First Filner sexual harassment suit settled out of court

Posted in Sexual Harassment on February 13, 2014

Last week we wrote that the trial date had been set for the sexual harassment lawsuit against former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. The trial was slated to begin in late February of next year.

But it turns out that the plaintiff in the sexual harassment suit will not need to wait that long to receive closure and compensation. Earlier this week, the L.A. Times reported that the Filner lawsuit was recently settled for $250,000. The settlement significantly shortens an already long and very public legal battle that began last July.

An attorney for the city of San Diego noted her approval of the settlement. She said: “This settlement avoids a year of intense and expensive litigation that probably would have cost the parties more than this settlement [amount] and would have been grueling for all parties.” As most readers know, the city Attorney’s Office agreed to represent Filner in exchange for his resignation as mayor.

Irene McCormack Jackson, who is the suit’s plaintiff and the first woman to make public harassment allegations against Filner, has decided to leave her job with the city at the beginning of April. The timing of the settlement seems especially fortuitous in light of that decision.

As for former mayor Bob Filner, his legal troubles do not end with this settlement. According to the Times, he is facing at least two other sexual harassment lawsuits with a good possibility that a third will be filed.

There are many critics who try to argue that sexual harassment lawsuits are often filed by those either seeking their 15 minutes of fame or those who are trying to “get rich quick.” The truth, however, is that sexual harassment litigation is often a long, expensive and difficult process.

Given the choice, most plaintiffs would probably prefer to have their harassment claims handled appropriately without the need for legal action. When employers fail to adequately investigate and respond to sexual harassment complaints, however, litigation becomes necessary.

Source: L.A. Times, “Sexual harassment suit against ex-Mayor Filner settled for $250,000,” Tony Perry, Feb. 10, 2013