Legal Cases

This page describes some of my more important cases, and certainly doesn't cover all the cases I've taken (especially because some clients don't want their cases public). I tried to pick the cases that I believe had the biggest public impact.

The Deportation of Rafael Valdez (February 2014)

My client: Rafael valdez
This is still my most important and active case. The U.S. government deported my client Rafael Valdez, a Mexican National. He is married to an American wife and has two American children. But because he's been declared an illegal for life, his family has been split up. I knew this case was rotten from the beginning. The ICE Director and ICE attorney who prosecuted him have both been charged with fraud and are serving time in prison now.

Here are the articles covering this topic:

White American Mother Suffers Because Of American Deportations Against Latinos (February 2014)

Rafael applies for asylum, denied. (November 18, 2015)

The American Wife Who Self-Deported For Her Husband (June 19, 2018)

Ice Prosecutor, Raphael Sanchez, sentenced to four years in prison (July 2, 2018)

Casas v. City of Baldwin Park I (September 2013)

My client: Julian Casas
This was my first major case and my first trial. We sued to get an accounting of how the city was spending it's finances. After winning this trial, the court declared that the City of Baldwin Park violated the Public Records Act. It ordered that the City release the records.

Sadly though, we never got all the records. Court order after court order, the city claimed it didn't have any more to give, even though the City was found to have lied on several instances. The Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the City. Reform is required for the Act, when City officials intentionally lie about not having records.

Take Away Point: You have to follow the money to prove how the city officials and administrators are stealing it. To do this, ask for the bank statements of ALL the city bank accounts. There may be hidden bank accounts that your government agency is not telling you about.

Here are the articles covering this topic:

Head Boxing Coach Sues the City Manager Vijay Singhal of the City of Baldwin Park (September 2013)

Boxers win public records act trial against City of Baldwin Park (September 3, 2014)

Baldwin Park loses $38,500 for not releasing records (January 24, 2015)

(C) Ghetty Image
Even after winning records lawsuit, city still refuses to release records (February 22, 2015)

Even after court order, Baldwin Park still refuses to release records (August 14, 2015)

Baldwin Park still refuses to release records after court order  (February 1, 2016)

Court of Appeals rules city doesn't have to release records on court order (April 5, 2017)

Casas v. City of Baldwin Park II (April 2014)

This was my second public records act and corporate acts case. I lost this case, when I shouldn't have. I sued the City of Baldwin Park and the Baldwin Park Community Center Corporation, because the city was laundering money in the form of gift cards through the nonprofit. The City refused to release records on behalf of the nonprofit. The nonprofit refused to release records too. This kind of case is called alter ego. I think the Californian courts found it difficult to understand the legal issues facing a government, which uses a sham nonprofit.

Secondary Issue Arises: Indemnification

Another issue that came up, and I lost on, was that the court said it was fine for the City to use taxpayer money to defend Manny Carrillo's sham nonprofit. I still disagree with the court's ruling on this. The City cannot use city money to hire an attorney for a sham nonprofit. For a fuller legal discussion on this topic, see my Business Day Opinion.

Eugène Delacroix, Liberty Leading the People
Must we eat grass too?
Take away point:

1. Litigating alter-ego cases are very difficult, because they're legally and intellectually complex (hence the reason that evildoers like using them).

2. If a government agency is using an alter ego nonprofit, perhaps just sue the nonprofit and not the agency for the records.

3. Be aware that government agencies are illegally using foundations and nonprofits as shell entities to launder money and do other illegal activities. 

Here are the articles I've written on this topic:

By Banksy
Another CPRA Lawsuit Filed Against City of Baldwin Park and Sham Nonprofit (April 2014)

City illegally pays for Carrillo's attorney's fees (January 8, 2015)

Carrillo admits he's been running an illegal nonprofit, also featured in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune (February 3, 2015)

Question on whether the city can pay for Carrillo's attorney fees appeal (January 11, 2016)

Court of Appeals say city can pay Carrillo's personal legal fees (March 31, 2016)

Government agencies shouldn't pay employees' personal legal fees (April 4, 2016)

Court ok's Carrillo not releasing records (August 26, 2016)

Court of Appeal summarily denies alter ego appeal (September 14, 2016)

Supreme Court filed: Can a government agency really run a sham nonprofit? Petition denied. (March 15, 2017

People v. Gonzales (March 2014)

My client
In my so-far only criminal defense case, Los Angeles County was trying to allege that my client committed insurance fraud. We suspected the real reason behind this felony charge was because my client wouldn't sell his land to the City of Los Angeles and developers. In any event, I won the case. The prosecutors withdrew the charges after litigating for a few years.

Latino Mechanic Accuses the City of Los Angeles For Persecuting Him Because He Won't Sell His Property (March 2014).

Lozano v. Cook (July 2014) & 
Ricardo Pacheco, Garcia, & Lozano v. Greg S. Tuttle (February 2016)

The not-so-bright Mayor Lozano in small claims court
The activist has to be aware that the number one weapon politicians try to use to shut us up is the temporary restraining order (TRO). To file one, hardly any proof is needed, and the politician wants to terrorize you, harm your reputation, and slow you down by asking the court to order you to stop protesting.

In any event, I prevailed against Lozano a couple times. I ended up taking him to small claims court for malicious prosecution, which in practice, is no longer an actionable claim in California.

I asked the California Supreme Court to rule on this case, because there are it little protection for us activists from angry politicians. The Court made a ruling and sent the Lozano case back to the Court of Appeals to look into it. In the end, without giving the case a seriously look, the Court of Appeal dismissed the case. I was frustrated that this happened too. We, the people, deserve to have the law protect us too.

In any event, I advise you: have the courage to defend yourself against petty and small-minded politicians, like the evil and desperate Mayor Lozano. In fact, Lozano did this again to another activist, after the court told him to stop using the court process as a way to terrorize activists.

Take away points:

By Banksy
Don't let them take away our Free Speech! - P.
1. Show up to the TRO hearing to defend yourself.

2. Don't let a commissioner hear your case. Ask for a judge. It's your right.

3. If you win, ask for attorney's fees.

4. If the case continues to a preliminary restraining order, file an anti-SLAPP motion.

Here are the articles covering these two cases:

Lozano Files Restraining Order Against Me (July 28, 2014)

I win against Lozano's Meritless Restraining Order (July 29, 2014)

Activist Attorney sues Mayor for Filing Frivolous Temporary Restraining Order Against Him (October 1, 2014)

Baldwin Park Covers Up Evidence Against Me (November 5, 2014)

Small Claims Court Ok'd Mayor Slandering me (March 5, 2014)

Suing the Mayor in small claims ends up in newspaper (March 7, 2014)

Lozano laughing stock of Los Angeles, front page of the LA Times (March 30, 2015)

LA Times publishes strip search suit (June 5, 2015)

Victory is possible
Pacheco files lawsuit against small business owner who exposed his luxury taxpayer holiday (February 5, 2016)

Tuttle defeats Pacheco, Garcia, & Lozano's Restraining Orders (March 4, 2016)

Washington Post writes legal analysis on restraining order case (March 15, 2016)

California Supreme Court Opens up Lozano's Restraining Order Against Me (April 30, 2016)

Small business owner sues Mayor and Council Members in Small Claims (November 2, 2016)

No comments:

Post a Comment