Defense Verdicts Won by Hawkins Parnell's San Francisco Office for City and Police Officer

April 29, 2024 – Press Release

April 29, 2024 (San Francisco, CA) – Hawkins Parnell & Young partners Danielle Lewis and Suzanne Rischman secured defense verdicts for their clients, a police officer and the city that employed him, following a week-long jury trial in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The plaintiff sought $9,750,000 in civil penalties, $3,250,000 in compensatory damages, and punitive damages against the officer.

The lawsuit stems from the plaintiff's attendance at a Chamber of Commerce event where the Mayor was delivering a speech. After repeatedly refusing to leave because he did not make a reservation, the plaintiff was arrested for trespassing and transported to an Alameda County jail for booking. He was to be cited and released but was held in the facility for more than 30 hours.

Several civil rights claims and multiple defendants were dismissed prior to trial. The case went to trial on the plaintiff's two remaining claims against Hawkins Parnell's clients: a First Amendment retaliation claim brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a Bane Act claim alleging that the arresting officer intentionally interfered with the plaintiff's civil rights by threats, intimidation, or coercion.

After only two hours of deliberation, the jury returned a complete defense verdict for Hawkins Parnell's clients.

About Hawkins Parnell & Young

Hawkins Parnell & Young is a national defense litigation firm that has represented many of the largest and most well-known companies in high-risk litigation and business disputes. The 250-strong litigation team works with clients to develop winning defense strategies and, if necessary, try cases to verdict in all 50 states.