The ongoing legal battle between the town of Atherton and its former finance director, John Johns, got the go-ahead from a judge Oct. 27.
Mr. Johns was fired in October 2007 and has been fighting his dismissal ever since. The latest in a series of lawsuits he's filed against the town overcame a procedural hurdle when Judge Steven M. Hall ruled on Oct. 27 that Mr. Johns' lawsuit seeking reinstatement meets legal requirements to continue.
Lawyers for Atherton had filed a demurrer challenging portions of Mr. Johns' lawsuit.
Last year, Mr. Johns twice filed and then dropped wrongful termination lawsuits against the town. In his current lawsuit, he alleges that the City Council improperly interfered in his personnel investigation and violated the state's open meeting law by discussing the investigation in closed session.
A settlement offer proffered by his attorney, Jon Parsons, went unanswered by the town this summer. In exchange for being reinstated as Atherton's finance director, and receiving back pay and benefits, Mr. Johns would agree to immediately submit his resignation, according to the settlement offer. That offer is now off the table, Mr. Parsons said in a letter to the town.
Mr. Johns was fired after an attorney hired by the town investigated complaints against him by Atherton staff. Mr. Johns maintains he was unfairly targeted and his reputation was tarnished.