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Date: 09-26-2009

Case Style: Caitlin Childs and Christopher Freeman v. David Gorman and Mark Maphet

Case Number: 1:05-cv-02463-JTC

Judge: Jack T. Camp

Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Fulton County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: Margaret Fletcher Garrett and Elizabeth Lynn Littrell, American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Georgia, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia; Craig Lewis Goodmark, Atlanta, Georgia; Gerald R. Weber, Southern Center for Human Rights, Atlanta, Georgia

Defendant's Attorney: Tres Indermark, Howard Indermark, P.C., Decatur, Georgia; Duane D. Pritchett, DeKalb County Law Department, Decatur, Georgia

Description: Caitlin Childs and Christopher Freeman sued DeKalb police officer David Gorman and Office Mark Maphet on civil rights violation claims under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for being arrested on disorderly conduct charges after they refused to give Maphet a piece of paper upon which they had written the car tag number of Gorman's unmarked police are at a vegan protect at a HoneyBaked Ham store. Gorman was, at the time, a homeland security officer who took pictures of a Plaintiffs and other vegans participating in the protest. Gorman was in civil clothing and was driving an unmarked car. Childs and Freeman wrote down the license tag of Gorman's car. Gorman reacted by calling for backup. Maphet responded and asked for identification and demanded that Plaintiffs turn over the paper upon which they had written the tag number. When they refused, they were arrested. Charges were never filed.

Defendants denied wrongdoing.

Outcome: Plaintiffs' verdict for $2 in compensatory damages and $2 in punitive damages.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:

Comments: Editor's Comments: I have successfully represented two individuals in recent years who were wrongfully arrested by police officers in the community where I practice. One was arrested in her bedroom for public intoxication and the other was arrested for trespassing on her own property. Unfortunately, too many police officers engage in a form of abuse of power in which they arrest people for standing up for themselves in the face of the officers improperly use of the powers vested in them by the communities that hire them to protect the people who live there. Plaintiffs who succeed in civil rights cases are normally entitled to recover their attorney fees and costs. In many cases costs and fees often exceed the damages awarded by juries. I suspect that their will be litigation over the fees and costs in this case.

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