The city attorney’s office has filed a motion seeking a new trial in the case of former Deputy Police Chief William Taylor, who was awarded nearly $1.3 million in March after a jury found that he was demoted and eventually fired in retaliation for standing up for minority officers and raising concerns about internal problems.
On March 19, a Los Angeles jury ruled 9 to 3 in favor of Taylor despite testimony from city officials, including City Manager Mike Flad, who denied that the former police deputy had even raised the concerns, let alone that he experienced retaliation.
Only former Mayor Marsha Ramos testified that Taylor came to her with concerns about a hostile work environment and minority officers not being promoted. Ramos said Taylor was also concerned about retaliation from the city.
In 2010, Taylor was among 10 officers fired by Interim Chief Scott LaChasse for alleged misconduct stemming from an investigation into how police handled a robbery at Porto’s in 2007.
In its motion for a new trial filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the city attorney’s office claims jury misconduct, faulty deliberation instructions, excessive damages and insufficient evidence, among other claims.
City Atty. Amy Albano this week said she could not immediately comment on the motion because the city planned to file its arguments with the court in the next week.
Gregory Smith, Taylor’s attorney, said that while he had not been fully briefed on the motion, he wasn’t concerned.
“In 24 years of practicing law ... I’ve done 40 to 50 jury trials. I’ve never had a motion for a new trial granted for one of my clients,” Smith said.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge John Segal, who presided over the trial, will determine a hearing date to consider the city’s motion.
Smith said the motion essentially puts things on hold.
The motion for a new trial is less common than the more typical approach of seeking to overturn the verdict, he added.
If the judge does not grant a new trial, the city would consider appealing the case, Albano said.
Burbank has spent more than $1 million in legal fees for the Taylor case through March 31, according to city records.