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Stories by Dorian Hargrove

Angel's no angel

Baggy shorts, tats, he ran, unarmed, now dead.

“The inequity here is that a civilian goes to jail and is presumed guilty, whereas an officer is given a leave with pay.”

Free English for Californians

Lawsuit prompts San Dieguito school district to correct policy

San Dieguito Union High School District will no longer charge registration fees to adults looking to learn English as a second language, says associate superintendent Eric Dill. The district's decision to stop charging the $40 ...

Insomniac sedated to death

Lawsuit claims "Lucky" Phounsey hadn't slept for days

The family of a man who died while in the custody of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the department and county. According to the complaint, filed in federal ...

Councilmembers' risky business

Deputy city attorney warns of possible violations of Brown Act

In a November 20 memorandum of law, chief deputy city attorney Prescilla Dugard found the city is at risk of violating California's open-meeting laws if councilmembers continue to issue memos on issues and attend committee ...

City moves closer to plastic bag ban

If you have a dime, your grocer will sell you a paper sack

The proposal to ban grocery stores and big-box retail stores from using plastic bags has moved one step closer to becoming law. On November 20, the city posted the draft Program Environmental Impact Report required ...

Legal battle on La Jolla Shores

Lawsuits float in after city's approval of 8518-square-foot project

Earlier this month, La Jolla Shores resident and attorney Bernie Segal filed a lawsuit alleging that the City of San Diego violated the California Environmental Quality Act and ignored building codes when it approved a ...

Drunk-driving case spills onto city

Three beers, vodka shots, and then I-15

The family of a man killed by an alleged drunken driver filed a wrongful death claim with the City of San Diego on October 23, the first step before seeking legal action. Rodolpho De La ...

Cop on cop ruination

Alleged retaliation for maternity leave leads to harassment suit

San Diego's Police Department has been slapped with another sexual discrimination lawsuit, bringing the tally to five such lawsuits filed by female officers against the department in as many years. Denise Mills, a 15-year-veteran of ...

The bars of El Cajon Boulevard: 15 through 56th

Shots are a dollar when an ambulance drives by

Maybe it’s the walk toward the little yellow bar near the corner of 50th Street and El Cajon Boulevard that skeeves a person out. Eyes are fixed to the ground to avoid stepping on an ...

But it's okay when the city's permit expires

Mission Beach lifeguard station project still hung up in court

Former development services directors for the City of San Diego say it is standard operating procedure to allow building permits for city projects to lapse while funding is procured and outside permits are obtained. In ...

Tourist money spigot wide open

Hoteliers have so far paid $2.1M for legal defense against taxpayer group

Since January 2013, San Diego's hoteliers have paid outside attorneys $2.1 million in hotel-tax revenues, according to numbers released by San Diego's Tourism Marketing District pursuant to a public records request. That number will increase, ...

Not what Thomas Jefferson had in mind

Law students sue school over allegedly false job numbers

Former law students at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law continue their quest to prove that the downtown San Diego school tricked them into enrolling with false employment rates. Instead of lucrative jobs at law ...

More body cameras for SDPD

Chief Zimmerman intends to keep tight control of recorded evidence

The City of San Diego wants body cameras for all uniformed police officers. On Thursday, November 12, city councilmembers sitting on the Public Safety Committee are expected to authorize spending another $1.85 million to purchase ...

Another Filner case settled...sort of

Plaintiffs' lawyer wins settlement and drops hammer on city attorney's office

Carla DiMare represented former Marine Katherine Ragazzino and her nurse Michelle Tyler in a sexual harassment lawsuit she filed against former San Diego mayor Bob Filner. A week after winning a settlement in the case ...

Beach brawl, La Jolla style

"We each have the fundamental right to develop our property..."

Over the course of the past five years, La Jolla Shores property owner Bob Whitney has fought against neighbors and the La Jolla Community Planning Association to demolish two single-story units located on Avenida La ...

Court blesses city attorney's email practice

Yet taxpayers may have to pay Briggs's $55,772 transparency fee

San Diego city attorney Jan Goldsmith's emails sent to and from his personal accounts discussing city business are a matter of public record, ruled an appellate court on October 28. "...[D]uring Goldsmith's tenure as city ...

Pretty quiet for a railroad

Desert Line president doesn't respond to court summons

The wild ride continues for owner and operator of Metropolitan Transit System's Desert Line, Pacific Imperial Railroad. On October 19, the California Labor Commission ordered the fledgling binational railroad company to pay $90,152 in unpaid ...

Trial of tourism marketing district to proceed

Failure at last-minute attempt to subpoena Cory Briggs

A lawsuit challenging San Diego's Tourism Marketing District and the levy hoteliers charge tourists to pay to promote San Diego will move forward on November 6 in San Diego Superior Court. Today (October 27), Superior ...

Close down Crawford High immediately

Also, San Diego Business Leadership High is among worst in state

Two San Diego high schools are doing such a poor job at educating students and preparing them for college-level courses, it would be better if they shut their doors, says a new study released by ...

Bill Horn and the life east of the 15

County supervisor advised to recuse himself from development vote

An environmental nonprofit has put San Diego County supervisor Bill Horn and his colleagues on the board on notice: follow the advice of the Fair Political Practices Commission and don't permit Horn's vote to weigh ...

Leading with the carotid, not the stick

Coworker labeled detective Paul Ward a "loose cannon"

Twenty-five-year-old Robert Branch has filed a lawsuit against sheriff's detective Paul Ward for putting him in a "carotid-restraint" and illegally detaining him in May 2015, after their cars nearly collided while merging onto Interstate 8 ...

Got the library — stiff the architects!

Quigley and Tucker Sadler claim the city owes many thousands

Finding the $185 million to pay for construction of San Diego's Central Library was a constant struggle. The city, which at the time was trapped under a structural deficit, relied heavily on private donors to ...

Handicap placard abusers on notice

"The flagrant and willful misuse has increased substantially."

On Tuesday, October 20th, San Diego city councilmembers are expected to amend the municipal code to increase the fines for people without valid disabled parking placards and license plates. The amendment is twofold. The city ...

University of California's skewed take on Title IX

Judge in Northern California says officials botched sexual assault hearing

Administrators at University of California campuses throughout the state continue to struggle with following protocol while investigating and adjudicating Title IX sexual misconduct cases. On September 22, 2015, a Yolo County Superior Court judge found ...

Mission Valley development machine cranks up

Town and Country hotel makes move to become "mixed-use"

Regional planners in San Diego have placed a bullseye on Mission Valley as the preferred location to absorb San Diego's forecasted population boom. According to the San Diego Association of Governments' (SANDAG) 2050 Regional Growth ...

Debate: short-term rentals, good or bad?

"Hewlett Packard and Apple and countless other start-ups bear out my point."

What impact do short-term rentals and home sharing websites have on the city and the communities where they are located? According to a recent study by the National University System Institute for Policy Research, from ...

County sued for ignoring jumper's history

Sheriff's dept. had adequate warning about schizophrenic inmate

The father of a mentally ill inmate who was seriously injured after jumping from a second floor at San Diego's Central Jail has filed a lawsuit against the County of San Diego. Jonathan Thomas jumped ...

Store at your own risk, bud

City says pot shops are on their own when it comes to storing product

In March 2014, San Diego's city councilmembers approved the sale and distribution of medical marijuana in designated areas throughout the city. What they didn't do, however, is address where, or how, dispensary owners should store ...

Riley Elementary special-needs student victimized

District bus driver accused of performing "lewd and lascivious acts"

The San Diego Unified School District has agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a parent who claims her child, a special-needs student at Riley Elementary in Clairemont Mesa, was sexually assaulted by a district ...

$250k raised, lifeguard project stopped

"I placed 44 calls to Zapf’s office. She refused to speak on the issue."

A group of Mission Beach residents fighting against unpermitted construction of a new lifeguard tower near the Mission Beach Jetty has raised the $250,000 bond needed to stop the project until a court trial can ...

Shocking goings-on at Green Elementary School

School investigator's case reveals cracks at San Diego Unified

Michael Gurrieri, a former investigator for San Diego Unified School District, says district officials fired him after he found evidence that the principal at Green Elementary School in San Carlos was allegedly drinking on the ...

Local lawsuit vs. Volkswagen

Amber Handal displeased with her dirty diesel Jetta, files class action

Volkswagen and Audi owners in cities throughout the U.S. are rushing to file class-action lawsuits days after the Environmental Protection Agency discovered the Volkswagen Auto Group installed "defeat devices" in more than 480,000 diesel-powered vehicles ...

Who's minding Department of Animal Services?

Lawsuit lends insight into X-ray safety protocol and lack of permits

A former veterinarian is accusing San Diego County's Department of Animal Services of retaliating against her and her colleagues after discovering that several X-ray machines were not inspected and two shelters lacked permits to operate. ...

Mission Beach lifeguard station saga continues

Contractor to lose $1400 a day? Really?

San Diego Superior Court judge Katherine Bacal is expected to officially place a hold on construction of a new lifeguard tower near the jetty in South Mission Beach. In a September 18 tentative ruling, expected ...

The tragedy of the Starlight Bowl

A plan afoot to save the Balboa Park classic

The School for Creative Careers and its founder Steve Stopper is suing the City of San Diego for allowing the historic Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park to fall into disrepair. Built in 1935, the 3500-seat ...

Kevin was a sweet, nerdy doofus. Was he also a monster?

Mrs. Brown's cold case.

Rebecca Brown was getting ready for work at her Chula Vista home on Tuesday, January 9, 2014 when detectives from the San Diego Police Department knocked on the front door. Her husband, Kevin Brown, who ...

Pacific Imperial railroaded me

Investor in Desert Line sues, says executives were aware of problems

An investor in the binational railroad last month filed a lawsuit against Pacific Imperial Railroad and two former executives for taking $300,000 and leaving him high and dry. The lawsuit, filed on August 26, 2015, ...

Sweetwater district sued from Texas

Former Castle Park principal Robert Bleisch claims discrimination

Robert Bleisch, a former principal at Castle Park Middle School, is suing his former employee, Sweetwater Union High School District. Bleisch claims he was discriminated against and subjected to retaliation for blowing the whistle on ...

What's next for Union-Tribune real estate?

Mission Valley boom won't be without lawsuits

The fate of Doug Manchester's U-T San Diego property in Mission Valley appears to up in the air, literally, as an environmental rights group has threatened to sue the City of San Diego and Manchester ...

Water supplies dropping. Water salaries rising.

Higher rates for water customers, fat raises for executives

Managing life’s most essential element is richly rewarding.

Sweetwater contractors slapped down

Their lawyers more than a bit late in filing challenge

A lawsuit over the alleged pay-to-play construction scheme at Sweetwater Union High School District will move forward, according to a ruling from the Fourth District Court of Appeals. On August 31, the appellate court found ...

Sharp Healthcare accused of discrimination

Job applicant's old ankle injury precludes her hiring as surgical scrub tech

The federal government's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is asking a judge to order Sharp Healthcare to cease from discriminating against qualified job applicants and to pay lost wages to a woman who, despite 20 ...

Mission Beach to wait longer for new lifeguard tower

Judge gets a whiff of changed plans and expired permits, halts project

Construction on a new lifeguard tower near the jetty in South Mission Beach must stop until a judge can look into why the city waited nine years after the permit was issued and three years ...

San Diego universities botch sexual assault investigations

Campus police impotence — just the tip of the iceberg

“Judges are starting to realize that maybe schools shouldn’t be handling these types of sexual assault cases.”

How many roads will $55.3 million repair?

City policies seem to create surplus while $120 million is borrowed

There’s $55.3 million sitting in the bank that could be used on roads and sidewalk repairs if the City of San Diego wants to use it. And while $55.3 million is a drop in bucket ...

Affordable housing expert slighted by KPBS?

Station GM Karlo responds to last-minute cancellation

Tom Karlo, general manager for San Diego's public broadcasting network KPBS, stands by his staff's decision to rescind an invitation for affordable-housing advocate Richard Lawrence to appear on the station's Midday Edition program on August ...

Invasive child exam just part of the lawsuit

Navy parent sues county for taking her two-year-old while she was at sea

A female Navy officer is suing San Diego County Health and Human Services for removing her two-year-old son from her care while she was on duty and placing him in a youth home where he ...

Suit alleges brutish Border Patrol behavior at sea

Did their 38-foot boat intentionally ram panga of immigrants?

The family of a Mexican immigrant killed after the panga she was riding in off the coast of Encinitas collided with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection vessel is suing the officers involved in the ...

San Diego tourism advertising birthday cake

Initiative would steer hotelier-controlled revenue to general fund

If San Diego's largest hoteliers didn't like attorney Cory Briggs before, they are bound to have issues with him now. The attorney for San Diegans for Open Government (an open government advocacy group) announced today, ...

Spend it before San Diego schools can!

Civic San Diego has until December to find a use for $28M

One good thing about the dissolution of redevelopment tax in San Diego: tens of millions of dollars seemingly appear out of thin air. The most recent pot of redevelopment gold was discussed at an August ...

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