March 3, 2017 – Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of the Northern District of California today appointed Cohorn Law as pro bono counsel to plaintiff Isaac Riggs in a lawsuit alleging excessive force by a corrections officer at Salinas Valley State Prison. In the lawsuit, filed in 2012, Mr. Riggs asserts that the corrections officer, without provocation, used pepper spray on him, then proceeded to kick and beat him while he was rendered defenseless by the chemical agent. Mr. Riggs seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Under the guidelines of the Federal Pro Bono Project’s guidelines, a member of the pro bono panel (in this case, Cari Cohorn) may be appointed counsel to a pro se litigant if “exceptional circumstances” exist and the dispute warrants pro bono representation. Those conditions were met here.
Previous settlement conferences have not resolved the dispute. Accordingly, Cohorn Law has begun full-scope representation of Mr. Riggs and will advocate on his behalf through a jury trial, if necessary. The case is Riggs v. Grounds, et. al, No. 13-cv-5864-PHJ.