The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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November 14, 2013

City won't appeal Walker verdict

Graf declines closed session to discuss litigation

CLINTON — City officials have decided not to file an appeal on the verdict of the city of Clinton's malpractice suit against former attorney Michael Walker.

Members of the City Council had the opportunity to go into a closed session to discuss the possibility of forming an appeal on the verdict.

However, At-Large Councilwoman Jennifer Graf expressed strong opposition to the closed session because she believes the city should not appeal the case at all.

"We've had a history of hurt in this community over this process and I don't think we stand to gain anything by going into an appeal process," Graf said. "It's a sad chapter in Clinton history and I'd like to close it."

The other council members agreed with Graf, and her motion to not appeal the verdict passed unanimously with the council.

"I agree with Jennifer, I think it's time to close the door on this issue," councilman John Rowland said.

A Scott County jury ruled in favor of Walker on Oct. 18, saying that he did not commit malpractice against the city.

The original case was settled in 2010 for $4.5 million to be paid to Timothy Schultheis and the U.S. Department of Justice in annual installments of $450,000 over the course of 10 years, with the money to come from the debt service levy. Schultheis and his attorneys receive 30 percent of the settlement.

The city filed a legal malpractice suit against Walker and his law firm Hopkins and Huebner in March 2012, alleging Walker's negligence caused the city to rush into a settlement. They sought $4.67 million to recoup the costs of the settlement and attorney and expert fees.

After the verdict was announced, the city of Clinton had 30 days to file an appeal.

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