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Case Documents: Federal Lawsuit Against the LAPD Federal Injunction Against the LAPD
Notice of Class Certification Order Granting Class Certification
Case Notice for Posting (English) Case Notice for Posting (Espanol)
Order Denying Class De-certification (keeping plaintiffs' class intact) Order Granting Summary Judgment (confirming civil rights violation)
Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlement (copy of settlement agreement attached as exhibit) Order Granting Preliminary Approval of Settlement


Plaintiffs' Motion for Attorneys Fees

Case News:



[see the proposed settlement]
.....[see the press release]

The final fairness hearing where Final Approval of the settlement will be requested is scheduled for December 2, 2016 at 10 a.m. at the United States District Court for the Central District of California, 350 W. First Street, Courtroom 8C, Los Angeles, CA. (contact counsel for more info)

Recent Notices: Notice of Settlement (English) Notificación en Español (Espanol)
Court's Order Approving Settlement Executed Settlement Agreement
CLAIM FORMS: CLAIM FORM (English) CLAIM FORM (Español)

 

 

BASIC INFORMATION
1. Who is affected by this settlement?
2. What is this lawsuit about?
3. What is a class action and who is involved?
4. Why is there a settlement?
5. Who is in the settlement?


WHAT DO I GET FROM THE SETTLEMENT?
6. What does the settlement provide?
7. What is the jobs and education program?
8. What if I already have a job?
9. How do I apply for the job training program for myself or a relative?
10. What if I am not authorized to work in the United States?
11. Who can get tattoo removal?

PROCESS TO GET OFF THE GANG INJUNCTION
12. Who can apply to get taken off the gang injunction?
13. Can I apply to get taken off the gang injunction even if I received job training or tattoo removal?
14. How do I apply to be removed from the gang injunction?
15. Do I need a lawyer to apply to get off the gang injunction?
16. What will be considered to determine whether I get off the gang injunction?
17. How long do I have to apply to get off the gang injunction?

NEW RULES FOR THE CITY AND LAPD
18. What new rules will LAPD have to follow?

OTHER PAYMENTS IN THE SETTLEMENT
19. Is anyone getting money from this settlement?
20. What are the lawyers getting out of this settlement?

QUESTIONS?
21. What if I have more questions?


1. Who is affected by this lawsuit & settlement?

The California Supreme Court has said that simply being in a gang is not a crime. (People v. Gardeley, 14 Cal. 4th 605, 624 (Cal. 1996)). For this case, it does NOT matter if you are actually in a gang. You may still be a part of this case. Participating in the case does NOT cost you any money.

To be a part of this case, you must have been served with one or more of the gang injunctions in the following court cases prior to February 20, 2013.

Culver City Boys
[ Injunction Case No. SC056980 ]

Grape Street Crips
[ Injunction Case No. BC330087 ]
Venice Shoreline Crips
[ Injunction Case No. SC057282 ]
18th Street (Hollywood)
[ Injunction Case No. BC305434 ]
Highland Park (HLP)
[ Injunction Case No. BC359944 ]
Venice Trece
[ Injunction Case No. SC060375 ]
18th Street (Wilshire)
[ Injunction Case No. BC313309 ]
Krazy Ass Mexicans
[ Injunction Case No. BC282629 ]
Westside Wilmas, Eastside Wilmas
[ Injunction Case No. NC030080 ]
Avenues
[ Injunction Case No. BC287137 ]
Langdon Street
[ Injunction Case No. LC048292 ]
White Fence (Boyle Heights)
[ Injunction Case No. BC353596 ]
Big Hazard
[ Injunction Case No. BC335749 ]
Mara Salvatrucha
[ Injunction Case No. BC311766 ]
White Fence (Hollywood)
[ Injunction Case No. BC353596 ]
Blythe Street
[ Injunction Case No. LC020525 ]
Playboys
[ Injunction Case No. BC351990 ]
Rolling 60's Crips
[ Injunction Case No. BC298646 ]
Canoga Park Alabama
[ Injunction Case No. BC267153 ]
School Yard Crips
Geer Street Crips

[ Injunction Case No. BC349468 ]
Varrio Nueva Estrada
[ Injunction Case No. BC319981 ]
Clover, Eastlake, Lincoln Heights
[ Injunction Case No. BC358881 ]
All For Crime, Barrio Mojados, Blood Stone Villains, Florencia,
Oriental Boyz, Pueblo Bishops

[ Injunction Case No. BC397522 ]
Crazy Riders, Krazy Town (KTO), Down in Action (DIA), La Raza Loca,
Orphans, Rockwood Street Locos, Varrio Vista Rifa, Wanderers,
Witmer Street Locos

[ Injunction Case No. BC332713 ]
38th Street
[ Injunction Case No. BC319166 ]
42nd Street Gangster Crips
43rd Street Gangster Crips
48th Street Gangster Crips

[ Injunction Case No. BC 326016 ]
Dogtown
[ Injunction Case No. BC359945 ]

If you were served with one of those injunctions, you should have received a notice from the Court about a proposed settlement of a class action lawsuit, and about your options, before the Court decides whether to approve the settlement. If the Court approves the settlement, and after objections and appeals are resolved, the jobs and education program and gang injunction removal process will begin.  You will be informed whether the settlement is approved or not.

The material below explains the lawsuit, the settlement, your legal rights, what benefits are available, who is eligible for them, and how to get them.

The Court in charge of the case is the United States District Court for the Central District of California, and the case is known as Rodriguez et al v. City of Los Angeles, Case No. 11-CV-01135.  The Judge for the case is the Honorable Dolly M. Gee.  The people who sued are called Plaintiffs, and the Defendants, who were the ones sued, included the City of Los Angeles, Carmen Trutanich, Charles Beck, and Angel Gomez. 

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2. What is this lawsuit about?

This lawsuit claims that the City of Los Angeles has served 26 gang injunctions with unconstitutional curfews on over 5,000 people. Specifically, the language contained in the injunctions that requires that people not go “outside” at specified times of the night unless they engage in unspecified “legitimate meeting or entertainment activit[ies]” has been determined by a California Court of Appeal to violate the California Constitution.

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3. What is a class action and who is involved?

In a class action, one or more people, called Class Representatives, sue for themselves and for people who have similar claims. In this case, the Class Representatives are Christian Rodriguez and the Estate of Alberto Cazarez. The person who brought the case – and all the Class Members like them – are called Plaintiffs. In a class action, one court resolves the issues for all the Class Members. U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee is in charge of this class action..

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4. Why is there a settlement?

Judge Gee decided that the City violated the constitutional rights of class members when it enforced the injunctions with the unconstitutional curfew provisions. She also decided that class members are not entitled to receive an automatic award of $4,000 each for a violation of California law.

The case was set to go to trial. At trial, the class members were going to have to prove that they were harmed by the City’s enforcement of the unconstitutional curfew provision specifically, and not by the other provisions of the gang injunctions (such as the “do not associate” provision). A jury would have had to put a dollar figure on the amount of harm caused by the unconstitutional curfew provision. The lawyers for Plaintiffs determined that there was a big risk in going to trial: a jury could have decided that the injuries to the class members from the curfew provision were worth any amount of money – a few hundred dollars or a thousand dollars, for instance, or as little as one dollar. It is hard to quantify that injury in terms of money, so going to trial was a risk.

The lawyers for Plaintiffs determined that the up-to-$30 million offer was a good deal for the class. They did not think it was likely that class members would receive that much money in damages from a jury.

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5. Who is in the settlement?

To see if you can benefit from the settlement, you first have to determine if you are a Class Member. The Court has decided that all persons who have been served with any of the 26 gang injunctions listed above are members of this Class. In 2013, you should have received a notice asking you if you wanted to be part of the class or if you wanted to opt out of the class. If you were served with one of the injunctions mentioned above and if you did not opt out in 2013, then you can benefit from the settlement.

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6. What does the settlement provide?

The settlement provides a number of different benefits: (a) a jobs and education program; (b) tattoo removal; (c) a process to apply to get off the injunction; and (d) new rules that the LAPD has to follow.

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7. What is the jobs and education program?

The jobs and education program is an individualized program that you can participate in. There are six phases to the program:

Phase I— Evaluation: First, you will be evaluated to figure out if you are ready for a job and have the necessary skills, or if you need more skills and education before you are ready for a job. You will work with a career counselor to develop an individualized service plan with structured goals.

If you and your career counselor decide that you would benefit from all Phases of the program, you will receive a stipend of $500 after completing Phase II and another $500 after you complete Phase III.

If you and your career counselor decide that you are ready for a job without additional training or education, you will skip to Phase IV. In that case, you will have access to up to $1,000 to address barriers preventing you from getting a job or making it difficult for you to keep your current job. For example, the $1,000 may be used to help you buy job-related apparel (such as work boots), tools you need for your job, or a Metro card to help you get to your job.

Phase II—Education: If you and your career counselor decide that you need additional education and training in order to meet your career goals, you will be offered all the courses you need to achieve the goals in your service plan, including tutoring, developing skills in reading and math, computer skills, financial skills, and others. You will take courses from professional educators, for instance at the Los Angeles Community College District or at LAUSD, as appropriate. You will also get counseling as needed on your career, legal issues, and other areas such as parenting.

Phase III— Job training: Participants will receive training in specific careers. Occupational careers training will include green programs such as transportation (hybrid and electric car repair) and construction (weatherization); and health care programs such as certified nurse assistant, home health aide, pharmacy technician, and medical coding and billing specialist occupations. If you are in a career that requires a certification (such as a nurse assistant), you will be offered preparation for that certification, which you will be able to use anywhere that it is accepted.

The Jobs and Education program will pay for any tuition costs over and above any grants that you can obtain for the education.

Phase IV—Subsidized Employment: Participants will be placed in a subsidized employment position with an employer in their chosen area of work. You will be paid at the City’s minimum hourly wage for up to 400 hours. The expectation is that at the end of the 400 hours, the employer will hire you in a regular position. If that does not happen, you will be given help in finding a permanent job with the City, other public agency, or a job with a private employer.

Phase V—Financial Literacy: You will be provided with a financial literacy course addressing the fundamentals of budgeting, saving and credit management.

Phase VI—Employment: Those who complete subsidized work opportunities will be referred to City and other public sector employment opportunities including local targeted hiring programs, apprentice programs and vocational programs. If selected through a competitive employment process, these alternative pathway programs provide trainee opportunities leading to full-time civil service positions.

For more details on the jobs and education program, click here.

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8. What if I already have a job?

If you have a job but you would like to change careers, you can use the jobs and education program.

If you are happy with your job and career, you can use the jobs and education program to access up to $1,000 in job-related supportive services such as license or certificate fees, stipends for job-related specialized clothing or equipment, or transportation. You can also “upgrade” your skills so that you can get a promotion.

Alternatively, you can transfer the jobs and education program to a close relative: a child, parent, brother, sister, or spouse. Depending on how many people sign up for the program, you may be able to transfer the program benefit to an aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, or first cousin.

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9. How do I apply for the job training program for myself or a relative?

Upon final approval of the settlement, a claim form will be mailed to you that you can fill out and return. Once your membership in the class is verified, a representative of the job training program will contact you or your relative to schedule an appointment for evaluation.

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10. What if I am not authorized to work in the United States?

A Class Member who is not authorized to work under federal law cannot participate in Phases IV and VI of the program if he or she does not meet the federal right-to-work requirements. But any Class Member or designated relative, regardless of citizenship status, can participate in all other phases of the jobs and education program.

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11. Who can get tattoo removal?

Any class member can request tattoo removal, and it will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis until the full amount allocated has been used ($150,000 per year for four years). The benefit can be in addition to or instead of any other benefit offered under this settlement. Just as with the job training program, you will need to submit a claim form to receive this benefit so your membership in the class can be verified and a representative can contact you. This benefit is for class members only and cannot be transferred to a relative.

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12. Who can apply to get taken off the gang injunction?

All class members can apply to get off the gang injunction. If you apply to get off the injunction and the City opposes your application, the City will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are currently a gang member at a special hearing. This benefit is for class members only and cannot be transferred to a relative.

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13. Can I apply to get taken off the gang injunction even if I received job training or tattoo removal?

Yes. All class members are eligible to apply to be removed from the gang injunction.

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14. How do I apply to be removed from the gang injunction?

This program has not yet begun. If the judge gives final approval to the settlement, you will be sent a form to fill out and return to a claims administrator, who will verify your eligibility and then send the form to Plaintiffs’ counsel and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office. The City will decide within 90 days of their receipt of the notice if it will take you off the gang injunction, or if it wishes to have a hearing in court about it. If the City does not respond to your request within 90 days, you can request a hearing before the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh, a federal magistrate judge. Judge Walsh will make a decision which will be binding on you. You will still be able to seek removal from the injunction through any other legal process including the City Attorney’s gang injunction removal petition, but you must wait for one year after Judge Walsh’s ruling before doing so.

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15. Do I need a lawyer to apply to get off the gang injunction?

You do not need a lawyer, but you can have one if you want one. You will be able to bring your own lawyer, represent yourself, or have a lawyer provided to you for free by contacting Plaintiffs’ counsel.

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16. What will be considered to determine whether I get off the gang injunction?

For purposes of a gang injunction, a person is a member of a gang if he or she “is a person who participates in or acts in concert with an ongoing organization, association or group of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, having as one of its primary activities the commission of acts constituting the enjoined public nuisance, having a common name or common identifying sign or symbol and whose members individually or collectively engage in the acts constituting the enjoined public nuisance. The participation or acting in concert must be more than nominal, passive, inactive, or purely technical.” It is the City’s responsibility to prove this in order to keep you on the gang injunction.

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17. How long do I have to apply to get off the gang injunction?

You can apply any time starting the date the settlement becomes effective and for three-and-a-half years after that.

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18. What new rules will LAPD have to follow?

The City will stop enforcing the following provisions in each of the gang injunctions that are the subject of this lawsuit:
- Obey curfew
- Do not be in the presence of drugs
- Do not be in the presence of alcohol
- Obey all laws

In addition, the City will not serve any of the gang injunctions that are the subject of this lawsuit unless each the following additional documents are attached:
- Notice that any of the above provisions that are contained in the injunction will not be enforced
- A petition for removal from the gang injunction
- A list of referrals for services to assist in leaving gang life

Finally, the City Attorney’s Office will not prosecute any gang injunction curfew violations if someone is improperly arrested for such a violation.

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19. Is anyone getting money from this settlement?

The City has agreed to put $20,000 into an account for the daughter of each of the Named Plaintiffs Christian Rodriguez and Alberto Cazarez for purposes of their education. They spent a considerable amount of time on this case working with the lawyers, giving testimony, appearing in court, and exposing themselves to public scrutiny. In addition, Alberto Cazarez is settling some of his individual claims against the City in addition to the class claims. The lawyers therefore believe it is fair that their families receive some compensation, and the Court will rule on these requests at the final hearing. The two payments will not come out of the fund for the jobs and education program.

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20. What are the lawyers getting out of this settlement?

The City has agreed to pay the lawyers for the class for the value of their services and expenses, as determined by the Court. Even if the parties did not reach a settlement, attorney’s fees may be awarded in federal civil rights actions such as this one. The case lasted for five years and class counsel estimates that that there were between $4.8 and $9.6 million dollars in attorney’s fees and $100,000 in costs. The City will also pay to administer the settlement. These sums will not come out of any of the money set aside for the jobs and education program, the tattoo removal program, or other benefits provided to you and other class members. Some of the lawyers representing the class work for a non-profit law firm named Public Counsel, which depends on attorneys’ fees to provide free legal services to people who cannot afford them. Hadsell, Stormer & Renick and Orange Law Offices need attorney’s fees in order to be able to take important cases like this one.

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21. What if I have more questions?

Please call (310) 997-0380.

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