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Gallant’s Suit on Track to be Tossed

A proposed judgment would see former Interim City Manager Gallant's suit against the City of Alameda tossed.

A proposed judgment would see former Interim City Manager Gallant’s suit against the City of Alameda tossed.

A proposed judgment, not yet signed by the judge, would see former Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant’s lawsuit against the city tossed.

Ann Marie Gallant filed the lawsuit in August of 2011, claiming wrongful termination, breach of contract and emotional distress. She was terminated from the City of Alameda on December 28th, 2010, when Mayor Marie Gilmore, and Councilmembers Lena Tam and Rob Bonta voted to dismiss her.

Gilmore and Bonta had just been elected to their seats the prior month; Tam was re-elected to a four-year term.

Attorney’s for the City of Alameda succeeded with their novel approach of declaring the council’s action to be protected speech. As such, Gallant’s suit was subject to a special evaluation under Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) law before it could even be brought to trial.

Under the SLAPP evaluation, Gallant had a special burden to prove that she would likely succeed at trial; the proposed judgment, awaiting final signature by Judge John M. True, III, concludes that she didn’t meet this burden, in part because she was merely an interim city manager, and as such, not covered by city charter language prohibiting the termination of the city manager within 90 days of an election.

The judgment would dismiss the case prejudice, meaning that Gallant could not bring suit against the city for the same reason again, and would allow the City of Alameda to petition for Gallant to pay the city’s legal fees, which could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

However, in past cases, the City of Alameda has waived its right to reimbursement in return for dismissing the case with prejudice.

The case continues through the court in case management conferences between the parties.

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