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Ware v. Brown

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

December 20, 2017

GLENN D. WARE, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL BROWN, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PAUL R. CHERRY MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Defendant's Motion for New Trial [DE 152], filed by Defendant Michael Brown on December 1, 2017. For the reasons stated below, the Court denies the motion.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The parties orally agreed on the record to have this case assigned to a United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all further proceedings and to order the entry of a final judgment in this case. Therefore, this Court has jurisdiction to decide this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).

         On September 25-27, 2017, a jury trial was held in this litigation on Plaintiff Glenn D. Ware's claims of civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claimed that Defendant used excessive force, conducted an unreasonable search, and retaliated against Plaintiff's exercise of free speech.

         The Court instructed the jury as follows regarding compensatory and nominal damages:

If you find in favor of Plaintiff Glenn Ware, then you must determine the amount of money that will fairly compensate him for any injury that you find he sustained as a direct result of Michael Brown's actions. These are called compensatory damages. . . .
You should consider the following types of compensatory damages and no others:
1. The reasonable value of medical care and supplies . . . .
2. The physical and emotional pain and suffering . . . .
If you find in favor of Glenn Ware but find that he has failed to prove compensatory damages, you must return a verdict for him in the amount of one dollar ($1.00).

         (Final Jury Instr. No. 23, ECF No. 141). The Court also instructed the jury on punitive damages.

         The jury returned verdicts in favor of Defendant on the excessive force and unreasonable search claims. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff on the free speech claim and awarded $7, 500 in damages, which the Court determined in an Opinion and Order dated November 3, 2017, reflects a $1 nominal damages award and a $7, 499 punitive damages award.

         Defendant filed the instant motion on December 1, 2017. Plaintiff did not file a response ...


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