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Archive for September 28th, 2012

In an unsurprising decision, Judge Ronald Leighton declined to reverse himself on rulings he made during the civil trial in which a jury awarded $1 million to the parents of Douglas Ostling against the City of Bainbridge Island. Judge Leighton issued orders today denying the city’s motions for a Judgment as a Matter of Law and for a new trial.

The primary basis on which defense counsel for the city asked the court to invalidate the jury’s verdict and enter Judgment as a Matter of Law is that the jury exonerated Jeff Benkert, who shot and killed Douglas Ostling, and yet found the city liable. The city argued that under applicable case law, a jury cannot hold a municipality liable for constitutional violations as a result of the actions of its employees unless a particular, named employee is found to have violated the plaintiff’s constitutional rights. Because Officer Benkert was exonerated, the defense argued, the city cannot be held liable. (more…)

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