On June 15, 2007 at about 1:30 a.m., Gary Gill crossed the street at Flatlands Avenue near 87th Street in Brooklyn intending to go to his parked car. As he opened his car door, another vehicle pulled up and two men jumped out. In the ensuing moments, the men, undercover police officers with the New York City Police Department (the “NYPD”), scuffled with and arrested Gill. He was charged with possession of a weapon and resisting arrest.
The officers claimed they saw Gill, then a 34 year old barber, reaching for a handgun but Gill claimed he did not have a gun and was simply reaching into his waistband to show the officers that the bulge they asked him about was simply a phone.
During the arrest, Gill was struck in the face sustaining fractures and a loss of consciousness.
Gill was then taken in handcuffs to Kings County Hospital where he remained for three days, continuously cuffed to his bed, before he was taken to a holding cell for a few hours at Rikers Island and then released on bail.
After his acquittal on all charges, Gill sued the NYPD claiming damages for false arrest, malicious prosecution and battery.
On June 6, 2014, following the trial judge’s charge to the jury as to the elements required to prove the claims, the Kings County jury ruled in favor of plaintiff finding that the police falsely arrested Gill because they did not have reasonable cause to make the arrest, they used excessive force in effecting the arrest and acted maliciously in initiating prosecution.
The jury then awarded damages in the sum of $590,000:
- $15,000 for the false arrest,
- $75,000 for malicious prosecution, and
- $500,000 for battery – pain and suffering for the seven years from the date of the incident to the date of the verdict
In Gill v. City of New York (2d Dept. 2017) both the liability and damages verdicts have been affirmed.
Nowhere in the decision is there any information as to the injuries sustained by the plaintiff. Here are the injury details:
- displaced fracture of the zygomatic arch with flattening of the left cheek
- open reduction surgery to repair the fracture using a Gillies Zygoma Elevator
- displaced nasal fracture
- trauma to left ear, substantial facial swelling
- three day admission at Kings County Hospital, plus one day for surgery at Long Island College Hospital on 6/26/07
Plaintiff required pain killing medication for several months and was left with scarring around his nose. Although surgery was recommended for his nose, plaintiff declined and his nose healed while the scars faded and he made no claim for the scars at trial.
- As set forth in the appellate court’s decision, the jury’s verdict sheet included $500,000 for malicious prosecution but lawyers for both sides and the trial judge agreed that this was an error and that the $500,000 was meant for the excessive force battery pain and suffering claim.
- There was no testimony from any physician and plaintiff did not assert a claim for future pain and suffering. He conceded that he was able to resume all of his pre-arrest activities without limitations.
- The amounts awarded by the jury were the exact amounts requested by plaintiff’s attorney in his summation.