LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles Police Department captain who complained that management ignored her requests for the entire department to be informed that a widely distributed photo of a topless woman resembling her was in fact not her image — and was awarded $4 million by a jury — is now seeking $1.13 million in attorneys’ fees.
Attorneys for Capt. Lillian Carranza filed court papers on Wednesday with Judge Bruce G. Iwasaki, who is scheduled to hear the fees motion on March 22. Four attorneys worked on Carranza’s case, including lead counsel Gregory W. Smith.
“Here, Mr. Smith is a highly experienced employment law attorney who has been practicing law for over 34 years and has served as lead trial counsel in approximately 70 jury trials,” Carranza’s lawyers state in their court papers.
Carranza’s case was taken on a contingency fee agreement and she would not have been able to obtain counsel if she had to pay her attorneys on an hourly basis, the captains attorneys further state in their court papers.
Deliberating for less than a day in total, the jury on Oct. 1 awarded Carranza $2.5 million for her future pain and suffering and $1.5 million for her past emotional distress.
Carranza, a 34-year LAPD veteran, alleged in her suit filed in January 2019 that the department did not do enough to prevent the emotional distress she said she continues to suffer since being told about the photo in late 2018, including the LAPD’s denial of her request that a department-wide statement be put out confirming that she was not the person in the photo.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore testified he refrained from putting out a notice to everyone in the LAPD that the photo was not Carranza because it would have increased her embarrassment by making the existence of the image even more widely known. But Smith argued it was unlikely Carranza would be injured by a statement clearing her name and telling officers that such conduct was inappropriate.
Defense attorney Mark Waterman told jurors that no one in Carranza’s workplace expressed any sexual hostility to her about the photo and that the only person who showed it to her was Smith, who Waterman said sent the image to the captain when she was vacationing in Puerto Vallarta in November 2018.