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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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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
Race discrimination
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
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
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
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 1990
Case Closing Year 2010
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Case Listing PN-CA-0001 : L.A. County Sheriff's Department (Kolts Report and Implementation) (No Court)
2:90-cv-05217-TJH (C.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/04/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
First Amended Complaint for Damages Injunctive and Declaratory Relief and Receivership
PN-CA-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 10/01/1992
Opinion (978 F.2d 504)
PN-CA-0003-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 02/12/1993
Source: Google Scholar
Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release of All Claims
PN-CA-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/31/1996
Mandate [Vacating Order and Remanding Case] [Ct. of App. ECF# 1933] (275 Fed.Appx. 664)
PN-CA-0003-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/07/2008
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order [Denying Motion to Intervene] [ECF# 1953] (C.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0003-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/11/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Mandate [Vacating Order and Remanding Case] [Ct. of App. ECF# 1963] (375 Fed.Appx. 688)
PN-CA-0003-0008.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 04/08/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Bybee, Jay S. (Ninth Circuit)
Fernandez, Ferdinand Francis (Ninth Circuit, C.D. Cal.)
Goodwin, Alfred Theodore (Ninth Circuit, D. Or.)
Graber, Susan (Ninth Circuit)
Hatter, Terry J. Jr. (C.D. Cal.)
PN-CA-0003-0007 | PN-CA-0003-9000
Kleinfeld, Andrew Jay (Ninth Circuit, D. Alaska)
Kozinski, Alex (Ninth Circuit)
Orrick, William Horsley Jr. (N.D. Cal.)
Schroeder, Mary Murphy (Ninth Circuit)
Silverman, Barry G. (Ninth Circuit, D. Ariz.)
Plaintiff's Lawyers Burton, John C. (California)
Casselman, Gary S. (California)
Chambers, Julius LeVonne (New York)
Cook, Donald W. (California)
Craig, Scott F. (California)
Denny, George V. III (California)
Eiden, Richard (California)
Foster, James Oliver (California)
Gonzalez, Jorge (California)
Hsieh, Marina (New York)
Jenkins, Alan (New York)
Lee, Bill Lann (California)
Manes, Hugh R. (California)
PN-CA-0003-0001 | PN-CA-0003-9000
Mann, Robert Frederick (California)
Muller, James S. (California)
Patterson, Robert O. (California)
Patterson, Patrick O. (California)
Reed, Kevin S. (California)
Rice, Constance L. (District of Columbia)
Samuelson, Diana (California)
Satris, Michael H. (California)
Shaw, Theodore M. (New York)
Watson, Carol A. (California)
PN-CA-0003-0001 | PN-CA-0003-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Ambrose, S. Robert (California)
Bradley, Barry A. (California)
Clinton, DeWitt W. (California)
Grubb, Corrine L. (California)
Humiston, Carol Ann (California)
Katz, Marc Steven (California)
Kemalyan, Richard S. (California)
Manning, Steven D. (California)
Meyers, Patrick T. (California)
Olson, Dean A. (California)
Olson, Robert A. (California)
Richardson, Janet Marie (California)
Shen-Urquidez, Martha A. (California)
Stroud, Zahava (California)

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