Hurrell Cantrall handled an appeal of an attorneys’ fee award under 42 U.S.C. Section 1988 on behalf of a public entity. In that case, the trial court awarded the plaintiff’s counsel over $300,000 in attorneys’ fees. On the appeal, we argued that the statutory basis relied upon by the plaintiff did not apply due to procedural actions which occurred at the trial court level. The appellate court agreed with our arguments and reversed the award to the plaintiff, and awarded our client costs.
We obtained a writ of mandate by the appellate court, reversing the trial court’s decision which denied our clients’ motion for summary judgment. This matter arose out of plaintiff-a school teacher’s allegations that his First Amendment rights were violated when he was subjected to adverse employment actions by four defendant-administrators. We filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the defendants’ conduct did not arise to adverse employment actions. We also argued that the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. The trial court granted the motion as to only one of the defendants. Consequently, we filed a Writ of Mandate with the appellate court. The appellate court agreed with our arguments and issued a preemptory writ directing the trial court to vacate its order denying the motion for summary judgment, and to enter a new order granting the motion.
In this case, a plaintiff sued our public entity client for negligence and municipal liability under 42 U.S.C. Section 1983. The plaintiff alleged that the public entity’s employees inappropriately and unlawfully pepper sprayed him while he was incarcerated at a local jail. On behalf of our public entity client, we moved for summary judgment on the grounds that the public entity was statutorily immune from the negligence cause of action and that the plaintiff did not have sufficient evidence to raise a triable issue of material fact with respect to the municipal liability claim. The motion was granted in its entirety.
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 plaintiff brought an action in federal court arising out of his termination from employment with a public entity. The plaintiff alleged claims for, inter alia, Title VII discrimination, breach of contract, hostile work environment, and defamation. On behalf of our public entity client, we filed a motion to dismiss the action on numerous procedural and substantive grounds, which was granted by the court despite plaintiff’s fierce opposition. While the plaintiff was granted leave to amend initially, our motion to dismiss the first amended complaint was granted without leave to amend, resulting in a dismissal of the entire action against our client. In addition, while the plaintiff filed a notice of appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, his appeal was dismissed.
In this matter, four plaintiffs who had been charged with assault on a peace officer claimed that they were falsely arrested and subjected to excessive force. The plaintiffs sued those officers as well as the public entity that employed them. We filed a motion to dismiss all of the individual defendants based on various procedural and substantive grounds, which the Court granted without leave to amend, leaving only the public entity as a defendant in the action. Through further negotiations between our office and the plaintiffs’ counsel, the plaintiffs agreed to dismiss all of their claims against the public entity. The Court therefore ordered the dismissal of the case, terminating the action.
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.
Hurrell Cantrall LLP is a proud sponsor of the 2009 DRI Civil Rights and Government Tort Liability Seminar, which is being held in New Orleans from January 28, 2009 through January 30, 2009. Hurrell Cantrall maintains an active government tort liability practice, which involves the defense of law enforcement officers and governmental entities against claims of civil rights violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
In this case, plaintiffs allege that decedent’s Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when the decedent was shot by a fellow officer in the course of their duties as police officers. Plaintiff also alleged a Monell claim against the two public entities. On behalf of all defendants, we moved for summary judgment on the ground that the defendants were entitled to qualified immunity. We also argued that the plaintiffs could not establish an underlying constitutional violation or that there existed any unlawful custom, practice or policy. The motion was granted in its entirety.
Plaintiff sued various defendants, including numerous public agencies, alleging breach of contract. On behalf of three out-of-state public entity defendants, we successfully argued that California courts did not have personal jurisdiction over the matter and that exercising such jurisdiction would be a gross violation of defendants’ constitutional rights to due process and violate notions of fair play and substantial justice.