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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/11/2019 at 12:08:21 (UTC).

ABBIE GRAY VS CITY OF LOS ANGELES ET AL

Case Summary

On 12/15/2017 ABBIE GRAY filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against CITY OF LOS ANGELES. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is LAURA A. SEIGLE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6939

  • Filing Date:

    12/15/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

LAURA A. SEIGLE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

GRAY ABBIE

Defendants and Respondents

LOS ANGELES CITY OF

LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT

DOES 1 TO 50

CITY OF LOS ANGELES

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

LUNDY ALBRO L. III ESQ.

BOJORQUEZ CHRISTIAN RICHARD

 

Court Documents

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

6/8/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

DEFENDANT CITY OF LOS ANGELES' ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT; ETC

6/28/2018: DEFENDANT CITY OF LOS ANGELES' ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT; ETC

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

7/11/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

Stipulation

5/6/2019: Stipulation

Minute Order

5/10/2019: Minute Order

Ex Parte Application

5/10/2019: Ex Parte Application

Notice of Ruling

5/13/2019: Notice of Ruling

Motion re:

5/13/2019: Motion re:

SUMMONS

12/15/2017: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE (CAL. GOVT. CODE 815.2(A), 820(A)) ;ETC

12/15/2017: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE (CAL. GOVT. CODE 815.2(A), 820(A)) ;ETC

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/31/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Party's Motion

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  • 05/13/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by ABBIE GRAY (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/13/2019
  • Motion re: (Plaintiff's Notice of Motion and Motion for Pretrial Discovery [Pitchess Motion]); Filed by ABBIE GRAY (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/10/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (for trial continuance pursuant to stipulation) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 05/10/2019
  • Ex Parte Application (Plaintiff's Ex Parte Application for Trial Continuance); Filed by ABBIE GRAY (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/10/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for trial continuance pursuan...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/06/2019
  • Stipulation - No Order (Plaintiff's Ex Parte Application for Trial Continuance); Filed by ABBIE GRAY (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/11/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by ABBIE GRAY (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/11/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 06/28/2018
  • DEFENDANT CITY OF LOS ANGELES' ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT; ETC

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  • 06/28/2018
  • Answer

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  • 06/08/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons

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  • 06/08/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 12/15/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 12/15/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE (CAL. GOVT. CODE 815.2(A), 820(A)) ;ETC

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  • 12/15/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by ABBIE GRAY (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC686939    Hearing Date: February 10, 2021    Dept: M

CASE NAME: Abbie Gray v. City of Los Angeles, et al.

CASE NO.: BC686939

MOTION: Motion for Discovery of Peace Officer Personnel Records (Pitchess Motion)

HEARING DATE: 2/10/2021

DISCOVERY DISPUTE

Plaintiff Abbie Gray filed a motion seeking 14 categories of documents related the investigation into the officer-involved shooting that occurred on November 4, 2016 on the Boardwalk in Venice, CA.

Legal Standard

“In any case in which discovery or disclosure is sought of peace or custodial officer personnel records or records maintained pursuant to Section 832.5 of the Penal Code or information from those records, the party seeking the discovery or disclosure shall file a written motion with the appropriate court or administrative body upon written notice to the governmental agency that has custody and control of the records, as follows: (1) In a civil action, the written notice shall be given at the times prescribed by subdivision (b) of Section 1005 of the Code of Civil Procedure.” (Evid. Code, § 1043(a)(1) [emphasis added].) The motion shall include all of the following:

(1) Identification of the proceeding in which discovery or disclosure is sought, the party seeking discovery or disclosure, the peace or custodial officer whose records are sought, the governmental agency that has custody and control of the records, and the time and place at which the motion for discovery or disclosure shall be heard.

(2) A description of the type of records or information sought.

(3) Affidavits showing good cause for the discovery or disclosure sought, setting forth the materiality thereof to the subject matter involved in the pending litigation and stating upon reasonable belief that the governmental agency identified has the records or information from the records.

(Evid. Code, § 1043(b) [emphasis added].) “The function of the ‘good cause’ requirement at this stage of the Pitchess process is not to determine whether documents will be disclosed to the movant; it is to determine whether information will be reviewed in camera. Accordingly, the burden imposed by the requirement ‘is not high.’ [citations omitted.]” (Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. Superior Court (2019) 8 Cal.5th 28, 42.)

Analysis

Plaintiff argues that the records sought are not confidential. Plaintiff cites Penal Code section 832.7(b)(1)(A). Defendant argues that Plaintiff has not met the threshold for in camera review of the records, specifically the specific factual scenario required before review.

“Notwithstanding subdivision (a), subdivision (f) of Section 6254 of the Government Code, or any other law,  shall be made available for public inspection pursuant to the California Public Records Act (Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 6250) of Division 7 of Title 1 of the Government Code): (A) A record relating to the report, investigation, or findings of any of the following: (i) An incident involving the discharge of a firearm at a person by a peace officer or custodial officer.” (Pen. Code, § 832.7(b)(1)(A)(i).) This also includes, “An incident in which the use of force by a peace officer or custodial officer against a person resulted in death, or in great bodily injury.” (Pen. Code, § 832.7(b)(1)(A)(ii).)

Here, subdivision (g) provides that “This section [(California Penal Code § 832.7)]does not affect the discovery or disclosure of information contained in a peace or custodial officer's personnel file pursuant to Section 1043 of the Evidence Code.” (Pen. Code, § 832.7(g).) The provisions cited by Plaintiff are applicable for requests made under the California Public Records Act and not for discovery. Plaintiff’s contention that the records sought are not confidential is without merit.

Whether Plaintiff has shown good cause for the discovery or disclosure sought

Plaintiff argues that she has shown good cause for the discovery sought.

Good cause for discovery exists when the defendant [or civil plaintiff] shows both “ ‘materiality’ to the subject matter of the pending litigation and a ‘reasonable belief’ that the agency has the type of information sought.” (City of Santa Cruz v. Municipal Court Santa Cruz Ibid.)

(Warrick v. Superior Court (Warrick v. Superior Court (2005) 35 Cal.4th 1011, 1016.) Plaintiff filed a complaint against the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department and Does 1 -50 for negligence under Government Code section 815.2(a) and 820(a), battery, and negligent hiring, training, and supervision. (See 12/15/2017 Compl.) Plaintiff alleged on information and belief that on November 4, 2016, “Defendants' officers approached a group of individuals with a dog who had their personal belongings blocking the bicycle path on the Venice Beach boardwalk. At some point during this confrontation, for reasons not currently known to Plaintiff, one of the officers discharged his state-issued firearm at the dog that was with that group of individuals.” (Compl. ¶ 7.) “At the time that the shot was fired, Plaintiff was riding her bicycle down the Venice Beach boardwalk bicycle path very close to the location of the officer-involved shooting” (Id. ¶ 8.). Plaintiff also alleges “On November 4,2016, Defendants' officer intentionally discharged his weapon while Plaintiff was in his direct line of sight and in close proximity to the officer's intended target.” (Compl. ¶ 21.)

In their request, Plaintiff disputes Officer Scott’s version of the events that led to the shooting of Plaintiff. “Officer Scott maintains that he discharged his weapon at the dog because it had latched onto his forearm, thus justifying his decision to use deadly force in a crowded public area.” (Koch Decl. ¶ 7.) Plaintiff contends that “the officers acted in a negligent and reckless manner because the dog did not actually pose an immediate threat to anybody prior to being shot, and even if it did, Officer Scott’s decision to use deadly force in such a reckless manner while surrounded by pedestrians on a crowded public sidewalk was unnecessary, against proper training and procedures, and negligent.” (Koch Decl. ¶ 7.). Plaintiff also provided evidence in the form of excerpts of the Jared Lee Smith deposition that the dog did not bite the officer, the dog was barking, and that the dog was 10 – 15 feet away from the officer. (See Ex. 5. Jared Lee Smith Depo. 18:4-19:4.). The Court is satisfied that Plaintiff has provided a plausible factual foundation for the discovery sought, i.e. that it is plausible that the officer was not actually bitten by the dog and that the justification offered for the discharge of the firearm was fabricated. The Court will also keep in mind that Plaintiff conceded on reply that certain aspects of the Officers' personnel files are likely not relevant to this action, such as the officers' election of benefits, medical history for issues unrelated to the alleged arm injury sustained by Officer Scott during the subject incident, or personal information about the officers' family members.

The Court finds that Plaintiff has established good cause for an in camera review as to the requested documents. With respect to Officer Scott’s personnel file, the Court concludes that the following categories of evidence would be relevant: (1) falsification/fabrication of police reports or evidence; and (2) use of force/excessive force. The Court will discuss with counsel the logistics for the in camera review, but the review may occur via zoom with a court hearing immediately thereafter. Counsel for Defendant is to provide the Court a zoom link and is also to obtain a court reporter for the in camera review. The Custodian of Records is to lodge the responsive documents ___ days prior to the zoom in camera hearing.

Case Number: BC686939    Hearing Date: December 10, 2020    Dept: M

CASE NAME: Abbie Gray v. City of Los Angeles, et al.

CASE NO.: BC686939

MOTION: Motion for Discovery of Peace Officer Personnel Records (Pitchess Motion)

HEARING DATE: 12/10/2020

DISCOVERY DISPUTE

Plaintiff Abbie Gray filed a motion seeking 14 categories of documents related the investigation into the officer-involved shooting that occurred on November 4, 2016 on the Boardwalk in Venice, CA.

Legal Standard

“In any case in which discovery or disclosure is sought of peace or custodial officer personnel records or records maintained pursuant to Section 832.5 of the Penal Code or information from those records, the party seeking the discovery or disclosure shall file a written motion with the appropriate court or administrative body upon written notice to the governmental agency that has custody and control of the records, as follows: (1) In a civil action, the written notice shall be given at the times prescribed by subdivision (b) of Section 1005 of the Code of Civil Procedure.” (Evid. Code, § 1043(a)(1) [emphasis added].) The motion shall include all of the following:

(1) Identification of the proceeding in which discovery or disclosure is sought, the party seeking discovery or disclosure, the peace or custodial officer whose records are sought, the governmental agency that has custody and control of the records, and the time and place at which the motion for discovery or disclosure shall be heard.

(2) A description of the type of records or information sought.

(3) Affidavits showing good cause for the discovery or disclosure sought, setting forth the materiality thereof to the subject matter involved in the pending litigation and stating upon reasonable belief that the governmental agency identified has the records or information from the records.

(Evid. Code, § 1043(b) [emphasis added].) “The function of the ‘good cause’ requirement at this stage of the Pitchess process is not to determine whether documents will be disclosed to the movant; it is to determine whether information will be reviewed in camera. Accordingly, the burden imposed by the requirement ‘is not high.’ [citations omitted.]” (Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. Superior Court (2019) 8 Cal.5th 28, 42.)

Analysis

Plaintiff argues that the records sought are not confidential. Plaintiff cites Penal Code section 832.7(b)(1)(A). Defendant argues that the motion should be denied because Plaintiff has failed to meet the procedural requirements of a Pitchess motion.

“No hearing upon a motion for discovery or disclosure shall be held without full compliance with the notice provisions of this section except upon a showing by the moving party of good cause for noncompliance, or upon a waiver of the hearing by the governmental agency identified as having the records.” (Evid. Code, § 1043(d).).

Here, the notice of motion does not state which governmental agency has custody and control of the records. The notice of motion generally lists a description of the types of documents sought but does not state with particularity the governmental agency that has custody and control of the records. Here also, Plaintiff’s proof of service indicates that she gave notice to defendant the City of Los Angeles but did not state whether she also gave written notice to the governmental agency that has custody or control of the records. Therefore, the motion is denied without prejudice.

In addition, the Court believes that Plaintiff’s affidavit in support of their motion lacks the necessary showing of good cause. While Plaintiff’s affidavit identifies the documents that have not been disclosed, there is no articulated link between those documents and Plaintiff’s theory of the case contained within the four corners of the affidavit.

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