Attorney fees

Civil rights suit by outside counsel over city's unpaid legal bill is OK'd by federal judge

A Connecticut lawyer known for her litigation against the city of Bridgeport and its school district is pursuing a new claim on her own behalf.

Josephine Miller says in a federal lawsuit that the city attorney violated her civil rights by paying a white attorney who served as outside counsel for an elementary school teacher but refusing to pay her for her work for the same individual. Miller is African-American and alleges that race discrimination accounts for Bridgeport’s refusal to pay her, the Connecticut Law Tribune (sub. req.) reports.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa Bryant gave a green light to the litigation when the city moved to dismiss it, although the judge suggested that the suit’s allegations needed to be further substantiated.

Betsy Edwards, who serves as associate city attorney, said Miller’s race-discrimination allegations “are demonstrably untrue,” the legal publication reports. Edwards pointed to the hiring record of the city attorney’s office, which has African-American attorneys working both in-house and as outside counsel. The city says Miller wasn’t properly appointed by the city attorney, who legally must do so to authorize payment.

Attorney Richard Gordon represents Miller. He said the teacher, as Miller’s client, had the right to select his own counsel.

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