Lawsuit against Kevin de León could be dismissed next month, judge rules

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 09: Los Angeles City Council regular, Jason Reedy, gives the councilmembers an earful during a recent meeting. Photographed at City Hall on Friday, Dec. 9, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles City Council regular Jason Reedy speaks to councilmembers during a meeting in December 2022. (Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

A lawsuit brought by an activist against Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León over a scuffle at a holiday toy giveaway in 2022 could be dismissed as early as next month.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lynne Hobbs ruled during a hearing last week that the activist, Jason Reedy, had waited too long to file the lawsuit against the councilman. The complaint was filed past the six-month statute of limitations for suing a government entity, Hobbs wrote in her decision.

The judge gave Reedy 20 days to file an amended complaint to clarify that he's suing De León as an individual, not as a city councilman, since the statute of limitations for suing an individual alleging battery is longer. If he does not, the case will be dismissed.

Earlier this year, Hobbs dismissed the claim against the city of Los Angeles also because of the lapsed statute of limitations.

Read more: Activist sues L.A. over fight with Kevin de León, saying toy giveaway needed more security

The lawsuit centers on a tussle at a holiday event on Dec. 9, 2022, at a Lincoln Heights recreation center between Reedy, an advocate for defunding the Los Angeles Police Department, and De León, who was handing out holiday gifts. The event came just a few weeks after the councilman was heard on a leaked recording engaged in a conversation with other officials that included racist and derogatory comments, triggering calls for De León's resignation or recall.

Reedy and other activists interrupted the holiday event, calling De León a racist and demanding that he resign. The councilman tried to exit, but Reedy followed and stood face to face with him. That's when the situation escalated.

A video taken at the time shows De León shoving Reedy into a table. Reedy responded by punching De León, according to a witness. Both men filed police reports alleging they had been attacked, but neither was criminally charged.

Read more: Kevin de León and activist won't be charged over their fight. Here's why neither is happy

Reedy accused the councilman of grabbing him, pushing him and hitting him during the confrontation. He also alleged the city did not have adequate security at the event, according to court records.

Reedy's attorney, Dermot Givens, told Courthouse News Service that his client plans to file an amended complaint to allow the lawsuit to continue. Givens could not immediately be reached Monday for further comment.

Times staff writer David Zahniser contributed to this report.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.