As mentioned in Part 1 of this blog entry, both sides of the case appealed certain aspects of the jury award, and what the trial court did with it, pursuant to post-trial motions.
The City of New York appealed the amount of punitive damages awarded: $7 million. The punitive damages were based on a finding by the jury that Officer Rivera employed "excessive force", and his conduct during the fatal encounter was "wanton, reckless or malicious".
The Appellate Division, First Department, in reducing the amount to $2.7 m. said "When reviewing a punitive damage award for excessiveness, we must examine whether it deviated materially from what is considered reasonable compensation [CPLR 5501(c)]".
The appeals court ruled, in reducing the jury's figure, that an award of $2.7 m. would be "reasonably related to the harm done, and the flagrancy of the conduct".
The appeals court also ruled that the lower court erred in reducing the jury's award for past economic support, and reinstated the jury award from trial.
So, via the civil appellate process, the plaintiff had confirmed its loss of the "conscious pain and suffering" jury award of $3 million; had reinstated the jury award for past economic support; and had its punitive damage award reduced by $4.3 million.
It appears that the appeal taken by the Corporation Counsel, on behalf of the defendant New York City, was financially worthwhile to the defendant.