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Argued May 27, 2009

Before: LEVAL, POOLER, B.D. PARKER, Circuit Judges. Judge Pooler dissents by separate opinion.

Plaintiff John Aczel appeals from the judgment of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Dorsey, J.) granting judgment to Defendant, Police Officer Leonard Labonia, on Plaintiff’s claim of use of excessive force. The case presents an unusual procedural history. The jury answered interrogatories in a special verdict form, finding that Plaintiff had proved that Labonia used excessive force and that $12,078.61 in damages were proximately caused by Labonia’s acts but that Labonia was entitled to qualified immunity because he had an objectively reasonable belief that his conduct was justified under the circumstances. Treating the jury’s factual finding that $12,078.61 in damages were proximately caused by Defendant’s excessive force as if it were a general verdict awarding damages under Rule 49(b), Fed. R. Civ. P., which would be inconsistent with the jury’s finding that Defendant was entitled to qualified immunity, the district court initially rejected the verdict and ordered a new trial. Both sides appealed. Upon remand by this court, which left the district court free to reconsider its initial ruling, the district court granted Labonia’s motion for reconsideration and for judgment. Plaintiff appealed again. Because the jury unanimously found that Defendant was entitled to qualified immunity and there was no flaw in the finding that required the court to reject it, the district court acted within its discretion in entering judgment for Defendant and denying Plaintiff’s motion for a new trial. We therefore affirm the judgment.

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