In the News

Former LA County Coroner’s Investigator Gets $8.4 Million in Lawsuit

A former coroner’s office investigator was awarded $8.4 million on Friday, Dec. 17, in her lawsuit against Los Angeles County in which she said she was forced into early retirement in 2017 in retaliation for raising suspicions about the death of an 8-year-old disabled boy.

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Bloodhound Handlers Win $10.2 Million in Lawsuit Against LAPD

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — LAPD K-9 handler Karolin Clarke and her bloodhound Gemma raced into a pitch-black alcove in Chinatown as viewers watched on live TV. It was January of 2017 and they were hot on the trail of a killer. Vinh Dao had just stabbed two men to death during a card game inside the Hop Sing Tong social club. Officer Clarke and her K-9 tracked a fresh trail of blood north on Hill Street. But where was Clarke’s back-up? A tactical team was supposed to be at her side because the K-9 handler must focus on the dog — and use both hands to control and interpret its movements.

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Long Beach Police Officer Wins $2.5 Million in Retaliation Suit

A Long Beach police officer who said he was subjected to a backlash in 2015 when he protested how management responded to complaints by a recruit who did not want to train in an unsafe area was awarded $2.5 million in damages today. A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for less than a day before finding in favor of 28-year veteran Alex Lawrence, who struggled to maintain his emotions and as he heard the verdict and later when thanking jurors. “I dedicated my whole life to the Long Beach Police Department,” 48-year-old Lawrence said. “Every witness who came in and testified for the city contradicted themselves.”

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Former West Covina Deputy Fire Marshal Wins Whistleblower Lawsuit Against City

A jury sided with a former West Covina deputy fire marshal last week in his whistleblower-retaliation lawsuit against the city. Jason Briley had worked for the West Covina Fire Department for nine years when he was fired in September 2015. The city claimed Briley had been fired for improper conduct and being difficult to work with, but he alleged the move was retaliation for him pointing out various city facilities — including City Hall, the Cortez Park Community & Senior Center and the Cameron Park Community Center — did not have proper fire alarm systems.

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Jury Awards $3 Million to LAPD Officer Who Alleged Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

A Los Angeles jury has awarded $3 million to a police officer who alleged she was retaliated against — and placed under surveillance — after complaining that a supervisor sexually harassed her. The weeklong trial came to an end late Wednesday with the 12-0 verdict, said Gregory Smith, an attorney representing the officer. “We were very pleased with the verdict,” Smith said Thursday. “She feels completely vindicated now.” A spokesman for the city attorney’s office said the agency was reviewing its options, including whether to appeal.

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Montebello Firefighter Creswell’s $1 Million Dollar Award Upheld

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A judge refused today to set aside a jury’s award of nearly $1 million to a black Montebello firefighter who said he was the victim of racial harassment and retaliation for filing a lawsuit over his treatment. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White said the unanimous jury verdict on July 1 in favor of plaintiff Vernon Creswell was supported by the evidence. The jury awarded a total of $935,150 to Creswell. The award consisted of $185,150 in lost wages because he was not promoted to captain and another $750,000 for emotional distress.

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LAPD Officer Wins $1.2-Million Verdict in Racial Harassment Suit

A jury Tuesday ordered the city of Los Angeles to pay $1.2 million to a black police officer who alleged he was the butt of vulgar racial harassment by a white supervisor and other officers. In his lawsuit, Earl Wright, who joined the department in 1989, accused the supervisor, Sgt. Peter Foster, and a handful of officers of carrying out racial pranks and making comments that left him “embarrassed and humiliated.” In one instance, the lawsuit claimed, Wright asked Foster for permission to leave work early and Foster, who is white, responded, “Why? You gotta go pick watermelons?”

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Jury Awards Former Deputy Police Chief $1.3 Million

A jury this week sided with former Deputy Police Chief William Taylor to the tune of nearly $1.3 million, siding with his claims that he was fired in retaliation for refusing to sign off on the terminations of minority officers. In his 2009 lawsuit, Taylor also said he was retaliated against for raising concerns about how a sexual harassment incident was being handled. Late Monday afternoon, jurors awarded $1.29 million, with $250,000 of that awarded for pain and suffering, his attorney Gregory Smith said. The rest was for loss of earnings. Smith said he was not surprised by the jury’s verdict.

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LAPD Officer Wins $2.8 Million In Retaliation Suit

Pedro Torres and Robert Hill were officers assigned to the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Division. They frequently heard their immediate supervisor, Sergeant Gil Curtis, use derogatory terms and make disparaging comments in reference to African-Americans and Hispanics. On one occasion Curtis referred to Torres in his presence as “a lazy Mexican.” In March 2005, Hill initiated a misconduct complaint against Curtis with the Department’s Internal Affairs Division accusing Curtis of making racist remarks toward other officers.

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Officers Who Alleged LAPD Traffic Ticket Quota System Win $2-Million Judgment

A jury on Monday awarded $2 million to two Los Angeles police officers in a civil suit against the city and the department alleging there was a “quota system” for writing traffic tickets on the city’s Westside. Officers Howard Chan and David Benioff, veteran motor officers with the LAPD’s West Traffic Division, sued the department in 2009, alleging that their captain mandated each motor officer to write 18 tickets a day, according to the suit.

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