JSH Reporter JSH Reporter - Fall 2017 - Page 10

CASES OF NOTE 010 Dunajski v. Mohave Mental Health Clinic March 22, 2017 Mohave County Superior Court Charles Callahan & Daniel King Charlie Callahan and Dan King obtained a defense verdict for their client, Mohave Mental Health Clinic, a Kingman-area mental health clinic, after a 6-day jury trial. The Clinic was sued by a Security Director of a nearby hospital. Plaintiff alleged that the Clinic negligently allowed an involuntarily committed mental health patient to escape from the facility. When the patient left the facility, he went to the nearby hospital and was confronted by Plaintiff. An altercation between Plaintiff and the patient ensued, and Plaintiff alleged that he sustained low back injuries in the altercation, which eventually resulted in a spinal fusion surgery. Plaintiff claimed that he was permanently disabled as a result of his injuries and sought $162,000 in medical expenses, $300,000 in future medical expenses, $1,000,000 in future loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering damages. The jury deliberated for two hours before returning a defense verdict. Yolanda Erickson, et al. v. City Phoenix, et al June 6, 2017 District Court of Arizona John Masterson, Joseph Popolizio and Justin Ackerman On July 28, 2013, Phoenix Police officers responded to a Phoenix Police dispatch involving a shirtless man (Miguel Ruiz) damaging an A/C unit located on the roof of his apartment. After police arrived, officers used a bucket crane and attempted to talk Ruiz down from the roof. Ruiz, stating that others were trying to kill him, ignored the officers’ commands and refused to come down from the roof. After multiple attempts to convince him to come down from the roof, Ruiz began to scoot to the side of the roof, toward a second-floor landing outside the front door of an apartment unit. Officer Camarillo, one of the Phoenix Police officers on scene, positioned himself near the stairwell in case Ruiz jumped onto the landing. After Ruiz jumped nearly 10 feet to the second-floor landing, Officer Camarillo grabbed him, putting his arms around Ruiz’s neck. Within a few seconds, other officers attempted to restrain Ruiz by his arms and legs. Another officer also tased Ruiz multiple times, but it had no effect on him. After more than four minutes of struggling to control Ruiz, Officer Camarillo applied a carotid hold to Ruiz. Officers were then able to subdue Ruiz and carry him down to EMS personnel, who determined that Ruiz was pulseless. Although EMS resuscitated Ruiz, he was taken off life support five days later due to an anoxic brain injury. It was later revealed that Ruiz had significant amounts of methamphetamine in his system. Ruiz’s mother, Yolanda Erickson, filed a Complaint against Officer Camarillo, on July 28, 2014. Ms. Erickson claimed that Officer Camarillo’s conduct was negligent, grossly negligent, and that Officer Camarillo violated Ruiz’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Attorneys John Masterson, Joe Popolizio and Justin Ackerman filed a partial motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment, eliminating all but Ms. Erickson’s claim for excessive force under the Fourth Amendment. JSH attorneys then proceeded to trial on the excessive force claim, which ultimately resulted in a complete defense verdict after the jury deliberated for less than one hour. Yolanda Erickson, et al. v. City of