A veteran Anaheim city attorney forced to resign in Jan. 2013 is hoping a future federal jury will believe her claims of discrimination, retaliation and hostile work environment, and award her damages.
In the pending lawsuit filed inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, Cristina Talley alleges that a city council majority "continuously harassed" her because they perceived she sided with Latino community protesters who oppose city government subsidies to private corporations and believe the city's elections are rigged to dilute their representation.
"When certain issues pending before the city council angered the Latino community, resulting in large turnouts of Latino citizens at council meetings, certain members of the city council implied that perhaps Ms. Talley would not and could not be objective in those matters," the lawsuit states.
Talley, a 58-year-old Latina who joined the city's legal staff in 1996 and was promoted to city attorney in 2009, claims elected politicians Kris Murray, Harry Sidhu, Gail Eastman and Jordan Brandman committed age, national origin and gender discrimination, in part, by giving her "less than 48 hours" to decide in January 2013, to resign or face humiliation with a public termination at a council meeting.
She says she resigned at the deadline and then saw the majority hire a far less experienced white male under 40 years old with a starting pay package more lucrative than her top pay, according to the complaint.
Brian P. Walter and Leighton E. Davis, Los Angeles-based lawyers representing the city, have denied all of Talley's claims with 27 affirmative defenses, want the lawsuit dismissed before a jury can consider it and for Talley to pay their legal bills.
Most of Talley's wrath in the lawsuit is aimed at Murray, who she says was "extremely rude, condescending and sarcastic" in personal dealings.
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U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter, who late last month ordered the parties to try to resolve the dispute through mediation, is presiding over the case.
Carter also set a Jan. 5 scheduling hearing.