City hit with sanction in lawsuit alleging gender bias…Last week, Judge Vickie Churchill ordered the city to pay $9,375 in fees and costs to Gardner’s attorney, Joan Mell, of Fircrest, for work she did to compel the city to provide her with city emails and other documents she requested. Under court rules, each side is obliged to provide relevant evidence the other side requested as part of discovery. During an interview, Mell said such a sanction is very rare. “It’s never happened in my career,” she said. While Churchill also ordered the city to produce the emails and other documents, Mell isn’t optimistic. She said she will go forward with the presumption that city officials have hidden records that are damaging to the city. Mell said the attorney representing the city even admitted in court that she had removed privileged material without providing the necessary log.