United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
OPINION AND ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
REMITTITUR OR A NEW TRIAL (ECF No. 125)
F. Cox United States District Court Judge
§1983 excessive-force case, a jury returned a verdict in
favor of Plaintiff Nikos Kidis and against Defendant John
Moran. Moran now moves for a remittitur or, in the
alternative, a new trial. Because the Court concludes that
oral argument will not aid the decisional process, the motion
will be decided on the parties' briefing. E.D. Mich. LR
7.1(f)(2). For the reasons below, the Court will deny the
August 31, 2014, Plaintiff Nikos Kidis attended a Labor Day
Festival in Hamtramck, Michigan. Trial Tr. vol. 3, 12:5-11.
He drank approximately ten to twelve beers over the course of
five to eight hours. Id. at 12:21-13:2. After these
drinks, Kidis got behind the wheel of his car and began
driving home. Id. at 13:6-7. Kidis was shirtless
with jean shorts and running shoes. Id. at 15:6-7.
drive home, Kidis sideswiped another car. Id. at
14:5-10. Kidis “got all excited” and fled the
scene. Id. at 14:15-18. Kidis testified that he did
not sustain any physical injuries during the car crash.
Id. at 14:19-15:1.
was fleeing, Kidis encountered City of Warren Police Officer
Jean Reid, who was responding to the scene of the crash.
Id. at 15:9-11. Officer Reid asked him to stop and
he did. Id. at 15:15-21. Reid questioned him about
the crash and began handcuffing him. Id. at 16:2-7.
After Reid had secured a handcuff on his left hand, Kidis
pulled away from her, momentarily lost his balance, and took
off running. Id. at 17:3-8.
ran through “the parking structure of a building,
” and jumped two six-foot barbed-wire fences.
Id. 18:3-19:16. After the second fence, Kidis
continued running “for a minute or two, ” through
a wooded area, before his shoes fell off. Id.
at19:18-19:21. Tired and unable to bear the loss of his
shoes, Kidis “gave up” by laying “on his
stomach with [his] hands out.” Id. at
19:23-25. During his flight, Kidis suffered
“scratches” on the palms of his hands (from the
barbed-wire fences) and on his shirtless chest and stomach
(from running through the brush of the wooded area).
Id. at 20:6-16.
point, Warren Police Officer John Moran caught up with Kidis.
He “got on top” of Kidis and “gave [him]
knee thrusts.” Id. at 21:6-7. Moran then
“put his hands around [Kidis's] neck and started
choking [him].” Id. at 21:7-8. Moran proceeded
to punch him in the head and eye and continued to strangle
him. Id. at 22:1-2. Kidis estimated that Moran
punched him “two to seven times.” Id. at
22:13-15. During the beating, Moran said, “We're
going to teach you for running, motherfucker. We're going
to get you.” Id. at 23:5-9.
the beating, Kidis did not resist or attempt to fight back.
Id. at 21:21-24.
Moran handcuffed Kidis, two other officers arrived on the
scene and escorted Kidis to a police car. Id. at
23:19-21. Kidis's body was “limp” from the
beating, so the officers had to drag him to the car.
Id. at 21-22.
the incident, Kidis went to a chiropractor, complaining of
“headaches, shooting head pain, face twitch,
depression, dizziness, loss of balance, ringing in ears,
blurred vision, muscle spasm in his neck, grinding in his
neck, tight shoulders and arms, pins and needles in his arms
and hands, numbness in the arm and hand, mid-back pain,
nerves, nervousness, sleeping problems, and pain in his leg
or feet.” (ECF No. 136-4, PageID 5354). Kidis was
diagnosed with cervical segmental dysfunction, thoracic
subluxation, lumbar subluxation, and pelvic subluxation. (ECF
No. 136-4, PageID 5356). In other words, “there [were]
areas throughout the spine that were out of place causing
testified that he continues to suffer pain because of his
spinal issues, Trial Tr. vol. 3, 27:22-23, and has
psychological problems, “kind of like PTSD.”
Id. at 29:8-9.
August 24, 2016, Kidis filed this lawsuit against Moran and
Reid, alleging one count of excessive force against each
officer. On November 20, 2017, Reid and Moran filed a motion
for summary judgment. In response to this motion, Kidis
asserted an additional claim of deliberate indifference
against the officers.
April 23, 2018, the Court granted in part, and denied in
part, the Defendants' motion for summary judgment. The
Court concluded that, because there was no evidence that Reid
was present during the arrest, she could not be liable for
excessive force. The Court also considered the deliberate
indifference claims and concluded that, because there was no
evidence that either Reid or Moran knew of Kidis's
injuries and declined to assist him, they were entitled to
summary judgment on those claims. (ECF No. 57, PageID 1276).
Court also concluded that Kidis had offered evidence upon
which a reasonable jury could conclude that Moran's use
of force was objectively unreasonable. The Court therefore
rejected Moran's argument that he was shielded by
qualified immunity. Moran did not file an interlocutory
appeal on the issue of qualified immunity.
October 17, 2018, a jury trial commenced in this case. At the
close of Kidis's proofs, Moran did not move for judgment
as a matter of law or for a directed verdict. (ECF No. 125-2,
PageID 4442). On October 25, 2018, the jury returned a
verdict in favor of Kidis. The jury awarded $1 in nominal
compensatory damages and $200, 000 in punitive damages. Now,
Moran moves for a remittitur or new trial, arguing that the
jury's award of $200, 000 in punitive damages is
excessive and that he is entitled to qualified immunity.