LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A lawsuit filed against Los Angeles County and two sheriff's deputies by a man who alleges he was left paralyzed during a deputy-involved shooting in 2021 at his Cudahy home will need shoring up in order to proceed with all the current causes of action, a judge ruled today.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Laura A. Seigle said that while there were enough details in the complaint brought by Isaias Cervantes, 26, on the causes of action for assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress, more facts are needed to support the allegations for negligent training, training, retention and supervision as well as for negligent infliction of emotional distress.
The part of the motion regarding the intentional infliction of emotional distress allegation focused only on Cervantes' fellow plaintiffs: Rosa Padilla, his mother and conservator, and his sister, Yajaira Cervantes.
They maintain the shooting of Cervantes was done in reckless disregard for their presence.
The judge gave Cervantes' attorneys' 10 days to file an amended complaint. The motion, which was filed by the county and Deputy David Vega, did not challenge the lawsuit's other allegations, which include battery, false imprisonment and civil rights violations. None of the attorneys offered to argue regarding the ruling.
Cervantes had been charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon or instrument on a peace officer engaged in the performance of his duties and two counts of preventing or resisting an officer's performance of duties with force or violence before the District Attorney's Office dismissed those allegations on Jan. 12.
Monday's hearing was the first in the civil case since the judge on Jan. 14 granted a motion by the plaintiffs' attorneys to lift the stay she placed on the case on Nov. 23. At that time, she agreed with defense attorneys that the state Government Code prevents the filing of civil lawsuits that might give the plaintiff an unfair advantage in defending oneself against criminal charges and that civil suits should not be used as bargaining chips in criminal plea negotiations.
The suit was filed last Aug 9. The other deputy named as a defendant along with Vega is Jonathan Miramontes.
Meanwhile, Austin R. Dove, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys, told the judge Monday that given Cervantes' condition, he will file court papers within the next two months asking for a trial to occur sooner than the May 15, 2023, date set by Seigle. The judge said that prior to hearing such a motion, she wants all sides to set up a plan for exchanging information within a specific time frame so that she doesn't end up having to hear discovery motions day after day.
``If we don't have a discovery plan, it becomes chaos,'' the judge said.
Regarding the Cervantes shooting, the LASD previously reported that deputies were called at about 8:40 p.m. last March 31 to a home in the 5100 block of Live Oak Street after a caller said Cervantes was experiencing a mental health crisis and was causing a disturbance by pushing other family members. The caller also told a dispatcher that Cervantes had obsessive compulsive disorder, depression, anxiety and was hard of hearing, deputies said.
Two deputies approached the home and asked Cervantes to come outside with them, but when he declined, they entered the home and attempted to detain him with handcuffs, according to the department. An LASD video then shows Cervantes fighting with the deputies with both body cameras falling to the floor.
One of the deputies can be heard in the video saying, ``He's going for my gun, he's going for my gun,'' and the other deputy can then be heard asking, ``Does he have your gun?''
The first deputy did not answer and one shot is heard being fired.
According to the lawsuit, Cervantes' sister was the one who called 911 and she ``plainly and specifically requested mental health support'' for her sibling after telling the dispatcher her brother was deaf and disabled.
Vega and Miramontes were met on the sidewalk outside the home by Padilla and Cervantes' therapist, the suit states. After Padilla told the deputies that her son was afraid of LASD deputies because he believed they often harm people and he feared they would harm him, Vega's demeanor became ``noticeably more aggressive,'' the suit states.
The deputies entered the home, went into the living room, flanked Cervantes and told him to stand up, the suit states. They began handcuffing him, causing him to turn away, the suit states.
Miramontes grabbed Cervantes around the neck and pushed him to the floor, causing Cervantes to lose his hearing aid, according to the suit, which also accuses Miramontes of falsely saying that Cervantes was going for his gun.
The deputy's holster has a dual safety lock system that prevents the gun from being removed by anyone in the position Cervantes found himself, the suit states. Nonetheless, Vega, ``encouraged'' by Miramontes, drew his gun, pressed it against Cervantes' back and fired, causing a bullet to tear through Cervantes' lungs and spine, the suit states.
Cervantes was left paralyzed, bullet fragments remain imbedded in his back and he can no longer control his bowels or urine, according to the suit.