Retaliation against deputy trainee who reported illegal stops and arrests. $8.1M. Los Angeles County.
LA County Sheriffs Department captain retaliates against deputy who reported misconduct.
- Case Name: Andrew Rodriguez v. County of Los Angeles
- Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC680213
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Friday, October 04, 2019
- Date Action was Filed: Thursday, October 19, 2017
- Type of Action: Employment, Whistleblower
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Susan Bryant-Deason
- Plaintiffs: Andrew Rodriguez, 37.
- Defendants: County of Los Angeles (Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department)
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $8,155,000
- Economic Damages:
Past economic loss: $285,000
Future economic loss: $1,330,000
- Non-Economic Damages:
- Punitive Damages:
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 18 Days.
- Jury Deliberation Time: 1 day + 1 hour
- Jury Polls: Unanimous as to all legal questions and economic damages. 11-1 on non-economic damages only.
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Romero Law, APC by Alan Romero, Pasadena.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
Collins Collins et al LLP by Tom Guterres and Christian Foy Nagy, South Pasadena.
- Plaintiff's Technical Expert(s):
- Defendant's Technical Expert(s):
Johnny G. Jurado, law enforcement use of force/police practices, Huntington Beach.
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
Plaintiff was a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy trainee at City of Industry Station who reported illegal stops and arrests to the Industry Station captain.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
That the Industry Station captain, now Undersheriff Tim Murakami, refused to investigate the deputies alleged to have engaged in misconduct, and instead began a campaign of retaliation and harassment against Deputy Rodriguez, in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act. Plaintiff brought an action alleging: (1) FEHA Retaliation; and (2) FEHA Harassment. Under Murakami, Industry Station initiated three Internal Affairs investigations against Deputy Rodriguez, and forged documents alleging that Deputy Rodriguez threatened to murder a suspect.
- Defendant's Contentions:
The County of Los Angeles denied all wrongdoing, and alleged that all investigations into Deputy Rodriguez were non-retaliatory and within policy.
Injuries and Other Damages
- Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Plaintiff suffered from hypertension and gastrointestinal complications which later resulted in GI surgery.
Plaintiff sought three years of past lost salary, and 28 years of 50% salary to compensate plaintiff for having to make a career change.
- Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $285,000
- Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $1,330,000
Demands and Offers
- Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: MSC demand of $1,400,000
- Defendant §998 Offer: $15,000
- Defendant Final Offer before Trial: Counter-offer of $25,000 at MSC.
- Defendant Offer during Trial: $40,000