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Family claimed sheriff’s deputy mishandled call to assist

Amount:

$6,500,000

Type:

Verdict-Plaintiff

State:

California

Venue:

Federal

Court:

United States District Court, Eastern District, Sacramento

Injury Type(s):

other-death; other-gunshot wound

Case Type:

Government – Police, Counties; Civil Rights – 42 USC 1983; Government – Excessive Force; Wrongful Death – Survival Damages; Civil Rights – Police as Defendant

Case Name:

Estate of Johnathan Rose, deceased, by and through his parents Theodore Milton Rose and Karen Rose, as successors in interest; Theodore Milton Rose, Individually; and Karen Rose, Individually v. County of Sacramento, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones; Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department Deputy David McEntire (Badge #1356); and Does 1 through 10, inclusive,
No. 2:13-cv-01339-TLN-EFB

Date:

September 27, 2017

Parties

Plaintiff(s):

Karen Rose (Female), 

Theodore Milton Rose (Male), 

Estate of Johnathan Rose (Male, 24 Years)

Plaintiff Attorney(s):

Dale K. Galipo;
Law Offices of Dale K. Galipo;
Woodland Hills,
CA,
for
Karen Rose, Theodore Milton Rose, Estate of Johnathan Rose ■ Stewart Lee Katz;
Law Office of Stewart Katz;
Sacramento,
CA,
for
Karen Rose, Theodore Milton Rose, Estate of Johnathan Rose ■ Melanie T. Partow;
Law Offices of Dale K. Galipo;
Woodland Hills,
CA,
for
Karen Rose, Theodore Milton Rose, Estate of Johnathan Rose ■ Moseley C. Collins, III;
Moseley C. Collins, III;
El Dorado Hills,
CA,
for
Karen Rose, Theodore Milton Rose, Estate of Johnathan Rose

Plaintiff Expert(s):

John Ryan; J.D.; Police Practices & Procedures; Indianapolis,
IN called by:
Dale K. Galipo, Stewart Lee Katz, Melanie T. Partow, Moseley C. Collins, III ■ Lance Martini; M.S.; Criminology; San Diego,
CA called by:
Dale K. Galipo, Stewart Lee Katz, Melanie T. Partow, Moseley C. Collins, III ■ Bennet Omalu; M.D., M.P.H.; Forensic Pathology; Sacramento,
CA called by:
Dale K. Galipo, Stewart Lee Katz, Melanie T. Partow, Moseley C. Collins, III

Defendant(s):

Scott Jones, 

David McEntire, 

Sacramento County

Defense Attorney(s):

Dayton V. Longyear;
Longyear O’Dea & Lavra, LLP;
Sacramento,
CA,
for
Scott Jones, David McEntire, Sacramento County ■ Peter C. Zilaff;
Longyear O’Dea & Lavra, LLP;
Sacramento,
CA,
for
Scott Jones, David McEntire, Sacramento County

Facts:

During the night of Jan. 17, 2012, plaintiffs’ decedent Johnathan Rose, 24, a paranoid schizophrenic, was with his family in their North Highlands home when he became agitated and started to act out. His parents subsequently contacted 911 for a welfare call, and Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy David McEntire responded to the home. An altercation ensued between Rose and McEntire, and McEntire ultimately shot Rose three times. Rose died at the scene. The decedent’s parents, Theodore Rose and Karen Rose, sued McEntire; McEntire’s supervisor, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones; and McEntire’s employer, the county of Sacramento. The decedent’s parents alleged that McEntire was negligent in the use of excessive force in violation of the decedent’s Constitutional rights. They also alleged that Jones and the county were liable for McEntire’s actions. Jones was ultimately let out of the case, and the matter continued to trial against McEntire and the county. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that the decedent’s parents called 911 to have Rose taken in for a mental-health evaluation after a day in which the decedent had grown increasingly angry and agitated. However, counsel contended that by the time McEntire arrived, Rose had taken his medication, calmed down, and gone to sleep. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that within minutes of entering the house, McEntire, who was 250 pounds, escalated the situation by pushing past the decedent’s father, who answered the door, approaching the bed where the decedent was sleeping, waking up the decedent, and then ordering the decedent to lie face down on the ground so that he could be handcuffed. Counsel acknowledged that the decedent refused to lie on the ground, but contended that the decedent presented his hands to be handcuffed. However, plaintiffs’ counsel argued that McEntire responded by striking the decedent on the head with a metal flashlight, causing the altercation, during which McEntire drove the decedent into the dining room wall and grappled with him atop a mattress, before firing upon the decedent at close range, killing him. Thus, plaintiffs’ counsel argued that McEntire escalated the situation and used improper tactics when responding to the parents’ call for help with their mentally-ill son. Counsel also argued that the use of deadly force against Rose, who was unarmed and not under arrest, was excessive and unreasonable. McEntire testified that as soon as he stepped into the home, he was verbally challenged by the decedent, and was attacked “with unrelenting aggression” and without warning or provocation. He also claimed that he was pinned to the mattress by the decedent, who was 261 pounds, and that the decedent, who was out of control, continued to strike him multiple times. He further claimed that at the same time, the decedent’s father, who was sick, failed to pull the decedent away from him and that after receiving continuous blows to the face, head, and body, he began to feel that he was losing consciousness. In addition, McEntire claimed that he felt the decedent grab his service belt, which contained his firearm and knife, causing him to fear for his life. He alleged that as a result, he appropriately reacted by pulling his firearm and shooting the decedent three times.

Injury:

Johnathan Rose sustained three gunshot wounds at close range and died at the scene. He was 24 years old and was survived by his parents. The decedent’s father, Theodore Rose, claimed that he could feel the bullets enter his son’s body as he tried to restrain him. Thus, the decedent’s parents sought recovery of wrongful death damages for the loss of their son.

Result:

The jury found that McEntire used excessive force in violation of the decedent’s Fourth Amendment rights and that McEntire’s use of his firearm constituted a battery under California law. It determined that the decedent’s parents’ damages totaled $6.5 million. Of the total jury award, $2 million in survival damages was awarded to the decedent’s estate for the violation of the decedent’s Fourth Amendment rights, $2 million in past wrongful death damages was awarded to the decedent’s father (who passed away one week before the verdict), and $2.5 million in past and future wrongful death damages was awarded to the decedent’s mother.

Estate of Johnathan Rose: $2,000,000 Wrongful Death: Survival; Karen Rose: $2,500,000 Wrongful Death: past and future wrongful death damages; Theodore Milton Rose: $2,000,000 Wrongful Death: past wrongful death damages

Trial Information:

Judge:

Troy L. Nunley

Trial Length:

7
 days

Trial Deliberations:

1.5
 hours

Editor’s Comment:

This report is based on information that was provided by plaintiff’s counsel. Additional information was gleaned from court documents and from an article that was published by the Sacramento Bee. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter’s phone calls.