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The City Won Its Case

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The Case Was Taken Away From the Jury Because a City is Not Liable for an Officer's Arrest.

The first case in the circuit court Wednesday was that of Matthew Roser vs. the city of Ann Arbor, M. J. Lehman and Lee N. Brown appearing for the plaintiff and City Attorney Butterfield for the city. On a statement of the plaintiff's case by Mr. Lehman, it was taken from the jury and a verdict ordered for the defendant.

The case as stated by plaintiff's attorneys was as follows: Roser had been ill for some time and on the occasion of his arrest was sitting in the hall of his premises near a door which was ajar. He claimed to have got up to take some medicine and in some way lost consciousness. He was discovered in this condition by Officer Collins and arrested as a drunk and disorderly. He was taken to the jail, kept there over night and then allowed to go after paying alleged costs amounting to something like two dollars. No charge was ever brought against him. Later he commenced action against the city for damages. The plea on the part of the city was that it was not responsible for the act of its police officers. That the acts of such officials pertain to sovereignty and that the municipality was in no way liable. That if the matter was actionable action would have to be taken against the offending officer. Such a case has never been before the Michigan supreme court but numerous cases of the kind have been passed upon in various other states the decisions all being in accordance with the position taken by the city. This was conceded by the plaintiff's attorneys. Mr. Lehman contended, however, that in case of flagrant abuse of authority, like the one in hand, there should be some remedy against the city. Otherwise there would in most cases of the kind be no remedy, for most police officers were financially without means. To deny the responsibility of the city was to refuse the citizen any relief. Plaintiff's attorneys say the case will be taken to the supreme court.

They were given 90 days in which to file a bill of exceptions. Had the case not been taken from the jury by the court the city would have attempted to show that Roser had been drinking that he was asleep on the sidewalk and that he was so intoxicated that he was even drunk the next morning.

No defense was offered in the case of Smith Botsford vs. the Edgewood Jersey Milk Co. and judgment was given the plaintiff for $448.52. The defendant was a Detroit company which had established an agency at Dixboro and quit business owing the farmers thereabouts considerable money. Botsford had brought suit for his own claim and those of a number of the farmers which he had purchased.

Judging by default of $352.95 was entered by Charles Merriam & Co. vs. Charles Wagner. The company levied upon Wagner's interest in his father's estate in Scio.

When the court proceeded to the other cases on call, they dropped out for one cause or another until none were left, when the court excused the jury until 9 o'clock Thursday morning. The jurymen are having an easy time this trip.

Patrolman Collins received a compliment in the Roser vs. Ann Arbor case when in empanelling a jury the plaintiff's attorneys asked W. W. Wadhams, the merchant, whether he would give equal weight to the oath of a man he didn't know and the oath of officer Collins. He answered: "No I would not. He would believe Collins." He was excused and said afterwards that he would believe Collins' oath as against that of five or six men he didn't know.