Wednesday, July 30, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Federal judge: Fairfield should pay attorneys for In-N-Out case

By
From page A1 | April 04, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — The city should appeal a federal court judge’s decision that Fairfield pay $316,750 in fees and costs to attorneys representing three customers police arrested at the In-N-Out on Holiday Lane, Councilwoman Catherine Moy says.

“It’s just excessive,” she said. “We have better use of that money.”

Moy said she’ll urge the council to join her in challenging the order Monday by U.S. District Judge Dale Drozd, who presided at the 2013 civil trial in Sacramento over the July 4, 2009, incident when four college students arrived at the In-N-Out just before 1 a.m.

Three of the four people filed a suit contending false arrest and interference with constitutional rights. A jury in 2013 found the arrests for trespassing were without probable cause but did not involve malice or reckless disregard for the trio’s rights. The federal jury awarded the plaintiffs $12,150.

Oakland attorney Garret Murai, who with another attorney represented the students, said Thursday that the three felt an injustice was done and that they were racially profiled because they’re African-American.

Jude Drozd wrote that it was undisputed that the three were not part of a disturbance that the In-N-Out manager reported to police involving young black males and females, Judge Drozd wrote.

A police dispatcher had reported patrons throwing food and refusing to leave. The restaurant manager mistakenly told the arriving officers that the college students were involved in the disturbance, Murai said.

“It doesn’t matter what the manager says, the police have a duty to establish probable cause,” the attorney said of the arrests that followed.

The students exited the In-N-Out at the instruction of officers and were arrested after they didn’t leave the parking lot, according to court records. They were handcuffed, put into a police van and photographed. The students were released from the county jail at 10 a.m. that morning and faced charges of criminal trespass that were later dismissed.

Murai said the students, who have since completed college, sought justice rather than money in the matter.

In-N-Out, in a separate settlement, paid $180,000.

“The city fought us,” Murai said, “for the past four years.”

Fairfield had offered plaintiffs $15,000 two years before the 2013 jury trial, according to court records.

Gale Spears, spokeswoman for the city of Fairfield, said representatives of the city manager’s office were not available for comment Thursday.

“We only know what’s in the ruling,” Spears said of the federal court judge’s decision.

Councilwoman Moy said the city manager’s office sent an email Wednesday advising that The Sacramento Bee, which reported the judge’s award to attorneys, was inquiring about the case.

Moy said the Fairfield Police Department does not racially profile people.

“We have great police officers,” she said. “They thought they were doing the right thing.”

“I don’t think it had to do with race,” Moy added of the case. “It was just a misidentification by the manager.”

Councilman John Mraz said he’s surprised by the amount the federal judge granted attorneys.

“That’s incredible,” he said. “I’m not happy.”

“Anytime we have to pay out any amount of money,” Mraz said, “it’s not a good thing for the city.”

“We’re using the people’s money,” he said.

Councilwoman Pam Bertani said the city must determine if the appeal can succeed.

“We have to review the record,” she said. “Our next step is to do just that.”

Attorney Murai said the federal judge, along with granting fees, ruled Monday against Fairfield’s request for a new trial in the case.

“Finally, our clients have been vindicated,” the attorney said.

Surveillance cameras at the restaurant and a cellphone video taken by another customer were shown at the trial, Murai said. The video showed several young black men and women leaving just as police arrived.

Judge Drozd said the tape depicts a busy dining room but no evidence of a disturbance.

Murai said the video record supports his clients and avoids the uncertainty surrounding many law enforcement-related lawsuits.

“A lot of these police cases rely on a he-said, she-said scenario,” he said.

Two of his clients in the In-N-Out case grew up in Fairfield, Murai said, but to this day are uncomfortable around police.

“And that’s really sad to hear that coming from young people of any color,” the attorney said.

For a lot of people their age, Murai said, the civil rights movement is something that they hear about in history. But despite the great strides America has made on racial matters, he said, problems involving race are not all in our past.

“Unfortunately, that’s not the case even today,” Murai said.

The attorney said Judge Drozd’s decision grants about half of the $692,870 sought by lawyers for fees and costs representing plaintiffs in the case.

Murai said he would not be surprised if Fairfield appealed the judge’s decision but doubts the city would prevail.

“They’re going to have a hard time,” he said. “It is very difficult to overturn a judge’s order.”

Drozd in his decision said when applying standards for fees, he is aware of guidance from the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco. 

“Lawyers must eat, so they generally won’t take cases without a reasonable prospect of getting paid,” the circuit court has said.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or rmccarthy@dailyrepublic.net.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 25 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rich GiddensApril 03, 2014 - 7:37 pm

    What a terrible thing to happen to those black kids. Fairfield will pay because their cops are stupid.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Skeptic ScroogeApril 04, 2014 - 6:21 am

    Yeah, ffpd doesnt racially profile ~ they are just as cruel no matter how white you are!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • See the VideoApril 04, 2014 - 6:53 am

    Who didn't see this coming? Guess Moy et al didn't see the video. "Did not involve malice or reckless disregard for the trio’s rights"?! Guess the Judge didn't see the girl get swung around & slammed into a car by one of Fairfield’s finest. Like I said back then, break out the checkbook Fairfield.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • DlApril 04, 2014 - 9:37 am

    The video is on youtube and has been for years. Type in Fairfield PD police brutality.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JazzAzzApril 04, 2014 - 7:02 am

    Let's see a, "The federal jury awarded the plaintiffs $12,150" award, and In N Out agreed to $180,00, yet the attorney's were awarded fees and costs well in excess of that. Goes to show how attorneys are at the bottom of the SCUM pile!!!!!!! If I were in charge, I'd flip these attorneys off, and let it go to collections and the cities credit rating, like so many dead beats do!!!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • StreetwiseApril 04, 2014 - 8:26 am

    Guess the city should have offered them $60k each instead of going to court. Hope this comes out of PD's budget (as if, HaHaHaHa) & they get a new city attorney. Maybe the DR should find out how much he charged the city for this.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksApril 04, 2014 - 7:03 am

    Pay the money and stop whining about it. You can't mangle people's civil rights and try to justify it. Pay up and move on.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • GemmaApril 04, 2014 - 9:12 am

    I agree. Not only do they not want to pay for the mistake, they want to try and get us on their side by saying "It's the people's money." It's the people's money being wasted on criminals released through the DA's office, or blood money paid to the gf of the monster who killed Matt Garcia, and they didn't care about the people then! It's not about the people.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • just a thoughtApril 04, 2014 - 1:08 pm

    The only rights that were mangled here were the rights of people to eat a meal without being harassed. The jury in this case found that the girls rights were not disregarded.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr.RApril 04, 2014 - 8:00 am

    The Sac Bee reported on this before the Daily Republic?.Good job Republic

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JazzAzzApril 04, 2014 - 8:02 am

    Daily Republic, over priced, and good for fish wrap, or to be used at the bottom of your bird cage. I wish they just offered an ONLINE subscription only (Lower fee)!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Fairfield homeowner and Tax payerApril 04, 2014 - 8:22 am

    Thanks fairfield pd for your great service... NOT!! I don't think mraz with u guys right now, try treating people like humans and not scum!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JazzAzzApril 04, 2014 - 8:24 am

    Some people need to be (Deserve it by their actions) treated like scum, NO MATTER their ethnicity. Unfortunately in this case the PD was mistaken.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MattApril 04, 2014 - 8:32 am

    Is anyone else really craving a burger?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksApril 04, 2014 - 8:41 am

    Matt, a double-double does sound really good this morning! :)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • S KApril 04, 2014 - 8:45 am

    A 4 X 4 even better. Try to get one no more than once per month :-)

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • kandiApril 04, 2014 - 8:41 am

    yes the Fairfield police department does racial profile. That's what they get, it's about time.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • TylerApril 04, 2014 - 12:26 pm

    Are there any ethnic differences in who is doing crimes?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • enuf is enufApril 04, 2014 - 10:00 am

    I encourage everyone to view the video on youtube. I think the city should be glad they only have to pay what they were ordered to pay. The cops clearly use excessive force on these kids

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • just a thoughtApril 04, 2014 - 10:29 am

    To everyone on here that keeps saying you should watch the video on youtube i would like to say one thing. While the video does show the officer clearly get physical with one of the girls involved keep in mind that the video does not follow what happened start to finish. I do not care what their ages were, what sex they are, what color they are, or whether or not they were innocent, when police tell you something you need to comply. The ffpd (who i rarely go to bat for) were wrongly told these were the kids causing trouble. They clearly gave the police officers trouble and we see the end result. Had they simply remained calm and let the police do a little investigating then this would not have happened. On the flip side of things, if they would have said "it wasnt us" and the pd just said okay and walked away you guys would all be slamming the pd on not doing their jobs. You cant have it both ways.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • DLApril 04, 2014 - 12:11 pm

    But then they would have not got the 12k. You really think they would of left them alone? Ignorance is a bliss

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • TylerApril 04, 2014 - 3:02 pm

    I encourage everyone to read Chip Johnson's column on sfgate titled "Oakland crime issue goes far deeper than racial profiling." No one will speak the words in FF but they apply here as well. I moved to FF over thirty years ago, back when Mission Village was an attractive shopping complex and before the first nearby apartments were built. I left FF in 2001 because of rising crime and a general decline in courtesy and quality of life. I have always been thankful that I got out when I did, before the real estate market cratered and left previously modest but safe neighborhoods pocked with section 8 rentals. Foreclosures were snapped up by wily investors - who rarely live in the affected neighborhoods - and rented to anyone with a voucher. The worse the neighborhood, the more section 8. It's unfortunate but it's true.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Hmm....April 04, 2014 - 4:24 pm

    I think it's an embarrassment to our community with how fast people jump in with the race card. I don't think this had anything to do with the color of the person. About two weeks ago I was in a Fairfield restaurant and watched as FPD officers arrested a white woman. All of us were happy to see her go. I did not think for one second the police targeted her because of her race... Why is race such a quick button to push?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • just a thoughtApril 04, 2014 - 4:52 pm

    Hmm, its a quick button to push because the youth are living in a "uh uhh you aint fittin ta disrespect me" world and feel no need to be civil at all. If you chose to call out their behavior the obvious defense is of course going to be that you are racially profiling them.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • DavidApril 04, 2014 - 5:53 pm

    There are very many colored people out there but there are even more that give the good ones a bad name. When I am driving down the road and someone crosses the street in many different occasions. One color will put there hand up and say thanks crossing faster than walking speed. Another color will stare you down and walk even slower thinking that they are better than everyone else. You are a person that wants to be color this and color that, but in reality you know its true. I have friends of all colors and even my colored friends admit this.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Solano County Fair set to open Wednesday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Marketing study looks at Berryessa resorts

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Library teens plan summer reading party

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

Fairfield tries to end Cordelia Road detour

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 15 Comments | Gallery

 
Caltrans makes I-80 lane change

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
Police arrest suspected intruder

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 4 Comments | Gallery

Activity is Medicine program coming to Suisun senior center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Big-rig crash shuts down freeway onramp

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Big-rig driver strikes telephone lines in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Icon sends first A5 into the skies on maiden flight

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B7

 
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ primed for big screen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Fairfield police log: July 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: June 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: July 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: July 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Weather for Wedneday, July 30, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B14

 
.

US / World

Hamas demands for cease-fire and Israel’s concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Fist bumps less germy than handshakes, study says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
New California fines for wasting water take effect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

California lifeguard injured by lightning improves

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
PG&E charged with obstruction over San Bruno blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Chevron California refinery overhaul up for vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Tuberculosis patient who refused care is arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

4 charged with murder in death of USC student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
Crews make gains on 2 California wildfires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Last crew member of Enola Gay dies in Georgia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Poll: Immigration concerns rise with tide of kids

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Shelling adds to mounting civilian toll in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
US, Europe impose tough new sanctions on Russia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Senate confirms McDonald as VA secretary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

Body of young stowaway found in US cargo plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Report: Health premiums rose significantly in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Highway, bridge money at risk: Senate to vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Senate bill would end NSA phone records collection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Liberians in US worry about Ebola outbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Top doctor dies from Ebola after treating dozens

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

.

Opinion

Red light camera fate now uncertain in state

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

 
Obscure state agency creates big money problems

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

Some people have missed the drought memo

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

 
What kids don’t know would shock you

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 17 Comments

 
Cemetery support committee thanks sponsors

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Community Calendar: July 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
What to do when ‘it’ hits the fan

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

Today in History for July 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
I like Liam, but I think he’s interested in another girl

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

Horoscopes for July 30, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
A do-ahead dinner to make back-to-school smoother

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

You too can bake artisanal quality bread at home

By Elizabeth Karmel | From Page: B6

 
A healthy afterschool snack that eats like a treat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Music aside, Queen of Soul is pumped for fair food

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Sarah Palin launches online subscription channel

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
‘Sharknado’ sequel has bite and lots of laughs

By Frazier Moore | From Page: A7 | Gallery

.

Sports

49ers WR Brandon Lloyd enjoying return to NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Schaub settles in as Raiders starting QB

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Fairfield Indians blank Next Level Athletic to win SRL tournament title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Mudcats tie Vacaville Admirals

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

No joke: Kings’ Cousins hopes for Team USA shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Liriano fans 11 in Pirates’ 3-1 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Athletics rally for 6 runs in 9th, beat Astros 7-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Husband arrested in death of NBA player’s aunt

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Triple-A brawl results in 11 suspensions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Broken water main floods UCLA; 5 people rescued

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

49ers sign former Cardinals RB Alfonso Smith

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Vin Scully to return for 66th season in LA in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
McDonald’s could be liable for labor practices

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Food writers subpoenaed in ‘pink slime’ lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stocks end lower ahead of economic data

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Twitter 2Q results soar, stock flies high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

Robert Dale Myers Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Jeanetta M. Hale

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Patricia Jo McDonald

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Jack L Hudack

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5