Blake P. Loebs
Blake P. Loebs is a Principal with Meyers Nave and a member of the Trial and Litigation Practice Group. He joined the firm in 2015 after serving 22 years as a Deputy City Attorney for the City and County of San Francisco. Blake leads the firm’s statewide Peace Officer Defense/Civil Rights Practice.
As Chief of Civil Rights Litigation for nine years, Blake supervised civil rights litigation for a 22-member trial team in the office that The American Lawyer described as “one of the most aggressive and talented city law departments in the nation.”
Blake has an extensive record of successful jury trials, dismissals and favorable settlements of cases that involved allegations of police misconduct, deaths-in-custody, officer-involved shootings, claims of wrongful arrest, vehicle accidents causing death and serious injury, and claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Blake is undefeated in over 25 jury trials. In the nine years that he supervised the Civil Rights division, his colleagues at the City Attorney’s Office lost only one peace officer civil rights trial out of dozens of cases tried.
Blake has taken and defended over 1,000 depositions, and argued more than 500 motions in federal and state court. He has also argued numerous cases before the Ninth Circuit and California Courts of Appeal. One of Blake’s cases is the first published decision approving the use of “suicide-by-cop” expert testimony at trial. Another one of Blake’s officer-involved-shooting cases was recently argued before the United States Supreme Court and serves as a new benchmark for the application of qualified immunity throughout the country.
While serving as Deputy City Attorney, Blake gained extensive experience assisting in drafting General Orders for the San Francisco Police Department, shaping policies on matters including officer-involved shootings and vehicle pursuits. Blake also provided training at the San Francisco Police Academy regarding officer-involved shootings. Working extensively with numerous experts, Blake has developed reports and testimony in the field of police practices, suicide-by-cop, blood spatter analysis, ballistics, wound ballistics, photogrammetry, trajectory analysis, crime scene reconstruction, computer animation, hostage negotiation, toxicology, psychology, crisis management, fiber analysis, DNA analysis, rap lyrics, accident reconstruction, fingerprint analysis, economics, orthopedic medicine, internal medicine, vocational rehabilitation and neurology.
In 2013, the San Francisco Police Officers Association honored Blake as the “Citizen of the Year” and awarded him the Medal of Honor, the two highest honors that can be bestowed on civilians, reflecting his special expertise defending officer-involved shooting cases.
Blake’s experience handling high-publicity litigation includes representing the City of Modesto and eight Modesto police and fire department personnel who were involved in the 1997 capital murder investigation and trial of George Souliotes. Mr. Souliotes was convicted of intentionally starting a fire that killed a mother and her two young children and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. After prevailing on a habeas corpus petition handled by the Innocence Project, Mr. Souliotes was released from prison in 2013 and filed a civil rights lawsuit against Modesto and the eight individual defendants claiming that he was framed. In June 2016, the U.S. District Court granted Meyers Nave’s motion to dismiss the entire case against all defendants. The case is currently on appeal before the Ninth Circuit.
While at Meyers Nave, Blake has worked on numerous police defense cases for Modesto and many other municipalities, as well as a public housing agency. The cases have involved officer-involved shootings, excessive force and wrongful arrest claims, and two cases that are pending before the Ninth Circuit.
In another recent high-profile matter, Blake served as lead attorney assisting the San Francisco Police Officers Association (POA) in developing and drafting proposed changes to the San Francisco Police Department’s use-of-force and use-of-deadly-force General Orders. The new policy, unanimously approved by the San Francisco Police Commission on June 22, 2016, reflects many of the changes that the POA submitted for consideration as part of the policy review, modification and negotiation process. Media coverage has described the new General Orders as the most significant policy shift by the San Francisco Police Department in more than 20 years.
- Souliotes v. City of Modesto – allegations against police and fire department personnel re: malicious prosecution, fabrication of evidence, unconstitutionally suggestive identification, nondisclosure of material evidence (Brady), supervisory liability, conspiracy, and Monell (city liability) regarding plaintiff’s triple first degree murder conviction in 2000, 16-year incarceration and release based on ineffective assistance of counsel; Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court’s dismissal of the case prior to any discovery.
- Abuslin v. City of Richmond – allegations of inappropriate sexual contact between seven police officers and plaintiff; case dismissed with prejudice for a waiver of costs immediately in advance of defendants filing a motion to dismiss.
- Pontillo v. City of Modesto – allegations that police officers maliciously assisted in the prosecution of a bail bondsman; motion to dismiss all claims against Modesto granted with prejudice.
- Holcomb v. City of Modesto – allegations that two officers assaulted and falsely arrested a man after a traffic related incident; defense verdict after a two-week federal jury trial.
- Fletcher v. City of Modesto – allegations that two officers shot and killed a man who was not a threat; plaintiffs dismissed for waiver of costs pre-discovery.
- August v. City of Modesto – allegations that an officer shot and killed an unarmed man; plaintiff dismissed for waiver of costs pre-discovery.
- Pickett v. City of Richmond – allegations of false arrest, illegal search of vehicle, and excessive force; plaintiff dismissed all claims for a waiver of costs two months before trial and apologized in person to the officers.
- Miller v. Santa Clara County – allegations of prisoner abuse against County and 44 defendants involving 10 separate incidents; defense counsel maneuvered plaintiff into dismissing all claims with prejudice for a waiver of costs prior to extensive discovery or dispositive motions being heard.
Honors and Awards
- “Citizen of the Year,” San Francisco Police Officers Association, 2013
- Medal of Honor, San Francisco Police Officers Association, 2013
- Member, Order of the Coif
- Five-time Recipient, William H. Leary Scholar award for academic excellence
Presentations and Publications
- Presenter, “Sheriff’s Policies vs. BOS Resolutions/Actions,” County Counsels’ Association of California Sheriffs’ Workgroup Spring Study Section Meeting, 2018
- Presenter, “Law Enforcement Technology vs. Fourth Amendment Considerations,” County Counsels’ Association of California Sheriffs’ Work Group Spring Study Section Conference, 2016
- Moderator, “The Use of Police Cameras and Facial Recognition Software,” Emerging Technology & Privacy Conference, The Public Law Section of The State Bar of California, 2015
- Author, “Guide to Defending Against Excessive Force Claims,” The Daily Journal, May, 2015
- Presenter, Lecture at San Francisco Police Department academy course on officer-involved shootings
- Author, Representation of Interests Adverse to Former Clients: A Suggested Approach for the Tenth Circuit, 1989 Utah L. Rev. 935
- Author, Who Decides Whether a Member of the Executive Branch Can Serve Simultaneously in the State Legislature? 1988 Utah L. Rev. 153
- Member, The State Bar of California
- University of Utah College of LawJD, 1989
- Idaho State UniversityBA, American Studies, 1986