The Los Angeles-based lawyer for the first woman to sue outgoing Mayor Bob Filner for alleged sexual harassment said today they will "go to war" if the case goes to trial, and it will get very expensive for the city of San Diego.
Gloria Allred, who represents Irene McCormack Jackson, said in an interview with KPBS radio that mediation will continue in the lawsuit.
As part of a deal in which Filner agreed to resign, the city will provide a joint defense for Filner along with his private attorneys.
Both Allred and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said the city is liable under state law for sexual harassment by a supervisor.
"We're always happy to see if it can be settled in a way that does justice for our client," Allred said. "It sounds like Mr. Goldsmith wants to try to engage in good-faith negotiations in the mediation, and we'll see if we can reach a settlement or not -- but if not, there will be ongoing litigation that will be very costly to the taxpayers of San Diego."
Allred said they would see if they can "make peace, but if not, we'll go to war, it's as simple as that."
McCormack Jackson, Filner's former communications director, was the first alleged victim to step forward. She alleged he told her she should work without her panties on, that he wanted to see her naked and that he could not wait to consummate their relationship.
Filner also allegedly demanded kisses from McCormack Jackson and put his arm around her and dragged her along in a headlock while making sexual remarks.
It was mediation over her lawsuit that led the 70-year-old mayor to resign after less than nine months in office. He will officially step down at 5 p.m. Friday.
During the radio interview, Goldsmith said the city would drop a motion filed by Filner's private lawyers to change the venue for the lawsuit to Imperial County. Both Goldsmith and Allred said if the case goes to trial, it should be heard by jurors from San Diego.
A hearing on that and other motions is scheduled for Sept. 16.
—City News Service