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By Jorge Casuso
March 13, 2019 -- The attorney respresenting the plaintiffs in a sex abuse case against the City of Santa Monica and the Police Activities League (PAL) has a record of winning high profile cases against public institutions.
In the past year, David Ring, a partner in the Los Angeles-based law firm Taylor & Ring who is a pioneer in sexual abuse cases, has won or settled three lawsuits over the past year that have made headlines.
The biggest settlement came last July, when jurors awarded $45.4 million to a girl who sued Los Angeles County and its Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) after being sexually abused for two years in an El Monte home ("Jurors blame L.A. social workers for repeated sexual abuse of El Monte girl and award her $45 million," July 26, 2018).
The suit claimed the County agency "ignored warning signs of potential abuse and failed to tell police what they knew," according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.
A similar charge is at the heart of Ring's claim filed Monday against the City and PAL ("Six of Uller's Alleged Sex Abuse Victims File Claim Against City, PAL," March 13, 2019).
In the claim, which is a precursor to a lawsuit, Ring alleges the defendants failed to protect the plaintiffs from Eric Uller, who was charged last year with sexually abusing the plaintiffs when they were children.
The claim contends that the defendants ignored warnings and covered up allegations that Uller molested victims from the late 80s until possibly 2010. Uller killed himself shortly after the charges were filed.
In the case against DCFS, jurors "attributed 45% of the blame for the girl’s ordeal to DCFS, a finding that requires the county to pay more than $20 million of the verdict," according to the Times article.
The massive verdict was the first of three cases brought by Ring that made headlines in the past eight months.
In early February, a man who was choked unconscious by an off-duty Los Angeles firefighter received $7.4 million to settle a lawsuit, according to the Associated Press.
The plaintiff, Samuel Chang, suffered a traumatic brain injury and nearly died as a result of the 2015 attack captured on video, Ring said ("Man Choked by an Off-Duty Firefighter Who Saw Him Handing Out Halloween Candy Reaches $7.4M Settlement," February 6, 2019)."
Last month Ring reached a plea agreement that sent a former bus driver for the Lucia Mar Unified School District to prison for sexually molesting a disabled 9-year-old girl.
According to an article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune, David Kenneth Lamb, 50, of Arroyo Grande will likely serve 16 years in prison ("Former Lucia Mar school bus driver admits to molesting disabled girl on his route," February 25, 2019).
He also will pay for the "psychological damage and counseling that will likely be needed" for the 11-year-old girl, who was 9 at the time the abuse took place, according to the article.
Ring thought the sentence was "too light."
“This is a predator who should have been put away for 50 years or more," he said, according to the Tribune.
"He sexually abused a special needs girl who is nine years old, who rode the bus along with him," Ring said. "He took advantage of that trust.”
Last year, Ring was named to The National Law Journal’s "Elite Boutique Trailblazers List."
The list recognizes those “who have made a remarkable difference in their specialized area of law,” and “have shown a deep passion and perseverance in pursuit of their mission, having achieved remarkable success along the way.”
According to the NLJ, Ring's first case in the mid-1990s involved a male teacher who molested elementary school boys.
"It was a prcedent-setter," Ring told the Journal. "At the time there were no jury verdicts, settlements were confidential and there wasn't a lot of money involved.
"In this case, the school had gotten an anonymous letter, which they ignorned."
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