Brooklyn Jury Awards Court Attorney $1.8M For False Imprisonment & Battery Against Home Depot-On Appeal Reduced to $500,000
On August 3, 2022, an appeals court reduced a Brooklyn jury verdict of $1,800,000 awarded to a Queens County Court Attorney to $500,000. The Court Attorney had words with a female customer at Home Depot who then struck him. The female customer had been ejected from Home Depot moments before her altercation with the Court Attorney. The verbal argument resulted in an exchange of punches between the female customer, her boyfriend and the Court Attorney, all of whom departed the scene. A late arriving security guard accepted the female customer's account, promptly chased down the Court Attorney and pinned him against a fence until police arrived. Based on the complaint of the security guard, the Court Attorney was handcuffed, finger printed, imprisoned overnight and brought into Court (where he worked) the next morning for arraignment wearing an undershirt and jogging shorts. All charges were later dismissed - but the damage was done.
The Court Attorney explained that just before this incident he was applying for a nomination to campaign for a judgeship. He learned that his arrest was a "deal killer" because the arrest had to be disclosed on his application for the judiciary. His dream of becoming a judge was made next to impossible. The appellate court noted that the Court Attorney was "uniquely vulnerable to reputational harm" but that $500,000 for the past 10 years was fair and reasonable compensation for his pain, anguish and reputational harm. John Doe v Home Depot, 172 NYS 3d 474