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Attorney Allen Kent figures it was his ex-boss’s fault that he lost thousands of dollars unsuccessfully fighting a contempt charge last year — and he wants to be paid back. In a complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Friday, Kent demanded that Raul Aguilar, his employer of nearly 11 years, indemnify him for more than $250,000 in expenses and attorneys fees. “In direct consequence of his discharge of his duties,” Kent’s lawyers contend in the complaint, “[Kent] incurred expenses and attorneys fees and suffered additional losses because of the need to defend himself in connection with the investigation by the [state] Supreme Court and the State Bar of California.” The Supreme Court held both Kent and Aguilar, a partner in San Francisco’s Aguilar & Sebastinelli, in contempt in September for missing oral arguments before the high court on Feb. 10, 2004. Kent was fined $250, but Aguilar was hammered harder with a $1,000 fine for lying after repeatedly telling the court that he didn’t know arguments were scheduled. In January, the State Bar Court suspended Aguilar from practicing law for 30 days and ordered him to pay about $2,000 in court costs. He was also placed on probation for two years. The Sacramento oral argument that Aguilar and Kent missed stemmed from a malpractice suit Aguilar had filed against San Francisco divorce lawyer Esther Lerner. Kent maintained he wasn’t the attorney of record, having been “constructively terminated” from Aguilar’s firm five days before the argument date. Aguilar insisted Kent was still the lead attorney on the case and had not put him on notice that the argument was forthcoming. In their unsigned ruling, the Supreme Court justices said they found Aguilar’s “attempt to provide an innocent explanation unconvincing, particularly in light of Aguilar’s lack of veracity with regard to the other statements discussed.” In his complaint, Kent, a member of the State Bar for 38 years, claimed that Aguilar had refused to defend or indemnify him. “The Supreme Court ordered Kent to show cause because of the perjuries of Aguilar,” the complaint states. “Aguilar failed to take action, admit his error and prevent the entire investigation that followed. Indeed, he persisted in his perjuries and suborned his employees to join him in his falsehoods to the Supreme Court.” Aguilar couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday, and Kent referred calls about the complaint to his lawyers, employment law specialists Terence Young and Roderick Bushnell of San Francisco. Neither could be reached. Kent, who lives in Corte Madera, said he is “semi-retired” and “trying to get by.” He said he considers his situation “a blessing.” The case is Kent v. Aguilar, 05-440002.

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