Question: Vernon Hendrickson an inmate at an Indiana correctional facility sued
Vernon Hendrickson, an inmate at an Indiana correctional facility, sued correctional officer Scott Cooper for violation of the Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment after Cooper threw Hendrickson against a wall, slammed him onto the concrete floor of his housing unit, and then pressed his knees against Hendrickson's back while another officer cuffed Hendrickson. The jury found Cooper liable for excessive force and awarded Hendrickson $75,000 in compensatory damages and an additional $125,000 in punitive damages. Cooper appealed the decision, arguing that the jury did not have enough evidence to make its finding of excessive force and that the damage awards were excessive. Using the analysis discussed in this chapter, do you think that the punitive damages awarded to Hendrickson were excessive? What other facts might help inform your decision?
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