Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Lawyers of the Filner Saga

As BlawgSD has taken a short summer break, I guess there has been some legal news of late coming out of City Hall from what I hear.

All kidding aside, BlawgSD won't get into the allegations and political strategery that the entire Mayor Filner situation entails. KPBS, which has been at the forefront of dealing with the allegations of sexual harassment by the mayor, has a summary of what has been going on.

The attorneys involved will play a crucial role in how this plays out. Here are the known players:

- Cory Briggs, attorney for alleged victims: A former active support of Bob Filner's mayoral campaign, Briggs is a well-known advocate on behalf of the entity "San Diegans for Open Government." He is the managing partner of the Briggs Law Corporation based in Upland in the eastern LA County foothills, which specializes in business, public interest and government accountability law according to its website. He is a Cal Western School of Law grad.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith
- Jan Goldsmith, City Attorney: Certainly, as the city attorney, Goldsmith and his department will be involved in handling these cases ("defending" might not be the right word). It's no secret that Goldsmith and Filner have butted heads during the mayor's short tenure to date. Goldsmith's role is to protect and advise the city and not the mayor personally. Aside from the legal duties, how will the personality conflict between these two men play out as Goldsmith serves in his city attorney role in dealing with the expected tort claims from employees (and possibly other parties) for sexual harassment against the mayor?

From the City Attorney web site: "The City Attorney shall be the chief legal adviser of, and attorney for the City and all Departments and offices thereof in matters relating to their official powers and duties... It shall be the City Attorney's duty, either personally or by such assistants as he or she may designate, to perform all services incident to the legal department; to give advice in writing when so requested, to the Council, its Committees, the Manager, the Commissions, or Directors of any department [and] to prosecute or defend, as the case may be, all suits or cases to which the City may be a party..."

Goldsmith is a USD law grad.

Marco A. Gonzalez
- Marco A. Gonzalez, attorney for alleged victims: Gonzalez is well-known in San Diego as a founding partner of the Coast Law Group of Encinitas, specializing in environmental causes around San Diego. Most notably, he was the attorney who files the nearly annual challenge to the San Diego Bay Fourth of July fireworks program. Gonzalez is also the sister to prominent labor leader and current assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and both were staunch supporters of Filner and Democratic Party causes. He is a graduate of the Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

- Harvey C. Berger, personal attorney for Bob Filner: Filner said in an interview on Monday that he hired Berger. Berger is the founding partner of Berger, Pope and Williams. Berger is well-respected in the legal community. His firm specializes in employment disputes on both the employer and employee side. He is not only prominent but highly dedicated to the San Diego County Bar Association in many areas including mentoring newer attorneys (including this writer). He is a USD Law grad.

(Photos from BlawgSD archives and Coast Law Group web site.)

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