A federal bankruptcy judge has given a grieving mother the green light to proceed with her lawsuit against the City of Detroit over her daughter's death, making her the first such plaintiff to successfully challenge a stay order that has frozen more than 500 lawsuits because of the bankruptcy.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes lifted the stay order — with conditions — on Tuesday for Deborah Ryan of Canton, who is suing the Detroit Police Department over the 2009 shooting death of her daughter, a police officer. Ryan's lawsuit alleges the police department failed to protect her daughter from an unstable husband. Her daughter, Patricia (Katie) Williams, was a Detroit police officer who was shot and killed in September 2009 in a murder-suicide by her husband, who also was a police officer in the Detroit homicide unit.
Rhodes agreed to let Ryan's lawsuit proceed after both sides in the case hashed out an agreement to let the case move forward. In his order, Rhodes wrote that relief from the stay "is granted solely to the extent necessary to allow the lawsuit to proceed to a final non-appealable judgment."