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Case5:15-cv-00355 Document1 Filed01/26/15 Page1 of 12

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JAIME A. LEAÑOS, Esq.—SBN: 159471 MORALES & LEAÑOS 75 E. Santa Clara Street, Suite 250 San Jose, CA 95113 Telephone: (408) 294-6800 Facsimile: (408) 294-7102 E-mail: jleanoslaw@pacbell.net

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Attorney for Plaintiff

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA SAN JOSE DIVISION

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J.A.L., a minor, by and through his Guardian Ad Litem LAURIE VALDEZ,

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1. 42 U.S.C. §1983 & 1981 (Fourth Amendment) 2. 42 U.S.C §1983 & 1981 (Due Process & Fourteenth Amendment) 3. Wrongful Death 4. Negligence

v.

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COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

Plaintiff,

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CASE NO: CV 15-00355

MIKE SANTOS, individually and as a Police Officer of the San Jose State University Police , FRIT VAN DER HOEK, individually and as a Police Officer of the San Jose State University Police, and DOES 1-10, inclusive,

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Defendants.

[JURY TRIAL DEMANDED]

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Plaintiff J.A.L., a minor, by and through his Guardian ad Litem, LAURIE

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VALDEZ, hereby alleges as follows:

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//// 1 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES


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I.

INTRODUCTION 1. This civil rights action seeks compensatory and punitive damages of

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J.A.L., a minor (or “Plaintiff”), by and through his Guardian ad Litem, LAURIE

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VALDEZ from San Jose State Police Sergeant MIKE SANTOS, San Jose State

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Police Officer FRIT VAN DER HOEK (“Defendants”), and Does 1-10 inclusive

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for violating various rights under the United States Constitution and state law in

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connection with the wrongful death of Plaintiff’s father, Antonio Guzmán López

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(“Decedent”).

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2. On the morning of February 21, 2014, Officer Fritz Van Der Hoek

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and Sergeant Mike Santos were dispatched to San Jose State University in

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response to reports that a man was walking around the campus with a knife.

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Officer Van Der Hoek and Sergeant Santos were uniformed San Jose State

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University police officers and were driving a marked patrol vehicle. At the same

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time, Antonio Guzman Lopez, the decedent, was located just outside the San Jose

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State University campus near the intersection of 8th Street and San Salvador

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Street in downtown San Jose, California.

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3. At approximately 11:00 a.m., Officer Van Der Hoek and Sergeant

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Santos pulled into the intersection of 8th Street and San Salvador Street in their

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marked patrol vehicle. The decedent saw the officers and walked away.

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4. Sergeant Santos alleges that the decedent charged towards Officer

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Van Der Hoek with a knife. Neither Officer Van Der Hoek nor Sergeant Santos

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commanded the decedent to stop. Without warning, Sergeant Santos fired his gun

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at the decedent. The decedent was hit twice in his back and fell face-down to the

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ground. The gunshot wounds proved fatal.

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5. Officer Van Der Hoek and Sergeant Santos stood and waited by their

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patrol vehicle for a short time before approaching the decedent. While the

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decedent was laying face-down on the ground, the officers place him in handcuffs.

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No medical aid was provided to the decedent until the paramedics arrived 2 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES


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approximately 15 (fifteen) minutes later. 6. The force used by Defendants, Sergeant Santos, Officer Frit Van

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Der Hoek and DOES 1-10, in shooting Antonio Guzman Lopez while he was

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unarmed and failing to administer medical aid after he was shot and wounded was

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excessive, unreasonable, and resulted in the wrongful death of Antonio Guzman

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Lopez. 7. Plaintiff J.A.L., a minor, by and through his Guardian ad Litem,

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LAURIE VALDEZ, now bring this case to expose the wrongdoing of the

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defendants and to vindicate Antonio Guzman Lopez’s (“Decedent’s”) civil rights.

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II.

JURISDICTION AND VENUE 8. This Court has jurisdiction of the subject matter of this action under

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42 U.S.C. Sections 1983 for the deprivation of rights secured by the Fourth and

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Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. The jurisdiction

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of this court is predicated upon 28 U.S.C. Section 1331.

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9.

The Court has personal jurisdiction over each named defendant

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named herein because the plaintiff is informed and believes and on that basis

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alleges that each defendant is currently domiciled in the State of California.

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10. The court has pendant and supplemental jurisdiction over the state

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law claims alleged herein pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section 1367. The pendant state

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law claims contained in this Complaint arise from the same nucleus of operative

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facts, and involves identical issues of fact and law, as the federal claims, such that

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the entire action constitutes a single case appropriate for prosecution as a single

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proceeding.

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11. On or about June 25, 2014, Plaintiff presented a written claim for

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damages with the Trustees of the California State University pursuant to

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California Government Code Section 910 et seq. Pursuant to California

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Government Section 911.6(c) and 912.4(c) the statutory deadline to respond has 3 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES


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now passed and Plaintiff’s claim is deemed rejected. This complaint is thus

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timely and properly commenced on all state claims pursuant to applicable

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provisions of the Government Code. 12. Venue is proper in the Northern District of California, under 28

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U.S.C. Section 1391(b)(1) and (2) because some or all of the defendants to this

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action reside in this District and because a substantial part, if not all, of the events

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or omissions giving rise to Plaintiff’s claim occurred in this judicial district.

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III.

INTRADISTRICT ASSIGNMENT 13. Pursuant to Northern District Civil Local Rule 3-2 (c), intradistrict

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assignment to the San Jose Division of the Court is proper because a substantial

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part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claims herein occurred in the

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County of Santa Clara.

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IV.

PARTIES

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14. Plaintiff, J.A.L., a minor, by and through his Guardian ad Litem,

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LAURIE VALDEZ, is the natural child of Antonio Guzman Lopez (Decedent),

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and is a resident of the United States of America in Santa Clara County, California

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and afforded the protections and rights of the United States Constitution.

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Decedent, Antonio Guzman Lopez, died intestate in California. Under the laws of

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California, including Probate Code §6402, the child is an heir and beneficiary of

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Antonio Guzman Lopez, and this action is brought for the benefit of said heir,

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who is entitled to recover all damages, costs and expenses allowable by statute.

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15. Decedent was, at the time of his death, a resident of the City of San Jose, County of Santa Clara, and State of California, United States of America. 16. Defendant, Sergeant Mike Santos, sued in both his individual and

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official capacities, is a resident of California on information and belief, and at all

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relevant times has been a Police Officer with San Jose State University. 4 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES


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17. Defendant, Officer Fritz Van Der Hoek, sued in both his individual

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and official capacities, is a resident of California on information and belief, and at

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all relevant times has been a Police Officer with San Jose State University. 18. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and thereon alleges, that at all

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times mentioned herein, each and every defendant was the agent, servant,

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employee, and/or representative of each and every other defendant and, in doing

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the things complained of herein, was acting within the scope of that agency,

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service, employment and in concert, and/or representation, and that each and

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every defendant is jointly and severally responsible and liable to plaintiff for the

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damages hereinafter alleged. 19. Plaintiff is ignorant of the true names and/or capacities of

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defendants sued herein as DOES 1 through 10, inclusive, (Doe Defendants) and

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therefore sues said defendants by such fictitious names. Plaintiff will amend this

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complaint to allege their true names and capacities when ascertained. 20. Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that each of

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the Doe Defendants is legally responsible and liable for the incident, injuries, and

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damages set forth herein, and that each of the defendants proximately caused said

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incident, injuries, and damages by reason of their violation of constitutional and

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legal rights, negligence, breach of duty, negligent supervision, management or

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control, or by reason of other personal, vicarious or imputed negligence, fault or

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breach of duty, whether severally or jointly, or whether based upon agency,

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employment or control or upon any other act or omission. 21. Each of the Defendants, including Does 1 through 10, caused and is

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responsible for the unlawful conduct described herein and the resulting injuries

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and death by, among other things, personally participating in the unlawful conduct

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or acting jointly or conspiring with others who did so, with deliberate indifference

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to Plaintiff’s rights.

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//// 5 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES


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22. In doing the acts and/or omissions alleged herein, Defendant

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Sergeant Mike Santos, Defendant Officer Fritz Van Der Hoek and Doe

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Defendants acted under color of authority and/or under color of law and pursuant

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to their respective authorities as police officers with San Jose State University.

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23. All individual defendants are guilty of fraud, oppression, and/or

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malice that would justify the imposition of punitive and exemplary damages.

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V.

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS 24. On or about the morning of February 21, 2014, 38-year-old Antonio

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Guzman Lopez, the Decedent, was walking in the area of of 8th Street and San

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Salvador Street in downtown San Jose, California, near the southern end of the

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San Jose State University campus.

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25. At the same time, Defendant Officer Fritz Van Der Hoek and

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Defendant Sergeant Mike Santos were on duty members of the San Jose State

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University Police Department. They were operating a fully marked San Jose State

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University police patrol vehicle. Both were wearing San Jose State University

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police uniforms and were equipped with typical police equipment on their

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persons, including body cameras. However, Defendants now allege that their body

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cameras malfunctioned and the incident was not recorded.

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26. At approximately 11:00 a.m., Officer Van Der Hoek and Sergeant

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Santos responded to an alleged 911 call reporting that a man was walking around

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the San Jose State University campus with a knife. Officer Van Der Hoek and

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Sergeant Santos spotted the Decedent walking near the southern end of the

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campus and pulled into the intersection of 8th Street and San Salvador Street in

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their marked patrol vehicle. Officer Van Der Hoek and Sergeant Santos exited

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their patrol vehicle and approached the Decedent.

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27. The Decedent saw Officer Van Der Hoek and Sergeant Santos approaching and walked off the university campus, away from the officers. 6 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES


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28. Sergeant Santos alleges that the Decedent charged towards Officer

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Van Der Hoek with a knife. Neither Officer Van Der Hoek nor Sergeant Santos

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commanded the decedent to stop. Without warning, Sergeant Santos fired his gun

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three times at the Decedent. The Decedent was hit twice on his back and fell face-

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down to the ground. The gunshot wounds proved fatal and the knife allegedly

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used by the Decedent was not located.

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29. Officer Van Der Hoek and Sergeant Santos stood and waited by

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their patrol vehicle before approaching the Decedent. While the Decedent was

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lying face-down on the ground, the officers placed the decedent in handcuffs. No

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medical aid was provided to the decedent until the paramedics arrived

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approximately 15 (fifteen) minutes later. 30. The unnecessary and excessive force exercised by Defendant

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Sergeant Santos, Defendant Officer Van Der Hoek and Doe Defendants against

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Decedent, by shooting him while he was unarmed and not a threat to the officers

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ignoring his pleas for help, handcuffing him after being shot, and delaying

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medical aid were substantial factors in causing his death.

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VI.

CAUSES OF ACTION

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FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION

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Violation of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution

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42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1981

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(Against All Defendants)

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31. Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates herein by reference each and

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every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 30 of this Complaint. 32. Defendants' conduct violated the rights of Decedent, under the

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Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizures. All the

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Defendants are liable to Plaintiff under California State Law Civil rights 7 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES


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violations. 33. These violations are compensable pursuant to 42 U.S.C. sections

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1983 and 1981. 34. As a result of Defendants' conduct, plaintiff has suffered significant

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physical harm, psychological harm and pain and suffering and the loss of life of

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Antonio Guzman Lopez. 35. Defendant Sergeant Santos’, Defendant Officer Van Der Hoek’s and

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Doe Defendants’ acts and/or omissions were done willfully, deliberately,

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maliciously, and with reckless or deliberate indifference or conscious disregard to

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Decedent’s constitutional rights, thereby entitling plaintiff to an award of

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exemplary or punitive damages. 36. The acts of the Defendants and each of them, that constitute

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deprivation of Decedent’s civil rights and are the basis of the claims herein

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include: a.

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Sergeant Santos, Officer Van Der Hoek and Doe Defendants

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employed unnecessary and excessive force in Decedent’s restraint and

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detention, inflicting physical trauma to body by shooting him in the back

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while he was unarmed and not a threat to defendants. This trauma was a

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substantial factor in causing his death. b.

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Sergeant Santos, Officer Van Der Hoek and Doe Defendants

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were grossly negligent or acted with reckless disregard for the risk of

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physical injuries and death when they forced Decedent to stay down in

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handcuffs after being shot and was bleeding to death. c.

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As a direct and proximate result of defendant’s conduct,

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Decedent experienced pain, suffering, emotional distress and the loss of

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life.

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//// 8 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES


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37. Plaintiff J.A.L., a minor by and through his guardian ad litem,

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Laurie Valdez, brings his claim individually and as a successor in interest to

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Decedent, and in each case seeks both survival damages and wrongful death

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damages for the violation of Decedent’s rights. 38. Plaintiff seeks survival damages, without limitation, based on

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Decedent’s pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

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SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION

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Violation of the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process to the United States

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Constitution

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42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1981

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(Against All Defendants) 39. Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates herein by reference each and

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every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 30 of this Complaint. 40. Defendants’ conduct violated Decedent’s rights under the

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Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution not to be deprived of

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liberty without due process of law. 41. These violations are compensable pursuant to 42 U.S.C. sections

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1983 and 1981. 42. As a result of Defendants' conduct, Plaintiff has suffered significant

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psychological and emotional harm, and pain and suffering, including the loss of

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care, comfort and society. 43. Sergeant Santos’, Officer Van Der Hoek’s and Doe Defendants’

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acts and/or omissions were done willfully, deliberately, maliciously, and with

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reckless or deliberate indifference or conscious disregard to Decedent’s

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constitutional rights, thereby entitling plaintiff to an award of exemplary or

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punitive damages.

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//// 9 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES


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44. The acts of the Defendants constituted the deprivation of Decedent’s civil rights are the basis of the claims that herein include: a.

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Sergeant Santos, Officer Van Der Hoek and Doe Defendants

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employed unnecessary and excessive force in Decedent’s restraint and

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detention, inflicting physical trauma by shooting him in the back while

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he was unarmed. This trauma was a substantial factor in causing his

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death. As a result, the Plaintiff’s right to familial association, without

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influence from the state as guaranteed by due process clause of the

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United States Constitution was violated. b.

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Sergeant Santos, Officer Van Der Hoek and Doe Defendants

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were grossly negligent or acted with reckless disregard for the risk of

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physical injuries and death when they forced Decedent to stay down in

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handcuffs after being shot and was bleeding to death. c.

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Sergeant Santos, Officer Van Der Hoek and Doe Defendants

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were also grossly negligent and acted with reckless disregard by

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ignoring the seriousness of decedent’s injuries and failing to provide

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timely medical care.

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THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION

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Wrongful Death

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(Against All Defendants)

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45. Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates herein by reference each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 30 of this Complaint. 46. Defendants’ unlawful conduct resulted in the wrongful death of Decedent.

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47. As a result of Defendants’ actions, Plaintiff has suffered a

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tremendous loss of companionship, comfort, advice, affection, solace and society

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of his father. 10 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES


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FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION

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(Negligence)

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(Against All Defendants)

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48. Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates herein by reference each and every allegation contained in paragraphs 1 through 30 of this Complaint. 49. Defendants were negligent, and/or reckless and such conduct caused

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harm to Plaintiff. Defendants were negligent and/or reckless in performing their

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duties and failed, neglected, and/or refused to properly and fully discharge their

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responsibilities by, among other things:

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a.

Using unnecessary, excessive force against Decedent, which

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would not have been applied by a reasonable police officer under the

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circumstances;

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b.

Proceeding to effectuate an arrest and detention in the absence

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of a crime being committed by pointing a gun at the decedent and

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shooting Decedent while he was unarmed, and not a threat;

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c.

Grossly miscalculating the inherent dangerousness of the

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situation and thereby creating a situation in which serious bodily harm or

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death would likely result;

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d.

Failing to practice and follow sufficient police procedures to

ensure the officers and the public’s safety; and e.

Failing to exercise the proper method of arresting and

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detaining individuals that resulted in the unnecessary escalation of force

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50. As a result of Defendants’ conduct, Plaintiff has suffered significant

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physical and emotional harm, pain and suffering, and the loss of life.

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VII. PRAYER FOR RELIEF

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WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against all Defendants, and

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each of them, as follows: 11 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES


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a.

For compensatory damages, including both survival damages

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and wrongful death damages under federal and state law, in the amount

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to be proven at trial;

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b.

For treble damages;

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c.

For funeral and burial expenses, and loss of financial support;

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d.

For punitive damages against the individual defendants in an

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amount to be proven at trial;

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e.

For interest;

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f.

For reasonable costs of this suit and attorneys’ fees; and

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g.

For such further other relief as the Court may deem just,

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proper, and appropriate.

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VIII. JURY DEMANDED Plaintiff hereby demands trial by jury on any and all issue’s triable by a jury.

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DATED: January 26, 2015

LAW OFFICES OF MORALES & LEAÑOS

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By: /s/ Jaime A. Leaños ___ JAIME A. LEAÑOS Attorney for Plaintiff

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12 COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

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Civil Complaint Against San Jose State for Killing of Antonio Guzman Lopez  

This is the complaint filed in federal court on behalf of Laurie Valdez, partner of Antonio Lopez Guzman, who was killed in San Jose State p...

Civil Complaint Against San Jose State for Killing of Antonio Guzman Lopez  

This is the complaint filed in federal court on behalf of Laurie Valdez, partner of Antonio Lopez Guzman, who was killed in San Jose State p...

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