Tag Archives: Catherine Sweetser

Plaintiffs in Mitchell v. City of LA Ask Court to Seal Yesterday’s Pleadings Due to Privacy Concerns

California-central(See Gale Holland’s excellent story in the Times for background).

Yesterday the City of LA filed a bunch of material in support of their opposition to the restraining order requested by the plaintiffs in this case about the illegal seizure of the property of homeless people on Skid Row. The City’s filings included a Declaration of Lt. Andy Mathes, which included a number of videos of the plaintiffs and Carol Sobel in support. These videos were not available through PACER, but presumably they’re part of the public record and can be obtained somehow.

The plaintiffs’ attorneys today filed an application to seal some of the videos, which was supported by a declaration of Catherine Sweetser. Additionally they ask that Lt. Mathes’s declaration be removed from the public docket (which is where I got it), to be refiled once the private information is removed.
Continue reading Plaintiffs in Mitchell v. City of LA Ask Court to Seal Yesterday’s Pleadings Due to Privacy Concerns

Documents Filed Just Now in LA CAN/LACW Suit Against City of LA, CCEA, Ask for Award of $46,568 in Costs and Entrance of Long List of Damning Facts as True

California-centralI reported a couple weeks ago about the hearing on plaintiffs’ motion to hold the City of LA in contempt for failing to produce discovery documents. The order scheduling the hearing also required the plaintiffs to submit pleadings today outlining the status of the discovery requests and also detailing how much in fees and costs they were asking for. Those documents were filed tonight around 6:30 p.m. and I have them for you here:

Shayla Myers’s declaration has multiple goodies in the exhibits, including a full transcript of the deposition of LAPD Information Technologist LeShon Frierson, in which he revealed for the first time in February that the LAPD does in fact use an email archiving product called GWAVA Retain, which, notably, allows keyword searches across mailboxes, something which the City had wrongly denied was possible. I speculated about this issue in December 2015, so it was a treat to find out that they had this capability, and it’s a treat now to read the actual words of LeShon Frierson describing the software and how it’s used. There are beaucoup emails in there too between Myers and Ronald Whitaker, who’s representing the City. It’s fascinating if, like me, you just can’t resist reading other people’s correspondence.
Continue reading Documents Filed Just Now in LA CAN/LACW Suit Against City of LA, CCEA, Ask for Award of $46,568 in Costs and Entrance of Long List of Damning Facts as True

Federal Lawsuit Filed Today by LA Community Action Network, LA Catholic Worker, Four Homeless Plaintiffs, Against City of LA and Three Named LAPD Officers Over Property Confiscations, Wrongful Arrests, Endangerment of Life

California-centralA lawsuit filed today in Federal Court on behalf of the Los Angeles Community Action Network, LA Catholic Worker, and four homeless plaintiffs charges the City of Los Angeles along with LAPD officers Andrew Mathes, Sgt. Hamer, and Sgt. Richter1 of endangering the lives of the plaintiffs by wrongfully arresting them and by wrongfully confiscating and destroying their property, including medicine, blankets, tents, and other items necessary to the support of life. The plaintiffs’ attorneys are Carol Sobel and associates, Fernando Gaytan and Shayla Myers of the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, and Paul Hoffman and Catherine Sweetser. The inimitable Gale Holland has an excellent write-up in the Times but, as usual, it doesn’t include a link to the actual court filings, which is where I can help. The suit isn’t particularly on our BID-beat, but I’m going to get all the filings anyway, so I might as well make them available here. There are some excerpts after the break.
Continue reading Federal Lawsuit Filed Today by LA Community Action Network, LA Catholic Worker, Four Homeless Plaintiffs, Against City of LA and Three Named LAPD Officers Over Property Confiscations, Wrongful Arrests, Endangerment of Life

Late Night Declaration Filed by Ronald Whitaker Opposing Plaintiffs’ Application for Contempt and Sanctions in LACAN/LACW v. City, CCEA

California-centralEarlier today the plaintiffs’ attorneys in the homeless property case, Shayla Myers and Catherine Sweetser, filed a massive application for contempt and sanctions against defendant City of Los Angeles due to their (alleged but totally plausible) recalcitrance in complying with the discovery process. Just now Deputy City Attorney Ronald Whitaker filed a declaration in opposition to this application. There’s nothing that new here, although it’s interesting to see that the City is sticking to its largely discredited claim that

in order to search emails, they need the email addresses of each individual LAPD officer. With the help of our investigator, we have tried to identify each of the individual police officers, of which there are over 400, assigned to the Central Division within the relevant timeframe. The LAPD’s IT department requires us to manually match up each officer name with their serial number, as that is how officers are identified in their email addresses. That process is and has been ongoing.

Continue reading Late Night Declaration Filed by Ronald Whitaker Opposing Plaintiffs’ Application for Contempt and Sanctions in LACAN/LACW v. City, CCEA

Plaintiffs File Application for Order Holding City of Los Angeles in Contempt for Failure to Comply with Discovery Orders! ” a contempt order [is] necessary and proper to impress on these departments … that Court orders cannot be ignored”

California-centralMere moments ago new filings in the LACAN/LACW lawsuit against the City of LA and the Central City East Association hit the RSS feed of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, and what a doozy! It seems that, despite their representations to the contrary in front of Federal Magistrate Judge Andrew Wistrich, the City of Los Angeles is not complying with the Court’s discovery orders. I haven’t had time to read any of this stuff yet, but it looks super hot so I wanted to get it up here as quickly as possible. First we have an ex parte application for an order holding the City of Los Angeles in contempt and seeking sanctions against them. The plaintiffs state:

Good cause exists for such a motion because despite two orders from this Court compelling the production of responsive documents, the City has failed to produce these documents or identify a date certain when all responsive documents will be produced. Without further intervention and sanctions against the City, the City will continue to ignore this Court’s order and the City’s discovery obligations. Plaintiffs will experience prejudice if the City continues to be permitted to ignore its obligations and this Court’s orders.

Well, that ought to put the fear of God into them. The application was supported by two declarations and a proposed order, to which you will find links after the break (along with another long selection from the application).
Continue reading Plaintiffs File Application for Order Holding City of Los Angeles in Contempt for Failure to Comply with Discovery Orders! ” a contempt order [is] necessary and proper to impress on these departments … that Court orders cannot be ignored”

A Series of Unexpected Events Add Up to Discovery Delays in L.A. Catholic Worker v. City of L.A., Central City East Association Lawsuit Over Homeless Property Confiscations; Trial Now Scheduled for June 21, 2016

People have to sleep somewhere.
People have to sleep somewhere.
Yesterday, Judge Philip Gutierrez issued an order extending the discovery deadline in L.A. Catholic Worker et al. v. City of L.A. et al. until February 19 and moving the trial date to June 21, 2016. This order capped off a week full of filings. First, on Monday, January 11, presumably after the hearing on plaintiffs’ motion to compel discovery, Ronald Whitaker, who supervises the Business and Complex Litigation section of the L.A. City Attorney’s office, filed a notice of appearance in the case. He’s (probably) the boss of Deputy City Attorney Elizabeth Fitzgerald, who has been defending the case for the City.

I didn’t see the significance of this at the time, but it was clarified on Wednesday, when the plaintiffs filed an ex parte (that is, without the on-the-record participation of the defendants) application to amend the scheduling order to continue dates by 30 days. This is an unusual procedure and it seems it must be justified by the existence of exigent circumstances. In this case the first of these is that on Monday the 11th, after the discovery hearing, Elizabeth Fitzgerald had a medical emergency and will be on leave at least through the end of January. At the very least this requires the rescheduling of a bunch of depositions, and is probably why Ronald Whitaker joined the case. Note also that the plaintiffs asked for and received the City of LA’s support of the application and that the CCEA did not oppose it.

Elizabeth Fitzgerald’s illness is only one of the reasons supporting plaintiffs’ request for an extension. The others all have to do with what’s turned out to be a lengthy, drawn-out, painful, inch-by-inch discovery process. It seems that any optimism over the pace of document production, both by the City and by the CCEA, was unwarranted, and I’m guessing it won’t even be complete by February 19, but we shall see, shan’t we? There are some more specific details after the break if you’re interested.
Continue reading A Series of Unexpected Events Add Up to Discovery Delays in L.A. Catholic Worker v. City of L.A., Central City East Association Lawsuit Over Homeless Property Confiscations; Trial Now Scheduled for June 21, 2016

LAPD Senior Systems Analyst’s Declaration in LACW Lawsuit Provides Further Insight into LAPD’s Secretive and Cavalier Attitude Towards Public Records, Legal Obligations

A house of secrets: LAPD headquarters at night.
A house of secrets: LAPD headquarters at night.
Papers newly filed in federal court reveal an astonishing unwillingness on the part of the City of Los Angeles and the LAPD to release public records and other documents to the plaintiffs in the Los Angeles Catholic Worker and LA Community Action Network lawsuit. A few days ago I wrote about these filings in general and today I’m going to discuss some specific details about the City’s claims regarding the LAPD’s email system and how, they say, it’s preventing them from complying with the discovery process in the suit. This topic is, of necessity, mostly inside baseball both legally and technologically, and maybe you want to skip it if that bores you. If so, the TL;DR is that the LAPD contradicts itself constantly about the availability of its emails for legal discovery, and the LAPD only looks even more furtive when facts related to Public Records Act requests are considered. All four of the documents I discuss below were extracted from Part 2 of Catherine Sweetser’s declaration, filed with the court on December 8, 2015.
Continue reading LAPD Senior Systems Analyst’s Declaration in LACW Lawsuit Provides Further Insight into LAPD’s Secretive and Cavalier Attitude Towards Public Records, Legal Obligations

Tempers Flare in Federal Court as Voluminous New Filings in LACW, LACAN v. City of LA, CCEA Case Reveal Inside Story of Lengthy, Painful Discovery Process

The discovery process in all its glory.
The discovery process in all its glory.
On Tuesday (December 8) a bunch of new documents related to the discovery process were filed in the ongoing lawsuit filed by Los Angeles Catholic Worker and the Los Angeles Community Action Network against the City of Los Angeles and the Central City East Association, which runs the Downtown Industrial District BID. I don’t have the competence to comment usefully on most of this stuff, but, interestingly, there’s a lot of discussion of how the city of Los Angeles deals with public records. This, I do know something about.

Anyway, you can find all of the new pleadings here in the subdirectory, dated December 8, 2015. First there is a brief motion to compel discovery from the city of LA, necessary because getting camels through the eyes of needles is easier than getting documents out of the city of Los Angeles. This was foreshadowed by something I missed in the the joint stipulation, discussed in my post the other day:

The City and Plaintiffs have met extensively regarding Defendants’ responses to Plaintiffs’ Requests for Production and will likely require Court intervention to resolve their disagreement

It seems that, however, as I recently reported, the CCEA at least is complying with discovery requests. There’s a little bit more detail after the break, including some sample prose laden with negative feelings in a manner not so commonly found in pleadings. I hope to write on a number of specific items later today or quite soon, especially the controversy over production of emails, an area where the city of Los Angeles is infamous for flouting the law.
Continue reading Tempers Flare in Federal Court as Voluminous New Filings in LACW, LACAN v. City of LA, CCEA Case Reveal Inside Story of Lengthy, Painful Discovery Process