In 2016, Los Angeles County spent $132 million defending itself from lawsuits, which was an eleven percent increase over 2015. County Supervisor Hilda Solis released a statement calling the report an “urgent call for introspection and action… Every cent the county spends on litigation is precious funding that we cannot use to house the homeless, promote better health and wellness for children, upskill our workforce and provide countless other needed services to our communities. It is simply a waste of money and it doesn’t make sense.”
Unfortunately and soon to be to Solis’ chagrin, Marcia Mayeda, the feckless head of the County’s animal control agency, must have either not read or not understood her boss’ memo. On June 14th, the DACC and Mayeda were handed a clear and concise loss, as a trio of Los Angeles County Court of Appeals judges reversed a lower court ruling and ordered a jury trial be held in the case of Benjamin DeVitt et al vs the Los Angeles County Department of Animal
Care and Control and Marcia Mayeda. The County had already by our conservative estimate paid over $200,000 in outside counsel legal fees to fight a morally, and in our opinion, legally indefensible defense over Mayeda’s failure to impound a pack of dogs, who had at least six prior attacks against people on their records, before they killed jogger Pamela DeVitt on March 9th, 2013. To compound Mayeda’s negligence, she then proceeded to withhold evidence and falsify records to hide her and her agency’s wrongdoing.
After suffering a defeat in the Appellate court, Mayeda spent an estimated $50,000 – $100,000 of County taxpayers’ money to file a second appeal on June 28th in the same Appellate Court. Mayeda and company offered neither new evidence nor new case precedent to support their appeal – and in less than a blink of an eye their motion was rejected. The money wasted on this fruitless appeal went down the drain and as a result there will be one less sheriff’s deputy, or one less fireman or three fewer animal control officers serving Los Angeles County.
Rumors have it that Mayeda is contemplating appealing the ruling to the California Supreme Court. Such an appeal, which chances are would be a loser, could cost an additional $200,000 – $300,000 in legal fees.
The facts in this case are clear and indisputable. Mayeda and the DACC were lazy and negligent, and compounded things by a clumsy coverup instituted by Mayeda.
Los Angeles County self-insures and a jury trial leading to a guilty verdict would make a significant dent in the County’s funds. According to insiders in the DeVitt camp, the firing of Mayeda and other personnel who tried to subvert justice in this tragic case would be enough to bring them to settlement talks.
Hopefully Hilda Solis and her colleagues are paying attention and will recognize the wisdom of not wasting tax money on losing causes. In the meantime we recommend that all citizens with a few bucks on their hands go to HomeDepot.com and purchase a door. They have doors for less than $100. Have the door delivered to DACC headquarters at 5898 Cherry Avenue in Long Beach. It’s time to show Mayeda the door – and hopefully she will find a suitable one to go through that won’t hit her in the ass on the way out.