A judge said Tuesday he will not order an attorney representing a non-sworn Los Angeles Airport Police officer to stop interrupting defense questioning of her during a deposition, saying the Los Angeles Superior Court rules already govern such conduct.
However, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Daniel S. Murphy said that if the city pays the cost, he will direct that a monitor be in place when the deposition of the plaintiff, Officer Christina Cosey, resumes.
In her lawsuit filed in August 2018, Cosey alleges she has been discriminated against and dubbed a “problem child” because of her military obligations as a member of the Air Force Reserves. She alleges that after she took military leave several times in 2017 and 2018, she was pestered by her supervisors about her military orders and told her “focus needs to be on her civilian employment” and that the city “will not take a back seat to the military.”
Cosey also alleges she was harassed by a male colleague who made a sexually inappropriate comment on the job. She alleges nothing was done when she complained and that she suffered a backlash by being given written criticisms for small matters, by being denied overtime offered other officers and by being told she would be considered AWOL if she took additional military leave.
Lawyers for the city maintained in their court papers that when they tried to question Cosey during her deposition, one of her attorneys “improperly instructed plaintiff not to answer simple, foundational questions on the basis that plaintiff had already answered the question at a prior deposition session” more than a year earlier.
“We just want the deposition to go forward efficiently and promptly,” attorney Sandra M. Falchetti, on behalf of the city, told the judge during Tuesday morning’s hearing. “It’s a game they’re playing.”
Falchetti said a lawyer can only instruct a client not to answer a deposition question if the response would violate attorney-client privilege. She asked the judge to order the plaintiff’s attorneys to stop obstructing the questioning, saying she needs the deposition information for a motion scheduled to be heard Aug. 13 in which she will ask that the lawsuit be dismissed.
But lawyer Kevin Salute, who represents Cosey, denied any gamesmanship and said there was no point in asking the same questions that were previously posed to the plaintiff.
“Let’s go over some fresh ideas and not rehash the same stuff,” Salute said.
Murphy denied the city’s motion and said the local court rules already provide what she wants. Falchetti said she will to talk with city officials to see if they want to hire a monitor for the deposition.
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