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San Diego City Attorney's latest lawsuit


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  • San Diego City Attorney's latest lawsuit

    SAN DIEGO – City Attorney Michael Aguirre filed a lawsuit Friday against San Diego police Officer Paul Hubka seeking to recover the cost of a police dog that died in his care.
    Read the complaint (PDF)

    The suit, filed on behalf of the city of San Diego, requests that the 22-year veteran pay for the training and replacement costs of a new dog, Aguirre said at a news conference Friday.

    He didn't specify the damage amount he is seeking, however, it will be in excess of $25,000, he said.

    “These dogs are expensive to acquire,” Aguirre said.

    Police dogs cost about $9,200 each, according to the nonprofit San Diego Police Foundation, which collects donations for the purchase of new dogs.

    Forrest, a 5-year-old Belgian Malinois, died July 20 of heat stroke after being left in Hubka's patrol car for several hours on a hot day at his Alpine home.

    The District Attorney's Office is deciding whether to file criminal charges against the officer.

    The lawsuit claims Hubka was reckless and negligent for leaving the dog in the car and that he failed to properly care for an animal as required by law.

    The legal action comes days after Aguirre's office announced it was refusing to pay a $50,000 court settlement to Hubka on an unrelated issue that was agreed upon before the dog died.

    Hubka and other canine officers sued the city in 2005, arguing that the extra money they were paid for their work as canine officers should have been included in their base salary to figure their retirement payments.

    The court sided with the officers, and the City Council approved the settlement July 17. Hubka signed it three days later – the same day Forrest died, according to documents.

    Attorney Michael Conger, who represented Hubka in the retirement case, said Aguirre's lawsuit is nothing more than political grandstanding.

    “Its frivolous because the government can't sue a public employee for negligence,” Conger said. “This lawsuit is going to go nowhere except costing taxpayers money.”

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    This should help recruiting at SDPD. Next, he will sue cops for having an accident in a patrol car.

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