A former Baldwin Park police chief who won $7 million in March, after a jury found she was wrongfully fired in 2013 because she is a woman, was Tuesday awarded $1.67 million in attorneys’ fees.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Stern granted a little more than half of the nearly $3 million in attorneys’ fees sought by 63-year-old Lili Hadsell, who a jury found had been subjected to gender discrimination, gender harassment and retaliation during her tenure as Baldwin Park’s top cop.
Attorneys for the city argued the fees should be a maximum of about $998,000.
During trial, Hadsell testified that she battled gender discrimination from within, specifically from then-Capt. Michael Taylor, in a mostly male police force reluctant to adopt her ideas of working closer with the citizenry.
The department had such a poor reputation within the community that even a head deputy district attorney referred to BPD officers as “cowboys,” the plaintiff said.
Hadsell was hired by the city in 1999 and appointed police chief in 2008. After being named to the job, she became the victim of tokenism by city officials and was “paraded around as a prop to celebrate themselves for having a female police chief,” according to her court papers.
Hadsell said she was undermined before her subordinates when City Councilman Ricardo Pacheco told them a woman could not handle the chief’s job.
She said Pacheco, who remains on the council, was also behind blog posts such as one that stated, “I believe the only police work Hadsell did was on her knees to get promoted through the ranks.”
Hadsell was fired on Dec. 10, 2013, and replaced with Taylor, who has since retired. Hadsell’s complaint, filed in June 2014, alleged that Pacheco and Taylor “worked in concert to harass and discredit” her while she was chief.
McCune countered that Hadsell had problems with the rank-and-file members of the department and said two of the three council members who voted to oust her were women.