RLS in the California Supreme Court – Great Victory for Police Officers in Brady Discovery Case

By Michael L. Rains and Zachery A. Lopes 7/7/15

On July 6, 2015, the California Supreme Court reaffirmed peace officers’ “strong privacy interest” in the confidentiality of the information in their personnel files, and the long-standing Pitchess motion practice of maintaining the confidentiality of that information to the fullest extent possible when peace officers serve as material witnesses during criminal prosecutions.  Rains Lucia Stern had the honor of speaking for both the Peace Officers’ Research Association of California (“PORAC”) and its members, and the San Francisco Police Officers’ Association (“SFPOA”) and its members, by submitting an Amicus Curiae Brief to the Court on behalf of PORAC and the SFPOA in this important matter. [Read more…]

The Voter Empowerment Act of 2016: Chuck Reed’s and Carl DeMaio’s Latest Assault on Public Employees

By Peter A. Hoffmann and Robert M. Wexler 7/1/15

Former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, and their out-of-state billionaire cohorts have unveiled their latest assault on the men and women in public service.  Artfully devised to play on voter emotions, the deceptively titled “Voter Empowerment Act of 2016” is garnering much fanfare and national attention for publicity-starved politicians.  The proposed initiative represents another misguided attempt to drag California’s state and local governments into the quagmire created by Reed’s disastrous Measure B in San Jose and DeMaio’s equally ill-conceived Proposition B in San Diego. [Read more…]

Body Worn Cameras: One Size Does Not Fit All

By Peter A. Hoffmann 6/26/15


In what is perhaps the greatest irony of the constantly evolving relationship between the law enforcement community and the public it serves, the always boisterous anti-law enforcement constituency continues to demand that local law enforcement agencies equip officers with body worn cameras in order to “police the police.”  Meanwhile, police officers across the country generally welcome the security that comes with recording their day-to-day interactions with an increasingly violent society. [Read more…]

Peace Officer Personnel Files and the California Public Records Act

By Zachery A. Lopes and Robert M. Wexler 6/1/15

Peace officers are experiencing an unprecedented level of public scrutiny generally, and in California specifically.  Today it is not uncommon for an officer’s actions to be reviewed not only internally by his supervisors, but also by a number of “review boards” both internal and external to the law enforcement agency.  What’s more, public interest groups have progressively inserted themselves in the fray by demanding access to audio, video and documentary evidence concerning peace officer conduct during arrests, uses of force, critical incidents and other law enforcement activities.  With police actions being increasingly captured on video, and given the inescapably sensational and emotional nature of much of that footage, the public’s scrutiny of law enforcement actions will likely continue its skyward trend. [Read more…]

RLS Workers’ Compensation Alternative Dispute Resolution Carve-Out Program

RLS has been working with the Fresno POA for well over a year in developing a groundbreaking Workers’ Compensation Alternative Dispute Resolution & Carve-Out Program (“Work Comp ADR Carve-Out Program”). “Carve-out” is a generic description for an alternative to traditional work comp programs that have been utilized in the private sector for many years.  However, the innovative and novel program that we have developed with the FPOA is all-inclusive, comprehensive, preventive and includes financial incentives and rewards for both the associations and individual employees. [Read more…]

Rains Lucia Stern Welcomes Robert M. Wexler!

We are extremely pleased to announce that Rob Wexler has joined Rains Lucia Stern as a partner.  Rob has established a reputation as one of the premier labor attorneys in the State of California representing pubic employees.  As a long-time resident of Southern California, Rob will represent the firm’s clients throughout the region. [Read more…]

Rains Lucia Stern, PC trial attorney Eustace de Saint Phalle and his co-counsel Michael Gatto win a future damage award that exceeds $100,000,000 in a medical malpractice case

Last Thursday afternoon a jury in Contra Costa County returned a verdict in the case of Brian C (a minor) vs. Contra Costa County Health Services, a medical malpractice case concerning negligent management of a twin pregnancy which resulted in the death of one twin and severe brain injury of the other.  The jury determined that the surviving twin would likely live another 74 years, would never be employable, and would need extensive future medical care for the rest of his life for a total future damage award of $111,700,000. [Read more…]

Community Violence Solutions: The Unsung Heroes of the CCC Justice System

From: Contra Costa Lawyer
By Terry Leoni 2/1/15

Community Violence Solutions (CVS) opened its doors in 1974, as the Rape Crisis Clinic of Contra Costa and Marin counties. Although its name has changed since its inception 41 years ago, its mission has remained the same—to support adult and child survivors of sexual assault. It is not only one of the oldest organizations of its kind in California, but also in the country, with staff who works tirelessly to assist those in need after a sexual assault. [Read more…]

Attorneys’ Fees Awarded in a Precedent-Setting Disciplinary Decision

By Sarah Burdick

RLS attorneys Sarah Burdick and Jonathan Murphy handing Dee Dee Lundquist a check for attorneys’ fees awarded against the City of Oakland in the Mausz arbitration.

RLS attorneys Sarah Burdick and Jonathan Murphy handing Dee Dee Lundquist a check for attorneys’ fees awarded against the City of Oakland in arbitration.

A neutral Arbitrator has recently made an unprecedented award in an Oakland POA discipline case.  The Arbitrator awarded full back-pay for a served five-day suspension, plus interest, attorneys’ fees, and fully overturned all sustained allegations in an appeal action against the City of Oakland.  The award of attorneys’ fees (which are not called for in the MOU) were essentially made as a sanction for the City’s conduct. As the Arbitrator explained: [Read more…]

Mob rule by protesters is not the road to justice

From: SFGate
By Harry S. Stern 12/18/14

Nearly two decades ago, the great constitutional scholar George Anastaplo asked me to contribute to a law review article he was writing about the aftermath of O.J. Simpson’s acquittal of murder charges by a jury in Los Angeles. I had something of a unique perspective: I was working as a police officer while a law student. [Read more…]