On July 28, 2017, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the dismissal with prejudice of the consolidated class action matters Baeza v. Baca and Corral v. Baca. In an unpublished opinion, the Ninth Circuit agreed that the district court did not abuse its discretion in decertifying the classes, dismissing the cases for lack of prosecution, and denying the plaintiffs’ request to reinstate their claims. Because the district court had certified damages claims on behalf of tens of thousands of inmates who alleged that they were forced to sleep on the floor of County jails, the Court’s ruling on appeal represents a significant victory in favor of the Sheriff’s Department and the County.
On June 5, 2018, Managing Shareholder Paul Beach and Associate Charlie Wang successfully defeated a motion for an injunction in a capital murder prosecution involving the death of a law enforcement officer. The criminal defendant sought to enjoin the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department from investigating the defendant’s incarceration activities, which were relevant to upcoming law and motion practice. After extensive briefing, multiple court appearances, and oral argument, the Court denied the motion for the injunction, which will result in the matter being adjudicated in a more fair and timely manner.
On April 4, 2018, LBAC obtained summary judgment in favor of a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Detective. Plaintiff alleged a Fourth Amendment violation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Detective Brown and the County of Los Angeles, alleging she was arrested without probable cause. The case arose from Plaintiff’s 2013 arrest based on a warrant drafted by Detective Brown in 2007. The warrant was obtained after a robbery victim identified Plaintiff during a photographic lineup. Plaintiff alleged that the photographic lineup was unduly suggestive and the identification of her was unreliable. In 2016, LBAC secured summary judgment in favor of the Detective by demonstrating that the victim’s identification of Plaintiff was reliable and established probable cause. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit reversed, concluding that a reasonable jury could find that the lineup identification did not establish probable cause. On remand, LBAC argued that Detective Brown was entitled to qualified immunity because his conduct did not violate a clearly established right. The District Court agreed and again granted summary judgment.
On February 28, 2018, Daniel Cha and Jessica Gomez obtained a dismissal with prejudice in Mitchell v. County of Orange. In the false arrest case, Plaintiff alleged that the arresting officer failed to conduct a thorough investigation prior to Plaintiff’s arrest regarding an incident involving improper touching of a minor. In the underlying criminal case, a jury found Plaintiff innocent after Plaintiff argued that he was wrongfully arrested based on the officer’s reliance on statements made by the witness and victim.
On February 7, 2018, Paul Beach and Christina Sprenger obtained dismissal of a case brought against the County of Los Angeles in a wrong warrant/unlawful search case. Plaintiff was an active member of the military, stationed in Japan. As he returned home on leave, he was detained by local and federal agents at Los Angeles International Airport based on a warrant for another person with a similar name. Mr. Beas was ultimately booked into the Los Angeles County Jails, where he alleges he was held for several days despite repeatedly notifying jail personnel that he was not the subject of the warrant.