$57 Million in Civil Rights Case

$57 Million in Civil Rights Case

Geoffrey Fieger recently won the largest verdict in Indiana history in the case of Moreland v Dieter et al. A jury awarded the $56.5 million verdict May 9, 2002 on a civil rights claim involving a death in a jail cell. Christopher Moreland, 30, was arrested in the early morning of Oct. 5, 1997 for suspicion of driving while intoxicated. While he was housed in the St. Joseph County Jail in South Bend, a jailer sprayed him in the face with the powerful OC 10, known to be 10 times stronger than pepper spray. The jailers also choked him and slammed his head against a concrete bench. Testimony revealed that two other jail deputies then took Moreland to the showers where they doused him with hot water, magnifying the effect of the OC 10, then restrained him and sprayed him again in the face. Then, they threw him back into the showers causing him to hit his head and suffer a subdural hematoma. Moreland, naked and unconscious, was later pronounced dead. The deputies were acquitted of federal criminal charges, but Moreland's family hired Fieger Law to file a civil suit. The firm sued deputies and the county jail, alleging they violated Moreland's civil rights under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act. A jury agreed and awarded a record $56.5 million verdict.

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