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$79,000 Settlement in Washington State Excessive Force/Unlawful Arrest Suit

On March 25, 2008, the City of Bremerton, Washington, and Bremerton Police Officer William Cook settled an unlawful arrest and excessive force lawsuit for $79,000.

Cook arrested Melissa Scott, a U.S. government employee, for littering after she refused to obey Cook’s order to pick up a bag of trash. Cook handcuffed Scott, put her in the back of his patrol car and transported her to jail where she was released without being charged with a crime. Cook allegedly put the handcuffs on so tight that they injured her wrists and required bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome surgery. He also allegedly refused her access to her asthma inhaler, causing her to be ill in the back seat of the car, and slammed on the brakes for no reason multiple times during the trip to the jail, throwing her against the back of the front seat and causing neck and shoulder strains.

Scott filed a civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. sec. 1983 in state court seeking $30,000, including $4,400 in medical expenses and $600 in lost wages. The-defendants offered a $5,000 pretrial settlement. After a four-day trial, the jury awarded her $7,500. Scott filed a posttrial motion for additur and attorney fees. Defendants then settled the case for $49,900 in attorney fees and a damage award of $29,100 for a total of $79,000. Scott was represented by Silverdale attorneys Andrew Williams and Steve Franklin. See: Scott v. City of Bremerton, Kitsap Co. Super. Ct., No. 05-2-531-1. Source: Northwest Personal Injury Reports.

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Related legal case

Scott v. City of Bremerton