University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Thomas v. County of Los Angeles PN-CA-0003
Docket / Court 90-5217 ( C.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Policing
Attorney Organization NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Case Summary
In 1991 the NAACP Legal and Educational Defense Fund (LDF) filed a class action civil rights lawsuit in the Southern District of California under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD), on behalf of more than 100 minority residents of Lynwood, a ... read more >
In 1991 the NAACP Legal and Educational Defense Fund (LDF) filed a class action civil rights lawsuit in the Southern District of California under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD), on behalf of more than 100 minority residents of Lynwood, a South-Central Los Angeles neighborhood. The suit sought monetary and injunctive relief and alleged that deputies of the Lynwood station of the LASD systematically engaged in racial abuse, beatings, unjustified shootings and other unlawful conduct. It further alleged that some of the Lynwood deputies were members of a neo-Nazi, white supremacist gang known as the "Vikings."

In September 1991, federal district judge Terry J. Hatter, Jr. granted plaintiffs' motion for a preliminary injunction against the LASD and ordered that the LASD adhere to its own policies and guidelines regarding the use of force and searches, and submit copies of all reports alleging the use of excessive force by LASD deputies to the court for in camera on the first of every month. Judge Hatter stayed the injunction pending appeal by the LASD.

On February 12, 1993 the court of appeals issued its amended opinion reversing the granting of the preliminary junction on the basis that it was overbroad in scope and not supported by the record, which contained unresolved factual disputes.

Plaintiffs' claims proceeded to trial and after over three weeks of testimony, which included evidence regarding the Kolts Report, the jury returned a multi-million dollar verdict in favor of the plaintiffs. The case was settled post verdict for $6 million dollars payable to the plaintiffs, and the allocation of $1.5 million for use of force training by the LASD in accordance with the recommendations made by the Kolts Report. The court approved the class action settlement and directed that certain settlement documents be filed under seal. The court then terminated the case with prejudice on February 2, 2006.

On June 14, 2006, Freddie Fuiava filed a motion to intervene in the case and sought to modify any protective order or stipulation entered. The district court denied that motion and Fuiava filed a notice of appeal. On May 16, 2008, the court of appeals vacated and remanded the district court's decision because the district court did not state a reason for its denial of the motion. Fuiava renewed his motion, but on February 11, 2009, the district court again denied the motion, finding that Fuiava's request was not relevant to his collateral litigation. Fuiava appealed again, and on April 30, 2010, the court of appeals again vacated and remanded the district court's decision. The court of appeals found that Fuiava's motion was moot, since the protective order's scope was smaller than Fuiava believed, and no modification was necessary.

Dan Dalton - 12/28/2006
Maurice Youkanna - 07/22/2014


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Assistance of counsel (6th Amendment)
Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Due Process
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Aggressive behavior
Assault/abuse by staff
Disparate Treatment
Excessive force
Failure to discipline
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Inadequate citizen complaint investigations and procedures
Pattern or Practice
Racial profiling
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
National Origin/Ethnicity
Hispanic
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Race, unspecified
Causes of Action State law
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
42 U.S.C. § 1983
42 U.S.C. § 1985
Defendant(s) Los Angeles County
Plaintiff Description All residents of the Lynwood area who have been or may be subject to policies and practices of unnecessary or excessive force, illegal searches and seizures, or racial discrimination by deputy sheriffs of Los Angeles County.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing Unknown
Case Listing PN-CA-0001 : L.A. County Sheriff's Department (Kolts Report and Implementation) (No Court)
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Federal Enforcement of Police Reform
By: Stephen Rushin (University of Illinois College of Law, University of California, Berkeley - Jurisprudence and Social Policy Program )
Citation: 82 Fordham Law Review 3189 (2014)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Panopticism for Police: Structural Reform Bargaining and Police Regulation by Data-Driven Surveillance
By: Mary D. Fan (University of Washington)
Citation: Forthcoming, 87 Washington L. Rev. __ (2012).
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  What Happens When Police Are Forced to Reform?
Written: Nov. 13, 2015
By: Kimbriell Kelly, Sarah Childress and Steven Rich (Frontline/Post)
Citation: Washington Post (Nov. 13, 2015)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:90-cv-05217-TJH (C.D. Cal.) 05/04/2010
PN-CA-0003-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
First Amended Complaint for Damages Injunctive and Declaratory Relief and Receivership 10/01/1992
PN-CA-0003-0001 PDF | Detail
Opinion 02/12/1993 (978 F.2d 504)
PN-CA-0003-0005 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release of All Claims 01/31/1996
PN-CA-0003-0004 PDF | Detail
Mandate [Vacating Order and Remanding Case] 04/07/2008 (275 Fed.Appx. 664)
PN-CA-0003-0006 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Motion to Intervene] 02/11/2009 (C.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0003-0007 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Mandate [Vacating Order and Remanding Case] 04/08/2010 (375 Fed.Appx. 688)
PN-CA-0003-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Bybee, Jay S. (Ninth Circuit)
PN-CA-0003-0006
Fernandez, Ferdinand Francis (Ninth Circuit, C.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0003-0008
Goodwin, Alfred Theodore (Ninth Circuit, D. Or.)
PN-CA-0003-0006
Graber, Susan (Ninth Circuit)
PN-CA-0003-0008
Hatter, Terry J. Jr. (C.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0003-0007 | PN-CA-0003-9000
Kleinfeld, Andrew Jay (D. Alaska, Ninth Circuit) [Magistrate]
PN-CA-0003-0006
Kozinski, Alex (Ninth Circuit)
PN-CA-0003-0005
Orrick, William Horsley Jr. (N.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0003-0005
Schroeder, Mary Murphy (Ninth Circuit)
PN-CA-0003-0005
Silverman, Barry G. (D. Ariz., Ninth Circuit) [Magistrate]
PN-CA-0003-0008
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Burton, John C. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Casselman, Gary S. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Chambers, Julius LeVonne (New York)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Cook, Donald W. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Craig, Scott F. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Denny, George V. III (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Eiden, Richard (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Foster, James Oliver (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Gonzalez, Jorge (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Hsieh, Marina (New York)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Jenkins, Alan (New York)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Lee, Bill Lann (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Manes, Hugh R. (California)
PN-CA-0003-0001 | PN-CA-0003-9000
Mann, Robert Frederick (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Muller, James S. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Patterson, Patrick O. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Patterson, Robert O. (California)
PN-CA-0003-0005
Reed, Kevin S. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Rice, Constance L. (District of Columbia)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Samuelson, Diana (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Satris, Michael H. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Shaw, Theodore M. (New York)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Watson, Carol A. (California)
PN-CA-0003-0001 | PN-CA-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Ambrose, S. Robert (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Bradley, Barry A. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Clinton, DeWitt W. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Grubb, Corrine L. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Humiston, Carol Ann (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Katz, Marc Steven (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Kemalyan, Richard S. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Manning, Steven D. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Meyers, Patrick T. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Olson, Dean A. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Olson, Robert A. (California)
PN-CA-0003-0005
Richardson, Janet Marie (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Shen-Urquidez, Martha A. (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Stroud, Zahava (California)
PN-CA-0003-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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