LAWRENCE WINS 13-YEAR OLD SUPERVISORY LIABILITY CASE

 

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.