City's lawyers say Clark's suit seeks $120 million

December 07, 2004|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

Lawyers for Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and the city argued in legal papers filed yesterday that ex-police commissioner Kevin Clark should not be reinstated to his former job and also pointed out that Clark is seeking $120 million in damages, double what was indicated in the lawsuit he filed against the mayor last month.

The city was responding to Clark's appeal to the Court of Special Appeals, where the city's former top police official is challenging a lower court ruling that rejected his request to regain his post.

A week after his Nov. 10 firing, Clark filed suit against O'Malley, contending that despite a firing clause in Clark's contract, state law prohibited O'Malley from firing him without showing "official misconduct, malfeasance, inefficiency, incompetence or prolonged illness."

As part of the lawsuit, Clark requested that he be immediately reinstated as commissioner. A city Circuit Court judge denied that request last month, and Clark appealed to the Court of Special Appeals, the state's second-highest court.

As part of the response yesterday, city lawyers said that in correspondence received from Clark's lawyers, the former commissioner's request for damages is $120 million, double what is stated in the lawsuit.

Stuart O. Simms, an attorney for Clark, declined to comment yesterday because he said he had not reviewed the city's filing.

The city also argued that there were many reasons why Clark should not be reinstated. A dispute over a May 15 domestic incident had "eroded Clark's ability to lead the Police Department," city attorneys said.

In his lawsuit, Clark said O'Malley overstepped his bounds not just by firing him but by interfering in internal investigations of police officers and by dismissing him as he was investigating a member of the mayor's Cabinet. The Sun has confirmed that Labor Commissioner Sean R. Malone was the person Clark was investigating.

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