It took more than a year to reach a verdict after a sexual-harassment
lawsuit was filed against the Glendale Police Department. Getting a
decision on an appeal of that verdict could take twice as long.
Officers Katie Frieders, Renae Kerner, Jamie Franke and Carla
Haupt, and Community Service Officer Linda Daidone, filed the
original lawsuit in 2001. It alleged that they were subjected to
sexual harassment by their supervisors, then punished and retaliated
against when they rejected romantic advances. Haupt's complaint was
dismissed; Daidone settled her claims with the city before the case
went to trial in early 2003.
The trial began Feb. 5 of that year, but because several jurors
called in sick with the flu, a mistrial was declared two weeks later.
Starting over the next day, plaintiffs' and defendants' attorneys
spent more than three months questioning dozens of witnesses. The
jury deliberated for 15 days after closing statements in mid-May. The
multimillion-dollar verdict was announced June 2, 2003. Defense
attorneys filed a brief in April of this year, protesting the judge's
decision to not award attorney fees to the defendants. Nothing has
thus far been filed to appeal the verdict, which earns 7% annual
interest as it moves through the appellate process.
Since the verdict was announced, plaintiffs' and the defense
lawyers have made several motions.
* Judge David A. Workman awarded $1.1 million in attorney fees to
the plaintiffs, which the city will pay. Plaintiffs' lawyer Brad Gage
later tried to have that amount raised to $4.1 million, according to
court officials. Workman denied that motion.
* The city was successful in reducing Franke's more than
$1.3-million award by $181,600. Franke's award was discounted to
essentially reflect what it will be worth in five years.
* Defense lawyers unsuccessfully moved for a new trial. The
lawyers claimed a new trial was necessary because of alleged juror
misconduct, jury miscalculations of the judgments, and improperly
filed claims by the plaintiffs.
* Gage also made other unsuccessful motions. Workman denied his
request that his clients' awards be raised to relieve them of their
increased tax responsibility. Another unsuccessful motion was to add
another $150,000 because the jury found that Kerner's Peace Officers
Bill of Rights had been violated.
* The Los Angeles law firm Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP
is handling the city's appeal of the verdict. That appeal will focus
on issues that defense attorneys Irma Rodriguez Moisa and Sergio Bent
objected to throughout the trial, including the judge's decision to
allow evidence that was beyond the statute of limitations and permit
testimony from witnesses who said they had heard the plaintiffs were
being harassed, but did not have firsthand knowledge of such acts.
* Gage hired Woodland Hills law firm Benedon & Serlin to help him
appeal the attorney's fee award granted by the judge. Because the
number of hours defense lawyers devoted to the case was not equal to
the time the plaintiffs spent on the case, Gage believes he and his
co-counselors deserve more than the $1.1 million they were awarded.
Gage also plans to appeal the trial judge's decision to not grant
penalties for the violation of Kerner's Peace Officers Bill of Rights
and to not relieve his clients of their increased tax responsibility.
* After the city submits the court reporter's transcripts, the
Court of Appeals will issue a schedule for briefs in the verdict
appeal. The city will submit an opening brief, and Gage will submit a
reply brief. The appellate court also will schedule a day for the
lawyers to argue their sides. After that hearing, the court has 90
days to rule.
With all the planned appeals from both defense and plaintiffs'
lawyers, there seems to be no end to the case in sight.
"We don't even have a briefing schedule yet. We are probably, at a
minimum, six months away from any decision from the Court of
Appeals," City Atty. Scott Howard said.
"I really couldn't say [how much longer the case will take],
because there are still options [such as settlement] that are out