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  • Former LAPD Recruits Win Lawsuit Over Department

    A judge today upheld a jury’s award of more than $2 million apiece to five former Los Angeles police recruits who were denied the temporary city jobs they sought while recovering from injuries suffered during training at the police academy.

    Los Angeles Superior Court Frederick Shaller denied motions by the City Attorney’s Office to either issue a judgment in the city’s favor despite the verdicts or to grant a new trial.

    The City Attorney’s Office argued that the verdicts were not supported by the evidence. Shaller disagreed.

    “The compendium of exhibits filed by plaintiffs supports every aspect of the verdict,” he wrote in his four-page ruling.

    Shaller also found that the amount of the damages awarded May 5 to former recruits Anthony Lee, Ryan Atkins, Douglas Boss, Justin Desmond and Eriberto Orea was not excessive.

    “The court cannot find that any of the damages awards are close to unreasonable or that another or different verdict should have been reached,” the judge wrote. The five sued in November 2010, maintaining that the city was required by law to accommodate them after they were hurt during training by giving them other jobs within the city until they recovered.

    Atkins and Desmond were both awarded more than $2.6 million. Boss received $2.5 million, Lee $2.28 million and Orea $2.17 million. The majority portion of most of the money awarded the five was for lost future wages.

    Plaintiffs’ attorney Matthew McNicholas said his clients would have been interested in many of the hundreds of alternative city jobs that were available at the time.

    Deputy City Attorney Richard Loomis countered during the trial that the city had no obligation to find other work for the former recruits. He said the only job openings were for permanent positions and that it would be a burden on other city departments to be forced to employ people on a temporary basis.

    Loomis argued that the five recruits were “conditional employees” who were unable to perform the essential functions of their job, and the city, therefore, had no obligation to place them elsewhere.

    Atkins resigned and the others were fired. McNicholas said Atkins quit only because he feared he would never get a job with the LAPD if he was terminated.

  • #2
    I am curious to see what impact this will have on future hiring by LAPD and maybe even other agencies. I am torn on this one. I can see both sides. Sucks for the recruits for getting the dirty end but at same time unless something super negligent by the department or academy why should they have to retain someone. I thought people were retained as a courtesy not an obligation. Learn something new everyday.
    Good... Bad... Im the guy with the gun

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    • #3
      I don't know any agency who fires their recruits because they are injured during training. It's amazing LAPD ever got away with this.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by nobodyjr View Post
        I don't know any agency who fires their recruits because they are injured during training. It's amazing LAPD ever got away with this.
        It's not an LAPD rule, POST requires a certain amount of hours and if you are injured and miss too many hours and/or classes, you will be released from the academy (unemployed).

        It's the same during FTO and probation, you have to be full duty and complete FTO and probation within a certain amount of time as required under civil service rules.

        Workman's comp will cover your injury but only up to a year.

        If you can't get cleared for full duty and complete the academy, FTO, and probationary period, you will be released.

        It happens all the time with my
        Agency.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by CA Cop View Post
          It's not an LAPD rule, POST requires a certain amount of hours and if you are injured and miss too many hours and/or classes, you will be released from the academy (unemployed).

          It's the same during FTO and probation, you have to be full duty and complete FTO and probation within a certain amount of time as required under civil service rules.

          Workman's comp will cover your injury but only up to a year.

          If you can't get cleared for full duty and complete the academy, FTO, and probationary period, you will be released.

          It happens all the time with my
          Agency.

          So someone breaks an arm in the academy or FTO and instead of having them shuffle some paper around and answer some phone calls until they can be recycled, or continue on, they get canned??? #1 That's messed up. #2 It sounds like workers comp violations, and in most cases a violation of 4850 of the labor code. You can't just fire people even if they don't meet POST requirements for graduating the academy, if they are medically injured on the job. It looks like LAPD found that out the hard way. We put them doing phone reports, in records, in admin jobs, etc etc.

          We also have people who are headed towards failing training and know how to play the medical game. We get rid of them eventually, but my department has enough lawyers that it doesn't bother exposing itself to a huge liability like LAPD did here.

          One of the issues LAPD might have is the lack of a separate civil service class for Police Recruits. I think they hire everyone as a Police Officer I... they do not have a separate civil service class for recruits. I think with that they would be entitled to 4850 rights under that job title.
          Last edited by nobodyjr; 07-20-2014, 07:04 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by nobodyjr View Post
            So someone breaks an arm in the academy or FTO and instead of having them shuffle some paper around and answer some phone calls until they can be recycled, or continue on, they get canned??? #1 That's messed up. #2 It sounds like workers comp violations, and in most cases a violation of 4850 of the labor code. You can't just fire people even if they don't meet POST requirements for graduating the academy, if they are medically injured on the job. It looks like LAPD found that out the hard way. We put them doing phone reports, in records, in admin jobs, etc etc.

            We also have people who are headed towards failing training and know how to play the medical game. We get rid of them eventually, but my department has enough lawyers that it doesn't bother exposing itself to a huge liability like LAPD did here.

            One of the issues LAPD might have is the lack of a separate civil service class for Police Recruits. I think they hire everyone as a Police Officer I... they do not have a separate civil service class for recruits. I think with that they would be entitled to 4850 rights under that job title.
            I'm not saying whether it's right or wrong, but that's how my Agency does it, same like LAPD. I've known a lot of good recruits that were released during the academy because they missed too many hours due to injuries sustained during defensive tactics.

            You get injured and can't complete the academy, FTO, probationary period, a recruit will get released.

            Maybe things will change now with this huge payout with the LAPD.

            Comment


            • #7
              These recruits sustained injuries in the performance of their duties and they get fired as a result of it? I'm amazed nobody has sued them in federal court yet.

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              • #8
                I think many agencies classify recruits attending an academy as a "Trainee". They had the right to terminate me if I was unable to complete the academy or FTO. That was my classification at my department. Also, our Trainees don't get to join the POA or have LDF until they finished the academy.

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                • #9
                  On my dept. Deputy Sheriff Trainee is a distinct job title and is classified as a temporary position. They can technically be let go at any time without cause. However, if it appears a medical injury sustained in training will keep a trainee from completing the academy but is not necessarily career ending we frequently find something else for them to do as an "off the streeter" until they can return to the academy.
                  Today's Quote:

                  "The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits."
                  Albert Einstein

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