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Spinks v. County of Los Angeles

United States District Court, Ninth Circuit

July 29, 2013

JAMES L. SPINKS, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT, Deputy ERMINA McKELVY #413287, individually and as a peace officer, DEPUTY MARK COLLINS #515592, individually and as a peace officer, Sgt. CHRIS MEADOWS #434144, individually and as a peace officer, individually and as a peace officer, DOES 1-10. Defendants.

JUDGMENT ON SPECIAL VERDICT

JOHN F. WALTER, District Judge.

This action came on regularly for trial by jury on July 16, 2013, in Courtroom "16" of the United States District Court, Central District of California, Western Division, The Honorable John F. Walter presiding, with attorney Thomas E. Beck appearing for Plaintiff JAMES L. SPINKS, appearing in person. Defendants Deputy ERMINA McKELVY, DEPUTY MARK COLLINS, and, SGT. CHRIS MEADOWS, appearing in person and by and through Thomas C. Hurrell, Esq., and Mariam Kaloustian, Esq.; a jury of eight persons duly empaneled and sworn; witnesses testified; evidence was received; and after being duly instructed by the court, the jury deliberated and thereon returned the following special verdict.

WE, THE JURY, in the above-entitled action now reach our unanimous verdict on the following questions submitted to us:

1. Did plaintiff James Spinks prove by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant Ermina McKelvy violated his First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution?

Please answer Question 2 only if you answered "YES" Question 1. If you answered "NO" as to all defendants in Question No. 1, please skip to Question No. 4.

4. Did plaintiff James Spinks prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he was unlawfully seized by the defendants for an investigatory stop in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution?

Please answer separately as to each defendant:

Please answer Question 5 only if you answered "yes" as to any defendant in response to Question 4. if you answered "No" as to all defendants in Question No. 4, please skip to Question No. 6.

5. Was defendant(s) unlawful seizure of plaintiff for an investigatory stop a substantial factor in causing injury to plaintiff James Spinks?

(Only provide a response as to the defendant(s) that you answered "YES" to in Question No. 4.)

Please answer separately as to each defendant:

Please answer Question No. 6.

6. Did plaintiff James Spinks prove by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant(s) arrested him without probable cause in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution?

Please answer separately as to each defendant:

Please answer Question No. 7 only if you answered "YES" as to any defendant in response to Question No. 6. If you answered "NO" as to all defendants in Question No. 6, please skip to Question No. 8.

7. Was defendant(s)' arrest without probable cause a substantial factor in causing injury to plaintiff James Spinks?

(Only provide a response as to the defendant(s) that you answered "YES" to in Question No. 6.)

Please answer separately as to each defendant:

Please answer Question No. 8.

8. Did plaintiff James Spinks prove by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant(s) used excessive force against him in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution?

Please answer separately as to each defendant:

Please answer Question No. 9 only if you answered "YES" as to any defendant in response to Question No. 8. If you answered "NO" as to all defendants in Question No. 8, please skip to Question No. 10.

9. Was defendant(s)' use of excessive force a substantial factor in causing injury to plaintiff James Spinks?

(Only provide a response as to the defendant(s) that you answered "YES" to in Question No. 8.)

Please answer separately as to each defendant:

Please answer Question No. 10 only if you answered "YES" as to any defendants in Questions Nos. 3, 5, 7, or 9. Otherwise, please answer no further questions, and have the foreperson sign and date this form.

10. What amount of damages, if any, did James Spinks sustain which was caused by defendants?

a. Past noneconomic loss, including physical pain and mental suffering: $100, 000.00

b. Future noneconomic loss, including physical pain and mental suffering: $100, 000.00 c. Past medical expenses $ 4, 500.00 TOTAL: $204, 500.00

Please answer Question No. 11 only if you answered "YES" as to any defendant in Questions No. 3, 5, 7, or 9.

11. Did plaintiff James Spinks prove by a preponderance of the evidence that defendant(s) engaged in conduct toward him with malice, oppression, or reckless disregard?

Please answer separately as to each defendant:

Please answer Question No. 12 only if you answered "YES" as to any defendant in Question No. 11. Otherwise, please answer no further questions, and have the foreperson sign and date this form.

12. What amount of punitive damages, if any, do you award against each defendant in favor of plaintiff James Spinks?

Please answer only as to defendant(s) you have answered "YES" to in question No. 11.

a. Ermina McKelvy ______________ b. Mark Collins $1000 c. Chris Meadows $0.00

Please date, sign, and return this verdict form.

The Court also having granted partial summary judgment by its order of November 8, 2011, Document 54, dismissing Plaintiff's malicious prosecution, conspiracy, Monell and torts in essence claims, and having dismissed Plaintiff's supplemental state law tort claims on July 29, 2013,

THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED:

1. That judgment be, and hereby is, entered in favor of Plaintiff James Spinks and against Defendants Ermina McKelvy, Mark Collins and Christian Meadows, jointly and severally;
2. That the Plaintiff take damages pursuant the verdict; and
3. That the Plaintiff recover his costs of suit, including attorneys fees to be awarded herein.

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