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Judge tosses $500 million suit against Seabrook over police brutality

Union Leader Correspondent

January 22. 2018 8:13PM

In this image taken from video, Officer Mark Richardson is seen throwing Michael J. Bergeron Jr. against a wall while he was being booked after his arrest on Nov. 11, 2009. 

BRENTWOOD — A judge has thrown out a Seabrook man’s lawsuit that sought $500 million in damages for being slammed into a wall at the Seabrook police station in 2009.

In an order issued last week, Rockingham County Superior Court Judge David Anderson dismissed Michael Bergeron Jr.’s case, ruling that the statute of limitations to file the lawsuit against the town had run out.

Bergeron, 26, filed suit in October 2017 seeking damages for “permanent brain damage, mental and physical anguish, medical bills, loss of work, threatening and criminal actions.”

Bergeron also claimed that he and his family were harassed and stalked by the officers involved in the case and that it caused them to become “very scared.”

The suit was based on injuries he claims to have suffered on Nov. 11, 2009, while in custody at the Seabrook Police Department.

Bergeron said the town was negligent because of the actions of former officer Mark Richardson, who slammed him head-first into a wall at the police station. The incident was caught on police security cameras. Former officer Adam Laurent also pepper-sprayed Bergeron after he fell on the floor.

Richardson and Laurent were fired. Richardson pleaded guilty to simple assault in 2015 and was sentenced to 21 days in jail.

The town asked the court to dismiss the case, citing a state law on the time frame in which a person can file suit against governmental units in bodily injury and other personal cases.

Anderson dismissed the case after a hearing on Jan. 17.

“Plaintiff’s claims clearly accrued by the end of 2011. Accordingly, his 2017 complaint is barred by the statute of limitations,” he wrote.

According to the law, legal action can only be brought within three years after the time of injury or damage except in cases where the injury “could not reasonably have been discovered” at the time of the act.

“Even construing all facts and inferences in favor of (Bergeron), there is simply no legitimate argument that he did not discover his alleged injury until on or after 4 October 2014, nearly five years after the event in question, or that he could not have reasonably discovered his injury at the time of the act in question. Conversely, petitioner’s allegations lead to the conclusion that he was immediately aware of his injury,” the town argued in court documents.

Courts Seabrook

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