Inglewood City Treasurer Ordered to Attorneys’ Fees in Employment Dispute

Inglewood’s city treasurer was ordered Monday to collectively pay the city, the mayor and other defendants nearly $50,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs in the wake of a court ruling trimming some of the claims she brought alleging her salary was cut and that she was locked out of City Hall in retaliation for questioning the handling of the city’s finances.

In March, Torrance Superior Court Judge Deirdre Hill ruled on the city’s motion to dismiss plaintiff Wanda M. Brown’s suit on First Amendment grounds, striking Brown’s cause of action for defamation as well as Brown’s intentional infliction of emotional distress claim to the extent it was based on defamation.

The judge denied the motion as to Brown’s whistleblower retaliation claim and the emotional distress claim to the extent it was based on retaliation.

The defendants then sought attorneys’ fees, which they were entitled to under law. After hearing arguments Monday, Hill directed Brown to pay $41,260 in attorneys’ fees and $8,645 in costs.

The judge noted that in a sworn declaration, defense attorney Mira Hashmall stated that her law firm was selected to handle the dismissal motion “based on our skill and experience” and that the lawyer has long dealt with legal disputes involving governments.

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