Santa Ana, CA August 23, 2022 – On August 22, 2022, Orange County Superior Court Judge Lon Hurwitz dismissed Police Chief David Valentin, with prejudice, from a lawsuit filed by the Santa Ana Police Officers Association (“SAPOA”) and its President Gerry Serrano. When a judge dismisses a party with prejudice, it means the case is permanently dismissed and cannot be refiled against that party.
Since the onset of the litigation, Chief David Valentin, who is one of the most senior Chiefs in Orange County and serves as the current President of the Orange County Chiefs’ of Police and Sheriff’s Association, argued the SAPOA and Mr. Serrano’s claims were false and involved the Chief’s exercise of free speech rights and communications on issues of public interest relating to his official duties. Some of those issues of public interest include the Santa Ana Police Department’s investigation into Mr. Serrano’s interference with a criminal investigation, and the City’s communications with CalPERS about Mr. Serrano’s pensionable credit for retirement pay, which essentially could be construed as pension spiking
The court’s dismissal vindicates Chief Valentin and confirms Chief Valentin should never have been named by the SAPOA and its President Gerry Serrano in this action. “The court’s dismissal of the frivolous claims against Chief Valentin after the SAPOA abandoned their malicious and false complaints against him, fully absolves Chief Valentin and confirms the SAPOA’s contentions were not proven,” said Seymour B. Everett, a partner with the law firm Everett Dorey, who represented Chief Valentin.
Since Chief Valentin was personally named as a defendant, in order to recover costs incurred by the City on behalf of Chief Valentin, his counsel intends to file a motion to seek substantial monetary sanctions, as well as attorney’s fees and costs, against Mr. Serrano and the SAPOA.