City of Garden Grove Ordered to Pay $500K to Woman Wrongfully Arrested for DUI

NBC Los Angeles reports that a woman arrested on suspicion of DUI on October 31, 2011, has been awarded $500,000 by an Orange County court after a long battle with the City of Garden Grove and its police department.

Court documents indicate that on that day, Robin Winger was driving her teenage daughter to school when she clipped the mirror of a parked car and appeared disoriented at a traffic stop.   

When police arrived at the scene, Winger’s daughter told responding officers that her mother didn’t feel well and that there was something very wrong with her mother.

Officers ordered Winger out of the vehicle and conducted field sobriety tests. Officers and a drug recognition expert at the scene determined that Winger was intoxicated. She was placed under arrest and taken to Garden Grove City Jail, which a private vendor operated at the time.

Neither Winger’s daughter, the arresting officers, nor jail administrators knew that Winger was not intoxicated but rather had suffered a stroke.

After a medical examination determined that Winger had suffered a mild stroke, the charges against her were eventually dropped. 

Winger filed a lawsuit against the Garden Grove Police Department and private vendor, the Geo Group, in Federal Court for wrongful arrest. In 2015, the Geo Group settled with Winger for the sum of $300,000.

Last week, an Orange County judge ordered the City of Garden Grove to pay Winger $500,00 and remarked that police officers should be better trained to tell the difference between DUI and a medical condition.

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