News Details

Defense Verdict in Case of Skull Fracture of Unknown Origin

Trial attorneys and partners Mildred K. O'Linn and Tony Sain, along with associates Kayleigh McGuiness and Lynn Carpenter, secured a defense victory for Manhattan Beach officers in allegations of excessive force stemming from a traffic stop that ended in a fatality.

The decedent, who was pulled over because of erratic driving, ran away from a traffic stop, into a dark alley; ignoring commands from the officer to stop running, remove his hands from his waistband, and get to the ground. When the decedent slowed to a fast walk, continued to ignore commands, and made a gesture toward his waistband, the officer, who did not know if the man was armed, responded by using a TASER.

The officer only used his TASER once. When the arrestee fell to the ground, he did not hit his head, yet it was later determined that he had a skull fracture. Medical experts for both sides disagreed as to when and how the fracture occurred.  The arrestee received immediate medical attention, yet unfortunately passed away 14 days later.  Plaintiffs directed blame for the man's demise at the arresting officers.  Plaintiff's counsel originally asked for $12M in damages, based on their ability to cast uncertainty on the medical theories that could make sense of what had happened.

Trial started March 21, and lasted one full week. Jury deliberations were split between the course of two days. They returned with  a full defense verdict for the two officers.