Archive for the ‘ Defense Verdict’ Category

Defense Verdict – Employment Retaliation Trial

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Tom Hurrell and Mariam Kaloustian defended a school district and school administrators in a lawsuit brought by a disgruntled teacher who was not grading or teaching according to the school district’s guidelines. Plaintiff alleged a number of causes of action, including various Fair Employment and Housing violations, Labor Code violations, and tort claims. Following summary adjudication of the majority of plaintiff’s claims, the matter proceeded to a jury trial on plaintiff’s remaining claims of retaliation for complaints of racial discrimination and intentional infliction of emotional distress. At trial, plaintiff claimed she was discriminated and retaliated against for complaining about racial discrimination, causing her constructive discharge. In her defense, plaintiff presented expert testimony from the NAACP. Defendants set forth evidence through the course of the nine day trial that established that plaintiff was simply requested to comply with the district’s teaching and grading guidelines. In addition, defendants explained that their actions were not at any point racially motivated. After one day of deliberation, the jury returned a defense verdict. The trial court thereafter granted costs to the defendants as the prevailing party.

Defense Verdict – Product Liability Trial

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Plaintiff brought a products liability action based upon his alleged injuries following a three day exposure to defendant’s product.  Plaintiff alleged that from August 1, 2007, to August 3, 2007 for a total of 18.5 hours, he was assigned to install baseboards using defendant’s product in a hallway at his place of employment.  Plaintiff claimed that because defendant’s product was designed, formulated and manufactured with high levels of toluene, the product was dangerous and defective.

Defendant presented comprehensive medical literature and studies on exposure to toluene, and disputed the nature and extent of plaintiff’s claimed injuries and damages.  Specifically, doctors and experts presented scientific and medical literature that demonstrated that acute exposure to toluene could not cause plaintiff’s longstanding neurological and physiological complaints.

Following a month long trial, the jury returned a defense verdict.

MSJ Granted – Brown v. County of Los Angeles

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

This action arose out of the death of an individual on October 3, 2010.  The driver of a vehicle collided with the rear of a Los Angeles County fire engine which was stopped in an eastbound lane of the 105 Freeway while its crew was tending to an unrelated vehicle fire.  Plaintiffs, decedent’s mother and two children, made claims for negligence and wrongful death against the County of Los Angeles.  Specifically, plaintiffs claimed the firefighters negligently parked the fire engine in the number three lane of travel without sufficient illuminated emergency lights to warn oncoming motorists.

We filed a Motion for Summary Judgment asserting the County of Los Angeles was immune for any injury caused in fighting a fire under Government Code § 850.4.  We argued the immunity for firefighting activity includes any injury which results from the operation of a motor vehicle as a means to fight a fire.

The Court found defendant immune under Government Code § 850.4, and granted defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment.

Recent Trial Results

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Mr. Hurrell along with partner Mariam Kaloustian recently achieved a defense verdict in a case in United States District Court where they represented a local law enforcement agency. The case involved an individual who was asked to leave

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a police substation after voicing his displeasure about how an internal personnel matter involving an acquaintance of his was being handled. After refusing to leave the station, he physically resisted efforts to place him under arrest and was injured after being taken to the ground by officers. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Hurrell’s clients on a Fourth Amendment claim of false arrest and a First Amendment free speech claim.

More recently, Mr. Hurrell, his partner Jill Wood and associate Rebecca Snader tried a case in United States District Court involving a seizure of suspected stolen property from a large distribution business in Los Angeles. The law enforcement agency that seized the property did not complete its investigation after the property was seized due to a backlog of work, and charges were never filed. The distribution company sued for Fourth Amendment violations claiming that the seizure caused nearly 14 million dollars in past and future losses. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, but only in the amount of $547,000, which was the amount suggested by Mr. Hurrell through his accounting expert.

Hurrell Cantrall Victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court’s decision that granted our law enforcement clients summary judgment on a civil rights action involving an officer on officer shooting.  In affirming the decision, the appellate court agreed with our arguments in the motion for summary judgment and in our respondent’s brief that there was no “seizure,” and hence no violation of the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  

Hurrell Cantrall LLP Victory in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

Friday, March 13th, 2009

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a published decision, overturned the district court’s decision that denied our law enforcement client qualified immunity.  In addition, the appellate court remanded the action to the district court for dismissal, and vacated plaintiffs’ award of attorneys’ fees and expenses.  In this case, the plaintiffs claimed that the defendants, a public entity and a number of law enforcement officers, violated their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures when they were detained, their assets in a banking account were seized and their residence searched pursuant to a warrant.  Plaintiffs claimed that there was no probable cause to search their residence or to seize their assets even though probable cause may have existed to search their prostitution business at another location. They also claimed that the public entity defendant had unconstitutional policies, customs, and practices that caused their injuries. On behalf of the public entity and the law enforcement officers, we filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that there was insufficient evidence supporting plaintiffs’ claims against the public entity client, and that the individual defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. The Court granted the motion with respect to plaintiffs’ claims against the public entity and some of the law enforcement officers. However, the Court disagreed with our argument that one of the law enforcement officers were entitled to qualified immunity. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with us and determined that the law enforcement officer had a reasonable belief that probable cause existed, and that she was entitled to qualified immunity.

Ninth Circuit Decision
LA Times Article
Daily Journal

Defense Verdict in Alleged Excessive Force Case

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

In this action, plaintiff alleged that defendant deputies and the County violated his civil rights when the deputies allegedly used excessive force in detaining him and in attempting to cover up their alleged misconduct. At trial, defendants contended that the use of force was reasonable in light of plaintiff’s actions. In addition, defendants argued that plaintiff had no evidence that defendants conspired to hide their use of force.  After deliberating, the jury returned a unanimous decision in favor of all the defendants, finding that they acted properly in detaining the plaintiff. 

Defense Verdict and Summary Judgment in Government Liability Action

Monday, February 25th, 2008

In this matter, plaintiff alleged that, while incarcerated, defendants deputies, Sheriff’s Department, County, and Sheriff, engaged in actions amounting to the use of excessive force, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence. In addition, plaintiff asserted claims for negligent supervision and unconstitutional policies, practice, and procedures. We successfully argued a motion for summary judgment on plaintiffs’ Monell, negligent supervision, and general negligence claims. At trial, we argued that the evidence supported defendants’ contention that the force used was justified and reasonable. In addition to obtaining a defense verdict, our application to

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tax costs was granted.

Hurrell Cantrall LLP
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