Hon. Maria-Elena James
United States Magistrate Judge (Ret.)

Available for Mediations, Arbitrations and Discovery References

  • Plaintiff sued her former university for failing to investigate ongoing sexual harassment by her professor, under 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a) and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983. Settled.
  • Plaintiff, a minor, sued school district under Title IX for sexual harassment and deliberate indifference after allegedly being sexually assaulted on school grounds by someone the district knew had a history of committing assaults. (Sexual Harassment). Settled.
  • After a high school athlete was hazed and sexually assaulted, and school officials/teachers did nothing to prevent future occurrences (there was an ongoing problem at the school), the student and his family brought suit (against school officials and teachers, and the school district and its officials) under 20 U.S.C. §§ 1681-88, Cal. Civ. Code § 1714.1, Cal. Penal Code § 245.6, Cal. Gov. Code § 815.2(a), Cal. Educ. Code §§ 32261, 44807, and 48200, and Cal. Code Regs. §§ 5530-31 and 5550-51. (Education). Settled.
  • Child allegedly unlawfully removed from lawful guardian’s care for prolonged period after his mother, a recovering addict, made false abuse allegations; guardian filed suit for damages. (Child Custody)
  • Muslim airline passenger, mistakenly on the no-fly list, was questioned, searched, arrested, and refused her medication, and later filed suit against various government and law enforcement entities and officials for discrimination and violation of her civil rights, action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 52.1 and 52.3, and various amendments of the United States Constitution. (Discrimination/Wrongful Search and Arrest)
  • Woman filed suit against realty company after a realtor’s misrepresentation led to her not being able to apply for housing, action brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq. (Fair Housing Act). Settled.
  • Former prisoner, displeased with the allegedly negligent post-operative care he received while in custody and the deliberate indifference demonstrated by prison officers during his transports to medical facilities, filed suit (under the Eighth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 12132 (the ADA) against the prison and various personnel. Settled.
  • Prisoner brought suit, alleging deliberate indifference under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against various prison staff after they allegedly forced injured plaintiff to move to an upper level bunk bed for five months, resulting in him being further injured and requiring surgery, and repeatedly refused him medical treatment. Settled.
  • Multiple suits by prisoners who were allegedly wrongfully placed in administrative segregation, mistreated, and/or were denied medical treatment or basic necessities, actions brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
  • Forfeiture action, brought under 21 U.S.C. § 881 by the federal government, after a traffic stop led to the discovery of a substantial amount of stashed currency, which had allegedly been used in narcotics transfers. Settled.
  • Suit brought against the government by woman alleging the government, in coordination with a hospital, put a tracking device on her and had been monitoring her for decades, action brought under the Freedom of Information Act, requesting files on the surveillance.
  • Action brought (under various amendments of the United States Constitution) against the city, various government officials, and a government agency, after disabled plaintiff (a veteran) was allegedly battered and falsely arrested and imprisoned by police.
  • Plaintiff, a San Francisco Institutional Police Sergeant, brought action, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1, and various state laws, against defendants for plaintiff’s alleged wrongful arrest and detention, defendants’ use of excessive force, and the resulting injury to plaintiff.
  • Plaintiffs filed suits against law enforcement defendants for their alleged wrongful arrests and detentions, defendants’ uses of excessive force and unlawful detention tactics, and for the resulting injuries to plaintiffs, under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, and various state laws. (Unlawful Arrest and Detention). Settled.
  • Plaintiffs filed suits after police’s allegedly wrongful searches and seizures and uses of excessive force injured plaintiffs, brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983, Cal. Const. art. I, and Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51.7 and 52.1. (Wrongful Search and Seizure, Excessive Force)
  • Plaintiffs sued defendant officers for sustained personal injuries, emotional distress, and violations of various protected rights, which resulted from one defendant’s alleged unwarranted use of force and threats, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1. (Police Misconduct/Violence). Settled.
  • Plaintiffs sued defendant officers for their alleged false arrest, ¬¬¬unreasonable detention without medical attention, and malicious prosecution, and defendants’ use of excessive force, which resulted in injury to plaintiffs requiring hospitalization, actions brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988. (False Arrest/Excessive Force)
  • After multiple allegedly false and race-based arrests by the same officer, plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, and various federal and state constitutional amendments. (Wrongful and Racially-Based Arrests)
  • Plaintiff’s complaints to police department regarding harassment, uses of excessive force, and his false detention went unaddressed, so plaintiff filed suit for these and other wrongs under 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 242, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 1985, and 14141, and various constitutional amendments. (Harassment, Excessive Force, Wrongful Detention)
  • Plaintiff filed suit for his false detention, false arrest, and malicious prosecution, after which he lost his job and suffered severe emotional distress, brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986, and various federal and state constitutional amendments. (False Detention/Arrest, Malicious Prosecution)
  • Plaintiff and his guardian brought suit, under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, and various California laws, against defendant public transit authority for failure to properly supervise and train defendant employee (sued individually and as an employee of defendant), who wrongfully detained, unlawful searched and seized, battered, and used unreasonable force against minor plaintiff. (Wrongful Search and Seizure, Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Formerly incarcerated plaintiff brought suit after prison personnel allegedly threatened and coerced plaintiff into admitting to an infraction, and beat plaintiff, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. (Officer Misconduct/Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Defendants police officers allegedly abused and battered plaintiffs, and others did not intervene, so plaintiffs filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Officer Misconduct/Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Plaintiff renter brought suit (under 42 U.S.C. § 1983) against his landlords and various police officers after a landlord-tenant dispute (over unpaid rent) resulted in plaintiff’s arrest and jailing for trespassing onto the property he was renting. (Wrongful Arrest). Settled.
  • Defendant police officers allegedly used excessive force against plaintiffs during their arrests (one for violating a restraining order, others for new offenses), and plaintiffs filed suit under the Fourth Amendment and Cal. Gov. Code §§ 820(a), 820.8, and 815.2. (Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Plaintiff brought suit, under the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution, against police department, various officers, the city, and a taser manufacturer for the severe emotional distress she and her minor son suffered as a result of witnessing the officers’ alleged use of excessive force that resulted in her husband’s death. (Excessive Force). Settled.
  • After high school allegedly failed to take action against racist students harassing plaintiff, he and his family filed suit (against the school district, the superintendent, and school administrators) under 42 U.S.C. § 2000d and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Equal Protection). Settled.
  • Following a verbal altercation with a festival booth employee, plaintiff was unlawfully arrested and injured by police, and brought suit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988. (Unlawful Arrest/Excessive Force). Settled.
  • After a dementia-ridden man was allegedly wrongfully detained and then jailed for an extended period, without access to his medication, released without the family being informed, and left to wander the streets until a car struck and killed him, his estranged daughter brought a 42 U.S.C. § 1983/wrongful death action against the county. (Violation of Rights/Wrongful Death). Settled.
  • After defendant police officers pursued plaintiff, defendant canine officer repeatedly bit and dragged plaintiff, who sustained multiple flesh injuries while the human officers failed to intervene, and plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51.7 and 52.1. (Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Police, claiming self-defense, shot and killed a man they were to evaluate and transport for psychiatric treatment, so his sister brought a wrongful death suit, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1, against the city and the police officers involved. (Violation of Rights/Wrongful Death). Settled.
  • Police, answering a noise complaint, allegedly unlawful entered, unreasonably searched and seized, used excessive force, and unlawfully arrested renters involved in a rental dispute, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51.7 and 52.1. (Unlawful Search and Seizure/Arrest)
  • Chaos erupted after police responded to a mother’s call to assist in calming down her mentally ill minor child, and police handcuffed and allegedly injured the mother and her children while attempting to control and investigate the situation, so the family filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Police officers allegedly battered and arrested a well-known personal trainer after he tried to intervene in their investigation and handling of another matter, so the trainer filed suit against the city and county, and the officers involved, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and various amendments of the United States Constitution. (Civil Rights Violations)
  • Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 after police officers allegedly obtained a warrant based on misinformation, searched plaintiff’s home, seized legal prescription medication and money, unlawfully arrested plaintiff and his son, falsified police reports, and later re-arrested plaintiff as retaliation for filing a claim with the city. (Unlawful Search, Seizure, and Arrest). Settled.
  • After one plaintiff was allegedly battered and unlawfully arrested by police (with the help of a private citizen), and another, who had been taking photographs (which went missing) of the incident, allegedly experienced similar treatment for “obstructing” the investigation, both plaintiffs filed suit against the city, officers, and the private citizen for battery, false imprisonment and arrest, and conspiracy, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, 28 U.S.C. § 1343, Cal. Civ. Code §§ 51.7 and 52.1 (the Bane Act), and the California Constitution. (Police Misconduct) Settled.
  • Plaintiff filed suit against a city and a corporation for their alleged conspiracy and pattern of harassment and imposing excessive fines on him for zoning and blight ordinance violations, brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985(3), and various constitutional amendments. (Harassment/Excessive Fines)
  • Following a car accident between police officers and a civilian, officers (those involved in the accident, and those that responded) offered the civilian medical care, which she declined, but she felt officers should have provided her with medical care regardless of her answer, so she filed a state negligence and federal due process suit against the municipality and all the officers.
  • After plaintiff’s partner got into a disagreement with another person at a party, plaintiff called the police, who took plaintiff and partner into custody, allegedly battered plaintiff using excessive force, and charged both with violating a domestic violence penal code section (charges later dropped), so plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Cal. Gov. Code §§ 815.2 and 820(a), Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1, and amendments of the United States Constitution. (Excessive Force, Unlawful Detention)
  • Police came upon plaintiff loudly arguing with her mother and took plaintiff into custody, using tight handcuffs, which resulted in plaintiff seeking medical attention for a hand/wrist injury, and plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Cal. Gov. Code §§ 815.2 and 820(a), Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1, and various amendments of the United States Constitution. (Excessive Force)
  • Officer used deadly force against allegedly unresisting and unarmed plaintiff, resulting in plaintiff becoming paraplegic, so plaintiff filed suit (against the city and the officer) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Settled.
  • After plaintiff protested his sister’s mistreatment by a police officer, the officer allegedly battered and arrested plaintiff, who later brought suit (under 42 U.S.C. § 1983) against the city and the officer. Settled.
  • Plaintiff filed suit against city and law enforcement officers after the officers searched, arrested, and allegedly tortured plaintiff for a traffic infraction, action brought under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986, and various amendments of the United States Constitution. (Unlawful Search and Arrest)
  • Officer investigating in neighborhood came upon plaintiff, about to clear broken glass (allegedly unrelated to the ongoing investigation) in front of his driveway, and harassed and arrested plaintiff for obstructing justice, plaintiff brought suit against the county and arresting officer under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Unlawful Arrest)
  • Multiple suits brought against law enforcement (departments and/or officers) for civil rights violations—including, but not limited to, unlawful searches and/or seizures, uses of excessive force, wrongful arrests, battery, harassment, use of threats/coercion—committed against the plaintiffs by various officers. (Law Enforcement-Related Violations)
  • Plaintiff, photographing and videoing a stranger’s arrest, was beaten by police officers and arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest (charges dropped), so he filed suit (against the city and the offending officers) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1. (Excessive Force). Settled.
  • Transit officers unlawfully detained and injured plaintiff, who brought suit (against the officers and the transit entity) under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988, and the California Constitution.
  • Allegedly unarmed and not resisting man shot multiple times by police officer he claims was mentally unstable, man filed suit, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Cal. Civ. Code § 52.1, against the county and various police officers. Settled.
  • Suits, brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against sheriff’s offices and deputies after the deputies followed plaintiffs and held guns to the unarmed and not-resisting plaintiffs’ heads. Settled.
  • Plaintiff investigated and discovered alleged housing discrimination based on familial status, and, in seeking to recover for its efforts to end the practice, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq. (Fair Housing Act) and Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12927 and 12955, et seq. (California Fair Employment and Housing Act). Settled.
  • Plaintiff inquired about rental property owned by defendant, who allegedly told plaintiff that plaintiff’s family of seven was too large for defendant’s house to accommodate, and plaintiff brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 3604(a), (c) (Fair Housing Act) and Cal. Gov Code §§ 12955, et seq. (California Fair Employment and Housing Act), alleging discrimination based on the size of her family. Settled.
  • After landlord filed eviction suit against a mentally disabled tenant who began causing disturbances in the apartment complex (due to his temporarily discontinuing his antipsychotic medication, which he could not afford for a time), the tenant filed a housing discrimination suit under 42 U.S.C. §§ 3601, et seq. (FEHA), Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12960, et seq. (FEHA), and various sections of Ch. 37 of the SF Admin. Code (SF’s Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Ordinance). Settled.

Civil Rights

REPRESENTATIVE CASES