Altercation with LA traffic enforcement officer leads to claim of false arrest. Defense verdict. Los Angeles County.


Accounts differ between witnesses when traffic officer and plaintiff get into a scuffle over a parking ticket.

The Case

  • Case Name: Jillian Duffy v. City of Los Angeles
  • Court and Case Number: Los Angeles Superior Court / BC675781
  • Date of Verdict or Judgment: Thursday, December 15, 2022
  • Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, September 13, 2017
  • Type of Case: Assault and Battery, False Arrest/Imprisonment
  • Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Douglas W. Stern
  • Plaintiffs:
    Jillian Duffy
  • Defendants:
    City of Los Angeles
  • Type of Result: Jury Verdict

The Result

  • Gross Verdict or Award: Defense verdict
  • Trial or Arbitration Time: 9 days
  • Jury Deliberation Time: 2 1/2 hours
  • Jury Polls: 12-0

The Attorneys

  • Attorney for the Plaintiff:

    V. James DeSimone Law by V. James DeSimone, Marina del Rey.

    Bohm Law Group by Ryann Hall, Marina del Rey.

  • Attorney for the Defendant:

    Burke, Williams & Sorensen, LLP by Elisabeth A. Frater and Lisa Lee, Los Angeles.

Facts and Background

  • Facts and Background:

    Plaintiff female was parking in the city of Los Angeles at a parking meter.  A traffic officer cited her for an expired meter. 

  • Plaintiff's Contentions:

    Plaintiff claimed that the female traffic officer responded rudely and with anger when plaintiff asked the traffic officer to hand her the parking citation for an expired meter. Plaintiff claimed that the traffic officer taunted plaintiff, shoved her, stepped on her toe, wrongfully restrained her, and hit her repeatedly on the back of the head with a handheld ticket machine. When the two were separated, the traffic officer made a citizen’s arrest.

    Plaintiff brought this civil action for injuries, economic losses and emotional distress, claiming she was physically attacked and beaten by a Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) non-sworn traffic enforcement officer.

    Plaintiff’s evidence consisted of testimony from plaintiff and two civilian witnesses. The two witnesses saw only parts of the physical scuffle and concluded that the traffic officer was the aggressor.

  • Defendant's Contentions:

    That there were inconsistencies in the eye witness testimony, as demonstrated with videos and prior testimony. Defense elicited favorable evidence from a police witness and the traffic officer to establish that the traffic officer had acted in self-defense and that the citizen’s arrest was justified.

    Further, that plaintiff started the physical confrontation when she punched the traffic officer in the eye without provocation, and that the traffic officer’s act of hitting her once with the handheld machine was an instinctive reaction to being punched.

    The defense contended that the plaintiff’s wrongful battery of the traffic officer set the scuffle in motion, that her act of grabbing the traffic officer’s shirt collar led to them falling into bushes, and that the traffic officer’s multiple strikes against plaintiff in the bushes were justified by self-defense.

Demands and Offers

  • Plaintiff Final Demand before Trial: $750,000