Partners successfully defend case against Monmouth County and Correctional Officers

Published Tuesday, March 17, 2015

GluckWalrath LLP is pleased to announce that Senior Litigation Counsel and Special Monmouth County Counsel, Partner, Andrew Bayer, with the assistance of Partner, David A. Clark, successfully defended the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office and eleven individual correctional officers before a 10 member jury in the United States District Court, District of New Jersey in a lawsuit alleging Section 1983 civil rights violations brought by the family of a 22 year old inmate who died following a use of force incident at the Monmouth County Correctional Facility. The Hon. Anne E. Thompson, U.S.D.J. presided over the trial which lasted over two weeks.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court of New Jersey – Trenton Vicinage, centered upon whether the Monmouth County Defendants violated Amit Bornstein’s constitutional right to be free from excessive force as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constituion. Specifically, Mr. Bornstein’s estate alleged that the correctional officers committed excessive force and that the Sheriff’s Office adopted policies or failed to adopt policies which deprived Mr. Bornstein of his constitutional rights. The Bornstein Estate further alleged that the Sheriff’s Office was deliberately indifferent to Mr.. Bornstein’s constitutional rights in failing to adequately train its correctional officers in the appropriate use of force policies.

On March 6, 2015, the jury returned a verdict of no-cause of action on all counts deciding that our Monmouth County clients did not deprive Amit Bornstein of his constitutional right to be free from excessive force. This matter was brought by the Estate of Amit Bornstein, an individual who after being brought to the Monmouth County Correctional Institution on July 29, 2010 died later that evening. Mr. Bayer convinced the jury that the correctional officers did not utilize excessive force nor did they cause Mr. Bornstein ‘s unfortunate death. Instead, they concluded that his death was caused by a preexisting cardiac disease superceding any other possible cause. He further convinced the jury that there were no policies in effect or a failure to train officers which deprived Mr. Bornstein of his constitutional rights.

Mr. Bayer commented on the outcome, “Mr. Bornstein’s passing is sad. It is unfortunate. No one from Monmouth County Correctional Institution is happy that one of their inmates passed away. But as the jury concluded, Sheriff Shaun Golden’s policies, practices and training along with the actions of our correctional officer clients were vindicated and appropriate in their treatment of Mr. Bornstein.”

Additionally, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office issued a statement through its spokesperson, Cynthia Scott. “After reviewing the facts and all the testimony of the case it was clear that the officers involved acted appropriately. While our thoughts remain with the Bornstein family on their loss, Mr. Bornstein’s actions and medical condition are what led to his unfortunate death.”

To read more about the verdict, please visit Asbury Park Press.