LOS ANGELES – Attorneys for the estate of the late husband of former Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey can have access to the Cal State Los Angeles teaching curriculum of a Black Lives Matter member who along with two colleagues allege they suffered emotional distress when confronted at gunpoint by Lacey’s spouse in 2020, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Lawyers for the estate of David Lacey maintained that the motion by plaintiff Melina Abdullah’s attorneys to quash the subpoena for information on privacy grounds was both “procedurally defective and substantively without merit.”
In her ruling, Judge Theresa Traber also disagreed with Abdullah’s privacy argument.
“Although (Abdullah) contends that the records sought are constitutionally protected private records, (she) cites no authority showing that the teaching materials which are named in the subpoena are the kind of documents in which plaintiff might have a legally protected privacy interest or a reasonable expectation of privacy…” the judge wrote.
In a separate ruling, Traber dismissed false imprisonment claims within the lawsuit brought by Abdullah and the other plaintiffs against Lacey and her husband’s estate but ruled that the plaintiffs’ negligence claim against Jackie Lacey can proceed to a jury trial of the case scheduled for May 30.
“(Jackie Lacey) makes no effort to identify a category of cases demonstrating that the facts here support an exemption from a duty of reasonable care,” the judge wrote.
Abdullah is a co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter and a professor of Pan-African Studies at CSULA, where she teaches courses, among other things, on power relations in Black communities and provoking change through aggressive behaviors, according to the David Lacey estate attorneys’ court papers.
For several years, protesters, including BLM members, gathered sometimes in the hundreds outside the Hall of Justice, where Lacey’s office was located, every Wednesday to protest what they believed was an insufficient number of criminal cases brought against police officers who killed civilians. They came with signs, noise amplifiers and drums and chanted slogans such as, “Bye, Jackie” and “Jackie Lacey Must Go.”
The suit filed in October 2020 stems from a confrontation that occurred when BLM members Abdullah, Dahlia Ferlito and Justin Marks showed up at the couple’s Granada Hills residence the morning of March 2, 2020, and were confronted at gunpoint at the door by David Lacey, who died Sept. 5, 2022.
The encounter occurred a day before Lacey — the first woman and first Black prosecutor to hold the top post since the office was created in 1850 – – was forced into a runoff with former San Francisco County District Attorney George Gascón, who ultimately was elected.
The three plaintiffs allege they suffered emotional distress from the incident.
On Oct. 19, the David Lacey estate lawyers served a deposition subpoena for production of business records on CSULA seeking Abdullah’s teaching curriculum for “topics related to protesting and provoking change through various actions and behaviors.”
The date of production in response to the subpoena was Nov. 14, but Abdullah’s attorneys instead filed a motion to quash the subpoena that same day.