Los Angeles Federal Judge Gives July 16 Trial a Greenlight Against Former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and the City of Los Angeles

Posted By V. James DeSimone Law || 10-July-2019

Daniel Garza Exhibit 4 Photo
Daniel Garza Exhibit 4 Photo

July 10, 2019 – Los Angeles, CA – A Los Angeles Federal Judge issued a major ruling allowing a jury trial in a civil lawsuit to proceed against former Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck involving allegations of police misconduct. As a result of the ruling, the trial will begin Tuesday, July 16 in Los Angeles Federal Court.

Attorneys are pursuing Police Chief Charlie Beck and the Los Angeles Police Department alleging they can be held liable for the actions of an officer who used excessive force and acted with malice according to a previous Los Angeles Federal Court Jury. Remarkably, within weeks of a trial in which even the Los Angeles City Attorney had to concede to the jury that the Officer acted with malice, Chief Beck promoted Officer Mario Cardona to Sergeant.

In 2017, a jury ruled in favor of Daniel Garza in a civil lawsuit and found the Officer Mario Cardona used excessive force in an off-duty attack on Daniel during which he asserted his police authority. Officer Cardona punched Daniel repeatedly in the face, head and torso, and forced him to the ground; video showed Cardona using a pain compliance wrist-lock to cause even further pain when Daniel was handcuffed, not resisting and prone on the ground. A jury awarded Daniel $210,000 and Judge Wilson approved another $663,000 in attorney’s fees. Judge Wilson initially ruled that only Cardona would be held liable and dropped Beck and the LAPD from the suit. The City refused to indemnify the Officer and he filed for bankruptcy.

Yesterday, Judge Wilson concluded “as a matter of law that former Chief Beck was the final policymaker with respect to the particular issues in this case” and that Mr. Garza could seek damages for the harm he suffered when Chief Beck sent him a letter informing him that the investigation showed Cardona’s conduct to be “lawful, justified and proper” and then learning Cardona was promoted within weeks of the verdict.

“We are gratified by the ruling that the City of Los Angeles can be held liable for the harm it inflicted to my client when Chief Beck approved of the Officer’s outrageous conduct,” said attorney V. James DeSimone.

In April of this year, Hon. Stephen V. Wilson granted a plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration of the court’s prior summary judgment order on a Monell ruling. Mr. DeSimone requested that the Court vacate the judgment entered in favor of the City of Los Angeles and Chief Beck and that Daniel Garza be permitted to proceed to trial against the City of Los Angeles and Chief Beck for ratification of Mario Cardona’s unconstitutional conduct and Judge Wilson agreed.

However, V. James DeSimone, Garza’s attorney, proved that just weeks after the L.A. City Attorney stated Cardona acted with malice and the jury came back with a six-figure verdict, then-Chief Beck promoted Cardona to Sergeant. This promotion, Mr. DeSimone argues, should be grounds to hold both the former police chief and the City of Los Angeles responsible for Cardona’s actions. A new Federal Court jury will decide this issue.

The case is Daniel Garza v. City of Los Angeles, Mario Cardona, Charlie Beck, United States District Court, Case No. 2:16-CV-03579-SVW-AFM. Daniel Garza is represented by V. James DeSimone, co-counsel Kaveh Navab of Navab Law and Ryann Hall of Bohm Law Group.

About V. James DeSimone Law

At V. James DeSimone Law, our Los Angeles employment law and civil rights attorneys are committed to justice. For over 30 years, we have been focused on representing individuals whose employee or civil rights have been violated. We believe no one should be a victim of such mistreatment, and passionately fight for the individuals who have been. Our team prides itself on being the tenacious advocates these individuals can rely on to pursue justice on their behalf. For more information, go to www.vjamesdesimonelaw.com.

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Categories: Civil Rights