Legal Memorandum: Civil Damages in Rape Cases

Issue: What are some cases that discuss civil damages in rape cases?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Rape; Civil damages
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 665 So. 2d 1166; 820 F.2d 130; 671 So. 2d 915; 844 F.2d 1414; 62 F.3d 1102; 583 N.Y.S.2d 872; 121 F.3d 808; 612 N.Y.S.2d 542; 612 N.W.2d 600
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 04/01/2001

1.  Eighth Circuit

Rogers v. City of Little Rock, 152 F.3d 790 (8th Cir. 1998)

A woman was stopped for a traffic violation by a police officer who subsequently followed her home and raped her.  She successfully sued the police officer, the city, and the city police chief under Section 1983.  The defendant appealed.  Held:  The court upheld the $100,000 damage award against a challenge that it was arbitrary or excessive, noting that under Section 1983 compensatory damages are recoverable for injuries including personal humiliation, mental anguish, and suffering.  Id., 152 F.3d at 798.  The court also emphasized that the award was proportionate to the type of harm and amount awarded in similar cases.  Id. (citing Mathie v. Fries, 121 F.3d 808 (2d Cir. 1997)).

Berry v. Oswalt, 143 F.3d 1127 (8th Cir. 1998)

A female inmate was raped by a correctional officer and became pregnant as a result.  She successfully brought suit under Section 1983 against the officer and a second officer who sexually harassed her.  The defendants appealed.  Held:  The court upheld the $80,000 award against a double recovery challenge as to the $25,000 awarded for the tort of outrage.  The defendants did not challenge the $40,000 in compensatory damages and $15,000 in punitive damages awarded for the rape.

Red Elk ex rel. Red Elk v. United States, 62 F.3d 1102 (8th Cir. 1995)

A minor female was picked up for a curfew violation by a tribal […]

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