Case: Thomas v. County of Los Angeles

2:90-cv-05217 | U.S. District Court for the Central District of California

Filed Date: Sept. 26, 1990

Closed Date: 2010

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On 09/26/1990, 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, u…

On 09/26/1990, 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.

Summary Authors

Dan Dalton (12/28/2006)

Maurice Youkanna (7/22/2014)

Related Cases

L.A. County Sheriff's Department (Kolts Report and Implementation), No Court (1992)

People


Judge(s)

Bybee, Jay S. (Nevada)

Fernandez, Ferdinand Francis (California)

Goodwin, Alfred Theodore (California)

Graber, Susan (Oregon)

Hatter, Terry J. Jr. (California)

Kleinfeld, Andrew Jay (Alaska)

Kozinski, Alex (California)

Orrick, William Horsley Jr. (California)

Schroeder, Mary Murphy (Arizona)

Silverman, Barry G. (Arizona)

Judge(s)

Bybee, Jay S. (Nevada)

Fernandez, Ferdinand Francis (California)

Goodwin, Alfred Theodore (California)

Graber, Susan (Oregon)

Hatter, Terry J. Jr. (California)

Kleinfeld, Andrew Jay (Alaska)

Kozinski, Alex (California)

Orrick, William Horsley Jr. (California)

Schroeder, Mary Murphy (Arizona)

Silverman, Barry G. (Arizona)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

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)

Mann, Robert Frederick (California)

Muller, James S. (California)

Patterson, Robert O. (California)

Reed, Kevin S. (California)

Rice, Constance L. (District of Columbia)

Shaw, Theodore M. (New York)

Watson, Carol A. (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Ambrose, S. Robert (California)

Bradley, Barry A. (California)

Clinton, DeWitt W. (California)

Collodel, Douglas J. (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)

Nakamura, Richard H. Jr. (California)

Olson, Robert A. (California)

Richardson, Janet Marie (California)

Shen-Urquidez, Martha A. (California)

Stroud, Zahava (California)

Wolfe, Robert S. (California)

Other Attorney(s)

Samuelson, Diana (California)

Satris, Michael H. (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

2:90-cv-05217

Docket (PACER)

Thomas v. City of Los Angeles

May 4, 2010

May 4, 2010

Docket

2:90-cv-05217

First Amended Complaint for Damages Injunctive and Declaratory Relief and Receivership

Oct. 1, 1992

Oct. 1, 1992

Complaint

91-56047

91-56048

Opinion

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

978 F.2d 504

Feb. 12, 1993

Feb. 12, 1993

Order/Opinion

2:90-cv-05217

Settlement Agreement and Mutual Release of All Claims

Jan. 31, 1996

Jan. 31, 1996

Settlement Agreement
1933

2:90-cv-05217

06-56228

Mandate [Vacating Order and Remanding Case]

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

275 Fed.Appx. 664

April 7, 2008

April 7, 2008

Order/Opinion
1953

2:90-cv-05217

Order [Denying Motion to Intervene]

Thomas v. County of Los Angeles

Feb. 11, 2009

Feb. 11, 2009

Order/Opinion
1963

2:90-cv-05217

09-55297

Mandate [Vacating Order and Remanding Case]

U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

375 Fed.Appx. 688

April 8, 2010

April 8, 2010

Order/Opinion

Resources

Docket

Last updated June 8, 2022, 3:16 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Policing

Key Dates

Filing Date: Sept. 26, 1990

Closing Date: 2010

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

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.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Non-profit NON-religious organization

Attorney Organizations:

NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: Yes

Class Action Outcome: Granted

Defendants

Los Angeles County, County

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Law-enforcement

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

42 U.S.C. § 1985

Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201

Constitutional Clause(s):

Unreasonable search and seizure

Due Process

Equal Protection

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order

Damages

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

Reproductive rights:

Fetus Identity

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

Loss or damage to property

Over/Unlawful Detention

Pattern or Practice

Racial profiling

Search policies

Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)

Discrimination-basis:

Race discrimination

Race:

Black

Race, unspecified

National Origin/Ethnicity:

Hispanic