Policy 2-1 INITIATION OF CIVIL SUITS AND SUBSEQUENT LEGAL PROCEEDINGS


DISTRIBUTION:    Mayor and City Council
            All Departments

SUBJECT:    Initiation of civil suits and subsequent legal proceedings

PURPOSE:    To establish a policy on initiation of civil suits in the name of the City and delegating certain authority in the prosecution and defense of civil suits and subsequent legal proceedings.

BACKGROUND:    The City of Lawton is involved in civil suits and other legal proceedings on a recurring basis.  These proceedings may have a significant impact on the City, financially and otherwise.  A Council Policy addressing this matter was formulated in January, 1975; however, that policy requires revision and update to reflect current conditions and concerns.

POLICY/
PROCEDURES:    1.    Prior to the initiation of any civil suit, appeal, petition for review of an appellate courts decision, or proceeding before any administrative boards or agencies in the name of the City or any of its Boards and Commissions, prior approval shall be obtained from the City Council either by minute action or by resolution.The City Attorney is authorized to initiate an action in the District Court of Comanche County for the collection of money owed to the City in an amount not to exceed $1,000.00 without the prior approval of the Council.  The Council shall be advised of the suit and the circumstances by memorandum or as soon as practicable.

2.    Pursuant to Section 11-5-501 of the Lawton City Code, in the event a claim brought under Section 11-5-501 to recover service fees for the costs associated with the deployment of City Fire Department assets is denied either in full or in part by an insurance company, or if there is no effective insurance policy, no action shall be taken to directly seek reimbursement from a responsible "at-fault" party or any other individual without prior approval from the City Council. Approval by the City Council may be by either minute action or resolution.

2. 3.     In the event that time is of the essence and that an appeal, petition for review, or administrative proceeding must be timely filed before a regular or special council meeting can be convened, the City Manager may authorize the filing of an appeal, petition for review, or administrative proceeding, subject to further ratification by the City Council.


3. 4.     Once a civil suit, appeal, petition for review, or administrative proceeding is filed in the name of the City, the City Attorney shall vigorously prosecute said actions consistent with the rules of civil procedures, applicable court rules, or applicable administrative rules of proceedings.

4. 5.     The City Attorney will vigorously defend all civil suits in which the City and its agencies and their respective officials and employees are named defendants in their official capacity and in their course of employment.  Once a suit is concluded, the City Attorney will pursue post trial actions for the benefit of the City to include recovery of costs and legal    expenses as authorized by law.  In the event the initial amount owed to the City or the costs incurred by the City in the prosecution or defense of the action are less than $500.00, the City Attorney is authorized to waive such collection in which event the Council and all     effected departments shall be notified of this determination.

5. 6.     The City Attorneys Office is assigned the responsibility for implementing this policy and all other departments which might be affected by actions of this nature coordinate and refer such action to the Office of the City Attorney.

REFERENCES:    None.

EFFECTIVE DATE/
RESCISSION:    This policy became effective on March 1, 2013. This revision supersedes and replaces Council Policy 2-1 Dated November 1, 1999.


RESPONSIBLE
DEPARTMENT:    Legal



_____________________________
CECIL E. POWELL FRED L. FITCH
MAYOR
December 11, 2001 February 14, 2012