Judge denies new trial in Seattle police officer retaliation lawsuit

A judge denied the City of Seattle a new trial after a jury awarded two Seattle police officers approximately $3 million in a retaliation lawsuit.

The jury awarded Sgt. Ella Elias $1.9 million in damages and Captain Dave Proudfoot $932,000 in July. Lt. Steve Strand did not receive an award.

The three police officers had sued the department, claiming they were unfairly punished. Elias said she was the target of hostility when she complained how overtime pay was doled out. Proudfoot and Strand said they were retaliated against when they questioned how a matter was handled.

The City of Seattle asked for a new trial based on “the plaintiffs’ placing of an unanticipated focus on retaliation at trial” and “alleged persistent misconduct by plaintiffs’ counsel at trial.”

The judge wrote in the order that the first claim was “a bit baffling” as the issue of retaliation was well-laid out at the pleadings and was the only claim brought by two of the plaintiffs.

For the second claim, the judge admitted there were several instances where the plaintiffs were “’pushing the envelope’ of propriety,” but the Court had confidence the jury would decide the case based on the facts, and not how they were presented.

Order denying defendants post-trial motion for new trial

Copyright 2016 KING


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