A United States District Court jury awarded Lawrenceville resident Jade Green nearly $1 million in damages last week, in a civil rights case.
According to Green’s attorney, Kent Heller of Heller, Holmes & Associates, Mattoon, the seven-person jury arrived at the verdict Thursday evening in the Southern District of Illinois United States District Court.
Green’s mother, Angela Howser, and Angela’s husband, Jack Howser, were ordered to pay Green a total of $970,000. The Howser’s are owners of Disclosure, a southern Illinois newspaper that publishes on a periodical basis.
That’s in addition to a settlement of $75,000 that had already been reached with Lawrence County sheriff Russell Adams and Chris Quick, the former Lawrence County State’s Attorney.
According to court documents, Angela and Jack Howser were ordered to pay $250,000 each in punitive damages. The couple was also ordered to pay $250,000 for emotional distress and $100,000 for Green’s loss of companionship with her daughter. They were also ordered to pay $120,000 in attorney’s fees, for a total of $970,000.
Asked if his client hoped to collect all or part of the money, Heller responded, “We’re going to try.”
According to Heller, the verdict is a result of “a series of meetings” in 2014. The meetings led to Green’s arrest, on a warrant out of Saline County, “in the middle of the night.” Green’s daughter, a toddler at the time, was taken from her. According to Heller, the incident took place late on the night of Nov. 2 and early on the morning of Nov. 3, 2014.
Heller said that according to testimony, Jack and Angela Howser were present at the meetings, as were Adams and Lawrenceville Police Chief Jim White.
Quick, who lost a bid for reelection in 2016, was not present at the meetings, according to Heller, but was contacted by telephone on two occasions.
White, it should be noted, was not one of those who was sued in connection with the case.
Green sued the others for violating her civil rights, according to a press release from Heller.
According to Heller, Adams and Quick settled with Green last June for a total of $75,000. An insurance carrier was involved in that payment, according to Heller.
When reached by telephone Friday afternoon, Adams said that he “had nothing to do” with what happened in court last week, and that his part of the case had been settled “long ago.”
Testimony in the case started on Tuesday, Heller said. He called Green to the witness stand, along with both Jack and Angela Howser, Quick and Adams. He also called White and Lawrenceville police officers James Lyle and Ryan Curtis, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Deputy Kyle Gilmore and Lt. Ryan Shoemaker of the Illinois State Police.
Heller presented his case through Wednesday and into Thursday.
Morgan Scroggins, Granite City, represented both Angela and Jack Howser. The only other person to testify was Chris Beavers, a Disclosure employee.
Judge Seven C. Williams presided over the trial, in which the seven jurors were required to come to an unanimous agreement, according to the law. The seven-person jury deliberated for an hour and 15 minutes before reaching an agreement.