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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Seattle Loses Police Misconduct Lawsuit Appeal


Jonah at The Stranger reports that a federal judge has denied the city of Seattle's appeal in the Bradford v. City of Seattle case which found in favor of Bradford who was wrongfully arrested and hit by an SPD officer in 2006.

A jury awarded the Boys and Girls Club volunteer $268,000 in the case and the city of Seattle appealed. But now it appears that the city will have to pay about $553,000, which nearly doubles the original award, in order to cover additional attorney fees associated with the case and appeals process.

The additional costs are so high, in part, because the city is required to pay for a private law firm under a no-bid contract to defend officers accused of misconduct instead of using it's own lawyers to defend officers due to a contractual agreement with the Seattle Police Officer's Guild. It was previously estimated here, and later in the mainstream press, that the appeal would ultimately double the city's cost for the lawsuit when the city's private law firm announced it's intent to appeal on behalf of the city, this now appears to have been the case.

This case marks the sixth police misconduct related settlement or loss that the city has had to pay out in the last 12 months and several more federal civil rights lawsuits are reportedly in the works against the city and it's police department. The approximate total for those suits appears to be close to a million dollars when the city's legal fees are added to the calculations:(...the number climbs to a million dollars when you add the $76,000 the city has paid it's private law firm to help an SPD officer with his own numerous legal battles)

2 comments:

SusanK said...

While it is frustrating that the city insists on appealing its losses, thereby delaying payment for those wronged by it, here is a fact to keep in mind:
Each time the city loses on appeal, the legal reasoning behind the city's loss becomes binding precedent in a way that a lower court decision does not. Then, when the city is (inevitably sued again), the presiding judge (and the plaintiff's lawyer) have a clear roadmap of what needs to be proven in order to succeed. This ends up being a very good thing for citizens.

Packratt said...

Susan,

Thanks for the info and for the small window of sunshine you brought me today. I appreciate it!

 
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