Trial Date Set for Civil Suit Filed by Rachel Hoffman's Family - UPDATE

By: Candace Sweat; Julie Montanaro Email
By: Candace Sweat; Julie Montanaro Email

UPATED 12.6.2010 by Julie Montanaro

It could be next fall before a jury has a chance to hear the case of Hoffman vs. City of Tallahassee.

Attorneys for both the Hoffman family and the City of Tallahassee confirm the trial date for that wrongful death suit has been delayed from March 2011 until September 2011.

Attorneys on both sides say they still need more time to do depositions in the case.

The Hoffmans filed suit against the city after their daughter Rachel was shot and killed in a botched drug deal in May 2008. They claim Rachel should never have been used as an informant and that Tallahassee Police officers were negligent in their planning, handling and supervision of that deal.

The two men who killed Rachel Hoffman, Andrea Green and Deneilo Bradshaw, are already serving life sentences for her kidnapping and murder.

Hoffman family attorney Lance Block says Senator Mike Fasano has already filed a claims bill in the legislature which could be considered this spring if the family and the city reach a settlement before then.

Senate Bill 68, which was filed August 2nd, does not specify an exact amount of damages.

Attorneys for the City of Tallahassee and the Hoffman family met at the Leon County Courthouse today for a scheduling conference.

After about an hour comparing calendars, they decided that jury selection will begin March 4th of next year and the trial is expected to begin on the 7th and last 15-20 business days.

"A case of this magnitude, you want to get a special setting and set aside enough time to make sure all the issues are heard," said Hoffman family attorney, Lance Block.

In most civil cases, it comes down to two basic questions: Who was negligent? And what damages were caused as a result of that negligence?

"All you have to do is look at the city's internal affairs investigation and the press conferences that took place in 2008 and our case is certainly based on what the city has already said about itself. That it was negligent," Block said.

Hoffman was shot and killed in a botched drug sting back in May 2008. Andrea Green and Deneilo Bradshaw have already been sentenced to life in prison for it, but the family is seeking damages from the city, saying its officers involved were negligent.

The city attorneys had previously plead a defense blaming Green and Bradshaw for their negligence. But on Thursday, the judge declined their request to have the two men included on the verdict form, meaning they will not be considered for negligence in this case.

The attorneys hired by the city declined on camera interviews but said they were pleased that the judge was working with their schedules to get things started.

Attorneys will come before a judge again on September 14th for another case management conference to touch base on how things are coming along before the trial begins in March

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  • by Fred Location: USA on Feb 4, 2011 at 05:03 PM
    Bottom line: TPD failed to follow their own instructions and CAUSED a murder. That's going to carry HEFTY punitive damages. Hopefully TPD will truly learn a lesson instead of lying to cover up as the chief did.
  • by Bill Pryor Location: Crystal Beach, FL on Jan 23, 2011 at 10:28 PM
    If you don't know the whole story you should think twice before commenting. She was caught a couple times with a small amount of weed. For that she should not have even been a criminal. For the record she was not a drug dealer she bought small time weed from drug dealers when she should have been able to obtain it from a local grocery store like where you nasty commentator's can buy whiskey, beer and wine which is ? times as potent and can kill you, weed can't. TPD turned her into a CI... a drug buyer NOT a drug dealer... still not a criminal. There is no doubt that only and I mean only an undercover cop should have been involved with such a huge ecstasy and firearms deal. TPD broke rules, she was on probation and should not have been doing what she was doing. TPD failed to protect her. She should have never been criminally charged with her small time weed possession. This coming from a father of two who does not smoke pot or drink. God Bless the Hoffmans. They deserve millions imho.
  • by Chris on Dec 7, 2010 at 10:51 AM
    ]=Anyone who thinks Rachel was not at fault for HER decisions is an idiot with no common sense. Sadly people this country has become one that has no clue of personal responsibilty. Its so much easier to blame someone else for our choices. Beyond Sad.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 7, 2012 at 12:45 PM in reply to Chris
      Your lies have all been proven wrong, by the grand jury, by the police chief, and FINALLY when the City agreed to pay MILLIONS for TPD's negligence and all the idiots who couldn't and wouldn't quit repeating the lies to try to save TPD face.
  • by outsider Location: tallahassee. on Dec 7, 2010 at 10:30 AM
    I did not know Rachel but i do have a daughter 21 years old. I know that people dont always do the right thing sometimes they even break the law. Im sure that even police officers drink and drive even smoke pot. Kinda like that one officer a couple of years back that drinking on duty night security at some club and ran into the back of some people out on the parkway about 70 mph. killed both of them. Now my point is this girl did not deserve to die like this I couldnt imaging someone killing my daughter like this. The officers that set this up are responsible for her death and should held accountable. I know they are sticking together and they are in the wrong and should quit making excuses like it was all rachels fault for living her life the way she did.
  • by nOLE Location: leon on Dec 7, 2010 at 08:59 AM
    At this point, it doesn't matter if TPD was in the right or not. SHE did the crime. If not for that SHE WOULD MOST LIKELY STILL BE ALIVE. ALSO, if she had done ONLY what she was suppose to do. AND NOT WHAT SHE WAS TOLD NOT TO DO she would not have died. SORRY,family for your lost,but I would not give you anything for her consequences. SORRY, she did the crime and PAID the fine. Get on with your life. I doubt she would like what you are doing. And PJ I do have a heart also an opinion. Mary, the schools there in Perry shows all over in your writing. Get someone with an real education to home school you. That is one reason I packed up our things and came to Tall. PJ is right about that part.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 7, 2012 at 12:48 PM in reply to nOLE
      All your lies have been proven to be lies. End of story, SORRY!
  • by Tallybound Location: Tallahassee on Dec 7, 2010 at 07:47 AM
    Why is that everyone here assumes that the Hoffmans are filing a civil suit so that they can "line their pockets" with taxpayer money? Do you know enough about this family or this young woman to know that's their intention? Perhaps there is more of a likelihood that any settlement received as a result of a civil action would be put towards education so that other young people get a clear picture of what happens when you step outside of the law. We live in a very litigous society and unargueably, mistakes were made by both TPD and Rachel Hoffman to which TPD has admitted and to which Rachel's parents are well aware of where their daughter is concerned. If an undercover police officer was involved in a sting operation and his fellow officers didn't have his back and he was slain by two known criminals like Bradshaw and Green, would we just say it was his fault? No, we say where the heck was his backup.
  • by Anonymous on Dec 7, 2010 at 07:22 AM
    Mary put your teeth in and go get a pint. Everything will be all right for all Taylor County redneck.
  • by PJ Location: USA on Dec 6, 2010 at 08:12 PM
    To Mary, I have a heart and an opinion. I was also raised to know that there are consequences for evil. You must be as intelligent as the rest of the people in Taylor County
  • by anonymous on Dec 6, 2010 at 07:24 PM
    the cops had no business sending her to do a drug deal with 2 criminals/drug dealers and they would have a gun. right away when green and bradshaw knew she was coming alone they knew it was a SET UP! TPD chief should be fired.
  • by TallyTrashTalks2 Location: Tallahassee on Dec 6, 2010 at 07:04 PM
    Rachel was her own enemy, not TPD. The girl made a conscious decision to be a drug user, seller, then did not listen or follow instructions as a CI. What pro-active measures did her parents take to help her off drugs? Where was all the parental concern BEFORE pushing for Rachel's Law after she died? If the parents receive money from a lawsuit and don't use every cent towards helping others in some form of drug rehabilitation, it will prove their true intentions were greed, not about justice for their child.
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