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Waukeen McCoy has decided to make a federal case out of his running feud with mayoral candidate Angela Alioto. The employment discrimination complaint filed Tuesday is the latest round in a contentious fight — that so far has included allegations of racism and political gamesmanship — over what could be millions in fees. Alioto said McCoy is becoming obsessed to the point of harassment. “He needs help,” Alioto said when informed of the suit. “I’m serious.” McCoy didn’t respond to several messages left with his office. The two lawyers had a falling out over clients and how to slice the fees in a huge racial discrimination verdict against the maker of Wonder Bread and Hostess. The federal court filing came just days after San Francisco Superior Court Judge Robert Dondero issued an order in a state court case telling McCoy that he, in fact, is the one who owes Alioto money — $30,000 in costs. Alioto said McCoy recently filed another state court action against her. “He’s sued me two times in one week, which are the eighth and ninth times” since the Wonder Bread case, Alioto said. Alioto hypothesized that McCoy headed across the street to federal court because he’s burned all his bridges in superior court. “Now he needs to stick to federal court where he’s called only a couple of the judges racist,” Alioto said. The case was assigned to U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White. With the $30,000 judgment in hand, Alioto said she is looking forward to the debtor’s exam. “I know about 10 lawyers who would love to do it. Don’t forget, he is Willie Brown’s ethics commissioner.” Alioto, a contender in the election to replace Brown, has accused the mayor of giving McCoy the ethics post as a reward for his pursuit of her. McCoy and Alioto once shared office space and worked together on the case against Interstate Brands Corp., in which a group of African-American employees was awarded a record $132 million. The trial judge reduced the award to $28 million, and Alioto settled while the case was on appeal. McCoy represented three plaintiffs who broke from the original group. In one action, McCoy sued Alioto for breach of contract, claiming she owed him attorneys fees. Dondero sided with Alioto on that one, but sided with McCoy on a countersuit Alioto filed that accused him of stealing clients. In his federal suit, McCoy says he was contacted by Alioto in 1998 to help represent the workers. He claims he fulfilled his duties in the Wonder Bread case and that, once the suit was over, Alioto refused to pay him any fees because he had no separate agreement with the plaintiffs. He also says he has appealed Dondero’s ruling. McCoy claims Alioto acted with “malice, ill will, evil intent and racial animus.” In suing her for racial employment discrimination, McCoy alleges that Alioto paid $2 million to a white co-counsel who, like McCoy, had no separate agreement with the plaintiffs. Joseph Veronese, an attorney with Alioto’s firm, said there was a separate agreement and he will likely file a motion to have McCoy deemed a vexatious litigant. That lawyer, Paul Justi, a solo practitioner in San Ramon, said he had “strong feelings” about the ongoing battle between Alioto and McCoy but would not comment further. Though McCoy’s suit mentions that he represented the lead plaintiff in the Wonder Bread case, it doesn’t mention the break that led him to represent three plaintiffs individually. McCoy claims he has suffered “losses to his business reputation as a result of the public humiliation of the state court action that the defendants forced him to pursue.”

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