Fight continues over form of judgment in Miller lawsuit

Associated PressJune 27, 2012 

While 2010 U.S. Senate candidate Joe Miller accepted an offer to end a legal fight with his former employer, the fight over the form of that offer continues.

The offer of judgment made to Miller by the Fairbanks North Star Borough and former mayor Jim Whitaker is expected to be discussed at a court hearing Wednesday in Anchorage.

Miller was a part-time attorney for the borough from 2002 to 2009. He had accused the borough of improperly leaking information from his personnel file during the heated 2010 Senate race, which incumbent U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski won after mounting a write-in campaign following her GOP primary loss to Miller.

In court documents, attorneys for the borough say Miller last week accepted a $5,000 offer that included language saying it was an “offer of compromise” and not an admission of fault. But the attorneys say Miller is “waging an aggressive public relations campaign” declaring that the borough and Whitaker admitted wrongdoing with the offer or are otherwise culpable.

The attorneys proposed an alternate form of judgment, simply spelling out financial terms. But they said they want a court filing, again denying wrongdoing, to accompany it.

Also unsettled is the issue of attorney fees for the online publication the Alaska Dispatch, which with other news organizations successfully sued for release of Miller’s personnel file in 2010. The Dispatch remained a party in the case — and in the ongoing dispute between Miller, the borough and Whitaker — until earlier this month.

An attorney for the Dispatch, John McKay, said the publication planned to seek fees but didn’t know the amount.

Miller’s attorney, in a court filing dated last Friday, said that to the extent the Dispatch is entitled to a judgment in the case, the judgment should be solely against the borough, which it sued for the records, and not Miller.

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