11:34 PM PDT on Friday, August 26, 2011


A 2009 lawsuit claiming retaliation and discrimination by then-Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco has been tossed by a commissioner who agreed the plaintiff, a former chief deputy district attorney, had no standing to sue.

The ruling handed down Wednesday by Riverside County Superior Court Commissioner John Vineyard effectively ends Eileen Hunt’s lawsuit against Pacheco.

Phone calls to one of Hunt’s attorneys and to private counsel hired to represent co-defendant Riverside County in the matter were not returned Friday.

The ruling by Vineyard was on Pacheco’s motion for judgment on pleadings — which focuses on the suit’s legal premise. Pacheco argued Hunt had no standing to sue him, either as an individual or as the district attorney.

“This lawsuit didn’t have any merit when it was filed. She was never fired, she was never asked to leave,” Pacheco said in a phone interview. “Clearly, it was politically motivated,” he said of the lawsuit.

Pacheco, elected in 2006, served one term in the office. Voters turned him out in June 2010 in favor of Paul Zellerbach, who took over as district attorney in January.

Hunt sued the county and Pacheco in September 2009, claiming that after she didn’t endorse him for district attorney before his 2006 election, Pacheco and others systematically punished her for not supporting his campaign.

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