LA Pays More in Legal Disputes and Payouts than City Services

According to The LA Times, the City of Angels has spent soaring amounts in recent years to end legal disputes over dangerous roads, police misconduct and other alleged wrongdoing, depriving the city of money that could fund other pressing needs. Last budget year, the city paid out more than $200 million in legal settlements and court judgments — a record amount that was more than the city spent on its libraries or fixing its streets!

“The numbers are too damn high,” said Jay Handal, co-chair of the Neighborhood Council Budget Advocates. “Look at how much we pay out as a city. And then look at the services we don’t get.”

Both Feuer and Garcetti stressed that the surge is tied to a few cases with extraordinarily large payouts: Last budget year, a class-action lawsuit over a telephone tax cost the city $45 million. In another case, more than $23 million went to the family of a motorcyclist killed at a San Pedro intersection. And the city spent an additional $21 million last budget year in a case alleging that L.A. failed to make sure enough publicly funded housing was accessible to people with disabilities.

Thousands of legal battles involving the Los Angeles Police Department, including a rash of recent settlements over police shootings and wrongful imprisonment, have added up to more than 40 percent of the total — a higher sum than any other city department, the analysis showed. That includes more than $24 million paid to two men who were freed after decades in prison, along with lawsuits over arrests, injuries, car crashes and alleged retaliation and discrimination against its own employees.

Some other big cities, including New York City and San Diego, also have seen legal costs rise in recent years, but the steep increase in Los Angeles is not mirrored in other major metropolises, including Chicago, Houston and Dallas, which provided information on their total legal payouts in response to requests from The LA Times.

If want proof that disputes are everywhere just look at Los Angeles — paying more to settle legal problems than it pays to run the actual city. And when disputes threaten YOUR business (landlord/tenant, ADA matters, contract issues and even collections), call in the dispute-busting-all-round-good-guy litigator Dean Sperling who will work to resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind!

More on the Case:

L.A. is slammed with record costs for legal payouts