M ORE L AW
LEXAPEDIA
Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto

Information
About MoreLaw
Contact MoreLaw

Please E-mail suggested additions, comments and/or corrections to Kent@MoreLaw.Com.

Help support the publication of case reports on MoreLaw

Date: 11-21-2015

Case Style: Donald E. Gates v. District of Columbia

Case Number: 1:11-cv-00040-RWR

Judge: Richard W. Roberts

Court: District of Columbia

Plaintiff's Attorney: Peter Neufeld, Jeffrey Stuart Gutman, Alexandra Lampert and Nick Brustin

Defendant's Attorney: Shana Lyn Frost, Joseph Alfonso Gonzalez and Robert A. DeBerardinis, Jr. for the District of Columbia, John Harlow, Norman Brooks and Ronald S. Taylor

Paula Potoczak for Michael P. Malone

Andrea McBarnette for Intervenor United States of America

Description: Washington, D.C. - Exonerated defendant wrongfully convicted of rape and murder settles for $16.65 million

Donald E. Gates sued the District of Columbia, John Harlow, Norman Brooks and Ronald S. Taylor on civil rights violation theories under 42 U.S.C. 1983 claiming that he was wrongfully convicted of the rape and murder of a college student in 1981 and sentenced to life in prison for a crime he did not commit. Plaintiff was eventually exonerated in 2009 as a result of DNA tests that indicated that he was not the rapist. He claimed that the detective defendants failed to conduct a proper investigation of information provided to them and they manufactured evidence to obtain his conviction including perjured testimony by a witness who was paid $1,300 to say that Gates raped and murdered Catherine Schilling.

The defenses asserted by the defendants are not available.

Docket entries for this case from October 1, 2015 to November 21, 2015:


Date Filed # Docket Text

10/02/2015 133 PRETRIAL STATEMENT by DONALD EUGENE GATES. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Exhibit D, # 5 Exhibit E, # 6 Exhibit F, # 7 Exhibit G, # 8 Certificate of Service)(Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 10/02/2015)
10/05/2015 ENTERED IN ERROR.....MINUTE ORDER: It is hereby ORDERED that the pretrial conference currently scheduled for October 16, 2015 be, and hereby is, rescheduled for October 15, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. Signed by Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts on 10/5/15. (lcrwr1) Modified on 10/5/2015 to enter in error as a duplicate entry.(ztnr) (Entered: 10/05/2015)

10/05/2015 134 ORDER scheduling trial to begin on November 2, 2015 at 9:45 a.m and directing parties to use the attached templates for pretrial submissions. Signed by Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts on 10/5/15.(lcrwr1) (Entered: 10/05/2015)

10/06/2015 135 Memorandum in opposition to re 132 MOTION in Limine filed by DONALD EUGENE GATES. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A, # 2 Exhibit B, # 3 Exhibit C, # 4 Certificate of Service)(Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 10/06/2015)

10/06/2015 136 Memorandum in opposition to re 131 MOTION in Limine to Admit Evidence of True Perpetrator and Modify Protective Order (redacted) and motion for leave of Court to depose Maueen Dolan filed by NORMAN BROOKS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, JOHN HARLOW, RONALD S. TAYLOR. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit)(Gonzalez, Joseph) (Entered: 10/06/2015)

10/07/2015 137 PRETRIAL STATEMENT by DONALD EUGENE GATES. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A_District Smith Designations, # 2 Exhibit B_District Malone Designations, # 3 Exhibit C_Gates and DC Voir Dire Combined, # 4 Exhibit D_Jury Instructions, # 5 Exhibit E_Gates and DC Proposed Verdict Forms, # 6 Exhibit F_Charles Beard Email, # 7 Exhibit G_Letter to Charles Beard, # 8 Exhibit H_Plaintiff's Reformatted Exhibit List, # 9 Exhibit I_Defendants' Reformatted Exhibit List, # 10 Certificate of Service)(Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 10/07/2015)

10/09/2015 138 REPLY to opposition to motion re 131 MOTION in Limine to Admit Evidence of True Perpetrator and Modify Protective Order (redacted), 130 SEALED MOTION filed by DONALD EUGENE GATES filed by DONALD EUGENE GATES. (Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 10/09/2015)

10/09/2015 139 REPLY to opposition to motion re 132 MOTION in Limine filed by NORMAN BROOKS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, JOHN HARLOW, RONALD S. TAYLOR. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A)(Frost, Shana) (Entered: 10/09/2015)

10/13/2015 140 NOTICE OF FILING REDACTED DOCUMENT to 137 Pretrial Statement,, by DONALD EUGENE GATES (The original PDF Document contained privacy information and was restricted pursuant to the E-Government Act.) (Attachments: # 1 Joint Pretrial Statement (Redacted/Corrected), # 2 Exhibit H_Plaintiff's Exhibit List (Redacted/Corrected), # 3 Exhibit I_Defendants' Exhibit List (Redacted/Corrected), # 4 Certificate of Service)(Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 10/13/2015)
10/15/2015 Minute Entry; Proceedings held before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts: Pretrial Conference held on 10/15/2015. Oral Rulings given denying 125 Motion for a Jury Questionnaire; granting 126 Motion for Order Directing Release of Certain Medical Records ; granting 127 Joint Motion to Bifurcate; granting conditionally 131 Motion in Limine to Admit Evidence of True Perpetrator and Modify Protective Order ; granting in part and denying in part 132 Motion in Limine; Jury Trial set for 11/2/2015 at 09:45 AM in Courtroom 9 before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts. (Court Reporter William Zaremba) (hs) (Entered: 10/15/2015)

10/19/2015 141 ORDER; Authorizing Disclosure of Health Information, Signed by Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts on 10/16/2015. (hs) (Entered: 10/19/2015)

10/19/2015 142 NOTICE of Proposed Order by DONALD EUGENE GATES re 130 SEALED MOTION filed by DONALD EUGENE GATES (Attachments: # 1 Text of Proposed Order Proposed Order)(Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 10/19/2015)

10/19/2015 143 ORDER granting in part and denying in part plaintiff Eugene Gates' sealed motion 130 to modify protective order and admit evidence of true perpetrator. It is hereby ORDERED that parties will be allowed to admit evidence of the true perpetrator at trial, but the parties and their witnesses must keep the individual's name confidential. It is further ORDERED that protective orders 23 and 116 be, and hereby are, MODIFIED to allow the introduction of evidence at trial previously designated as confidential, with the true perpetrator's name redacted. Signed by Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts on 10/19/15. (lcrwr1) (Entered: 10/19/2015)

10/22/2015 144 STIPULATION between Plaintiff Gates and Defendants Taylor, Brooks, and Harlow for Section 1983 Claims by DONALD EUGENE GATES. (Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 10/22/2015)

10/22/2015 145 STIPULATION between Plaintiff Gates and Defendant District of Columbia for Unjust Imprisonment Act Claim by DONALD EUGENE GATES. (Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 10/22/2015)

10/22/2015 146 NOTICE of Filing Proposed Redacted Complaint by NORMAN BROOKS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, JOHN HARLOW, RONALD S. TAYLOR (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Redacted Complaint)(Frost, Shana) (Entered: 10/22/2015)

10/22/2015 147 MOTION to exclude evidence of the complaint and to reconsider instructing the jury on a claim it will not decide by DONALD EUGENE GATES (Attachments: # 1 Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit A_Proposed Complaint Redactions, # 3 Exhibit B_Complaint Redactions, # 4 Text of Proposed Order)(Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 10/22/2015)

10/27/2015 148 Unopposed MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney by DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (Frost, Shana) (Entered: 10/27/2015)

10/27/2015 149 MOTION to Declare Witness Gerald Smith Unavailabe for Trial by NORMAN BROOKS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, JOHN HARLOW, RONALD S. TAYLOR (Attachments: # 1 Affidavit Affidavit of Investigator Rembert)(Frost, Shana) (Entered: 10/27/2015)

10/30/2015 150 NOTICE of Filing Proposed Special Interrogatories by NORMAN BROOKS, JOHN HARLOW, RONALD S. TAYLOR (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Special Interrogatories)(Frost, Shana) (Entered: 10/30/2015)

10/30/2015 151 Memorandum in opposition to re 147 MOTION to exclude evidence of the complaint and to reconsider instructing the jury on a claim it will not decide filed by NORMAN BROOKS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, JOHN HARLOW, RONALD S. TAYLOR. (Frost, Shana) (Entered: 10/30/2015)

10/30/2015 152 Memorandum in opposition to re 149 MOTION to Declare Witness Gerald Smith Unavailabe for Trial filed by DONALD EUGENE GATES. (Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 10/30/2015)

10/31/2015 153 Proposed Voir Dire by DONALD EUGENE GATES. (Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 10/31/2015)
11/02/2015 MINUTE ORDER: The Court having impaneled the jury in this action, it is hereby ORDERED, that during trial and deliberations all meals for said jury shall be paid by the Clerk of the Court for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Approved by Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts on 11/2/2015. (hs) (Entered: 11/02/2015)
11/02/2015 Minute Entry; for proceedings held before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts: Jury Selection begun and held on 11/2/2015. Defendant's 148 Unopposed MOTION to Withdraw as Attorney effective November 16, 2015 by DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; Granted. Oral ruling denying 149 MOTION to Declare Witness Gerald Smith Unavailable for Trial. Jury Trial set for 11/3/2015 at 09:15 AM in Courtroom 9 before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts. (Court Reporter William Zaremba.) (hs) Modified on 11/16/2015 (hs). (Entered: 11/02/2015)
11/03/2015 Minute Entry; for proceedings held before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts: Jury Trial Begun and held on 11/3/2015. Jurors (9) Sworn, Witnesses: W. Louis Hennessey, Brooks Harrington. Jury Trial continued for 11/4/2015 at 09:15 AM in Courtroom 9 before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts. (Court Reporter William Zaremba-AM/Barbara Devico-PM.) (hs) (Entered: 11/03/2015)
11/04/2015 Minute Entry; for proceedings held before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts: Jury Trial resumed and held on 11/4/2015. Same jury (9) present. Witnesses: Brooks Harrington/Maureen Dolan. Jury Trial continued for 11/5/2015 at 09:15 AM in Courtroom 9 before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts. (Court Reporter William Zaremba/Barbar Devico) (hs) (Entered: 11/04/2015)

11/04/2015 154 REPLY to opposition to motion re 147 MOTION to exclude evidence of the complaint and to reconsider instructing the jury on a claim it will not decide filed by DONALD EUGENE GATES. (Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 11/04/2015)
11/05/2015 Minute Entry; for proceedings held before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts: Jury Trial resumed and held on 11/5/2015. Same jury (9) present. Witnesses: Daniel Baker/Maureen Dolan/Norman Brooks. Jury Trial continued for 11/9/2015 at 09:15 AM in Courtroom 9 before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts. (Court Reporter William Zaremba/Barbar Devico) (hs) (Entered: 11/05/2015)

11/05/2015 155 STIPULATION Joint Statement of Elements and Status of Count 1 by DONALD EUGENE GATES. (Gutman, Jeffrey) (Entered: 11/05/2015)

11/06/2015 156 NOTICE of Plaintiff's Opposition to the District Defendants' Notice of Filing of Special Interrogatories to the Jury by DONALD EUGENE GATES re 150 Notice (Other) (Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 11/06/2015)

11/09/2015 157 MOTION to Quash by Michael P. Malone (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit Exhibit 2, # 3 Text of Proposed Order)(Potoczak, Paula) (Entered: 11/09/2015)
11/09/2015 Minute Entry; for proceedings held before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts: Jury Trial resumed and held on 11/9/2015. Same jury (9) present. Witnesses: Norman Brooks, Donald Gates, John Harlow and Ronald Taylor. Jury Trial continued to 11/10/2015 at 9:15 AM in Courtroom 9 before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts. (Court Reporters: William Zaremba/Barbar DeVico) (gdf) (Entered: 11/10/2015)
11/10/2015 Minute Entry: for proceedings held before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts: Jury Trial resumed and held on 11/10/2015. Same jury (9)present. Witnesses: Ronald Taylor/Hamilton P. Fox. Jury Trial continued 11/12/2015 at 9:30 AM in Courtroom 9 before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts. (Court Reporters: William Zaremba/Barbar DeVico) (gdf) (Entered: 11/10/2015)

11/12/2015 158 NOTICE OF SUPPLEMENTAL AUTHORITY by DONALD EUGENE GATES (Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 11/12/2015)
11/12/2015 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts: Jury Trial resumed and held on 11/12/2015. Same jury (9) present. Witness: Hamilton Fox. Defendant's Oral Motion for Rule 50; argument heard and continued to 11/12/15. Jury Trial continued 11/12/2015 at 9:15 AM in Courtroom 9 before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts. (Court Reporter: William Zaremba/Barbar DeVico) (gdf) (Entered: 11/12/2015)
11/13/2015 Minute Entry for proceedings held before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts: Jury Trial resumed and held on 11/13/2015. Same jury (9) present. Witness: Ronald Taylor. Defendant's Rule 50 Motion and renewed Rule 50 motion,taken under advisement. Oral request to dismiss Defendant Gerald Smith, granted. Jury Trial set for 11/16/2015 at 9:30 AM in Courtroom 9 before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts. (Court Reporter William Zaremba/Barbara DeVico) (gdf) (Entered: 11/13/2015)

11/15/2015 159 NOTICE of Supplemental Request for Jury Instruction: Limiting Instruction by DONALD EUGENE GATES (Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 11/15/2015)
11/16/2015 Minute Entry; for proceedings held before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts: Jury Trial resumed and held on 11/16/2015. Same Jury (9) present. Jury Instructions given. Closing arguments began but not concluded. Jury Trial continued for 11/17/2015 at 09:15 AM before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts. (Court Reporter William Zaremba/Barbara DeVico) (hs) (Entered: 11/16/2015)

11/17/2015 160 NOTICE of Additional Requested Jury Instruction during Damages Phase by DONALD EUGENE GATES (Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 11/17/2015)

11/17/2015 161 NOTICE of Plaintiffs Request to Clarify Permissible Closing Argument during Damages Phase by DONALD EUGENE GATES (Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 11/17/2015)
11/17/2015 Minute Entry; for proceedings held before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts: Jury Trial resumed on 11/17/2015, same jury (9) present. Closing Arguments completed. Jury Deliberations begun and held. Jury Deliberations continued for 11/18/2015 at 09:15 AM in Courtroom 9 before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts. (Court Reporter William Zaremba-AM/Barbara Devico-PM) (hs) (Entered: 11/17/2015)

11/17/2015 162 Jury Notes (2)(hs) (Entered: 11/17/2015)
11/17/2015 163

Signature Page of Foreperson

Jury Note (2). (Access to the PDF Document is restricted pursuant to the E-Government Act. Access is limited to Counsel of Record and the Court. (hs) (Main Document 163 replaced on 11/17/2015) (zhs). (Entered: 11/17/2015)
11/18/2015 MINUTE ORDER: Plaintiff's Complaint contains jury-triable claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983, and a claim for damages under the Unjust Imprisonment Act of 1980 ("UIA") which is triable to the Court. See, e.g., Compl. 2, 111-16 [1-1]. Plaintiff sought pretrial to have all prospective jurors complete a juror questionnaire that included a "Description of Case" with the following sentences: "This is a civil rights action brought by Plaintiff Donald Gates, who claims that his wrongful imprisonment was the direct result of District of Columbia police officers misconduct.... He seeks compensatory damages for the pain and suffering that he endured as a result of his wrongful imprisonment." Pl.'s Mot. for a Jury Questionnaire, Ex. B at 2 [125-2]. Although his motion for a questionnaire was denied, the preliminary instructions read to the jury 15 days ago at the start of trial describing his case included, over the plaintiff's objection, the following sentence: "While the complaint lists a claim against the District of Columbia for wrongful imprisonment, that is not a claim that you will be called upon to decide." Calling that error, plaintiff now seeks a jury instruction regarding the UIA claim to "mitigate the prejudice caused by informing the jury of the separate claim[,]" Pl.'s Notice of Addl. Requested Jury Instr. during Damages Phase at 1 160 , that would say that the Court "will be bound by your total assessment of damages, and may not award damages on that separate claim in addition to whatever damages you award." Id. at 3. The Court is unpersuaded by plaintiff's argument that the jury's damage award on 1983 claims binds the Court's damages assessment on the UIA claim. Any UIA award by the Court would be neither an additur nor remittitur to any 1983 damage award as the awards would result from the factual proof of wholly separate essential elements of the separate claims. And the jury is limited to awarding damages proximately caused by defendants Taylor, Brooks, and/or Harlow; nothing in the UIA limits the Court's damage award that way. In any event, the mention of the UIA claim that was purportedly erroneous was mentioned in one sentence on one of the 18 pages of preliminary instructions given to the jury orally 15 days ago and has never been mentioned to them in any instruction since then. The sentence was immediately followed by two pages of instructions identifying the elements of the 1983 claims that the jury would have to consider. Those preliminary instructions were never printed and given to the now-deliberating jury; the detailed final instructions which make no mention of the UIA claim were. As no unfair prejudice to the plaintiff has occurred, it is therefore ORDERED that the plaintiff's requested jury instruction 160 be, and hereby is, DENIED. Signed by Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts on 11/18/15. (lcrwr1) (Entered: 11/18/2015)
11/18/2015 MINUTE ORDER; denying 147 Motion to exclude evidence of the complaint and to reconsider instructing the jury on a claim it will not decide; finding as moot 157 Motion to Quash, by Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts on 11/18/2015. (hs) (Entered: 11/18/2015)

11/18/2015 164 Jury Notes (1) (hs) (Entered: 11/18/2015)

11/18/2015 165

Signature Page of Foreperson

Jury Note (1) (Access to the PDF Document is restricted pursuant to the E-Government Act. Access is limited to Counsel of Record and the Court.) (hs) (Entered: 11/18/2015)

11/18/2015 166 STIPULATION by DONALD EUGENE GATES. (Lampert, Alexandra) (Entered: 11/18/2015)
11/18/2015 Minute Entry; for proceedings held before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts: Jury Deliberations resumed and Concluded on 11/18/2015. Same Jury (9) present. Verdict rendered in Favor of the Plaintiff. Damages Phase of the Jury Trial Begun and held. Witness: Donald Gates. Damages Phase of the Jury Trial continued for 11/19/2015 at 09:15 AM in Courtroom 9 before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts. (Court Reporter William Zaremba.) (hs) (Entered: 11/18/2015)

11/18/2015 167 Jury Note (1) (hs) (Entered: 11/18/2015)

11/18/2015 168

Signature Page of Foreperson

Jury Note (1). (Access to the PDF Document is restricted pursuant to the E-Government Act. Access is limited to Counsel of Record and the Court. (hs) (Entered: 11/18/2015)

11/18/2015 169 Verdict Form. (hs) (Entered: 11/18/2015)

11/18/2015 170

Signature Page of Foreperson

Jury Verdict. (Access to the PDF Document is restricted pursuant to the E-Government Act. Access is limited to Counsel of Record and the Court. (hs) (Entered: 11/18/2015)

11/19/2015 Amended Minute Entry: for proceedings held before Chief Judge Richard W. Roberts: Damages Phase of Jury Trial resumed and concluded on 11/19/2015. Mutual settlement reached by the parties in the amount of Sixteen Million, Six Hundred and Fifty-Thousand dollars. Same Jury (9) present and discharged. (Court Reporter William Zaremba) (hs) Modified on 11/19/2015 (hs). (Entered: 11/19/2015)

11/19/2015 171 NOTICE of Settlement by NORMAN BROOKS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, JOHN HARLOW, RONALD S. TAYLOR (Gonzalez, Joseph) (Entered: 11/19/2015)

Outcome: Plaintiff's verdict on the issue of liability. Case settled for $16.65 million.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:

Comments:



 
 
Home | Add Attorney | Add Expert | Add Court Reporter | Sign In
Find-A-Lawyer By City | Find-A-Lawyer By State and City | Articles | Recent Lawyer Listings
Verdict Corrections | Link Errors | Advertising | Editor | Privacy Statement
© 1996-2018 MoreLaw, Inc. - All rights reserved.