City considers hiring law firm to help with claims against police

DOWNEY - The City Council on Tuesday will consider hiring an Orange County law firm to help them deal with civil litigation matters, particularly liability claims involving the Downey Police Department. Based in Santa Ana, the Law Offices of Ferguson, Praet & Sherman was founded by former police officer Bruce Praet.

According to a 1992 profile by the L.A. Times, Praet is "best known for defending police officers and departments being sued for misconduct..."

If the deal is approved by the council, the law firm would be paid $185 per hour for attorney services.

The contract's total worth is not known.

However, in a staff report, city manager Gilbert Livas wrote "city staff and the firm will prepare a working legal budget for each matter assigned to the firm, but it is expected that the cost of legal services will not exceed the amount set forth in the current budget."