The litigators at Johnson Johnson & Schaller seek justice on behalf of every client they accept. Art Johnson founded his practice nearly 60 years ago — on the principal of justice.
In 1988, Eugene attorney Art Johnson received a phone call from a small, Hispanic woman who wanted Art to represent her in a police brutality case that made headlines around the world. The settlement negotiated by Art Johnson broke settlement records, and ultimately led to major reforms in police training and practices for controlling crowds in the city of San Francisco.
The woman who called Art was Delores Huerta, co-founder and vice president of the United Farmworkers Union. On an August day in 1988, Huerta had gathered with other demonstrators opposing the then-candidacy of George H.W. Bush. She hoped her presence might encourage a boycott on grapes because of poor treatment towards the migrant workers who picked the crops. As Delores was being interviewed by a news reporter on the steps of a hotel bordering Union Square, a police tactical squad moved in with brutal force to clear the area. Delores Huerta was pummeled by police batons that cracked or broke at least 5 ribs and pulverized her spleen. To read more on this story in the news, click here.
Attorney Art Johnson had handled civil rights and excessive force cases prior to the call from Ms. Huerta, and he understood the scope of the case. The settlement Art negotiated was the largest on San Francisco record at the time for a claim of police brutality: $825,000. He also succeeded in producing the change his client wanted by taking legal action. The brutal, tactical forces that injured Ms. Huerta in 1988 are no longer used, and a new police manual on crowd control techniques was produced as part of the terms of settlement. Crowds gathering to express views protected by the First Amendment are now warned before force is used. Art Johnson writes more thoroughly on this subject on his personal page under Attorneys.
In another example, a Eugene grandmother was walking a picket line in support of her husband, who was on strike from a local beverage company. When picketers momentarily blocked some employees who crossed the picket line, a security guard pushed her down and sprayed her at close range with pepper spray. She suffered burns to her face and eyes – and her civil rights were violated. We submitted a personal injury claim to the security agency, and negotiated a structured settlement on her behalf.
Civil rights belong to all of us. Defending them is paramount to us all. If you have a civil rights claim, call Johnson Johnson & Schaller. We are experienced, and will defend your right to justice.
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