Judge Refuses to Toss Out Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Democratic Major Donor and District Attorney in Fatal Meth Overdose of Gemmel Moore
Judge Issues Early Ruling and Keeps Human Trafficking Claim Against Ed Buck
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - On Wednesday, Judge Cormac J. Carney ruled on requests by California Democratic major donor Ed Buck and Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to toss out the wrongful death civil rights lawsuit in the 2017 meth overdose death of 26-year-old Gemmel Moore. Judge Carney did not grant either Motion to Dismiss. A hearing scheduled for Monday is now cancelled.
“The Court’s ruling on the County’s and Ed Buck’s Motions to Dismiss is a huge victory for Gemmel Moore’s mother Ms. LaTisha Nixon,” explained attorney Hussain Turk. “The Court generously ruled that Ms. Nixon may rewrite portions of her claims against the County so that they more clearly describe the constitutional civil rights laws that the County violated when it failed to properly investigate Gemmel Moore’s death because of his race. This is a victory because the Court could have--and with these types of cases historically has--thrown out all of Ms. Nixon’s claims against the County without giving her a chance to revise it. This is a victory because it means that the County, District Attorney Jackie Lacey, and Assistant District Attorney Craig Hum are all still very much on the hook for the intentional and discriminatory botched investigation of Gemmel Moore’s death.”
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum are named as co-defendants in the lawsuit for their violation of Gemmel Moore’s civil rights in their race-based refusal to prosecute Ed Buck, which ultimately resulted in the Jan. 7, 2019 death of Timothy Dean under almost identical circumstances that should and could have been prevented.
The lawsuit also seeks damages against Ed Buck for the wrongful death of Gemmel Moore, sexual battery, drug dealer liability, premises liability, negligence per se, intentional infliction of emotional distress, hate violence, and human trafficking.
Turk added, “Ms. Nixon was also victorious with respect to Ed Buck’s Motion to Dismiss. Judge Carney rejected almost all of Ed Buck’s arguments, including his attempt to get rid of Ms. Nixon’s human trafficking claim. This means Ms. Nixon’s lawsuit will be one of the first to have successfully stated a federal human trafficking claim in civil court, which paves the way for other survivors to hold their sexual predators legally accountable. Yesterday’s ruling preserved the spirit and scope of Ms. Nixon’s lawsuit and we look forward to amending the complaint so that Ms. Nixon gets her rightful day in court.”
Gemmel Moore was found dead of a crystal meth overdose in Ed Buck’s West Hollywood home on July 27, 2017. His death was immediately classified as an accidental methamphetamine overdose by the coroner. 19 days later, after Moore’s journal was published and appeared in news reports, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s homicide bureau opened an investigation. On July 26, 2018, the District Attorney’s office, under the leadership of DA Jackie Lacey assisted by Assistant Head Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum, declined to file charges against Buck in connection with Moore's death citing insufficient evidence. 6 months later on January 7, 2019, Timothy Dean, another Black gay man died in Buck’s apartment.
In his journal, Moore wrote, “I honestly don’t know what to do. I’ve become addicted to drugs and the worst one at that,” a December entry reads. “Ed Buck is the one to thank. He gave me my first injection of crystal meth it was very painful, but after all the troubles, I became addicted to the pain and fetish/fantasy.”
“My life is at an alltime [sic] high right now & I mean that from all ways. I ended up back at Buck [sic] house again and got munipulated [sic] into slamming again. I even went to the point where I was forced to doing 4 within a 2day [sic] period. This man is crazy and its [sic] sad. Will I ever get help?”
In addition to seeking general damages, the lawsuit also seeks an undetermined amount of punitive damages and attorneys’ fees.
Criminal charges have yet to be filed against Buck in either Moore's or Dean’s death.
The hearing scheduled for Monday, September 16, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. in room 7C of the United States District Court for the Central District of California located at 350 W. First Street in Los Angeles has been cancelled.