A Los Angeles Superior Court judge on Monday added $2.1 million in attorneys fees and trial expenses to the $5.5-million civil verdict that the city of Torrance was ordered to pay in September when a jury found that six of the city's police officers covered up for a colleague after a fatal traffic accident.
Judge Abby Soven ordered Torrance to pay $329,000 in expenses and $1.8 million in attorneys fees to the firm of Greene, Broillet, Paul, Simon & Wheeler, which represented John Rastello of San Pedro. Rastello's 19-year-old son, Kelly, died in a collision with off-duty Torrance Police Sgt. Rollo Green in 1984.
A jury awarded the judgment against Torrance and its officers after finding that the Police Department had protected Green as part of a "custom and policy" of whitewashing police misconduct. Jurors found that John Rastello's civil right to meaningful access to the courts was infringed because Torrance police officers did not thoroughly investigate the crash or order a blood-alcohol test for Green, who admitted that he had been drinking before the crash.