DiSorbo v. Hoy
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
343 F.3d 172 (2003)
Rebecca DiSorbo (plaintiff) was arrested at a bar by a city police officer, Ronald Pedersen (defendant). DiSorbo claimed that she was arrested only after she rejected Pedersen’s personal advances. At the police station, Pedersen and two other officers, Matthew Hoy and Kenneth Hill (defendants) engaged in brutal acts of police aggression. According to DiSorbo, she was choked, slammed against a wall, thrown to the ground, and struck while defenseless on the floor. DiSorbo sued the officers and the city (defendant) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging excessive force, battery, and abuse of process. A jury found in favor of DiSorbo in her case against Pedersen and awarded punitive damages of $1.275 million. The $1.275 million punitive-damages award comprised $625,000 as to DiSorbo’s excessive-force claim and $650,000 as to her abuse-of-process claim. The jury also awarded $400,000 and nominal compensatory damages for DiSorbo’s excessive-force and abuse-of-process claims, respectively. The city was ordered to indemnify Pedersen. Pedersen and the city appealed, arguing that the punitive-damages award was excessive in light of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in BMW of North America v. Gore (Gore). Gore set forth three guideposts or factors for determining whether a punitive-damages award violated the Due Process Clause.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Katzmann, J.)
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