A judge ruled Thursday that a Los Angeles police detective who alleges she was denied an important promotion for having filed two previous lawsuits can proceed with her third lawsuit against the city.
Detective Debbie Lopez brought the latest complaint Jan. 24 in Los Angeles Superior Court, once again alleging retaliation. The City Attorney’s Office filed a motion to dismiss the complaint, but it was denied by Judge Elaine Lu.
Lopez joined the LAPD in 1987 and has had the rank of detective III since 2004, the suit states. She filed her first retaliation suit in 2010, naming then-Capt. Kevin McCarthy as one of the persons who allegedly was involved in the backlash against her, the new suit states. A jury verdict in favor of Lopez was affirmed on appeal, according to her complaint.
Lopez filed a second suit in 2015, again accusing McCarthy, who had been promoted to commander, of retaliation, according to her latest complaint, which says the second lawsuit was settled in 2016.
On or about February 2018, McCarthy and/or other command staff members in the detective bureau denied Lopez a position as a hate crime coordinator in the LAPD’s Robbery Homicide Division in retaliation for filing her prior lawsuits, according to her newest filing. Although she retired in 2016, she applied for the position when it became open, her court papers state.
“(Lopez) alleges that she engaged in a protected activity by reporting discrimination or testifying and participating in trial against McCarthy and the LAPD,” the judge wrote in her ruling. (Lopez) further alleges that she was subjected to an adverse employment action by being denied the hate crimes coordinator position, and that this adverse action was causally linked, through McCarthy, to her protected activity in reporting and testifying against McCarthy and the LAPD.”
Lawyers for the City Attorney’s Office argued Lopez did not engage in protected activity and that she was not wrongfully denied the hate crimes coordinator position.
Lopez has suffered lost income, loss of a car to take home and damage to her reputation, according to the most recent suit, which says her chances of being promoted and to get work after she retires also have been damaged.