Pending - Other Pending
Personal Injury - Uninsured Motor Vehicle
KRISTIN S. ESCALANTE
THOMAS D. LONG
MAURICE A. LEITER
GEORGE F. BIRD
GARCIA ANA MARIA
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
CISCEL DOE 1 BRIAN
HERNANDEZ DOE 2 CHRISTIAN
LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT
PEREZ FRANK J
SUHR EMILY B.
SAKAI RAYMOND WAYNE
NELSON HENRY PATRICK
1/6/2023: Stipulation and Order to use Certified Shorthand Reporter
1/6/2023: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (IN-CAMERA HEARING)
12/8/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (IN-CAMERA HEARING) OF 12/08/2022
12/8/2022: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore
12/8/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (IN-CAMERA HEARING)
11/17/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR DISCOVERY OF PEACE OFFICER PERSONNEL RE...)
11/7/2022: Reply - REPLY PLAINTIFFS' REPLY TO REAL PARTIES IN INTEREST LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT AND DEPUTY BRIAN CISCEL'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY PURSUANT TO EVIDENCE
10/31/2022: Notice - NOTICE OF RULING RE CASE REASSIGNMENT TO DEPARTMENT A
10/31/2022: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY (PITCHESS)
10/20/2022: Motion for Discovery of Peace Officer Personnel Records (Pitchess Motion)
10/18/2022: Notice - NOTICE OF RULING RE PLAINTIFFS' PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE TO JUDICIAL OFFICER
10/11/2022: Stipulation and Order to Continue Trial (non PI)
10/10/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER: PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE TO JUDICIAL OFFICER) OF 10/10/2022
10/10/2022: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice
10/10/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER: PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE TO JUDICIAL OFFICER)
10/6/2022: Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (170.6)
10/3/2022: Notice - NOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT TO DEPARTMENT B (COMPTON COURTHOUSE)
9/22/2022: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice
Hearing10/23/2023 at 08:30 AM in Department A at 200 West Compton Blvd., Compton, CA 90220; Jury Trial[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Hearing10/16/2023 at 08:30 AM in Department A at 200 West Compton Blvd., Compton, CA 90220; Final Status Conference[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketStipulation and Order to use Certified Shorthand Reporter; Filed by: Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketMinute Order (In-Camera Hearing)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketIn-Camera Hearing scheduled for 01/06/2023 at 09:00 AM in Compton Courthouse at Department A updated: Result Date to 01/06/2023; Result Type to Held[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketIn-Camera Hearing scheduled for 01/06/2023 at 09:00 AM in Compton Courthouse at Department A[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketOrder Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore; Filed by: Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketMinute Order (In-Camera Hearing)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCertificate of Mailing for (In-Camera Hearing) of 12/08/2022; Filed by: Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketPursuant to oral stipulation, In-Camera Hearing scheduled for 12/08/2022 at 09:30 AM in Compton Courthouse at Department A Not Held - Continued - Party's Motion was rescheduled to 01/06/2023 09:00 AM[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCertificate of Mailing for [PI General Order], Standing Order re PI Procedures and Hearing Dates; Filed by: Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketPI General Order; Filed by: Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketFinal Status Conference scheduled for 06/24/2021 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 3[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 07/08/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 3[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Dismissal scheduled for 01/05/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 3[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by: Salvador Garcia (Plaintiff); Ana Maria Garcia (Plaintiff); Ana Morales (Plaintiff); As to: County of Los Angeles (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Salvador Garcia (Plaintiff); Ana Maria Garcia (Plaintiff); Ana Morales (Plaintiff); As to: County of Los Angeles (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Salvador Garcia (Plaintiff); Ana Maria Garcia (Plaintiff); Ana Morales (Plaintiff); As to: County of Los Angeles (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCase assigned to Hon. Jon R. Takasugi in Department 3 Spring Street Courthouse[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Case Number: *******0967 Hearing Date: November 17, 2022 Dept: A
*******0967 Salvador Garcia, et al v. County of Los Angeles
Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 8:30 a.m.
[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO CONDUCT DISCOVERY PURSUANT TO EVIDENCE CODE SECTION 1043 (PITCHESS)
The complaint filed on January 9, 2020, alleges that Plaintiffs, Salvador Garcia, Ana Maria Garcia, and Ana Morales (“Plaintiffs”), filed this action against Defendants, County of Los Angeles, Deputy Brian Ciscel (“Deputy Ciscel”), and Christian Hernandez (“Deputy Ciscel”, collectively, “Defendants”), for injuries sustained because of the death of Pablo Garcia, who was fatally shot by Defendants on May 21, 2019. Plaintiffs allege claims for (1) Negligence, (2) Assault and Battery, (3) Violations of Civil Code 52.1, (4) Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress, and (5) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.
On July 29, 2021, the Hon. Thomas D. Long heard and granted Plaintiffs’ first Pitchess motion for discovery of the personnel and administrative records of deputies, Ciscel and Hernandez. On August 12, 2021, Judge Long held an in-chamber hearing and ordered Defendants to produce certain personnel records of both deputies within 10 court days, subject to the court’s protective order of December 1, 2020. The court ordered the transcript sealed.
A. Plaintiffs’ motion filed on October 20, 2022
Plaintiffs seek discovery of all personnel records in connection with any psychological evaluations of Deputy Ciscel from the start of his employment to the present, including records that question his judgment; referrals to a psychologist for evaluation; disability claims related to stress, anxiety, depression or any other psychological issues; records of discussions pertaining to psychological issues that may be affecting his job performance; and any records of actions taken by the LASD in response to any psychological examination performed on Deputy Ciscel.
Plaintiffs argue that Deputy Ciscel responded to Plaintiffs’ 911 call for assistance because their decedent, Garcia, was having an emotional meltdown. Deputy Ciscel shot Garcia three times as Garcia walked into the front yard holding a hammer and a bottle of vodka. Deputy Hernandez also responded to the scene with a taser. Instead of taking any action to avoid deadly force and summoning his partner, Deputy Ciscel moved toward an opening in the fence between himself and Garcia, thereby “giving up his cover,” and shot Garcia as he started walking towards Deputy Ciscel.
Based on Deputy Ciscel’s conduct and behavior in immediately resorting to deadly force in response to a domestic disturbance contrary to policies and procedures and escalating the situation, Plaintiffs believe it is possible that Deputy Ciscel has had psychological issues that impaired his judgment. If so, he should not have been permitted to carry a weapon. Deputy Ciscel’s state of mind is a central issue in this case. Any psychological examinations conducted after the shooting are also relevant to the determination of Deputy Ciscel’s state of mind. Plaintiffs are entitled to determine whether LASD properly vetted Deputy Ciscel for mental and psychological competency before permitting Deputy Ciscel to carry a firearm.
B. Opposition filed October 31, 2022
Real parties in interest, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (“LASD”) and Deputy Ciscel oppose the motion because Plaintiffs have not established good cause for the discovery, which is overbroad in scope. Deputy Ciscel’s privacy interests and the patient-psychotherapist privilege preclude disclosure of the records. However, if the court finds that the records are discoverable, LASD asks that the court apply the current protective order, and that the court conduct an in-chamber review with the custodian of records present. Plaintiffs have not shown that the records sought are material to any issue in the litigation.
C. Reply filed November 7, 2022
Plaintiffs argue that LASD mischaracterized the facts. Eyewitness information and the video surveillance show that Deputy Ciscel acted irrationally and killed Garcia unnecessarily. Deputy Ciscel remained outside the gate when he shot Garcia, who did not threaten to kill Deputy Ciscel. Nor did Garcia raise his arms when approaching Deputy Ciscel. An in-chamber review of the records will ensure that Garcia’s privacy interests are not unduly infringed.
III. LEGAL STANDARDS
Personnel records of a police officer can be obtained through a noticed motion supported by good cause. Evid. Code, 1043. “Good cause” requires a showing supported by affidavits that meet two elements: that the discovery is material and “by stating upon reasonable belief” that the agency has the records or information. This is a “relatively low threshold.” Warrick v. Superior Court (2005) 35 Cal.4th 1011, 1019. The information is material if it “will facilitate the ascertainment of the facts and a fair trial.” Moreover, a declaration by counsel on information and belief “is sufficient to state facts to satisfy the ‘materiality’ component of that section.” Haggerty v. Superior Court (2004) 117 Cal.App.4th 1079, 1086. The “good cause” requirement is a "“good cause” is a “’relatively relaxed standard[ ]’ intended to ‘insure the production for inspection of all potentially relevant documents." Young v. Superior Court of Solano County (2022) 79 Cal.App.5th 138, 158.
The good cause inquiry has been described as requiring a “specific factual scenario” that establishes a “plausible factual foundation.”
"Viewed in conjunction with the police reports, counsel's averments establish a plausible factual foundation for an allegation of excessive force, put the court on notice that the officers' alleged use of excessive force will likely be an issue at trial, and articulate a valid theory as to how the information sought might be admissible." City of Santa Cruz v. Municipal Court (1989) 49 Cal.3d 74, 86.
Plaintiffs rely on the declaration of counsel, Gilbert Saucedo, and the declaration of Plaintiff, Ana Morales, who attests that Deputy Ciscel shot Garcia from the opposite side of a fence that separated them, and that Garcia had not left the yard prior to the shooting. Morales declaration, 10-12. Deputy Ciscel’s partner appeared with a taser gun while the shooting was taking place.
Mr. Saucedo’s declaration establishes the materiality of Deputy Ciscel’s response to the incident given statutory requirements that officers use de-escalation techniques, crisis intervention tactics, and other alternatives to force when “feasible.” Gov. Code, 7286 subd. (b)(1); http: shq.lasdnews.net/content/uoa/PSD/3-10.pdf, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Manual of Policy and Procedures, Vol.3, subd. 3/10/150.00, “Tactical Incidents” [“When reasonable under the totality of circumstances, personnel should use de-escalation techniques such as advisements, verbal persuasion, and other force prevention tactics focused on increasing officer and/or public safety.”].
While LASD offers its own version of what transpired at the time of the shooting, the trial court does not weigh or assess the evidence. Young v. Superior Court of Solano County (2022) 79 Cal.App.5th 138, 159. Plaintiffs need only provide a “plausible factual foundation” for officer misconduct; the trial court does not determine whether the requesting party’s version of events, “with or without corroborating collateral evidence, is persuasive -- a task that in many cases would be tantamount to determining” probable innocence or guilt. Young, supra at 159.
Plaintiffs have met their threshold burden of showing a logical link between the discovery sought and Plaintiffs’ theory that Deputy Ciscel’s judgment was impaired, which warrants an in-chamber inspection of the requested records. The records or absence thereof, are also material to Plaintiffs’ burden of showing County of Los Angeles’s potential liability.
While LASD contends that the request is overbroad, the scope of relevant documents that are ultimately produced will be determined by the court after an in-chamber review. V. CONCLUSION
Based on the foregoing, the Plaintiffs’ Motion is GRANTED. LASD and Deputy Ciscel shall produce for in-chambers inspection the records contained in Deputy Ciscel’s personnel file that are responsive to the specific requests articulated by Plaintiffs. Motion, 2:13-27. The custodian of records shall appear and produce records on at in Department A of the Compton Courthouse.
Case Number: *******0967 Hearing Date: October 07, 2020 Dept: 31
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES – CENTRAL DISTRICT
SALVADOR GARCIA, ET AL.,
COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
Case No.: *******0967
ORDER TRANSFERRING COMPLICATED PERSONAL INJURY (PI) CASE TO AN INDEPENDENT CALENDAR (IC) COURT
INITIAL NOTE: This is not a tentative ruling. It is being posted with the tentative rulings to give Counsel notice not to appear. This is a final order and the case is being transferred.
After review of the court file, the Court makes the following order:
Department 31 of the Personal Injury Court has determined that the above entitled consolidated actions are complicated based upon the number of pretrial hearings and/or the complexity of the issues presented.
AT THE DIRECTION OF DEPARTMENT 1:
This case is hereby transferred and reassigned to the following Independent Calendar Court in
The Order is signed and filed this date, and incorporated herein by reference. Any pending motions or hearings, including trial and status conferences, will be reset, continued or vacated at the direction of the newly assigned Independent Calendar court.
Upon receipt of this notice, counsel for Plaintiff shall give notice to all parties of record.
DATED: October 7, 2020 ___________________________
Hon. Thomas D. Long
Judge of the Superior Court
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