Courts, Rulings & Lawsuits

Federal appeals panel will give LA cop in shooting death of Albert Dorsey 2nd chance at arguing for qualified immunity from lawsuit

With a reconstituted three-member federal appeals panel now tilting to the right, judges in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals have tossed a previous appellate ruling that a Los Angles police officer cannot use qualified immunity as a shield against a deadly force suit, and have agreed to hear the case again.

Northern California Record

Ninth Circuit requires resentencing of man who orchestrated courthouse bombing

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has vacated the 55-year prison sentence imposed on the ringleader of a small group of persons who bombed the United States Courthouse in San Diego in 2008, holding that gaffes in calculating the term that were detrimental to him cannot be simply offset by mistakes in his favor, in order to validate the outcome.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

C.A. restores student’s suit against regents

The Third District Court of Appeal yesterday ordered reinstatement of an action by a medical student against the Regents of the University of California based on a claim that her studies were delayed because an instructor’s false accusation that she had committed plagiarism sapped so much of her time and energy that she was unable to take and pass a national exam, rendering her ineligible to become a third-year student.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

California court reinstates defamation suit against Rep. Maxine Waters

A state appeals court reinstated a defamation suit Wednesday against Rep. Maxine Waters, a veteran Democratic congresswoman from Los Angeles, for accusing her 2020 campaign opponent of having been dishonorably discharged from the Navy. Waters was first elected to the House in 1990, after seven terms in the state Assembly, and is California’s second-longest-serving member of Congress, after Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi. 

San Francisco Chronicle

Lawsuits over warning signs on streets are fair game, California Supreme Court says

California law provides broad immunity from lawsuits over how cities design their streets but plaintiffs can still sue over a lack of warning signs, the state’s highest court ruled, upholding a 50-year-old precedent against arguments it was illogical. In a decision supported by the Consumer Attorneys of California and opposition from local governments, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the mother of a bicyclist who was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer after he rode into an intersection in Rancho Palos Verdes.

Legal Newsline

US appeals court overturns first 'Varsity Blues' scandal convictions

A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday threw out the fraud convictions of two wealthy fathers charged with involvement in a vast college admissions conspiracy to pay bribes so children could attend top universities. In a 3-0 decision, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled in favor of private equity executive John Wilson and former casino executive Gamal Aziz, the first defendants tried in the probe known as "Operation Varsity Blues.”


Calif. top court reluctant to hold employers liable for COVID infections

Judges on California's top state court on Tuesday said they were concerned that allowing employers to be sued when workers who contracted COVID-19 spread it to members of their households would unleash "an avalanche of litigation" against businesses. The seven-member California Supreme Court heard oral arguments in San Francisco over whether woodworking company Victory Woodworks Inc could be held liable for negligence by Corby Kuciemba, an employee's wife who says she became seriously ill when her husband contracted COVID at work in the early days of the pandemic in 2020 and passed it to her.


SCOTUS ruled against a California labor law. State Supreme Court might uphold it anyway

The state Supreme Court seemed likely Tuesday to preserve workers’ right to sue their employers for violating state labor rules under a unique California law, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the law violates an employer’s right to take workplace disputes to arbitration. The Private Attorneys General Act, or PAGA, enacted in 2004, lets workers sue employers, individually or collectively, in the name of the state for violating laws such as those regulating minimum wages, overtime, and meal and rest breaks.

San Francisco Chronicle

Supreme Court overturns fraud convictions of Cuomo donor

Reversing the convictions of a well-connected New York developer, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Congress never intended to criminalize the type of wire fraud of which he was convicted. “The wire fraud statute reaches only traditional property interests,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the unanimous court. "The right to valuable economic information needed to make discretionary economic decisions is not a traditional property interest. Accordingly, the right to-control theory cannot form the basis for a conviction under the federal fraud statutes."

Courthouse News Service

Lie in anticipation of litigation is protected conduct

The Court of Appeal for this district has held that if a woman told a third party that her ex-boyfriend violated a restraining order against him, in her favor, causing financial harm to him, when no such order actually existed - as alleged in a lawsuit against the former girlfriend - the spewing of that lie was protected speech under the anti-SLAPP statute, if the plaintiff contemplated seeking such an order if the man’s conduct persisted.

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

George Gascon

Family of murdered El Monte officers sue LA County DA (Video)

Two lawsuits blame LA County’s District Attorney and Probation Department for not locking up a man who later murdered two El Monte police officers. Eric Leonard reports May 4, 2023.


Gascón critic suit winner seeks $1.3 million in attorneys’ fees

A veteran Los Angeles County prosecutor who was awarded $1.5 million after she was denied important jobs in retaliation for complaining about directives set forth after the 2020 election of District Attorney George Gascón is now seeking $1.3 million in attorneys’ fees, but the county wants a new trial. The March 6 Los Angeles Superior Court verdict in favor of plaintiff Deputy District Attorney Shawn Randolph was the first of nearly 20 such cases that have been filed by prosecutors and are still awaiting trial.



After 18 years in prison, he took over his old LA gang. A string of murders followed

Ezequiel Romo had been gone a long time. He went to prison in 1996. When he returned to Panorama City 18 years later, he didn’t like what he saw. He was going to “clean out house,” Romo told another veteran of his gang. He would rid the neighborhood of rivals, of informants, of drug addicts and the do-nothings he considered dead weight.

Los Angeles Times

Courtroom bombshell: D.A. in Danny Masterson's retrial claims accusers' emails to cops are being leaked to Scientology

The Deputy District Attorney in Danny Masterson's rape retrial dropped a bombshell in court this week, telling the judge that he believes the Church of Scientology is getting its hands on redacted discovery material - including emails between alleged victims and police, has learned. Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller began Masterson's retrial on Wednesday by informing Judge Olmedo.

Radar Online

Tory Lanez denied new trial in Megan Thee Stallion shooting

A Los Angeles judge Tuesday rejected a bid for a new trial for jailed rapper Tory Lanez, who was convicted of shooting hip-hop star Megan Thee Stallion in the feet three years ago in the Hollywood Hills. Lanez's current attorney, Jose Baez - who famously won an acquittal for Casey Anthony - argued Monday that procedural errors, prosecutorial misconduct, discovery violations and ineffective counsel led to his client's conviction in December on one felony count each of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, having a loaded unregistered firearm in a vehicle, and discharging a firearm with gross negligence.

City News Service

YouTuber who deliberately crashed his plane and hid wreckage pleads guilty to obstructing investigation, Justice Department says

California prosecutors have charged a YouTuber pilot who deliberately crashed his airplane for online views and then misled investigators about the location of the wreck. Trevor Daniel Jacob, 29, pleaded guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation, prosecutors said. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison, the Justice Department said in a news release. 

CBS News

Las Vegas man charged with federal hate crimes in connection with Taiwanese Presbyterian Church shooting in Orange County

A Nevada man has been charged with 98 counts of federal hate crimes and weapons and explosives offenses, including the murder of one person and attempted murder of 44 others, for his actions during the shooting and attempted bombing at the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian Church on May 15, 2022, the Justice Department announced today.

District Attorney’s Office Press Release

Former Orange County cheerleading coach charged with molesting six young athletes

A former Orange County competitive cheerleading coach has been charged with multiple felonies for molesting six girls as young as 11 years old while coaching at a competitive cheer club and a Mission Viejo High School. He is also facing child molestation and child exhibition charges in Florida related to four young competitive cheer athletes he coached in Daytona Beach. Erick Joseph Kristianson, 44, of Antioch, Tennessee, was arrested last week in Fargo, North Dakota on a warrant in the Orange County case.

Huntington Beach News


California asks Ninth Circuit to toss suits over COVID outbreak at San Quentin

The state of California asked a Ninth Circuit panel on Wednesday to overrule a trial court and dismiss three lawsuits over a COVID outbreak at San Quentin State Prison which killed 28 inmates and one staff member. On May 30, 2020, months after the pandemic lead to widespread shutdowns and public health emergency orders, 122 medically vulnerable inmates at the California Institute for Men in the Southern California city of Chino were transferred by bus more than 400 miles north to San Quentin, ostensibly to protect them from a COVID outbreak. 

Courthouse News Service

Ninth Circuit urged to block Nevada ghost gun ban

A gun rights attorney urged a Ninth Circuit panel in San Francisco on Tuesday to block a Nevada law that bans the manufacture, possession and sale of so-called ghost guns. In July 2021, U.S. District Judge Miranda Du, a Barack Obama appointee, declined to overturn the ghost gun ban. The law, Assembly Bill 286, was signed by then-Governor Steve Sisolak and led to the present lawsuit. The law prohibits unfinished gun kits without serial numbers to be sold or possessed.

Courthouse News Service

Los Angeles City/County

Why is the L.A. Times rehashing old allegations against the LAPD SWAT Team?

We have reached a place where a newspaper reader must be wary when reading any given story. Why is this story appearing now? Why are certain people quoted and not others? Why was the “news” in this story omitted from one covering the exact same incident almost three years ago? Maintaining such a level of skepticism is especially important when reading the Los Angeles Times and its coverage of the Los Angeles Police Department. 

Jack Dunphy/PJ Media

How can L.A. stop traffic deaths? Let civilians enforce traffic violations, study says

Most traffic enforcement in Los Angeles should be done by civilian workers, but only in tandem with major infrastructure upgrades that improve safety along city streets that are among the nation’s deadliest. Those are the conclusions of a long-delayed report from the city transportation department that has yet to be released. The Times reviewed a draft of the document, which is being produced by an outside firm and has been in the works for nearly three years, since the City Council first raised the prospect of removing traffic duties from the Los Angeles Police Department.

Los Angeles Times

‘A blunder that is just epic’: LAPD reels after release of undercover identities

The Los Angeles police department has made many mistakes during its tumultuous history, but few may compete with an administrative error its own union officials are calling “a blunder that is just epic”: the inadvertent exposure of dozens of officers working undercover to investigate national security breaches, drug cartels and other dangerous criminal enterprises.

The Guardian

Sheriff Luna wants 1,100 additional deputies in next LA County budget

As part of a public hearing Wednesday, May 10, on Los Angeles County’s proposed $43 billion budget, Sheriff Robert Luna asked for funding to recruit 1,100 deputies, double up on captains at problem Sheriff’s stations, purchase a jail management system and supply new Tasers to deputies on patrol. The requests appear to be over and above the $4 billion allocated in L.A. County CEO Fesia Davenport’s recommended 2023-2024 fiscal year budget.

Los Angeles Daily News

Former Sheriff Villanueva addresses critics in 1st episode of new radio talk show

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva’s new talk radio show premiered on Monday morning, May 8, on CRN Digital Talk Radio - a conservative-leaning station that also boasts shows hosted by Republican personalities Dennis Prager and Charlie Kirk, among others. The show, dubbed “The Resistance with Sheriff Alex Villanueva,” is slated to air from 10 to 11 a.m. every weekday, according to CRN.

Los Angeles Daily News

City Council opposes new plan to address deputy gangs

On Monday, May 8, Malibu City Council shared opposition to a new plan aimed to address deputy gangs in the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. They all voted unanimously against the proposal and plans on sending a letter to the Board of Supervisors detailing their opposition. Back in February the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission issued a report revealing evidence that deputy gangs exists in the police department stating that these groups, “engaged in egregious conduct such as violations of law, the excessive use of force, [and] threats to the public or department members” - and deputy cliques, which include both gangs and other “exclusionary subgroups.”

Canyon News

Teen dies of overdose in troubled L.A. County juvenile hall, sources say

A state oversight agency issued a report Tuesday calling for Los Angeles County's juvenile halls to be shuttered in the wake of a staffing crisis and reports of increased violence and drug use, just hours after an 18-year-old was found dead of an apparent overdose in one of the deteriorating facilities. The young man was found unresponsive in his room at Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, according to a statement issued late Tuesday morning by the L.A. County Probation Department. 

Los Angeles Times


Former federal agent sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting two women and preventing them from reporting attacks

A former special agent with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) was sentenced today to life in federal prison for sexually assaulting two women and abusing his official position to prevent them from reporting his violent conduct. John Jacob Olivas, 48, of Riverside, was sentenced by United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal, who also ordered Olivas to pay $17,125 in restitution.

District Attorney’s Office Press Release

Ex-LA city attorney official in LADWP litigation scandal gets no jail time (Video)

The former chief of civil litigation for the LA City Attorney’s Office was sentenced to 9 months of home confinement and 3 years on probation for his role in trying to cover-up the city’s efforts to rig class action lawsuits filed by overbilled Department of Water and Power customers. Eric Leonard reports May 9, 2023.



Vandalism in Los Angeles continues to tumble

Three months into 2023, the crime picture in Los Angeles is mixed. Offenses such as shoplifting have risen. Some other crimes, including homicides and robberies, are falling. Add to that list vandalism, though one thing separates this from other improving categories: reports are at a historic low. From Jan. 1–March 31, 2023, there were 4,116 reports of vandalism in the city, according to publicly available Los Angeles Police Department data.


Couple in Bentley shot at during alleged follow-home robbery attempt in Valley Village

A couple in a Bentley was involved in what police believe may have been a follow-home robbery attempt in Valley Village that turned into a shooting and ended in a multi-vehicle crash. It happened Wednesday afternoon on Coldwater Canyon Avenue near La Maida Street. According to police, a 27-year-old man and a woman were sitting inside the Bentley, parked in a driveway at an apartment complex about a block from the 101 Freeway.


Man arrested for robbing two women in Simi Valley 

Police arrested a man after they say he robbed two separate women in Simi Valley early Sunday morning. According to the Simi Valley Police Department, a call regarding an armed robbery came around 1:20 a.m. in front of the Regal Simi Valley Civic Center movie theaters. “A male suspect wearing a mask [had] pointed a gun at a female…demanding her to give him everything she had,” SVPD said in a statement.


More than 30 arrested after street takeovers in San Fernando Valley; 12 vehicles impounded

Nearly three dozen spectators and drivers were arrested after multiple street takeovers were held Friday night across the San Fernando Valley, authorities said. At least 12 vehicles were impounded in connection with sideshows at seven separate locations, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department said. Four people were taken into custody for reckless driving, according to the spokesperson.



New CA vs Hate hotline offers safe, anonymous reporting option for victims, witnesses of hate crimes

Reports of hate crimes across California have risen and so have concerns that victims of those crimes aren't getting the support they need. Now, there's a new hotline those victims can call. On Thursday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the official launch of CA vs Hate, a new multilingual statewide hotline and website that provides a safe, anonymous reporting option for victims and witnesses of hate acts.


Sheriff says drugs are fueling the crime crisis in California

A California sheriff blamed substance abuse for rising crime in his state and accused lawmakers of adding fuel to the fire with permissive drug laws. "In the shootings that we are involved with, where law enforcement is involved with a suspect that is shooting at us or we get involved in some type of officer-involved shooting," Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said, "almost all of them involve drug use."

Fox News

California, other states with strong 'Defund the Police' movements ranked best to be a cop, new study claims

WalletHub's "2023's Best & Worst States to Be a Police Officer" is out and suggests that states known for initiatives to "Defund the Police" are the best states to be a police officer. Including Washington D.C, the top ten states, in ascending order, are; California, D.C, Connecticut, Maryland, Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, Washington, New York, and Massachusetts.


A half-century after failing to reform mental health care, California tries again

There’s a bipartisan attempt in the state Legislature to finally finish the mental health reform that Gov. Ronald Reagan and lawmakers began 56 years ago. They botched the job back then. Their failure is a major reason why so many homeless people are living on California streets today. The 1967 reform was a splendid idea. It just didn’t get implemented as promised. Now it needs to be updated - altered to address the realities of mental health care - and given more money.

Los Angeles Times

Santos in federal custody as feds unseal 13-count indictment

Federal prosecutors have filed criminal charges against New York Rep. George Santos, the Republican lawmaker whose astonishing pattern of lies and fabrications stunned even hardened politicos, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Santos, who was taken into federal custody Wednesday morning, is expected to appear at federal court in New York’s Eastern District. 


California says new cigarettes appear to violate state’s flavored tobacco ban

California’s attorney general is warning two tobacco companies that their new cigarettes appear to violate a state ban on most flavored tobacco products that was upheld by voters last year. Attorney General Rob Bonta sent letters to R.J. Reynolds and ITG Brands LLC, dated April 25, warning that the packaging and promotional materials for nine reformulated versions of Camel, Newport, and Kool cigarettes were likely against the law.

KFF Health News

California agrees to pay $24M to family of man who died in CHP custody in Altadena

In one of the largest settlements of its kind in the nation, the state of California has agreed to pay $24 million to the family of Edward Bronstein, who died in CHP custody in Altadena in 2020. The city of Minneapolis paid $27 million in the George Floyd case. Bronstein died as several CHP officers and a nurse were attempting to forcibly draw a blood sample as part of a DUI test. The incident was caught on videotape and Bronstein can be heard repeatedly screaming "I can't breathe" before he goes limp.


When California laws go too far, the courts intervene

Early explorers believed California to be an island, and while its physical attachment to the rest of North America eventually became evident, it nevertheless has sought to forge an island-like cultural and political identity - a “nation-state” in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s description. There are, however, limits. Legally, California is still just one of 50 states and thus is subject to federal law, including the U.S. Constitution. California politicians sometimes ignore that basic fact of civic life in their zeal to lead the parade.


Cook County prosecutor quits after 20 years: ‘this State and County have set themselves on a course to disaster

A 20-year veteran prosecutor walked out of the Cook County state’s attorney’s office for the last time on Friday. Jason Poje, a long-time felony trial attorney for the office, entered his two-week notice on April 21. But before he moved on to the next chapter of his life, Poje sent a goodbye email to 85 colleagues late Friday afternoon. In his farewell, Poje extended thanks and appreciation to his colleagues.

CWB Chicago

Justice Department files statement of interest in religious land use case involving faith-based group that feeds homeless in the O.C.

The Justice Department has filed a statement of interest in a federal lawsuit explaining that the act of distributing food and drinks to people who are homeless by Micah’s Way, a faith-based organization in Santa Ana that helps people in need, could be religious exercise under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA).

U.S. Attorney’s Press Release


FBI warns billions of Gmail and Outlook users over bank-emptying 'spoof' attack - clean your inbox immediately

The FBI has warned about bad actors pretending to be trusted sources to steal your money. Scammers are using every trick in the book to steal your hard-earned money. The methods vary, but two of the most popular techniques are called spoofing and phishing.

The Sun U.S.

Articles of Interest

California lawmakers on reparations panel challenge assumptions about payments to Black residents

As California lawmakers hail the work of a historic panel that has delved into reparations proposals for African Americans for nearly two years, a state senator on the task force is warning Black residents to not assume that large cash payments are on the way. Democratic Sen. Steven Bradford, of Los Angeles, said “anything's possible if the money's there,” but he remains “realistic” that it could be difficult to garner enough support for large payments at a time when lawmakers haven't even debated where the money would come from.


Tiger Woods' ex-girlfriend on NDA in 2017: I don't want to be 'heartbroken and jobless'

Tiger Woods’ former girlfriend raised questions about the non-disclosure agreement that the famed golfer wanted her to sign in 2017, expressing concerns she would lose control and become "heartbroken and jobless" in five to 10 years if she signed it, according to a court document filed this week in Florida. That NDA is now the subject of a high-profile dispute in public court after the former girlfriend, Erica Herman, went through a messy breakup with Woods in October.

USA Today

LA judge guts Marilyn Manson lawsuit against ex Evan Rachel Wood

A California judge on Tuesday threw out key sections of Marilyn Manson's lawsuit against his former fiancée, “Westworld” actor Evan Rachel Wood, claiming she fabricated public allegations that he sexually and physically abused her during their relationship and encouraged other women to do the same. Manson's suit, filed last year, alleges that Wood and another woman named as a defendant, Illma Gore, defamed Manson, intentionally caused him emotional distress and derailed his career in music, TV and film. 


Donald Trump sexually abused and defamed E. Jean Carroll, jury says

A civil jury on Tuesday found former President Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing the writer E. Jean Carroll at a New York department store in the 1990s, and for defaming her last fall when he denied her claim. The jury of six men and three women also ordered Trump to pay Carroll a total of $5 million in compensatory and punitive damages after deliberating less than three hours in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.


Hindenburg’s Carl Icahn report is a ‘must read’

Hedge fund billionaire Bill Ackman has called Hindenburg Research’s report into Icahn Enterprises a "must read" after the high-profile short-sellers described the firm as "Ponzi-like". Icahn Enterprises, the holding company for American investor Carl Icahn's empire, was accused of taking money from new investors to pay out dividends to old investors in Hindenburg's investigation.

Financial News


California confronts overdose epidemic among former prison inmates

More than 80% of inmates released in California between April 2020 and June 2022 departed with antidote kits and the training that goes with them, according to a January study by corrections officials. Acceptance has continued to grow, with 95% of departing inmates accepting Narcan in July 2022, the most recent month with data. Now corrections officials are trying to determine whether the kits actually save lives by examining overdose rates among formerly incarcerated people. 

Kaiser Health News

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