Chapter 18. The Boss

Liz lifted the magnetic office identification card on the cord around her neck and slid it over the reader to open the door into the City Attorney’s office, nodding to the executive secretaries on her way to his office.  

The door to his office was open. The City Attorney, Bill Raymond, was sitting behind his desk talking to her supervisor, Terry Santiago. He motioned for Liz into the office.  Liz took the chair next to Terry.

“Liz, two Council members were served by DDS late yesterday on that lawsuit that Terry tells me is assigned to you.  

The Council members want to know if they have to appear at the hearing on the TRO.  I have to brief them on the 11th floor in”–he glanced at his watch—“20 minutes.  Terry said that you represented the department during the contract review.” 

He looked from Terry to Liz expectantly.

Liz responded immediately. “I haven’t had a chance to brief Terry yet, Bill, but I was just advised of the lawsuit yesterday afternoon. I have started drafting the initial response.  The case was filed by a disgruntled bidder who was not awarded the 40-million-dollar contract for data processing collections from deadbeat dads.”

“Deadbeat dads?” Bill asked.

“Divorced parents—usually fathers–who fail to meet their financial obligations to support their minor children,” Terry explained.

“Why did they name two council members?  Will they have to appear in court? What do you need from them?” Bill asked.

Liz paused for a moment, “This is the first I’m hearing about service on the Council members, but I doubt that they will have to appear.  I’ll check my file and re-check with the client, and with the Council members, but my recollection is that no council members were involved in the review of the bids during the selection process or in the review by the panel.  It would be highly unusual for a council member to be involved in the selection of a vendor.” 

She took a breath.  “If that is the case, and they were not involved, I’ll get declarations from them and file an ex parte application to shorten the time to have my motion to quash service heard, so that the motion can be heard before the TRO.  So, the plan will be to get them out of the case before the hearing on the TRO.  If they have no personal involvement in the case or knowledge, then there is no justification for them to be brought into the lawsuit. It’s just a scare tactic.”

Bill steepled his fingers in front of his face before responding.  “Ok, I will tell them that if they weren’t personally involved in the award or review of the contract, that you will be filing papers to get them out of the case, and will be in contact with them today or tomorrow, right?”

Liz nodded, and Terry said, “Exactly.” Bill waved them off, and the women headed out the door.  

Terry looked at her watch, and turned to go in the opposition direction. “Thanks for your help in there.” 

“Happy to help.”

Terry took a closer look at Liz.  “You came in later than usual today.  Are you okay?”  

“I’m fine.  We had to take one of our sons to the hospital last night and didn’t get him discharged until almost 8 this morning.  That’s why I was late. 

“Oh gosh.  I’m sorry.  I’m surprised you’re even here.”  

“Well, Marta is with Kevin, and I need to get my opposition to the TRO out. And now that the Council members have been served, I need their declarations for the motion to quash. Kevin will be fine with Marta today– the docs have started him on some meds.”

Terry tapped her arm.  “Let me know if you need anything.” Then, looking down at her phone, she said “I’m late for the roundtable on the Nelson case. Let me know if you run into any problems getting the declarations.” 

Back in her office, Liz’s heart skipped a beat after waking up her computer and seeing that she had received an email from the Court of Appeal. She opened the attachment to the email and skipped to the end.

Finally—some good news.  “Yes!!” she exclaimed, just as Sandy appeared on the threshold of her office and looked at her quizzically.

“We won!” Liz said.   “The Barton case.  The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court decision ordering us to turn over 200,000 documents that we argued are shielded by privacy laws. 

“And,” she finished triumphantly, they published their opinion! This is huge.” 

Sandy held out her hand to high five her. “That’s great! Congrats!”  

Liz returned her gaze to her monitor screen, read the decision quickly, printed it out, and forwarded it to the client and to Terry with an explanatory email. 

“You rock!” her client emailed back. “Great work.”  

The rest of the day flew by because she had been busy on phone calls to the client to the two council members who had been named in the lawsuit, and drafting their declarations.  Using a template she had used for other motions to quash service, she began drafting the motion and the ex parteapplication.  

A few hours later, after completing the time-off request to have three hours deducted from her accrued vacation time, she realized that it was time to pack up.  

She had put her concerns about Kevin in the back of her mind while she was working, but they were front and center in her thoughts on the drive home.