Carl Douglas Makes History as First African American Inducted into the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) Hall of Fame

Carl Douglas - via thestrategicmaven

*LOS ANGELES, CA – Civil rights attorney Carl Douglas, 68, made history as the first African American to be indicted into the prestigious Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles (CAALA) Hall of Fame. Douglas joined an esteemed group of attorneys that included Gary Dordick, Gretchen Nelson, and Brian Panish at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood Thur., Jun. 8 to receive the honor at a sold-out ceremony.  Best known for his work as the coordinator of O.J. Simpson’s criminal defense team, Douglas and fellow honoree Panish were members of the team that won a record $4.9 billion against General Motors in 1999 for a family that suffered burns during an accident because of a defective fuel tank.  Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass congratulated Douglas in pre-taped remarks that highlighted his commitment to victims of police abuse.  CAALA is the largest local association of plaintiffs’ attorneys in the United States and educates, connects, assists, and advocates for its nearly 3,000 members. 

“I have been blessed to have been named trial lawyer of the year a few times,” Douglas told the audience.  “I am blessed enough to have been inducted into several halls of fame. I have even been so blessed to have received an award named after my mentor Johnnie Cochran, Jr., the Soaring Eagle Award, given by the American Association of Justice.  But there is no honor which means more to me than this honor tonight.”

Carl Douglas is the former Managing Attorney at the Law Offices of Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr.  His work as a member of O.J. Simpson’s criminal defense “Dream Team” was prominently featured in ESPN’s 30 for 30, Academy Award-winning documentary, “O.J.: Made In America.”  Besides Mr. Simpson, Mr. Douglas has represented a broad cross-section of celebrity athletes and entertainers in several high and low-profile matters, including Michael Jackson, Jamie Fox, and Queen Latifah.

While at The Cochran Firm, Mr. Douglas tried dozens of cases to verdict, in a wide array of personal injury, civil rights, and criminal law matters. After going out on his own in 1996, he broadened his list of accomplishments. Mr. Douglas was the attorney for the lead plaintiff in Patricia Anderson v. General Motors Corporation, a product liability trial where the jury returned a $4.9 billion dollar verdict, which was then the largest personal injury verdict ever awarded in United States. As lead counsel in a seven-week trial against the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, concerning the police death of an unarmed African-American man, Mr. Douglas helped the victim’s family obtain a verdict of $8 million.  

Mr. Douglas was retained to represent the family of Jonathan Hart, an unarmed Black, gay, homeless man in a $525 million lawsuit against Walgreens over Mr. Hart’s tragic death at the hands of an armed security guard who has been charged with second-degree murder. In addition, Mr. Douglas successfully defended Dr. Melina Abdullah, the head of the Department of Pan-African Studies at California State University, Los Angeles, and one of the founders of Black Lives Matter – Los Angeles, who faced eight criminal charges stemming from her political protests at Los Angeles Police Commission meetings. Moreover, Mr. Douglas has been retained to represent the mother of Elijah Clayton, who was shot and killed last year while participating in a John Madden Football Gaming Tournament in Jacksonville, Florida.

Most recently, he was retained to represent the son of Keenan Anderson, who died on Jan. 3 after an altercation with a traffic officer in Los Angeles.  Anderson is the cousin of Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.

“Folks, I’m a kid from 109th and Denker in South L.A. who wanted to be a lawyer since I was 14 years old,” an emotional Douglas shared.  “I am the first person in my family to have ever graduated from college, so my presence standing up here today, shows how anyone can beat the odds, and every day of my life, I try to make someone else’s life better!”

Douglas gave credit first to God of which he told the crowd, “Through all of my blessings flow.”  

He also credited his 89-year-old mother, who was in the audience.

“You see, Lydia Boyd is the first Black woman ever elected as an International Director of Toastmasters,” said Douglas.  “Ms. Lydia could give you an impromptu speech for 10 minutes without saying ur, uh, or um. Everything I am as a trial lawyer, and as a public speaker, I owe to my mother.”

Since its inception in 2005, CAALA’s Hall of Fame has honored the best of the Los Angeles plaintiffs’ bar for the past half-century.

Former Consumer Attorneys President Ray Boucher said in 2005, upon the Hall of Fame’s creation, “Those selected exhibit the highest integrity and standards in the legal profession.  They have had distinguished legal careers, made significant contributions to the law and to society, and have given back to the community and the legal profession.”

Prior to joining Mr. Cochran’s office, Mr. Douglas was employed from 1981 through 1987 as a trial attorney at the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Los Angeles, where he represented indigent defendants charged with various federal crimes, including bank robbery, drug possession, and white-collar fraud. He began his legal career in 1980 working at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C., analyzing tariff changes filed by various satellite companies in the Commission’s Common Carrier Bureau. A frequent lecturer and motivational speaker, and a legal commentator on various radio and television programs throughout the nation, Mr. Douglas earned his undergraduate degree at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and his law degree at the Boalt Hall School of Law of the University of California, Berkeley.

Carl Douglas is married to Dr. Marcia Glenn and is in private practice at Douglas / Hicks Law in Los Angeles with his law partner of 20 years Jamon Hicks.

“It cannot be ignored that I am the first person who looks like me, to have been inducted into this Hall of Fame,” added Douglas. “But I am smart enough to know that there are brothers and sisters, who have come before me in Los Angeles, who possess the resume, talent, and integrity to have been inducted into this esteemed club.  And I also know there are brothers and sisters who look like me, who have the resume, the talent, and the integrity to join this illustrious Hall in the future.  So I  look forward to the day when I am not the only person in the CAALA Hall of Fame, who also look like me.”