. Palmer, 623 F.3d 15 (1st Cir.(N.H.) October 15, 2010)
Foote v. Town of Bedford, 2010 WL 3238315 (D.N.H. August 13, 2010)
Mlodzinski v. Lewis, 731 F.Supp.2d 157 (D.N.H. July 16, 2010)
Traudt v. Roberts, 2010 WL 1994839 (D.N.H. May 14, 2010)
Thibodeau v. Mudgett, 2010 WL 1949496 (D.N.H. May 14, 2010)
Guay v. Burack, 2010 WL 1233807 (D.N.H. March 23, 2010)
McNamara v. City of Nashua, 2010 WL 520897 (D.N.H. February 09, 2010)
Holder v. Town of Newton, 2010 WL 432357 (D.N.H. February 03, 2010)
Statchen v. Palmer, 2009 WL 2997982 (D.N.H. September 15, 2009)
Panarello v. Collins, 2009 WL 2235824 (D.N.H. July 24, 2009)
Holder v. Town of Newton, 638 F.Supp.2d 150 (D.N.H. July 23, 2009)
Slater v. Town of Exeter, 2009 WL 737112 (D.N.H. March 20, 2009)
Naser Jewelers v. City of Concord, N.H., 2008 W.L. 276529 (D.N.H. 2008)
Toney v. Perrine, 2007 W.L. 2688549 (D.N.H. 2007)
Naser Jewelers v. City of Concord, N.H., 2007 W.L. 1847307 (D.N.H. 2007)
LaCourse v. Tilton, 2006 W.L. 1049956 (D.N.H. 2006)
Heghmann v. Town of Rye, N.H., 2005 W.L. 637928 (D.N.H. 2005)
King v. Town of Hanover, 959 F.Supp. 62 (D.N.H. 1996)

New Hampshire Supreme Court Cases

Estate of Countie v. Town of Epping, No. 2010-0868 (N.H. Sept. 16, 2011)
Correia v. Town of Alton, 157 N.H. 716 (2008)
Tarbell v. Concord, 157 N.H. 678 (2008)
Everitt v. Town of Hooksett, 156 N.H. 202 (2007)
Cross v. Brown, 148 N.H. 485 (2002)
King v. Hanover, 39 N.H. 752 (1995)

Practice area leader:

Charles P. Bauer

Practice area professionals:

Samantha Elliott

Police Litigation related practices:
Employment and Benefits
Mediation and Arbitration

Trials and Settlements:
Recent decisions

Related resources:
NH Police Litigation articles
Litigation articles

Alternative Dispute Resolution articles