Los Angeles County’s Litigation Costs Rose 24% Last Year

Litigation costs in Los Angeles County are up. Way up.

According to the annual litigation cost report provided by county counsel each year, Los Angeles spent $118.9 million on litigation in 2015. That’s a five-year-high and represents a 24% increase over the previous year.

The figures prompted an urgent call for action on the part of Supervisor Hilda Solis.

“Every cent the county spends on litigation is precious funding that we cannot use to house the homeless, promote better health and wellness for children, upskill our workforce and provide countless other needed services to our communities,” Solis wrote. “It is simply a waste of money and it doesn’t make sense.”

The bulk of the costs stemmed from use-of-force claims related to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Those costs rose from $40.6 million to $60.9 million between 2014 and 2015. However, the Los the Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was quick to clarify that many of the payouts stemmed from cases filed in previous years. In fact, the number of cases filed against the Sheriff’s Department this year has declined, officials said.

The second largest contributor to the county’s skyrocketing legal expenses was the Department of Health Services, which spent $19 million on litigation last year. That’s still a drop from 2014 when the department’s litigation expenses stood at $20.9 million.

Read more about L.A.’s soaring legal costs here.