City will pay LAPD officer nearly $1 million to end lawsuit over ticket quotas

LAPD traffic patch

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday agreed to pay nearly $1 million to a former Westside motorcycle officer who said the Police Department retaliated against him for not participating in an illegal traffic ticket quota system.

The payment, recommended by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, was approved unanimously by the City Council, with Councilman Bob Blumenfield absent.

The $950,000 agreement resolves a 2014 lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by Dan Gregg, a former officer with the Los Angeles Police Department‘s West Traffic Division.

Gregg alleged that his supervisor, Capt. Nancy Lauer, required officers in the division to write a set number of traffic tickets during each shift, establishing a quota system that violated state law. Gregg’s job included assigning other officers’ overtime, and, beginning in 2009, Lauer instructed him to deny overtime to those who did not meet their quotas, according to the lawsuit.

In 2011, Gregg testified on behalf of two veteran motorcycle officers, Howard Chan and David Benioff, who made similar allegations against Lauer and members of her command staff in a separate lawsuit. A jury awarded Chan and Benioff $2 million combined.

After Gregg testified, his supervisors punished him by denying him overtime, filing a bogus internal affairs complaint, placing him on involuntary leave and wrongfully firing him from the department, his lawsuit alleged.

“This has been litigated for many years, and I think it was in the best interest of both sides to put it to rest,” said Gregory W. Smith, an attorney for Gregg, adding that “there’s always some pleasure in finality.”

The LAPD and city attorney’s office declined to comment on the settlement.

In December 2013, the City Council agreed to pay $5.9 million to a group of 11 West Traffic Division motorcycle officers who also alleged retaliation and other workplace misconduct tied to the ticket controversy.

The ticket quota cases, a black eye for the department, have cost more than $10 million in taxpayer money spent on payouts and legal fees.

hailey.branson@latimes.com

Twitter: @haileybranson

emily.alpert@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATimesemily

http://www.latimes.com/local/cityhall/la-me-0114-lapd-settlement-20160114-story.html