City records show that from 2005 to 2010, officers have sued the department over workplace issues more than 250 times. The city has paid settlements or verdicts totaling more than $18 million in about 45 of those cases and has lost several other verdicts worth several million dollars more in cases it is appealing, a review of the records shows. The city has prevailed in about 50 cases. The rest, representing tens of millions of dollars in potential liability, remain open.
Litigious officers have bedeviled Los Angeles police chiefs and city lawyers for decades, and a survey of large police departments across the country indicates that LAPD officers file suit more than others.
Los Angeles police, for example, brought an average of about three times more lawsuits a year per officer than officers in Chicago and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. And there were about a third fewer lawsuits among Boston police.