Bob Filner: taxpayers should pay my legal fees

by Walter Olson on July 30, 2013

In many cases, I’m sympathetic when government defendants who get sued ask for their legal costs to be covered. Among other reasons: 1) claims against individual supervisors are regularly advanced tactically in cases that really arise from discontent aimed at the government as employer; and 2) the in terrorem effect of individual liability can otherwise create pressure for pre-emptive settlement. Does it make a difference when the alleged misconduct serves the purpose of personal gratification for the boss rather than advancing the interests of the government employer? Or — in the case of San Diego’s mayor — that his bad behavior toward women has apparently been an open secret in the city’s political circles for years? [San Diego Union-Tribune]


1 Ron Miller 07.30.13 at 1:08 pm

I’m not sure where the line is. It has a “know it when I see it” quality on some level. But can’t the rule be what you just said: if the alleged misconduct was entirely for your own benefit and there is no potential for beneficial byproduct to the government entity, you don’t get a defense. Or, it could be even more narrow. How about a sexual harassment exception in cases where the defendant does not get a defense verdict? (In which case he would owe back the defense costs.) Admittedly, it forces the defendant to trial a little more, discouraging settlement but it would also help for the public to hear all of the facts and we are giving someone a defense they arguably don’t deserve anyway.

On a different, can someone make a list of all of the “open secrets” we don’t know about and compile them somewhere?

2 Walter Olson 07.30.13 at 1:44 pm

RM>”On a different, can someone make a list of all of the ‘open secrets’ we don’t know about and compile them somewhere?”

For a while they were doing that. They called it “Spy Magazine.”

3 Jack B. 07.30.13 at 2:40 pm

Man, I loved Spy magazine.

If you’re not already aware of this, there’s an archive at Google.

4 John Fembup 08.01.13 at 6:28 am

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