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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 tax costs was granted.