Newdorf Legal wins unanimous jury verdict for City of Richmond in Taser lawsuit

April 26, 2015 by  
Filed under News, What Clients Say

SAN FRANCISCO — A unanimous federal court jury cleared the City of Richmond and one of its police officers of wrongdoing in connection with the use of a Taser to make an arrest. The plaintiff, Andre Little, accused the officer of violating policies and using excessive force in a federal civil rights lawsuit. After a week-long trial, on March 31, 2015, the jury returned a 7-0 verdict in favor of the City and the officer.

Police arrested Mr. Little after he refused to move away from an area where there was an active police investigation. Evidence at the trial showed that Mr. Little physically resisted arrest and that the officer followed the Richmond Police Department’s policy and training. “After the verdict, jurors told the officer that he did nothing wrong,” said the City’s lead defense lawyer, David Newdorf.

Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus praises the jury’s verdict

Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus said he was pleased with the jury’s decision, adding that the officer demonstrated patience and handled a difficult situation “in exactly the way he was trained.”

“There are times when the judicious use of force is entirely appropriate and necessary, and this was one of those cases, so it’s gratifying to see that the jury agreed.” Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus

David Newdorf discusses police misconduct and civil rights lawsuits

Watch David Newdorf discuss police misconduct lawsuits in video interviews on and

About California Litigation Firm Newdorf Legal

David Newdorf is managing attorney of Newdorf Legal, which represents individuals, businesses and public entities in trials and appeals. The firm’s practice areas include business disputes, business torts/interference with contract, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, investment disputes, real estate, commercial landlord-tenant cases, municipal law and civil rights.

Mr. Newdorf worked previously as a trial lawyer and team leader in the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office and was a litigation associate at a major international law firm. Mr. Newdorf has been listed each year since 2011 in Northern California Super Lawyers magazine, an honor reserved every year for no more than 5 percent of the State’s lawyers based on nomination by fellow lawyers and evaluation of professional reputation and achievement. In a more unusual accolade, Mr. Newdorf was named “Badass lawyer of the week” by The Recorder’s blog, LegalPad.

For all of your litigation questions, contact Newdorf Legal, a San Francisco business litigation law firm.


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Prisoner scoops the media with an exclusive Death Row interview with the “Trailside Killer.”

August 5, 2013 by  
Filed under News

A California prisoner scooped the local and national media by obtaining an exclusive 30-minute face-to-face interview with one of California’s most notorious serial killers. Writing for the San Quentin News, prisoner/journalist Boston Woodard interviewed fellow inmate David Carpenter, a.k.a. the Trailside Killer, for the July 2013 issue of the inmate-published newspaper. Carpenter was convicted of killing nine victims from 1979 to 1981, mainly women, on Northern California hiking trails. As far as I can tell, this was Carpenter’s first interview in several decades. More notably, it was one of only a handful of interviews from California’s Death Row in the past decade.

San Quentin News

How did Woodard do it? No doubt, he is a tenacious reporter. (Disclosure: I represent Mr. Woodard in an ongoing lawsuit over claims that prison officials retaliated against him because they did not like an article he wrote that was critical of prison officials.)

Regarding this story, however, being a prisoner may have worked to Woodard’s advantage. Access to California’s Death Row by outsiders, including journalists, is severely limited. Only one outside journalist in recent years has interviewed Death Row inmates in person on Death Row. She had to get approval from the top official at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Boston Woodard interviews serial killer on Death RowUnder California prison regulations, she was limited to impromptu interviews with “random” prisoners who agreed to talk. Those regulations do not allow journalists to set up face-to-face interviews with specific inmates.

Since media limitations were adopted in the 1990s, very few journalists have had face-to-face interviews with the more notorious residents of Death Row. Regulations still allow prisoners to correspond with or speak to journalists by telephone.  Some journalists have also gained access by getting a prisoner to add him or her to the prisoner’s visiting list, just like a friend or family member.

Not that prisoners get free reign to report whatever and wherever they choose inside the institution. Prison officials had to approve Woodard’s interview and the resulting story that ran in the San Quentin News. The story was picked up by a small community newspaper based in Fresno, Calif., that runs many of Woodard’s stories about prison life. So far, the mainstream press hasn’t picked it up — notwithstanding some interesting tidbits.

Here’s a short excerpt from the article, in which Carpenter maintains that he was railroaded by prosecutors and biased jurors:

To close the interview, Carpenter was asked, “If and when authorities ever catch the real Trailside Killer, what do you hope happens to that person?”

Carpenter’s response was, “I hope he gets a fair trial.”

Does this story signal a trend toward greater transparency and media access to California’s prisons? I think it is too soon to say.  At a minimum, the officials who green-lighted Woodard’s story deserve credit for allowing it.

This is a welcome change compared to events of the recent past. Legislative efforts to relax media restrictions stalled in 2012. And Woodard has had his share of trouble from prison guards and administrators resulting from his writing about prison life.  He has written frequently about the obstacles he’s faced, which included being thrown in solitary confinement and removed from his job as the editor of a prisoner newspaper (at a different prison). Some of Woodard’s articles have been collected in an anthology titled Inside California’s Broken Prison System.

Woodard’s current lawsuit, Woodard v. Haviland, Case No. 11-CV-01807-LKK-JFM, is pending in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.

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Old Typewriter

September 12, 2011 by  
Filed under News

Old Typewriter

I learned to type on an old typewriter.

I watched my mother, a former legal secretary, typing at warp speed. I was about 8 years old, and it fascinated me. She got me a book from the library, “Learn to Touch Type.” And I did, self taught on a Royal, or maybe it was a Remington. “Watch the quick brown fox . . . ” I’ve been typing ever since.

The rhythm of fingers on keys, the heft of the manual carriage return, the bell dinging at the end of the line — these things are comforting and beautiful. Old typewriters are steam punk marvels of office machinery.

Royal Manual Typewriter

I went off to college at Berkeley and typed on semi-antiquated (even then) Royal 440′s at the Daily Californian. (If I got the model wrong, somebody let me know.) We typed our stories one paragraph to a half-page sized sheet of newsprint. That way the editor could easily reorganize the story by shuffling the sheets. I never did that half-sheet thing at other newspapers (computers quickly replaced typewriters), so I don’t know if that was common back in the day.

My IBM Selectric

OK, “Mad Men” fans. The IBM Selectric is about as old as the Draper kids. Meaning, about as old as I am. Look it up on Wikipedia if you want to know old that is. (Selectric, that is, because Newdorf isn’t listed.) When I went to journalism school, I bought an IBM Self Correcting Selectric III with lift-off correcting tape. Now that was space aged. Hit the correction key and it would back up, one character at a time, typing over your mistake. White Out was a thing of the past.

Remember the Tandy TRS 80 (affectionately known as the “Trash 80″)? A kind of lap top of its day, we filed stories from the field on the Trash 80, sticking the pay phone handset into the 1kb/hour modem. Now explain to your kids what a pay phone was. Mercifully, the TRS 80 phased out quickly. Hello-sweetheart-get-me-rewrite was definitely faster.

The Selectric stayed with me, though, and, when I was done with newspapering, the trusty putty-grey beast went with me to law school. I typed the California bar exam on that machine. It sits in the attic now. When I’m no longer around to protect it, my kids will put it out on the corner.

Unless nostalgia saves it. There is some of that for these beautiful machines. Street poets will compose a poem on the spot, banged out on a manual typewriter, for a buck or two. It may not be any good, but you can tell it was handmade. One-of-a-kind, too, unless the bard used carbon paper.

A freshly minted Cal Tech engineer told me recently about the “old fashioned keyboard” he had seen. Yeah, kid. We called them typewriters.

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State Bar Appointment for David Newdorf

July 22, 2008 by  
Filed under News

The Board of Governors of the California State Bar appointed San Francisco business litigation attorney David Newdorf to the Executive Committee of the Litigation Section at its July 2008 meeting.  The three-year appointment begins September 28, 2008.  A former San Francisco Deputy City Attorney and a lawyer at a major international law firm, Mr. Newdorf started Newdorf Legal, a San Francisco Business Litigation law firm, serving the litigation needs of individuals, businesses and public entities.

Established in 1983, the Litigation Section is a voluntary membership association for attorneys who share an interest in litigation. The section is led by a fifteen-member Executive Committee comprised of attorneys from across the state and by a  ten-member panel of advisors who are prominent attorneys and state and federal judges.

The Litigation Section, with 11,000 members, is the largest section of the State Bar.  According to its mission statement, the Section aims “to promote excellence in all areas affecting dispute resolution, including the protection of the rights of all litigants, pre-trial discovery, the expeditious trial of lawsuits, alternative dispute resolution, effective judicial administration, uniform rules of court, and the protection and preservation of the independence of a judiciary of high quality.”

For all of your litigation questions, contact Newdorf Legal, a San Francisco business litigation law firm.

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Announcing Newdorf Legal, The Law Firm

July 14, 2008 by  
Filed under News

Newdorf Legal Law Firm Logo
First, there was Newdorf Legal, the blog.  Now, there is Newdorf Legal, the law firm.  I am pleased to announce the formation of my law firm, Newdorf Legal, as of July 14, 2008.  I am continuing my practice in civil litigation in the state and federal trial and appellate courts.  I represent business and public entities in complex commerical disputes, class actions, and civil rights litigation.

My office is located in the heart of San Francisco’s financial district.  For more information about Newdorf Legal’s services for individuals, businesses and public entities, visit my law firm website at, or call me at 415-357-1234.

For all of your litigation questions, contact Newdorf Legal, a San Francisco business litigation law firm.

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