Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP
California police officer’s stun gun may have caused wrongful death

Most police officers, including California police officers, use stun guns. An electronic stun gun was used in an interaction between a police officer and a teenager and unfortunately resulted in the death of the teenager. The teenager’s death was caused by the police officer’s use of a stun gun. The manufacturer of the stun gun was later sued in connection with the stun gun used in the wrongful death incident.

The original lawsuit against the stun gun manufacturer resulted in a $10 million award for the wrongful death of the teenager. The manufacturer has recently received a reduced judgment. The reduced judgment is $4.4 million. The reduced judgment reflects the manufacturer’s claim that multiple factors were not considered in the initial judgment.

The stun gun manufacturer has not faced many wrongful death lawsuits, but the reduced award is similar to a result that occurred in a California case against the manufacturer. In the California case the manufacturer received a judgment against them for $7 million, which was reduced to a $200,000 judgment.

The plaintiffs in the wrongful death lawsuit have 30 days to accept the reduced judgment. If the plaintiffs do not accept the new lower judgment, the decision may result in a new trial. Although the stun gun manufacturer was not directly involved in the incident between the police officer and the teenager, the manufacture can still be liable in a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim is based on a death that happened as a result of negligence, carelessness or recklessness and the manufacturer’s involvement through the manufacturing of stun gun creates civil liability if defective or dangerous.

Source: Phoenix Business Journal, “Taser judgment in wrongful death case dropped to $4.4M,” Patrick O’Grady, March 28, 2012

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