The Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling

City of West Covina Pays out Six-Figure Settlement in Civil Rights Case Alleging Police Misconduct and Abuse

The High-Cost of Police Misconduct: Settlement Reached in Police TASER Case


Encino, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/24/2014 -- The City of West Covina along with the West Covina Police Department, as well as two named police officers handed down a six-figure settlement this week to two West Covina residents who filed a joint lawsuit seeking damages arising from their encounter with West Covina police officers in February of 2012.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorney and civil rights lawyer Justin E. Sterling represented plaintiffs Juan and Herminia Espinosa. [LA Superior Ct. Case No. BC498366]

According to court documents, Sterling claimed that West Covina police officers conducted a warrantless and forced entry into the Espinosa home without justification, used excessive force and unlawfully tased the plaintiffs.

The two were arrested and charged with resisting arrest. Attorney Justin E. Sterling defended the criminal matter and was successful at getting all charges dismissed based on 4th Amendment violations, specifically the warrantless and unjustified entry into the Espinosa home.

Sterling’s office later lodged a civil suit against the City and its Police Department alleging civil rights violations including assault and battery, unlawful search and seizure, and false imprisonment.

“The hope is that police departments will be motivated to ensure that officers are trained on how to responsibly interact with citizens and how to de-escalate conflicts,” stated Sterling. “We also need to reevaluate the use of tasers in situations where the other party is unarmed and presents no immediate threat.”

Having represented the Espinosa family since the inception of litigation, Sterling stated, “I am hopeful the settlement award in this case can offer some vindication for the Espinosa family, with an eye on finally being able to put this nightmare behind them.”

The settlement in this case came one week before jury selection was set to begin in Los Angeles Superior Court.

About Mr. Sterling
Mr. Sterling is an accomplished California trial lawyer whose cases have included everything from DUI, to murder, to civil rights lawsuits against the police. Mr. Sterling is the managing attorney of the Law Offices of Justin E. Sterling, located in Los Angeles, CA. More information can be found at