Bob Filner: taxpayers should pay my legal fees

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]


  • 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?

  • 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.”

  • Man, I loved Spy magazine.

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