Calvin Fletcher, Sr. alleged that the defendants committed excessive force by beating him with a service baton, hitting him in the face with a black jack, tasering him improperly and falsely charging him with resisiting arrest, possession of a controlled substance and assault on a law enforcement officer. He alleges that on 3/6/13, at 13th and Cass when he was walking down an alley to go to a gas station to buy a pack of cigarettes, the officers approached him and piled out of a cruiser wanting to question him. Because he was afraid of them, he quickly backed up and tripped and fell to the ground as they charged him. He alleges that the officers were very aggressive and vicious. He alleges that Officer Martorano smacked him in the face with something hard like a black jack, causing broken facial bones. He alleges that Officer Moton struck him with a service baton, on the legs, and on the back and torso causing pain and bruising and possible kidney damage. After a paddy wagon came to the scene Officer Carroll shut off the video recorder so that no video was taken of what happened outside or inside of the paddy wagon. Mr. Fletcher testified that once the they put him in the van he was handcuffed and Officer Martorano tasered him again and one of the officer said watch your head and laughed as he slammed the door of the paddy wagon on his head. Defendants alleged he was a suspected drug dealer, that he ran, he threw down drugs and once they caught him he fought them with the strength of many men and acted as if he was on PCP. They alleged that he resisted arrest, assaulted a law enforcement officer and was in possession of a controlled substance. It is interesting to note that the officers attempted to press charges against him and Circuit Attorney refused the charges and they were dismissed with not court appearances and no representation by counsel. No drug tests were done of Plaintiff and although the officer claimed a controlled substance was thrown down by Plaintiff the test of what they claim he threw showed it was not a controlled substance. Plaintiff suffered an orbital fracture (eye socket), a fracture of the cheek, and a fracture nose. He had cuts and bruising on his legs, back, chest, arms and torso. He had a cut above his eye on the forehead and was later diagnosed with bleeding of the cerebellum. Mr. Fletcher was held in jail in St. Louis for a week at the infirmary and transferred to Perry County jail on traffic warrants, where he had a seizure and passed out. He was treated at the emergency room and released from jail and sent by ambulance to SLU hospital with traumatic kidney failure. He underwent dialysis and was released a week later. Mr. Fletcher sued the officers for excessive force under the United States Constitution and received a $600,000 verdict, which included punitive damages. The judgment was against Moton and Martorano. He had previously resolved the case against the St. Louis City Jail/ Corizon, Dr. Geiger and nurses at the jail on his claims for poor medical care. That resolution is subject to a confidentiality agreeement.The medical expenses were approximately $175,000 with only around $11,000 paid by Medicare. Plaintiff was on Social Security at the time of the incident so he had no lost wages.Phillip A. Tatlow was the lead attorney representing the Plaintiff, but had substantial help from his Partner Jill Bollwerk in jury selection, from his staff and the law clerks as part of a team effort. This case was tried in the United States District Court for the Eastern Division of Missouri in August 2016 in Judge Ronnie White's division.
After Trial, Plaintiffs moved for attorney's fees and costs in the case and Judge White awarded Plaintiff $186,000 in addition to the jury verdict.