|Trutanich's 'Porcupine Defense' is believed to be responsible for the record award against the City|
The verdict comes at a time when the City Council is looking at ways to outsource much of the work of the City Attorney's office to private lawfirms, a move spurred by a lack of leadership by Trutanich. Although the essence of the Council's complaints against Trutanich have centered on delays in responding to requests for legal services, the staggering losses in this case are likely to add fuel the fire to bypass ineffective leadership by a career politician more focused on headlines and desperate attempts at re-election following his devastatingly humiliating defeat in the DA primary elecection.
The $24M verdict is the latest in a string of multimillion dollar losses suffered by City Attorney Trutanich, who has insisted that his deputies employ his 'Porcupine Defense' strategy to defend the City. Under the strategy, settlement negotiations are not meaningfully pursued and plaintiffs are forced to go to trial. Trutanich, who invented the 'Porcupine Defense' stated that it was something he learned in school 'You may eat me, but I won't taste good going down,' the abrasive former
Recent examples of the failure of the Porcupine Defense include a $2.8M award in a case that could have been settled for $700,000, and a $2M award in a case that could have been settled for $500,000. It is not know how much the $24M case could have settled for, and Trutanich declined to make a detailed statement.
LAPD Chief Beck stated that he was 'encouraging the City Attorney to appeal because I believe the judgment is unwarranted.' Beck, however, may be unaware that Trutanich recently 'dropped the ball' by forgetting to file an appeal within time limits, a failure which left the City of Los Angeles with no option but to pay the award in full, plus an additional a quarter of a million dollars in interest.
In other news ...
Former District Attorney candidate Alan Jackson complains of transfer; suggests retaliation
Jackson drew short of directly accusing District Attorney Jackie Lacey of retaliation when he spoke the the LA Times about his transfer from being Assistant Head Deputy of the Major Crimes Division to an Assistant Head Deputy position where he will 'supervise deputy district attorneys handling what he described as "garden variety felony" and misdemeanor cases,' Jackson told the LA Times.
Jackson has been assigned to one the Central Trials divisions in the same building where he currently works. According to the Times, Jackson's transfer is 'a "lateral move" that had nothing to do with the campaign.'
District Attorney spokesperson Jean Guccione said 'more than half of the office's managers were reassigned on Friday as part of a shake-up by the new administration. Jackson's salary, title and office location in downtown Los Angeles will remain the same,' she said.
"This is not retaliation," Guccione said. "This new assignment provides an excellent opportunity for him to share his courtroom experience with other prosecutors."
Jackson, however, told the Times that he 'disputed that the transfer was a lateral move. "It's a move backward in my career," Jackson said. "This decision is specifically designed to remove me from the courtroom and from access to complex and high-profile litigation."'
Jackson stopped short of saying he believed the new assignment, which takes effect Jan. 7, was 'punishment for his criticism of Lacey during the campaign,' but he said he 'could think of no other reason for the transfer.' "Am I disappointed? Absolutely. Not just for me, but I'm disappointed for what it says about the mission of the district attorney's office," he said.
While Jackson may be disappointed, he should not be surprised. Transfers take place routinely during the course of any administration, and particularly when there is a change of leadership. If anything is disappointing, it is Jackson's characterization of his new assignment as 'garden variety.'
The bulk of the work of the District Attorney's Office, indeed its mission, is handling felony and misdemeanor crimes of all types. While most of those cases do not make the headlines, the effective prosecution of all cases is of paramount importance to all victims of crime. The unsung heroes of the Office are those Deputy DA's who handle their assignments professionally, effectively and with respect for all victims of all crimes.
Jackson describes his new assignment as 'backward' in his career. That is, perhaps, a very telling statement. One that suggests that Jackson considers his career as more important than the mission of the Office. If Jackson thinks so little of some victims of crime that they are 'garden variety' unless they garner him a headline, then perhaps he needs to change what's growing in his garden. From what he says, it sounds like he's growing sour grapes. Perhaps he's using a little too much manure?