The city manager of San Juan Capistrano has filed a $3.25-million libel lawsuit against Times Mirror Co., publisher of the Los Angeles Times, saying a series of articles in early 1991 ruined his "reputation as an honest and conscientious public servant."
In his lawsuit, Stephen B. Julian complains about stories, editorials and columns concerning his employment contracts with the city and says they gave the false impression that he had misused public money and was a corrupt and dishonest public official.
Defendants also include several editorial employees of the Times Orange County Edition and two community activists who spoke publicly about Julian's contracts.
Times attorney Glen Smith said he was surprised by Julian's action "because we have tried to deal fairly with him and have always published his and others' defense of these financial arrangements." Smith said the newspaper has not been served with the complaint.
Julian contends in his lawsuit that The Times' articles were not fair and "went well beyond harsh criticism of (his) compensation and the terms and conditions of his employment with the city."
According to Julian's lawsuit, the articles lowered his "standing in his community and professionally, and caused (him) to suffer shame, embarrassment, mortification, hurt feelings, anxiety and severe emotional distress."