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FRIDAY, MAY 5, 2006
Couple Wins $1.8 Million in Settlement After Raid of Home

By Erin Park
Daily Journal Staff Writer

Los Angeles -- A Sherman Oaks couple has won a $1.8 million Settlement from the city of Glendale and a national anti-fraud organization for alleged civil rights violations and police misconduct arising from a 2001 raid of the couple’s home.

In February of that year, a Glendale Police Department SWAT team stormed the home of Rouhel Feinstein and Marilyn Slome, arrested them and seized their vehicles, jewelry and money, said the couple’s attorney, Howard R. Price.

Scott Shaw, an agent with the National Insurance Crime Bureau had tipped off police that Feinstein, then the owner of an auto body repair shop, was running an international car theft ring, said Price of Beverly Hills.

At the time, Shaw was working with Glendale police Sgt. Susan Hayn on a joint task force investigating automobile insurance fraud. Shaw was fired by the organization earlier this year.

Two years after the raid, criminal charges were filed against the couple. But in 2004, a judge dismissed the charges after deciding the search warrant had been unlawfully issued, Price said.

In the meantime, the couple filed a federal lawsuit alleging civil rights violations.

Howard R. Price - Attorney at LawShaw was held liable under the federal Civil Rights Act because he was deemed a “state actor,” a label typically reserved for police officers but given to Shaw because of his close working relationship with law enforcement, Price said.

Under the settlement agreement, finalized March 31, the city paid $750,000, and the insurance organization paid $1.1 million. Feinstein v. Hayn, CV01-2875 (C.D. Cal., filed March 28, 2001).

Price criticized Glendale police for shirking their responsibilities as sworn police officers and letting Shaw “run the show.”

“He is basically nothing more than a private citizen working for a private entity,” Price said. “They just totally deferred to him and let him run wild. They ended up paying through the nose for it.”

Glendale city officials acknowledged that the Police Department relied on information provided by an insurance fraud expert.

“Unfortunately, some information he provided turned out to be inaccurate,” said Carmen Merino, a Glendale senior assistant city attorney. “The city recognized it had some liability. That’s why we settled the case.”

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