Civil Law

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The core theme of the U.S. Constitution is balancing the need for government action against the right of individual citizens. Over the years and after thousands of cases, a complicated body of law has developed governing the right of free expression under the First Amendment, the freedom from unreasonable search and seizures under the Fourth Amendment, the right to due process under the Fifth Amendment and the right to equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment. In addition, the right to enforce these rules by litigation is subject to its own set of rules and limitations.

Most of my career has been devoted to understanding and applying these principles on behalf of my clients. My experience in representing both plaintiffs and defendants gives me an insight that benefits all of my clients. Here are some examples of some of my successes:

I represented a police officer and his employer in claims arising out of the shooting of two robbery suspects, one of whom died from his injuries. The shooting sparked demonstrations and heavy criticism of the officer and the police department. The federal claims were voluntarily dismissed when I obtained a ruling in federal court that plaintiffs had waived their right to a jury trial. A state court jury then rendered a unanimous defense verdict.

I represented a police officer who struck a burglary suspect in the head with his service revolver. Plaintiff contended that he had suffered permanent brain injury and sought several million dollars in damages. I obtained a defense jury verdict in federal district court.

I represented a homeowner who had been locked in a dispute with the city in which he lived over the height of his hedge. One morning, the city sent the public works department to his home to cut his hedge to the ground and spray herbicides on the stumps for good measure. I brought an action alleging violations of the homeowner’s Fourth Amendment rights and retaliation for exercise of First Amendment rights. I negotiated a settlement under which my client received a variance from the city’s hedge height ordinance and a substantial monetary payment.


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