At Budge & Heipt, we have successfully handled police shooting cases resulting in serious injuries and death against city, state, and county police officers and sheriff’s deputies. In one such case, for example, we represented a woman who was seriously injured during a roadside traffic stop by a state trooper. The woman was shot in the shoulder by the trooper after he claimed that she pointed something at him that appeared to be a weapon. With forensic evidence, we were able to demonstrate that the woman was shot in the back of her shoulder rather than from the front as the trooper claimed. This, along with other evidence, resulted in an $8 million jury verdict on her behalf.
At Budge & Heipt, we have also represented people who have been victims of excessive force in their own homes. In one such case, we represented a young man who was shot numerous times by two law enforcement officers after they entered his bedroom. Although the man was unarmed, the officers claimed to be in fear for their lives when they discharged their weapons. With the assistance of multiple experts, we worked hard to develop the true facts, defeat defense motions for qualified immunity, and cast serious doubt of the officers’ version of events. Our efforts paid off, and the man received $5.5 million in compensation through legal settlements.
In yet another case, we represented the parents of a mentally ill man who was shot and killed in broad daylight on a city highway. Despite official determinations that the force was justified, we sought out and interviewed numerous eyewitnesses—bystanders, motorists, and employees of adjacent businesses—who witnessed the events leading up to and surrounding the shooting. Shortly after filing a federal lawsuit, the case was settled for $1.75 million—one of the highest excessive force settlements in the state at that time.