News & Press

Bill Haluck and Zachary Schwartz Win Defense Verdict in Federal Civil Rights Trial

On April 10, 2019, Bill Haluck and Zachary Schwartz, Partners in the Irvine Office, obtained an 8-0 unanimous defense verdict for their client in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.  Plaintiff, a Protective Custody inmate housed in the Orange County Jail, sued the County of Orange and one of its employees, a Correctional Services Assistant (CSA) working in the jail, after the CSA opened the Plaintiff’s cell door and inadvertently allowed two high security inmates to access and assault the Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleged violations of his Fourteenth Amendment rights for failure to protect and denial of medical care and associated Monell claims against the County of Orange. Plaintiff also alleged a number of state law claims and was seeking punitive damages against the County employee.

Mr. Schwartz filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and obtained summary judgment for the County of Orange while also getting all but two claims against the employee dismissed —violation of the Fourteenth Amendment for failure to protect and negligence. The case proceeded to trial as against the employee on the two remaining claims and Plaintiff continued to seek punitive damages. Mr. Haluck and Mr. Schwartz co-tried the case. The jury deliberated for just 30 minutes before giving their unanimous verdict for the defense.