$8.75 million verdict in L.A. Sheriff excessive force/wrongful death case. Los Angeles County.


Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies, in an unmarked car, pursued plaintiffs' decedent as a DUI/robbery suspect. When decedent's car crashed, he was surrounded by multiple sheriff's cars. Decedent backed his vehicle into a sheriff's car and deputies opened fire, killing him.

The Case

  • Case Name: Montalvo v. County of Los Angeles
  • Court and Case Number: LASC, South Central District, Compton/ TC023708
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, November 20, 2012
  • Date Action was Filed: Friday, November 06, 2009
  • Type of Case: Civil Rights, Excessive Force, Police Shooting, Wrongful Death
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Lynn Olson
  • Plaintiffs:
    Annette Montalvo
    Child #1
    Child #2
  • Defendants:
    County of Los Angeles
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: $8,756,600
  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 5 weeks
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 3 days
  • Jury Polls: 10-2

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    Taylor & Ring by John C. Taylor and Louanne Masry, Los Angeles.
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Harold G. Becks & Associates by Harold G. Becks, Los Angeles.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff's Technical Experts:
    Roger Clark, police policy, practice and procedure, Santee.
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    Clarence Chapman, police policy,practice and procedure, Santa Monica.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    On April 26, 2009, plaintiffs' decedent, Alfredo Montalvo, age 29, a forklift operator and private security guard, was shot and killed by nine Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies in Lynwood. Montalvo is survived by his wife and 2 young children, ages 4 and 7.

    Two deputies in an unmarked vehicle attempted to pull over Montalvo who they believed was driving drunk or fleeing from a robbery. After a short pursuit, Montalvo's vehicle crashed and was trapped between two parked cars. Twelve sheriff's vehicles and 16 deputies surrounded Montalvo's car.  Montalvo backed his vehicle into a sheriff's car and, upon impact, deputies opened fire. Nine deputies fired 61 rounds at Montalvo. Montalvo was unarmed.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That as the unarmed decedent was attempting to comply with the commands of the deputies to get out of his car, which was trapped between two parked cars, he backed his car up and impacted the unmarked sheriff's vehicle parked a few feet behind.

    The coroner testified that a gunshot wound to Montalvo's left arm/head indicated that his arm was most likely raised when he was shot.

    Plaintiffs contended that the deputies used excessive force and violated Montalvo's civil rights.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    Defendant's deputies claimed the amount of force used was justified.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Economic and non-economic wrongful death damages.

Additional Notes

Result: Verdict for Mrs. Montalvo: $2,756,000 Verdict for Child #1: $3,000,300 Verdict for Child #2: $3,000,300 Total Verdict: $8,756,600 The jury also made a finding that Montalvo's civil rights had been violated.

Information on settlement demands and offers could not be published due to a confidentiality agreement.