SAN FRANCISCO – 12-13-2018 ( — Most of us are unaware of what happens behind closed doors of the courtroom in legal proceedings. We merely see the outcome of the case and trust that the proceedings have been fair and the outcome just. 

But that’s not always the case.

For instance, here’s an excerpt from the trial transcript of City of San Francisco v. Kihagi, wherein the defense’s counsel, Ms. Uchiyama, discusses the double standard being enabled in the courtroom by Judge Angela Bradstreet: MS. UCHIYAMA: “There was a notice of entry order where the defendants made a motion to compel… the order denied the defendants’ motion to compel because it said the plaintiffs, or the opposing party was entitled to respond to special interrogatories by referring to documents. And that was the same basis for our being denied the use of contractors, where the City kept saying, “Well, we didn’t receive the contact information,” and the defense produced answers .. with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of those contractors by referring to documents. And so, it seems as if there has been a sort of a difference in treatment here, where this — the Court is denying the defendants’ motion to compel by saying that a party (city) is entitled to refer to special interrogatories, by referring to documents…”In essence, Ms. Uchiyama is calling out the unfair leniency the City of San Francisco was granted, in that they were not held to the same stringent standard as Ms. Kihagi’s team. This is in reference to the mountain of discovery sought by the city – deemed “oppressive” by another judge – that Ms. Kihagi’s attorney was unable to complete due to shortened pre-trial preparation time (per the City’s devious request). So, the completely overwhelmed defense team – which also switched counsel in the middle of preparations – often resorted to referencing documents the City had or public records or knowledge. The City, however, continued to assert that the defense was being uncooperative and sought to have Ms. Kihagi stripped her constitutional right to be heard in trial. One of city’s many attorneys interrupted Ms. Uchiyama: MS. CESARE-EASTMAN: “Ms. Uchiyama is misstating the Civil Discovery Act. There is a limited provision that allows a party to respond to interrogatories by reference to documents, but there is very specific language that is called out within the code that must be included in that response.”Plaintiffs included that language in our response. Defendants did not include any of that requisite language in their responses. Furthermore, plaintiffs responded timely to all of defendants’ discovery. And I believe, although I don’t have legal authority in front of me, that if you do not timely respond to discovery, you cannot take advantage of that option to refer to documents in lieu of a response.”THE COURT: “Right. So, Ms. Uchiyama, that’s a discovery issue you are raising, which should have been raised long before this trial, so I am not going to consider that now.”The defense’s lack of complete response to the City’s tsunami of discovery continued to serve as grounds for Ms. Kihagi to be rebuked and punished by Judge Bradstreet and the City Attorney. By repeatedly citing this same reason, the City exposed itself as not actually being interested in the answers at all – because they already had them; rather, they were interested in taking down a successful black landlord and running her out of San Francisco at all costs. Her responses were not in the word-perfect, to-the-letter format that the City wanted, so they used this to continually abuse her in the courtroom. She was even stripped of her constitutional right to present her own evidence or call witnesses to her defense. Yet when the City referenced documents as she did, they were not punished. In fact, judge Bradstreet allowed them to even avoid responding to entire discovery questions as they claimed their answers should be protected. Hence, they had more time to continually harass Ms. Kihagi’s attorney as part of their ploy. When the City heaped over 25,000 pages of discovery on an overwhelmed, immigrant solo Vietnamese lawyer, no one batted an eye. And when these biased and premeditated rulings were brought before the Court of Appeals, they were just as unwavering in their favoritism of the City as Judge Bradstreet. This, unfortunately, is what really goes on behind closed doors. This is what the American justice system looks like in San Francisco – and it doesn’t look much like justice at all. 
For more information on Anna Kihagi and West 18 Properties, visit 

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