Appeals Court Upholds $680,000 Verdict For Former City Police Officer, Plus $100,000 In Legal Bills Against City

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A federal appeals court has upheld a $680,000 verdict for former Chattanooga Police Officer Mikel Hoback.

The appeals court said, "The jury had a chance to hear Hoback's explanations for his disability requests and weigh his credibility accordingly, and the City has offered no reason to overturn the jury's decision. Because a panel opinion of this court would serve no jurisprudential purpose, we adopt the reasoning of the district court and affirm on the basis of its opinion in all other respects." 

The city has also been ordered to pay almost $100,000 to his attorneys, Phil and David Lawrence and Mike Richardson. David Lawrence filed for $2,065, Phil Lawrence for $70,938 and Mike Richardson for $26,964. The total attorney fee award was $99,967.

The suit was filed in  2010 and tried in 2011.

It says Mr. Hoback returned to the city police department after combat service in Iraq from 2004-2005. It says he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, but had no limitations on his police service.

However, after then-Chief Freeman Cooper would no longer allow him to serve after learning that he had a "mental disorder," the suit said.

The complaint said a VA physician had ordered him involuntarily committed, saying he had suicidal tendencies. It was claimed that the physician misunderstood his condition and that he had only gone in concerning an issue about his medication for PTSS.   

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