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ARTICLE ID 190349

$________ JURY – PERSONAL NEGLIGENCE – MISIDENTIFICATION LEADS TO WRONGFUL ARREST FOR ARMED ROBBERY AND MALICIOUS PROSECUTION – LOSS OF INCOME – EMOTIONAL INJURIES – NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES ONLY – PREVIOUS NON-JURY TRIAL RESULTS IN ADDITIONAL $________ IN ECONOMIC DAMAGES.

Palm Beach County, FL

This action was tried against a woman whom the plaintiff claimed maliciously identified him as the man who robbed her at gunpoint and demanded her money, resulting in his wrongful arrest and prosecution. The City of Boca Raton, where the arrest occurred, and two police officers settled the plaintiff’s claims prior to trial. The remaining defendant, who falsely identified the plaintiff, did not answer the complaint and was placed in default. The case was previously tried in a non-jury trial with a $________ economic damage award and a small non-economic damage award. The defendant appealed and her appeal was granted because she never waived her right to a jury trial. The appellate court found that the defendant had a right to a jury trial on non-economic damages and this second trial by jury was ordered on non-economic damages only.

The plaintiff testified that he was relaxing in his home on June 17, ________, when police arrived at his door. The defendant was called to the scene and positively identified the plaintiff as the man who had robbed her at gunpoint and taken an unknown amount of cash from her. The robbery allegedly occurred at a nearby shopping center where the defendant worked as a waitress.

The plaintiff argued that the armed robber was described as wearing a scarf over his face, six feet tall, in his 30s, with a light beard. The plaintiff, on the other hand, was 51 and was clean-shaven as proven by the booking photograph taken by police shortly after the incident. The plaintiff maintained that the defendant was never robbed and made up the entire event so that she could sue the shopping center for negligent security.

The plaintiff alleged that the defendant was malicious in identifying him. The plaintiff also claimed that the police were negligent in believing the defendant’s story, failing to perform any investigation and hiding K-9 training records. The plaintiff claimed that the training records showed the K-9 dog that led the police to the plaintiff’s home had an injury to his nose that prevented him from tracking properly and tainted the defendant’s witness identification.

The plaintiff was arrested for armed robbery. He spent four days in jail, was placed on electronic monitoring while the case was pending and was prosecuted for one year. The criminal case against the plaintiff was ultimately dismissed after the court ruled the K-9 track inadmissible and indicated that it would preclude the identification of the plaintiff.

The plaintiff contended that the defendant’s identification was instrumental in his arrest and prosecution. The plaintiff was employed as an insurance salesman at the time of his arrest and he held various securities licenses with the state. He alleged that the arrest and prosecution worsened a preexisting obsessive-compulsive disorder to the point that he was not able to function in life.

The plaintiff argued that he had overcome his disorder and was very successful until the arrest and subsequent prosecution destroyed him emotionally. The plaintiff claimed that he lost his job because he was charged with a felony and he had difficulty finding employment as a result of the felony arrest. The plaintiff never returned to full time employment.The jury found for the plaintiff in the amount of $________. The court added the prior $________ economic damage award resulting in a judgment against the defendant in the amount of $________.

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