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The City of Portland, Oregon

Police Bureau

Sworn to protect. Dedicated to serve.

Phone: 503-823-0000

Fax: 503-823-0342

Non-Emergency: 503-823-3333

1111 S.W. 2nd Avenue, Portland, OR 97204

0220.40 Lawsuits and Claims

220.40, Lawsuits and Claims 

Policy:

1. This directive establishes the procedure for Bureau members who become involved in a lawsuit or civil suit against the member or the City of Portland (“City”) regarding the exercise of police powers or related in any way to the member’s employment with the City. 

Procedure:

1. Lawsuits and Claims against the City of Portland or the Bureau.

1.1. If a process server or other person attempts to serve the City or the Bureau with a complaint, claim, tort claims notice, summons, or any other document (“legal documents”) through a member, the member shall refer the process server or other person to the City Attorney’s Office (CAO).  The member shall notify a supervisor regarding the attempted service as soon as practical, but no later than 24 hours after the attempted service.

2. Responsibilities of Members If Served with Legal Documents.

2.1. Members who are personally served with legal documents shall inform their immediate supervisor as soon as practicable. 

2.2. Members shall deliver all original copies of legal documents to their immediate supervisor as soon as practicable and may retain a copy for their personal records. 

2.3. Members will not be called in from patrol or operations in the field to receive service of civil summons and civil complaints. 

2.4. Nothing in this directive requires a member to accept service of legal documents while on duty or while at a Bureau facility that the member reasonably believes is unrelated to police duties or employment.

3. Supervisor Responsibilities.

3.1. Upon notification that a member under their direct supervision has received service of a legal document regarding the exercise of police powers or related in any way to the member’s employment with the City, they shall notify the CAO as soon as practicable. 

3.2. Provide the original documents to the CAO within 72 hours.  

3.3. Upon notification that a member under their direct supervision has received service of a legal document regarding the exercise of police powers or related in any way to the member’s employment with the City, they shall notify the Professional Standards Division (PSD) as soon as practicable. 

3.4. Ensure the member provided timely notice and documentation as described in Section 2. 

3.5. If requested by the process server or other person serving process, the supervisor shall inform that server of the next date and time the member is expected to be at the facility. 

4. Filing Claims against the City for Property Loss.

4.1. Members filing claims against the City for any loss, damage, or destruction of personal property shall submit appropriate documentation to the City Risk Management Division (CRMD). 

5. Obligations Regarding Communications about Claims.

5.1. When discussing any complaint, claim, tort claims notice, summons, or any other legal document with any process server, complainant, plaintiff, or member of the public, members shall not:

5.1.1. Inform a person that the City will award compensation for injury or loss.

5.1.2. Discuss the facts of any case or opine on potential liability. 

5.2. When a member becomes aware of any significant potential for a claim or lawsuit, and a police report would not otherwise be required, they shall write a report and include the known details of the incident, the names of all involved officers and other witnesses.  The member shall forward a copy of the report to CRMD. 

History:

- Originating Directive Date: 09/06/01

- Last Revision Signed: 02/01/18

 - Effective Date: 03/02/18

- Next Review Date: 09/02/18