City Hall will appeal a $431,000 jury verdict on behalf of a gay former Santa Barbara police officer, Ruben Lino, who claimed he faced discrimination and retaliation for speaking out against homophobic remarks made by some of his fellow officers. Acting at the behest of city attorney Steve Wiley, Santa Barbara City Councilmembers approved the appeal last week. They noted that Lino won on only one of his four main causes of action – retaliation – and some suggested the jurors had to torture the evidence to arrive at the verdict they did. Mostly, however, the decision was strategic, designed to give City Hall leverage in negotiating the attorney’s fees it could get stuck with if Lino’s jury award prevails. Lino’s attorney has already indicated that legal fees and costs will be substantially higher than his client’s $431,000 award.

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