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Ninth Circuit Affirms Burnham Brown Win In Wrongful Death/Alleged Police Excessive Force Case

July 1, 2015

On April 1, 2013, Burnham Brown attorneys John J. Verber and Aimee Hamoy-Perera secured a defense verdict on behalf of two City of Oakland police officers who were alleged to have used excessive force when the police officers used lethal force to apprehend a fleeing domestic violence suspect.  The decedent’s wife, Lanell Jones, filed suit in federal court against the City of Oakland and the two officers, alleging that the officers’ use of force was unconstitutional and violated several state and federal statutes.  At the close of evidence, the trial court dismissed the case against the City of Oakland due to plaintiff’s lack of presentation of evidence to support her claims against the City.  The jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the police officers, who were represented at trial by Burnham Brown.

Plaintiff appealed to the Ninth Circuit, arguing that the trial court was biased against her and that certain documents related to the City’s policies/procedures were improperly excluded.  She also claimed that witnessed were excluded whose testimony could have affected the outcome of the trial. 

The case was argued by Burnham Brown and Plaintiff’s counsel before a 3-judge panel at the Ninth Circuit of Appeals in San Francisco on June 10, 2015.  The appellate court issued its memorandum of disposition on June 25, 2015 and affirmed all the rulings and decisions made by the trial court and upheld the verdict. 

For the complete memorandum, please click on the link below: Jones v. City of Oakland, et al (No. 13-15673).

John J. Verber is the managing partner at Burnham Brown. He has over 25 years of experience representing corporations, public entities and public employees in personal injury, environmental and civil rights litigation. Prior to becoming an attorney, John worked in hospital administration and law enforcement. 

Aimee Hamoy-Perera is a partner and trial attorney at Burnham Brown.  Ms. Hamoy-Perera’s litigation practice includes an emphasis on serious personal injury/premises liability and governmental liability/police excessive force cases.  Ms. Hamoy-Perera has represented national retailer clients throughout California in all aspects of litigation, including mediation and trial.  She is a Bay Area native and an active member of the California Minority Counsel Program.  Prior to joining Burnham Brown in 2007, Ms. Hamoy-Perera was a deputy district attorney in Contra Costa County.


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