Blogging Bayport Alameda

February 19, 2014

Recoup d’état

Filed under: Alameda, City Council — Tags: , , — Lauren Do @ 6:09 am

Earlier last week I wrote about the proposed judgment that was issues in the case of Ann Marie Gallant v. the City of Alameda.   To recap, Ann Marie Gallant, Interim City Manager, was given noticed at the 90 day mark that her contract as the Interim City Manager would not be renewed.  There was a clause in her contract that said that if notice was not given by the 90 days her contract would auto renew for another 90 days.  Because that 90 days coincided with the installation of a new City Council, Ann Marie Gallant eventually sued the City of Alameda saying that they were not allowed to take that action and/or the action was politically motivated and therefore illegal as well.

The Judge in the lawsuit wrote up a proposed judgment earlier in February and had 90 days to reconsider his decision.  It didn’t even take a month for him to decide that his decision would stand and on Valentine’s Day he made his decision final.  As in Ann Marie Gallant essentially is in the same position that former Fire Chief David Kapler found himself in after he sued the City and lost.

Yesterday to memorialize the City of Alameda’s legal victory in the lawsuit of Ann Marie Gallant v. City of Alameda, I took a visit down memory lane of all the arm chair quarterbacks who insisted that the actions of the City were illegal when it came to handling Ann Marie Gallant’s contract as Interim City Manager.   How some people were actually cheering on a lawsuit against the City by Ann Marie Gallant.  And those that insisted that there was merit to the eventual lawsuit that she filed.  Just in case you want to revisit it to remind yourself of what you were thinking those many years ago when this story first broke.

So what does that mean in money terms for Ann Marie Gallant?   Well, if we use the Kapler case as a gauge — he ended up getting a judgment against him in the amount of $260K which totaled the legal fees of the City — we’re looking at somewhere slightly north of that.  The difference between the Kapler and the Gallant cases are that even though both went to the appellate court level, Kapler’s case was over and complete after the appellate court ruled.  The appellate court kicked back Gallant’s case to the lower court to ask them to finish off what had not been done the first time around at the lower court level.   Essentially adding a whole other layer of lawyers expenses and fees to eventually reach the point that we’re at now.  To make matters worse there still has to be a motion filed by the winning side (the City) for the judge to decide how much in attorney’s fees goes out of Ann Marie Gallant’s pocket and into the City coffers — or rather to pay off their contracted counsel — and the process of filing that also gets added to the whole “attorney’s fees” thing too.  Conservatively, it will probably be, at lowest, $260, but more likely $300K.   Also, it’s unclear what deal Ann Marie Gallant had with her lawyer, even if her attorney worked on contingency there would still be other costs that she would be on the hook for so there’s that too.   All in all, this has not been a good week for our former Interim City Manager.

There have been suggestions out there that the City won’t collect the money from Ann Marie Gallant, but according to the press release put out by the City yesterday, they have every intention of collecting:

“Gallant’s attack on my character cost me and the City money that could have been put to better use during tight budget times,” said Councilmember Lena Tam. “I am gratified that the court ruled her allegations were false and without merit, and that she needs to reimburse the City.”

“The City is completely vindicated in the actions we took,” said Mayor Marie Gilmore. “Not only does this decision end a difficult chapter in the City’s history, but it enables the City to recoup its legal costs incurred in defending this meritless lawsuit.”

“Let this be a reminder that we vigorously defend against all frivolous lawsuits; and that in all cases, we will go after our legal costs,” said City Attorney Janet Kern.

Here’s the whole new judgment, it’s slightly different than the one I posted before, but the end result is the same.

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7 Comments

  1. Boy, don’t I feel smug today.

    Comment by John P. — February 19, 2014 @ 9:21 am

  2. mighty silent…I bet the smile on Kate Q’s face was pretty darn big when the ruling was announced, especially after the smackdown some folks tried to lay on her here after she explained, based on her decades of professional experience, why the courts were going to rule exactly the way that they did. She laid out the ruling to a tee.

    Comment by jkw — February 19, 2014 @ 1:09 pm

  3. Great result for Alameda. You can’t win any better. Oh, unless you didn’t hire her in the first place….

    Comment by commonsense — February 19, 2014 @ 8:25 pm

  4. I once learned in a manager’s seminar about “slot machine management” – one keeps pulling the handle in a sure notion that a winning combination will come up, but leaving the planning and execution out of the introduction of a new try. Since AMG had gotten payoffs from at least three jurisdictions for which she worked by the same ploy, she knew her slot machine was rigged and tried it again. Most cities will decide to pay off a big settlement, making the calculation that the lawyer’s fees and effort will cost more than the payoff, even though they know they are in the right. But Alameda was right to stand up to her larceny and the payoff balance was tilted in our favor. I am not at all crowing about being right, but I do thank those in our City who decided that she was not going to fleece us no matter how long it took, and proceeded in good form to litigation. It is not only brave and smart management, it will have a chilling effect on others who hope that the City will pay them to go away.

    Comment by Kate Quick,. — February 19, 2014 @ 11:15 pm

  5. Does anyone know whether or to what extent the City has actually collected on the $260K judgment in the Kapler case? Looks like the final judgment was entered by the Court in October 2013 – Case No. HG11570933

    Comment by Joe — February 19, 2014 @ 11:39 pm

  6. I have an email out to the City about the Kapler judgment, so I’ll report back here when I find out.

    Comment by Lauren Do — February 20, 2014 @ 5:44 am

  7. Karma can be a bitch. Gallant should use the payoffs she got from other cities to repay Alameda.

    Comment by BarbaraK — March 3, 2014 @ 8:14 am


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