Andrew Rutherford was driving home in 2007 when he supposedly cut off SPD Officer Johnathan Chin and then ran a red light. Chin, dressed in plain clothes and driving his own private vehicle, proceeded to chase down Rutherford, order him out of his car at gunpoint, and hold him on the street until backup arrived and possibly almost ran him over.
Rutherford eventually sued the city of Seattle and SPD for violating his constitutional rights regarding search and seizure, and he won.
Well, actually, he didn't win, so much as his and SPD's lawyers did.
The jury in the case awarded Rutherford $1 due to what's being called an "improper instruction" given to the jury regarding how much damages to award.
But that doesn't mean that the attorneys won't clean up.
The lawyers for Andrew Rutherford have asked U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman to approve attorneys' fees and costs totaling more than $419,000, according to declarations they filed.
Meantime, Stafford Frey Cooper, the private law firm retained by the police officers involved, has already billed the city $331,000 to defend the case to date, according to Kimberly Mills, the city attorney's spokeswoman.
And by the way, that $700,000 (should it be awarded) would be tax money.
So while Rutherford did lose, despite winning, it would seem the main losers in this case may be taxpayers.