Recent Wins: Alan Diamond
Ninth Circuit affirms judgment dismissing federal civil rights action against GMSR clients
November 14, 2012
Nicolas, Epifania v. City of Riverside, et al. (2012) 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 23541 (United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit) [unpublished]. Plaintiff’s first ex-husband was murdered in the City of Riverside. Plaintiff and two others were charged with the murder. Plaintiff was acquitted. She sued GMSR’s clients, the City of Riverside and two Riverside Police Department detectives, under 28 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights in that there had been no probable cause for her arrest. GMSR obtained summary judgment in the district court, arguing that (1) plaintiff was collaterally estopped from asserting lack of probable cause because she had already litigated, and lost, that issue at her criminal trial, and (2) as a matter of law, the police had probable cause to arrest her. The Ninth Circuit affirmed, holding that even if plaintiff’s claims were not barred by collateral estoppel, the uncontroverted facts established that there was probable cause to arrest her.
Nicolas, Epifania v. City of Riverside, et al. (2012) 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 23541
Court of Appeal adopts GMSR’s interpretation of Court’s earlier decision in favor of GMSR's client
February 22, 2012
Bioquest Venture Leasing Co. v. VivoRx Autoimmune, Inc. (2012) 2012 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 1293 (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Seven) [unpublished]. This is GMSR’s second appellate victory in this case. In the first appeal, GMSR successfully argued for the reversal of a $2.5 million judgment on the basis of a statute of limitations defense. However, each side read the court of appeal's disposition of the case differently, and moved for entry of judgment in its favor. Bioquest argued a theory regarding the accrual date of the statute of limitations that it had not argued in the original trial or in its prior appellate briefing---a theory that it claimed entitled it to collect the entire original judgment. GMSR’s clients argued, inter alia, that the appellate court intended the trial court to enter judgment for them and, in any event, that Bioquest could not raise its new theory at this late stage. The trial court adopted the arguments advanced by GMSR's clients. Bioquest appealed. On the second appeal, the Court of Appeal held that the trial court had correctly interpreted the court’s prior decision regarding the limited scope of remand and that Bioquest had forfeited its newly-minted theory. The Court of Appeal also affirmed an award of attorneys' fees for GMSR's clients.
Bioquest Venture Leasing Co. v. VivoRx Autoimmune, Inc. (2012) 2012 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 1293
Ninth Circuit affirms judgment dismissing federal civil rights action by civil detainee against GMSR client for failure to file fourth amended complaint
January 12, 2012
Gregory Ell Shehee v. Leroy D. Baca, et al. (2012) 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 684 (United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit) [unpublished memorandum]. Plaintiff sued multiple Los Angeles County officials, including GMSR client Supervisor Gloria Molina under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 (civil rights). He alleged that his constitutional rights were violated while he was detained at the Los Angeles County Jail awaiting commitment proceedings under California’s Sexually Violent Predators Act. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed plaintiff's action after he failed to file a Fourth Amended Complaint. It also rejected plaintiff's contention that the district court erred in denying his request for appointed counsel and dismissing his third amended complaint with leave to amend.
Gregory Ell Shehee v. Leroy D. Baca, et al (2012) 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 684
Court of Appeal reverses multi-million dollar judgment against GMSR clients on ground that California, not Massachusetts law, determines the applicable statute of limitations
November 5, 2009
Bioquest Venture Leasing Company-A, N.V. v. VivoRx Autoimmune, Inc. (2009) 2009 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 8833 (California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Seven) [unpublished]. Plaintiff sued GMSR's client VivoRx for breach of a biotechnology license agreement that was silent on choice of law. VivoRx argued that California law applied, and that it barred plaintiff's claims as untimely, while plaintiff insisted that Massachusetts law governed the lawsuit, and that its claims were timely under Massachusetts' longer statute of limitations. The trial court applied Massachusetts law, and entered a multi-million dollar judgment against VivoRx. The Court of Appeal reversed the judgment, adopting GMSR's arguments on two grounds. First, that plaintiff's contract with VivoRx did not incorporate by reference an earlier agreement between plaintiff and a third party that contained a Massachusetts choice of law clause, even though VivoRx had agreed to assume all of the third party's obligations under that earlier agreement. And second, that under both governmental interest analysis and Civil Code section 1646, it was California's shorter statutes of limitations that determined the timeliness of plaintiff's claims.
Bioquest Venture Leasing Company-A, N.V. v. VivoRx Autoimmune, Inc. (2009) 2009 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 8833
GMSR garners unanimous United States Supreme Court victory as Court rules that chief prosecutor is absolutely immune from civil rights suit
January 26, 2009
John Van de Kamp, et al. v. Thomas Lee Goldstein (2009) 129 S.Ct. 855 (United States Supreme Court). In a unanimous opinion, the United States Supreme Court held that GMSR’s clients, former District Attorney John Van de Kamp and Assistant District Attorney Curt Livesay, are entitled to absolute prosecutorial immunity for decisions concerning the manner in which the District Attorney’s office implemented policies and training concerning the use of jail house informants and related decisions regarding disclosure of exculpatory information. This is the first time the court has held that administrative decisions by chief prosecutors may be subject to absolute immunity so long as the decisions are intimately related to the prosecutorial function.
More about the case here.
John Van de Kamp, et al. v. Thomas Lee Goldstein (2009) 129 S.Ct. 855
Court of Appeal affirms dismissal of dangerous condition claim on basis of statutory natural-condition immunity
November 20, 2008
Corey Romagnano v. Rancho Simi Recreation & Park District (2008) 2008 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 9333 (California Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Six). [unpublished]. Plaintiff was injured when he slipped and fell off a steep cliff at a public park. He sued GMSR’s client, Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, alleging a dangerous condition of public property. The trial court sustained Rancho Simi’s demurrer to plaintiff’s second amended complaint on the ground that Rancho Simi had absolute statutory immunity from suit for an injury caused by a natural condition of any unimproved public property.
The plaintiff appealed, claiming that his complaint showed that the cliff was not unimproved because Rancho Simi had constructed a baseball diamond elsewhere in the park and over ten years ago had drilled pin holes into the cliff, which had become overgrown by moss making the cliff more slippery. The appellate court affirmed. It held that the alleged changes either were not improvements either to the place where the injury occurred or did not so change the physical characteristics of the property as to qualify it as improved or take it outside of the statute. It also held that it was joining other courts in outright rejecting the hybrid dangerous condition exception to the statutory immunity propounded in Gonzales v. City of San Diego (1982) 130 Cal.App.3d 882.
Corey Romagnano v. Rancho Simi Recreation & Park District (2008) 2008 Cal.App. Unpub. LEXIS 9333
Ninth Circuit affirms judgment for City of Riverside in an excessive force case
January 5, 2007
Haran v. City of Riverside, (2007) U.S.App.LEXIS 457 (United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit) [unpublished]. Alan Diamond and Timothy Coates persuaded the Ninth Circuit to affirm judgment for the City of Riverside in a civil rights action arising from the use of force by a Riverside police officer. The court agreed that the plaintiff’s counsel waived any challenge to the trial court’s rulings on various motions in limine, because counsel did not get a final ruling on some of the issues, or was otherwise able to admit the evidence. The court also held that the district court acted properly in excluding much of the evidence and in precluding examination on various issues.