City of Balch Springs challenges Jordan Edwards wrongful death lawsuit

The city of Balch Springs has filed a motion seeking to have the lawsuit filed for the excessive force death of Jordan Edwards dismissed.

Jordan was 15 years old when he was shot and killed by then Balch Springs Police Officer Roy Oliver on April 27, 2017.

A few days after the shooting, Balch Springs Police Chief Jeff Haber fired Oliver for department policy violations. He was guilty of murder in August and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

The city of Balch Springs filed a motion this week to have the lawsuit dismissed. The city is saying nothing in training, policy or discipline would hold them responsible for the officer’s actions. Oliver may be liable, but they argue that Balch Springs is not.

Attorney Daryl K. Washington says it’s unbelievable that the city of Balch Springs has filed a motion to dismiss the family's excessive force civil rights violation lawsuit.

“Their argument is basically that the city has no responsibility. They are not responsible for the acts of this officer,” Washington said.

Attorney Victor Vital is not involved in the case.

“The standards for dismissal are so high, and the requirements under case law are so stringent that you really have to jump through a lot of hoops,” Vital said.

Lawyers for the city wrote that “dismissal is proper where plaintiff fails to provide the factual grounds for entitlement to relief."

Vital says the motion argues the lawsuit doesn't factually show what the city did to cause the death of the teen and that it “doesn't have sufficient facts to meet the legal standards for municipal liability.”

While Jordan's brothers watched him die that night in twenty-seventeen, the dismissal cites case law that says they have no claim as bystanders.

“Most states preclude a cause of action for a sibling to claim at the death of a brother or a sister,” explained attorney Geoff Henley, who is not involved in the case.

The motion to dismiss reads on "to the extent the plaintiff seeks damages for loss of the parent-child relationship, said claim is not cognizable and should be dismissed."

“The parents absolutely have a cause of action, particularly in Texas and in the fifth circuit,” Henley said. “Their boy was killed needlessly and in a grotesque way. They absolutely have a cause of action.”

Washington shakes his head at the idea the lawsuit is being contested instead of being settled.

“To now pretend as if, ‘Listen, we don’t have anything to do with this.’ It’s just disingenuous, and it’s definitely not a way to bring some calm in the community and to make people think that cities really care about the problem,” Washington said.

Washington will be able to file a response to the dismissal motion. Then, a federal judge or magistrate will make a ruling on whether the suit goes forward or if all or parts of it would be dismissed.

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