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Case Number: 3:21-cv-05636
Judge: Edward M. Chen
Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco County)
Defendant's Attorney: Christopher B. Whitman, Katherine B. Bearman, Meredith Blagden Osborn
Description: San Francisco, California civil rights lawyers represented Plaintiff who sued the Defendants claiming that they violated his constitutional rights.
On May 19, 2007, when Plaintiff Francisco Valle was 51 years old, he alleges he was walking in San Francisco with his friend David Fuentes when the Officer Defendants suddenly “drove up” and Officer Cravalho “jumped out of the passenger seat with his gun drawn.” Plaintiff immediately put his hands up to show he was unarmed, but despite his “clear demonstration that he was unarmed, ” Officer Morgado began shooting at him. Morgado shot Plaintiffs middle finger on his right hand, causing him to bleed, and another bullet went over Plaintiffs head. Plaintiff alleges that after Morgado began shooting his companion, David Fuentes, came running up to Plaintiff, and, “in plain sight of Morgado and Cravalho” “pulled out his own gun and shot back at Defendant Morgado.” To stop Fuentes from possibly shooting an officer and end the shoot-out between Fuentes and police, Plaintiff allegedly grabbed Fuentes' gun and fled. Plaintiff was allegedly found in the vicinity, laying behind a bush, bleeding profusely. When the officers found him, they allegedly “unleashed police dogs that attacked Plaintiff and caused him to bleed from his shoulder.
Plaintiff alleges that in order to cover up their misconduct and because they were already facing disciplinary action in other cases, Morgado and Cravalho fabricated a false story in which they claimed that Plaintiff had shot at them. The Offer Defendants also allegedly erased Fuentes's participation from their account of the incident. Plaintiff alleges Morgado and Cravalho went on to secure Plaintiffs wrongful conviction at trial for attempted murder by fabricating additional evidence and withholding exculpatory evidence that included the entirety of Cravalho's criminal history and disciplinary misconduct. As a result, Plaintiff alleges he spent thirteen years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, deprived of family, freedom, and opportunity, and locked away in harsh and dangerous conditions.
In 2017, the Court of Appeal for the State of California vacated Plaintiffs conviction, determining that Defendants had violated Plaintiff s Brady rights by concealing from him exculpatory and impeachment evidence regarding Morgado and Cravalho's histories of misconduct. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges there is evidence demonstrating that Defendant Officers Morgado and Cravalho are documented liars, with histories of violent and aggressive behavior toward civilians, criminal convictions, abuses of authority, and dishonesty. Plaintiff alleges, for example, that the California Court of Appeal, has characterized Defendant Cravalho as a “a proven teller of untruths, with an established history of aggressive conduct towards civilians” and “belligerence, ” a “demonstrated propensity for throwing around his weight as a police officer, ” and a pattern of using his officer status to “evade accountability.” Defendant Morgado allegedly has a history of prior civilian complaints alleging unprovoked aggressive behavior and brutality toward citizens, has a criminal conviction for battery of a civilian, and was fired after video indicated that he lied about using racist language and falsely arresting a U.S. Army veteran.
In 2020, the San Francisco District Attorney's Office dropped all charges against Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges his wrongful conviction would not have occurred if not for the policies and practices of Defendant City and County of San Francisco. Among other policies and practices, Plaintiff alleges the City's failure to train, supervise and discipline rogue police officers like Morgado and Cravalho was part of a broken system that allowed officers to commit repeated misconduct with impunity. Plaintiff further alleges the City's policies and practices emboldened officers such as Morgado and Cravalho to engage in the reckless misconduct that injured him, and the lies and fabrications used to frame him.
Based on the above allegations, Plaintiff alleges twelve causes of action against Defendants. The first six are federqal law claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging (1) violations the Fourteenth Amendment by the Officer Defendants pursuant to City policy; (2) illegal detention and prosecution in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments by the Officer Defendants pursuant to City policy; (3) “failure to disclose exculpatory information” in violation of due process by the Officer Defendants; (4) “failure to intervene” by the Officer Defendants pursuant to City policy; (5) “conspiracy” by the Officer Defendants to deprive him of his constitutional rights; and (6) the City had “written policies and unwritten customs” that caused Plaintiffs alleged wrongful conviction. The final six claims are California state law claims for: (7) intentional infliction of emotional distress by the Officer Defendants; (8) “civil conspiracy” by the Officer Defendants; (9) “tortious hiring and retention” by the City; (10) “respondeat superior” against the City citing California Government Code section 815.2; (11) violation of the California Civil Code section 52.1 (the Bane Act) by the individual Officer Defendants; and (12) “indemnification” against the City citing California Government Code section 825.
Outcome: 04/18/2023 74 Order by Judge Edward M Chen GRANTING 73 STIPULATED DISMISSAL WITH PREJUDICE. (vla, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 4/18/2023) (Entered: 04/18/2023)