I remembered today that a long time ago I did a post pointing out that if City Attorney Mike Aguirre ever sued Kroll Inc., we might have to deal with the pesky clause in its engagement contract that tells the city it will indemnify the super-duper investigators from such complaints. Aguirre actually signed that agreement.

Classic city of San Diego move: sue a firm only to find out that the city agreed to indemnify the firm if it got sued by anyone.

In that spirit, I opened up the engagement letter that former City Manager P. Lamont Ewell signed with Willkie Farr & Gallagher and found out the same agreement was made with that group. Check it out:

The City agrees to indemnify and hold harmless [Willkie Farr & Gallagher, LLP.] for any claims or judgments against WF&G arising out of this engagement, including monthly reimbursement for all WF&G time charges, fees, costs, attorney fees and disbursements and defense or other costs, unless and until it were to be finally adjudicated that WF&G’s actions were negligent, tortious or beyond the scope of the engagement.

My mind is swimming. Could we possibly be in the situation where we have to pay the attorney fees of someone we’re suing until we prove that we are correct? I consulted two lawyers. One said yes, the other no. If you have any thoughts or interpretations of the above clause, pass them along. I’ve called Assistant City Attorney Don McGrath back to see what he says.

How ironic if, finally freed of the unending bills from Kroll and Willkie Farr for more than a year, the city would start getting them again.

SCOTT LEWIS

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