Some of our Recent Cases

Some of our Recent Cases

Dundon, et al. v. Kirchmeier: Rachel Lederman and leading civil rights lawyers from across the country are representing water protectors – members of the indigenous led movement to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline – in a civil rights class action arising from law enforcement’s use of water cannons and dangerous munitions against peaceful water protectors in November, 2016. Lead plaintiff Vanessa Dundon suffered a permanent eye injury and hundreds of others hypothermia, fractures and other serious injuries due to the excessive and indiscriminate use of force. We are currently appealing the North Dakota federal district court’s denial of our request for a preliminary injunction to reign in the police violence. Read more: 

Water Protectors File Arguments in the 8th Circuit on Militarized Policing

Dundon Excessive Force Lawsuit Filed

Bennett, et al. v. Regents: Rachel Lederman and a number of Oakland Law Collaborative colleagues represented UC Berkeley graduate students Katheen Gutierrez and Erin Bennett and alumni Jolisa Wilfong and Nicole Hemenway in their struggle to end sexual harassment on campus. The four students filed complaints accusing former assistant professor Blake Wentworth of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and a hostile and intimidating work environment. After a nearly two year effort, Wentworth was finally terminated by the University in May, 2017, and a tentative monetary settlement has been reached to compensate the students.

Johnson et al. v. City of Berkeley: The Berkeley and Hayward Police used unlawful indiscriminate force against peaceful protesters and journalists during December 6 and 7, 2014, #BlackLivesMatter demonstrations. Rachel Lederman and co-counsel Jim Chanin, filed a federal civil rights lawsuit seeking injunctive relief and damages for those whose civil rights were violated. Settlements were reached in 2016 and 2017 in which the Berkeley Police Department agreed to crowd control policy, use of force and accountability reforms, and compensated nine plaintiffs with a total of more than $200,000. SETTLED.

Read more here.

Santee Tenants: Tenants’ rights lawsuit on behalf of more than 50 low income tenants enduring atrocious housing conditions and discrimination in San Jose.

In re Aguirre: In 2012, César Aguirre was wrongfully convicted of felony vandalism arising from an Occupy Oakland demonstration, after a trial in which the prosecution failed to disclose numerous police body camera videos and reports that contradicted the testimony of the sole prosecution eyewitness against César. Rachel Lederman and co-counsel Brian McComas are fighting to overturn César’s conviction based on the unconstitutional suppression of exculpatory evidence. At a five day evidentiary hearing in 2015, we presented a dozen police videos that had been suppressed from the defense at trial and a dozen witnesses who the original jury never had the chance to hear. Currently, the federal court has stayed Mr. Aguirre’s sentence while it considers his claims.

Burleson v. BART et al: Commuter racially profiled for “riding BART while Black”. BART police assaulted and arrested Albert Burleson even though nothing but his skin color matched the description of the suspect they were looking for. SETTLED.

Read the Complaint FILED.

Save CCSF Coalition v. Officer Lim et al. : City College students brutalized and wrongfully arrested by SFPD and CCSF PD at a March 13, 2014, Save CCSF demonstration. SETTLED.

Read the Lawsuit Complaint: Complaint

NLGSF / Save CCSF Coalition press release HERE

Hashitaka v. Caraway et al.: SFPD choked Takuro Hashitaka into unconsciousness and cut his 10 month old son, Moku, from his chest with a knife. His crime? A bike helmet violation. The police then took Moku to Child Protective Services despite Takuro’s pleas for them to call his wife, who was only a block away. SETTLED.

Read the Complaint: Complaint filed

Chronicle article

Pholey et al. v. KDF Post Street: Housing rights lawsuit on behalf of low income tenants whose Tenderloin apartment building is in abysmal condition and lacks basic security. SETTLED.

De Nies v. Hong: The plaintiff, a vulnerable, mentally disabled person, was illegally locked out of his rental unit and his personal possessions thrown away. SETTLED.

Spangenberg v. Starr King School for the Ministry: Suzi Spangenberg and Julie Brock are former student leaders at Starr King School for the Ministry whose Master of Divinity degrees are being wrongly withheld by the school’s Board of Trustees. VICTORY! Suzi and Julie have received their degrees.

Suzi and Julie’s November 6, 2014, statement to the Ad Hoc Committee