Jury awards former San Diego city prosecutor $3.9 million in wrongful termination lawsuit

A court on Wednesday awarded former San Diego Assistant Attorney General Marlea Del Anno $ 3.9 million in her lawsuit against the city and former city attorney Jan Goldsmith.

The jury found the city responsible for about $ 3.4 million in past and future financial losses and awarded it $ 500,000 for non-financial damages, including emotional pain.

Reimbursement for lawyer fees and other costs has not yet been determined.

The verdict came after a trial that lasted almost six weeks. Dozens of witnesses testified in the case, including current and former city prosecutors.

The jury debated for almost four days before making its decision on Wednesday afternoon.

In a 9-3 vote, jurors said Dell’Anno’s dismissal was based in part on retaliation for her refusal to break the rules and regulations and illegally change a lawyer’s performance appraisal under her supervision.

A spokeswoman for the city prosecutor, Mara Elliott, disagreed with the jury’s decision and did not rule out an appeal.

“This is an exaggerated verdict given the facts,” Elliott’s spokeswoman Leslie Wolf Branscomb said after the announcement. “We will negotiate with our client for the next steps.”

Pamela Valero, one of the lawyers representing Dell’Anno, said the jury’s award justified Dell’Anno, who claimed she had retaliated for not following Goldsmith’s allegations.

“It was a burden she has been carrying since she left the office and she can finally walk up and know that her name has been cleared,” Vallero said. “And that’s what he wanted from the beginning.”

Josh Gruenberg, another lawyer representing the former city attorney, said the case should not have taken six years to resolve.

He said the city never offered to settle the case, which was prepared and tried at the expense of taxpayers. His client will ask the court to recover the lawyers’ fees and other costs, which he described as significant, he said.

“This is a verdict that vindicates my client and clears an unfair stain on her reputation created by the city attorney’s office and Mr. Goldsmith when she was fired for false and fabricated reasons,” Groenberg said.

“The real reasons were that he opposed the prosecution of cases that had no job. “She defended her prosecutor’s morale and justice,” he added.

Dell’Anno oversaw the city criminal unit and the Domestic Violence Unit before she was fired in 2015 for alleged mishandling of case files. He is also said to have complained of favoritism and retaliation from a handful of the 180 lawyers who worked under it.

Dell’Anno sued the city and Goldsmith in 2017, arguing that the former city attorney used alleged misconduct of files and complaints from subordinates as a pretext to end it.

She asserted that her confession had been obtained through torture, but that her confession had been obtained through torture. He also told the jury that he refused to change an employee’s negative ratings because he thought it would be illegal.

A few weeks after Goldsmith allegedly pressured Dell’Anno to change its performance reviews, she was fired by an assistant lawyer and placed in a new job with the same pay and benefits, but without supervisory duties.

Dell’Anno said it was moved to an “office” that was essentially a storage area. He was fired later that year.

The multimillion-dollar jury verdict against the city is the second high-profile verdict against the city attorney this month.

Judge Kenneth J. Medel rejected the city’s claim that a 2020 hotel tax measure to pay for an expanded Convention Center and homelessness service would qualify with just over 65 percent of the vote, although approval is required. of two thirds.

The city said it planned to appeal the decision.

Jury awards former San Diego city prosecutor $3.9 million in wrongful termination lawsuit Source link Jury awards former San Diego city prosecutor $3.9 million in wrongful termination lawsuit

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