Posted Online: Feb. 05, 2013, 11:26 pm
Former client files lawsuit against Bettendorf mayor, his law firm
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By Rachel Warmke, email@example.com
Bettendorf Mayor Bob Gallagher and his law firm are being sued by a former client who claims her sexual harassment suit was thrown out of court in June because the firm didn't properly file it.
Nancy K. Hoffman, with a last known address of Davenport, submitted the most recent complaint on Friday in Scott County Circuit Court alleging Mr. Gallagher did not represent her case "zealously," stating that, if not for his negligence, "the underlying lawsuit would have been successful."
Mr. Gallagher said on Tuesday he was aware of Ms. Hoffman's suit."I look forward to a full and fair disclosure of all of the facts," he said, declining to comment further.
According to the lawsuit, Ms. Hoffman hired the Gallagher, Millage & Gallagher law firm to represent her for a sexual harassment/discrimination case against her former employer, APAC Customer Service Inc., of Davenport, and supervisor Ryan Bonner.
Ms. Hoffman allegedly tried to settle the case with APAC and Mr. Bonner, but when the attempts proved unsuccessful, Mr. Gallagher, on her behalf, filed a federal lawsuit on Dec. 15, 2011, in the Davenport branch of the U.S. District Court for Southern Iowa.
The harassment suit, which sought $200,000 in damages, claimed Ms. Hoffman received "unwelcome" attention from Mr. Bonner who allegedly made sexual comments about her body while she was working at APAC in 2010. The complaint further said Ms. Hoffman resigned from her job in August 2010, after management failed to put an end to the harassment.
Mr. Bonner and APAC Customer Service Inc. filed a motion to dismiss the case on Dec. 30, 2011, arguing it was not timely.
According to records, the complaint was required to be filed in federal court within 90 days of the plaintiff receiving permission to sue fromthe Iowa Civil Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In 2010, Mr. Gallagher helped Ms. Hoffman submit discrimination charges, the suit states. Ms. Hoffman was granted permission to continue her case Aug. 10, 2011, by the ICRP and Sept. 12, 2011 by the EEOC.
As such, APAC claimed Ms. Hoffman's lawsuit, filed on Dec. 15, 2011, fell outside the allotted 90-day time period, according to their motion to dismiss.The federal court agreed, and the case was dissolved in June, records indicate.
The suit filed on Friday holds Mr. Gallagher responsible for the dismissal, claiming "the only means in making (Ms. Hoffman) whole is to award her the entirety of what she would have received" from the 2011 suit.