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Lawyers Who Nailed Cops on Shooting Win Fees

(CN) - The daughters of a woman whom a California Highway Patrol officer shot 12 times after a high-speed chase can recover nearly $1 million of attorneys' fees and court costs, a federal judge ruled.

Karen Eklund led police on a chase in 2006 after she stole a car in San Francisco. Cornered in a cul-de-sac, Eklund smashed the vehicle into a police cruiser, after which CHP officer Stephen Markgraf emptied his weapon into the passenger-side window, killing her.

Eklund's daughters, who were 12 and 10 at the time, sued Markgraf for wrongful death. A jury awarded them $30,000 each in damages, but Markgraf secured a reversal in the 9th Circuit in 2011.

The federal appeals court later withdrew that finding, and a new three-judge panel reinstated the lower court's initial ruling in April, rejecting Markgraf's claim for qualified immunity and finding that he had "acted with the purpose to harm unrelated to a legitimate law enforcement objective."

The U.S. Supreme court denied Markgraf's petition for writ of certiorari last month.

On Thanksgiving Eve last week, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco awarded Elklund's daughters some $908,961 in attorneys' fees and expenses. That figure includes $559,861 for the District Court trial, $288,080 for the appeals and $57,428 for the fee petition itself.

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