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Van Longyear

Van Longyear – Summary Of Significant Litigation

General Municipal Tort Litigation

Hardin v. County, Sacramento Superior Court, Case No. 511 796 – Dangerous condition of public property. This was an action for severe personal injuries suffered when a CHP cadet was forced to jump off a freeway overpass to avoid being struck by an errant vehicle. $300,000 special damages, $1,000,000 demand. Defense verdict after trial.

Fort v. County, Sacramento Superior Court, Case No. 516039 – Road and signal design case, $600,000 special damages,> $1 million demand. Defense verdict after trial.

Cummings v. County, Sacramento Superior Court, Case No. 527200 – Psychiatric malpractice action in which the plaintiff was rendered a paraplegic after he jumped from a freeway overpass in an attempted suicide. $2.7 million in special damages sought. Defense verdict after trial.

Knutson v. County, Sacramento Superior Court, Case No. 537973 – Allegations of elder abuse and legal, medical and conservatorship malpractice. Coma and brain injury alleged. Defense verdict after trial.

Robinson v. County of Sacramento, Sacramento Superior Court, Case No. 532360 – Orthopedic malpractice action. $350,000 special damages claimed. Defense verdict after trial.

Richardson v. Sutter County, Sutter Superior Court, Case No. 49377 – Child molestation case versus probation officer. Defense verdict after trial.

Marsh v. City, Sacramento Superior Court, Case No. 356162 – Road design, negligent maintenance, dangerous condition of public property case. Defense verdict after trial.

Complex Environmental Litigation

Favero v. City of Sacramento, Sacramento Superior Court, Case No. 512889 -Complex contamination/leaking underground storage tank case involving a gas station leased by the City during the 1970s to refuel police vehicles. One of the first leaking underground storage tank cases to be tried in California. Defense verdict after trial. Obtained insurance coverage from the City’s prior carriers for all costs of defense, including expert fees and costs.

Inverse Condemnation: Flood Litigation

Kelly v. County and State, Sacramento County Superior Court, Case No. 351901 -Inverse condemnation litigation involving flooding and land subsidence. Issues presented included the design, construction and maintenance of the American River Levee System, American River Pumping Plant Number Two and the design and construction of local storm drainage facilities. Defense verdict after trial.

Civil Rights/Employment Litigation

Sears v. County of Sacramento, United States District Court Eastern District of California, Case No. CIV-S-91 973 LKK-GGH- Americans with Disabilities Act failure to accommodate/retaliation arising out of multiple mental and physical disabilities. Defense verdict after trial.

Williams, J. v. Gomez, et al., United States District Court Eastern District of California , Case No. CIV S-93-0797 FCD JFM P – Civil rights claim brought by California Department of Corrections inmate claiming Eighth Amendment violations for near traumatic amputation of finger in food/cuff port door. Defense verdict after trial.

McGee v. Wilson, et al., United States District Court Eastern District of California, Case No. S-98-1026 FCD PAN PS – Civil rights action for breach of Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment rights involving various arrests by Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department deputies. The case was bifurcated into two separate trials. The first jury trial resolved by FRCP 50, motion to dismiss. The second jury trial resolved by defense verdict.

Drake v. County of Sacramento, et al., Sacramento County Superior Court, Case No. 01AS01882 – Civil rights action for breach of Fourth Amendment rights involving wrongful death of a 19 year old boy shot and killed by Sacramento Sheriff’s Deputy in the line of duty. Three week jury trial resolved by unanimous defense verdict.

Tucker v. Maddox, et al., United States District Court Eastern District of California, Case No. CIV. S-97-1144 LKK PAN P – Civil rights action for breach of Eighth Amendment. Prisoner sought damages for deliberate indifference of serious medical needs. Unanimous jury verdict in favor of all defendants.

Brown v. County of Sacramento, et al., Sacramento County Superior Court, Case No. 02AS04069 – Civil damage action brought by prisoner of the Sacramento County Jail claiming that his rights were violated by the failure to summon and/or provide adequate medical care for appendicitis. One week jury trial result by unanimous defense verdict.

Roberson v. California Department of Corrections, et al., United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Case No. CIV. S-03-0645 JFM P, before the Honorable John F. Moulds – Civil Rights action pertaining to 8th and 14th Amendments. Prisoner claimed defendant correctional officers violated his constitutional rights by requiring him to work with caustic chemicals which caused second degree burns on arms. Plaintiff contended that defendants were deliberately indifferent to his rights to health and safety by requiring him to continue using chemicals after the plaintiff complained of and defendants recognized chemical burns caused by the chemicals. Case tried to a jury of eight who returned a unanimous verdict in favor of defendants and against plaintiff.

Miller v. County of Sacramento, Sacramento Superior Court, Case No. 02AS02035. Case tried May 4 – 18, 2006 [11 trial days] to mistrial (8-4 in favor of defense on first question of County negligence). Plaintiff was a 37 year-old CSU Sacramento police officer who alleged a career ending right shoulder injury in a bike officer training course taught by three Sacramento Sheriffs Department Deputies at the Sheriffs Academy in June of 2001. The plaintiffs’ wife sought damages for lost consortium. Plaintiff presented economic losses of $700,000 to $900,000 and asked for $1.4 to $3.6 million. Plaintiffs alleged that the instructors negligently released the back brake cable to accommodate a bent rear wheel that had been damaged by another rider while riding on an equestrian trail along the banks of the American River. The plaintiff alleged that he was injured when he rode down a steep hill with only his front brakes. When he used the brakes he was thrown over the handlebars jamming his arm and shoulder. Experts: Mike Stephenson (bike expert), Robert Mistretta, CPA, John Schaeffer M.D. (ortho), John Champlin, M.D. (Family practice). Miller v County was re-tried from May 7, 2007 to May 17, 2007. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defense and against the plaintiffs.

Truong v County of Sacramento, et al, United States District Court Eastern District of California, Case no. 2:10-CV-00506-MCE, before the Honorable Otis Wright II—Civil rights action for wrongful death of Giat Truong who was shot and killed by Sacramento Sheriff Department Jon Zwolinski.  Plaintiffs included the decedent’s mother, Lieu Truong, and surviving siblings.  The plaintiffs brought the action to recover damages on behalf of the estate of Giat Truong for violation of his Fourth Amendment rights and plaintiffs sought recovery for damages for the loss of their relationship pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment and state law negligence claims.  The case was tried to a jury of eight from December 7, 2015 through December 19, 2015.  The plaintiffs called multiple eye witnesses who testified that the decedent was mentally ill and was just standing and yelling at the sergeant when he was shot three times and killed the decedent for no reason.  Other eye witnesses called by the defense supported the sergeant’s version of events and persuaded the jury that the sergeant used all available alternatives to stop a vicious, unprovoked physical assault and only resorted to deadly force when the decedent snatched the sergeant’s baton and advanced on the sergeant with the baton, posed to strike.  Expert witnesses included Joe Callanan called as a police practice and training expert.  On the third day of deliberations, the jury returned a unanimous verdict for the sergeant and the County and against the plaintiff on all claims. http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article51106135.html

Ramirez v County, Sacramento Superior Court No. 34-2009-00058424 before the Honorable Shelleyanne W.L. Chang—Wrongful Death action for the death of 21 year-old man who was brutally murdered by his cellmate while a prisoner of the Sacramento County jail.  The action was brought by the decedent’s mother against the County of Sacramento and various deputies of the Sacramento County Sheriff Department.  The plaintiff contended that deputies were negligent in failing to protect the decedent, in housing him with the assailant, and failing to respond appropriately when help was requested.  The case was tried to a jury on February 10, 2015 through March 2, 2015.  The jury returned a verdict for the defendants and against the plaintiff on all causes of action.

Zachary v County of Sacramento, United States District Court Eastern District of California, Case No. 2:06-CV-01652-MCE-PAN before the Honorable Morrison England—Civil Rights—Wrongful Death claim.  Plaintiffs were the surviving family members of Dwaine Zachary who died after a prolonged struggle with Sheriffs deputies.  After multiple Taser applications and the use of batons and maximum physical restraints, the decedent suffered a sudden cardiac death.  The plaintiffs argued that the defendants used excessive force in restraining the decedent and that death was caused by a combination of positional and restraint asphyxia.  The defendants proved that the decedent was suffering from Excited Delirium most likely brought on by a three-day cocaine binge and that the death was not caused by the conduct of the defendant deputies or the policies or practices of the County of Sacramento.  The case was tried to a jury from November 15, 2010 to December 16, 2010. The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defendants on all claims and against the plaintiffs.  Expert witnesses included Judith Melinek, M.D. (forensic pathologist), Mark A super, M.D. (forensic pathologist), Stephany Fiore, M.D. (forensic pathologist), Roger Clark (police procedure consultant), Charles Wetli, M.D. (forensic pathologist), Joe Callanan (police practices and training), Thomas S. Neuman, M.D., FACP, FACPM (Board Certified in Emergency Medicine, Pulmonology, and Bariatric Medicine).

Hendon v Baroya, et al., United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Fresno Division, Case no. 1:05-CV-01247 SAB-PC–Civil Rights action brought by California Department of Corrections inmate claiming violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. The court granted summary judgment and entered a judgment in favor of the defendant finding that the plaintiff had failed to exhaust administrative remedies pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act.

Ivory v Miranda, et al., United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Case no. 2:12-cv-2902 WBS AC P– Civil Rights action claiming violation of his Eighth Amendment rights and rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The court granted summary judgment and entered judgment in favor of the defendant finding that the plaintiff had failed to exhaust administrative remedies pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act.

Green v County of Sacramento, et al., United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, Case no. 2:13-cv-00949 TLN KJN– Civil rights claim for wrongful death of Jacob Moses Green. Plaintiff alleges deputies unlawfully stopped the vehicle speeding from the scene of the crime known to contain the intruder. The Court granted defendants’ motion for summary judgment finding that the officers were reasonable in performing a felony vehicle stop of the fleeing car containing the suspect and other unknown occupants.  http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/crime/article57823743.html

General Negligence Actions

Various cases tried in state court for premises liability, automobile negligence, property disputes, products liability and professional negligence.

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