Wayne State University Police Officers Exonerated in Federal Excessive Force Lawsuit

DETROIT, MICH. (April 23, 2014) —On April 17, 2014, a federal jury awarded a defense verdict in favor of three Wayne State University police officers, represented by attorneys Reginald Dozier and Naomi Oglesby of Lewis & Munday, P.C. in Simmons v. Napier et. al., Case No. 11-cv-13403 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The police officers were accused of using excessive force during the course of the plaintiff’s arrest, in an incident that occurred in June 2010. The plaintiff also alleged claims for assault, battery, false arrest and false imprisonment. The officers were found not liable on all claims.

In June 2010, Wayne State University police officers responded to a dispatch call describing a man with an unspecified weapon at a gas station in Detroit. Upon apprehension, the plaintiff was uncooperative and disobeyed the officers’ instructions to stop walking away. Instead, the plaintiff walked toward one of the officers, daring her to shoot. The officers responded with the level of force necessary to restrain the plaintiff, who was actively resisting arrest.  

Plaintiff, who had an MRI that revealed a pre-existing degenerative spinal disease, claimed injuries to his neck and back resulting in a surgical fusion in three vertebrae in his neck approximately one week after his arrest. At the end of an eight-day trial, the plaintiff asked the jury to return a verdict in excess of $15 million. Lewis & Munday attorneys were able to mount a successful defense that proved that excessive force was not used, resulting in the officers’ exoneration.

“Although the plaintiff was able to articulate significant damages, during the trial we successfully proved that the force used by the police officers was proper and that the officers were legally performing their duties,” said Reginald Dozier, lead counsel for the case and litigation chair at Lewis & Munday, P.C., “As a former police officer for the City of Detroit in the Legal Advisor Section, I have first-hand knowledge of police procedures and a long-term background in handling police force matters.”

The litigation group at Lewis & Munday, P.C. handles a broad spectrum of matters ranging from commercial litigation to employment disputes.

About Lewis & Munday, P.C.

Founded in 1972, Lewis & Munday, P.C. is an innovative, dynamic and forward-thinking firm with a focus on creative legal solutions. Based in Detroit, Michigan and with offices in  New York, New York, and Washington, D.C., the firm boasts a distinguished staff of more than 16 lawyers with diverse areas of concentration, making it a leader in the legal and business communities. Lewis & Munday, P.C. provides legal counsel in a wide variety of practice areas, including business and commercial litigation, corporate law, municipal law, and real estate matters. As one of the nation’s oldest and largest firms founded by minorities, it is consistently recognized as a top 50 bond counsel firm in the United States.