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Click above to hear the 3:30 pm breaking news report today on the $36.6 million jury award in Detroit federal court for an inmate allegedly beaten at the Genesee County Jail in September of 2010.
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November 3, 2016
Posted on November 3, 2016
Jury awards $3.6 million to inmate allegedly beaten by deputies at Genesee County Jail in 2010
DETROIT — A federal court jury awarded a staggering $36.6 million Thursday in a case involving an inmate at the Genesee CountyJail who alleged he was severely beaten by four deputies and a lieutenant.
The five law enforcement officers accused in the excessive force lawsuit are current and former employees of the Genesee County Sheriff's Department who were held personally responsible along with the department being named in the case.
The verdict came down Thursday after two days of deliberations by a jury that listened to 2 1/2 weeks of testimony in the case.
Plaintiff William Jennings alleged that he was beaten at the jail after a drunken driving arrest. The lawsuit alleged that Jennings briefly removed his hand from a wall during a booking room patdown at the jail, and was then smashed into a concrete wall by a deputy twice his size. The lawsuit said Jennings was then slammed against a metal bench and pinned to the ground. He was originally charged after a nine-minute incident, then filed a lawsuit after charges against him were dropped. He was represented in the case by attorneys Dean D. Elliott of Royal Oak and Kevin S. Ernst of Detroit.
The lawsuit alleges that Jennings suffered a trauma induced caterac in one eye, a torn rotator cuff, broken facial bones, nerve damage in one of his hands and a chipped tooth.
The defendants contended Jennings became aggressive, but his lawyers rejected that allegation and the eight-member jury concluded that they used excessive force against Jennings and awarded him past damages of $10.42 million and future damages of $7.21 million while awarding punitive damages of $5 million against Patrick Fuller, $5 million against David Kename, $4 million against Mark Wing, $3 million against Jason White, $2 million against Robert Nickolls.
Nickolls was a lieutenant at the time of the September 2010 incident and the four others were deputies.
U.S. District Judge Avern Cohn presided over the case where Jennings claimed unreasonable seizure and excessive use of force in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell did not return a telephone call seeking comment about the jury decision. The county was represented by William Rising and Christopher J. Scott of the Pluckett-Cooney law firm. Rising and Scott also failed to return telephone calls prior to this story being published.
You can click at right to hear the 3:30 pm CCN News Break report about the case on CCN Radio.
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