Reno City Attorney Refuses to Recuse His Office from Sexual Harassment Defense

Feb 26, 2018

Reno City Attorney Karl Hall speaking to members of the Reno City Council during a special meeting last week.

Reno Attorney Karl Hall is refusing to recuse himself from defending the city against a lawsuit despite demands from the mayor that he step down.

The request stems from allegations by the lawyer of a former city employee who accused former city manager Andrew Clinger of sexual harassment and retaliation.

That lawyer says a deputy city attorney asked for a list, under oath, of every romantic relationship his client had with any coworker since 2000.

Many consider such lists inadmissible, aimed instead at humiliating those who bring allegations forward.

"Whenever I read about this type of questioning in the newspaper I was incredibly shocked. I was disgusted," said Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve. "Frankly, also being a woman, I would be so offended and it wasn't even happening to me. It was happening to two women that I worked with that had put blood, sweat and tears into this city."

Hall, however, stood by the decision to pose the question since it was not intended for the public filing of court documents.

He says the outrage is a calculated move by the plaintiff’s legal team to disrupt the city’s defense.

"I think that it is a tactic on their part to try and influence you," Hall said. "With respect to your question over whether I am going to recuse myself, I'm not. I was elected to represent the city of Reno and I plan on doing that zealously."

Ultimately, the council will decide whether to hire an outside attorney during a future meeting.