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Los Angeles

Million-Dollar Dog Food Case 
Villaraigosa’s Mayoral Malpractice

by Walter Moore [author] 9/27/07

Excuse me for asking, Mr. Mayor, but where the hell were you a year ago?! Posing for photos in China? Or was it England? If you don’t show up for work, Mr. Mayor, you don’t get to complain about what happens while you were goofing off, running for re-election instead of doing the job you’re paid to do. Exactly what have you done during the two years you’ve been in office to protect the City from liability from this lawsuit and others like it? “Risk management” -- ever heard of that term?

One of the reasons L.A.’s voters should replace Villaraigosa with me is that, unlike him, I actually passed the bar exam. I graduated with honors from Georgetown Law, was an Editor of the Georgetown Law Journal, and have been a business trial lawyer for over 20 years. So I have a fairly good idea of how lawsuits actually work.

Walter Moore

Walter Moore is a candidate for Mayor Of Los Angeles www.WalterMooreForMayor.com [go to Moore index]


As a result of my training, experience and common sense, I would never have agreed to pay anywhere near $1.5 million to settle such a weak case. Nor would I have agreed to pay sky-high fees of $1.3 million for a few months’ work. Assuming a lawyer’s time is worth $250 an hour, that would cover 5200 hours’ worth of time, or two-and-a-half years’ worth of working 40 hours per week! And this was after the City Attorney’s office had already handled the case for over a year.

Rather, I would have made sure the City assigned an experienced trial lawyer, with a track record of success in discrimination cases, to represent your interests zealously in court. That’s pretty basic stuff, don’t you think?

This multi-million-dollar settlement fiasco is not only wrong, it’s terrible public policy. Besides wasting your money -- money that could have been used to hire more police or provide tax cuts -- this million-dollar give-away is a like a giant green light to contingency-fee lawyers throughout Southern California. It sends a very clear message: the City of L.A. is an easy mark. It sends a similar message to prospective plaintiffs: “Hey, if that guy got $1.5 million for a few bites of dog food, what could I get for (fill in the blank)?”

Can you imagine how many of the people who got hit by bean-bag projectiles in the so-called “May Day Melee” are now going to expect to receive multi-million dollar settlements? And how many jurors, having heard of the dog-food settlement, will believe those people are entitled to millions in compensation?

Part of the job description for the Mayor of a giant city like Los Angeles is to manage litigation. The stakes are too high to surrender important decisions to the City Attorney and City Council. Rather, the Mayor has a veto, and he needs to know when to use it. CRO

copyright 2007 Walter Moore




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