The Sweeney Firm
John E. Sweeney, the son of a lawyer, has been fighting for justice for his clients for four decades. The driving force in his career has been to protect the rights of average citizens against the wrongs of large corporations and public entities.
After graduating from the University of Southern California and California College of Law in the 1970’s, he was hired at the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office by then Assistant District Attorney Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. When Mr. Cochran left the District Attorney’s Office to reestablish his private practice, Mr. Sweeney joined him where they worked on some of the largest civil rights cases in U.S. history.
In the early 1980’s, Mr. Sweeney founded the Sweeney Firm in Beverly Hills, California, where he has for thirty-four years concentrated on civil rights, police abuse, and other personal injury cases.
Mr. Sweeney has had over two hundred jury trials and has been involved with many historic cases. In 1985, Mr. Sweeney represented Robert Gladden for the wrongful death of his mother in the Baldwin Hills fire cases. At that time, it was the largest mass tort litigation in Los Angeles County history (Gladden v. Pepperdine University). The amount of the settlement (which was confidential) set records for mass tort cases.
In 1998, Mr. Sweeney received a $2.8 million-dollar verdict against the City of Los Angeles in the controversial LAPD shooting of a citizen who was stopped for a traffic ticket. This was the first case in over 20 years that an LAPD officer was criminally prosecuted over a police shooting (Beatty v. City of Los Angeles).
In 2004, Mr. Sweeney represented the plaintiff in a historic case against Universal Pictures. It was the first discrimination case against a major Hollywood studio to reach trial. Mr. Sweeney engineered, during trial, the case to a confidential settlement that would forever deter Hollywood from similar practices (Davis v. Universal Pictures).
In 2013, Mr. Sweeney won a $7.5 Million Dollar jury verdict in a Los Angeles County Sheriff shooting of an unarmed citizen in Compton, California (Thomas v. County of Los Angeles). It was the largest wrongful death verdict against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in favor of an African American citizen in County history.
In 2014, Mr. Sweeney again set a record for a police excessive force case, when a Long Beach, California jury awarded the family of Darren Burley a new record $8 Million Dollar verdict. (Burley v. County of Los Angeles).
In 2016, Mr. Sweeney represented the family of an African American father of four (4) who was involved in a fatal automobile accident in Sacramento, California. The collision was caused by the driver of a vehicle owned by one of the largest corporations in the world. A confidential settlement was reached and was significant in that sophisticated forensic analysis of the Defendant’s vehicle’s internal computer by the Plaintiff’s expert witnesses solved the riddle of how the collision occurred, which forced the settlement.
In 2017, Mr. Sweeney tried a wrongful death police shooting case involving a mentally-ill African American woman. The jury awarded the 80-year-old mother of the decedent close to $1 Million Dollars. It was the first plaintiff’s verdict against the City of Anaheim Police Department in Orange County, California in many years. (Deckard v. City of Anaheim).
Mr. Sweeney has many more verdicts and settlement (too many to list) over the million dollar mark during his remarkable career. Mr. Sweeney is only the second African American lawyer in the history of the State Bar of California to be nominated for its Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame.
Mr. Sweeney is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). ABOTA is an invitation only group of elite trial lawyers whose purpose is the preservation of the 7th Amendment to the United States Constitution, the right to trial by jury in a civil case. He was appointed to the National Board of Directors of ABOTA in 2016.
Mr. Sweeney, in 2012, was awarded the prestigious National Drum Major for Justice Award by the Rainbow/P.U.S.H. civil rights organization. The Award was presented to him at a banquet in his honor by U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters and the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
Mr. Sweeney is an avid sportsman, having scaled 19,000 ft. Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, and plays tennis regularly. He is a lifelong member of the venerable Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles. He divides his time between residences in Los Angeles and La Quinta, California. For 35 years, he has been married to Cheryl Blanchard Sweeney and they have one adult daughter.