Plaintiffs claimed they were falsely arrested during a large-scale police search in their neighborhood.
- Case Name: Cesar Otero, Fernando Quintana, Jr, Fernando Quintana Sr, Diana Rayos, Judy Quintana v. City of Los Angeles, et al.
- Court and Case Number: USDC CV 05-04248PLA
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, November 15, 2016
- Date Action was Filed: Thursday, June 02, 2005
- Type of Case: Civil Rights, False Arrest/Imprisonment
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Paul Abrams
Plaintiffs: Judy Quintana, 21, studentFernando Quintana, Sr., 44, maintenance worker
Defendants: City of Los Angeles, Eric Young, Jeffrey Bright, David Stambaugh, Officers Nagle, Levant, Tarjamo, Williams
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $50,000 plus fees back to 2004.
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 1 week.
- Jury Polls: 8-0
- Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Defense post trial and fees motion pending. Fees and costs from 2004 to date exceed $375,000.
Attorney for the Plaintiff:
The Beck Law Firm by Thomas E. Beck, Los Alamitos.
Attorney for the Defendant:
Office of the City Attorney by Surekha Pessis, Los Angeles.
Facts and Background
Facts and Background:
On June 11, 2004 LAPD officers Jeffrey Bright and Eric Young LAPD Southeast Division (Watts) spotted a stolen pickup and pursued it in a short chase. The driver crashed into parked cars and ran. The passenger hid beneath the wreck and was not noticed.
The defendant officers broadcast a foot pursuit, called in Metro Division and air support to find the suspect. A perimeter was formed. Plaintiffs Judy Quintana and Fernando Quintana, Sr. lived inside the perimeter on Anzac Street.
Plaintiff Cesar, brother Fernando Jr., Cesar's wife Diana, and friends Raul Duran, Julio Flores were gathered in their front yards as two K-9 officers passed. The officers asked them to move into the house or back yard. All complied.
Fernando Sr., at a neighbor's home, saw the officers in front of his house as his daughter Judy arrived at home. Fernando Sr. approached and asked permission to enter his own home. The officers gave permission.
There followed an encounter between plaintiffs and the LAPD officers. See plaintiffs' contentions below for their account of the encounter.
After the encounter, plaintiffs were booked for allegedly violating Cal. Penal Code section 148 – willful obstruction, delay, resistance of peace officer for refusing consent and causing delay. Cesar received medical treatment while in custody. All were bailed out. No charges were ever filed.
Plaintiffs made a complaint to LAPD. LAPD and Internal Affairs investigations yielded no results. A federal civil rights case was filed in 2005. Trial for all five plaintiffs in 2010. Defense ruling. New trial motion filed but not ruled upon until April 2016 granting relief to Fernando and Judy only.
New Magistrate (Paul Abrams) was assigned the case and held the trial November 8-15. Unanimous 8-person verdict on federal and California false arrest claims.
Plaintiffs have never been arrested before or since this incident.
Plaintiffs alleged that two hours after the collision, police received a tip to go to a yellow house on Anzac. Plaintiffs' house is not yellow. Defendant officers Young, Bright, K-9 officer Stambaugh, and four more entered plaintiffs' driveway gate and went into the back yard, shouting orders to get to the ground and put hands on heads. The officers pointed their guns at the people gathered in the back yard.
Judy and Fernando went to the kitchen door and Judy asked the officers why they were in her yard. Nobody answered. Diana demanded a warrant. Judy was shoved into Diana and Diana was handcuffed. Judy followed the officers toward the street and asked Stambaugh for a number to call to find out what's going on. Stambaugh backhanded her, knocking her to the ground.
In the 2016 trial, but not in 2010, Stambaugh claimed Judy aggressively marched into his outstretched palm and thereby battered him, constituting additional probable cause grounds for Judy's arrest. Judy ran into the house, and phoned 911 to report that a police officer had hit her. The operator told her to look for a supervisor on scene. There were four. Judy walked out to the front yard where Fernando was standing, calling for supervisors to come to the phone. No one responded. At this time Judy saw her brother Cesar being beaten up by Young, Bright, Levant and Tarjamo. Brother Fernando Jr, from inside the radio car, smashed a passenger window to pull the cops away from beating Cesar.
This was witnessed by all the officers and supervisors on scene who later claimed they arrived only after the use of force and saw nothing. A neighbor taped 17-second video clip just as the window was broken out. This video proved that all were present.
While Judy was still on the phone inside the front yard, she and her father, Fernando Sr., were approached by Sgt. Peter Corkery who asked for consent to search the house.
Judy and Fernando Sr. denied consent. K-9 officer Stambaugh announced that he does not need permission and he, the dog, Young and Bright entered to search.
Judy and Fernando were then handcuffed and removed from the front yard,across the street and told not to look back. They looked anyway and saw the officers inside the house rummaging around. They were driven from Anzac St to the command post on 109th and Wilmington, not told why or that they were being arrested. Driven to S/E Division, held there until moved to 77th St for booking at 6AM.
That plaintiff Judy battered Officer Levant when officers were in back yard and Officer Stambaugh as officers left the back yard.
That plaintiffs could not prove who arrested them and probable cause existed for their arrests for delaying investigation by refusing permission to enter.
Injuries and Other Damages
Loss of liberty and booking records.