Case: Personal Injury
By SUSAN CRAIGHEAD
- Synopsis of the Case -
Dolores Law, was awarded $70,000.00 by a Jefferson Circuit Court jury on the basis of her claims that she was maliciously prosecuted by her neighbor, a former Louisville police officer, for trimming his shrubs.
Ms. Law was acting as an Operation Brightside Block Captain in her neighborhood. She was asked by a neighbor to trim some bushes outside a four-unit apartment building across the street from her home. The four-unit apartment building was owned by a former Louisville police officer, Kenneth Bledsoe. Former police officer Bledsoe took out a warrant against Ms. Law and saw that she was arrested and charged with criminal mischief for unlawfully destroying the shrubs.
Attorney William F. McMurry explained to the jury that Ms. Law was invited onto the property to trim the shrubs by one of Bledsoe's tenants.
At the time of Ms. Law's arrest, former police officer Bledsoe "was standing there on the porch (of his building at 160 Lyndon Lane) with a big grin on his face."
Ms. Law was taken to the Jefferson County Jail where she was photographed, fingerprinted and strip-searched.
"You know, you keep thinking I'm going to wake up. I felt like a person who had been raped." [Trial testimony of Dolores Law].
Attorney, William F. McMurry, alleged that Mr. Bledsoe had abused his position as a police officer in prosecuting Dolores Law. Attorney McMurry told the jury that Bledsoe had used his position to take out a warrant for the arrest of his tenant. Initially, a judge refused to authorize Ms. Law's arrest. However, that did not deter former police officer Bledsoe, who then took his application for a warrant to another judge, who did authorize Dolores Law's arrest.
The jury awarded $10,000.00 in compensatory damages and $60,000.00 in punitive damages.