Snyder and Santoro v. City and County of San Francisco
Jul 23, 2008
Summary Judgment for Defendant, Affirmed on Appeal
This was the "fajitagate" civil rights lawsuit against the San Francisco Police Department. The case was dubbed "fajitagate" by the media because plaintiffs got into an altercation with three off-duty S.F.P.D. officers (including the Chief's son), supposedly over a bag of steak fajitas.
Plaintiffs attempted to hold the City liable for the off-duty altercation outside a San Francisco bar on the novel theory that the police department had a policy and practice of failing to discipline officers for on-duty use of excessive force. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White ruled in favor of the defendants, holding that the City could only be liable if the affirmative conduct of police officials placed plaintiffs in danger. Judge White ruled as a matter of law that a purported official policy of failing to discipline on-duty conduct did not cause the off-duty incident or affirmatively place plaintiffs in danger.
David Newdorf wrote and argued the summary judgment motion in the district court. Agreeing with Mr. Newdorfâ€™s argument, Judge White stated that â€œDefendants persuasively argued at oral argumentâ€ that the factual record before the court was more favorable for the City than similar cases discussed in other published decisions.
On appeal, Mr. Newdorf wrote the briefs defending the district court judgment and argued it in front of a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This case was one of four selected to be argued in February 2008 before a large audience of law students and professors at the U.C. Berkeley School of Law, where the Ninth Circuit conducts a special sitting each year.
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the defense judgment in July 2008. For more information on this case, visit the Newdorf Legal blog at www.Newdorf.com.
Airis Holdings LLC, Airis SFO LLC, Duane Morris LLP v. City and County of San Francisco
Contracts and agreements
City defendants awarded $3.4 million in atty fees.
Houston-based developer Airis Holdings LLC sued San Francisco International Airport after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors exercised its option not to proceed with a $250 million air cargo project at the Airport. The developer brought on a major international law firm to press claims for lost profits, breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, promissory estoppel and unjust enrichment. The developer sought $40 million and was motivated to take the case to trial.
Facing numerous legal and factual theories, Mr. Newdorf mapped out a legal strategy to eliminate the developerâ€™s claims one by one. Working with top officials of the Airport and the City, David Newdorf headed a litigation and trial team of two other lawyers and two paralegals. Client executives were closely involved at every stage of litigation and trial. After two years of hard-fought discovery, pre-trial motions, trial and post-trial motions, San Francisco prevailed against the developer on all of its claims. Mr. Newdorf is now working with the City to recover its costs and fees of the litigation from plaintiffs. The Court awarded the City $3.4 million in fees and costs against Airis and their attorneys at Duane Morris LLP.
Aaron Peskin, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, said: â€œDavid Newdorf's tireless advocacy made the difference and saved taxpayers millions of dollars.â€
Nishihama v. City and County of San Francisco
Oct 26, 2001
Appellate ruling limiting medicdal damages
David Newdorf was lead appellate counsel in this case that resulted in a published decision that is one of the most frequently cited cases in California litigation. Nishihama v. City and County of San Francisco, 93 Cal. App. 4th 298 (2001). This seminal decision on medical damages for personal injuries established a cap on jury awards so that plaintiffs and their lawyers cannot recover more in medical damages than the actual cost of their treatment.
Mr. Newdorfâ€™s work resulted in an ongoing reduction of his clientâ€™s legal liability by millions of dollars a year and moved California law toward a more equitable balance between business and industry, on the one hand, and fair compensation for injured parties.
The plaintiffsâ€™ bar lobby has been attempting to undo â€” so far unsuccessfully â€” this and similar judicial decisions through legislation in Sacramento. Mr. Newdorf has published commentaries explaining this area of law for lawyers and lawmakers. (See www.newdorf.com.)
Bull v. City and County of San Francisco
Feb 09, 2010
En Banc ruling in favor of Newdorf Legal's client, the S.F. Sheriff and County of San Francisco
The Ninth Circuit in an en banc decision ruled that San Francisco County Jail's search policies were necessary for safety and security and did not violate inmates' rights.