William Russell Price

Attorney and Business Advisor

Cases

REPRESENTATIVE TRIAL CASES

Yancy v. State of California (CHP), U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
Defended California Highway Patrol and several CHP officers in a wrongful death/excessive force case.  A driver refused to exit his vehicle for a DUI check, and assaulted an officer.  When out of the car and ordered to surrender by two officers and a K-9, the driver refused and threatened to fight. When the K-9 was released, the driver strangled and pummeled the dog, requiring officers to use a Taser and go hands-on to subdue him.  After other officers arrived and the suspect was handcuffed, he resisted the escort to a patrol car and resumed fighting, requiring another takedown.  The driver continued to resist against several officers on the ground until the exertion caused cardiac arrest.  Plaintiffs alleged excessive force, including the K-9 release and that one officer applied a knee to the suspect’s neck while on the ground causing death by asphyxia.  Decedent’s estate and heirs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and asserted state law claims of battery and negligence.  Defense showed that the force used was reasonable under the circumstances.  Obtained a complete defense verdict at trial.

Osorio v. State of California (CHP), San Diego Superior Court
Defended California Highway Patrol and three CHP officers in a wrongful death shooting case.  A driver led officers on a high-speed pursuit before crashing his vehicle.  The driver was ordered to show his hands and exit the vehicle.  Upon exit, the driver shouted profanity at the officers and conspicuously held his right hand and arm behind his back.  Despite being ordered to “get down on the ground”, the driver advanced on the officers and moved his right hand and arm as if drawing a weapon from his rear waistband which caused the officers to open fire.  The driver was hit with approximately 18 rounds and killed.  The officers admit they never saw a gun and the driver did not have a gun.  Decedent’s heirs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and asserted state law claims of battery and negligence.  Defense showed that the deadly force was reasonable under the circumstances.  Obtained a complete defense verdict at trial.

Hatai v. State of California (CalTrans) and Haddadeen, Los Angeles Superior Court
Defended a senior CalTrans supervisor on claims of racial harassment, discrimination, and retaliation.  Asian plaintiff, a 25-year supervising engineer for CalTrans, claimed that his newly promoted Middle Eastern supervisor systematically harassed and discriminated against him and several other Asian supervisors, and that he and the other supervisors were retaliated against with disciplinary action when they complained in writing to top CalTrans executives.  Defense showed that there was no racial motivation and that discipline resulted from poor performance.  Obtained a complete defense verdict at trial. 

McMillin v. California Dept. of Corrections & Rehabilitation, Riverside Superior Court
Defended the CDCR and an individual supervisor on claims of false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress by a 20-year veteran correctional lieutenant.  Plaintiff claimed that a verbal dispute over policy led his supervisor to lock him in an outdoor sally port in extreme heat to prevent his departure from the prison.  Plaintiff alleged severe back injury and mental distress as a result of his escape attempts, and was disability retired based on health provider ratings of permanent orthopedic and psychological injury.  Plaintiff claimed economic loss of approximately $700,000 and unspecified non-economic injury.  Obtained a complete defense verdict at trial.

Wright v. California Dept. of Corrections & Rehabilitation Riverside Superior Court
Defended CDCR and an individual CDCR Lieutenant on claims of race and gender discrimination, assault and battery.  Obtained a defense verdict for CDCR and a token finding against individual defendant.  Negotiated post-trial for no judgment taken, dismissal with prejudice, and waiver of appeal by Plaintiff.

Quiroz v. San Diego Unified Port District, San Diego Superior Court
Represented the San Diego Unified Port District, a governmental entity created by joint agreement of the five cities adjacent to San Diego Bay, on multi-million dollar claims of discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and constitutional violations against Hispanic police officers.   Obtained trial verdicts in favor of the Port District on all claims.

Hansel v. Maxim Crane Works, Inc., Orange County Superior Court
Represented the largest construction crane company in the world, based in Pennsylvania, against claims of wrongful termination and breach of contract by one of its operators.  Obtained a complete defense verdict at trial. 

Walker v. Bechard Long & Associates, Inc., San Diego Superior Court
Represented an engineering firm defending against claims by two employees of same sex harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination and other claims.  Obtained a defense verdict on all claims. 

Weaver v. Chopra, San Diego Superior Court
Chopra v. Weaver, San Diego Superior Court
In a heavily publicized and internationally litigated set of cases, represented an employee of a celebrity defendant on claims of harassment, wrongful termination and retaliation.  Successfully defended the employee at trial against opponent’s claims of blackmail, theft, invasion of privacy, abuse of process, interference with business relations and conspiracy, obtaining a directed verdict on some claims and a unanimous jury verdict on the remainder.  Post-trial confidential global settlement of all cases.

Sergojan v. County of San Diego, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
Represented a senior deputy district attorney on claims of pregnancy discrimination, retaliation for protected complaints, termination in violation of due process under 42 U.S.C. §1983, and civil rights violations by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.  Obtained a jury verdict of $1.5 million. 

Stanfill v. SAIC, San Diego Superior Court
Represented a female executive on FEHA claims of gender discrimination and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing resulting from her termination.  Obtained a jury verdict of $1.25 million.

Rattray v. City of National City, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
Represented a police officer on claims of invasion of privacy and defamation after he was surreptitiously recorded on orders of his supervisors and subsequently terminated on false charges of dishonesty.  Obtained a jury verdict of $600,000. 

Cariveau v. Sagres Corporation, San Diego Superior Court
Represented a whistleblower collections agent on claims that her employer violated state and federal laws and terminated her in retaliation for her complaintsObtained a favorable jury verdict and subsequent confidential settlement. 

OTHER REPRESENTATIVE LITIGATION CASES

Palm Springs Consolidated Bus Litigation, Riverside Superior Court
Multiple Wrongful Death/Vehicle:  Defended state agency in 100+ plaintiff suit based on multiple wrongful death/serious injury highway collision between a stalled tractor-trailer and tour bus.

Burum v. County of San Bernardino (DOJ), U.S. District Court, Central District of California
Civil Rights/Malicious Prosecution:  Defended two former Attorneys General and senior DOJ prosecutors on claims of retaliatory prosecution under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 resulting from a complex multi-year political corruption prosecution.  

Pitts v. State of California (CDFA), Riverside Superior Court
Wrongful Death/Vehicle:  Defended state agency on wrongful death head-on highway collision.

Trajano v. State of California (CHP) San Diego Superior Court
Wrongful Death/Negligence:  Defended CHP in wrongful death case where plaintiff-heirs claimed CHP negligently failed to protect drivers on approach to prior accident scene.

Terrin v. State of California (PUC), San Diego Superior Court
Wrongful Death/Dangerous Condition:  Defended state agency against claims that dangerous condition of public property contributed to train v. pedestrian fatal collision.

Araujo v. State of California (CalFIRE), Riverside Superior Court
Wrongful Death/Negligence:  Defended state agency and CalFIRE Captain in wrongful death action by heirs of inmate worker on CalFIRE fire abatement detail.

Perez v. State of California (Dept. of Education), Riverside Superior Court
Personal Injury/Negligence:  Defended state agency on personal injury/negligence claims arising from 18-wheeler v. pickup truck freeway collision.

Antonellis v. State of California (CHP), U.S. District Court, Central District of California
Civil Rights/Battery:  Defended CHP and CHP officer on claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and state law claims of battery and negligence resulting from an arrest of a fleeing driver.

Geren v. Office of Administrative Hearings, Sacramento Superior Court
Age and Disability Discrimination:  Defended state agency against claims by an Administrative Law Judge of age and disability discrimination. 

Kevorkian v. Dept. of Transportation, Los Angeles Superior Court
Assaad v. Dept. of Transportation, Los Angeles Superior Court
Race Discrimination:  Defended state agency and agency director on multiple cases of racial preference in high-level promotional opportunities.

Palomino v. Dept. of Health Care Services, Sacramento Superior Court
Disability Discrimination:  Defended state agency on claims of disability discrimination, retaliation, harassment, constructive termination, and failure to accommodate a disability.

Al-Chokhachi v. Dept. of Transportation, Los Angeles Superior Court
Nguyen v. Dept. of Transportation, Los Angeles Superior Court
Race/National Origin Discrimination: Defended high level supervisor in multiple cases based on claims of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment of supervisory employees.

Bhojani v. Dept. of Developmental Services, Orange County Superior Court
Same-sex harassment:  Defended state agency on claims that employee was subjected to same-sex harassment, and retaliation for complaining of same.

Chaudhry v. CDCR, Riverside Superior Court
Religious Accommodation:  Defended state agency and supervisors on claims that employee was denied reasonable accommodation to observe annual religious practices.

Gilhooly v. Ahlstrom Pyropower, San Diego Superior Court
Whistleblower: Represented quality control manager on claims that he was terminated in retaliation for protesting and opposing unsafe manufacturing processes of his employer.

Thevenot v. General Instrument (Motorola), U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
Whistleblower: Represented two management employees of a major U.S. corporation on claims that they were terminated for reporting extensive embezzlement of client funds.

Robinson v. UC San Diego, San Diego Superior Court
Whistleblower: Represented a University Director of Veterinary Medicine who was terminated after threatening to expose violations of animal welfare laws by researchers.

Elig v. City of San Diego, San Diego Superior Court
Gender Discrimination: Represented a female police officer on claims of gender discrimination and retaliatory termination.

Horton v. (Confidential) Preschool, San Diego Superior Court
Sexual Harassment/Battery:  Defended a preschool and owner against claims by multiple employees on claims of harassment and sexual battery by owner and manager of facility.

Klumph v. (Confidential) Corp., San Diego Superior Court
Sexual Harassment: Represented an office administrator against the manager of a national corporation on claims that she was harassed and abused based on her gender.

American Publishers, Inc. v. Backes, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
American Publishers, Inc. v. Burkett, U.S. District Court, Southern District of California
Unfair Competition: Represented a national corporation to enforce contractual covenants of confidentiality and non-competition against key agent defecting to competitor, and against competitor that misappropriated confidential information learned in purchase negotiations and subsequently raided corporation’s employees.

REPORTED APPELLATE DECISIONS

Hatai v. Dept. of Transportation, 214 Cal.App.4th 1287 (2013)
Plaintiff alleged discrimination, harassment, and retaliation by an Arab supervisor based on his Asian race.   Trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding “me-too” evidence of discrimination against non-Asians.  Judgments affirmed.

Arthur v. Dept. of Motor Vehicles, 184 Cal.App.4th 1199 (2010)
Petitioner alleged multiple deficiencies from the Ingersoll standards for a DUI checkpoint.  The trial court found sufficient indicia to raise the presumption of constitutionality under Evidence Code section 664.  Petitioner did not present sufficient affirmative evidence to overcome the presumption and the Ingersoll standards are guidelines rather than strict criteria.  Judgment affirmed.

REPRESENTATIVE STATE PERSONNEL BOARD MATTERS

Furtado v. CDCR, State Personnel Board
Disability Discrimination:  Defended CDCR on claims of disability discrimination, and failure to accommodate a disability of a correctional lieutenant with substantial limitations due to an off-duty shoulder injury.  CDCR decision to medically demote to a non-peace officer position upheld on appeal after five day hearing.

Asher v. Dept. of Justice, Los Angeles Superior Court
Sexual Harassment:  Defended DOJ dismissal of a long-term employee based on a reported incident of sexual harassment/sexual assault by another DOJ employee.

Zamora v. CHP, State Personnel Board
Negligence:  Defended CHP dismissal of a CHP officer based on officer’s poor performance and judgment in executing his duties.  Officer resigned and dismissed his appeal after 4 days of hearing.

Brown v. CHP, State Personnel Board
Dishonesty/Failure of Good Behavior:  Defended CHP disciplinary suspension of peace officer who had forged documents to US Postal Service related to a domestic dispute with her partner.  Discipline upheld in full after two day hearing.

Norrington v. Dept. of Justice, State Personnel Board
Dishonesty/Failure of Good Behavior:  Defended DOJ suspension and salary penalties against a DOJ employee caught damaging state property and removing small amounts of money from the security station of a state building.  Discipline upheld.

Marcne v. CHP, State Personnel Board
Failure of Good Behavior:  Defended CHP disciplinary action against a CHP officer who violated leave policy and misrepresented his whereabouts to supervisors on multiple occasions.  Discipline upheld. 

REPRESENTATIVE INVESTIGATION MATTERS

In re: C.B., California State University – San Diego
Disability Discrimination/Failure to Accommodate:  Investigated employee claims that a University Dean failed to accommodate well-known and significant disabilities and discriminated against and harassed employee for complaints of unfair treatment. 

In re: S.H., California State University – San Diego
Age Discrimination:  Investigated employee claims that she was not considered for promotion and not promoted because of her age, and that she was subjected to a hostile work environment based on age-related comments.

In re: C.M., Dept. of Transportation (CalTrans)
Disability Accommodation:  Investigated employee claims that CalTrans and multiple high-level executives failed to accommodate disabilities and failed to implement approved hardship transfers.

In re: S.E., Dept. of Transportation (CalTrans)
Disability Accommodation/Retaliation:  Investigated employee claims that CalTrans and multiple high-level executives failed to accommodate disabilities, failed to implement approved hardship transfers, and retaliated against employee by denying promotional opportunities and assigning hostile supervisors.

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