- Associated Press - Friday, August 12, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A district judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the city of Lincoln against Lancaster County seeking to cover medical expenses stemming from a friendly punch between officers nearly three years ago.

The order said that a sheriff’s deputy hit a Lincoln police officer working light duty on the left shoulder as he greeted her. The deputy didn’t know she had recently had rotator cuff surgery.

Nebraska’s Workers Compensation Court then ruled the city owed the officer more than $63,000 for medical expenses and restitution.

The city sued the county in May 2015, saying the deputy was negligent and failed to recognize that physical contact might hurt the officer, the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/2aQU9N3 ) reported.

Lancaster County District Judge Jodi Nelson ruled Tuesday the deputy’s punch constituted battery not negligence under state tort law. Her ruling in favor of the county ended the lawsuit before a trial.

Nelson said that law defines battery as an actual infliction of an unconsented injury or unconsented contact with another. She wrote that motive doesn’t matter in a battery case.

Nelson said that the county isn’t liable because state tort claims law for municipal governments doesn’t apply.

She also noted that the county’s insurance policy doesn’t apply to any negligent or intentional act on the part of county employees that results in $250,000 or less in damages.

Nelson ruled that the city must pay for costs of the suit.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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