Lawyers representing the former aide/girlfriend of Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. suffered another loss related to her wrongful termination lawsuit against the mayor and city.
Melanie McDade sought to have the City’s counsel, Mira Hashmall, with the firm Miller Barondess, disqualified from representing the City against her after they represented her in a now settled lawsuit.
Judge RIchard Burdge issued his ruling August 27, effectively denying McDade’s request.
Attorney’s Carl Douglas and Maryann Gallagher argued Miller Barondess and Olivarez Madruga Lemieux O’Neill, LLP established an attorney-client privilege when they represented her during a lawsuit between MSG and the City, and thus learned confidential details of McDade’s relationship with Butts.
McDade states she was “led to believe” the City’s attorney’s would represent her, if she were called to testify, and thus attended “prep” sessions on how to answer questions related to her relationship with Butts. She claimed it was during those sessions that she divulged details of their relationship, which she believed was covered under attorney-client privilege.
Attorney’s with Miller Barondess, and the city’s redevelopment attorney Royce Jones, attested that McDade was never considered a client because the lawsuit between MSG and Inglewood was over a land dispute, not Butts’ personal relationship.
Jason Tokoro, partner with Miller Barondess, went so far as to state he and McDade never discussed her relationship with Butts, and that he and Hashmall were solely hired to represent the City and the mayor.
The court ultimately determined that although questions came up during the now defunct lawsuit, no evidence was given, and thus McDade has not established an attorney-client relationship existed.
McDade’s lawsuit is scheduled to go to trial December 20, 2022, months after Inglewood’s elections where Butts will defend his mayor’s seat.