Inglewood must pay $117,000 in legal fees for suit filed against citizen activist

Inglewood Mayor James Butts

The story is a bit old in that the initial ruling was made in August.  It involves a lawsuit filed by the city of Inglewood against Joseph Teixeira alleging copyright infringement.  Teixeira used snippets from videos of the city council meetings to show the corruption in the city.  The city sued claiming the city council meeting videos were copyright protected.  A federal judge did not agree.

Last Thursday the same judge awarded Teixeira $117,000 in legal fees despite the fact he had a pro bono attorney.  The general thought on this by those watching the case was that the judge was likely sending a message to Inglewood and any other jurisdiction that thinks it can stop citizen activists from spilling the beans about what is going on in local government.

Here are links to two of the stories:  Federal judge tosses lawsuit and Judge orders attorney fees.

This sounds similar to what some of our local officials have tried to do to citizen activists.  It was Joe Brady who included this in a cc to me when I requested his Form 700 for the Victor Valley College Board of Trustees, a form he tried to keep from being given to me.  It was nothing but a veiled threat and form of intimidation.  And a false one at that in that I had to threaten an FPPC complaint because the college refused to give me the form.

I have been advised legally that if anything is  EVER altered by the recipient of this document relative to this document or any information contained therein, that the appropriate legal measures will be immediately  initated [sic]. The intent of the Form 700 is to be transparent (we are more than glad to cooperate as an elected official).

Other local officials have tried various means of trying to prevent citizens from photographing or videotaping official meetings, etc.  Somehow they think the public does not have the right to access of those things paid for by the public.

5 thoughts on “Inglewood must pay $117,000 in legal fees for suit filed against citizen activist

    • Would you be interested in doing an interview for my Examiner column? It would be by phone and email. I think you have an interesting story to tell. Let me know either through a comment or at iepolitics2010@gmail.com. Thanks.

    • The Taxpayers always are footing the bills for the arrogant politicians. It is time for an action to hold the offending individuals…not the taxpayers…liable for their actions!!!!!

      In another court case Case 3:15-cv-00350-VC Barich v. City of Cotati et al
      “The federal court in SF CA granted a motion for summary judgement against Cotati Police Chief Parish and the City of Cotati for violating a citizen’s First Amendment right when the chief threatened to arrest him if he was recording him with his camera phone after a council meeting in April 2014.

      On Thursday October 15, 2015, the judge lectured the defendant’s attorney in court in painful detail. He instructed the attorney to go back to the city council and re-educate them on the First Amendment. He then put the city attorney on notice that he hoped to never see a case like this involving Cotati in his courtroom again.

  1. JT Thank you. I was planning to do the same with our council meetings and was looking to find a software program in order to be able to take interesting parts of a council meeting and post them on youtube. Our meetings are online through granicus. (Do you have any ideas?)

    • Hello,
      I wanted to share with you the fact that only weeks after being essentially told by a Federal Judge that the City Council had deliberately filed a frivolous Lawsuit to chill Free Speech, James Butts is now, at the next council meeting, going to consider an ordinance moving all the night-time council meetings to 2pm from now on. This usually reduces attendees and criticism of the Mayor. This transparently unAmerican ordinance change is being buoyed by a staff report that blatantly lies, saying that more people come during the day. Again, the Mayor is trying to limit public participation in meetings.

      http://www.cityofinglewood.org/agendastaffreports/11-03-15/dr2.pdf

      sincerely, Inglewood’s Watchdog

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