$2.6 Million Settlement for Family of Man Killed in Botched SWAT Raid
$2.6 million was paid to the family of 31-year-old Rogelio "Roger" Serrato Jr., who was killed when members of the Monterey County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team set fire to his Greenfield, California, home with a flash-bang stun grenade during their attempted service of a search warrant on January 5, 2011. The County has paid $1.375 million to Serrato's two young sons, who are represented by Haddad & Sherwin. The boys were just one and two years old at the time their father was killed. Each child's settlement proceeds will be placed into a trust account until he is 18, and each child will ultimately receive more than $1 million. Serrato's mother, three sisters, and other children, represented by the Law Offices of John L. Burris, received $1.225 million to settle their claims against the County and its officers.
County Pays $2.6 Million to Survivors of Man Killed by SWAT Team
Sara Rubin, Monterey County Weekly, August 22, 2013
Two-and-a-half years after a SWAT team raid gone awry left a 31-year-old Greenfield man dead and his home a charred wreck, the county has agreed to pay $2.6 million to the survivors of Rogelio Serrato. ... Serrato died of smoke inhalation after his home went up in flames, the result of a flashbang device lobbed through a living room window that rapidly set fire to a couch. The flash -bang device - used to distract suspects with loud popping sounds and bright flashing light - was deployed with disregard for safety and protocol, according to a brief filed by Oakland-based attorney Michael Haddad, who represented Serrato's two young sons in the case. ... "One thing striking in this case is there were many people up the chain of command who could've intervened and stopped this highly dangerous tactic," Haddad says of the top officials back at the sheriff's office who signed off on the plan. "Nobody stepped up and said, 'Wait a minute, this is too dangerous and it doesn't make sense.' The result is, they burned a house down and killed a man."
County to pay out $2.6 million in Greenfield man's wrongful death suit
Allison Gatlin, The Californian, August 20, 2013
Monterey County will pay out nearly $3 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit in the case of a 31-year-old Greenfield man killed two years ago during a SWAT raid on his house. The beneficiaries of the $2.6 million suit are the 4- and 5-year-old sons of Rogelio "Roger" Serrato Jr., whose two youngest children will ultimately receive more than $1 million apiece on their 18th birthdays. ... In July 2011, Lisa Magdeleno sought assistance from Oakland-based Haddad & Sherwin on behalf of her grandsons, then ages 2 and 3. ... Michael Haddad, an attorney for the boys, called the use of the flash-bang stun grenade "unnecessary and excessive." "This significant settlement underscores the seriousness of the Serrato family's horrific loss,” he said. “The officers' use of an explosive, incendiary weapon inside Roger Serrato's home, when they believed he was inside and posed no threat to anyone, was unnecessary and excessive."
Lawsuit filed in fatal Greenfield raid
Sunita Vijayan, The Californian.com, July 26, 2011
A lawsuit filed Monday in federal court alleges the Monterey County Sheriff's Office wrongfully used a flash-bang grenade to "scare" a Greenfield man during a raid this year that ultimately caused his death. Oakland-based civil rights law firm Haddad & Sherwin filed the federal civil rights and wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of 31-year-old Rogelio Serrato's two young sons in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. ... "The para-military raid on Mr. Serrato's house was totally excessive from beginning to end," Haddad said. ... "This is just the beginning of the case, but really this lawsuit will hold the officers accountable for Mr. Serrato's death, finally, and hopefully prevent this kind of tragedy from happening in the future."