Proposed lawsuit deals to be public

first_imgFortner said that in the event a proposed settlement needs to be brought to the supervisors in an emergency – such as during a trial – details will be released after the board has voted on it. “While things are still in flux, we’d prefer to wait to release any information that might cause a plaintiff to have second thoughts,” Fortner said. [email protected] (213) 974-8985160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! County legal costs hit a high of $109 million in 2002-03, dropped to $74 million in 2003-04, but are set to hit $89 million in 2006-07. Supervisor Gloria Molina said she has agreed with a new format for releasing details about strategies used in the legal deals. “The County Counsel’s Office has provided examples where we might be compromising our position by releasing those details,” Molina said. “There are sections that can be eliminated regarding our overall strategy. But I am more concerned than anything else that we maintain a very effective corrective-action process and address the issue of the facts of a case, and not tell the public a different set of facts than what actually occurred.” Molina also called on Fortner’s office to release details of lawsuit settlements that had previously been taken to the supervisors in closed session. Los Angeles County supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to direct the County Counsel’s Office to publicly release summaries of all proposed legal settlements of more than $20,000 – including those that have long remained secret. The vote rejected a policy enacted by County Counsel Ray Fortner earlier this year to make all details of legal settlements confidential. At the time, Fortner said lawyers suing the county were using the information to demand more money in settlement negotiations. The policy reversal comes as the county’s legal costs have risen in recent years and officials had come under fire for fostering a culture of secrecy. last_img read more