In a billing dispute, a Golden Gate law professor is fighting hard to collect the rest of a fat bill he says the San Francisco district attorney’s office owes him.
The DA’s office agreed in August 2007 to pay real-estate law expert Roger Bernhardt’s $600 per-hour fee for his expert witness services on the case against former Supervisor Ed Jew, according to Bernhardt’s complaint. But the office balked at his $12,450 bill. After negotiations failed to resolve the dispute, the office still owes him $7,950 plus interest, the complaint said. The city says Bernhardt did more work than he was authorized to do.
Not looking so good for Bernhardt, though not totally hopeless, either ... after the jump.
Bernhardt has turned to a former Golden Gate T.A. of his to represent him – Phil Foster, an associate at Tour-Sarkissian Law Offices who worked as a teaching assistant in Bernhardt’s Property and Real Estate Transactions course, according to his firm bio.
At a hearing yesterday in front of Judge Charlotte Woolard at the Civic Center courthouse, Woolard decided in favor of the city’s demurrer, but left the door open for Bernhardt to try again with an amended complaint. Deputy City Attorney Andrew Gschwind had tried to argue against leaving Bernhardt room to amend.
“I’m aware that it’s unusual to be contesting [a tentative] order in my favor,” Gschwind said, contending that Bernhardt needed to first go through the city’s administrative channels to try to collect the disputed payment.
“It’s a very interesting issue because there’s so many facts and very little in terms of concrete evidence at this stage,” Woolard said before adopting her tentative ruling. “I think I may see you gentlemen again in the near future.”
— Kate Moser