LBAC Obtains Summary Judgment in Unlawful Seizure/Excessive Force Case

On November 8, 2016, USDC Judge George H. Wu granted summary judgment in favor of the City of Fontana and Fontana Police Chief Rodney Jones in Navarro v. City of Fontana, Case No. 15-cv-1650-GW (GJSx), an unlawful seizure and excessive force case brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Fontana police officers made contact with Plaintiff in a motel parking lot, where he was walking with his wife and his three children. During the officers’ interaction with Plaintiff, he appeared to swallow some drugs that he had in his pocket. Continue reading


On October 19, 2016, United States District Court Judge James V. Selna granted summary judgment in favor of Orange County in a 42 U.S.C. section 1983 excessive force case, Celis v. County of Orange, Case No. SACV 15-00299 JVS (JCGx). In granting summary judgment, the Court rejected Plaintiff’s claim that the County had a policy or custom that led to a violation of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that Sheriff’s Deputies used excessive force during apprehension and arrest, and that deputies discriminated against him on the basis of his race. The incident in question began when deputies responded to a request for assistance Continue reading



On January 9, 2004, David Lawrence obtained a defense jury verdict for former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials in what seemed like a battle that would never end.  The case arose from the February 8, 1991 arrest of Brett Thompson in which a Sheriff’s canine bit Mr. Thompson.  The arrest was criticized in the original Kolts report as an example of instances in which additional force was used to subdue criminal suspects who were bitten by and fought with the canines.  Orders granting defense motions for summary judgment were reversed twice by the Court of Appeals, accounting for the length of time required to get the matter to trial.  By the time the case was tried, Plaintiff had dismissed all but high ranking Sheriff’s officials including the former Undersheriff.  Plaintiff proceeded against the remaining defendants on a civil rights “failure to train and supervise” theory, but after almost five weeks of trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the jury returned a defense verdict with only one dissenting juror.