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New Trial Ordered in NY False Arrest and Beating Suit

The jury found that the plaintiff had been falsely arrested and detained and had been the object of excessive force, but awarded only $1.00 in nominal damages.

If the evidence shows that a plaintiff's injuries were caused by excessive force, the failure to award compensatory damages is cause for a new trial. Here there was no possibility that the plaintiff's injuries were caused by justified force because the jury's finding of false arrest means that no force was justified, even in self-defense; if the plaintiff had attacked the officers, the jury could not have found for him on the false arrest claim.

At 104: "A beating severe enough to leave marks is sufficient proof of a compensable injury."

The court directs a new trial on liability and damages, since the closeness of the liability issue and the inconsistent verdict suggests that the verdict may have been a compromise. See: Atkins v. New York City, 143 F.3d 100 (2nd Cir. 1998).

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Related legal case

Atkins v. New York City