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Bona Law and The Institute for Justice File Federal Constitutional Takings Lawsuit to Vindicate Constitutional Rights of Man Whose Business Was Destroyed During LAPD SWAT Raid

July 21, 2023

Along with the Institute for Justice (IJ), Bona Law filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Carlos Pena, a resident of North Hollywood whose business was destroyed during an LAPD SWAT raid. Luke Hasskamp is leading this case for Bona Law.

For decades, Mr. Pena ran NoHo Printing & Graphics. Yet in August 2022, after a fugitive forced his way into Mr. Pena’s business and barricaded himself inside, LAPD’s SWAT team assaulted the store, firing dozens of tear gas cannisters, which tore holes through the walls, doors, roof, and windows. The teargas permeated the entire shop, ruining virtually everything inside and rendering it uninhabitable. Mr. Pena has repeatedly and without success asked the City of Los Angeles to pay to repair his shop. Unfortunately, because he cannot otherwise afford to reopen his business, Mr. Pena’s shop has remained closed since that time. 

Through this lawsuit filed in the Central District of California, Pena v. City of Los Angeles, 23-cv-05821 (C.D. Cal.), Mr. Pena seeks damages from the City of Los Angeles for the costs of repairing his business and to compensate him for nearly a year of lost profits while he has been unable to reopen. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution explicitly bars the taking of private property for public use without just compensation. Apprehending a dangerous fugitive is in the public interest, and in all fairness and justice, the cost of apprehending such fugitives should be borne by the public, and not by an unlucky and entirely innocent property owner such as Mr. Pena.

IJ is one of the nation’s leading public interest law firms. It strives to prevent widespread abuses of government power and secure the constitutional rights that allow all Americans to pursue their dreams. Bona Law founder Jarod Bona was a law clerk for IJ during the summer between his first and second year at Harvard Law school, and the firm is excited to team up with IJ to support Mr. Pena and individual freedom.