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Monday, October 27, 2008

Punitive damages thrown out in Salinas taser case

October 27, 2008
The Californian

TASER International Inc. will not be responsible for punitive damages in the case of the family of a Salinas man killed after police struck him multiple times with Taser stun guns in February 2005.

TASER International Inc. has announced that on Friday, Judge James Ware of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California granted TASER's renewed motion for judgment with respect to the award of punitive damages.

On June 6, a jury had found TASER International 15 percent responsible for the death of Robert C. Heston during an arrest on Feb. 19, 2005. Five Salinas police officers discharged five TASER M26 ECDs at Heston to subdue him, deploying six cartridges.

The jury also found Heston's own actions, including toxic methamphetamine ingestion, were 85 percent responsible for his death.

Judge Ware on Friday denied TASER's alternative motion for a new trial in the case Betty Lou Heston, et al. v. City of Salinas, TASER International, Inc. (TASER), et al. In granting the renewed motion for judgment, Ware threw out all punitive damages awarded in the case.

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