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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Golden Valley settlement brings up some interesting points

"I don't understand all the fancy lawyering, I just know a white kid robbed the bank and they beat me up."

-- Alex Hixon after settling his excessive-force case against Golden Valley police for 1.15M, as quoted by the Star Tribune in "Lawsuit's settlement brings no joy to man beaten up by police."

The entire Strib article is pretty interesting. Hixon talks about how the settlement is not grounds for celebration because he was traumatized by the event and had lingering mental-health issues. The frank reaction pokes a pretty big hole in the common misperception of personal-injury plaintiffs dancing on tables after they "hit the jackpot" with a big verdict.

Meanwhile, the city takes a highly questionable route by publicly portraying the officer as a victim and claiming (through its lawyer) that absolutely nothing wrong was done. I don't think that's the best way to go when paying out a million-dollar settlement after a jury finds against you. Better to just say you are not admitting liability and leave it at that.

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