LOS ANGELES, Oct. 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Brad Lund, grandson of the late Walt Disney, filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asking the panel to reverse the lower court's decision to dismiss a civil rights and anti-disabilities discrimination suit filed against Los Angeles County Probate Court Judge David J. Cowan and the Los Angeles County, California Superior Court system. Lund asserted in his federal court complaint that Judge Cowan violated his civil rights under Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and a provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Mr. Lund alleged that his rights were violated by Judge Cowan when the judge said, in open court and recorded on a court transcript, on June 25, 2019 (p.19, II. 10-13), "Do I want to give 200 million dollars, effectively, to someone who may suffer, on some level, from Down syndrome? The answer is no." This statement, Mr. Lund said, was one of the illegal grounds for depriving him of his right to his own counsel and due process.
Sandra Slaton, the lead attorney for Mr. Lund in his lawsuit, immediately asked Judge Cowan to withdraw his public assertion, since it was contradicted by a DNA test from a respected lab that precluded even the possibility that Mr. Lund "may" have Down Syndrome. "Denied," was Judge Cowan's one-word response.
"No person should be deprived of their day in court on such infringements except under the narrowest exceptions, which have no application here," said Lund's co-counsel in the case, Lanny J. Davis, a former Special Counsel to President Bill Clinton, said.
The US District Court dismissed the case not on the merits but based on inapplicable legal doctrines. Lund claimed Judge Cowan does not have immunity under the ADA. Similarly, a sitting judge can be subject to a "prospective" order for declaratory relief. Moreover, the brief argued that the Younger doctrine requiring federal court deference to state courts was not applicable here. "Assuming all the allegations in our complaint about constitutional and statutory violations by the court are true – which is the rule in dismissing a case on the law – then we hope the 9th circuit panel agrees that Brad Lund deserves his day in court," attorney Davis asserted.
CONTACT: Lincoln Zweig, [email protected]
SOURCE Lanny Davis