The MHAP posts this article because of our long interest in civil rights of persons with mental and addictions health issues who are harmed by the police. Defending indefensible acts by individual officers is an expensive series of political decisions which we actively oppose. Although there are few salient facts in this article, Linda Meng is likely referring to the massive cost of preparing to litigate Chasse v. City of Portland. Meng has announced her retirement.
An insurance company has balked at paying bills for defense costs tied to lawsuits against the city of Portland.
In response, City Attorney Linda Meng is asking the Portland City Council today to authorize litigation against the insurance carrier to recover legal expenses already paid by the city.
The extent of the costs has not been made public, nor have details about the claims, court cases or the specific cause of the dispute between the city and its unnamed insurer.
City Hall Watch inquired with the city attorneys office Friday but was told that only Meng could discuss the issue. Meng, who returned to the office Tuesday, so far has not answered direct questions about the resolution, which is on this morning’s consent agenda, where it can be approved without discussion.
“We have a coverage dispute with a former insurance company,” Meng wrote in an email to City Hall Watch. “We disagree with their interpretation of language in the policy and we are seeking reimbursement for costs paid by the city that we believe they should cover. They have declined to provide reimbursement. Resolving this dispute will affect a number of claims that occurred during the time that this particular policy language was in place.”
The city has not identified the insurance carrier, the policy language, the amount of money in question, the time frame, or the cases that prompted the dispute.
If approved by the council, the resolution would allow Meng to “initiate legal proceedings to recover defense costs incurred by the City under the terms of its excess insurance policy.” The city says costs for the lawsuit or lawsuits would be covered by its “Risk Fund” and eventually may be “recovered as part of the litigation.”