Police captain has higher aspirations, claims retaliation when not promoted further. Defense verdict. Los Angeles County.


Police captain serves as hearing officer for officers accused of misconduct. He refuses to terminate several accused officers; says that is why he has not been further promoted.

The Case

  • Case Name: Byford (Peter) Whittingham v. City of Los Angeles, LAPD
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC 542 732
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, April 28, 2016
  • Date Action was Filed: Monday, April 14, 2014
  • Type of Case: Employment, Labor Code Violation
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Daniel Murphy
  • Plaintiffs:
    Peter Whittingham, 59
  • Defendants:
    City of Los Angeles
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: Defense verdict.
  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 11 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 8 hours
  • Jury Polls: 12-0, 11-1, 10-2
  • Post Trial Motions & Post-Verdict Settlements: Mmotion for new trial based upon attorney misconduct, verdict against the law, etc. was heard and denied.

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    Robert Stanford Brown, APC by Robert Stanford Brown, Los Angeles.

    Law Offices of Gregory W Smith by Gregory W Smith, Beverly Hills.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Los Angeles City Attorney Office by Douglas Lyon, Jenna Galas and Wayne Song, Los Angeles.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Captain Peter Whittingham is a Captain 2 with LAPD and has been on the force for 28 years. Captain Whittingham has been an administrative hearing officer on Boards of Rights for various officers during his tenure.

    On at least one occasion, Captain Whittingham declined to terminate an officer accused of serious misconduct because he believed the allegations were time-barred. On other occasions, Captain Whittingham alleges he has complained about racial bias within the department. Captain Whittingham alleges he has been passed over for Captain 3 on multiple occasions because of his activism.

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Captain Peter Whittingham alleged that within the last five years he has been passed over for Captain 3, on at least six occasions because he refused to unlawfully terminate police officers accused of misconduct, and because he accused another captain of racial bias in decisionmaking.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That plaintiff has promoted his way to the top 1% of all LAPD members, and there is no conspiracy in his non-selection for Captain 3. Instead, the Chief of Police meets with his advisors and they determine which of the many captains will best fit the latest opportunity for a Captain 3 upgrade.

Injuries and Other Damages

  • Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:

    Plaintiff claimed he lost $400,000+ over the last five years and moving forward in his non-selection to the Captain 3 spot. Plaintiff also claimed $3 million to $5 million in emotional distress damages.

Special Damages

  • Special Damages Claimed - Past Lost Earnings: $200,000
  • Special Damages Claimed - Future Lost Earnings: $200,000+