Court upholds dismissal of lawsuit filed by Eagle Nation hostage widow

CHICAGO (WBAY) - An United States Appeals Court has upheld a decision to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a man shot and killed by police during a standoff at a Neenah motorcycle shop.

Theresa Mason-Funk and the Estate of her husband, Michael L. Funk, brought a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Neenah and Officers Craig Hoffer and Robert Ross

Michael Funk was shot by Officers Hoffer and Ross after escaping a hostage situation at Eagle Nation Cycles on Dec. 5, 2015.

The hostage taker, Brian Flatoff, had exchanged fire with police during the standoff.

Funk was armed when he escaped the shop.

An investigation stated Officer Hoffer and Officer Ross were justified in their use of deadly force. The Winnebago County District Attorney declined to file charges against the officers.

Funk's widow filed suit seeking damages from the city for her husband's death.

The city asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed. On Nov. 1, 2017, Judge William Griesbach, of the Eastern District of Wisconsin, issued an order granting that motion.

Funk asked the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh District to review the lower court's ruling.

On July 10, the appeals court affirmed Judge Griesbach's decision.

Click here to read the Appeals Court decision.

"Simply put, the facts in this case and existing precedent failed to put Officers Hoffer and Ross on notice that their use of deadly force, without a warning, on an armed individual in a dangerous hostage situation was unlawful. The officers did not violate a clearly established right and they are entitled to qualified immunity," reads the appeals court decision.

Hostage taker Brian Flatoff was convicted of Felony Murder for putting into motion the events that led to Funk's death. A jury also found him guilty of 13 other charges related to the standoff.

A judge sentenced Flatoff to 100 years in prison.



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