In the month of December, the nine justices of the Texas Supreme Court heard verbal arguments in a highly contested wrongful death case involving the untimely death of a student from the University of Incarnate Word in San Antonio. The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the family of Cameron Redus, a 23-year old senior, who was shot and killed in December 2013 by UIW police Cpl. Chris Carter after a physical altercation at an off-campus apartment.
According to facts presented at the trial level, Carter was on-duty, but several blocks away from the school when he pulled Redus over under the suspicion of driving drunk. Audio from a body microphone recorded Redus refusing to comply with Carter’s commands and then apparently getting into a tussle with the officer. Following the victim’s contentious attitude, he was fatally shot five times at close range.
An autopsy of Redus showed that he was heavily intoxicated at the time.
Additional details indicate that while the officer was on duty, he was several blocks away from the university when he initially pulled over the victim. Cpl. Carter, who has since resigned from UIW’s police department, was cleared of criminal wrongdoing in 2015 by a Bexar County grand jury.
However, the surviving family of Redus filed a wrongful death lawsuit in May 2014 against the University of the Incarnate Word, alleging that the university was negligent in its training and hiring of the officer. Since then, the case has gone through various courts as UIW has attempted to get the lawsuit dismissed.
During the hour-long hearing with the Texas Supreme Court, attorneys representing the University claimed sovereign immunity under the Eighth Amendment. The argument aimed to prove that the private Catholic university should be provided the same protection against civil liability as a state agency because the police department functions like other state police departments.
Using a process known as an “interlocutory appeal”, the parties recommended that the high court set a precedent on the matter. Both the University and estate of the decedent were thoroughly probed by the governing body in order to come to a decision regarding the case.
The court’s opinion, which is expected to be released sometime next summer, will have a huge impact on whether or not the deceased family will be able to continue their wrongful death action against the university.
While attorneys representing the Redus family did call the university’s motions a “delay tactic,” there was also an understanding that input from the state’s highest court would greatly clarify how far governmental immunity extends.
Life can change in an instant. Our attorneys know that money can never make up for a loss, but it’s also important for families to know that they deserve the right to justice and compensation. At Garcia Law Group, our attorneys fight tooth-and-nail for your peace of mind. Our investigations are intensive, detailed, and responsive to your needs—regardless of the size of the case.