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Man sues city of Lodi after being wrongly placed in Crime Stoppers ad

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Posted: Monday, March 23, 2009 10:00 pm

A man whose photo was incorrectly listed in a Crime Stoppers ad as an attempted murder suspect is suing the city of Lodi, seeking at least $600,000 in damages.

Rosendo Alfaro Perez claims in the lawsuit filed this month that he was "exposed to hatred, contempt, ridicule and disgrace" when his photo appeared in a Crime Stoppers newspaper ad.

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  • posted at 11:50 am on Thu, Mar 26, 2009.


    Dogs, the $600,000 is what is known as the "pie-in-the-sky demand" - no one actually believes they'll get that amount, but it sends a message of seriousness to the opponent. Now, if a jury hears all the facts and likes that number, heyyyy... they could get it, but it's a top mark to start from for negotiations. So, the top is $600,000 and the bottom is -0-... let the games begin. My point in the first place was that it is time for LPD to understand that they are not untouchable. That's what I believe. They pull stupid antics all day long every day and violate people's rights and expect that an "aw shucks we're sorry" will take care of it. It won't. It's time they get that message and take it to heart. Unfortunately, the only thing that city department listens to is $$$. Don't shoot the messenger.

  • posted at 11:52 am on Wed, Mar 25, 2009.


    Layla: Thanks... Ya, that sort of answers the question. Someone advertising an anniversary could just ask you for their money back. Ones picture with "murderer" attached to it in the local paper would be a different story. I actually think this guy has a case against the city. People make mistakes, but an ad like this one (crime stoppers ad) needs to be checked and rechecked by the submitter. I'm wondering... does the LNS have some kind of waiver, or the like, signed that clears them of any wrong doing in cases like this (crime stoppers ad)?

  • posted at 8:38 am on Wed, Mar 25, 2009.


    Lodian: I don't know about advertising policies, since they're another department and we try to stay separate so that advertisers don't influence news coverage. In the case of Crime Stoppers ads, that information comes verbatim from the police department, much like when police tell me suspect information for stories I write.This particular ad did have all the correct written information (I'd also included most of it in previous stories about the shooting); the photo was the incorrect part. I think a similar comparison could be the anniversary/birthday ads that sometimes run on page 2: If the information is all correct but the advertiser makes a mistake and gives us a photo of their 18-year-old niece instead of the niece who's turning 21, would the newspaper employee be expected to somehow find and contact another family member to confirm that it's the right photo? (That's just a random example I made up.)I'm not sure if that answers your question, but it's the extent of my knowledge about the way ads work.

  • posted at 6:44 am on Wed, Mar 25, 2009.


    Layla Bohm, reporter wrote " Lodian: kidsalami is correct: The photo was in a paid ad, which is why the News-Sentinel was not named in the lawsuit. "Oh, I see. Thanks for the clarification. A question... does the paper look into an ad that is submitted by someone outside the paper before they print it? Or is there a small checklist they go through or does the paper take all ads as presented by the advertiser/payee? I realize that every detail cannot be examined for accuracy in each ad, but what is the extent of the responsibility of the paper before they print any submitted ad? Thanks again.

  • posted at 4:33 am on Wed, Mar 25, 2009.


    Lodian: kidsalami is correct: The photo was in a paid ad, which is why the News-Sentinel was not named in the lawsuit.

  • posted at 1:14 pm on Tue, Mar 24, 2009.


    Governments regularly reject claims, often not investigating the incidents. Legal response to the lawsuit will cost more than the $10,000 asked for in the claim. why should the Gov't. employees care if the city gets sued? It's not their money. This will probably get settled and for much more than $10,000. Both police Dept. employees involved should get docked, but it won't happen.

  • posted at 12:21 pm on Tue, Mar 24, 2009.


    "City employees investigated the claim, Magdich said, and rejected it..." The city did not IGNORE this, they "reject" every single claim brought against them. Whoever put this ad together, an LPD employee one can "assume," made a mistake. Probably "clicked" on the wrong name in a drop down box.I too agree with Shakespear, "Kill all the lawyers."

  • posted at 10:58 am on Tue, Mar 24, 2009.


    After giving this subject some thought, I wonder who contacted who. Did Perez contact that ambulance chaser, or was it the other way around.

  • posted at 10:51 am on Tue, Mar 24, 2009.


    HRH, what do you believe? If $600,000 isn`t good enough, then why bother with that skimpy amount and go for the big one, a cool million. That extra $400,000 should make all the bad things said about him go away, oppssss that $400,000 will most likely go to his shyster. Gee the guy just can`t catch a break, and remember to error is human. Get over it and move on.

  • posted at 10:31 am on Tue, Mar 24, 2009.


    "City employees investigated the claim, Magdich said, and rejected it..." Of course they did. Like they always do. I'm sorry, but I do not believe that "The city of Lodi regrets and is sorry for the mix-up..." is anywhere near enough. This man's life was disrupted and thrust into the public spotlight in a small town where appearances are everything. There are even posts here that, despite the apologies and clarification that this is NOT the suspect, compare him to Ted Bundy! If that isn't damage, what is? That post alone more than proves that this man's reputation has been impugned... even after the "apology." Best wishes to Somera and his client in this righteous legal endeavor. It ought to be at least worth what they paid Hayden who injured himself. It's time LPD take responsibility for their actions and get the message that they are not omnipotent. Get your checkbooks boys...

  • posted at 9:37 am on Tue, Mar 24, 2009.


    it wasn't the sentinel's mistake. didn't you read the story? it was an AD

  • posted at 7:08 am on Tue, Mar 24, 2009.


    dogs4you: Would a "sorry for the mix-up" be good enough for you? I think it would be really bad to have ones picture in the paper listed as a murderer, especially in a smaller city like Lodi. The "mix-up" was irresponsible and the LNS can't afford this kind of mistake.

  • posted at 6:43 am on Tue, Mar 24, 2009.


    The city of Lodi regrets and is sorry for the mix-up. That should be good enough. Concerning punitive damages, those are for the lawyer. Many states have stopped punitive damages so what is awarded is what the person suing actually gets. As far as a good person goes, Perez lists all the humilation he was subjected to, did he forget he is mean to his dog. And remember Ted Bundy didn`t look in he killed people on a regular basis either.

  • posted at 5:49 am on Tue, Mar 24, 2009.


    Thanks for the clarification and for being a step ahead of us, Ms. Bohm.dogs4you, what I said was that the enormous amount was meant to grab people's attention. Please note these parts of the article:When the city just **ignores** a claim..."As for the dollar amount, Somera **acknowledged that $600,000** for damages plus $300,000 in punitive damages which Magdich noted cannot be leveled against a government entity are **high**.Of course, he wants compensation for his client. But, not $600K.

  • posted at 5:43 am on Tue, Mar 24, 2009.


    weezer: No, the attorney isn't related to retired Lt. Chet Somera. I had the same question a while ago and asked them -- they were amused, but if they're related they don't know it.

  • posted at 5:20 am on Tue, Mar 24, 2009.


    Hey Weez, you state easy on the attorney, it wouldn`t surprise me that $600,000 was his idea. Remember what Shakespear said, if you don`t, here it is, Kill all the lawyers, kill them tonight, not a bad idea. That 1% of lawyers give the other 99% a bad name.

  • posted at 4:03 am on Tue, Mar 24, 2009.


    Thats right it happens all across the USA, That is what DNA,BLood test, Finger prints & middle names are for!!!to prevent!!! I was deined help for electric because people couldnot sell or look up SS#.A/U in my name!!!My lost was food for my family & homelessness!!!No I didn't sue, because I was poor & legal aid doesn't take these type of cases!!!

  • posted at 3:17 am on Tue, Mar 24, 2009.


    Just noticed the statement, "his office has no problem with the police department overall.'Ms. Bohm, is Atty. Somera related in any way to the retired ex-LPD Chet Somera?The $600K is probably meant to get attention, not to actually get the money.The settlement could probably be substantially lower. So, easy on the attorney.

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