Hooligans who mar Giants’ World Series celebrations to be a top target of City Attorney’s Office in civil lawsuits, collections
SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 30, 2012) — In the wake of dozens of arrests and costly vandalism to City property that included the torching of a $700,000 Muni bus following the San Francisco Giants’ World Series victory Sunday night, City Attorney Dennis Herrera today announced his intention to work closely with District Attorney George Gascón, police and other City departments to aggressively pursue civil litigation against vandals to maximize financial recovery for taxpayers. Herrera made the announcement at a press conference at the District Attorney’s Office this afternoon.
San Francisco’s Charter empowers the City Attorney to file lawsuits on the City’s behalf whenever causes of action exist to do so, and Herrera’s office already includes a Small Claims and Collections Unit that recovers up to $1.6 million annually — typically for damage to City property, and largely for civil judgments under $1,000 each. Herrera has pledged to prioritize such claims against vandals who take advantage of World Series celebrations, including those that occur in or around Wednesday’s parade for the San Francisco Giants, which is expected to draw in excess of one million people.
“Vandals who mar San Franciscans’ celebration of the Giants’ World Series win bring disgrace on our City and deserve the harshest penalties the law allows,” said Herrera. “My office already works hard to collect on civil judgments owed to taxpayers. But I intend to make it a top priority to pursue litigation and maximize recovery for the kind of hooliganism we witnessed Sunday night. We will be working closely with District Attorney George Gascón and the Police Department to make sure that offenders who evade criminal conviction and restitution penalties face civil litigation for their vandalism. We will also pursue the most aggressive avenues available to us to collect on civil judgments we obtain.”
Civil courts offer government plaintiffs a less stringent standard of evidence to win judgments than their criminal counterparts. Herrera noted that the City Attorney’s Office will make aggressive use of the full panoply of methods to collect on civil judgments involving City property damage, including garnishment of wages, bank accounts and other asset seizures, filing liens, and seeking the revocation of drivers licenses and other state professional licensures until judgments are fully satisfied.
PDF of the Giants World Series vandalism presskit (Oct. 30, 2012)