Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.


United States District Court, N.D. California

September 10, 2004.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SUSAN ILLSTON, District Judge

Petitioner Christine Hallinan, a Plaintiff in the above entitled action and the mother and legal custodian of the minor Plaintiffs, Courtney Hallinan, Gavin Hallinan and Devon Hallinan, hereby notifies the Court that the above matter has been settled through voluntary mediation before the Honorable Eugene Lynch (Ret.) on July 29, 2004. Petitioner requests that the Court approve the settlement upon the terms described below, in the best interests of the minor children.

  This petition is brought under FRCP 17(c), which provides that the Court may make "such order as it deems proper for the protection of (an) infant or incompetent person". Under California Probate Code Section 3500, the parent having the care, custody or control of the minor, if the parents are living separate and apart, has "the right to compromise, or to execute a covenant not to sue on or a covenant not to enforce judgment on the claim" unless the claim is against that parent. (Cal.Prob.C. Section 3500(a)(2). Plaintiff Christine Hallinan was awarded sole physical and legal custody of the three minor Plaintiffs by order of dissolution of marriage dated March 27, 2002.

  Cal.Prob.C.Section 3500(b) requires court approval of the compromise or covenant where the plaintiff is a minor. Cal.Prob.C.Section 3610 provides that in cases where money is to be paid for benefit of a minor under a compromise, covenant, order or judgment and there is no guardianship of the estate of the minor, the court may make appropriate orders for the payment of expenses and fees and disposition of the proceeds in accordance with Cal.Prob.C.Section 3611. Subsection (c) states that the court may order that if the balance of the money to be paid after payment of expenses, costs and fees does not exceed $20,000.00 in value, ". . . that all or part of the money and other property be held on such other conditions as the court in its discretion determines to be in the best interests of the minor or incompetent person." Petitioner requests that the Court order that as the parent with sole legal and physical custody of the three minor Plaintiffs in this action, she be given the authority to use the proceeds from each child's share of $12,500.00 of the total settlement amount of $50,000.00 for their benefit and for their basic needs.

  The Minor Plaintiffs

  The minor plaintiffs in this action are Courtney Ann Hallinan, female, age 11 (birthdate June 18, 1993); Gavin Liam Hallinan, male, age 9 (birthdate October 13, 1994), and Devon Vincent Hallinan, male, age 7 (birthdate May 24, 1996). They reside in the home of their mother, Christine Hallinan, located in El Granada, California, as of March 2004. Prior to March 2004, the children resided with the mother in the home of Plaintiffs Gregory Hampton, Ajaye Hampton, and Gregory Hampton's daughter, Kayleen Hampton.

  Facts Underlying Plaintiffs' Claims

  This case arose out of a domestic relations dispute between Christine Hallinan and her former husband, Padriac Hallinan. They entered into a marital settlement agreement on October 30, 2001, which was incorporated into a March 27, 2002 judgment on the dissolution of their marriage ending their marital status. As part of this judgment the court awarded Christine Hallinan sole legal and physical custody of their children, Courtney, Gavin and Devon Hallinan who were, respectively, eight, six and five years of age on September 30, 2002, the date of the incident.

  The judgment on dissolution ordered that: "All issues relating to custody, visitation or the general well being of any/all of the children shall first be mediated by Family Court Services prior to seeking court intervention. This shall include requests for restraining orders against any member of Wife's household or residence. If Husband violates this section it shall constitute harassment of Wife." This provision was sought and obtained by Ms. Hallinan because of problems related to Padraic Hallinan's repeated violation of prior court orders, his criminal conduct (including his conviction and incarceration in 2001 for child endangerment and drug related offenses), and his repeated abuse of process by obtaining (exparte) and threatening to obtain frivolous temporary restraining orders to disrupt Ms. Hallinan and the Hallinan children while they resided together with plaintiff Gregory Hampton and his children at 530 Miramar Drive, in San Mateo County.

  Approximately one week prior to September 30, 2002, Ms. Hallinan notified the Sheriff's Department that Padriac Hallinan was once again threatening to obtain a restraining order against Gregory Hampton, prohibiting him from being in the vicinity of the Hallinan children without first participating in mediation, in clear violation of the court order.

  On September 30, 2002 at approximately 8:10 p.m., defendants Conceicao and Navarro entered the property upon which plaintiffs' two story residence was located. They walked up to the front door at which time one of them then pounded on the door causing enough noise to startle all inside. At the time, all of the plaintiffs were upstairs in bed or getting ready to go to bed, except Plaintiff Ajaye Hampton, Plaintiff Gregory Hampton's 15 year old son, who was doing homework downstairs in the kitchen.

  Defendant process servers Conceicao and Navarro misrepresented themselves as "officers of the court" and told Mr. Hampton they wanted to speak to him. Gregory was aware that Padriac Hallinan had recently threatened to obtain a TRO and have it served on him in violation of the above-mentioned March 27, 2002, court order and as a result he suspected defendants Conceicao and Navarro were then attempting to serve such an illegally obtained TRO (which they were). He decided not to accept service of any papers from the process servers and refused to open the door despite their insistence that he do so. Because Conceicao and Navarro persisted in insisting that he open the door, he told them to leave his property and when they refused to do so told them he was going to call the Sheriff's Office to have them removed for trespassing. Conceicao and Navarro responded stating they would also contact the Sheriff's Office.

  Gregory Hampton called the Sheriff's Office a minute or so later and explained process servers were on his property without his consent and were refusing to leave. He was then advised by the dispatcher that deputies were already on their way.

  From the time that the process servers arrived at plaintiff's residence until the time the defendant Deputy Sheriffs arrived, all plaintiffs were inside their home and the front door remained closed. The process servers waited for the deputies to arrive on the street in front of the residence, which is approximately 60 feet from the front door of plaintiffs' home.

  The two Deputy Sheriffs who responded spoke at some length with the process servers, but refused to listen to Plaintiff Gregory Hampton and/or Christine Hallinan. When Ms. Hallinan attempted to explain to deputy Goulart that she had good reason for believing that the process servers were attempting to serve Hampton with a court order that had been illegally obtained, deputy Goulart cut her off and continued to insist that Plaintiff Hampton come outside. At the time Gregory Hampton was standing inside his home at the front door with the door open. Hampton then told Goulart he wanted the process servers off his property but Goulart was unresponsive to him and simply returned to speak to the process servers.

  It soon became apparent to both Christine Hallinan and Gregory Hampton that for whatever reason, the deputies were acting as advocates for the process servers rather than neutral investigators or peacekeepers.

  Hampton refused to step outside his home but continued to speak with deputy Goulart until he saw the process servers begin to approach the front door. At that point he quickly closed the door. Deputy Goulart then told Gregory Hampton he was under arrest. When Hampton asked why, deputy Goulart did not respond verbally but instead kicked in the door which struck Hampton, knocking him to the floor.

  Although Hampton had not resisted, Goulart proceeded to assault him with pepper spray. Both deputies then jumped on Hampton and one of them hit him with his night stick. They then arrested him for making terrorist threats, threatening public officers, interfering with public officers and resisting arrest. Deputy Goulart took Hampton to San Mateo County General Hospital for treatment, and then to San Mateo County jail, where he remained until he was released the next day after posting bail. Gregory was not prosecuted and all charges against him were discharged.

  While Hampton was being arrested, both Christine Hallinan and Ajaye Hampton, Gregory's 15 year old son, objected to Goulart's use of excessive force as well as to the unreasonable manner in which Goulart was conducting himself, including by refusing to listen to what Christine Hallinan had been trying to explain to them regarding the above-mentioned March 27, 2002, court order. As a result both Ajaye Hampton and Christine Hallinan were threatened by the defendant Goulart with arrest if they persisted in complaining.

  Once the deputies cleared the way for them, the process servers entered the residence, gave the papers they wanted served on Gregory Hampton to the deputies after which, according to the deposition testimony of Defendant Louis Conceicao, one of the deputies personally served Gregory Hampton with the illegally obtained restraining order.

  At some point Sergeant Dal Porta arrived at the scene. He gave Ms. Hallinan the papers which apparently had been served on Gregory Hampton. Ms. Hallinan then showed him the above mentioned Judgment and Marriage Settlement Agreement after which he called for another deputy to take a report, deputy Michael Broad. Deputy Broad submitted a Crime Report the next day within which he states: "During the course of the incident, Hampton was arrested, and it was determined that the plaintiff on the restraining order (Padraic Hallinan) was in fact in violation of a previously issued court order." Deputy Sheriff Broad recommended in his report that it be forwarded to the District Attorney for prosecution of Padraic Hallinan for contempt of court for "harassing his wife" by having the temporary restraining order served on Gregory Hampton without first consulting the Family Courts.

  The entire incident was witnessed by Ajaye Hampton and the three Hallinan children. Two of the Hallinan children, Devon and Gavin, were in the stairwell with a clear view downstairs and witnessed Gregory Hampton being struck with "a stick" by one of the deputies. Courtney Hallinan heard everything that occurred from her bedroom and the hallway but she was too frightened to look.

  The Hallinan children were upset and crying, and after the incident, said they were afraid that the sheriff's deputies were going to kill Gregory Hampton. They were traumatized because they saw their mother, Christine Hallinan, and Gregory Hampton's son, Ajaye, pleading with the deputies to listen to them, and not to hurt Gregory Hampton, but Deputy Goulart threatened to arrest them unless they were quiet. The children were aware that their father, Padraic Hallinan, had filed for a temporary restraining order before, on Christmas day (1999) and that although the matter was finally dropped, the TRO was not dissolved by the court for an extended period during which time the Hallinan children and their mother could not return to the Hampton residence.

  Description of Claims and Injuries to Minor Plaintiffs

  In their Complaint, plaintiffs stated eight claims against the individual deputy sheriffs and process servers for violation of 42 U.S.C. Section 1983; claims against the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office and San Mateo County for violation of 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, invasion of privacy in violation of the California Constitution, trespass, false imprisonment, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

  Based on the above legal claims, the following categories of damages are claimed by the plaintiffs in this action, in accordance with the physical and/or emotional injuries suffered as a result of the actions of defendants.

  Plaintiff Christine Hallinan resided in the Hampton home with her three children since 1999 until recently (March 2004). At the time the complaint in this action was filed, Courtney Hallinan was 8, Gavin Hallinan was 6 and Devon Hallinan was 5. Plaintiff Gregory Hampton was Christine Hallinan's boyfriend and has been a father figure to her three children since they have lived in his home the past five years. They are close to Hampton's son Ajaye and his daughter, Kayleen, who interact with them like brothers and sisters. Christine Hallinan, who is a single mother and the sole support of the Hallinan children, incurred out of pocket expenses for hotel, meals, transportation, laundry, childcare and lost time from her work as a fitness instructor during the approximate two weeks that she was prevented from returning to the Hampton home.

  Just before the September 30, 2002 incident, Christine had taken the initiative to contact the San Mateo County Sheriff and inform them that Padraic Hallinan had once again threatened to take the children, to file another restraining order on Gregory Hampton and threatened her with physical harm. She asked what the Sheriff's Department could do to prevent Hallinan from violating the domestic relations order requiring him to deal with family court services first. She was brushed off, and told that no judge would sign an order in Hallinan's favor under the circumstances.

  On the evening of September 30, 2002, Christine Hallinan was already fearful that her former husband would obtain a restraining order again and thereby force her and the children to leave the Hampton home. When she heard the banging on the front door and the ensuing commotion downstairs, she knew what it was about. As Gregory Hampton was speaking with the sheriff deputies through the front door, Christine asked if she could get the court papers out of her car, which would explain that the papers about to be served (the temporary restraining order) was prohibited by the court's order. She was again brushed off by deputy Goulart, but then was allowed by deputy McDevitt to go to her car to get the papers. However, while she was doing so, Goulart kicked in the door and assaulted and arrested Hampton.

  Christine Hallinan suffered profound emotional distress at seeing her boyfriend injured, his son extremely fearful and upset, and being treated disrespectfully by the sheriffs' deputies who refused to listen to her. She feared being forced to leave the house with her children again, felt guilty about the disruption to Gregory Hampton and his son, and could not afford to pay for hotel bills, outside meals and other expenses again. However, since the illegal restraining order had been served, she and her children were forced to leave for a second time.

  Christine also witnessed the injuries to Gregory Hampton and tried in vain to comfort Ajaye Hampton and prevent the incident. She then realized that her own children were watching the incident from the top of the stairs, since the commotion caused them to come out of their upstairs bedrooms. They were crying and in fear for weeks afterwards, and asking that night if the sheriffs were going to kill Gregory Hampton, since they had taken him into custody and to jail.

  Christine Hallinan claimed out of pocket expenses incurred for the support of herself and her children due to the service of the illegal restraining order, including hotel bills, outside meals, laundry, transportation, childcare and loss of time from work. The expenses were not specified in the settlement amount.

  On behalf of the three Hallinan children, their mother sought compensation in the form of general damages for the emotional distress and fear they suffered by having witnessed the violent arrest of Plaintiff Gregory Hampton, having observed the fear and apprehension that their mother and Plaintiff Ajaye Hampton exhibited, and having had their sense of security in their home disturbed for the second time due to the service of an illegal restraining order. It caused the children to be distrustful of law enforcement, and fearful that something else would happen to Plaintiff Gregory Hampton or their mother. It took months before the childrens' anxiety subsided, and they stopped waking up at night or having nightmares.

  Plaintiff Christine Hallinan took extra time with the children to speak with them and reassure them that the incident was over and there was nothing to fear from law enforcement. Because of ongoing problems in her relationship with their father, and their occasional involvement in family court services assessments, she decided that it was best to take the incident in stride and forego therapy and counseling unless the childrens' emotional state warranted it. Based on her observations of the children on a day to day basis, they seem happy and are very active in sports programs. They do not appear to have sustained permanent emotional injuries as the result of these incidents.

  Medical Expenses or Out of Pocket Losses

  The minor children have not required medical treatment. Their mother, Christine Hallinan, incurred several thousand dollars in out of pocket expenses for meals, hotel lodging, childcare, transportation and loss of work time for approximately two weeks when she and the children were required to move out of the Hampton residence because of service of the illegal restraining order on September 30, 2002 as discussed above.

  Attorneys' Fees

  Vincent J. Courtney, Jr. and Sylvia Courtney are the grandparents of the minor Plaintiffs, and have waived attorneys' fees.

  The Settlement Amounts

  At mediation, it was agreed that the entire action would be settled and dismissed for the payment of a total of $150,000.00. The proceeds are to be paid as follows: $100,000.00 to Plaintiffs Gregory and Ajaye Hampton, and $50,000.00 to Plaintiffs Christine Hallinan, individually, and the minor Hallinan Plaintiffs (Courtney, Gavin & Devon), by and through their guardian ad litem. Plaintiff Christine Hallinan and the three minor Plaintiffs agreed to take equal shares of $12,500.00 for a total of $50,000.00. A true and correct copy of the Settlement Agreement and Release, signed by Christine Hallinan on her own behalf and on behalf of the minor plaintiffs, is attached hereto as Exhibit A.

  Request for Authority of Plaintiff Chistine Hallinan to Expend Proceeds as Needed for the Support and Care of the Minor Children

  Plaintiff Christine Hallinan was awarded sole physical and legal custody of the Hallinan children and provides their sole financial support. She has filed an action for past due child support against the childrens' father, Padraic Hallinan, who is in excess of $30,000.00 in arrears on child support payments. She is now living alone with the children and has always paid all of their expenses.

  Accordingly, Ms. Hallinan is requesting the court to allow her to use the settlement proceeds for the support of the minor children and for their basic needs. VERIFICATION

  I, CHRISTINE HALLINAN, declare as follows:

  I am a Plaintiff in the case of Hampton, et al., v. Goulart, et al., USDC No. C 03 3605 SI, and I make this verification on my own behalf.

  I have read the foregoing Petition for Approval of Compromise of Claims of Minor Plaintiffs and know the contents thereof and that said matters are true, and on that ground I allege that matters stated therein are true.

  I declare under penalty of perjury under the laws of the State of California and the United States that the foregoing is true and correct.

  Executed on August 23, 2004 at El Granada, California. EXHIBIT A GENERAL RELEASE

  AJAYE HAMPTON, GREGORY HAMPTON, CHRISTINE HALLINAN, COURTNEY HALLINAN, GAVIN HALLINAN and DEVON HALLINAN (hereinafter, referred to as "Releasors"), for and in consideration of the payment of the collective sum of ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($150,000.00) paid to Releasors in the form of a check or draft in the amount of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS ($100,000.00) payable to "AJAYE HAMPTON, GREGORY HAMPTON, and J. Tony Serra and James A. Bustamante, their attorneys," and a check or draft in the amount of FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($50.000.00) payable to "CHRISTINE HALLINAN, individually; COURTNEY HALLINAN, GAVIN HALLINAN and DEVON HALLINAN, minors, by and through their guardian ad litem, CHRISTINE HALLINAN and their attorneys Vincent J. Courtney, Jr. and Sylvia Courtney," do hereby fully, finally and forever remise, discharge and release JAMES GOULART, KYLE McDEVITT, SAN MATEO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE, and the COUNTY OF SAN MATEO, and their respective officers, employees, fellow employees, agents, servants, successors in interest, attorneys, heirs, estates or personal representatives, or any of them, (hereafter, occasionally collectively referred to as "Releasees") from and against any and all claims, demands, liabilities, obligations, damages or chose in action, legal or equitable, of whatever kind or nature, in which the Releasors, or any of them, whether successors in interest, or heirs, estates or personal representatives, or any of them, now may have or assert, or may have had in the past or may have in the future against Releasees, or any of them, as the result of, based upon, arising out of or connected with any act, deed, conduct, operation, incident, omission, occurrence, matter or thing alleged or stated in the Complaint filed by Releasors in the United States District Court, Northern District, against the Releasees, designated as: Ajaye Hampton, Gregory Hampton, Christine Hallinan, Courtney, Hallinan, Gavin Hallinan and Devon Hallinan, Louis Conceicao and Humberto Navarro, United States District Court, Northern District of California Case No. C 03 03605 SI (Hereinafter, referred to as "the Action.")

  Further, in consideration of said payment the undersigned Releasors agree, represent, and warrant as follows:

  1. The undersigned understand that liability for such casualty or event is disputed by the parties herein released and that this RELEASE is a compromise and shall not be construed as an admission of any fact, claim or allegation of liability or responsibility on the part of the Releasees, or any of them.

  2. This RELEASE is a final and full release applying to all unknown and unanticipated claims against the Releasees as well as those known and anticipated arising out of the Action, including claims for costs and attorney's fees, and this RELEASE shall apply to any new and different damages which may manifest themselves in the future as a proximate result of said casualty or event and as to which it is presently without knowledge, and in the same manner as it applies to damages presently known. Releasors are on notice of and hereby specifically and expressly waives the provisions of California Civil Code ยง 1542, which provides as follows:

"A general release does not extend to claims which the creditor does not know or suspect to exist in his favor at the time of executing the release, which if known by him must have materially affected his settlement with the debtor."
  3. The undersigned acknowledge that in executing this RELEASE they are relying solely upon the legal advice of the attorneys hereinafter named, who are the attorneys of their own choice, and further state that they have not relied on statements of any attorneys or other persons acting on behalf of the parties herein released. 4. The undersigned hereby abandon and agree to dismiss with prejudice the Action and authorizes and instructs their attorneys to execute and file with the proper court, a dismissal with prejudice thereof. The undersigned further agree that this dismissal is a dismissal of the entire action, which shall include the dismissal of any and all claims against defendants Louis Conceicao and Humberto Navarro.

  5. The undersigned agree to indemnify and save and hold harmless the parties herein released from any liability, claims, attorney's fee claim, expense, demand, damage or cause of action of any kind or character asserted by any successor, heir, or personal representative of the undersigned arising directly or indirectly from the Action; and it is further expressly understood and agreed that said payment of the collective sum of ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS ($150,000.00) paid to Releasors includes payment of attorneys fees to the attorneys for AJAYE HAMPTON, GREGORY HAMPTON, CHRISTINE HALLINAN, COURTNEY HALLINAN, GAVIN HALLINAN and DEVON HALLINAN.

  6. The undersigned and the other parties to the Action agree that each party shall bear its own costs arising out of or connected with the Action.

  IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned Releasors hereby executes this RELEASE this __ day of ________, 2004, at __________, California.


_________________________ GREGORY HAMPTON, Releasor
CHRISTINE HALLINAN, individually, Releasor


COURTNEY HALLINAN, A Minor Releasor, GAVIN HALLINAN, A Minor Releasor, DEVON HALLINAN, A Minor Releasor, by and through their Guardian Ad Litem, CHRISTINE HALLINAN
APPROVED AS TO FORM: ____________________________ J. TONY SERRA

 ____________________________ JAMES A. BUSTAMANTE Attorneys for Releasors GREGORY HAMPTON And AJAYE HAMPTON

 APPROVED AS TO FORM: ____________________________ VINCENT J. COURTNEY

 ____________________________ SYLVIA COURTNEY Attorneys for Releasors CHRISTINE HALLINAN, and COURTNEY HALLINAN, A Minor Releasor, GAVIN HALLINAN, A Minor Releasor, DEVON HALLINAN, A Minor Releasor, by and through their Guardian Ad Litem, CHRISTINE HALLINAN STATE OF CALIFORNIA ) ) ss. COUNTY OF) County of San Mateo

  On August 23, 2004, before me, the undersigned, a Notary Public in and for said state, personally appeared Christine Hallinan, proved to me on the basis of satisfactory evidence (or personally known to me) to be the person whose name is subscribed to the within instrument and acknowledged to me that he executed the same in his authorized capacity, and that by his signature on the instrument the person, or the entity upon behalf of which the person acted, executed the instrument.

  WITNESS my hand and official seal.


  Notary Public


© 1992-2004 VersusLaw Inc.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Official citation and/or docket number and footnotes (if any) for this case available with purchase.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.