University of Pretrial Library

Mitchell and Meuchell v. First Call Bail and Surety (2019) 

12-03-2019 11:10 AM

This lawsuit was brought by the ACLU on behalf of a man whose family was assaulted by six bounty hunters after the man missed a court date for two misdemeanors charges. The lawsuit is brought against bail agents, bounty hunters and insurers,  It is the ACLU's first lawsuit against the private, for-profit bail industry, and includes claims of  assault, trespassing, false imprisonment, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, as well as violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and the Montana Consumer Protection Act.

In October 2019, all but one claim was allowed to proceed by the court, including the RICO claim, believed to be the first time a court has extended the possibility of liability all the way up to bail insurance companies in a RICO scheme. In November 2019, the court declared that two portions of a form bail contract used by AIA were void against public policy; a waiver of rights under state and federal tort law, and a 'hold harmless' clause, which would require a person suing an insurance company to pay for all liability, costs, attorney's fees etc. 

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