Friday, December 23, 2011

Sun Valley litigants in discussions

January hearing may be postponed


By REBECCA MEANY
Express Staff Writer

A new twist in a lawsuit filed by Sun Valley City Administrator Sharon Hammer against the city has left in doubt whether a hearing on the matter set for Jan. 11 will take place that day, if at all.

Hammer, through her attorney, James Donoval, asked the court to withdraw her request for a hearing seeking her reinstatement with the city after she was placed on administrative leave last month.

"Since December 13, 2011, counsel for Ms. Hammer has held discussions with counsel for the City Of Sun Valley, and have come to an agreement that Ms. Hammer will currently withdraw the Motion For Preliminary And Permanent Injunction, with leave to reset the Motion For Preliminary And Permanent Injunction at a future date or to re-plead at a future date," the motion states.

Hammer is suing the city under the Idaho Protection of Public Employees Act, as well as Councilmen Nils Ribi and Bob Youngman and City Attorney Adam King. She alleges that the city placed her on leave without telling her why, and contends that the city failed to protect her after she made multiple complaints to the mayor and city attorney about what she said was harassing and other inappropriate behavior against her by Ribi.

She also stated that after she complained to the mayor and city attorney about Ribi's alleged violation of city policies, Ribi initiated an investigation of her to seek her termination, a claim Ribi denies.

Donoval told the Idaho Mountain Express on Thursday that parties continue to discuss the matter.

"The city of Sun Valley and I are attempting to settle this matter amicably, and I thought it was in the best interest of that to withdraw that motion," he said. "I still have a right to refile that motion and have it heard by a judge."

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Attorney Kirtlan Naylor, with Boise firm Naylor & Hales, which is representing the city, declined to comment on whether discussions with Donoval were under way.

The motion was filed three days after Keith Roark, attorney for Ribi, filed an affidavit in support of a motion to strike, in which he requested that the court strike the complaint and order the plaintiff to replace it with one that adheres to procedural rules.

Roark claimed that some information in the complaint was included to disparage and embarrass Ribi "rather than to present the Court and opposing counsel with a 'short, plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.'"

"The Plaintiff's Amended Complaint is so vague, ambiguous, convoluted and full of redundant, immaterial, impertinent and scandalous matters that I am unable to determine how to appropriate (sic) answer the countless assertions contained in each averment of the Plaintiff's Amended Complaint," the affidavit states.

Donoval filed a response to those assertions Thursday, asking a judge to deny the motion to strike.

"Each and every sentence in each and every paragraph ... can be answered with a simple 'admit,' 'deny' or 'neither admit or deny having no knowledge thereof'," he stated in objection/response to the motion.

In a memorandum, Donoval asserts that Roark "woefully failed to cite any Idaho source as to what that supposed proper form of a complaint is. ..."

He also contends that the Idaho Supreme Court has ruled that "just because a plaintiff alleges more detail than less, that does not mean that a pleading is either a sham, irrelevant or redundant. ..." he stated.

Rebecca Meany: rmeany@mtexpress.com




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