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Shooting victim’s family agrees to reduced award

The mother and children of a man gunned down by a Baltimore City police officer will accept a revised award of slightly more than a quarter of the original $105 million a jury called for in their wrongful death lawsuit in January.

Dominic R. Iamele, a lawyer for the victim’s son, Tristin D. Little Jr., 11, said yesterday that the plaintiffs had given their lawyers permission to accept the court’s remittitur of $26.99 million.

We conceded that the jury went beyond their ability to award in certain aspects of the judgment, Iamele said, though with regard to the state-rights conscious pain and suffering we think they were right on point.

While granting the plaintiffs’ motion to amend their ad damnum clause to match the jury’s $21 million survivor claim for murder victim Tristin D. Little Sr.’s constitutional pain and suffering, Baltimore City Circuit Judge Clifton J. Gordy significantly reduced the individual plaintiffs’ $21 million wrongful death awards.

In a memorandum and order issued earlier this month, Gordy reduced the jury award to Emma Pearl Brown, the victim’s mother, from $21 million in non-economic damages to $325,680.

He reduced the economic damages the jury awarded Little’s daughter, Britney J. Ross, 14, from $3 million to $56,000, and Little’s son, Tristin, from $3 million to $48,000. The jury’s $18 million in non-economic damages to each child was cut to $279,660 per child.

The judge also cut $16 million from the $21 million the jury award to Little’s estate in non-economic damages for his conscious pain and suffering, but let stand the $21 million the jury gave the estate for the violation of his constitutional rights.

Troy A. Priest, who represented 13-year police department veteran Rodney Price in the civil trial, could not be reached for comment by press time yesterday.

Price, sentenced in April 2002 to life in prison with the possibility of parole in 50 years for the first-degree murder of Little, is serving his sentence in Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland.

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