Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Letter: City Council Oversight Failure

Very nice letter on Monteiro from Charles Marquant in the Cambridge Chronicle on line on August 16, 2011, and presumably coming up in hard copy.


Appeals Court on Monteiro; Fire the Cambridge City Manager; responses

1. Appeals Court decision.
2. Analysis.
3. Marilyn Wellons.
4. Archie Mazmanian.

1. Appeals Court decision.

The Appeals Court three judge panel has clearly communicated that Cambridge’s case in Monteiro v. City of Cambridge is so lacking in merit that the panel would not dignify it with a full scale decision. I have posted a copy of the decision at: http://charlesriverwhitegeeseblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/appeals-court-decision-in-monteiro.html.

Malvina Monteiro is a black Cape Verdean woman who was head of the Cambridge Police Review Board. She filed a civil rights complaint. Judge, jury and appeals court panel have now found that her life was improperly destroyed by the City of Cambridge in retaliation for her filing the complaint.

The Superior Court judge summarized the facts including, very visibly, testimony of the Cambridge City Manager, and called the Cambridge City Manager “reprehensible.”

One section of the Appeals Court’s abbreviated decision is of particular value, omitting introductory language, citations and footnotes. This section analyzes the award by the jury of $3.5 million penal damages on top of about $1.1 million real damages. The section, section 5.b of the abbreviated opinion, reads:


b. Punitive damages.

'Under the existing standard, '[p]unitive damages may be awarded for conduct that is outrageous, because of the defendant's evil motive or his reckless indifference to the rights of others." . . . 'An award of punitive damages requires a determination of the defendant's intent or state of mind, determinations properly left to the jury, whose verdict should be sustained if it could ' reasonably have [been] arrived at . . . from any . . . evidence . . . presented."

We agree with the judge that Monteiro presented ample evidence from which a reasonable juror could find outrageous conduct. . . . She therefore appropriately allowed the question to go to the jury. . . . Because the jury's award could reasonably have been arrived at from the evidence presented, the judge appropriately denied the city's new trial motion and affirmed the damages award. There was no error. . . .

2. Analysis.

“Monteiro presented ample evidence from which a reasonable juror could find outrageous conduct.”

The Cambridge City Council is not in a forum with a massive organization running around making false statements that the City of Cambridge is worthy of respect.

The Cambridge City Council is dealing with the big boys.

The Appeals Court panel gave Cambridge MORE time in oral argument than is normally allowed under its rules. The Appeals Court panel has joined with the Superior Court judge and jury in communicating its disgust at the rotten situation in Cambridge by refusing to dignify Cambridge with a full blown opinion.

If the City Council meaningfully resembles the City Council that its massive organization keeps talking about, the decision is clear:

FIRE THE CAMBRIDGE CITY MANAGER WITHOUT GOLDEN PARACHUTE by settlement with permission of the Superior Court judge. Seriously consider firing him without pension. The facts of this matter constitute a very strong situation for expanding the law this far.

The worst thing is that the City Council does not meaningfully resemble the City Council its apologists keep FALSELY bragging about.

3. Marilyn Wellons.

8/16/11, 10:58 am

The estimated $10M (including legal fees) Cambridge now owes to Ms. Monteiro is 3% of the city's estimated revenue from taxes in FY2012. Ten million dollars is more than the estimated revenue from all Licenses and Permits or from Fines and... Forfeits.

It is more than three times the proposed expenditure for education in the city's capital budget.

See the Budget Summary, http://www.cambridgema.gov?/budget.aspx, pp. I-5--I-6.

4. Archie Mazmanian.

8/16/11, 11:13 am:

Archie Mazmanian comments:

Your posts on this make quite an impact. I wonder if you might consider a post on next steps that Cambridge might take (although not sensibly), including an appeal to the SJC, in the context of potential additional expense to Cambridge (which may need a prop. 2.5 override to cover all the expenses).

Archie Mazmanian