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Case Name Smith v. City of Oakland PN-CA-0031
Docket / Court 3:06-cv-07171-MMC ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Policing
Case Summary
On November 20, 2006, five women of Asian decent filed this class action lawsuit against the City of Oakland Police Department and Richard Valegra, an officer of the City of Oakland Police Department, on behalf of all women of Asian decent who were subject to sexual harassment by defendant Valegra ... read more >
On November 20, 2006, five women of Asian decent filed this class action lawsuit against the City of Oakland Police Department and Richard Valegra, an officer of the City of Oakland Police Department, on behalf of all women of Asian decent who were subject to sexual harassment by defendant Valegra or another Oakland police officer on duty. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, asked the court for a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting police officers from engaging in sexual harassment while on duty, a declaratory judgment that the defendant's conduct was a violation of the plaintiffs' rights, compensatory, punitive, and exemplary damages, and attorneys' fees, claiming that the police department and defendant Valegra had discriminated against them on the basis of race and sex. Specifically, they each claimed that defendant Valegra had pulled them over for a reason not having to do with any legitimate law enforcement purpose, ordered them to sit in his police vehicle with him, told them they were not free to leave, and proceeded to ask them questions unrelated to any law enforcement purpose, take their phone numbers, touch them, and kiss them.

On September 10, 2007, the plaintiffs amended the complaint, adding eleven additional named plaintiffs.

On June 16, 2008, the court (Judge Chesney) denied the plaintiffs' request for class certification on the bases that the proposed class was too indistinct and that injunctive relief seemed moot in light of defendant Valegra's discharge from the police department.

On June 27, 2008, Judge Chesney dismissed the charges without prejudice in light of an undisclosed settlement agreement negotiated by the parties.

Katherine Reineck - 03/01/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Unreasonable search and seizure
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
Sex discrimination
General
Conditions of confinement
Search policies
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Asian/Pacific Islander
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) City of Oakland Police Department
Richard Valegra
Plaintiff Description Sixteen women of Asian descent who were sexually harassed during traffic stops
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Unknown
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2008
Case Ongoing No
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)
3:06-cv-7171 (N.D. Cal.) 09/15/2008
PN-CA-0031-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Damages, Declaratory and Injunctive Relief 11/20/2006
PN-CA-0031-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint 09/10/2007
PN-CA-0031-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Denying Class Cert. 06/16/2008 (2008 WL 2439691) (N.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0031-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order of Dismissal 06/27/2008 (N.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0031-0004.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Chesney, Maxine M. (N.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0031-0003 | PN-CA-0031-0004 | PN-CA-0031-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Burris, John L. (California)
PN-CA-0031-0001 | PN-CA-0031-0002 | PN-CA-0031-9001
Chanin, James B. (California)
PN-CA-0031-0001 | PN-CA-0031-0002 | PN-CA-0031-9001
Houk, Julie (California)
PN-CA-0031-9001 | PN-CA-0031-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Beaty, Geoffrey A. (California)
PN-CA-0031-9001
Fraenkel, Ines Vargas (California)
PN-CA-0031-9001
Simmons, William Edmond (California)
PN-CA-0031-9001
Westmore, Kandis Arianne (California)
PN-CA-0031-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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