Choose throws out $85m awarded by jury to household in police beating lawsuit

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A federal choose has thrown out an $85m lawsuit award over the loss of life of a southern California man who was overwhelmed, hogtied and shocked with a stun gun by sheriff’s deputies in 2015.

US District Choose Marilyn Huff stated on Wednesday that the March award by a federal jury in a civil rights lawsuit introduced by the household of Fortunate Phounsy towards San Diego county couldn’t be supported by the trial proof, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

“The scale of the jury’s wrongful loss of life award is much out of proportion to the proof and signifies that the jury might have impermissibly included within the award some measure of plaintiffs’ emotional misery, or some quantity meant to punish defendants,” the choose wrote in a 75-page ruling.

On the time, it was the nation’s largest civil rights award for a custody loss of life.

In her ruling, Huff declined to order a brand new trial and upheld findings of extreme pressure and negligence. Nonetheless, a brand new trial will nonetheless be wanted to resolve how a lot cash the county ought to pay.

The county declined to touch upon the choice, the Union-Tribune stated.

The case was tried twice in federal courtroom. In September 2021, a jury deadlocked and couldn’t attain a verdict. At a second trial held in March, after solely a day of deliberation, the jury discovered the county liable and awarded Phounsy’s household $85m.

Phounsy, 32, died after a confrontation with practically a dozen San Diego county sheriff’s deputies, together with one who later served jail time for assaulting ladies whereas on responsibility.

Kinfolk stated Phounsy was struggling a psychological well being disaster.

Phounsy was hogtied, shocked with a stun gun and restrained on the Santee house of a relative on 13 April 2015. Phounsy’s coronary heart stopped on the way in which to the hospital. He was resuscitated, however died a number of days later.

The county medical expert concluded his loss of life was unintended and the results of the lengthy wrestle with deputies, mixed with the consequences of the drug ecstasy he had taken a number of days earlier than.

However legal professionals for the household disputed that conclusion and argued that the conduct of the deputies induced him to suffocate.

They pointed to deputies’ binding Phounsy’s fingers and ankles in restraints, failing to observe his very important indicators and persevering with to restrain him when one deputy forcibly held his head down whereas he was in an ambulance.


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