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False Imprisonment Cases: Median Verdicts and Settlements

The latest edition of Metro Verdicts Monthly provides numbers on false arrest/imprisonment cases.

The median legal false arrest/imprisonment verdict or settlement in Washington D.C. was $25,000.00. Virginia and Maryland have slightly higher median settlement/verdicts of $26,000.00 and $29,000.00, respectively.

I’m surprised the median verdict/settlement is this high because I would think the median case would be one with relatively insignificant injuries except for the inconvenience. There are awful exceptions to that rule to be sure but those awful exceptions would be reflected in the average – as opposed to the median.

While I obviously love these graphs, I wish Metro Verdicts Monthly would provide a little more information. I’m not sure if this number only involves police officer false imprisonment cases or also includes non-police cases where, for example, a department store detains someone they wrongfully accuse of shoplifting. If I were a juror, I would be more inclined to give a larger award against an overzealous Wal-Mart or Target employee than I would a police officer trying to do his/her job in good faith, albeit negligently.

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  • Brooks

    i was arrested last summer from walmart pressing false charges on me. I bought myself a new Play station (paid in cash) and it broke so i took it back (got cash back) a week later cops kick my door in and smash me off the wall kick me and swear at me and spit on me and i have no clue what i did wrong. Later they said i was going to jail for using a credit card (that wasnt mine) to buy the ps3. I ended up missing my sisters highschool graduation and my mom had to miss it tryin to bail me out of jail. i spent almost 2 days in jail for nothing. the day of my court date i showed the judge my receipt for the ps3 and showed it was paid in cash and it was dismissed. But now im going after walmart for messin up my life more than it already is and missin my sisters graduation and for makin me sit in gross ass Allegheny County Jail for 2 days. what do you think i should get/ask for as a settlement? (rough guess)

  • Alan

    I was recently arrested and spent the night in Jail for a Bench Warrent for a traffic violations that had been dismissed. The officer filed his citations after the court date and the items had already been thrown out. The magistrate court informed me no action was needed on my part. I called the court and they once again verified the arrest warrent should have never been processed. I incurred bond fees, towing fees, court fees, loss of work, pain and suffering, embarrassment, and am now booked into the police database. Can anyone clarify what I should sue the state department on and an average settlement amount? I must undergo a ongoing background check for work and any incidents may cause indefinite loss of clients even if later cleared. help me!

  • http://www.HamlinLegal.com Derrick G. Hamlin, Esq.

    I have successfully handled several of these cases with verdicts and settlements from the average listed above, up to six figures. Several factors have to be taken into account when evaluating the value of a case, like your criminal record, the time you spent in jail, the nature and severity of your injuries, the county your in, etc. But before you even get that far, you must file notice with the state or local government within 180 days of your arrest or most of your claims will be barred. So, contact an experienced attorney as soon as you are brutalized or falsely arrested to ensure that you don’t lose your right to file a lawsuit.

  • Leslie Vass

    In 1975 I was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 20 years, I served 10 years of that term and it was conclusively proven that I had been convicted in error, I was awarded a full unconditional pardon by former Gov. Harry Hughes and an order for expungment was issued by Hon. Judge Edgar P. Silver to expunge all reference and records of this conviction. Over numerous years the expungement order was not complied with and I ended up obtaining 4 orders total relative to this matter. In 1998 I filed a Complaint & Demand for the State of Md to compensate me for the non compliance to the court orders and was awarded the limits, an additional $50,000. I also became employed at the State Dept. of Labor, Licensing & Regulation (DLLR hereinafter). In 2004, I was informed by the security staff at DLLR that there was an arrest warrant issued for me and I voluntarily surrendered myself to the Balto City PD, at the initial appearance hearing, the court commissioner advised me that the wrongful imprisonment case was still on the records and I was held without bail for the crime which I surrendered myself for. I remainded confined for a year and went to trial in July 2005 at which time a jury found me “not guilty” of the charge I was held without bail for, immediately upon my release I contacted the Attorney General’ Joe Curran, informing him the criminal records still had not been expunged as order to which the State of MD compensated me in 1998 for, I also submitted another “Complaint & Demand” to the State Dept for compensation due to the criminal records not being expunged even after the settlement in 1998. This complaint & demand was denied by the State Dept. I have all the documents relative to my case and a video of my trial in 2005 where I was found not guilty. I also contacted numerous Public Safety & Correctional Service agencies requesting verification that I was an inmate at their facility and gave only my institutional identification number, I received 5 seperate letters from those agencies verifying my confinement, these letters are dated after my jury trial in 2005. I would like to know if there is an attorney here in MD willing to file a civil Lawsuit against the State of MD.

  • Brittany Roberts

    I was recently arrested friday evening in gary indiana. I was pulled over by a county cop and when he ran my i.d he told me i was being taken into custody for a warrant in will county. I asked what the warrant was for and he told me it was for runaway and failure to appear in court. However, I am 18 years of age and a legal adult and am not a run away. I ran away from DCFS when I was 16 but I later went to court when I turned 18 to be released from their custody. I am almost 19 years of age now and it has been almost a year since this court date. I spent 3 days in Lake County Jail because of this and Will County finally faxed over the paper work saying that I was not wanted. I was then released, but that was my first time in jail and I want to sue for pain and suffering and now having my name thrown in the dirt over something that I did not do. I also never had a court date that I did not attend to. Can anyone tell me how to go about suing them?