Alameda County lawyer slammed for 'misleading' claims about Black family's detention

A federal judge upheld an $8.25 million verdict awarded to a Black mother and her daughters who were unlawfully detained outside a Castro Valley Starbucks while also denying a pair of Alameda County sheriff's deputies the right to a new trial. 

Perhaps what was more striking than the rulings was the way that U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup rebuked the attorney representing Alameda County for "misleading" statements and a remorseless attitude toward the mother and her daughters.

Alsup didn't mince any words when writing about the county's attorney, Kevin E. Gilbert of Orbach Huff and Henderson in Pleasanton, in his 61-page decision issued Tuesday.

"This case was tried by Mr. Gilbert without any apology, without even a statement of regret that a completely innocent family was detained, handcuffed in the back of a car for 91 minutes. No statement of regret by the lawyer. No statement of regret by any of the officers. Completely innocent," the judge said at a prior May hearing. 

And the judge intimated that if the defense hadn't been so disrespectful with the family, the payout wouldn't have been so large. 

"For almost 50 years I either tried cases or I've done this job. It's quite clear to me that it was the way in which this case was tried that led to this big verdict," Alsup said.

Gilbert did not respond to KTVU's inquiries on Wednesday. He is not in-house counsel. He is contracted to litigate for public agencies throughout California. 

The original civil verdict was reached on March 1, when jurors found that two Alameda County sheriff's deputies wrongfully demanded identification from the Loggervale family in the parking lot of a Starbucks in September 2019, as they said they were investigating a string of car burglaries. The suspects in those cases were men. The Loggervales are women. 

The family refused to provide ID and deputies kept them in the back of their patrol car for more than an hour and a half.  Mother and daughters had been en route to a math test so that Aasylei Hardge-Loggervale could transfer from Berkeley City College to UCLA. 

Under the U.S. Constitution, citizens have the right to be free from unreasonable searches. 


Jury awards $8.25M to Black mother, daughters handcuffed outside Castro Valley Starbucks

A federal jury awarded a mother and her two daughters $8.25 million after they were unlawfully searched and handcuffed by Alameda County sheriff's deputies outside a Castro Valley Starbucks on their way to taking one of the young women to a college math test in Berkeley.

The jury found that the Loggervales were the victims of a false arrest, invasion of privacy, negligence and violations of the 1st, 4th, and 14th Amendments. 

Specifically, the jury found Alameda County sheriff's deputy Steven Holland liable for $2.7 million to mother Aasylei Loggervale and $2 million apiece to her daughters, Aaottae Loggervale, then 17, and Aasyeli Hardege-Loggervale, then 19.

The jury also found Deputy Monica Pope liable for $750,000 to both daughters and that Alameda County is liable for the actions of its deputies. 

Days later, Gilbert appealed that verdict, instead saying each of the Loggervale women should receive a total of $150,000 each. He also moved for a mistrial. 

Alsup made it clear in his ruling that the only reason the women were stopped and treated like this is because they are Black. And he criticized Gilbert for the way he treated the Loggervales during the trial.

During the trial, the "defense never made any apology or show of regret," the judge wrote. "Instead, the defense, before the jury, impugned the credibility and integrity of the plaintiffs." 

Alsup emphasized that the mother and daughters were innocent of any crime.

For example, the judge highlighted an instance where Gilbert called one of the daughters a liar because she said she needed to use the bathroom at Starbucks. 

Alsup then remarked on Gilbert trying to discredit the same daughter about receiving a C on a test – the only time that's ever happened to her – while suggesting to the jury that her poor performance on the day in question was not due to being detained by deputies for 90 minutes, but because she had allegedly partied too much the week before.  

Not only that, but the judge said he just couldn't believe whatever came out of Gilbert's mouth. 

"I don't trust almost – anything you say," Alsup told Gilbert in May. 

"Your Honor," Gilbert interjected, denying that he misrepresented the court intentionally. 

"If you tell me things happened at the trial in black and white right now," Alsup said. "I would be willing to bet $10 to $1 what you told me is misleading." 

The judge continued:  "When I finally do this order, I want your boss to read it, because there are so many things you said in your brief that turned out to be false. I'm going to flag as many as I can." 

The Loggervale family has declined any public comment about the case. 

But their attorney, Craig Peters of Altair Law in San Francisco, said mother and daughters are moving on with their lives, even though it might be years before they actually see any money. The county has already filed a notice to appeal Alsup's latest ruling. 

For now, the daughters are focused on their careers. 

Aasylei Hardge-Loggervale is graduating from UCLA. Her sister, Aaottae Loggervale, is graduating from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. 

Lisa Fernandez is a reporter for KTVU. Email Lisa at or call her at 510-874-0139. Or follow her on Twitter @ljfernandez.