Claims dismissed in Dorner reward case.

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Claims dismissed in Dorner reward case. Empty Claims dismissed in Dorner reward case.

Post  Ty on Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:45 am

Dec. 30, 2013 Updated: Dec. 31, 2013 8:12 a.m.

LOS ANGELES – A judge deciding a lawsuit over reward money in the Christopher Dorner case dismissed all claims Monday against the cities of Los Angeles and Riverside filed by a camp ranger carjacked by the ex-Los Angeles police officer.
Dorner died Feb. 12 from a self-inflicted gunshot in a law enforcement standoff as a cabin burned down around him in the San Bernardino Mountains community of Angelus Oaks. Dorner had been pursued there after a rampage in which four people died, including a young couple shot down in an Irvine garage.
Plaintiff Richard Heltebrake maintains in a lawsuit filed April 29 that he deserves the money because his 911 call helped alert authorities as to Dorner’s whereabouts.
But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White found that Heltebrake’s claims against Los Angeles infringed on “protected activities” – including a televised news conference by then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa regarding the manhunt for Dorner and the reward announcement – and that therefore they should be stricken.
White said she was not convinced that the city was contractually obligated to pay Heltebrake. She said the Riverside City Charter requires a written agreement approved by the mayor and City Council to substantiate such a claim.
White awarded $15,050 in attorneys’ fees to Los Angeles.
The judge previously dismissed Heltebrake's claims against Riverside County, leaving Irvine as the only remaining governmental defendant. A hearing is scheduled March 10 on a motion to dismiss all of Heltebrake's claims against Irvine.
Lawyers for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office stated in their court papers that state Department of Fish and Wildlife officers notified San Bernardino County authorities of Dorner’s whereabouts, not Heltebrake.
White denied a request by Heltebrake’s attorney, Sivi Pederson, for a chance to amend the complaint, saying she had granted that opportunity previously and that there were still issues with the plaintiff’s claims.
“I just don’t think you’re able to overcome the requirements,” White said. “The problems are insurmountable.”
Riverside police Officer Michael Crain was killed and one of his colleagues was injured while Dorner was a fugitive. Dorner was already dead when police stormed a cabin near Big Bear Mountain Lake where he was holed up.
Three retired judges appointed to make to make a final determination of who deserved the reward money announced in May that four people other than Heltebrake would receive a share for helping law enforcement officers track down Dorner.
The judges found that 80 percent of the money should go to a couple who were bound and gagged by Dorner in their Big Bear cabin. The panel recommended that a ski resort employee be awarded 15 percent and a tow truck driver 5 percent.
Dorner, who lived with his mother in La Palma, promised warfare on LAPD officers and their families for what he believed was his unjustified firing. The 33-year-old Navy reserve officer was the only suspect in the killings of four people, including two law enforcement officers, during his nearly one-week run from authorities.
The first two people whose slayings have been attributed to Dorner – Monica Quan and her fiancé, Keith Lawrence – were shot numerous times in the head and face in an Irvine garage, according to an autopsy report released in June.
Quan, the daughter of a retired LAPD captain who represented Dorner in a disciplinary hearing, was shot three times in the back of the head. Lawrence was shot five times in the head and face, as well as twice in the neck, according to the autopsy.
Investigators believe the newly engaged couple were targeted by Dorner in a campaign against law enforcement for retribution for what he claimed was an unfair firing from the Los Angeles police in 2009.
–Register staff writer Salvador Hernandez contributed to this report.


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