Defense verdict when police officer sues city for retaliation. San Diego County.


Police officer claims retaliation when he is disciplined. City says discipline was reasonable and justified.

The Case

  • Case Name: Aaron Miller v. City of Oceanside
  • Court and Case Number: San Diego Superior Court / 37-2011-00090665
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Monday, September 15, 2014
  • Date Action was Filed: Tuesday, May 03, 2011
  • Type of Case: Employment
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Richard E.L. Strauss
  • Plaintiffs:
    Aaron Miller
  • Defendants:
    City of Oceanside
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: 0
  • Net Verdict or Award: 0
  • Award as to each Defendant:

    Defense Verdict

  • Economic Damages:


  • Non-Economic Damages:


  • Punitive Damages:

    Not Applicable to public agency.

  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 4 weeks
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 7 hours
  • Jury Polls: 10-2 in favor of defendant on all 3 causes of action

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:
    The Gilleon Law Firm by Daniel M. Gilleon and James Mitchell, San Diego.
    Law Office of Charles Moore by Charles Moore.
  • Attorney for the Defendant:
    Meyers Fozi, LLP by Neal S. Meyers and Golnar Fozi, Carlsbad.

The Experts

  • Plaintiff’s Medical Experts:
    Jonathan Schleimer, M.D., neurology, La Jolla.
    Dominick Addario, M.D., psychiatry, San Diego.
    Heather H. Xitco, MBA, CPA, economics, San Diego.
  • Defendant's Medical Experts:
    Christy M. Jackson, M.D., neurology, La Jolla.
    Matthew F. Carroll M.D., psychology, San Diego.
    Gregory A. Kaseno, CPA, economics, San Diego.
  • Defendant's Technical Experts:
    David H. Hinig, law enforcement management.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff is employed by defendant City of Oceanside as a police officer. Plaintiff sued the City claiming the discipline imposed on him in March 2011 was in retaliation for his complaint to the City about a race/national origin comment based upon his ancestry allegedly made by another police officer, his superior.

    The discipline plaintiff received was being transferred from an investigations unit to a patrol unit and a four-day unpaid suspension.

    Plaintiff also alleged that after he complained about this retaliation, the City further retaliated against him when he applied for, but did not receive, a transfer back to the investigations unit. He claimed loss of salary, physical injury and emotional distress.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    That plaintiff was disciplined, and later not transferred as requested, in retaliation for complaining about one of his superiors, because he was a whistleblower and because he had filed this lawsuit. Plaintiff claimed lost income and emotional distress damages.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    The City asserted the discipline was properly imposed on plaintiff for his failing to report the misconduct of his partner in violation of police department policy. The City further asserted the decision about which police officers to transfer to the investigations unit was proper. The City contended that plaintiff suffered no loss of salary and denied the discipline caused him any physical injury or emotional distress.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Emotional Distress.

  • Lost income.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $52,553
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $126,255

Additional Notes

Plaintiff requested the jury award plaintiff at least $300,000 in general damages. In addition, if plaintiff prevailed, attorneys fees would likely have been awarded.