Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Tortu v. LVMPD (9th Cir. - March 3, 2009)

You've got to read this one. If only (1) if you've ever been in McCarran Airport (in Las Vegas) and/or (2) ever thought about trying to board a plane without a ticket. Let's just say: It did not turn out well for Mr. Tortu.

There's also a fascinating debate between the majority (Judge Hug) and the dissent (Judge Randy Smith) about the ability of the district court to grant a new trial on the ground that the verdict was against the weight of the evidence. Plus a warning -- significant in this case, and to which all the judges agree -- that you can't move for a post-trial judgment as a matter of law under Rule 50(b) if you haven't first made a similar motion at the close of the evidence under Rule 50(a). Oops. So for proceduralists like me, it's a gold mine.

But even if you could care not in the slightest about procedural complexities, you've got to read this one. Because never before have I read a case in which the central dispute revolved almost entirely around the following question: "If the police didn't unlawfully beat me, then how come my balls hurt so much?"

Check out the majority and the dissent on this point. It's an instant classic.