First Circuit Orders New Trial After $14 Million Jury Verdict

The First Circuit Court of Appeals recently remanded a civil rights case for a third trial after the jury awarded the plaintiff $14 million in damages. Shawn Drumgold was tried and convicted of murder in 1989. After serving 14 years of his life sentence, he moved for a new trial because evidence regarding the prosecution’s main witness had been withheld from him during the criminal trial. The evidence suggested that the prosecution’s witness had fabricated his testimony against the Drumgold in exchange for certain benefits. Drumgold filed a civil rights action against the investigating officer. The first jury hung on the issue of causation and a second jury awarded him $14 million – $1 million for each year he spent in prison. The First Circuit Court of Appeals remanded the case back for a third trial because it found that the trial judge had improperly instructed the jury on causation.¬† First Circuit Decision¬†1.31.13.

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