This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/07/2019 at 01:24:44 (UTC).

ESTATE OF ZELALEM ESHETU EWNETU ET AL VS COUNTY OF LA ET AL

Case Summary

On 04/12/2018 ESTATE OF ZELALEM ESHETU EWNETU filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against COUNTY OF LA. 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:

    ****2015

  • Filing Date:

    04/12/2018

  • 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

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

ESTATE OF ZELALEM ESHETU EWNETU

ZELEKE SEBLE

EWNETU SEWUNET

MAMO ABEBECH TSEGAYE INDIVIDUALLY AND

TSEGAYE ALEMSHET

Defendants and Respondents

DOE DEPUTY SHERIFF 1 AND 2

LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

DOES 3 TO 50

LOS ANGELES COUNTY OF

GANNON TIMOTHY

BOWLEY SERGEANT

LATTUCA SHANE

HAUSER DEPUTY

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

GREENE R. BROWNE ESQ.

PALMER JUSTIN A

Defendant Attorneys

HURRELL THOMAS C. ESQ.

HURRELL THOMAS CHARLES

 

Court Documents

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

5/25/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

5/25/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

DECLARATION OF FARYAR BARZIN ESQ.IN SUPPORT OF AUTOMATIC 30DAY EXTENSION OF MEET AND CONFER REQUIREMENT PRIOR TO FILING DEMURRER PURSUANT TO CALIFORNIA CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 430.14A2

6/11/2018: DECLARATION OF FARYAR BARZIN ESQ.IN SUPPORT OF AUTOMATIC 30DAY EXTENSION OF MEET AND CONFER REQUIREMENT PRIOR TO FILING DEMURRER PURSUANT TO CALIFORNIA CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 430.14A2

DEFENDANTS LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT AND COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT;DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

6/11/2018: DEFENDANTS LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT AND COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT;DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

DEFENDANTS LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT AND COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES' DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT

6/20/2018: DEFENDANTS LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT AND COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES' DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT

STIPULATION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER REGARDING INFORMATION DISCLOSED DURIGNG DISCOVERY;AND ETC.

7/20/2018: STIPULATION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER REGARDING INFORMATION DISCLOSED DURIGNG DISCOVERY;AND ETC.

Substitution of Attorney

10/22/2018: Substitution of Attorney

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

10/24/2018: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

10/24/2018: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Answer

3/18/2019: Answer

Stipulation and Order

3/26/2019: Stipulation and Order

Notice of Deposit - Jury

4/10/2019: Notice of Deposit - Jury

Notice of Motion

6/11/2019: Notice of Motion

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

6/11/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Opposition

6/17/2019: Opposition

CIVIL DEPOSIT

4/12/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR WRONGFUL DEATH 1. NEGLIGENCE ;ETC

4/12/2018: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR WRONGFUL DEATH 1. NEGLIGENCE ;ETC

SUMMONS

4/12/2018: SUMMONS

19 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/03/2019
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") - Held - Continued

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  • 07/03/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery"))); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/03/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery")) of 07/03/2019); Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/26/2019
  • Reply (Memorandum In Support of Motion for Peace Officer Personnel Records); Filed by Estate of Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu (Plaintiff); Sewunet Ewnetu (Plaintiff); Mamo, Abebech Tsegaye, individually and (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/17/2019
  • Opposition (The Opposition of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Custodian of Personnel Records To The Plaintiffs' Motion for Production of Peace Officer Personnel and Internal Affairs Files of Defendants); Filed by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (Defendant)

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  • 06/11/2019
  • Memorandum of Points & Authorities; Filed by Estate of Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/11/2019
  • Motion for Discovery of Peace Officer Personnel Records (Pitchess Motion); Filed by Estate of Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/10/2019
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

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  • 05/29/2019
  • Answer (to Second Amended Complaint); Filed by Los Angeles, County of (Defendant); Shane Lattuca (Defendant); Timothy Gannon (Defendant)

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  • 05/16/2019
  • at 11:00 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - Held

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32 More Docket Entries
  • 06/11/2018
  • DECLARATION OF FARYAR BARZIN ESQ.IN SUPPORT OF AUTOMATIC 30DAY EXTENSION OF MEET AND CONFER REQUIREMENT PRIOR TO FILING DEMURRER PURSUANT TO CALIFORNIA CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 430.14A2

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  • 06/11/2018
  • DEFENDANTS LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT AND COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT;DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

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  • 05/25/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Estate of Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/25/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Estate of Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/25/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 05/25/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 04/12/2018
  • CIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 04/12/2018
  • SUMMONS

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  • 04/12/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by Estate of Zelalem Eshetu Ewnetu (Plaintiff); Sewunet Ewnetu (Plaintiff); Mamo, Abebech Tsegaye, individually and (Plaintiff) et al.

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  • 04/12/2018
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR WRONGFUL DEATH 1. NEGLIGENCE ;ETC

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC702015    Hearing Date: February 28, 2020    Dept: 50

THE COURT HAS NOT RECEIVED CONFORMED COPIES OF THE BRIEFS FILED BY THE PARTIES.  CONSEQUENTLY, THE MATTER WAS NOT WORKED UP AND WILL HAVE TO BE RESCHEDULED.  THE PARTIES ARE ORDERED TO FILE CONFORMED COPIES OF THE BRIEFS IN DEPT. 50 BY MARCH 2D.  THE CLERK WILL RESET THE HEARING AFTER THE BRIEFS ARE RECEIVED AND WILL CONTACT COUNSEL TO DETERMINE AVAILABLE DATES. NO APPEARANCE IS NECESSARY AT THE HEARING TOMORROW.

Case Number: BC702015    Hearing Date: January 10, 2020    Dept: 50

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 50

estate of zelalem eshetu ewnetu, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

vs.

the county of los angeles, et al.

Defendants.

Case No.:

BC 702015

Hearing Date:

January 10, 2020

Hearing Time:

8:30 a.m.

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE:

PLAINTIFFS’ MOTION FOR ADDITIONAL PRODUCTION OF PEACE OFFICER PERSONNEL RECORDS

Background

Plaintiffs filed this action on April 12, 2018 against, inter alia, Defendant the County of Los Angeles (the “County”) and various sheriff’s deputies of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (the “Sheriff’s Department”). The operative Second Amended Complaint was filed on December 17, 2018, and asserts causes of action for negligence (wrongful death), violation of Civil Rights under the Bane Act, negligent hiring, training, and supervision, and battery. This lawsuit arises out of the shooting death of Zelalem Ewnetu by Sheriff’s Department deputies on April 12, 2017.

On October 4, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiffs’ motion for production of personnel and internal affairs files of the individual peace officer defendants (Pitchess motion). The Court ordered an in camera inspection to be scheduled for October 30, 2019, and the County was ordered to bring all nonattorney-client privileged records from five years prior to April 12, 2017 that were potentially responsive to the following categories of documents:

  1. Documents prepared by the Sheriff’s Department or in the possession of any Sheriff’s Department employee concerning the April 12, 2017 shooting death of Mr. Ewnetu,

  2. Each citizen or internal complaint filed against Deputy Gannon, Deputy Lattuca, Deputy Hauser, and Sergeant Bowley that concerns an allegation of excessive force, dishonesty or untruthfulness, preparing false and misleading police reports, and racial profiling, and all documents related to any investigation of any such complaints,

  3. All recordings and transcripts of interviews taken of employees of the Sheriff’s Department concerning Mr. Ewnetu’s shooting, and

  4. Documents contained in the personnel files of Deputy Gannon, Deputy Lattuca, Deputy Hauser, and Sergeant Bowley that relate to allegations of excessive force, dishonesty or untruthfulness, falsifying police reports, and racial profiling.

On October 30, 2019, the Court conducted the in camera review of the documents produced by the County. The Court ordered the parties to meet and confer regarding the production of documents based on the Court’s findings and continued the hearing to November 6, 2019. On November 6, 2019, the Court ordered that the County must disclose via email the reporting parties’ names and contact information including civilian witnesses’ names and contact information identified by the Court at the October 30, 2019 in camera review. The Court then set a hearing regarding additional information sought by Plaintiffs, namely, the documents identified during the in camera review (the “Underlying Documents”), not just the names and contact information.

Plaintiffs now move for an order that the County make additional disclosures. The county opposes.

Discussion

The Court notes that although Plaintiffs mention the Underlying Documents in their motion, it appears that Plaintiffs have abandoned that request. Instead, Plaintiffs now appear to be seeking disclosure of documents relating to (1) discharge of firearm at a person by a peace officer or custodial officer, (2) use of force by a peace officer or custodial officer resulting in death or great bodily injury, (3) incidents in which a sustained finding was made by a law enforcement agency or oversight agency that an officer engaged in sexual assault involving a member of the public, (4) incidents in which a sustained finding was made by a law enforcement agency or oversight agency of dishonesty relating to the reporting, investigation, or prosecution of a crime, or the reporting or investigation of misconduct by another officer, and (5) personnel records within the meaning of Penal Code section 832.8. The first four categories of documents are documents which are authorized pursuant to Penal Code section 832.7, subdivision (b) to be made available for public inspection pursuant to the California Public Records Act. Although not specified, Plaintiffs are presumably seeking the above categories of documents as they relate to the individual deputy defendants.

Plaintiffs contend that these documents are discoverable pursuant to Evidence Code sections 1043 and 1046. However, as noted by the County in its opposition, Plaintiffs already had their opportunity to request disclosure of documents pursuant to Evidence Code section 1043—their original Pitchess motion. As set forth in the Court’s October 4, 2019 order, disclosure of peace officer personnel records involves two steps. The first step is the filing of a Pitchess motion, and the second step is the Court’s in camera review of the documents to determine their relevance. To the extent that Plaintiffs are attempting to repeat the first step, further discovery under the Pitchess procedure requires a showing that the information already provided by the County is “inadequate to enable [Plaintiffs] to prepare [their] case.” (Kelvin L. v. Superior Court (1976) 62 Cal.App.3d 823, 828-829; see also Carruthers v. Municipal Court (1980) 110 Cal.App.3d 439, 442 [noting that under the Pitchess procedure, the requesting party has a right “to seek additional discovery if the information thus received proves ‘inadequate’”].) The Court finds that Plaintiffs have failed to make such a showing.

Conclusion

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiffs’ motion is denied.

The County is ordered to provide notice of this ruling.

DATED: January 10, 2020 ________________________________

Hon. Teresa A. Beaudet

Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court