GRANT, Senior District Judge.
This case arises from the events of January 31, 1977 involving plaintiff-appellee, Bennie Lenard, and several police officers of the Village of Melrose Park, Illinois. The particular events of the case are disputed but we will attempt to provide a fair summary of the facts.
Lenard, a 41 year old black mechanic, discovered when he left work at 7:00 A.M. on January 31 that his car had a flat tire. While waiting for the spare tire to be repaired, he and a co-worker went to a neighborhood bar where Lenard consumed two shots of vodka and two glasses of beer. After changing the tire, Lenard returned to the bar where he consumed in a 2 to 2½ hour period two more shots of vodka and three glasses of beer. He had nothing to eat during this time. About 1:00 P.M., Lenard and his co-worker left the bar to go to the co-worker's home, each driving his own vehicle. While en route, Lenard collided with a car driven by Andrea Dreyer, a defendant in the district court trial but not a party in this appeal. There is a dispute whether Lenard's car crossed the center line and struck Dreyer's vehicle.
The damage to each car was minor but the drivers quarreled regarding fault. Dreyer, in her deposition, admitted shouting vulgarities at Lenard. Witnesses, including a passenger in the Dreyer car, testified Lenard appeared drunk and that he struck Dreyer's shoulder with his fist and grabbed her. The Melrose Park police were called with Officer Joseph Sansone the first to arrive at the accident scene. Officer Robert Argento arrived several minutes later.
Lenard was arrested for drunk driving and several other traffic offenses. A scuffle occurred while the officers tried to handcuff Lenard and place him in Argento's squad car. Lenard contends he was beaten by Argento with his nightstick while in the squad car and knocked unconscious. Argento searched Lenard's car after the arrest and discovered a handgun and an open half can of beer.
After his arrest, Argento drove Lenard to the Melrose Park police station where Lenard contends he was further kicked, beaten and called a "black nigger." His next memory is that of lying on the wet floor of a cell in his underwear in extreme pain and cold. He requested to go to a hospital but someone said: "Leave him alone. He doesn't want to go to the hospital." Lenard was unable to identify any of the officers because of his facial injuries. Lenard remained in custody at the Melrose Park police station until late that evening. During the evening while Lenard was still in a cell in the Melrose Park police station, Floydell Henning (Lenard's stepson) testified he heard racial slurs, i.e., "Chicken George," over the loudspeaker in the station. He could not identify the parties involved. At one point while still in police custody, Lenard was brought to the Westlake Community Hospital where he was treated for his injuries and returned to the police. Lenard complains that his family came to the jail on three occasions that evening before his release was finally obtained. Lenard was hospitalized for his injuries for 39 days and later underwent surgery for the injuries. There was medical testimony at trial that he suffered permanent sight impairment from his injuries.
Officers Argento and Sansone deny that Lenard was beaten at any time with clubs or anything else. Two witnesses present at the accident scene testified that they did not see Lenard beaten. The police contend that an altercation occurred in the icy police station parking lot while attempting to remove Lenard from the squad car. Because of his size (6'3", 260 pounds) and drunken condition, three officers, Argento, Culotta and Zito, were necessary to remove him from the car. The officers testified that Lenard swore at them and resisted being taken into the police station. The officers
Lenard was charged with the following state offenses: driving while under the influence of intoxicating beverage; improper traffic lane usage; failure to reduce speed to avoid an accident; battery; transportation or possession of alcoholic liquor; possession of a firearm without a firearm identification card; unlawful transportation or use of weapons; resisting a police officer and driving without a valid driver's license.
A jury convicted Lenard of the petty offense of transportation of alcoholic liquor, Ill.Rev.Stat.1977, Ch. 95½, par. 11-502, and acquitted him on all other charges. The transportation conviction was subsequently reversed and remanded by the Illinois Appellate Court because of the trial court's refusal to allow Lenard to cross-examine the police officers for impeachment purposes. People v. Lenard, 79 Ill.App.3d 1046, 35 Ill.Dec. 104, 398 N.E.2d 1054 (1979). In dicta, however, the court did state that "[t]he evidence adduced was ample to sustain defendant's conviction." Id. 35 Ill.Dec. at 108, 398 N.E.2d at 1058.
Lenard initiated this action in a five-count complaint pursuant to several sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985 and 1988. The named defendants included the Village of Melrose Park, Robert Argento, Joseph Sansone, Bruce Culotta, George Zito, Andrea Dreyer, Dr. T. Mehrpuyan and Westlake Community Hospital. Westlake Hospital and Dr. Mehrpuyan reached a settlement with Lenard and they, along with Count IV of the Complaint, were dismissed from the suit. Count I of the Second Amended Complaint charged Police Officers Argento, Sansone, Culotta and Zito with violating 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Bifurcated trials lasting five weeks were held on liability and damages in February and March, 1980. A default judgment was entered against defendant Dreyer. In the liability phase of the trial, the jury returned a verdict for all the defendants on the "beating" charge of Count I. However, the jury found for Lenard on the two conspiracy charges of Counts II and III and the malicious prosecution charge of Count V against Argento and Sansone only. In the damage portion of the trial, Lenard was prohibited from presenting any damages resulting from the "beating" because the jury found no "beating" under Count I.
The Village of Melrose Park, Argento and Sansone raise four issues on this appeal. First, whether the district court's use of a three-tier damage verdict form and its damage instructions which stressed "substantial damages" were erroneous. Second, whether the amount of damages awarded by the jury is against the manifest weight of evidence and excessive as a matter of law. Third, whether there was ample evidence to establish a good faith belief in the officers for probable cause to arrest Lenard and prosecute the criminal charges requiring a directed verdict for the defendants on the malicious prosecution charge of Count V. Fourth, whether a conspiracy without an overt act can be the basis of a damage award or whether there can be a duplication of an award for conspiracy when damages have been already awarded for the act.
On cross-appeal, Lenard raises several issues. First, whether the trial court erred in permitting a good faith immunity defense to be asserted by the Village of Melrose Park. Second, whether the trial court erred in not specifically mentioning Lenard's claim of a beating in its verdict form. Third, whether the jury verdict for the "beating" count was against the manifest weight of the evidence. Claims are also raised regarding attorneys' fees and costs under 42 U.S.C. § 1988, 28 U.S.C. § 1920 and Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d). Both Lenard and the defendants raise other claims of error, including arguments of various counsel, instructions to the jury and the district court's judgments on Motions in Limine. Each will be addressed individually.
a. Police Officers
Count I of the Second Amended Complaint alleged that the four named police
Several witnesses at the accident scene testified that they did not see Lenard being beaten. Officers Argento, Zito and Culotta testified Lenard was injured in two falls in the icy parking lot and by a fall on the stairwell in the police station. These officers testified that Lenard was struggling and resisting his removal into the station. His size, drunken condition, his struggling, the physical weather conditions all contributed to the falls. The jury, after hearing all the testimony, returned a verdict that Lenard was not beaten.
While there is clearly a conflict of testimony, the question of credibility and weight of the evidence is within the purview of the jury. Pinkowski v. Sherman Hotel, 313 F.2d 190, 193 (7th Cir.1963). A jury verdict cannot be lightly set aside so long as it has a reasonable basis on the record. Zenith Radio Corp. v. Hazeltine Research, Inc., 395 U.S. 100, 123, 89 S.Ct. 1562, 1576, 23 L.Ed.2d 129 (1969); Wyant v. J.I. Case Co., 633 F.2d 1254, 1256 (7th Cir.1980). Viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the defendants, the prevailing parties, (Smith v. Rogers, 290 F.2d 601, 602 (7th Cir.1961)), there was a reasonable basis in the record for the jury verdict and the evidence will not be reweighed. Rupe v. Spector Freight Systems, Inc., 679 F.2d 685, 697 (7th Cir.1982) (Judge Swygert dissenting); Musgrave v. Union Carbide Corp., 493 F.2d 224, 229 (7th Cir.1974). The jury determination that Lenard was not beaten will not be disturbed.
Counts II and III of the complaint charged the named officers with violation of §§ 1985(2) and (3). The jury found, however, only Argento and Sansone liable for civil rights conspiracy. Argento and Sansone argue that they cannot be liable for a conspiracy to "beat" when the jury found that there was no "beating." However, the charge given to the jury was not a "conspiracy to perform a beating" but rather a conspiracy to deprive [Lenard] due course of justice and equal protection of the law. (Tr. 2202-03).
As this court outlined in Hampton v. Hanrahan, 600 F.2d 600 (7th Cir.1979), rev'd in part on other grounds, 446 U.S. 754, 100 S.Ct. 1987, 64 L.Ed.2d 670 (1980):
600 F.2d at 620-21.
Thus, there cannot be a civil cause of action for conspiracy under § 1985 without an overt act. Williams v. St. Joseph Hospital, 629 F.2d 448, 451 n. 3 (7th Cir.1980). "[I]t is the overt act which moves the conspiracy from the area of thought and conversation into action and causes the civil injury and resulting damage." Hoffman v. Halden, 268 F.2d 280, 295 (9th Cir.1959), overruled in part on other grounds, Cohen v. Norris, 300 F.2d 24 (9th Cir.1962).
While Sansone's contact with Lenard was primarily at the accident scene, Argento did place Lenard in his police car, drive him to the Melrose Park police station and escort him into the police station. There was testimony at trial that Sansone called Lenard a "shine" to a tow truck driver at the accident scene. Lenard testified that Argento called him a "big Black nigger" and hit him in the right eye and about the face with what appeared to be a stick. While the evidence does not link Argento and Sansone to all the events of January 31, there was sufficient evidence for a jury to reasonably believe that there was an overt act and circumstantial evidence of an agreement among the police, particularly Argento and Sansone, to conspire to deprive Lenard of his civil rights. Furthermore, there was sufficient evidence of racially discriminatory animus to meet the Griffin standard for § 1985 conspiracies.
Griffin v. Breckenridge, 403 U.S. 88, 102, 91 S.Ct. 1790, 1798, 29 L.Ed.2d 338 (1970) (footnotes omitted) (emphasis in original). See also Murphy v. Mount Carmel High School, 543 F.2d 1189, 1192 n. 1 (7th Cir.1976); Potenze v. Schoessling, 541 F.2d 670, 672 (7th Cir.1976); Lesser v. Braniff Airways, Inc., 518 F.2d 538, 540 (7th Cir.1975).
While the jury may have found insufficient evidence of a beating, that does not mean that there was insufficient evidence of a § 1985(3) conspiracy. The jury could have found that there was insufficient evidence to tie all the defendants to the alleged beating, yet enough evidence, based primarily upon the injuries sustained by Lenard during his police custody, to reasonably conclude that at least Argento and Sansone had entered into and committed "an act" in the furtherance of a conspiracy to deny equal protection.
As pointed out in Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc. v. Greenberg, 447 F.2d 872, 875 (7th Cir.1971):
Thus, while the jury determined that the evidence did not support the finding of a beating, there was a determination of sufficient evidence to find a conspiracy to deprive equal protection.
Hampton v. Hanrahan, 600 F.2d at 621. From a review of the facts and record in this case, it was not unreasonable for this jury to reach the verdicts regarding Counts I and II.
Count III specifically alleged that the named officers conspired together with the purpose of impeding, obstructing, hindering and defeating the due course of justice and to deprive Lenard of equal protection of the
In his Second Amended Complaint, Lenard charged in Count V that Argento, Sansone and Dreyer denied him his rights to be free from malicious prosecution under color of law in violation of § 1983. This court has held that under a charge of a § 1983 violation, the test is "... not whether the arrest was constitutional or unconstitutional or whether it was made with or without probable cause, but whether the officer believed in good faith that the arrest was made with probable cause and whether that belief was reasonable." Brubaker v. King, 505 F.2d 534, 536-37 (7th Cir.1974). See Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 456 F.2d 1339 (2d Cir.1972), on remand from 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999, 29 L.Ed.2d 619 (1971).
The question then is whether Officers Argento and Sansone arrested Lenard with good faith belief that there was probable cause for the arrest and whether that belief was reasonable. The Supreme Court has held that:
Wong Sun v. United States, 371 U.S. 471, 479, 83 S.Ct. 407, 412, 9 L.Ed.2d 441 (1962). This court has held in United States v. Ganter, 436 F.2d 364, 368 (7th Cir.1970), that:
See also United States v. Watson, 587 F.2d 365, 368 (7th Cir.1978).
In examining the particulars of this case, it is undisputed that Lenard consumed four shots of vodka and five glasses of beer in a period of 5-6 hours while eating nothing and that while driving his automobile he became involved in a minor auto accident. Both officers were called to the scene to investigate the accident when a dispute over fault arose. While the offenses did not occur in the presence of the officers, they arrived upon the scene shortly thereafter. Testimony at trial indicated that Dreyer complained that Lenard had crossed
b. Village of Melrose Park
Count II of the Complaint alleged:
Count III of the Complaint charged that it was the policy of the Village to encourage, sanction and "cover-up" acts of misconduct by its police employees. The count specifically alleges that the internal investigation ordered by the Chief of Police was conducted solely to disprove Lenard's allegations and cover-up the police misconduct. Lenard further alleges that the policy and practice of the Village to encourage, sanction and conceal unlawful acts by its police employees was so broad and pervasive that it encompassed a large number of the police department including the Chief from the time of the incident to the present day.
Liability of municipalities must be based on something more than a mere right to control employees. A "municipality cannot be held liable under § 1983 on a respondent superior theory." Monell v. New York City Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 691, 98 S.Ct. 2018, 2036, 56 L.Ed.2d 611 (1977). As the Supreme Court held in Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371, 96 S.Ct. 598, 604, 46 L.Ed.2d 561 (1975), there must be an "affirmative link between the occurrence of the various incidents of police misconduct and the adoption of any plan or policy by petitioners — express or otherwise — showing their authorization or approval of such misconduct." The Court in Rizzo further held that the "failure to act in the face of a statistical pattern" of police misconduct was not sufficient to base liability on the City of Philadelphia. 423 U.S. at 376, 96 S.Ct. at 606. In Monell there was this same requirement of showing an implementation or execution of a governmental policy before municipal liability could be imposed. The resulting case law from Rizzo finds "... that a failure of a supervisory official to supervise, control, or train the offending individual officers is not actionable absent a showing that the official either encouraged the specific incident of misconduct or in some way directly participated in it." Hays v. Jefferson County, Ky., 668 F.2d 869, 874 (6th Cir.1982), cert. denied, ___ U.S. ___, 103 S.Ct. 75, 74 L.Ed.2d 73 (1982). At a minimum, a plaintiff must show that the official at least implicitly authorized, approved, or knowingly acquiesced in the unconstitutional conduct of the offending officers. Id. Inaction by the Village officials would also not attach liability. There can be liability only when there is an extremely high degree of culpability for inaction. The Second Circuit has held:
After an examination of approximately 2400 pages of transcript, we find insufficient evidence to establish a failure by the Village to properly screen, hire, train and supervise its employees. Defendant Argento was a police officer for another community before his employment by Melrose Park. He and Sansone attended the Chicago Police Academy after employment. While Chief of Police Cimino had received no formal police training, he was a veteran of thirty years on the police force. Chief Cimino, during direct examination, testified that his officers did receive training on physical restraint of prisoners. The identity of those officers was not pursued by Lenard's counsel. Several other officers, including defendants Culotta and Zito, testified but were not questioned by Lenard regarding their police training.
The Village of Melrose Park did not have established at the time of this incident a system of internal investigation nor written regulations regarding treatment of prisoners or the use of nightsticks. Directions, department policy and instructions were transmitted by word of mouth via meetings with staff officers every three months or general whole department meetings held twice a year. Nightsticks are issued to the officers only one week a year during a community feast and returned to the department at the end of that week. They were not standard uniform equipment requiring continual retraining.
Chief Cimino testified that on several occasions over eleven years the FBI had questioned officers regarding complaints but nothing ever became of those incidents. When a citizen complaint came to the attention of the Chief, he looked into the matter and talked the matter out with the officer and the complainant. For a small community, this personal approach to a community problem seems reasonable. The internal investigation regarding the Lenard incident was the first that Chief Cimino felt a need to order. The investigation was conducted by Officer Carpino and no disciplinary action resulted from this investigation. The investigation was still open at the time of trial.
Lenard argues that the investigation was conducted to disprove his allegations and cover-up police misconduct. We found no evidence to support these allegations. Officer Carpino did read at trial from a police report one line of which read "disprove allegation by the defendant and Lenard was charged with DWI" (Tr. 1295). However, when asked what was the purpose of the investigation, Carpino's reply was "to corroborate or contradict any of the evidence, whichever it may be, regardless to where it led." (Tr. 1297).
In light of the standard outlined in Monell, supra, Rizzo, supra and Turpin, supra, the review of the evidence in this case clearly did not reveal sufficient evidence that a reasonable man would return a contrary verdict regarding Count II or Count III in regard to the Village of Melrose Park. Most definitely the evidence did not rise to the standard of liability necessary under Rizzo and its progeny.
Similarly, there was not sufficient evidence to show a conspiracy on the part of the Village or its officials with the police officers or defendant Dreyer. The evidence did not show a custom or practice upon the part of the Village or through its officials with its police officers to deprive certain citizens of their constitutional rights through the use of physical force or criminal
The presence of the Village attorney during an interview of Argento, Sansone and Culotta by State's Attorney Kling on February 14, 1977 and the Village attorney's restrictions upon that interview, appear to be no more than legal counseling of Village employees during an admittedly unofficial investigation rather than a cover-up. The Village cooperated with the State's Attorney's office providing statements in its possession. The officers even took Kling to the accident scene and reviewed the events with him. Before a complaint was filed by Lenard and on the basis of newspaper articles alone, Chief Cimino initiated the first internal investigation of police officers in Melrose Park. While Lenard chooses to see conspiracy in these activities, we see none.
It should be pointed out that Lenard argues on appeal that the trial court erred when it instructed the jury regarding good faith immunity defense accorded the Village. At the time this trial was conducted, municipalities possessed a qualified immunity under Monell v. New York, supra, though the trial court was aware of pending action in the Supreme Court on this issue. (Tr. 1739-40, 1743). Six weeks after the conclusion of the trial, the Supreme Court held municipalities have no immunity from liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for their constitutional violations, and that they may not assert the good faith of their officers as a defense. Owens v. City of Independence, Mo., 445 U.S. 622, 100 S.Ct. 1398, 63 L.Ed.2d 673 (1980). On appellate review, we would ordinarily be obligated to apply the law as of the time of the appeal versus as of the time of trial, National Labor Relations Board v. Food Store Employees Union, Local 347, 417 U.S. 1, 10 n. 10, 94 S.Ct. 2074, 2080 n. 10, 40 L.Ed.2d 612 (1974); Bradley v. Richmond School Board, 416 U.S. 696, 94 S.Ct. 2006, 40 L.Ed.2d 476 (1974); Key v. Rutherford, 645 F.2d 880, 883 (10th Cir.1981), but we need not address the issue of the jury instruction in this case.
At the close of Lenard's case and at the close of all the evidence, the Village moved for a Directed Verdict which was reserved by the district court. The jury then returned verdicts in favor of the Village as to all alleged violations. Notwithstanding the jury verdict, after the close of the trial, the district court granted the Village's Motion for a Directed Verdict effective as of the close of the evidence. (Corrected Judgment was entered October 3, 1980 [R. 277]).
The standard for a Directed Verdict was recently stated by this Court in Richardson v. City of Indianapolis, 658 F.2d 494, 498 (7th Cir.1981). It was stated that:
While it might be argued that the trial court could have been influenced in its judgment by the defense of qualified immunity, such an argument would not reverse the trial court's decision but only require a remand for a clarification of its decision. In the normal orderly and efficient administration of justice, priority consideration should be given to issues which will dispose of litigation over issues which, if sustained, will require remand and retrial. Otten v. Stonewall Insurance Co., 538 F.2d 210, 213 (8th Cir.1976). From this record, we feel a remand is not necessary.
Lenard argues the sufficiency of the evidence against the Village and requested a reversal of the verdict and judgment, but no post-trial motions, i.e., judgment n.o.v. or motion for retrial, were made. Such failure limits the relief available from the appellate court to that of possibly ordering a new trial. Cone v. West Virginia Pulp and Paper Co., 330 U.S. 212, 67 S.Ct. 752, 91 L.Ed. 849 (1947); 5A Moore's Federal Practice ¶ 50.12 (2d ed. 1981). Defendants Argento and Sansone made several post-trial motions, including a motion for new trial. These motions were denied. From our review of the record, we fail to find sufficient evidence that would cause a reasonable man to return a contrary verdict. Smith v. J.C. Penney Co., 261 F.2d 218, 219 (7th Cir.1958). We sustain the Directed Verdict for the Village of Melrose Park.
As previously discussed, all the defendants, the Village of Melrose Park, Argento, Sansone, Zito and Culotta, were found not guilty by the jury of the alleged beating of Lenard. The jury also found the Village of Melrose Park, Zito and Culotta not guilty under Counts II and III. The jury did, however, find for Lenard against Argento and Sansone on both Counts II and III. The jury also found the two officers liable for malicious prosecution.
When the trial court instructed the jury on the "damage" portion of the verdict, they were instructed that they could award "substantial damages" for both conspiracies without proof of actual injury. If the jury found malicious or wanton conduct in regard to the conspiracies, the jury was instructed that they could award punitive damages in addition to the award of "substantial damages." If the jury found that Lenard had sustained actual or compensatory damages from the malicious prosecution, the jury was instructed to award such damages to Lenard. If Lenard had not sustained any actual damages, they were instructed to award a nominal sum. They were also instructed that punitive damages could be awarded if they found by a preponderance of the evidence "that the acts and conduct of the defendants toward the plaintiff were maliciously done." (R. 2382).
The trial court went on to further explain the three types of damages upon which they had been instructed. Actual damages represented any direct out-of-pocket expenses Lenard sustained because of the defendants' acts and conduct. The trial court viewed "substantial damages" as a category presumed to flow from every conspiracy to obstruct justice or deprivation of equal protection.
In Carey v. Piphus, 545 F.2d 30 (7th Cir.1976), rev'd 435 U.S. 247, 98 S.Ct. 1042, 55 L.Ed.2d 252 (1977), the Supreme Court reversed the position of this court regarding the awarding of damages to students who were suspended from public elementary and secondary schools without procedural due process. We had held that the students were entitled to recover substantial non-punitive damages in the absence of proof of actual injury caused by the denial of procedural due process. The Supreme Court held "that substantial damages should be awarded only to compensate actual injury or, in the case of exemplary or punitive damages, to deter or punish malicious deprivations of rights." 435 U.S. at 266, 98 S.Ct. at 1053. Carey was limited to procedural due process violations rather than the substantive constitutional violations of this case.
When the Court overruled the holding in Carey, it refrained from overruling the line of cases upon which this court had based Carey. The Supreme Court held:
435 U.S. at 264-65, 98 S.Ct. at 1052-1053. As recently pointed out in this court by Justice Stewart, retired, sitting by designation in Owen v. Lash, 682 F.2d 648 (7th Cir.1982), several courts have considered the question of awarding compensatory damages for substantive constitutional violations in the absence of consequential injury. Several of the courts, under the circumstances of their particular case and the nature of the constitutional violations, found damages could "be presumed where there is an infringement of a substantive constitutional right." Williams v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 660 F.2d 1267, 1272 (8th Cir.1981). See also Owen v. Lash, 682 F.2d at 657-59. Examining the circumstances of this case and the substantive constitutional issues, it was proper for the jury to consider and award damages for these violations in the absence of discernible consequential injuries.
There is no question that Lenard is entitled to a damage award for a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3). Such a right to damages is provided for within § 1985(3). This court, however, does not find that there is a separate category of damages known as "substantial damages" which flow from civil rights violations. While it is recognized that courts must exercise creativity in fashioning remedies for violations of constitutional rights, we are mindful of the Supreme Court's instruction in Carey that:
435 U.S. 247, 259, 98 S.Ct. 1042, 1050, 55 L.Ed.2d 252 (1977). While the Court in Carey made several references to "substantial damages" or "substantial non-punitive damages,"
We cannot but feel that the repeated use of the phrase "substantial damages" by the district court (11 times, plus inclusion as a category in the verdict form) in its instructions
Additionally, the award of $150,000 and $75,000 in punitive damages against Argento and Sansone, respectively, without a showing as to which claim, the conspiracies or the malicious prosecution, the award as assigned or apportioned requires remand in this instance. Federal law governs the right to punitive damages in civil rights violations. Basista v. Weir, 340 F.2d 74 (3d Cir.1965). To warrant an award of punitive damages, it must be demonstrated that "there was a degree of willful and wanton disregard of plaintiffs' right not to suffer this sort of discrimination." Seaton v. Sky Realty Co., Inc., 491 F.2d 634, 638 (7th Cir.1974). Because of our holding on the issue of malicious prosecution, supra, and the single sum award of punitive damages, we cannot apportion the award among the counts of the complaint. Punitive damages may be awarded to punish a defendant for his outrageous conduct but also to deter the defendant and others from engaging in the same or similar conduct. Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 350, 94 S.Ct. 2997, 3012, 41 L.Ed.2d 789 (1974); see also, City of Newport v. Fact Concerts, Inc., 453 U.S. 247, 101 S.Ct. 2748, 69 L.Ed.2d 616 (1981); W. Prosser, Law of Torts, § 2 at p. 9 (4th ed. 1971). Damages should not go beyond deterrence and become a windfall.
c. Damage evidence that can be presented
Several issues were raised on appeal regarding damages and evidence regarding damages which we will consider in order to guide the district court in the retrial.
The district court below held that no evidence in the damage portion of the trial could be introduced regarding the "beating" as the jury found no "actual" beating had occurred. The district court instructed Lenard's counsel that:
While the district court was correct in holding that no evidence of damage from an alleged "beating" could be presented to the jury because of its prior decision, the district court erroneously prevented the presentation of any of the proffered evidence of injuries, medical treatment and losses caused by those injuries sustained while in police custody as they relate to the conspiracy counts. In other words, any evidence of injuries proved incurred from the time shortly after the accident to Lenard's release to his family late that evening should be admitted as they relate to being sustained while in police custody. These injuries cannot be presented or argued, however, as being the result of a beating but presented as injuries incurred somehow while under police supervision and protection.
It has been recognized that prisoners are entitled to protection from excessive use of force by police officers. Clark v. Ziedonis, 513 F.2d 79 (7th Cir.1975). This court has held that where there is a showing of deliberate deprivation of constitutional rights while confined, a prisoner is entitled to damages. Black v. Brown, 513 F.2d 652 (7th Cir.1975); Little v. Walker, 552 F.2d 193, 197-98 (7th Cir.1977). On reconsideration of the damages on remand, evidence relating to the eye injury and the shoulder injury, the corrective surgeries performed, the costs and monetary losses from these injuries and the prognosis for recovery should be presented to the jury.
Damages may also be considered and awarded for constitutional deprivations. As we held in Hostrop v. Board of Junior College District No. 515, 523 F.2d 569 (7th Cir.1975), cert. denied, 425 U.S. 963, 96 S.Ct. 1748, 48 L.Ed.2d 208 (1976), the trial court should consider, when making an award for constitutional violations, "the nature of the constitutional deprivation and the magnitude of the mental distress and humiliation suffered by the plaintiff, as well as any other injury caused as a result of being deprived of federally protected rights ..." Id. at 580. As recently pointed out in this court by Justice Stewart in Owen v. Lash, supra, several courts "have awarded significant damages to compensate for the deprivation of a constitutional right despite the absence of proof on consequential injury." 682 F.2d at 658.
523 F.2d at 579 (cites omitted). See also Seaton v. Sky Realty Co., Inc., 491 F.2d 634 (7th Cir.1974); Corriz v. Naranjo, 667 F.2d 892 (10th Cir.1982), appeal dismissed per S.Ct. Rule 53, ___ U.S. ___, 103 S.Ct. 5, 73 L.Ed.2d 1394 (1982).
Upon retrial for damages, Lenard should be allowed to argue damages flowing from the nature of the constitutional deprivation, the mental distress, humiliation or any other injury, if any, caused as the result of the violation of his constitutional rights.
d. Duplicative Award
Argento and Sansone argue on appeal that any damage award for a civil conspiracy
However, the instructions for the conspiracy damages were not isolated to a particular event but rather related to the deprivation of rights of "due course of justice" and "equal protection under the law."
In summary, upon remand for retrial on damages, we direct that there is no category of damages called "substantial," that the evidence of bodily injury sustained by Lenard during his police custody and the related treatments, costs and prognosis shall be considered as damages under § 1985 (but they should not be couched as beating injuries), and that any evidence of injuries, i.e., mental distress or humiliation, sustained by Lenard as a result of the deprivation of his federal protected rights should be presented to the jury. However, the awards should not be duplicative of any other compensated injuries. Because of our finding of probable cause and reversal of the malicious prosecution count, no damages under Count III shall be considered on remand.
a. Omission of "beating" on the verdict form
Lenard argues that the omission of "battery," "beating," or "excessive force" in the verdict forms submitted to the jury was confusing and misleading. He contends that the general phrase regarding deprivation of "his rights, privileges or immunities" failed to inform the jury that these phrases referred to the excessive use of force. He further contends that the jury could have been confused because the verdict form was captioned with the Village of Melrose Park as well as the other named police defendants when in fact the Village was not charged under Count I of the complaint.
In reviewing the verdict forms, we must look at the instructions to the jury which complement the forms. Instructions should not be isolated in review but the court should look at the total scheme. Dreckman v. Flores, 331 F.2d 221 (7th Cir.1964). See also Alloy International Co. v. Hoover-NSK Bearing Co., 635 F.2d 1222 (7th Cir.1980). In this instance, the trial court adopted the phraseology of § 1983 and then proceeded to break down the elements which Lenard had to prove by a preponderance of the evidence. In doing so, the charge read:
(Tr. 2198-99). Thus, looking at the instruction and the accompanying verdict form, it is clear that the deprivation of "privilege and immunities" went to the alleged beating "of the face, head and body" of Lenard. The exact wording of an instruction is within the discretion of the court and will not be overturned unless there was an abuse of that discretion. See Emery v. Northern Pacific Railroad Company, 407 F.2d 109 (8th Cir.1969). It is clear from the instruction that the verdict form related to the "beating."
While the verdict form was captioned with the Village's name, the instruction clearly indicated the named police defendants. "[O]nly when there is a complete absence of positive fact to support conclusions reached (by the jury) does a reversible error appear." Almendarez v. Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Co., 426 F.2d 1095, 1099 (5th Cir.1970), citing Lavender v. Kurn, 327 U.S. 645, 653, 66 S.Ct. 740, 744, 90 L.Ed. 916 (1946). We find no prejudicial error in the form caption or the omission of "beating" in the verdict form itself.
b. Jury Instructions
The defendants Argento and Sansone argue that the jury instruction regarding the conspiracy to obstruct justice was overly broad and led the jury to believe that if the defendants were guilty of malicious prosecution they would be similarly guilty on the conspiracy charge. A similar argument was made regarding the equal protection instruction. We cannot agree.
An examination of the record clearly indicates that the trial court properly instructed the jury on the elements of the conspiracy to obstruct justice and the elements of the conspiracy to deprive equal protection. These elements were broken down numerically and relevant terms were defined for the jury. The instruction regarding the malicious prosecution clearly went to the initiation and prosecution of the state charges and not to any civil rights deprivations.
635 F.2d at 1228 (citations omitted).
Argento and Sansone contend that the instructions are overly broad because any misconduct by the defendants would create liability for conspiracy. As previously indicated, any act in the furtherance of or implementation of the conspiracy agreement creates the liability. Thus, if the jury found an agreement between Argento and Sansone and an act in the furtherance of that agreement to hinder the due course of justice or to deny equal protection under the law, the civil conspiracy is triggered.
In light of our finding of probable cause to effect the arrest of Lenard and reversal of the jury's finding on the malicious prosecution, the challenged instructions regarding the malicious prosecution need not be discussed. Finally, Argento and Sansone challenge the instruction of the trial court as to the Thirteenth Amendment and prejudicial introduction of "slavery" and "involuntary servitude" in this case. The defendants have, however, overlooked the fact that 42 U.S.C. § 1981 et seq. has its constitutional derivation from the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. As the Supreme Court held in Griffin:
403 U.S. at 105, 91 S.Ct. at 1799.
Examining all the instructions as a whole, we do not find the objected to instructions overly broad, confusing or prejudicial.
c. Motions in Limine
The trial court granted a Motion in Limine barring the introduction of evidence of a prior arrest and conviction of Lenard on voluntary manslaughter on March 23, 1953 in Arkansas. He was sixteen years old at the time, but there is no indication on the judgment of conviction (Exhibit A at R. 285) whether or not he was adjudicated as a juvenile. Argento and Sansone contend the granting of the Motion was prejudicial error as this conviction went to the issue of Lenard's violent tendencies and antipathy to the law. It is contended that Lenard presented himself as a lifetime law abiding citizen and the defense was prevented from impeaching his credibility through the introduction of three prior arrests and one conviction.
Federal Rules of Evidence 609
This court has always carefully considered the prejudicial impact of prior convictions and has recommended a standard for the trial courts to guide them in their discretionary function. See, United States v. Mahone, 537 F.2d 922 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 1025, 50 L.Ed.2d 627 (1976). The determination whether the evidence of a prior conviction is more probative than prejudicial is within the trial court's discretion. The House Committee on the Judiciary, when considering the proposed Federal Rules of Evidence, recommended that convictions older than ten years should be totally inadmissible.
Lenard contends the trial court erred when it granted the Motion in Limine of Sansone and Zito regarding their guilty pleas to bribery charges and thirty day suspensions
Generally evidence of other criminal activities is inadmissible unless the evidence of the other crimes or misconduct is relevant. It would be relevant if it bore upon the intent, knowledge, or absence of mistake or accident of the defendant. United States v. Peskin, 527 F.2d 71, 84 (7th Cir.1975), cert. denied, 429 U.S. 818, 97 S.Ct. 63, 50 L.Ed.2d 79 (1976). See also, United States v. Jones, 438 F.2d 461, 465 (7th Cir.1971); United States v. Marine, 413 F.2d 214, 216-17 (7th Cir.1969), cert. denied, 396 U.S. 1001, 90 S.Ct. 550, 24 L.Ed.2d 493 (1970). The admissibility of other criminal conduct is within the discretion of the trial court. Glasser v. United States, 315 U.S. 60, 62 S.Ct. 457, 86 L.Ed. 680 (1942); United States v. Fierson, 419 F.2d 1020 (7th Cir.1969); United States v. Grabiec, 563 F.2d 313 (7th Cir.1977).
The bribery admissions of Sansone and Zito do not relate to any charge against them in this civil action. The bribery and suspensions do not demonstrate any intent or knowledge which correlates to any civil rights deprivation or physical abuse. While both charges might demonstrate police misconduct, the admission of the subsequent suspensions would have to be weighed by the trial court for its prejudicial versus probative value. In addition, Lenard is not seeking to use the evidence against Sansone and Zito but against the Village to prove its intent to condone misconduct. Thus, Lenard is not seeking to use the evidence to show the intent of Sansone and Zito to commit police misconduct but rather to impose a completely different intent upon the Village. The proposed use of this evidence is completely outside the exceptions of 404(b). The suspensions are unrelated to any facts at issue in this case and do not have "any tendency to make the evidence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence." Federal Rules of Evidence 401. The trial court properly acted within its discretion to deny the admission of the suspensions.
Lenard also argues the trial court erred when it granted the Motion in Limine in respect to the police officer defendants' assertion of their Fifth Amendment privileges to internal investigators and the Cook County Grand Jury investigating the incident. (The officers did testify two weeks later). Lenard argues that the Village's failure to discipline the officers for invocation of their Fifth Amendment privilege was further evidence of a Village cover-up or condoning of misconduct. The Supreme Court held in Gardner v. Broderick, 392 U.S. 273, 88 S.Ct. 1913, 20 L.Ed.2d 1082 (1968), however, that a police officer cannot be disciplined for invocation of his Fifth Amendment privilege nor his failure to sign a waiver of immunity with respect to any testimony when the officer is called before a grand jury investigating criminal conduct with which he may be involved. Thus, the Village was prohibited from disciplining the officers under Gardner. Failure to discipline could not then be part of a cover-up. The failure of the Village to reinterview the defendants for its own internal investigation after their waiver of privilege before the Grand Jury fails to demonstrate an intention to cover-up, especially when Sansone and Zito were suspended a year and a half later. The trial court acted within its discretion in granting the Motion.
d. Statements made by counsel
While this Court appreciates the advocacy displayed by these attorneys on behalf of their clients, there were times during the course of reviewing the briefs and records of this case when it wondered whether these attorneys were in the same courtroom hearing the same case. While florid language and zealous advocacy display commitment to their respective causes, exaggerations and personal attacks do not factually present issues before an appellate court.
Defendants Argento and Sansone contend on appeal that several statements made by Lenard's counsel, including statements regarding religious affiliations and the veracity of Sansone in his testimony, amounted to reversible error. Personal observations, evaluations and recommendations are not part of the role of trial counsel but in the context of all the evidence and the clear cautionary instructions of the trial court regarding the arguments of counsel, these statements do not rise to the level of reversible error. We find any error in statements made by either counsel to be harmless error within Fed.R.Civ.P. 61. Kotteakos v. United States, 328 U.S. 750, 761-62, 66 S.Ct. 1239, 1246-1247, 90 L.Ed. 1557 (1946). We do congratulate the trial court for its very fair, even-handed handling of this long difficult case.
IV. Attorney Fees
The conclusion of the trial was far from the conclusion of the issues of the Lenard case on appeal. In October, 1980, the trial court in a Memorandum Opinion (R. 281) ruled that each party had prevailed to some extent and denied cross-motions by the plaintiff and defendants for attorney fees under the Civil Rights Attorneys Fees Awards Act of 1976, 42 U.S.C. § 1988.
On June 26, 1981, the defendants filed notice of appeal from all orders of the district
On appeal, initially, Argento and Sansone argue that the district court did not have jurisdiction over Lenard's June 29 Motion to Reconsider because they had already filed their appeal. In addition, it is argued that Lenard was not the prevailing party; that special circumstances require denial of fees; that the fees should be limited to the contingent contract; that the trial court did not limit the fees to the successful claims; that fees should not be awarded for the pendent claim of malicious prosecution; and that costs should not have been awarded under § 1988.
As a result of this Court's decision reversing the judgments under Counts III and V of the Complaint, affirming the jury verdict on Count I and remanding the case for retrial of damages under Count II, the issue regarding the final amount of attorney's fees must also be remanded to the trial court. In light of Judge Posner's concerns over the "nest of Chinese boxes" in civil rights litigation (Muscare v. Quinn, 680 F.2d 42 (7th Cir.1982)), we will address some of the issues raised on appeal.
The filing of a timely Motion for appeal has the effect of transferring the jurisdiction over the case from the district court to that of the appellate court. 9 Moore's Federal Practice ¶ 203.11 (1982); United States v. Lafko, 520 F.2d 622 (3d Cir.1975). Under Fed.R.App.P. 4(a)(1) the notice of appeal should be filed within 30 days from the entry of judgment or order appealed from. However, the rule further provides that:
For the purposes of Rule 4(a), a motion to reconsider has been held to qualify as a Rule 59(e) motion. Richerson v. Jones, 572 F.2d 89, 93 (3d Cir.1978); Jones v. Nelson, 484 F.2d 1165, 1167-68 (10th Cir.1973); 9 Moore's Federal Practice ¶ 204.12, p. 4-67 (1982). Thus, a timely motion to reconsider postpones the running of the time for appeal. If the time to file is postponed by a motion, the district court must have jurisdiction to consider the motion. As the rule states "[a] notice of appeal filed before the granting or denying of any of the above motions shall have no effect. A new notice must be filed..." Fed.R.App.P. 4(a)(4). We find that the district court had jurisdiction to consider the Motion to Reconsider the opinion of June 19, 1981, timely filed by the plaintiff on June 29, 1981. The defendants filed a notice
The awarding of attorney's fees is within the discretion of the trial court but that discretion is a narrow one. Dawson v. Pastrick, 600 F.2d 70, 79 (7th Cir.1979). The fees should only be denied when special circumstances would render an award unjust. Id. The key to the award of attorney's fees is the determination as to who is the prevailing party. This Circuit in Busche v. Burkee, 649 F.2d 509, 521 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 454 U.S. 897, 102 S.Ct. 396, 70 L.Ed.2d 212 (1981), adopted the definition of the First Circuit in Nadeau v. Helgemoe, 581 F.2d 275, 278-9 (1st Cir.1978) which stated:
On the trial court level, Lenard failed in the significant allegation of the "beating" under § 1983. Similarly, while he was sustained in his charges under the conspiracy counts, the jury found liability only for Argento and Sansone and not the other named defendants. On this appeal, this Court has only affirmed the findings of the jury on one of the conspiracy charges and reversed the findings on the malicious prosecution and obstruction of justice. This Circuit has held that "a prevailing plaintiff should receive fees almost as a matter of course." Davis v. Murphy, 587 F.2d 362, 364 (7th Cir.1978). It cannot be said, however, that Lenard has prevailed in the case as a whole but rather he was partially successful in his civil rights claims. As was held in Muscare v. Quinn, 614 F.2d 577, 580 (7th Cir.1980), attorney's fees should be awarded only for the preparation and presentation of claims on which the plaintiff has prevailed. "[T]he amount of attorney's fees they receive [prevailing plaintiff] should be based on the work performed on the issues in which they were successful." Nadeau v. Helgemoe, 581 F.2d at 279; Busche v. Burkee, 649 F.2d at 522. See also Coop v. City of South Bend, supra; Murphy v. Kolovitz, supra; Harrington v. DeVito, 656 F.2d 264 (7th Cir.1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 993, 102 S.Ct. 1621, 71 L.Ed.2d 854 (1982). On remand the trial court should carefully review the time sheets on the successful claim of Count II in light of the Waters v. Wisconsin Steel Works, 502 F.2d 1309 (7th Cir.1974) factors adopted in Muscare v. Quinn, 614 F.2d at 579. See also Busche v. Burkee, 649 F.2d at 522.
The defendants argue that, even if Lenard did prevail, fees should be denied because of the special circumstances of the size of the damage award, the contingent attorney contract and the financial position of the defendants. The amount of the damage award, large or small, is not a circumstance to be considered in the awarding of fees. Coop v. City of South Bend, 635 F.2d at 654. The purpose of the Attorneys Fees Awards Act was to effectuate and assist the private citizen in the enforcement of the Civil Rights Act. (See the legislative history, S.Rep. No. 1011, 94th Cong., 2d Sess., reprinted in 1976 U.S.Code Cong. & Ad.News 5908-5914). We do not view the size of any damage award as a special circumstance to be considered in the award of these attorney's fees. But see Chrapliwy v. Uniroyal, Inc., 670 F.2d 760 (7th Cir.), petition for cert. filed, 51 U.S. L.W. 3055 (U.S. May 19, 1982) (No. 81-2135); Mirabal v. General Motors Acceptance Corp., 576 F.2d 729 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 1039, 99 S.Ct. 642, 58 L.Ed.2d 699 (1978). The trial court may consider as a factor the contingent fee contract, but it is not to be an automatic limitation on the attorney fee award. See Sanchez v. Schwartz, 688 F.2d 503 (7th Cir.1982); Strama v. Peterson, 689 F.2d 661 (7th Cir.1982). See also Sargeant v. Sharp, 579 F.2d 645 (1st Cir.1978). Additionally, while we recognize that these defendants
As Chief Judge Cummings recently wrote in Sanchez v. Schwartz, supra, a contingent fee contract should not serve "as an automatic ceiling on the amount of a statutory award." 688 F.2d at 505. See also Furtado v. Bishop, 635 F.2d 915, 920 (1st Cir.1980).
The defendants contend that the trial court improperly awarded costs under § 1988. They base this contention upon the fact that the court reversed its stand regarding costs after it reconsidered the attorney's fees issue in January, 1981. Costs are allowable under § 1988. North-cross v. Board of Education of Memphis City Schools, 611 F.2d 624, 642 (6th Cir.1979), cert. denied, 447 U.S. 911, 100 S.Ct. 2999, 64 L.Ed.2d 862 (1980); Konczak v. Tyrrell, 603 F.2d 13, 18-19 (7th Cir.1979), cert. denied, 444 U.S. 1016, 100 S.Ct. 668, 62 L.Ed.2d 646 (1980). Costs are also allowable under Fed.R.Civ.P. 54(d) and 28 U.S.C. § 1920. These costs are awarded to the prevailing party. Busche v. Burkee, 649 F.2d at 522. It must be remembered that up to January, 1981, the trial court regarded this case a draw. It was only after the clarification of "prevailing" in civil rights cases that the trial court awarded costs. While the court did not indicate, in its Order awarding costs, the statutory basis for the award, we believe that such costs are allowable under § 1988, 54(d) and § 1920. Deposition costs are allowable within the discretion of the trial court, Bailey v. Meister Brau, Inc., 535 F.2d 982, 996 (7th Cir.1976), as are copying costs, SCA Services, Inc. v. Lucky Stores, 599 F.2d 178, 180 (7th Cir.1979). We find no abuse of discretion in the trial court regarding the costs.
Since Lenard was successful in prevailing on the issue of conspiracy to deprive equal protection, on appeal, the trial court should determine the reasonable fees on this issue on appeal keeping in mind the totality of the case. See Muscare v. Quinn, 680 F.2d 42, supra. See also Hanrahan v. Hampton, 446 U.S. 754, 100 S.Ct. 1987, 64 L.Ed.2d 670 (1980).
For all the above reasons we:
Circuit Rule 18 shall not apply.
AFFIRMED in part, REVERSED in part and REMANDED.
456 F.2d at 1348.
One, that a criminal proceeding was commenced against the plaintiff.
Two, that defendants Argento and Sansone, or one of them, commenced the criminal proceeding against the plaintiff.
Three, that the plaintiff was found not guilty of one or more of the charges.
Four, that a criminal proceeding was commenced by defendants Argento and Sansone, or one of them, without probable cause.
Five, that defendants Argento and Sansone, or one of them, acted with malice and,
Six, that the defendant was damaged by the criminal proceeding." (Tr. 2209).
Federal Rules of Evidence 609.