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Tony Sain and Lynn Carpenter Win Another Jury Trial for Riverside County

Manning & Kass Partner Tony M. Sain and Associate Lynn L. Carpenter have won a unanimous defense verdict for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in a federal civil rights jury trial. Plaintiff alleged that the Department’s K-9 deputy used excessive force by biting plaintiff and that officers left the police dog on the bite for too long at a time when plaintiff was not a threat. After a five day trial and less than 90 minutes of deliberations, the jury disagreed and returned a verdict in favor of our clients. This victory comes just two months after Sain and Carpenter delivered another defense verdict for Riverside County in the trial of Tucker v. County of Riverside.

The jury relied on facts presented by Sain and Carpenter that revealed the plaintiff to be an active threat to the public when the K-9 deputy was deployed to subdue him, and that his own violent, combative actions lead to the severe damage to his legs. During a 40 minute vehicle pursuit while under the influence of an illegal controlled substance, plaintiff nearly ran over a uniformed deputy before his vehicle was disabled by spike strips. Plaintiff then fled towards a residential area, ignoring all officer commands to stop and a warning that the police dog was about to be deployed, portending a possible hostage situation.

After the police dog was release-deployed with the bite command, plaintiff not only fought with several uniformed deputies – including repeatedly punching one of the deputies in a residential field – but he tried to rip the dog’s teeth off of his leg during the bite, transforming what would have been minor puncture-type injuries into a permanent disability. Notably, plaintiff and a neighborhood witness called by the plaintiff claimed that he had been knocked to the ground by a patrol car and was then unmoving, non-resistant, and unconscious while the police dog was biting him in the residential field.  However, the defense team was able to use both the prior interviews and statements of the plaintiff and the witness to debunk the no-resistance story as a post-lawsuit fabrication. 

Tony M. Sain is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Manning & Kass, where he practices on the Governmental Entity Defense Team defending public agencies and officers in civil rights actions and employment cases, as well as other clients in general litigation, including the defense of other public and private entity tort cases and entertainment-related matters. Mr. Sain has successfully defended our clients as a lead trial attorney in several jury and administrative trials on police/civil rights or employment cases, and he has also served as a pro bono prosecutor at trial for Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.

Lynn L. Carpenter is an associate attorney in the Los Angeles office of Manning & Kass. She practices with the Governmental Entity Liability Team. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Carpenter was an assistant district attorney in Payne County, Oklahoma, where her work as lead or co-counsel resulted in the successful prosecution of complex felony assault trials including child abuse, sexual assault, and domestic violence.