Jury Verdict Vindicates Client’s Constitutional Rights

Plaintiff, Litigation, Investigations

McManis Faulkner obtained a unanimous jury verdict in Chang v. County of Santa Clara, vindicating our client’s constitutional rights.  Dr. Chang, a female Chinese-American Ph.D. and Registered Nurse, was violently arrested after declining to sign a traffic citation for “driving too slowly.”  Although Dr. Chang was not legally required to sign the citation, the recordings from the deputies’ dash cams showed the deputies antagonized Dr. Chang and insisted repeatedly that she sign the citation.  When Dr. Chang persisted in requesting to speak with a supervisor, the deputies—who were more than twice Dr. Chang’s size—became exasperated, grabbed her arm, ripped her out of her car, twisted her about, and pushed her head against the car, breaking her glasses and cutting her face. Dr. Chang was never told she was under arrest or asked to get out of her vehicle. In the recording, she can be heard pleading that she would go peacefully, and saying, “You are hurting me.”  One deputy responded, “Yeah, I know; you are going to go to jail now too.”  

Dr. Chang made an Internal Affairs complaint with the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office against the deputies for excessive force.  She was later informed that the County had investigated her complaint, but the County “exonerated” the deputies because the conduct occurred but it “was justified, lawful and proper.”  She then hired McManis Faulkner to file a civil suit.  Following a week of trial and three days of deliberations, the jury unanimously found both deputies used excessive force during Dr. Chang’s arrest, and that Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith ratified their conduct.