Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Officer Patricia Katie Ryan Williams Wrongful-death lawsuit - Detroit PD

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Also see:
Murder of Officer Patricia [Katie] Ryan Williams - Detroit PD






Court filings in wrongful death lawsuit
May 24, 2014










Court filings in wrongful death lawsuit
April 23, 2014






Lawsuit over slain Detroit police officer to proceed after OK from bankruptcy judge
By Khalil AlHajal
January 30, 2014 at 3:02 PM
Updated January 30, 2014 at 3:58 PM
MLive
http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2014/01/lawsuit_over_slain_detroit_pol.html





DETROIT, MI -- U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes will allow a lawsuit over the 2009 death of a Detroit police officer to proceed, according to court documents filed this week.

Hundreds of lawsuits against the city were put on hold in July 2013 when Emergency Manger Kevyn Orr took the Detroit into bankruptcy, citing $18 billion in debt.

Deborah Ryan, who sued the city in 2011 over the death of her daughter Patricia "Katie" Williams, asked Rhodes in September to lift the automatic stay of her case.

He granted that request Tuesday, "solely to the extent necessary to allow the Lawsuit to proceed to a final nonappealable judgment."

Williams was a Detroit police officer killed by her husband Edward Williams, also a Detroit cop, in Canton Township in 2009. 

She sued Detroit, two Detroit police supervisors, Canton Township and two Canton police officers, claiming they failed to fully address signs including a suicide note that indicated her daughter's husband was unstable and dangerous.

Edward Williams shot and killed Katie Williams on Sept. 22, 2009 in a parking lot between the Canton Township library and police station before turning the gun on himself.

The couple left behind a 9-year-old son.

The lawsuit cites the Civil Rights Act, claiming authorities would have acted differently had the Williams not been police officers. 

Both the city and the township denied liability and filed motions for summary judgment.

The last hearing in the case was held in federal court on July 18, 2013, the same day Detroit filed for bankruptcy protection.

Any judgement against the city in the case will be subject to cuts determined by a final plan of adjustment in the bankruptcy case, Rhodes noted. 

Orr plans to submit to Rhodes a proposed plan for restructuring the city's debt next month.














Bankruptcy judge allows case involving Detroit officer's killing to proceed
January 30, 2014
Detroit Free Press
http://www.freep.com/article/20140130/NEWS01/301300028/Lawsuit-proceeds-Detroit-bankruptcy




A federal bankruptcy judge has given a grieving mother the green light to proceed with her lawsuit against the City of Detroit over her daughter’s death, making her the first such plaintiff to successfully challenge a stay order that has frozen more than 500 lawsuits because of the bankruptcy.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes lifted the stay order — with conditions — on Tuesday for Deborah Ryan of Canton, who is suing the Detroit Police Department over the 2009 shooting death of her daughter, a police officer. Ryan’s lawsuit alleges the police department failed to protect her daughter from an unstable husband. Her daughter, Patricia (Katie) Williams, was a Detroit police officer who was shot and killed in September 2009 in a murder-suicide by her husband, who also was a police officer in the Detroit homicide unit.

Rhodes agreed to let Ryan’s lawsuit proceed after both sides in the case hashed out an agreement to let the case move forward. In his order, Rhodes wrote that relief from the stay “is granted solely to the extent necessary to allow the lawsuit to proceed to a final non-appealable judgment.”

Under Rhodes’ order, if Ryan wins any potential judgment from the city, that judgment is subject to treatment under any Chapter 9 plan of adjustment.

Ryan said she was grateful to Rhodes for letting her case proceed and relieved that it may finally get to a jury.

“It’s been four years and my family — especially my grandson — we need to have closure,” Ryan said.

Added her lawyer, Bill Goodman: “It’s helpful that the judge has lifted the stay so that Mrs. Ryan can appropriately and adequately enforce her constitutional rights in federal court.”

Ryan’s suit alleges the department went out of its way to protect the husband when it could have taken steps to prevent the shooting. According to the lawsuit, the department canceled an alert that was issued to law enforcement about the husband’s mental status and concerns that he was a threat to her daughter.

Detroit police found the husband to be competent and canceled the alert, so he was never picked up by the authorities, the lawsuit states. About 30 hours after the alert was called off, the husband shot and killed his wife and himself in a parking lot.

In court documents, the city has denied any wrongdoing.













Wrongful-death lawsuit may proceed, despite Detroit bankruptcy
7:45 PM, January 27, 2014
Detroit Free Press
http://www.freep.com/article/20140127/NEWS01/301270106/Detroit-bankruptcy-lawsuit-police

Bankrupt or not, the city of Detroit has agreed to let a mother proceed with a lawsuit against the Detroit Police Department over the 2009 shooting death of her daughter, a police officer who was killed in a murder-suicide by her husband.

All lawsuits against the city — more than 500 — have been put on hold because of the bankruptcy. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes still has to agree to let the case proceed.

Plaintiff Deborah Ryan of Canton wants the stay order lifted. Both sides have agreed to let the case proceed and are waiting approval from Rhodes.

Ryan’s lawsuit alleges the Police Department failed to protect her daughter from an unstable husband. Her daughter, Patricia (Katie) Williams, was a Detroit police officer who was shot and killed in September 2009 in a murder-suicide by her husband, who also was a police officer in the Detroit homicide unit.

Ryan’s suit alleges the department went out of its way to protect the husband when it could have taken steps to prevent the shooting. Ryan said she’s relieved her case may finally get to a jury.

“It’s been four years and my family — especially my grandson — we need to have closure. And we want to make sure that people who we feel caused this to occur, including the city, is held accountable for their actions,” Ryan said. “It’s the first kind of good news we’ve had in years.”

Ryan’s lawyer, Bill Goodman, said the lawsuit also challenges what he believes is a pervasive problem in the DPD: officers abusing women, and nothing being done about it.

“That point has to be driven home and the only way to drive it home is to have a jury … tell the DPD what it can get away with and what it can’t get away with,” Goodman said. “Its handling of Katie’s case was unacceptable ... (Police) would not step up to the plate and see that this guy got arrested before he did serious harm to his wife and himself. It was clear that he was a basket case and no one wanted to get involved in the problem.”

According to the lawsuit, the department canceled an alert that was issued to law enforcement about the husband’s mental status and concerns that he was a threat to her daughter.

Detroit police found the husband to be competent and canceled the alert, so he was never picked up by the authorities, the lawsuit states. About 30 hours after the alert was called off, the husband shot and killed his wife and himself in a parking lot.

In court documents, the city has denied any wrongdoing.

The city also denied showing favoritism to the husband, stating “there is no evidence” that he was treated differently “because he was a police officer. In fact, the argument is counterintuitive, given Patricia (Katie) Williams was also a Detroit police officer.”














Wrongful Death lawsuit against Detroit  
Filed by Deborah Ryan [Mother of Officer Patricia Ryan Williams]
RE: OIDV murder of Officer Patricia [Katie] Ryan Williams 
October 09, 2013
http://docs.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/michigan/miedce/4:2011cv10900/256616/120/0.pdf?1381404590







































Detroit City Council
Wrongful Death lawsuit against Detroit  
Filed by Deborah Ryan [Mother of Officer Patricia Ryan Williams]
RE: OIDV murder of Officer Patricia [Katie] Ryan Williams 
October 08, 2013
http://www.detroitmi.gov/Portals/0/docs/cityclerk/calendar_2013/Agenda/Agenda%2010-08-13.pdf



























Detroit must submit settlement plan for all lawsuits or case of slain officer will proceed
By Khalil AlHajal
October 08, 2013 at 7:40 PM
Updated October 09, 2013 at 2:25 AM
http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2013/10/detroit_must_submit_settlement.html


DETROIT, MI -- U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes plans to lift a stay of litigation against the city in the case of a slain police officer unless Detroit develops a plan to settle all its lawsuits within 35 days.

Detroit entered bankruptcy proceedings in July, citing over $18 billion in debt, resulting in hundreds of lawsuits against the city being put on hold.

Deborah Ryan, who sued the city over the 2009 death of her daughter, asked Rhodes last month to lift the stay.

Ryan's daughter Patricia "Katie" Williams was a Detroit police officer killed by her husband Edward Williams, also a Detroit cop, in Canton Township in 2009.

She sued Detroit, two Detroit police supervisors, Canton Township and two Canton police officers, claiming they failed to fully address signs including a suicide note that indicated her daughter's husband was unstable and dangerous.

Edward Williams shot and killed Katie Williams on Sept. 22, 2009 in a parking lot between the Canton Township library and police station before turning the gun on himself.

The couple left behind a 9-year-old son.

The lawsuit cites the Civil Rights Act, claiming authorities would have acted differently had the Williams not been police officers. 

Both the city and the township denied liability and filed motions for summary judgment.

The last hearing in the case was held in federal court on July 18, the same day Detroit filed for bankruptcy protection.

Rhodes on Tuesday granted Ryan's motion to lift the stay, "unless, within 35 days, the City files a motion for approval of an efficient process for liquidating all of the tort claims."













Detroit bankruptcy proceedings head back to federal court
Posted: 10/02/2013
By: Jim Kiertzner
WXYZ News
http://www.wxyz.com/dpp/news/region/detroit/detroit-bankruptcy-proceedings-head-back-to-federal-court





DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes is hearing 3 cases today that are seeking to have the automatic stay lifted on other cases pending with the City of Detroit. 

The first one is a suit by Deborah Ann Ryan against Detroit, the Police Department and some officers who did not prevent the murder of her daughter, Patricia Williams, on September 22, 2009 by her husband, Detroit Police Officer Edward Williams, who then committed suicide. 

Ryan's case is on hold, as are some 700 other individual cases in Detroit. 

Also, another case seeks permission from Judge Rhodes to allow an Administrative Law Judge to rule on whether the General Retirement System can resume issuing a 13th check to retirees that was banned by the City Council in 2011. An attorney for the city argues Detroit employee pension underfunding is a critical issue in bankruptcy and the 13th check was an unsound practice that cost the pension fund $1.9 billion dollars. 

Heather Lennox from Jones Day argues the bankruptcy court should decide this issue and that the issue is far-reaching for the city. 

Another item in front of Judge Rhodes is whether a constitutional challenge to the Emergency Manager and Michigan Public Act 436 can proceed before another judge in Federal Court. It was filed by the NAACP and a group of individuals. That case was also automatically stayed by the bankruptcy filing. 














Detroit bankruptcy judge seats hearing in slain officer lawsuit
By Robert Snell
Detroit News
Oct 2, 2013, 4:44 pm
http://live.detroitnews.com/update/detroit-bankruptcy-judge-seats-hearing-slain-officer-lawsuit/

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes scheduled an Oct. 8 hearing before deciding whether to unfreeze a lawsuit filed by the family of a slain Detroit police officer.

The hearing will give Detroit lawyers a chance to prove the city would be harmed if the lawsuit continues in federal court.

Attorney William Goodman asked the judge for permission to seek compensation for the estate of slain Detroit officer Patricia Williams, who was killed by her husband, Ed Williams, a Detroit homicide detective, in a murder-suicide in the Canton Public Library parking lot on Sept. 23, 2009.

Patricia Williams’ mother, Deborah Ryan, argues the police department is liable for a “state-created danger” for not hospitalizing Ed Williams after a string of domestic violence and suicidal incidents.

The lawsuit is two years old but was frozen after Detroit sought bankruptcy protection on July 18.













Wrongful Death lawsuit against Detroit
Filed by Deborah Ryan [Mother of Officer Patricia Ryan Williams]
RE: OIDV murder of Officer Patricia [Katie] Ryan Williams 
September 25, 2013
http://www.kccllc.net/detroit/document/1353846130925000000000011

















































































Wrongful Death lawsuit against Detroit  
Filed by Deborah Ryan [Mother of Officer Patricia Ryan Williams]
RE: OIDV murder of Officer Patricia [Katie] Ryan Williams 
Case No. 13-53846 
September 11, 2013
http://media.mlive.com/news/detroit_impact/other/motion%20to%20lift%20stay%20patricia%20williams%20detroit.pdf



























Lawsuits against Detroit in limbo because of bankruptcy
Many with cases against the city fear they might not be resolved because the bankruptcy filing has put the cases on hold.
Tresa Baldas
Detroit Free Press 9:04 p.m. EDT August 4, 2013
August 04, 2013
USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/04/detroit-bankruptcy-lawsuits-legal-limbo/2617597/

DETROIT -- For retiree Gerald Wilcox, Detroit's bankruptcy came as a one-two punch.

The first blow took aim at his pension, which he fears is in jeopardy; the second paralyzed his malicious-prosecution lawsuit against the city of Detroit — a case that makes his blood boil.

Wilcox, a married father of three who worked two decades for the city as a bus mechanic and maintenance worker, was arrested in January and jailed for 16 days for an armed robbery he never committed. The police had the wrong Gerald Wilcox, records show, and Wilcox was cleared.

"I want these officers to know what they did was wrong. And I want the city and everyone involved to pay financially," said Wilcox, who vividly recalls his wife calling the precinct all night long, telling officers, "You've got the wrong guy."

Wilcox, who fears justice might be out of his reach, is not alone.

According to the city of Detroit's Law Department, the city gets hit with 600 to 700 lawsuits in any given year. But those suits now are on hold, with plaintiffs getting bad news by the day about their cases being stayed because of the bankruptcy. Now, many fear they might not see their cases resolved. Others worry they'll just get measly settlements.

The city is urging plaintiffs to sit tight and wait.

"This is to give the city breathing room, so to speak, to settle its bankruptcy issues and to restructure without the distraction of ongoing and pending lawsuits," said Bill Nowling, spokesman for Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr.

According to Nowling, one of Orr's goals is to help Detroit limit the number of frivolous and nuisance lawsuits it gets hit with each year, noting the city spends about $20 million annually settling legal claims against it. He also noted that when the city comes out of bankruptcy, the civil lawsuits will start up where they left off.

"Everyone will have due process, and their cases will be heard," Nowling said.

'A slap in the face'

Attorney Julie Hurwitz doesn't buy it.

"That is not the way it works," said Hurwitz, who said she took a crash course in bankruptcy law that has her bracing for the worst: The lawsuits either will be discharged completely, she said, or plaintiffs will get offered "pennies on the dollar."

"Our clients' due process rights to their day in court have been ripped out from under them," said Hurwitz, whose firm has four civil suits pending against the city. "The vindication of our clients' constitutional rights are going down the toilet."

She stressed: "There are definitely human lives that are being decimated by this travesty."

Deborah Ryan of Canton is suing the city over the 2009 death of her daughter Patricia (Katie) Williams, a Detroit police officer who was shot and killed in a murder-suicide by her husband, who also was a police officer in the Detroit homicide unit.

"Our lives stopped that day," said a tearful Ryan. She believes the city owes her family an apology, claiming Detroit police went out of their way to protect one of their own: the husband.

"They forgot that my daughter also was one of their own. Why didn't they protect her?" Ryan said. "She loved the city of Detroit. And she loved her job as a police officer."

Ryan, meanwhile, hopes to persuade the bankruptcy court to let her case proceed — an option that's open to all plaintiffs — arguing she has suffered long enough, and so has her daughter's now 13-year-old son.

"This is just a slap in the face to our family," Ryan said of the lawsuit getting put on hold. "I just want to go forward. We've waited a long time — a long time. We just want to move on. ... And I want my grandson to know I'm doing everything for his mom, and that she did not die in vain."

In court documents, the city has denied any wrongdoing.

The city also denied showing favoritism to the husband, stating "there is no evidence" that he was treated differently "because he was a police officer. In fact, the argument is counterintuitive, given Patricia (Katie) Williams was also a Detroit police officer."

Delay 'is injustice'

Ryan, though, is crying injustice, as are plenty of others whose cases are now in limbo.

On Tuesday alone, for example, six police brutality cases against the city were put on hold, as was a woman's lawsuit that claimed the city wrongfully damaged her apartment building during a demolition project.
For constitutional scholars and plaintiff lawyers, Detroit's bankruptcy highlights an all-too-common problem in the courts: delayed justice.

"Justice delayed is injustice," said attorney Wolfgang Mueller, who represents Wilcox and a handful of other plaintiffs suing the city for police misconduct, unlawful arrests and malicious prosecution.

Mueller said he's used to the city delaying lawsuits, but that the bankruptcy is just making it worse.

"The City of Detroit's typical tactic has been to delay. ... This obviously is a different animal," Mueller said.
Then there is the Mike's Hard Lemonade plaintiff, Christopher Ratte of Ann Arbor, Mich., whose 2008 ordeal at a Detroit Tigers game landed his 7-year-old son in state custody and him being ordered out of his house.

Ratte accidentally bought his son a Mike's Hard Lemonade at the baseball game, landing him in court. He didn't know it contained alcohol, and the case was eventually dismissed. But it prompted the American Civil Liberties Union to challenge a state law that lets police remove kids from their parents without proving the children are in actual danger.

The bankruptcy has snagged that lawsuit, too, even though it's not about money.

"We don't want these important constitutional issues to be thrown out along with the city's debts," said Rana Elmir, deputy director of the Michigan ACLU, who is baffled by what's going on. "Our No. 1 priority is to vindicate the constitutional rights of our clients and for policy change, so we don't see ourselves as a creditor."

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven Rhodes, who is overseeing Detroit's bankruptcy, appears to be taking some action to help the aggrieved civil suit plaintiffs. On Friday, he suggested that a committee be formed to handle what he expects will be a huge volume of requests from civil plaintiffs seeking relief. While all civil suits have been frozen, plaintiffs can still petition the court and ask for a continuance.

"I think the last thing any of us wants is a flood of motions," Rhodes said, later adding, "It seems to me we ought to think about a way to manage that potential chaos." Heather Lennox, a Jones Day attorney who is representing the city in the bankruptcy case, said the city is already working out a solution to this issue. She did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, Elmir of the ACLU remains baffled that constitutional issues have been put on hold because of Detroit's financial woes.

"It's surprising to be lumped into the same category of creditors and banks," Elmir said. "That's a first for us."













Family of Detroit officer killed by estranged husband sues city, police
By The Associated Press
MLive
March 14, 2011 at 7:13 AM
Updated March 14, 2011 at 7:16 AM
http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2011/03/family_of_detroit_officer_kill.html


The family of a Detroit police officer killed by her estranged husband is suing the city, alleging officials scuttled an investigation that could have prevented her death. 

The 22-page wrongful death lawsuit seeking unspecified damages also accuses two Detroit sergeants of protecting 36-year-old homicide detective Ed Williams from possible criminal prosecution following reports he had assaulted 33-year-old Patricia Williams in the days before she was fatally shot in September 2009. Ed Williams also fatally shot himself.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit says the last three days of their lives included domestic violence and a statewide alert prompted by Ed Williams' suspected suicide note. The suit claims a Detroit police sergeant convinced Canton Township police to cancel the alert.

City officials declined comment to The Detroit News. 



























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