Ohio Verdicts

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Excessive force by officers left her with PTSD, per plaintiff

Amount:

$375,000

Type:

Mediated Settlement

State:

Ohio

Venue:

Federal

Court:

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Western Division

Injury Type(s):

mental/psychological-post-traumatic stress disorder

Case Type:

Civil Rights – 42 USC 1983; Government – Excessive Force; Civil Rights – Police as Defendant

Case Name:

Amber Swink v. Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, Sheriff Phil Plummer, Captain Judith Sealy and Captain Chuck Crosby,
No. 3:16-cv-0392

Date:

August 16, 2017

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Amber Swink (Female, 24 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Douglas D. Brannon;
Brannon & Associates;
Dayton,
OH,
for
Amber Swink

Defendant(s):

Chuck Crosby, 

Judith Sealy, 

Phil Plummer, 

Montgomery County Board of Commissioners

Defense Attorney(s):

Mary Montgomery;
Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office;
Dayton,
OH,
for
Chuck Crosby, Judith Sealy, Phil Plummer, Montgomery County Board of Commissioners ■ Joseph Saks;
Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office;
Dayton,
OH,
for
Chuck Crosby, Judith Sealy, Phil Plummer, Montgomery County Board of Commissioners ■ Anne Jagielski;
Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office;
Dayton,
OH,
for
Chuck Crosby, Judith Sealy, Phil Plummer, Montgomery County Board of Commissioners

Facts:

On Nov. 15, 2015, plaintiff Amber Swink, 24, was approached by local police at a home located on Sulphur Springs Road in Brookville. The officers arrived at the home in response to a domestic disturbance call and found Swink arguing with her boyfriend while intoxicated. An altercation allegedly ensued between Swink and one of the responding officers and Swink was placed under arrest. She was subsequently transported to the Montgomery County Jail in Dayton. Swink claimed that the events that took place while she was in custody caused psychological injury. Swink sued the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, Captain Sealy, Sealy’s supervisor Captain Chuck Crosby and Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer. Swink alleged that the conduct of the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department was in violation of her civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Swink was arrested after she allegedly assaulted one of the responding officers and broke the officer’s glasses. However, Swink denied becoming violent, maintaining that the responding officer’s glasses fell off of his face and broke on the ground While in custody, Swink was placed in a restraint chair for over an hour after allegedly becoming violent and belligerent. At this time, Swink said she was sprayed in the face with pepper spray by then-Lieutenant Judith Sealy after Swink allegedly refused to stop screaming. Swink argued that Sealy’s use of pepper spray on a restrained person constituted excessive force. The defendants issued a general denial of liability.

Injury:

Swink did not receive medical treatment during or following her arrest. However, she claimed that, as a result of the use of excessive force, she developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Swing did not seek or receive treatment for this condition. Damages were not actively disputed by the defendants.

Result:

During mediation before retired judge H.J. Bressler, the parties agreed to a $375,000 settlement.

Trial Information:

Judge:

H.J. Bressler

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s and defense counsel.