A three judge panel of the Superior Court of New Jersey’s Appellate Division ruled today that a 911 operator and her employer are not immune from liability. Today’s unamious rullng reversed the decision of trial court judge Charles Little who found in favor of the 911 operator Marie Cuparo and her employer, the City of Camden (N.J.).
In this case, a call came in to the 911 operator for the City of Camden describing an abduction in progress at the Ferry Avenue, Camden, Hi Speedline station parking lot. The operator said: “it sounds like a domestic dispute”. Incredibilty she never dispatched police officers who were 400 yards away.
Expert testimony revealed that had the call be properly entered in the computer, the officers would have gotten to the scene in time to prevent the abduction and eventual murder of 26 year old Christine Eberle. Instead of entering the call into the computer as she was required to do, she wrote it on a slip of paper and never dispatched the police.
The effect of today’s ruling is that the case wil be returned to the trial court in Camden County where it will proceed to a jury trial. Attorneys hailed the ruling, saying that Judge LIttle’s opinion was wrong and he should never have dismissed the case in the first place. Fortunately, the appeals court agreed. The murder occurred in November of 2001. Christine is surved by her parents, Linda and Charles Reis, her sister Mandy and brother C.J.