Fahren James Et Al V. City Of South Pasadena Et Al

  • Court: California State, Los Angeles Division, District Court
  • Case Number: 2:21cv8256
  • Filed: October 18th, 2021
  • Judges: Dale S. Fischer | David T. Bristow
  • Case Type:  Other Civil Rights (440)
  • Cause: Civil Rights Act

Parties Involved

 Verdict Information

  • Verdict Date: April 3rd, 2024
  • Amount awarded to Plaintiff: $55,000

 About the Case


 Fahren James, an African American woman, and Victoria Patterson, an ally, participated in peaceful Black Lives Matter protests in the City of South Pasadena during the summer and fall of 2020 following George Floyd’s murder. Despite their peaceful demonstrations, James and Patterson were repeatedly attacked by white supremacist vigilantes. These individuals used threats, intimidation, and violence against them. The South Pasadena Police Department failed to protect them as required by law. The police department, including high-ranking officers like the Chief of Police and several sergeants, exhibited anti-Black Lives Matter bias and allowed the attacks to occur with impunity, even attempting to justify the assaults and chill the protesters’ First Amendment rights.


James and Patterson suffered physical injuries from the attacks as well as significant emotional distress, fear for their safety, and sleep deprivation due to SPPD’s lack of protection and abdication of their responsibilities to uphold the protesters’ rights/civil rights and protect them from violence.

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The plaintiffs sought compensatory and punitive damages against all defendants for federal and state law violations. They also requested compensatory damages under the California Tort Claims Act against the City of South Pasadena. They also asked for a court order to stop the defendants from breaking laws and intimidating protesters. Additionally, they requested training for police and city officials. This training would cover protecting free speech, identifying hate crimes, assisting victims, and creating unbiased reports.

Additionally, they asked for an audit of police officers to identify biased individuals and take appropriate action, prejudgment interest on damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs, and any other just and equitable relief.

Jury Verdict

The court ruled in favor of the Plaintiff, awarding $55,000 in damages, including $5,000 for past suffering and $5,000 for anticipated future suffering. The majority of the award, $45,000, is allocated for punitive damages. The Plaintiff will also recover legal proceeding costs as outlined in the filed bill of costs under 28 U.S.C. § 1920.

Court Documents: Available upon Request