In February 2014, David Lawrence, Christina Sprenger and Allen Li successfully ended an injunction governing disabled inmates housed in the Orange County jail system. The injunction was the result of a class action brought in 2001 on behalf of past, present and future disabled pre-trial detainees, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and similar state laws. In 2005, the matter went to trial before the Honorable Judge Gary L. Taylor, and the County prevailed on all issues. Judge Taylor vacated the 1978 Stewart injunction and Plaintiffs took an appeal. In an Amended Opinion, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals subsequently found that certain, unidentified violations of the ADA existed within the Orange County jail system, and remanded the case back to the District Court for a second trial. With the retirement of Judge Taylor, the case was reassigned to the Honorable Judge Audrey B. Collins, who entered an injunctive relief Order in June of 2011, outlining physical modifications and programmatic changes to be made in the Orange County jail system. Judge Collins also appointed a monitor to track the County’s compliance with the Order. In August of 2013, the County moved to terminate injunctive relief pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Plaintiffs filed a cross-motion to extend injunctive relief based on the monitor’s numerous findings of non-compliance in the areas of inmate identification, classification, visitation, grievances, and recreation. On February 12, 2014, the Court issued an Order adopting the County’s arguments, and terminated injunctive relief noting that the County had carried its burden of proof and injunctive relief was no longer necessary.
On January 17, 2014, the firm obtained summary judgment in favor of the County of Los Angeles in a premises liability matter. Plaintiff fractured his leg and hip when he crashed his bicycle into a retaining curb that was designed and installed by the County. The Court found that the County was entitled to design immunity and separately found that Plaintiff could not establish the elements of a dangerous condition of public property cause of action.
On August 27, 2013, David Lawrence and Daniel Cha obtained a defense verdict before a Riverside federal jury in Forbes v. Villa, Case No. SACV11-01330 JGB (ANx). Plaintiff had a twenty year history of neck and back injuries and surgeries, including numerous fusions and implantation of hardware. Plaintiff, who was cuffed and shackled, claimed that a Sheriff’s Deputy slammed him against a wall, threw him to the floor and kneed Continue reading
On May 3, 2013, Dennis M. Gonzales and Nathan A. Oyster obtained a defense verdict in Lopez v. County of Los Angeles, Case No. BC 460074, following an 8-day jury trial in a wrongful death action arising from a fatal deputy-involved shooting. An off-duty Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputy fatally shot and killed decedent after decedent ignored the deputy’s commands and instead reached into his waistband. Although a subsequent Continue reading
Plaintiff Lawtis Donald Rhoden was held in custody as a civil detainee at the Orange County Jail from 2004 through 2006 while awaiting a probable cause hearing under California’s Sexually Violent Predator Act. Plaintiff claimed that his conditions of confinement violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s due process clause because they were less considerate than the conditions afforded to criminal detainees, deputies had Continue reading