An elderly black man was awarded $100 million in a massive settlement after he was paralyzed from the neck down following a fall caused by an Atlanta police officer who struck him with a stun gun in what his attorneys describe as excessive use of the strength.
Stun gun left man paralyzed from the neck down, causing $14 million in medical bills
Officer Grubbs was found to have used unreasonable force and a federal jury awarded the plea to Blasingame, who is now paralyzed from the neck down.
nbc news reports Jerry Blasingame, 69, now in need of 24-hour care at a cost of $1 million a year, has already racked up $14 million in medical bills since the 2018 incident that left him unable to walk, he told the jury. attorney Ven Johnson.
Blasingame was 65 years old on July 10, 2018, and was reportedly “begging” when he sustained the spinal cord injury after Officer Jon Grubbs electrocuted him during a foot chase.
A jury awarded $100 million today to this man, Jerry Blasingame, due to a serious spinal cord injury he suffered from a @Atlanta_Police The officer electrocuted him from behind as he ran away, his attorney says.@Georgia_NAACP @AbogadoGriggs believes this will set a precedent.@11AliveNews pic.twitter.com/yhrlSe26C5
— White Dawn (@DawnWhiteNews) August 26, 2022
WXIA-TV and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that juries determined the Atlanta Police Department should pay $60 million, while Grubbs should pay $40 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
However, the city has since filed a motion for a direct verdict, in which a judge’s ruling could change the jury’s verdict.
Online records show Judge Steve Jones has yet to rule on that motion as of Monday.
The officer had no fear for his safety and the victim had not committed a felony, according to the jury.
Before deliberations, Judge Jones ruled that jurors could reasonably find that Grubbs had used excessive force, adding that they could also consider the city’s argument, according to NBC news.
Jurors ultimately found that Officer Grubbs did not fear for his safety and that Blasingame had not been committing a serious crime before he was electrocuted, so his forceful response was not warranted.
“The search would enable the jury to determine that Mr. Blasingame had not committed a felony before he was booked / that Officer Grubbs did not fear for his safety / and that the compelling circumstances were not so serious as to allow Officer Grubbs use of force,” Jones wrote Friday.
Congratulations to Ven Johnson Law attorneys Ven Johnson and Ayanna Hatchett and local co-counsel Darren Tobin who today won a record $100 million verdict for our client, Jerry Blasingame.
— Ven Johnson Law (@VenFights) August 26, 2022
The lawsuit is the result of Blasingame’s guardian, Keith Edwards, suing the city of Atlanta and the officer in question for costs to cover past and future medical bills.
Blasingame will spend the rest of his life in a residential facility requiring 24-hour care, his attorneys say.
The victim’s lawsuit is one of less than 1% of cases that go to jury trial
The case is one of a small handful of civil lawsuits to go to trial, with data collected by US district courts showing that less than one percent of federal lawsuits end up in front of a jury.
Civil rights attorney Craig Jones told the Journal-Constitution that “sometimes that’s the only way they can be resolved.”
“While only a small percentage of lawsuits actually go to a jury trial, sometimes that’s the only way they can be resolved,” civil rights attorney Craig Jones told the outlet.
The Blasingame case comes just days after a special prosecutor announced that he would not criminally prosecute two other Atlanta police officers who were involved in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks, who was killed by police after taking one of their Tasers. outside a Wendy’s in 2020. the newspaper reports.