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Another Lawsuit for Atherton

Original post made by Mr. Varden, Atherton: Lindenwood, on May 23, 2009

Police Officer Pilar Ortiz Buckley has filed suit against Atherton for failing to protect her from a hostile work environment.

Deatails of the lawsuit can be found online at

Comments (8)

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Posted by Not again...
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 24, 2009 at 9:26 am

Another lawsuit?? Seriously, what's wrong with this town? Why are there so many lawsuits for such a small community? Strange.

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Posted by Louise
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 24, 2009 at 10:29 am

[Post removed due to continual violations of the Terms of Use by the poster]

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Posted by What the heck?
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on May 25, 2009 at 11:13 am

I echo the comments of "Not again...". It seems there's one lawsuit after another. I've never seen anything like this. City Manager Jerome Gruber has been in the position long enough at this point that he can't blame it on past administrations. Something needs to be done to clear the deck of all of these lawsuits and commence a governmental environment in which lawsuits are not a monthly occurrence. It will merely take some humility on the part of the Atherton municipal government.

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Posted by carl
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 25, 2009 at 9:41 pm

In early 2008 when Gruber was hired I seem to recall reading about some problems he encountered while at Big Bear lake. A hostile work environment complaint I believe.

If such is the case then he is an awkward position to have to deal with this most recent development.

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Posted by alison clarke
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 26, 2009 at 8:37 am

According to last month\'s closed session agenda, there are three lawsuits in progress.

The pleadings associated with all three are a matter of public record.

To a lay person, these three lawsuits all have a common theme, a Town government that has forgotten to respect the rule of law.

Unless the Town takes decisive action we as property owners and tax payers will bear a sizeable financial penalty I fear.

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Posted by al voels
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 27, 2009 at 10:44 am

Watching Atherton and its legal troubles is like watching a train wreck. One cannot help feeling a certain sickness combined with a grim fascination as the spectacle unfolds.

Of the three cases listed on the closed session agenda, two are employment related. Perhaps the Town Council, City Manager and department heads should attend some risk management training with an emphasis on HR. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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Posted by F. Lee Bailey
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 27, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Let's realize one big point: all the money being spent on the lawsuits ISN'T COMING OUT OF THE POCKETS OF THE PEOPLE MAKING THE DECISIONS (Gruber and the council). They have no particular incentive to settle them, particularly if personalities get involved.

The more interesting question, again, is why Atherton is having way more than its "fair share" of these lawsuits.

First off, when the town has decided to tango with a few of the residents over various mini-scandals, it's not hard to imagine that residents in the richest town in the world, or something like that, many of whom are business owners and/or CEOs, are going to push back. Easy enough to understand, but not so easy to digest why the town council would permit these types of entanglements in the first place, given they are also residents and represent the residents. Atherton's image is one of engendering the utmost respect for its residents by the town employees, police, etc., and in general this is true, but there have been a handful of notable and disdainful exceptions. My guess is when the town council hasn't intervened decisively to cut these off, it's in the interests of maintaining "good relations" with the town manager and police chief. This of course should NOT take priority over the well-being of the residents, most of whom are paying a huge amount of property taxes to live here.

How about the litigation with the employees? My guess, and it's only a guess, is that after working in the town for awhile, the police chief and the town manager figure they're more or less residents, complete with all the hubris that comes with it. Again, the town council should curtail this.

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Posted by mad max
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 28, 2009 at 12:56 pm

For some insight on one of the lawsuitspending, the news article below may be of interest.

Web Link

It might explain why the Town Mangager did not act more quickly and more forcefully.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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