NORFOLK, Va. — The attorneys representing Army Lt. Caron Nazario filed a motion for a new trial Friday, following a verdict by a jury earlier this week which awarded him less than $4,000 in a lawsuit in which he had sought over $1 million.
Jonathan Arthur, the attorney for Nazario, said while they were shocked by the outcome, they are not filing it just because they disagree with the verdict.
"It just does not look like the jury followed all of the instructions," Arthur said.
Arthur argues the jury should have found more claims as liable after former Windsor police officer, Joe Gutierrez, was found liable for assault.
"Any force that the defendants would have used to overcome Caron Nazario's legal resistance is a battery and assault in itself," Arthur said. "And we saw none of those downstream findings which were necessary under the instructions."
Nazario's attorney also said there are issues with one of the defense's witnesses. Arthur said a psychiatrist added their own criteria to PTSD and panic disorders that could have swayed jurors with false information.
"The psychiatrist slipped in additional elements that the psychiatrist was forced to admit were not in the DSL 5," Arthur said.
However, attorneys representing the officers said they firmly believed the jury delivered the right verdict and expect the motion for a new trial will be denied.
Attorney Anne Lahren released the following statement:
“A motion for a new trial seeks an extraordinary remedy reserved by the Courts for exceptional circumstances which are not present here. Caron Nazario is unhappy with the jury’s verdict and seeks to blame the trial itself rather than the merits, or lack thereof, of his own claims. We firmly believe that the jury got it right with its verdict. Judge Young presided over the trial in strict adherence to the Federal Rules and any claims to the contrary by Mr. Nazario are unfounded. We expect that Mr. Nazario’s motion for a new trial will be denied.”
Arthur said if the motion is accepted, then a trial will be held under the same judge and with a new jury.
If the motion is dismissed, Arthur said they are prepared to start the appeal process.
The attorney for Daniel Crocker, the other officer involved in the incident, filed an opposition to Nazario's motion for a new trial on Tuesday.
The jury found Crocker liable on only an illegal search, no malice. He was ordered to pay $1,000 in punitive damages and the jury did not find him guilty of false imprisonment, assault, or battery.
Crocker's attorney, Anne Lahren, sent the following statement on the matter:
“The jury has spoken and there is no legal or factual basis for Mr. Nazario’s request for a new trial. We filed our opposition with the Court and expect the Court to agree with our position. Mr. Nazario’s disagreement with the verdict does not mean the jury got it wrong.”