Tag Archives: Carol Sobel

Street Photographer Shawn Nee Completely Settles Case Against LAPD, City Of Los Angeles, For Interfering With His Right To Photograph Police, Terms Apparently Not Yet Released

Perhaps you recall that Los Angeles based street photographer Shawn Nee filed suit against the City and the LAPD for preventing him from freely photographing the police. Well, it turns out that, last week, the case was completely settled. The terms of the settlement do not yet seem to be public, but two documents did show up on PACER confirming the settlement. Turn the page for links and descriptions.
Continue reading Street Photographer Shawn Nee Completely Settles Case Against LAPD, City Of Los Angeles, For Interfering With His Right To Photograph Police, Terms Apparently Not Yet Released

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LAPD Officer Stuart Jaye, Accused Of Interfering With Photographer Shawn Nee, Will No Longer Be Represented By City Attorney, Hires Stacey Koon’s Old Lawyer, Thomas J. Feeley, Instead

Hollywood Division officer Stuart Jaye, blocking photographer Shawn Nee on July 5, 2015.
Recall, if you will, that in July 2016 Carol Sobel filed suit in federal court on behalf of Los Angeles photographer Shawn Nee against the City of LA, Charlie Beck, and various LAPD officers, including Hollywood Division stalwart Stuart Jaye, famously dubbed Officer A-Hole by the incomparable Jasmyne Cannick.

Jaye had been represented by Deputy City Attorney Surekha A. Pessis, but change is in the air. Last night this request for withdrawal and substitution of attorney was filed, notifying the court1 that Pessis would no longer represent Jaye, whose lawyering will be in the future handled by veteran cop defender Thomas J. Feeley. Feeley, of course, famously represented King-beater Stacey Koon in the civil case arising from that incident, causing some minor controversy in the process. According to Feeley’s website, he

… has particular expertise in police misconduct litigation defense as well as extensive experience in major municipal law, personal injury, civil rights, employment and contract disputes.

Continue reading LAPD Officer Stuart Jaye, Accused Of Interfering With Photographer Shawn Nee, Will No Longer Be Represented By City Attorney, Hires Stacey Koon’s Old Lawyer, Thomas J. Feeley, Instead

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Hollywood-Based Street Photographer Shawn Nee Filed Suit In July Against City of LA, Charlie Beck, Individual LAPD Officers, For Preventing Him From Freely Photographing Police

LAPD Officer Stuart Jaye blocking documentary photographer Shawn Nee from filming police activity on July 5, 2015.
LAPD Officer Stuart Jaye blocking documentary photographer Shawn Nee from filming police activity on July 5, 2015.
Shawn Nee is a documentary photographer who lives in Hollywood and films police around the City of Los Angeles. Here’s an excellent interview with him along with a selection of his work. I also recommend this short film about Nee’s work on Hollywood Boulevard on Halloween 2014.

His YouTube channel is filled with recordings of LAPD officers angry with him for photographing them. In particular, on July 5, 2015, LAPD Officer Stuart Jaye blocked his line of sight while he was taking still photos of police activity. Also, on November 10, 2015, LAPD Officer Pearson actually grabbed his phone while he was recording police activity. These two incidents form the basis of a suit filed by Nee on July 7, 2016. This episode is also worth watching even though it isn’t mentioned in the suit.

This seems like it’s going to be interesting, so I started a page for this suit in the menu structure, or you can access the material directly from local storage. There’s not much in there yet, but the initial complaint is well worth your time to read. There are some selections after the break as well as a description and some documentation of a tangential BID Patrol connection from 2008!
Continue reading Hollywood-Based Street Photographer Shawn Nee Filed Suit In July Against City of LA, Charlie Beck, Individual LAPD Officers, For Preventing Him From Freely Photographing Police

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Judge Kronstadt Tentatively Inclined To Grant Class Certification In Chua V. City of LA But Has Some Concerns. National Lawyers Guild Responds With Supplemental Brief As Ordered. NLG Is Willing To Talk But City of LA Uninterested In Settling At This Time.

Carol Sobel,  plaintiffs' attorney in Chua v. City of Los Angeles
Carol Sobel, plaintiffs’ attorney in Chua v. City of Los Angeles
In July of this year the plaintiffs in Chua v. City of Los Angeles, based on LAPD misconduct during 2014 protests concerning Michael Brown, filed a motion for certification as a class action suit. The City of Los Angeles did not oppose the motion. But, of course, even if the parties to a suit agree, these things are still up to the Judge. A hearing on the motion was held on November 7, and Judge Kronstadt stated his “tentative views that [he] is inclined to grant in part Plaintiffs’ Motion for Class Certification. However, evidently he still had some questions about his decision, because he instructed the plaintiffs to supplement their motion for class certification with some additional briefs, which were due and filed last Monday, the 14th of November. They are linked to directly below, and you can find some quotations and uninformed discussion after the break.

Interestingly, those minutes also note that the City isn’t presently interested in settling matters:

The Court confers with counsel regarding settlement. Plaintiffs are open to participating in a settlement conference now while defense counsel believes it is premature at this time.

Continue reading Judge Kronstadt Tentatively Inclined To Grant Class Certification In Chua V. City of LA But Has Some Concerns. National Lawyers Guild Responds With Supplemental Brief As Ordered. NLG Is Willing To Talk But City of LA Uninterested In Settling At This Time.

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CD13 Staffers Marisol Rodriguez and Juan Fregoso Conspire With Bureau of Sanitation Employees Jose Garcia and Renee Shackleford to Subvert City Homeless Encampment Cleanup Policies and Procedures Just So Mitch O’Farrell, Other “VIPs,” Don’t Have To Walk By Homeless People On Their Way To Give A Speech

Low income housing at 215 N Vermont Avenue.  Note the distinctive lack of homeless people for VIPs to step over, thanks to the foresight and strongarm tactics of CD13's Marisol Rodriguez and Juan Fregoso.
Low income housing at 215 N Vermont Avenue. Note the distinctive lack of homeless people for VIPs to step over, thanks to the foresight and strongarm tactics of CD13’s Marisol Rodriguez and Juan Fregoso.
Well, it turns out there’s this company called AMCAL Housing, and according to their about-us page they build affordable housing in exchange for tax breaks, or some such thing. They’re building a big project at Vermont and Beverly1 called the Meridian Apartments, and they broke ground officially on February 11, 2016, with Mitch O’Farrell scheduled to speak at the ceremony.

Thus, on February 1, 2016, Paige Horn of AMCAL Housing emailed Marisol Rodriguez, Dave Cano, Juan Fregoso, all of CD13, and some people from Korean Churches for Community Development, which is working with AMCAL on this project, telling them:

Thank you all for your participation in the Meridian Groundbreaking Event on Thursday, February 11th at 11am! … There should be ample street parking, however, I have reserved VIP Parking for all speakers at the lower parking lot of Hubbard College of Administration that can be accessed from Juanita Avenue.

Map of the area.  (a) is the parking lot, (b) is the encampment.  A speculative VIP path to the event is shown in purple.  Click to enlarge.
Map of the area. (a) is the parking lot, (b) is the encampment. A speculative VIP path to the event is shown in purple. Click to enlarge.

But local knowledge counts for a lot. The very next day, our very own Juan Fregoso emailed Victor Gutierrez (#26802) with a cc to Matthew Ziegler (#34208)2 to report:

Hi Vic,
Here is the info for the event on the 11th.

We have CSI3 scheduled for February 9th.

As you can see, VIPs will park on Juanita and will have to walk through the encampment.

Me and Marisol are working to see how to address this but wanted to flag the event.

Thanks again for all your help.

And amazingly enough, I have a copy of the lengthy email chain between Juan Fregoso, Marisol Rodriguez, and a bunch of people from the L.A. Sanitation department showing exactly what those two CD13 stalwarts were doing “to see how to address this.” You can probably guess what’s coming, because if VIPs (?!) have to walk near homeless people, something’s gotta give, and it ain’t gonna be the VIPs,4 You’d be right, and you can read the sordid details after the break!
Continue reading CD13 Staffers Marisol Rodriguez and Juan Fregoso Conspire With Bureau of Sanitation Employees Jose Garcia and Renee Shackleford to Subvert City Homeless Encampment Cleanup Policies and Procedures Just So Mitch O’Farrell, Other “VIPs,” Don’t Have To Walk By Homeless People On Their Way To Give A Speech

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Venice Justice Committee v. City of Los Angeles: Pregerson Denies Essential Part of Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, Case Will Proceed

Not every clown on the Boardwalk is benign.
Not every clown on the Boardwalk is benign.
Last month Judge Dean Pregerson heard oral arguments on the City’s motion to dismiss this suit, filed by the Venice Justice Committee against the City of Los Angeles in opposition to its ham-fisted attempts to regulate speech on the Venice Boardwalk. Today he filed his order denying the motion to dismiss in part and granting it in part as well. Pregerson’s a lively writer, and the order makes interesting reading. There are three main issues addressed in the order.

First up, the City regulates vending on the Boardwalk in various ways, but contains an exception for soliciting donations and other activities protected by the First Amendment. Plaintiff Peggy Lee Kennedy was evidently told on a couple of occasions by LAPD officers that asking for donations was vending and that she had to stop or face arrest. Everyone agrees that these cops were in the wrong, but the question before the Court seems to have been whether the law “as applied” was unconstitutional. Pregerson found that it was not, and accordingly dismissed the parts of the complaint that had to do with that claim.

Second,1 the Plaintiffs made claims under the Bane Act, which allows people to sue if their constitutional rights were violated maliciously. Pregerson found that even assuming that the Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights were violated, they weren’t violated maliciously. I’m skipping some details, but that’s essentially why he also dismissed this cause of action.

Finally, and most interestingly, we come to the Plaintiffs’ claim that the City’s so-called Sunset Provisions are unconstitutional. This claim has to do with LAMC 42.15, which regulates vending and other activities at Venice Beach. In particular it states that “[n]o person shall set up or set down items in, take down items from or block, or attempt to reserve a Designated Space2 between Sunset and 9:00 am.”
Continue reading Venice Justice Committee v. City of Los Angeles: Pregerson Denies Essential Part of Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, Case Will Proceed

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Further Indication of Lack of Seriousness: City of Los Angeles Sends Attorney to Read Aloud Rather Than Argue its Motion to Dismiss in Venice Justice Committee Case; Judge Pregerson Seems Skeptical

Federal Judge Dean Pregerson
Federal Judge Dean Pregerson
A couple weeks ago the City of Los Angeles phoned in a motion to dismiss Carol Sobel’s lawsuit on behalf of Peggy Kennedy and the Venice Justice Committee. I went out to the Spring Street Federal Courthouse this morning to hear arguments, and it was not a waste of time, although the City still doesn’t seem to be making a serious effort in defending this case. The Deputy City Attorney, Sara Ugaz, didn’t argue so much as read selections from the City’s reply in support of its motion to dismiss. The reply is weak, and so were the selections, even more so for being read verbatim.

You may recall that the City is claiming that linking speech restrictions on the Boardwalk to the time the sun sets is accomplishing some rational purpose. First amendment jurisprudence allows such restrictions, but the purpose must be accomplished by the least restrictive means necessary. Thus it doesn’t portend well for the City, or at least for the fate of the motion to dismiss, that Pregerson repeatedly questioned Ugaz on how using the time of sunset could possibly be the least restrictive means. He mentioned that it occurs at different times during different seasons, for instance. This prompted Ugaz to claim that the City wants to clear the view of the ocean at sunset and that “people are coming home then.”1 The judge noted again that the sun sets at widely varying times, so how does anyone know when people are coming home. This prompted Ugaz to admit that “perhaps that wasn’t the best reason.”
Continue reading Further Indication of Lack of Seriousness: City of Los Angeles Sends Attorney to Read Aloud Rather Than Argue its Motion to Dismiss in Venice Justice Committee Case; Judge Pregerson Seems Skeptical

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City of Los Angeles Files Singularly Unconvincing Response in Support of its Own Motion to Dismiss Venice Justice Committee Lawsuit; (Sarcastically?) Suggests Protestors Would be Better Off Speaking at Neighborhood Council than Leafletting on Boardwalk

Expressive activity on the Venice Boardwalk.
Expressive activity on the Venice Boardwalk.
Tonight the City of Los Angeles filed a reply in support of its motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed in February by the Venice Justice Committee. Recall that the motion to dismiss was filed in June and last week the plaintiffs responded to that motion, noting among other things that Abbott Kinney gave the Boardwalk to the City for use as a public sidewalk in perpetuity.

This makes the City’s repeated assertion throughout tonight’s filing that the Boardwalk is a public park particularly galling. If it’s an error, it’s careless beyond belief. The principle of charity compels me to assume it’s more of the dark sarcasm so favored by Feuer’s minions. They just don’t give a fuck, and why should they? They probably already have the million dollar payout to Carol Sobel budgeted for. But I’m getting ahead of the story.
Continue reading City of Los Angeles Files Singularly Unconvincing Response in Support of its Own Motion to Dismiss Venice Justice Committee Lawsuit; (Sarcastically?) Suggests Protestors Would be Better Off Speaking at Neighborhood Council than Leafletting on Boardwalk

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Motion to Certify Class Action in Chua v. City of LA Filed Today, Along With Extensive Supporting Declarations; Hearing Set for Monday, October 24, 2016, at 8 a.m.

California-centralSee this article from the LA Times and our previous posts on the subject for the background to this post. All of the filings can be found here.

Today the plaintiffs in the case Chua v. City of Los Angeles filed the following pleadings:

Continue reading Motion to Certify Class Action in Chua v. City of LA Filed Today, Along With Extensive Supporting Declarations; Hearing Set for Monday, October 24, 2016, at 8 a.m.

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Plaintiffs File Opposition to City’s Motion to Dismiss, Include Certified Copy of Deed for Venice Boardwalk Proving that Abbott Kinney Gave it for Use as a Public Sidewalk and No Other Purpose

LAPD Bike officers on the Venice Boardwalk creating a chilling effect in the warm California sunshine.
LAPD Bike officers on the Venice Boardwalk creating a chilling effect in the warm California sunshine.
See this earlier post for some brief background on this case and this collection of pleadings in the case.

Late last night the plaintiffs filed a searing opposition to last month’s defendants motion to dismiss. Part of the plaintiffs’ argument relies on the fact that the Boardwalk is actually a public sidewalk, and in support of that argument they also filed a request for judicial notice that included a certified copy of the deed by means of which Abbott Kinney gave the boardwalk to the City (of Ocean Park; Los Angeles didn’t get it until 1926). To understand the issues it may be useful to look at the text of LAMC §42.15.

The issue is whether or not the Boardwalk is a public forum. If it is, the First Amendment places a very, very high barrier before the City’s attempt to regulate speech there at all. Sidewalks, as opposed to City-sponsored Disneylandesque bullshit tourist-trap money magnets, are quintessential public forums,1 and this is the heart of the argument:2

The Venice Boardwalk is a traditional public forum long recognized by the City as perhaps the most prominent free speech area in the City. Although called a “boardwalk,” this pedestrian passageway is a public sidewalk, deeded to the City as a sidewalk in perpetuity in 1906. See Plaintiffs’ Request for Judicial Notice and Exhibit 1.

Public sidewalks “occupy a ‘special position in terms of First Amendment protection’ because of their historic role as sites for discussion and debate[.]” They are the locations where people encounter speech they “might otherwise tune out.” “From time immemorial,” public sidewalks have been locations where “normal conversation and leafleting” have occurred as part of the First Amendment’s guarantee of “sharing ideas.” Indeed, public sidewalks are, perhaps, the most important traditional public forum because of their availability at any time at no cost.

It’s worth reading the whole response, and some selections that caught my eye appear after the break.
Continue reading Plaintiffs File Opposition to City’s Motion to Dismiss, Include Certified Copy of Deed for Venice Boardwalk Proving that Abbott Kinney Gave it for Use as a Public Sidewalk and No Other Purpose

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