Who’s Jane Doe?

Monday night’s City Council agenda includes this item: “Communication from City Attorney re: Proposed Settlement of Pending Litigation with Jane Doe, referred to Miscellaneous Matters Committee.”

Jane Doe is a placeholder name. But for whom? Hmmm. Any guesses? Sources point to Police Department. Council agenda here.



  1. Hmmm, lets see. If they’re using a Jane Doe, it’s because the parties agreed to a confidentiality agreement. This means they don’t want you to know about the identity or the other person. Heck, the city can’t even give you a hint, not even whether the person is male or female. So I’ll make this easier on us. If the City says it’s a “Jane Doe” I’d say it’s a John Doe and that’s 50% of the answer.

  2. Calling all past Council members and those familiar with City process: do we assume this is a settlement of some type? If the plaintiff was a City employee would they have a right to keep their identity secret? If this were a Civil Service or employment matter is confidentiality permitted? Is there an amount of settlement where confidentiality would not be permitted?
    I am all for protecting the innocent, the vulnerable and the aggrieved but what are the public grounds for confidentiality? Time will tell.

  3. Hmmm, I’ve never seen this before. Seeing many grievances aired at Civil Service related meetings and boards, the names have ALWAYS been public. Not sure what would come in front of the Common Council. Sounds like a lawsuit, not a labor issue, or not a labor issue anymore, but maybe an employee.

  4. I must say I have never seen a suit settlement come before the council like this with all of my years on the Miscellaneous Matters Committee.
    Something looks shady.

    1. Bubba, I was going to ask you if you remembered this tactic ever used in committee. I don’t. I hope the city attorney present at the meeting gives an explanation for the record as to why this is necessary. Off subject, I can’t believe the brevity of the Council agenda. Usually the agenda is a reflection of business being conducted in the City as a whole. What an advantage for council members to address resolutions or ordinances, new or already in effect and in need of tweaking.

  5. I would assume both sides had to agree with not reporting the name but I’ve never heard of this before. The name was always on the report the City Council had to approve. Follow the money.

    1. Ron, maybe Bubba or Tom White could refresh my memory. If an agreement were worked out between the parties involved to use a generic name, the committee members would have to be made aware of all aspects of the agreement and settlement, and an acceptable reason would have to be conveyed to the committee members regarding the confidentiality used. While I don’t remember experiencing this kind of situation in my 20 years on the Council, it doesn’t mean this case doesn’t warrant it. Since the full Council must approve this, there must have been some explanation and agreement by the Council to allow it, before it was put on the agenda.

  6. I think this is criminal that they could use taxpayer money as a settlement and not tell the taxpaying public who, how much and for what? This isn’t the transparency I’ve heard so much about.

  7. I have personally seen three settlement cases, one on age discrimination and two others on racial discrimination, all three in the Fire Department and all three were approved by the council with the name and the amount of those settlements. The only way I think they could refuse to use a name is for the health and safety of the complainant.

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