Gibson Dunn Announces Historic Civil Rights Settlement

July 31, 2023

Following a historic civil rights trial victory earlier this year, Gibson Dunn announced the settlement of the remainder of Deon Jones v. City of Los Angeles.

In this landmark case, plaintiff Deon Jones sued the City of Los Angeles and a Los Angeles Police Department officer for violating his constitutional rights when the officer shot Mr. Jones in the face with a rubber bullet while he was peacefully protesting following the murder of George Floyd.  On March 9, 2023, a federal jury in Los Angeles returned a unanimous verdict for Mr. Jones, finding that the officer violated Mr. Jones’ rights under the Fourth Amendment and awarding him $375,000 in damages, including punitive damages.  The jury specifically found that the officer’s shooting was malicious, oppressive, or in reckless disregard of Mr. Jones’ rights.

In the settlement announced today, the officer has agreed to forego any appeal of the jury’s verdict, ensuring the verdict will continue to stand as a national message of accountability for police misconduct.  The City has also agreed in the settlement to pay Mr. Jones additional damages to avoid a second trial that would have likely been held next year.  That trial would have addressed and further exposed the City and LAPD’s historic abuses against civil rights protesters like Mr. Jones.  Rather than proceed to that second trial, the City agreed to pay Mr. Jones $860,000 to resolve all claims—more than double the amount the jury awarded against the officer that shot Mr. Jones.

Deon Jones said:  “I am proud and relieved that this multi-year fight for justice has concluded in such a momentous, historic outcome.  The jury verdict in this case affirmed my faith in humanity and what it means to stand in one’s truth and power – indeed, that’s how change is always made.  And, during a time where we see our rights being stripped away, I am grateful that my efforts to challenge and transform the status quo have moved the needle in the right direction for all people around the country who exercise their rights to peacefully protest.”

Orin Snyder of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, the lead attorney for Mr. Jones, said:  “Deon Jones’ historic trial victory sent a message to law enforcement throughout the country that misconduct like shooting peaceful protesters cannot be tolerated in a free and decent society.  This case is now over, but the work continues.”

Katherine Marquart, Pro Bono Chair of Gibson Dunn, said:  “Gibson Dunn has been proud to stand with Mr. Jones every step of the way.  We were privileged to celebrate Mr. Jones’ victory after trial, just as we are honored to stand with him in announcing this important settlement today.  We look forward to continuing to work with Mr. Jones and other leaders in the perpetual struggle to improve our civic institutions and reaffirm our collective commitment to equal access to justice, civil rights, and equality under the law.”

The Gibson Dunn team representing Deon Jones also includes Matt Kahn, Lauren Blas, and Karin Portlock, as well as associates Lee Crain, Mark Cherry, Lauren Dansey, Tim Biché, Courtney Johnson, Ariana Sañudo, Chaplin Carmichael, Viola Li, Isabella Sayyah, Brian Yeh, Katy Baker, Lana El-Farra, Amanda Sadra, Sam Whipple, Terry Wong, Nicolas Rossenblum, Yan Zhao, Mitchell Wellman, and Geronimo Morales.