An Upland-based law firm known for its aggressive representation of police officer unions has been accused of bulling local leaders throughout Southern California.
The district attorney’s office issued a search warrant for and subsequently searched the office of Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir and the personal home of one of the firm’s partners, Dieter Dammeier, according to the Voice of OC.
According to the San Bernardino County Sentinel, the raid proved fruitful as investigators were seen carting off “scores of boxes full of documents and other materials.”
Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir is known for its fierce, and sometimes questionable tactics in representing clients. In 2012, the embattled firm posted a playbook outlining suggested bullying tactics in order to obtain a favorable outcome to negotiations (see below).
The raid is the result of several complaints surrounding events in 2012, when the City of Costa Mesa entered into tense contract negotiations with the Costa Mesa Police Association. The firm represented the union and asked Association members to pressure city leadership in order to obtain a favorable outcome.
When that didn’t prove enough, a private investigator was hired to tail councilmembers around town. On August 22, 2012, PI Christopher Lanzillo followed Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer to a local bar and called 911 to report drunk driving as he followed him home. Righeimer was subjected to a field sobriety test but passed.
Several other councilmembers were also targeted during the negotiations. Costa Mesa’s police union quickly ended their relationship with the firm in light of burgeoning backlash.
Officials from other cities, including Buena Park, Fullerton and Irvine, have come forward over the years accusing Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir of intimidation tactics.
For instance, Buena Park Councilman Fred Smith left a party in 2010 and was followed by a police officer who suggested that he smelled of alcohol. When the breathalyzer proved his sobriety, he was allowed to go. The next morning he received a call from the officer who asked, “Have you had enough yet?”
The former city manager of Upland was also targeted by the firm and chose to settle their alleged domestic violence charges quietly with a $50,000 settlement.
Amidst scandals and the loss of a major client (the Peace Officers Research Association of CA), the firm announced that it would be dissolving.
Read the full article at the Voice of OC.
View the firm’s playbook of suggested intimidation tactics below:
View the search warrant filing below: