N.J. Court Rejects Insurer’s Argument, Rules Missing Man Not Liable for Cop’s Injury

July 18, 2013

A New Jersey state appellate court has ruled that a man who went missing in northern New Jersey is not financially responsible for the injuries suffered by a police officer who was hurt while trying to find him.

The Star-Ledger reports that the ruling made public Tuesday rejected an insurer’s attempt to recover more than $43,810 in workers’ compensation funds paid to the Chester Township police officer.

The New Jersey Intergovernmental Insurance Fund, on behalf of the township, had sued Dane Almassy and two friends to obtain the payments. The insurer claimed their “negligence” caused officer James Carkhuff’s knee injury.

But the appeals panel upheld a state Superior Court decision, which found Almassy had no “care of duty” for the officer. The lower court also noted that searches for missing persons have traditionally been “a cost inherent in providing police services.”

Almassy was reported missing after he wandered off from a limousine in 2006. He was later found in his friends’ nearby home.

When Carkhuff went to the home, he was told Almassy wasn’t there. The officer then injured his knee while searching for Almassy.

Authorities were later told that Almassy was in the home, but had been hiding in the basement without his friends’ knowledge. A phone number for Almassy could not be located Tuesday afternoon.

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