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City to Recoup $38,800 in Settlement with Former City Manager

City Council unanimously approves the settlement with Geoff Dolan.

Perhaps Christmas in Manhattan Beach is arriving a little early for city officials.

Tuesday evening, City Manager David Carmany announced the resolution of litigation between the city and former City Manager Geoff Dolan, who will drop his appeal of the city's successful anti-SLAPP motion and pay the city $38,800 of its judgment of $45,186.99 for attorney fees incurred in the matter.

“This is a well-earned victory for the city, which stood firm against the lawsuit," said City Attorney Quinn Barrow. "Without any further expenditure of public money, this agreement requires Mr. Dolan to dismiss the lawsuit and make a substantial payment to reimburse the city for its attorney fees.” 

City Council voted 5-0 in a closed session Tuesday to approve the agreement, which resolves litigation Dolan filed against the city and its former City Attorney Robert Wadden in Nov. 2011 for alleged breach of contract and invasion of privacy arising from the city’s release of public records in response to a Public Records Act request. 

Burrow said the city would have had to spend more money to recoup the $45,186.99 Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Susan Bryant-Deason had awarded, noting that collection would have been pursued in two states, California and Colorado, where Dolan now lives.

"Second, this agreement avoids the cost and risk of defending the city’s victory on appeal. The cost of appeal was estimated at $50,000," said Burrow.

"Finally, and importantly, this agreement brings immediate closure to the litigation and allows the city, its residents and city staff to move forward."

Issues associated with Dolan's abrupt departure in Dec. 2009--a Brown Act violation by City Council that led to a lawsuit by Richard McKee, the settlement of that lawsuit, and the public release of Dolan's separation agreement and an anonymous letter that helped spark his agreement to leave the city--has had residents and city officials awash in litigation, Brown Act training, and trying to change its image of having a closed culture.

In his lawsuit, Dolan said the city had breached his separation agreement contract and caused him harm. 

In its defense, the city preemptively filed the anti-SLAPP motion asking the court to dismiss the complaint, which Judge Bryant-Deason did in March 2012. Dolan appealed the decision. 

  • Previously: Dolan Lawsuit Against City Dismissed
  • Previously: City Wants Dolan Case Dismissed
  • Previously: 
  • Previously: City Council Apologizes to Residents for Silence in Dolan Case
  • Previously: Ex City Manager Finally Talks
  • Previously: Watchdog Group's Suit Says City Violated Brown Act
  • Previously: Letter to the Editor: The Playing Field of City Government
  • Previously: City Settles McKee Lawsuit
  • Previously: Letter to the Editor: One Year After the McKee Settlement
  • Previously: Ex-City Manager Claims Agreement Was Violated
  • Previously: Letter to the Editor: Lawsuits Against City
  • Previously: Manhattan Beach Fires City Attorney Wadden

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