The Los Angeles County Claims Board settled out an injury lawsuit for $150,000 in December 2006 that resulted from a jail visitor being injured after scrapping with deputies in the visiting lobby.
On September 5, 2004, Jamal Johnson, who was on probation, came to the Los Angeles County Men?s Central Jail accompanied by family members to visit a prisoner to inform him of a death in the family. Inside the visitor's lobby, sheriff's deputies spotted Johnson's cell phone -- a prohibited item -- and asked him to take it outside and store it. When Johnson did not comply, and just walked away, deputies escorted him outside and told him he could not return that day. Nonetheless, Johnson made his way back in. Deputies, spotting him, escorted him outside the lobby and patted him down. At that time, Johnson struck the deputy with his elbow. Five deputies, using physical force and pepper spray, subdued Johnson and arrested him for battery on a peace officer. He was hospitalized for several days in the jail ward, but the District Attorney did not prosecute him.
Johnson sued for his "significant" injuries to his neck and for emotional injuries. While the county claims Johnson's problems were his own fault from his assault on the deputies, Johnson claims the charges were trumped up. To avoid a potential trial liability of $415,000, the county settled in December 2006 for $150,000, inclusive of all damages, costs and attorney fees. Johnson?s demand had been for $965,000. See: Johnson v. County of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Superior Court, Case No. BC 331948.
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