(CN) – The 11th Circuit denied attorney fees to a 9-year-old girl whose mother sued after the daughter was handcuffed during gym class at an elementary school in Alabama.
Tuscaloosa County Deputy Antonio Bostic, a school resource officer, handcuffed LaQuarius Gray on March 7, 2003, after she reportedly threatened her physical education teacher at Holt Elementary School.
Her teacher said Gray threatened to hit or punch him when he took her aside for refusing to do jumping jacks.
Bostic, who witnessed the exchange, placed Gray in handcuffs for about five minutes, telling her: “[T]his is how it feels when you break the law,” and “[T]his is how it feels to be in jail.”
LaQuarius’ mother sued Bostic and the county sheriff for civil-rights violations, claiming Bostic overreacted to the situation.
The Atlanta-based federal appeals court agreed that Bostic violated the child’s rights, but said the lower court erred in awarding LaQuarius attorney fees. The jury had awarded the plaintiffs $1 in nominal damages.
The three-judge panel vacated the attorney-fee award and remanded.