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$255,000 Jury Award for Man Beaten by IL Jail Guards After Judge Grants Remittitur

by Joe Watson

Donald Martin, Jr., had been awarded $780,000 in compensatory and punitive damages by a federal jury in July 2008 after he’d sued Cook County, Ill., Sheriff Michael Sheahan and the jail guards who had beaten him as a pre-trial detainee in 2006. But U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber reduced the award to $255,000 two months later when he granted the county’s motion for remittitur.

On March 12, 2006, Martin was severely beaten by guards at the Cook County Jail, where he was a pre-trial detainee. On July 21, 2006, Martin filed a complaint in U.S. District Court against Sheahan and several guards, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.S. § 1983. Martin made several claims, including excessive force, failure to intervene to prevent excessive force, and assault and battery.

A jury returned a verdict in favor of Martin on his assault and battery and failure to intervene to prevent excessive force claims, and awarded Martin a total of $780,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. Leinenweber reduced the total amount of damages to $255,000. See: Martin v. Sheahan, U.S.D.C. (N.D. Ill.), Case No. 1:06-CV-03946.

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Related legal case

Martin v. Sheahan