Florida deputies to be tried for shooting disabled man

law news, legal news, verdict, settlementThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that two Brevard County Deputy Sheriffs must stand trial for their shooting of an unarmed man inside his home, when family members asked law enforcement officers to Baker Act the disabled man. The appellate panel, consisting of Circuit Judges Adalberto Jordan, Britt Grant, and Frank Hull, reversed an order granting summary judgment in favor of the officers, finding that significant factual issues must be decided by the jury. The deputies fired thirteen bullets at the victim, eleven of which went through a closed door with the victim standing inside his home where he lived alone snice his elderly parents died two months earlier. Eight bullets struck Christopher Greer through the closed door, resulting in his fatal injuries at the scene. The case will now return to the District Court for the Middle District of Florida for a jury trial on the Civil Rights and excessive force counts.

The Eleventh Circuit held that “the task of weighing the credibility of police testimony against other evidence is the stuff of which jury trials are made.”

Plaintiff’s counsel and National Trial Lawyers members Douglas R. Beam and Riley H. Beam of Douglas R. Beam, P.A.  Benedict P. Kuehne and Michael T. Davis, of Kuehne Davis Law, P.A., and Marjorie Gadarian Graham issued a statement that “police shootings of innocent citizens are on the rise, and we applaud the Eleventh Circuit’s directive that juries are well-suited to the task of deciding whether the police are in fact responsible when using excessive force.” As the Eleventh Circuit explained, the “clearly established law” is that shooting a person through a closed door who has done nothing threatening and never posed an immediate danger violates the Fourth Amendment to be free from the use of excessive force.”

Plaintiff’s counsel are anxious to “bring this outrageous police shooting to a jury to hold the Brevard Sheriff’s Office responsible for this senseless disregard of a decent man’s life.”

Video: The Supreme Court’s ruling on employee arbitration

Opponents of arbitration suffered a setback at the Supreme Court Monday when the justices ruled 5-4 that companies can force employees into individual arbitration instead of taking collective action. The ruling could affect up to 25 million employment contracts, and gives employers the right to decide wage dispute and other possible issues like job discrimination in arbitration instead of litigation, according to The Washington Post. Robert Barnes with The Washington Post explains the significance of the ruling in this video.

Federal and State Courts Deny Daubert and Kemp Motions and Set Stage for Abilify Trials Over Compulsive Behaviors

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida’s Chief Judge M. Casey Rodgers has released a redacted version of its January 22, 2018 order denying summary judgment against plaintiffs’ claims that the drug Abilify caused them to engage in compulsive behaviors. The plaintiffs, led on the issue by the national trial firm Robins Kaplan LLP® with significant contributions from other MDL leadership counsel, defeated defendants’ arguments that the cases lacked a credible scientific basis. The federal court denied defendants’ motion to exclude with respect to plaintiffs’ leading experts, finding “most of plaintiffs’ evidence on general causation – including epidemiology (i.e., Etminan Study), background risk, biological plausibility, disproportionality analyses, in vivo and in vitro studies, voluminous case and adverse event reports (including dose-response, dechallenge and recehallenge events), FDA materials, defendants’ investigative findings, and plaintiffs’ experts Bradford-Hill and weight-of-the-evidence analyses – satisfies Rule 702 and Daubert…” The decision clears the way for a bellwether trial against defendants Bristol-Myers Squibb, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. and Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc., scheduled for June 2018 in Pensacola.

Robins Kaplan also represents approximately 50 plaintiffs in state court in New Jersey before Judge James DeLuca. On January 24, 2018, Judge DeLuca issued an order denying defendants’ Kemp motions. Judge DeLuca found as well that plaintiffs’ experts had a sound scientific basis for their opinions that Abilify causes compulsive gambling and compulsive behaviors. Defendants have sought permission from the appellate court to file an interlocutory appeal of that decision.

“We’re thankful to the courts for their close attention to this case, and look forward to trying these claims before Florida and New Jersey juries beginning in June,” said Tara Sutton, partner and chair of the Mass Tort practice at Robins Kaplan, which serves as lead counsel to the New Jersey plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs in the 700-plus federal court cases and 50-plus New Jersey cases allege that taking Abilify, a treatment for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression which is also prescribed off-label, led them to engage in compulsive gambling, compulsive shopping, hypersexuality, and binge eating. Robins Kaplan has also been appointed to the leadership team in the federal multidistrict litigation (MDL), which involves nearly 600 plaintiffs.

In the MDL proceeding, Sutton, who was lead counsel in the Daubert hearing, also serves on the Joint Settlement Committee, Gary Wilson serves as co-lead counsel and serves on the Executive Committee, and Munir Meghjee was named Plaintiffs’ Federal/State Liaison counsel.

The New Jersey litigation is Jonathan Yun v. Bristol-Myers Squibb, et al., pending before Judge James J. DeLuca, and the MDL is In re Abilify (Aripiprazole Products Liability Litigation, MDL no. 2734), pending before the Hon. Chief Judge M. Casey Rodgers.

In addition to Sutton, Wilson, and Meghjee, other Robins Kaplan attorneys representing the plaintiffs in these matters include National Women’s Trial Lawyers Association member Rayna KesslerJulie Reynolds Eric Lindenfeld, and Jason DePauw.

Rodgers Daubert decision redacted public version[2][4][1]