Both sides in the contentious civil case pitting Jordan Miles against three police officers filed motions Monday arguing that a March jury verdict should be dramatically altered.
Mr. Miles' attorney asked U.S. District Judge David S. Cercone to change the jury's verdict in favor of the officers on an excessive force count, potentially triggering additional damages for the 22-year-old man whose face was famously swollen following his arrest on Jan. 12, 2010.
Attorneys for officers Richard Ewing, Michael Saldutte and David Sisak, meanwhile, asked the judge to "mold" the verdict against their clients on the false arrest count from $119,016 down to $8,415.
The officers' attorneys noted that the city of Pittsburgh in 2012 paid Mr. Miles, 22, of Homewood, $75,000 to settle claims that it inadequately trained and supervised the defendants. The settlement agreement, they wrote, called for "a dollar-for-dollar credit ... against any verdict or fee petitioned against the officers which the city is being required to pay."
They also argued that the jury considered in its verdict $41,016 of medical bills incurred by Mr. Miles, but the bills were reduced by his insurer to $35,601. That reduction should be subtracted from the verdict, they wrote, leaving $8,415.
"In my brief review of the filing, it looks to me like the defense lawyers think they can read the jury's mind," said Joel Sansone, attorney for Mr. Miles.
He filed a motion arguing to Judge Cercone that if the arrest was false, as the jury found, then the force had to be excessive. The jury exonerated the officers on the excessive force count.
If Judge Cercone changes the excessive force verdict to one of liability on the part of the officers, he can schedule a hearing on damages, Mr. Sansone said. In the alternative, he can order a new trial on the excessive force count.
Mr. Sansone wrote in his motion that Judge Cercone "refused to permit ... testimony from a witness discovered by and proffered by the Plaintiff late in the Plaintiff's case-in-chief at trial in this matter," adding that the details were under seal.
Attorney Bryan Campbell, who represents Officer Saldutte, said it would be almost inconceivable for the judge to set aside the jury's verdict on the excessive force count.
Rich Lord: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord.