On December 10, 2019 in Davis v. Nanny, et al., Sidley secured one of the largest verdicts for cases brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and tried to a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, obtaining a verdict of US$450,000 in our client’s favor.
By way of background, in May 2018, Sidley obtained a pro bono trial victory on behalf of Plaintiff Christopher Novus Davis, a patient in a maximum security mental health facility who alleged that he was beaten by four guards. The defendants claimed that Mr. Davis caused the scuffle, and that they did not use excessive force. The federal jury in Illinois found in our client’s favor on his claim of excessive force and failure to intervene against all four defendants, but awarded him nominal damages.
Following that verdict, Sidley filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that the verdict on liability in our client’s favor was inconsistent with the award of only nominal damages. After we prevailed on that motion, Judge Staci Yandle ordered a new trial on the issue of damages only. Ultimately, the Sidley team’s trial strategy resulted in Mr. Davis obtaining compensatory damages of US$150,000 for physical and emotional pain and suffering, and punitive damages of US$300,000 against the four defendants – for a total verdict of US$450,000 in our client’s favor.
The Sidley pro bono team was led by Daniel Spira, Julie Becker and Elizabeth Chiarello with strategic guidance and support from Chris Barnes, Bob Scarborough, Leslie Kuhn-Thayer, Caitlin Maly and Lisa Modaff (all in Chicago).