House Bill 1284 provides civil lawsuit immunity for people who are justified in using force to defend themselves or others.
Ohio County resident Kystie Phillips testified to the House Judiciary Committee about House Bill 1284 on Monday, January 28. Photo via www.in.gov.
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - A bill which would provide civil suit immunity for people who use deadly force in self-defense has passed the Indiana House of Representatives.
House Bill 1284 passed the House on an overwhelming 80-13 vote Monday. The bill authored by State Rep. Jim Lucas (R-Seymour) now goes to the state Senate.
“This legislation would provide an extra layer of protection for those forced to defend themselves,” Lucas said. “Too often, individuals who have to use justifiable force have a civil lawsuit filed against them. The drawn out process and the expensive legal fees are unacceptable for law-abiding citizens to endure.”
According to the bill’s digest, it would provide immunity for a justified use of force in certain instances. Plaintiffs who file a lawsuit against a person defending themselves could be forced to pay the defendant’s legal fees and costs when the justified use of force immunity is successfully raised.
If a judge determines self-defense was not justified, meaningful cases could still go through the civil legal process, said Lucas.
A local woman’s story helped to inspire the legislation. Ohio County resident Kystie Phillips fatally shot a man who was attacking an Indiana Conservation Officer in front of her home in 2017. Despite being cleared of criminal wrongdoing by prosecutors, she then faced a wrongful death lawsuit from the attacker’s family.
Phillips testified to a House committee about her experience and in favor of the legislation on January 28. Soon afterwards, the family suing her dropped the lawsuit.
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