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The United States District Court for the Central District of California issued an order granting summary judgment in favor of the County of Los Angeles in federal civil rights / wrongful death lawsuit entitled Garry Agosto v. County of Los Angeles. This civil action arose out of the death of a two-year-old girl after her mother accidentally left her in a heated vehicle overnight. The child’s father brought claims for negligence and under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 against the County based on allegations that the Department of Children and Family Services (“DCFS”) social workers conducted a deficient investigation when determining that the child was not at risk of abuse and/or neglect.
The federal district court found that the incontrovertible evidence showed the DCFS social workers did not breach a duty of care when investigating the referral made to the department. The district court dismissed the case with prejudice and entered judgment in favor of the County. The County of Los Angeles was represented by Jill Williams and Kimberly Morosi.
CRD achieved summary judgment on behalf of Vaughn Next Century Learning Center (a public charter school within the Los Angeles Unified School District) in an action brought by a female student alleging she was bullied as well as sexually and racially harassed by a male peer when they were in elementary school. The plaintiff also alleged that the school discriminated against her based on her race (African American) in failing to discipline the alleged perpetrator and subjecting plaintiff to “strip searches” by law enforcement on campus. The plaintiff asserted causes of action against the school for negligent supervision, assault and battery, and violation of state civil rights. The court found no evidence that Vaughn discriminated against plaintiff or that the school was indifferent to any misconduct by other students. The court also ruled that Vaughn reasonably supervised its students and responded to known complaints appropriately. The school district was represented by Scott Carpenter.
After a nine-day jury trial, Danielle Foster and Jill Williams secured a unanimous defense verdict for the City of Hawthorne in a whistleblower retaliation and discrimination action brought by Plaintiff, Remedios Perez. Perez was a 19-year City employee who alleged she was wrongfully terminated by the City in retaliation for reporting what she believed to be embezzled City funds. Perez also alleged she was terminated because of her age, race, and/or gender. She sought over $3.5 million in damages for lost earnings, lost retirement benefits, and emotional distress. The City of Hawthorne denied wrongdoing and asserted that it had legitimate, non-discriminatory and non-retaliatory business reasons (i.e., reducing a budget deficit) to eliminate Perez’s position.
CRD achieved summary judgment on behalf of Garvey High School District in an action brought by a student who collided with another student in Physical Education class. Plaintiff alleged that the teachers negligently supervised the students and that the instructions about the rules of the game and playing safely encouraged students to push each other. The Court held that although the school had a duty to prevent the collision, the teachers’ supervision and instructions did not cause the students’ collision. The high school district was represented by Yaron Dunkel.
The United States District Court for the Central District of California issued an order granting summary judgment in favor of Los Angeles County and two DCFS social workers in a federal civil rights action entitledDaisy Reyna v. County of Los Angeles. The case arose out of an incident wherein the social workers took temporary custody of two young children after both of their parents were arrested and multiple firearms were found in their home. The children’s mother brought the action alleging that the social workers violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment by seizing the children without a warrant. The federal district court found that the warrantless removal of the children was constitutional under the circumstances and, even if the social workers had violated the constitution, they would be entitled to qualified immunity. Therefore, the district court dismissed the case with prejudice and entered judgment in favor of the County and the social workers. The County of Los Angeles was represented by Jill Williams and Danielle C. Foster.
The United States District Court for the Central District of California issued an order granting summary judgment in favor of the City of Santa Ana and Santa Ana Police Department Officer Tyler Liggett in a federal civil rights action entitled A.B., et al. v. City of Santa Ana, et al. The case arose out of an incident wherein Officer Liggett used deadly force against a suspect who was armed with a knife and ignored repeated commands to drop the weapon. The decedent’s family brought suit against the City of Santa Ana and Officer Liggett under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments alleging that the deadly shooting was unreasonable and amounted to excessive force. The federal district court found that the shooting was reasonable under the circumstances and dismissed the case with prejudice before trial. The City of Santa Ana was represented by Steven J. Rothans, Mark D. Rutter and Danielle C. Foster.
The firm recently obtained a voluntary dismissal in a wrongful death case where the plaintiff alleged negligence and claims under 42 U.S.C. section 1983. After a demurrer was sustained, Mr. Wells consulted with plaintiff’s counsel, who, as a result of the consultation, agreed to dismiss all claims against the County of Los Angeles with prejudice. The County was represented by Edward Wells.
The Ninth Circuit issued a memorandum decision affirming summary judgment in favor of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Commander Daniel Dyer in a federal civil rights action entitled Claudell Hatter v. Daniel Dyer. In the action, Claudell Hatter asserted a single claim for violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments based upon the theory that Commander Dyer was deliberately indifferent to unsanitary conditions at the Los Angeles County Men’s Central Jail facility, which allegedly posed a serious risk to Mr. Hatter’s health during the time he was incarcerated there. The Ninth Circuit found that Mr. Hatter failed to support his legal claim with sufficient evidence on summary judgment and, as such, Commander Dyer was entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The County of Los Angeles was represented by Jill Williams and Danielle C. Foster.
In the case of Aarefah Mosavi v. Mt. San Antonio College, et. al., bearing United States District Court Case No. 2:15-cv-04147, handled by attorneys Martin L. Carpenter and Joseph A. Gordon (August 2018), CR&D obtained a defense verdict in a federal jury trial. The case involved a female Muslim student-employee who alleged work place sexual and religious discrimination, and sexual assault by her male co-worker. Congratulations to Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Gordon on a job well done!
The Ninth Circuit issued a memorandum decision affirming summary judgment in favor of the City of Upland and Upland Police Department Officer Lavell Brown in a federal civil rights action entitled Harshod Mehta, et al. v. City of Upland, et al. The case arose out of allegations that Officer Brown violated the Fourth Amendment by using excessive force against Harshod Mehta while removing him from his vehicle in the aftermath of a high speed police pursuit of a third party. The Ninth Circuit held that Officer Brown’s actions did not constitute excessive force and, even if they did, Officer Brown was entitled to qualified immunity. The City of Upland was represented by Jill Williams and Danielle C. Foster.
Fourth Appellate District, Division 3, Case No. G056076 by Steven J. Rothans and Justin Reade Sarno (August 2019); three young girls were struck and killed by a motorist on Halloween night in 2014 at a midblock crosswalk in the City of Santa Ana. Plaintiffs claimed the existence of a “peculiar” condition as a result of inadequate lighting at crosswalk on evening of incident, despite evidence of motorist traveling at approximately 70 miles per hour at the time of the collision. SAPD officers engaged in a three day man hunt for the suspect, who was ultimately apprehended and convicted of vehicular manslaughter. Court affirmed entry of summary judgment in favor of City of Santa Ana, in light of no prior accidents at the location and finding no duty to light the streets under the decision in Antenor. No triable issue of material fact as to the existence of a peculiar condition.
United States District Court Case No. 2:15-cv-04147 by Martin L. Carpenter and Joseph A. Gordon (August 2018); Female Muslim student-employee alleged workplace sexual and religious discrimination, and sexual assault by her male co-worker. Federal jury trial resulted in defense verdict.
Fourth Appellate District, Division 3, Case No. G054434 by Justin Reade Sarno (2018); Affirmed summary judgment in favor of Fountain Valley Police Department and individual officers in use of force case regarding bean bag deployments brought under 42 U.S.C. section 1983, as a result of claim preclusion doctrine as set forth under Heck v. Humphrey (1994) 512 U.S. 477 and Susag v. City of Lake Forest (2002) 94 Cal.App.4th 1401.
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Case No. (16-55892) by Justin Reade Sarno (2018); Affirmed grant of summary judgment in lawsuit brought by elementary school student student alleging institutional, district-wide Title IX violations in relation to single incident of peer-on-peer sexual harassment.
Los Angeles Superior Court Case No. BC615534, by Jill Williams and Steven J. Rothans (May 2017); Alleged whistelblower retaliation case and FEHA related retaliation case, arising from allegations that Michelle Rex, former City Council Deputy for the City of West Hollywood suffered whistleblower retaliation as a result of City’s decision to dissolve deputy program. Verdict – DEFENSE.
U.S. District Court Case No. 8:14−cv−00387−JLS−DFM, by Steven J. Rothans and Mark D. Rutter (September 2015); Alleged excessive force, federal civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. 1983, arising from the shooting of Ignacio Leon, Jr. on December 12, 2012, by Officer Garcia, an on-duty police officer working for the Santa Ana Police Department. Verdict – DEFENSE.
Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division 2, E059632, by Justin Reade Sarno (April 2015); Wrongful death civil rights action resulting from death of high school student from drug overdose in motel, amid allegations of sexual conduct with district bus driver. Summary judgment affirmed on behalf of school district and bus driver, based upon plaintiff’s failure to submit competent evidence that the sexual relationship was cause of overdose and death.
U.S. District Court Case SACV12-00328DOC (ANx), by Mark D. Rutter, Steven J. Rothans and Jill Williams (May 2014); Wrongful death civil rights action where stepfather called police because stepson was on meth. Stepfather told 911 operator that stepson had a toy gun. Stepson refused to release girlfriend and baby, and to put down a replica Berretta pellet gun. Police shot and killed suspect. Verdict – DEFENSE.
USDC Case Number 13-cv-4671 SVW, Central District of California, by Steven J. Rothans, Mark D. Rutter and Danielle C. Foster (January 2014); Deprivation of civil rights per 42 U.S.C. § 1983; Despite difficult factual issues, the plaintiff only prevailed on two of five claims, and the jury awarded 20% of what the defense had offered in settlement prior to the verdict.
USDC Case No. 11-CV-01242-JST (MLGx), by Steven J. Rothans and Jill Williams (April 2013); Representation of Fullerton peace officer accused of excessive force and false arrest, in connection with videotaped (and Youtube’d) incident involving numerous bar patrons outside of local bar; Jury Verdict – DEFENSE.
Second Appellate District, Div. 4, Case No. B239582, by Louis R. Dumont, and Justin Reade Sarno (February 2013); Defamation action against school district and Superintendent in connection with dissemination of official curriculum video; Holding – REVERSED trial court’s denial of Anti-SLAPP motion to strike; new and different Order entered, granting defendants’ motion, case dismissed.
Case Number CV 09-04597 ODW (JCx), Central District of U.S. District Court, by Steven J. Rothans (October 2010); Excessive force – wrongful shooting; Jury Verdict – DEFENSE.
OCSC Case Number 07-CC-10602 Santa Ana, by Steven J. Rothans and Jill Williams (January 2010); Excessive force, wrongful death shooting of unarmed suspect; Jury Verdict – DEFENSE.
USDC Case Number CV05-6849, by Mark D. Rutter (March 2009); unconstitutional strip search [false arrest claim disposed of by motion for summary judgment and affirmed on appeal]; Jury Verdict – DEFENSE.
Case Number CV-02-8512-DF, Central District of U.S. District Court, by Steven J. Rothans (July 2007); Excessive force – wrongful shooting; Jury Verdict – DEFENSE.