John Whitefleet Obtains Defense Verdict for Deputy Accused of Civil Rights Violation

The trial skills of Porter Scott attorneys came to the forefront again in a recent jury trial in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.  John Whitefleet represented a Lake County deputy sheriff who responded to a call involving a dispute between neighbors over the sale of firewood.  John’s client responded to the call and investigated.  During the course of the investigation, the plaintiff, who exhibited signs of intoxication, left a threatening message (“it’s lights out”) on his neighbor’s phone.  When the deputy attempted to place the plaintiff under arrest, the plaintiff jerked away and a struggle ensued.  His leg was broken in the process.  The plaintiff claimed the deputy violated his Fourth Amendment rights, and asked the jury to award him $1.5 million in damages, as well as punitive damages.  John persuasively argued that no rights were violated, and that his client did not use excessive force.  The jury agreed and returned a unanimous verdict in his client’s favor.