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State Supreme Judicial Court orders new hearing in brutality case

More than 13 years after a convenience store owner ­accused a Springfield police ­officer of beating her and three others, the highest court in Massachusetts has ordered a new hearing to assess civil damages.

Lucy Jones contended in a lawsuit that Officer Ronald Boykan burst into her store in June 1999, forced his way into a restricted area, and arrested two of Jones’s adult children.

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Jones and her children said they lost their store and suffered physical and emotional injuries when Boykan beat them. In 2004, a judge issued a default judgment after the city did not respond to the lawsuit and ordered the city to pay $1 million in damages. The award was later overturned, but it was reinstated by the state Appeals Court in 2011.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Judicial Court ordered a new hearing to determine damages against the city and Boykan, finding that a lower court judge’s original assess­ment of damages was ­inadequate.

The SJC said the judge ­acknowledged that he based his assessment entirely on the ­request and representations of Jones’s lawyer.

‘‘The record and, in particular, the transcript of the hearing on damages do not reflect that the motion judge had before him evidence sufficient to justify a damages award of $1 million,’’ Justice Margo ­Botsford wrote for the court in the 3-2 ruling.

Jones’s lawyer and an attorney representing the city did not return calls seeking comment.

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