CA2: Judgment on liability for bogus stop and frisk was not error; $196k verdict affirmed

Plaintiffs were two teenagers stopped by police for one vaguely matching the description of one of two robbers. One of them refused to put his phone away when the officer ordered him three times not to. At a § 1983 trial, one received judgment for $115,000 for false arrest and $100,000 for excessive force. The latter verdict was remitted down to $81,500. The district court properly granted judgment as a matter of law on liability because the detention and arrest was without legal justification. “First, no reasonable officer could have believed that there was reasonable suspicion to stop Elting under the circumstances. Second, no reasonable officer could have believed that there was probable cause to arrest Elting for obstruction of governmental administration on the facts presented.” Therefore, no qualified immunity. The verdicts were not excessive. Dancy v. McGinley, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21753 (2d Cir. Dec. 7, 2016).

Plaintiff was accused of insurance fraud after a burglary at his house when he was on vacation. Ultimately he was prosecuted, but the case was dropped by the state. He sued the insurance company and others alleging bad faith prosecution and that there was an illegal search based on bogus information at a storage unit where a bunch of his stuff was found. Because he claimed no connection to the storage unit, there wasn’t any violation of his rights, and the case was properly dismissed for lack of standing. Pittman v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 21610 (11th Cir. Dec. 5, 2016).*

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