The Pennsylvania Superior Court Unanimously Affirmed Claire Neiger’s Philadelphia Defense Verdict Finding Use of Force by Hospital Security Officers Justified

Claire Neiger convinced the Pennsylvania Superior Court to affirm her 2018 Philadelphia trial victory in favor of a local Hospital. Appellants argued that the trial court erred in giving a misleading, non-standard citizen’s arrest jury instruction. The Superior Court found that “citizen’s arrest” was not referenced in any jury questions, and even if the citizen’s arrest instruction was misleading, it was harmless error.

During the 2018 trial, Plaintiff alleged he was brutally beaten by numerous Hospital Security Officers sustaining injuries to his head, eye, neck and back; and permanent PTSD.  Plaintiff was in the driveway of the Emergency Department after he brought an unidentified gunshot victim to the Emergency Department who was critically injured in a home invasion.  When Plaintiff was asked by a Security Officer to remain to give the police information on the victim and the home invasion, Plaintiff left his car and began to walk away.  Other Security Officers observed Plaintiff acting agitated and reaching into the waistband of his pants.  The Security Officers attempted to utilize De-escalation and Force Continuum techniques, but Plaintiff attempted to flee.  The Officers utilized a “Take Down” procedure, handcuffed Plaintiff and found a loaded, unholstered Glock in his pants. Plaintiff was turned over to police when they arrived 10 minutes later. 

Plaintiff produced Attorney Samuel Stretton, as his expert on Probable Cause and Use of Force.  Stretton testified Plaintiff was a “Good Samaritan” and the Security Officers had no legal right or authority to detain him, especially because Plaintiff had a Concealed Carry License for his Glock.  Plaintiff utilized the Hospital Security Camera video of the event. Plaintiff’s psychological expert testified Plaintiff’s PTSD is permanent and also caused him to have a “flight response” two days after the Hospital incident when confronted by police while sitting in his car.  The police incident resulted in a 6 month prison term which the Court permitted to be presented to the jury as recoverable damages against the Hospital.

Before trial, Plaintiff demanded $1.5 million dollars and turned down all settlement offers and high/low proposals.

Claire was successful at trial asserting a defense based on Justification, Probable Cause, and Reasonable Force.