Woman whose identity was stolen loses case against city

San Francisco will not have to pay $1 million in damages sought by an Oakland woman who was repeatedly arrested after her identity was stolen and a bench warrant was mistakenly issued in her name, Superior Court Judge Ronald Quidachay ruled Thursday.

“Stancy Nesby faced a nightmare in terms of apparent identity theft, and we’re certainly sympathetic to her ordeal,” said Matt Dorsey, a spokesman for the City Attorney. “At the same time, it has been our position all along that The City can’t be held liable for a court-issued bench warrant or for the actions of police in other jurisdictions.”

Over a 15-month period, Stancy Nesby was detained, arrested or jailed six times because a woman charged with cocaine possession pretended to be Nesby. When the woman missed her court date, a San Francisco judge signed warrants for Nesby’s arrest.

Nesby said in the lawsuit that the warrants were not withdrawn when she alerted city officials of the error, even though she said she was promised they would be. The lawsuit also seeks damages from when police outside San Francisco questioned her on the warrant and allegedly used “excessive force, racial slurs and deliberately humiliated her.”

Attorney Matt Gonzales, whose law firm represented the woman, said, “We don’t think it makes sense to rule in a case that The City is not going to be responsible when its employee issues warrants in error. A city should be responsible.”

jsabatini@examiner.com

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