Employment/Sexual Harassment/Gender Discrimination case. Because of a conflict of interest, we represented two police officers that were sued personally. Since we tried to create a down-side risk for the plaintiff, whose allegations had effectively ruined the careers of two innocent police officers, our clients, we cross-complained for a variety of causes of action involving negligent and intentional conduct. We had hoped that the opposing counsel would have sense enough to tender defense to plaintiff’s homeowner’s insurance company, creating a pool of recovery for our clients and bringing settlement pressure to bear. Instead, either because he was particularly cunning in his understanding of bureaucratic stupidity, or because he was not at all aware of how to react, he tendered back to the City on the basis that if they hired conflict attorneys for their male police officers, they had to treat the “girls” the same way, by hiring him as defense counsel on the cross-complaints.

Believe it or not, somebody at the City Attorney’s Office thought that was a fine idea. Once he was going to be paid by the hour, plaintiff’s counsel set three dozen or so depositions to beef up the old coffers. It eventually resulted in the City paying each of our clients a settlement to drop the cross-complaints. We agreed, although since the City had hired us as well, it was not particularly satisfying.

One of the depositions the plaintiff’s counsel set was that of former police chief Bernard Parks, which was held at a court reporter’s office. As is often their habit, they bought boxes of doughnuts for the participants, many of whom were police officials who had been parties. Chief Parks showed up late, after the other attending police officers had been eating doughnuts with both hands, so that their lapels were speckled with powdered sugar. Parks was a very trim and physically fit guy, enough that he looks, in person, like someone who could be paid to model police uniforms. Naturally, when he was asked about eating a doughnut, his response was, “Thanks, but I never eat doughnuts.”

All the lapels in the room were brushed clean, and the doughnuts from then on remained untouched.

Tom Griffin received a “perk” on this case when our clients decided to leave from a deposition that ended early to take him to the L.A.P.D. shooting range to enjoy some gunfire. He called us from there when he was about to start shooting AK-47’s. We were eventually coaxed out from under our desks.

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