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San Gabriel Valley : Sex Bias Case Heads for Trial

Pasadena’s City Council has voted behind closed doors to let a jury decide whether four female lawyers in the city attorney’s office who sued the city for sex discrimination have a case, city officials said.

The decision came after the city abandoned a settlement proposal and the council decided to order one of the women, who was on a paid leave of absence as part of the agreement, back to work, officials said.

In September, as part of the agreement with the city worth about $500,000, Deputy City Atty. Ann Higginbotham was put on a paid leave of absence at about $90,000 a year until May, 1997, when she would have retired at half of her salary.

As part of the settlement, the city was also to pay $20,000 each to attorneys Julie Weston and Ann Rider.

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But after city lawyers last month were unable to reach a final agreement with the three attorneys, the council in closed session last week decided to go to trial, and told acting City Atty. Cristina Talley to order Higginbotham back to work, officials said.

Cameron Stewart, attorney for the three women, said her clients believe the settlement was final and that she will ask the judge in the case to enforce it.


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