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$8.2 Million Awarded for Florida Malicious Prosecution

A Florida federal jury awarded a former employee of Brinks, Inc.
$8,261,050 for malicious prosecution by Brinks' failure to provide
complete information and withholding important evidence from the police
regarding a theft. In 1996, while plaintiff was an employee of Brinks,
$350,000 in cash was discovered missing from Brinks' Palm Beach facility.
Using surveillance video of the plaintiff and co-workers in the hours just
prior to the cash being reported missing, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's
Department arrested the plaintiff for the theft.

The plaintiff was jailed for six months before he was tried and
acquitted of the charges in June of 1997. The plaintiff then sued Brinks,
alleging it caused a malicious prosecution by only showing police select
portions of two of 23 available camera angles. He claimed there were
other camera angles that would have exonerated him.

A former Brinks manager testified that Brinks' security director did not
want the loss documented in Miami, where the shipment originated, because
he was already facing unacceptable losses in that city. Only information
directing the police investigation to Palm Beach was provided to police.
The security director showed police an overhead view of Brinks' check-in
counter with the plaintiff handing bags to the cashier. Time-lapse video
showed one frame with a moneybag on the counter and another frame with the
money not on the counter. The security director told police, that's
where he takes the money.

The plaintiff claimed that other surveillance tapes showed the moneybags
at issue being placed in Brinks' vault, but that was not shown to police.
After plaintiff's criminal trial, one of the surveillance tapes was lost.
In rendering its verdict in this civil case, the jury specifically found
there was bad faith on the part of Brinks regarding the missing tape.
The $4,000,000 punitive damage award included in the verdict shows the
jury was outraged at Brinks' part in sending a man to jail for six months
for a crime he did not commit. No doubt the conditions of the Palm Beach
County Detention Center had an impact on that award.

The plaintiff testified he lived in a very small, overcrowded area
with 40 men and was involved in several confrontations. The exercise area
was covered, so he had no direct sunlight for six months. Additionally,
the open eating, sleeping and bathroom facilities were unsanitary. The
food was of very bad quality. The plaintiff alleged emotional and
financial damages from his stay in jail.

On October 3, 2003, after a six-day trial, the jury awarded plaintiff
$8,261,050, including $4,000,000 in punitive damages. He was represented
by Daren Stabinski and Todd Stabinski in Miami and Pamela Beckman in North
Miami Beach. See: Martinez v. Brinks, Inc., USDC, Southern District of
Florida, Case No: 01-8393CW.

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Related legal case

Martinez v. Brinks, Inc.