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Verdict against police officers overturned

In Reed v. Sitarski and Smith, a quarter-million dollar jury verdict based on malicious prosecution, against the two arresting officers, was dismissed by a majority of the 3 judge Court of Appeals panel that reviewed it.  The majority threw out the verdict because the jury was not adequately instructed on malicious prosecution, even though the Defendants' attorney had approved the instructions given. 

Normally, a party cannot "invite" error and cannot claim an unjust result if the party's attorney has approved of the jury instructions given.  The majority in Reed, though, held that the complete failure to instruct on this cause of action, even though the failure was approved by counsel, resulted in a verdict that was "outside the range of principled outcomes" and therefore an abuse of the lower court's discretion.    Sadly, we entertain a sincere doubt with regard to whether a plaintiff's "waiver" of appropriate instructions, followed by a bad outcome, would be treated the same way:  we're guessing that the victim/Plaintiff would be told to live with the jury verdict he had invited.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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