Andrew C. Pongracz and Ashlee P. Clark, served as counsel for two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies named as defendants in a U.S. District Court case. Represented by a multinational firm, Plaintiff brought two causes of action pursuant to §42 USC 1983: Use of Excessive Force in Violation of the Fourth Amendment and Substantive Due Process Violation under the Fourteenth Amendment. Defendants conducted a lawful traffic stop of Plaintiff. Plaintiff and one of the deputies had a physical altercation after Plaintiff assaulted the deputy and resisted arrest. Following Plaintiff’s arrest, a parole compliance search of his home found a firearm, ammunition, a digital scale and marijuana. Plaintiff was charged with several criminal crimes and incarcerated. The criminal charges were later dropped.
The issues related to Plaintiff’s claims were streamlined prior to litigation, allowing for trial to last only two days. Despite Plaintiff’s attempt to attribute ear injuries to the force claims, which was supported by expert testimony, a unanimous jury verdict ruled that the force was not unreasonable and the deputies did not fabricate the contraband found in Plaintiff’s home in order to arrest and incarcerate Plaintiff unlawfully.
Gilbert M. Nishimura and Kari C. Kadomatsu defended two deputies in a U.S. District Court case involving allegations of Unreasonable Seizure in violation of Plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment Rights. The Defendant Deputies stopped and pulled over Plaintiff for a traffic violation. As the deputies approached the vehicle, Plaintiff announced that he was an open carry advocate and that he had put his gun down while pointing toward the floor of the car. He admitted that he removed his unloaded firearm from his right hip holster and placed it on the transmission hump located on the floor of the vehicle. Plaintiff claimed that he placed the firearm on the transmission hump, rather than the dashboard, in order to place it in “plain view” of the deputies. Unable to see the firearm, the deputies conducted a search of Plaintiff and the vehicle which ultimately led to the gun being found “under” the front driver’s seat. Plaintiff was subsequently arrested for carrying a concealed weapon and incarcerated for five days, despite being given an OR release. Plaintiff claimed that his arrest was unlawful and lacked probable cause.
During three days of trial, Mr. Gilbert M. Nishimura and Ms. Kari C. Kadomatsu overcame emotional testimony from the Plaintiff and his family and rebutted claims of incompetence and ignorance of open carry laws by the deputies. With the assistance of expert testimony regarding law enforcement practices, SNW successfully defended the defendant deputies and was able to receive a unanimous verdict finding that the arrest of Plaintiff was reasonable.