Irvine Partner, Zachary Schwartz and Associate, Amanda Peterson Obtain Another Unanimous
Defense Verdict for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department
Zachary Schwartz, a Partner in the Irvine Office, and Amanda Peterson, an Associate in the Irvine Office, completed a 3-day civil rights jury trial in the Central District of California and obtained a 8-0 unanimous defense verdict. Mr. Schwartz and Ms. Peterson represented the County of Orange and a deputy from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The Plaintiff was a prisoner in the Orange County Jail and was pursing Fourth Amendment and Eighth Amendment claims arising from a hand search procedure conducted on the inmates, including Plaintiff, when returning from court. The searches are used by the deputies to eliminate drugs and contraband from entering the jail, and the search involves the inmates stripping down to their boxers and being searched by hand. Plaintiff claimed that the deputy fondled his testicles and inserted a finger in his anus during the search, which Plaintiff claimed was unreasonable in violation the Fourth Amendment and constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. The County of Orange was dismissed from the case after a successful Motion for Summary Judgment, and the civil rights claims against the Deputy went to trial. The deputy denied the allegations that he painfully touched the Plaintiff’s genitals or inserted a finger in his anus.