Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Dealing With Lawsuits

It's almost to be expected: Someone gets killed. Someone related to them files a lawsuit, in this case the father of recently deceased armed robber Zachary Cooke. I agree that it's Mr. Cooke's prerogative to file a lawsuit. I guess that's the only way we can have it. Or is it?

I do have questions about some who file lawsuits where I see them plainly in the wrong. In this case, it appears the father must have known what his son had been involved in. Note the father saying his son "wanted to turn himself in but he was afraid that they would kill him..". How would he know that if he didn't have intimate knowledge of his son and what he had been involved in?

So here's a guy that's going to sue despite knowing quite well what led up to the death. That's not to say that simply because someone is an armed robber the police have a right to kill him, but it seems to me his father might well have contributed to this situation by simply letting his son run wild.

I know. I hate the finger pointing myself, but when someone has the nerve to file a lawsuit after something like the the Cooke incident...

I can't help but wonder if more communities should follow the lead of the City of Los Angeles?

Many of you might remember the big shootout down in West(?) Hollywood a few years back. A couple of guys robbed a bank. The cops interfered and a big shootout resulted. The robbers, in full body armor and a car trunk full of automatic weapons, really lit up the area, even shooting at a news helicopter. Remember that one?

One of the guys ends up sticking a handgun in his mouth and doing himself in. The other one continued shooting until some LAPD guys moved in close with AR15 rifles and shot him. The last part I remember seeing is the guy on the ground, his hands up in the air, surrendering to police.

The guy ended up dying from wounds received. No sense of sorrow here. I figured the guy punched his ticket.

After all was said and done, the guy's mother decides to sue Los Angeles, claiming medical care wasn't delivered soon enough to save her son's life. Figures.

The people of Los Angeles are outraged at the lawsuit, as are others around the country. I believe it was the Los Angeles City Attorney who made the bold move: Counter sue the mother for her part in the shooting. After all, she raised the son and gave him the values that resulted in him shooting the whole town up.

The counter- suit was something along those lines, anyway.

I have no idea how successful such a counter- suit would have been, but it worked without going to trial. The mother dropped her suit.

I can't help but wonder how many others should have the same strategy used against them? In the Cooke case it seems the father was well aware of his son's activities. It also seems this sort of activity might be common within that family, the father blaming his son's crime on the influence of his step- brother.

About the only problem with the idea of counter suing parents for the actions of their kids is it might be intimidating to those that have legitimate lawsuits to file against The State in incidents of wrongful or negligent death. Believe it or not, I wouldn't want that to happen.

It would be nice, though, for some parents to realize they'll have to lay in the bed they made and not blame others for it.


At 10:08 AM, Blogger Heraldo said...

It will be interesting to see if the father can find a lawyer to take his case. He doesn't dispute that his kid was involved with robbery. The question will come down to what happened at that house where the shooting occurred.

I'd never heard that story about Los Angeles counter suing a shooting victims mother. I'd like to read more about it if you find a link, Fred.

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Boy, I wouldn't even know where to start as I can't remember the names of anyone involved and I'm not sure that is was in West Hollywood.

I'll try. In the meantime, I'm sure Anon.R or Hank will get right on it.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Hmmm...a search for "West Hollywood Shootout" actually got me to one reference, albeit in a roundabout way, since it was in North Hollywood, not West.

No mention here of the City threatening a counter suit. In fact, it says the suit actually went to court and ended in a hung jury and the family didn't pursue the suit after that.

I know I read in the news somewhere about LA suing or threatening to counter sue over the incident. I probably bumped into the story on I'll keep looking when I have time.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Heraldo said...

I found this link by searching for the one of the robbers names (Emil Dechebal Matasareanu) and the word "countersuit." It says:

The Matasareanu family later filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles Police Department for taking too long to provide him with medical attention. The city responded by saying that Matasareanu's continued shooting, and the possibility that he could have booby trapped himself, were the major causes for the delay. The first trial resulted in a hung jury, and the lawsuit was later dropped with the stipulation that the city not be allowed to file a counter-suit for malicious prosecution.

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Heraldo said...

The shootout is on YouTube.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Thanks for the info. Looks like some kind of threat of a counter- suit was made.

As an aside, I don't know about this:

After some time, they were separated. Philips, surrounded by police, committed suicide when his AK-47 jammed. It was also possible that he had accidentally shot himself when he was reloading his Beretta pistol one-handed and was shot in the spine by an officer, but this has not been confirmed.

Having seen the whole thing on video (more than once), it always looked to me like he stuck the gun in his mouth and shot himself. I'll have to take another look.

Aside #2: There was all kinds of back and forth going on after the shootout regarding guns used or available by both sides of the issue.

Some were clamoring for more gun control as the "police were outgunned..". I believe the AR15s the police ended up shooting the last guy with were loaners from a local gun store. Good thing the store had them in stock.

Then again, those weren't the only high powered rifles available to LAPD.
There was an officer already on the scene with an AR15, either his own or departmental issue.

I'd always wondered about this since I knew LAPD had access to all kinds of firepower and no one seemed to have any at the time. Then I saw the re- creation of the incident on an old COPS type tv show; LAPD: Life On The Streets.

It was a show that was created to show LAPDs side of how it was to be a cop in LA.

In their re- enactment, they showed an older officer- probably about my age- standing at the side of a building with an AR15/ M16.

Apparently the shooting was going on up around the corner of the building. He had his rifle at the ready but, for whatever reason, chose not to go up to the corner of the building and take a shot.

I wonder how many others there were carrying rifles? The only cops I've seen on the conventional videos don't show anyone with rifles other than the two bad guys and the cops that get them in the end.

At 11:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those with long enough memories
may recall Papa Cooke's own trial antics in Humboldt and SF. Apple falls not far from tree . . .

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Fred said...

I was thinking something along the same line; Wondering if this was a local crime family, but the name didn't stand out to me.

Could you enlighten us on the past history?

At 12:26 PM, Blogger Derchoadus said...

How 'bout the cops arresting Daddy as an accomplice, seems to me he knew about alot of what was going on and didn't let the police know.

At 12:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


What about Papa Cooke?

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, the boy was 18. He was legally an adult and able to do as he pleased. As a Libertarian, you should know that right? I mean, you are a Libertarian right Fred?

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Some people apparently think I'm not a libertarian. Whatever.

I know the GUY was 18. I wouldn't make an issue out of it except for his father threatening to file suit despite apparently knowing what had been going on.

Oh, and robbing local businesses doesn't qualify as one of the things libertarians believe people should be able to do whenever they please.

At 1:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But shouldnt a father be able to sue a government entity that killed his son without fear of reprisal? Thats Libertarian. Nobody knows the facts, its possible there is more to the story.

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This line of blogging opens an interesting question. What ARE the known crimes of the parents of recent crime figures? Like Mr. Cook. What about Ms. Burgess? And more generally, what do we know about these local "crime families?"

At 2:31 PM, Blogger Fred said...

1:54 asks, "But shouldnt a father be able to sue a government entity that killed his son without fear of reprisal?".

That's why I wrote:

About the only problem with the idea of counter suing parents for the actions of their kids is it might be intimidating to those that have legitimate lawsuits to file against The State in incidents of wrongful or negligent death.

Although I should have started it with, "One problem with the idea...", as I'm sure that's not the only concern we should have with the issue.

Again, I might not say much about this except for the father apparently knew what was going on yet did nothing to stop it and then sues when the affair came to its predictable conclusion.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Heraldo said...

Did he know while the robberies were going on or did her find out after? That hasn't been specified.

At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok Fred, I missed that. Maybe you are a Libertarian, maybe...

At 3:13 PM, Blogger Fred said...

2:34 asks, "Did he know while the robberies were going on or did her find out after?".

Good point. Perhaps I'm jumping the gun from the statement he made in the Eureka Reporter. Still, I get the impression he was aware at some point what was going on.

I'll say it once again: If he didn't step right up to the plate and suggest he's going to sue, I wouldn't have much of an issue with it, criminal thought the father might, or might not be.

I can understand a father not running to the police when he finds out a son or daughter was involved in criminal activity.

At 3:16 PM, Blogger Derchoadus said...

Accessory after the fact, Heraldo. The Po-Po use it all the time.

At 5:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just another chump payday borne on the time card of a lost kid's soul.

Wonder why Marjorie or the pop Cooke....never grieved the loss of their sons before contacting an attorney?

At 6:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fred, I have noticed your blogs seem alot more coherent and thought out over the last week or so. Have you stopped drinking? If so (And I think you have) it is a major step towards a healthier Fred Mangels and I encourage you to keep going!

At 6:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just think of all the suits that AREN'T filed Fred.

Imagine a billionaire who repeatedly lied and cheated to get where he/she is.

Imagine some of the people this billionaire lied to and cheated threatended suit.

Imagine the billionaire daring them (DARING THEM!) to go ahead and sue.

Imagine these people realizing that they simply could not afford a protracted fight against an opponent with bottomless pockets.

Imagine all the suits that should have been but never were.


At 6:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there were any merits to your imaginary suits, an imaginary law firm would take it on a contingency basis and clean house. Imagine that.

At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:52 sounds logical. Too bad that's not the way it's played out time and time again.

At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

did you read in the ER who the Daddy is? You can find him on Megans Law! Not too much of a father figure, but he sees $$$$ now.

At 12:01 AM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

Oh goodie. Can we sue him for raising a shitheel?


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