Legal Victories in City Attorney’s Office since 2014
Huntington Beach is the fourth largest city in the County of Orange and one of the greatest cities in all of California. This City should be an example to other cities in defending its local control, promoting the well-being of its citizens, and providing for the highest quality of life. Huntington Beach should actively defend its ability to govern locally, through its City Council rather than Sacramento. And, Huntington Beach should maintain a business friendly environment so that business owners, mangers, and employees are successful and able to provide for their families. This City must continue to implement effective public safety. Huntington Beach needs a City Attorney who will aggressively support the police in their fight to crack down on crime. At the same time, the citizens of Huntington Beach should be proud of their elected officials and not concerned that this City is either headed in the wrong direction or being governed without the necessary character and integrity. We must set politics aside and accomplish the work the peopled elected its officials to do.
Notable Court Wins – Jury Trials and Court Decisions
(2022) WON WRIT OF MANDAMUS CASE: The City prevailed in State court in the City of Huntington Beach v. State of California, Department of Finance lawsuit. In this case, the City of Huntington Beach prevailed in recovering reimbursements for old redevelopment loans from the State of California. The court’s order in its ruling recognized the State’s obligation to reimburse Huntington Beach for a $5,200,000 loan, and also set aside the Department of Finance’s denial of a $22,400,000 loan reimbursement. This set-aside means that with additional documentation submitted by Huntington Beach, we have the opportunity to prove the reimbursement obligation on that large loan. We are very hopeful in having such success. Altogether, this would mean nearly $30,000,000 returning to Huntington Beach from the State. The State Department of Finance could appeal this, or any future rulings, but there is no indication yet.
(2022) WON AT JURY TRIAL IN OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING CASE: The City prevailed in State Court in the Hernandez v. HBPD Officers, City of Huntington Beach lawsuit – a full defense by jury verdict. I tried the case myself along with another attorney on behalf of the Officers and City. The incident in the underlying case involved the 2017 Huntington Beach Sports Complex shooting wherein an officer took reasonable and necessary action to protect the life of a mother and her small child as they sat on the bleachers one evening to watch her other son play soccer. The Sports Complex was crowded that night with soccer and softball events, and the individual who was shot by police was a threat to many, especially the mother and child who were within a second of being assaulted with a weapon. In light of the defense verdict, the Plaintiff now owes the City over $85,000 in cost reimbursements.
(2022) FAVORABLE SETTLEMENT FOR CITY: As announced in 2021, the national opioid litigation that the City was involved in reached a settlement last year. The City learned also late last year that the City’s share of the settlement will be a few million dollars; although final distribution of funds has not yet occurred. The national case is a multi-district litigation known as In Re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation. In 2018, the City sued various pharmaceutical companies, including Purdue Pharma, related damages caused to the City of Huntington Beach by the opioid epidemic. The City’s theory in the case was that because the pharmaceutical companies aggressively pushed and oversold opioid marketing, prescription, and consumption, a spike in overdoses related to these activities adversely impacted the City, including but not limited to residents’ lives harmed, affected, or in some instances lost, and a dramatic increase in recent years in required responses by the City’s first responders.
(2022) WON CRIMINAL TRIAL: In May of this year, our Prosecutor prosecuted a case in court in which the defendant repeatedly camped outdoors on public property in parks and high traffic areas, and after repeated attempts by our police officers, refused to cooperate and take advantage of the resources at the Navigation Center. After a two-and-a-half-day trial the jury returned with a verdict in favor of the City and against defendant, finding him guilty on all 3 counts: Penal Code Section 647(e) (unlawful lodging on public property), Huntington Beach Municipal Code Section 13.10.030 (Unlawful Camping in any areas of public or private property), and Huntington Beach Municipal Code Section 13.48.130 (Park Curfew). Defendant was sentenced to one year Probation and ordered to stay away on orders by the court on all 3 counts
(2021) WON ON APPEAL: The City prevailed at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal on the officer-involved use of force case Rosier v. City of Huntington Beach, HBPD Officers. In that case, we had already previously prevailed at trial in the federal U.S District Court in front of a jury. Plaintiff alleged that the officers violated his civil rights by their use of force to restrain him, while on the beach past curfew and disobeying officers’ orders cease drinking and clear the area – that such use of force was excessive. Plaintiff sought an excess of $1,000,000 for the alleged civil rights violation. The City’s win in this case both at trial and on appeal means that plaintiff gets no monetary award or compensation from the City.
(2021) WON DISMISSALS: A number of cases were dismissed in the City’s favor – Read v. City of Huntington Beach, Kadziolka v. City of Huntington Beach, Helgoe v. City of Huntington Beach, and others through the good work of the attorneys handling the cases prudently and effectively, which resulted in no payments or awards of money to plaintiffs.
(2020) WON A DISMISSAL: In the case of Aleksiejczyk v. City of Huntington Beach, this multi-million dollar case was dismissed in its entirety. This was a catastrophic motor vehicle versus pedestrian accident resulting in a personal injury case in which the Plaintiff sought a not-yet-disclosed multi-million dollar award in damages/recompense related to injuries sustained in an accident. Plaintiff advanced a claim of a dangerous roadway condition. The City prevailed and paid $0 to Plaintiff.
(2020) WON A DISMISSAL: In the case of Rogers v. HBPD Officer, City of Huntington Beach, this was a case in which Plaintiff sought a not-yet-disclosed substantial sum of money against the City and a Huntington Beach Police Officer, alleging the officer engaged in excessive force during a 2018 officer-involved shooting on domestic violence call in a mobile home park. This case was dismissed in its entirety – resulting in $0 paid to Plaintiff and no cost incurred by the City. After diligent and aggressive handling, this case was dismissed by the Court.
(2020) WON A DISMISSAL: In the case Gonzalez v. HBPD Officers, City of Huntington Beach, this was a case in which Plaintiff sought $5,000,000 in damages was successfully litigated and thrown at by the Federal Court at the City’s request – resulting in $0 paid to Plaintiff and no cost incurred by the City. After diligent and aggressive handling, this case was dismissed by the Court.
(2020) WON A DISMISSAL: In the case Kadziolka v. City of Huntington Beach, this was a case in which Plaintiff sought a undisclosed substantial sum of money against the City and a Huntington Beach Police Officer, alleging the officer engaged in excessive force was dismissed in its entirety – resulting in $0 paid to Plaintiff and no cost incurred by the City. After diligent and aggressive handling, this case has been dismissed by the court.
(2020) WIN in LAWSUIT, ROSIER v. HBPD Officers, City: This civil action in which Plaintiff sought $500,000 against the City and two Huntington Beach Police Officers, alleging the officers engaged in excessive force during a stop at the Beach late at night was successfully litigated and thrown at by the Federal Court at the City’s request – resulting in $0 paid to Plaintiff and no cost incurred by the City. After diligent and aggressive handling, this case has been dismissed by the Court;
(2020) WIN in LAWSUIT, HULL v. HBPD Officers, City: This civil action in which Plaintiff sought $3,000,000 against the City and Huntington Beach Police Officers, alleging the officers engaged in excessive force involving the use of a Police Dog after a police chase in Huntington Beach. This case was thrown at by the Federal Court at the City’s request – resulting in $0 paid to Plaintiff and no cost incurred by the City. After diligent and aggressive handling, this case has been dismissed by the Court;
Notable 2019 Court Wins
(2019) WIN ON APPEAL: The City prevailed at the U.S. Supreme Court with its decision to allow the lower, Ninth Circuit, Court of Appeal decision in favor of Huntington Beach to stand (by not taking the matter up for Supreme Court review). The City of Huntington Beach originally prevailed against AmeriCare Services in the U.S. District Court, by having AmeriCare’s case thrown out of court all together. AmeriCare’s lawsuit sought to compel the City of Huntington Beach to utilize its (third-party) emergency services rather than the City’s own Fire Department’s emergency services. The City has prevailed all the way up and has paid $0 to AmeriCare Services.
Notable 2018 Court Wins
(2018) LAWSUIT AGAINST OFFICERS DISMISSED: The civil action Sean Silverthorne v. City of Huntington Beach, Police Officers, et al., has been successfully resolved with a dismissal – which includes $0 paid out to plaintiff and no cost incurred by the City. Mr. Silverthorne’s action alleged a number of civil rights violations against various Huntington Beach Officers. Mr. Silverthorne’s action alleged unlawful entry, unreasonable search, false arrest, excessive force, malicious prosecution, withholding exculpatory evidence, and fabrication of evidence. Mr. Silverthorne sought over $20 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages against the individual Officers. After diligent and aggressive handling, this case has been dismissed;
(2018) WON JURY TRIAL: In February of this year, we received a defense verdict in a very high profile trial where we represented the City – Sunny Kang v. HBPD Officer and City of Huntington Beach – an officer-involved motor vehicle accident lawsuit. Plaintiff sued for $10,000,000. Me and my in-house attorneys tried the case. It was a difficult trial against arguably the best plaintiff’s law firm in the entire State; and we prevailed. Complete defense, finding no fault with the City. Plaintiff owes the City over $150,000. A great victory for the City and a savings of millions of dollars.