On December 14, 2022, a DeKalb Jury returned a $1.4 Million verdict in a case involving a part-time Genoa police officer, Joseph Chavez, who suffered a massive shoulder injury during a Taser Training class held by the village of Kirkland Police Department in December of 2015.
Details of the case
Conducted Electrical Weapons (CEW) such as those sold by Taser are not standard issued to officers. If an officer wishes to be able to carry and use a CEW for law enforcement, they must go through training and be Taser user certified.
Taser Training classes often consists of students being exposed to an electrical discharge so that officers are made aware of its intended effectiveness to incapacitate. In a classroom setting, it is the TASER Instructor’s responsibility to prepare a safe environment for students to experience this electrical exposure. The use of mats in the training environment is strongly suggested amongst other considerations.
Students can be exposed either standing or laying down. The live electrical exposures demonstrate how one would become incapacitated and would fall in the process. Spotters would hold and brace a standing student, then slowly lower the student to the ground to reduce the risk of injury.
In December of 2015, the Village of Kirkland Police Department conducted a Taser training class. Mr. Chavez was an officer of Genoa at the time and attended this training class. Video evidence showed that during his exposure, one of the spotters holding him was inadvertently exposed to the electric discharge. This spotter lost control of Mr. Chavez as he fell and landed onto the carpeted concrete floor. Mats were not in use at the time. Mr. Chavez suffered massive shoulder injuries.
Mr. Chavez was represented by the attorneys of Cronauer Law. A jury trial lasted 7 days, and after 7.5 hours of deliberation, the jury returned with a verdict of $1.4 Million in favor of Mr. Chavez.
Illinois Law allows compensation for not only the medical bills and future costs, but as well as the pain and suffering endured from the incident before the verdict (In this case, there was 7 years of past pain and suffering) as well pain and suffering our client would most likely endure in the future (i.e., future pain and suffering).