Court overturns judge’s decision to wipe out $38M Korryn Gaines verdict
After she was killed and her son was injured in a standoff with police, the Maryland woman's family sued for wrongful death
A state appeals court has ruled that a Baltimore County judge was wrong to overturn a jury verdict awarding $38 million to the family of Korryn Gaines.
Gaines is the 23-year-old Randallstown, Maryland woman who made headlines in 2016 after she was shot and killed in a standoff with county police. Gaines barricaded herself and her son in her home armed with a shotgun after expressing anti-police sentiments.
Her family said she suffered from a dissociative mental disorder.
The Baltimore Sun reports that late Wednesday, judges ruled that the lower court abused its discretion in throwing out the jury’s decision to award Gaines’ family and her son, Kodi, the money.
Despite this latest ruling, attorneys disagree about whether the 80-page opinion reinstates all of the historic award, which is currently the largest ever against a Baltimore-area police force. But Ken Ravenell, an attorney for Gaines’ family, said that at least for now the money is reinstated in full.
“This is obviously huge for Kodi and the rest of the Gaines family,” Ravenell said. “The court found that the trial judge violated the law in taking that verdict away. They can now expect that they can collect a significant award in the near future.”
But a spokesman for Baltimore County disagreed, revealing that their attorneys believe the opinion would actually reduce the award significantly.
“The County is continuing a comprehensive evaluation of the opinion and considering further action,” the spokesman, Sean Naron, wrote in an email. “We cannot comment further.”
Gaines was killed in the standoff when an officer fired on her after he says she raised her weapon. Her son, Kodi was struck across the cheek and his wound later become infected, according to the Sun. His father, Corey Cunningham testified that Kodi is now “a shell of himself” and was left skittish, distrustful, and sleep-deprived after multiple surgeries, leading the family to sue the officers and the county.
A Baltimore County jury found the first shot fired by Cpl. Royce Ruby was not reasonable, and therefore violated Gaines’ civil rights under state and federal statutes. As a result, they awarded Kodi and her family approximately $38 million.
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