JUDGE ONCE AGAIN REJECTS DEFENDANTS' REQUEST FOR NEW TRIAL IN MALDEF WESTMINSTER POLICE CASE
Trial Court Awards MALDEF and Co-Counsel $3.3 Million in Fees and Costs
SANTA ANA, CA - The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California once again rejected a request for a new trial in the Flores v. City of Westminster case late last week. Additionally, the Court denied the Defendant's claims that there was not substantial evidence to support the jury's findings and verdict, and the court also awarded MALDEF and co-counsel Alexander Krackow + Glick LLP (AKG) $3.3 million in fees and costs.
"The jury verdict and last week's decisions should stand as a strong deterrent to any agencies that continue to follow outdated and unlawful employment practices," stated Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF President and General Counsel. "Law enforcement must fully embrace the entire community, including Latinos as the nation's largest and fast-growing minority group."
The initial lawsuit alleged that, despite their stellar performance and qualifications, the Latino officers were relegated to dead-end, second tier assignments, and upon filing formal complaints, experienced workplace retaliation from superiors, a violation of state and federal law. In March 2014, a jury returned a verdict against the City of Westminster and four current and former Chiefs of the Westminster Police Department and in favor of three Latino police officers who experienced racial discrimination and retaliation. In August 2014, the Court upheld the jury's decision awarding $3.34 million in damages to the three Latino officers.
"Consistent with the proof demonstrated at the time of trial, we are pleased that Judge Carter properly denied defendant's post-trial motions, and granted Plaintiffs' request for costs and attorney fees. We trust that the City will heed the unanimous jury verdict, conform their promotion practices to the law and seek to finally resolve this matter," stated J. Bernard Alexander, III, Partner at AKG.
"This was an incredibly hard fought case, with Defendants tenaciously defending what was ultimately an indefensible and biased culture at the Westminster Police Department," stated Martha L. Gomez, MALDEF Staff Attorney. "We are pleased that the Court acknowledged our hard work throughout the litigation. These attorney fees will go to further advance justice in the Latino community."
MALDEF is committed to upholding fair employment practices nationwide. Among the Plaintiffs was an active-duty Major in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he has been promoted four times; a long-serving police officer who received the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Award and Centurion Award; and an officer who was awarded the Bronze medal of merit, including for saving someone's life, and Rookie of the Year award during his first year with the Department.
Founded in 1968, MALDEF is the nation's leading Latino legal civil rights organization. Often described as the "Latino Legal Voice for Civil Rights in America" MALDEF promotes social change through advocacy, communications, community education and litigation in the areas of education, employment, immigrant rights and political access. For more information on MALDEF, please visit: www.maldef.org.
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