Lake City officials try to recover costs of librarian's lawsuit - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Lake City officials try to recover costs of fired librarian's lawsuit

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LAKE CITY, Minn. (KTTC) -- Attorneys for the Lake City officials sued by a fired library administrator are now going to attempt to recover some of the costs of the lengthy legal battle. But the lawyer for fired librarian Sheryl V. Mooers said he will fight on by filing an appeal.

"Her chances of prevailing on appeal are very very very slim," said Julie Fleming-Wolfe of St. Paul, the attorney representing Mayor Jerry Dunbar, City Council member Mark Spence, and others.  "The judge made the correct decision on the merits of the case."

Fleming-Wolfe and attorney Peter Sandberg, representing City Attorney Karen England, are pressing motions to try to recover certain legal costs, such as the cost of taking depositions and filing fees in the lengthy litigation.  Fleming-Wolfe estimates it could total between five and ten thousand dollars.

Meantime, the attorney for the fired Lake City library administrator said Monday he will soon file an appeal of a district court judge's ruling dismissing "with prejudice" Mooers' lawsuit against the City of Lake City, its mayor, two council members, and others.  Philip Villaume of Bloomington said he will ask the Minnesota Court of Appeals to reverse Judge Terrence Walters' ruling in Mooers' employment termination damage claim.

Mayor Jerry Dunbar declined to comment on the ruling in the suit brought by fired library administrator Sherry Mooers alleging sexual harassment, breach of contract, retaliation and defamation other than to note that it was "reviewed by Judge Walters and dismissed in its entirety."

Mooers began work as the Lake City Library Administrator on August 16, 2010, and according to her legal complaint, was suspended from her job by the City Council on January 31, 2012, with a hand-delivered notice, and then escorted off the library premises by a city police officer.

In the now-dismissed suit, an attorney for Mooers had drafted a complaint accusing Mayor Dunbar of making unwanted sexual advances toward Ms. Mooers with personal actions, phone calls and email messages. The former library administrator had contended that when she attempted to improve the work performance of one of the library staff, Diane Spence, that her husband Lake City council member Mark Spence retaliated.  Before Mooers was hired, Diane Spence had also applied for the position.

The district court case file shows that Judge Walters dismissed the suit "with prejudice" on October 8.  One way to describe this is that a civil matter which is "dismissed with prejudice" is over forever, a final judgment barring the plaintiff from bringing any other lawsuit based on the claim.  Villaume will try to reverse Judge Walters' ruling, but if the Minnesota Court of Appeals declines to hear the case, that would effectively be the end of things.

Judge Walters has scheduled a motion hearing in the Mooers case for November 18 to hear from the attorneys of the prevailing Lake City officials.

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