Chapman University Dale E. Fowler School of Law alumnus Jeremy Jass (JD ’11) recently obtained a $2.25 million verdict on behalf of a woman sexually assaulted by an Orange County sheriff’s deputy.
According to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, deputies responded to a domestic disturbance call at the home of the then 21-year-old victim in 2014. The accused deputy, Nicholas Lee Caropino, allegedly drove the victim back to her car, searched her car, ordered her to wait while he returned to the station with his partner, and then returned and assaulted her.
When he began looking into the case, Jass discovered that Caropino was already under criminal investigation for allegedly assaulting another woman on a prior occasion. The jury in the case found the county liable because of a policy that allowed Caropino to remain on duty while under criminal investigation.
“This was a tough case. The story was old, there was no evidence, and it was basically going to come down to a ‘he said, she said,’ situation, but I truly believed my client,” Jass said. “I saw [Orange County Supervisor Todd] Spitzer was quoted in an article urging the Sheriff’s Department to change the policy. That’s the best thing to come out of this case – there is a real opportunity for this case to make an important change. That’s something you don’t always get to see.”
Jass, who has his own firm in Long Beach, brought in several well-known co-counsel including Daniel Balaban of Balaban & Spielberger LLP, and Browne Greene of Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, as well as attorneys from Esner Chang & Boyer. Prior to attending law school, Jass worked as a police officer. His connection to the police force brought an additional level of justice to the ruling.
“I personally take offense to bad police officers,” he said. “It’s a real exercise in injustice when they get to continue working with the public. It’s not beneficial to the department or the community.”