LAPD Chief Signals Court Battle Over $12M Recruit Verdict
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com/AP) — LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Tuesday his department plans to fight a $12 million jury award given to five former police recruits who claimed they were wrongfully denied temporary city jobs while recovering from police academy training injuries.
KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports Beck said the LAPD “strongly but respectfully disagrees” with the verdict and that sometimes jurors “don’t get all the information” to make an informed judgment.
According to the Associated Press, Los Angeles Superior Court jurors deliberated for two days before awarding Ryan Atkins and Justin Desmond more than $2.6 million, Douglas Boss $2.5 million, Anthony Lee nearly $2.3 million and Eriberto Orea nearly $2.2 million.
Most of the money was for lost future wages, the Associated Press reported.
In response to the court ruling, Chief Beck pledged to work closely with City Attorney Mike Feuer to appeal the judgement.
“I have discussed this directly with Mike Feuer… and we both will do all in our power to overturn the verdict,” he said, telling KCAL9’s Dave Lopez: “I think that juries do their best and sometimes they don’t get all the information and sometimes they make decisions that I don’t agree with.”
A spokesperson for Feuer’s office said they are currently considering their legal options.
The suit, filed in November 2010, said the city should have accommodated them with other jobs until they recovered. But Feuer’s office argued that the recruits were “conditional employees” who couldn’t perform essential functions of their job, so there was no obligation to place them elsewhere.
Attorney Matthew McNicholas said his clients did not want to drop out of the Academy, but were not ready to resume the rigorous training and were given an ultimatum.
“The lives of these five men were completely destroyed. They testified about how they sold every possession they had,” he told KCAL9.
McNicholas said settlement negotiations were ongoing prior to the ruling.
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