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Judge freezes $50M lawsuit in teen’s ATV death

Robert Snell The Detroit News

Detroit — A federal judge Tuesday temporarily halted a civil suit filed by the family of a 15-year-old ATV driver who died in a crash after a Michigan State Police trooper stunned him with a Taser.

The move by U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain comes two weeks after a lawyer for the Michigan Attorney General’s Office requested 90 days to allow Wayne County prosecutors to decide whether to charge troopers with crimes.

Drain stayed the case filed by the family of Damon Grimes until Dec. 31. The judge said an indefinite stay is inappropriate and prejudicial to the Grimes family.

Detroit police and state police launched separate criminal investigations after Grimes’ death Aug. 26. State police say Grimes was driving his ATV illegally in the street and did not comply with their orders to stop.

Trooper Ethan Berger, who drove the police cruiser, chased Grimes after he didn’t stop. At one point during the pursuit, Berger’s partner, Mark Bessner, deployed his Taser, hitting Grimes, who plowed into a flatbed and died from blunt-force head injuries.

Four days after Grimes’ death, Southfield attorney Geoffrey Fieger filed a $50 million lawsuit against Bessner. Fieger later filed a suit against Berger, seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

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Twitter: @robertsnellnews