|Maura Larkins v. Chula Vista Elementary
and Related Case Documents
|Sept. 27, 04 ex parte hearing
See pleadings below
Comes now Plaintiff and offers the following Opposition to Defendants’ ex
PLAINTIFF HAS NOT COMMUNICATED WITH MS. ANGELL’S CLIENTS IN THIS CASE
Plaintiff has not contacted either of Kelly Angell’s clients, Robin Donlan or Linda
Watson. Plaintiff has contacted potential witnesses and public officials. Board
members of Chula Vista Elementary School District, and employees of the district
other than Robin Donlan and Linda Watson, are not parties in this case.
JUSTICE IN THIS CASE DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT CVESD EMPLOYEES BE LIMITED
TO COMMUNICATING ONLY WITH DEFENDANTS CONCERNING THIS CASE
Recently Michelle Scharmach and Teresa Coffey were subpoenaed as witnesses in
Plaintiff’s related lawsuit for malpractice against lawyer Elizabeth Schulman. At
first, it appeared that Ms. Scharmach and Ms. Coffey were willing to testify, but after
a time, these two individuals belatedly joined the list of witnesses seeking a
protective order against depositions. One possible explanation for this would be
that these witnesses had been pressured to keep silent. In 2002, Assistant
Superintendent Richard Werlin went around to several schools in the district and
spoke to every single witness Plaintiff had called in her administrative hearing.
One wonders if Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz are aware that intimidation of
witnesses is against the law.
NEW PROBLEMS IN CHULA VISTA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Some defendants in this case are currently publicly smearing Principal Oly Matos
and Superintendent Lowell Billings of Chula Vista Elementary School District
regarding the transfers of five teachers, including defendant Robin Donlan, out of
Castle Park Elementary School.
The reason there is so much shock at Castle Park Elementary over the recent
transfers appears to be that Defendants’ counsel convinced Robin Donlan and other
teachers that they had nothing to worry about, and that Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff &
Holtz would take care of all their problems in this case. Defendants’ counsel
apparently never told defendants that sometimes people who commit crimes get
caught and they have to pay. Defendants (and perhaps their counsel?) seem to have
been in a delusional state since 2001.
WHOSE SIDE IS MS. ANGELL ON?
Ms. Angell’s client Robin Donlan and co-defendant Gina Boyd are acting in direct
opposition to the superintendent of Chula Vista Elementary School District, maligning
him in the press, and urging parents to work to negate his authority.
A blistering personal attack on current Castle Park principal Olimpio Matos was
published in Chula Vista Star-News on September 10, 2004 (Exhibit A), but letters
and information which Plaintiff sent to the Star-News was ignored. The attack on
Mr. Matos is poorly argued, containing information about a survey of Castle Park
teachers without revealing what percentage of teachers were polled, and without
telling how those seventeen individuals were chosen. Seventeen is approximately
half the number of teachers at Castle Park Elementary, and Plaintiff suspects that
those seventeen were self-selected. It is clear from the Star-News article that no
attempt was made to talk to the “ELAC parents” (the Hispanic parents) about the
Ms. Angell and her superior, Mr. Shinoff, have apparently communicated to Castle
Park teachers that the truth can and will and should be kept hidden. Plaintiff
suspects that teachers’ published fears that Mr. Matos might not be “trustworthy in
confidence” (Exhibit A, page 1, last paragraph) relates to their fears that he might
not lie under oath for them regarding this case.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The public attacks by defendants against current district administrators make clear
that Ms. Angell and her co-counsel Mr. Shinoff have a serious conflict of interest in
this case, since their client Robin Donlan is maliciously attacking the district
administration in the press, while the district is paying Donlan’s legal bills!
Ms. Angell has frequently, angrily and falsely stated to Plaintiff that all employees
of Chula Vista Elementary School District are her clients. This is obviously false for
two reasons. First, some employees do not wish to be represented by Ms. Angell’s
law firm. Second, Ms. Angell’s client Robin Donlan and her associates are viciously
attacking Oly Matos and Lowell Billings. If Oly Matos and Lowell Billings truly were
clients of Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz at this time, Ms. Angell would have to
immediately make arrangements to find them another lawyer.
DEFENDANTS’ VIEWS HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED IN THREE NEWSPAPERS, WITH NO
MENTION OF ANOTHER SIDE TO THE STORY
Defendants have been able to publish their views in three different newspapers,
while keeping an important part of the Castle Park story hidden from the public. The
San Diego Union Tribune, southern edition, published five letters to the editor, one
editorial, and two articles in support of the five transferred Castle Park Elementary
teachers, but refused to publish Plaintiff’s letter to the editor or to tell the full story.
In addition, La Prensa printed one very biased story (Exhibit B).
Readers believe they are hearing the truth, but clearly, they are not. Plaintiff
suspects that Ms. Angell’s law firm, and Daniel Shinoff in particular, has been able to
keep her story out of the local press. Mr. Shinoff is most likely the person who
asked the San Diego Union Tribune to remove a letter to the editor about him by
Plaintff from the Union Tribune’s online archives. The letter (Exhibit C) does not
show up in a search of the online archives (Exhibit D). Plaintiff corresponded with
the Union Tribune to try to solve the problem, (Exhibit E), to no avail.
ACCOUNTABILITY IS IMPOSSIBLE IF THE PUBLIC IS IGNORANT OF THE ACTIONS
OF PUBLIC ENTITIES
Plaintiff is particularly concerned because Ms. Angell is representing a public
entity, whose actions should be transparent. Public issues should be discussed
openly. Ms. Angell and Mr. Shinoff are trying to win by covering up the truth, as
evidenced by their refusal to turn over documents, answer special interrogatories,
and allow appropriate depositions. They have allowed only one deposition in the
two-and-a-half years since this case was filed. Plaintiff suspects Mr. Shinoff has so
much control over the media in the region that he (and others) have been able to
cause a completely one-sided story about this matter to be published in three
Plaintiff has a right to communicate with other citizens and public officials
regarding matters of public importance such as education and the actions of public
entities and their lawyers.
PROPER SERVICE OF DOCUMENTS
As Ms. Angell herself has admitted, Plaintiff’s Opposition to Robin Donlan’s Motion
to Compel was not responsive to the motion itself. The Opposition merely provided
information to the court and to Defendants about Plaintiff’s goals in this lawsuit. The
court clearly understood this, and the court’s decision on the motion was obviously
not affected by Plaintiff’s Opposition. It’s silly to make service of that document an
issue. Plaintiff never even read Robin Donlan’s motion to compel. Plaintiff was
happy to have the court grant the motion, because Plaintiff needed to do more work
on her responses anyway, to get ready for trial.
Clearly this case is no longer a conflict between Plaintiff and Chula Vista
Elementary School District. Plaintiff is on the side of the principal of the Castle Park
Elementary School and the Superintendent of the District, who are being publicly
attacked by two defendants in this case. This case has become a conflict between
Plaintiff and Daniel Shinoff’s law firm and other politically powerful individuals who
are allied with him. The conflict is over how decisions should be made and public
money should be spent in Chula Vista Elementary School District. (Mr. Shinoff is
probably also worried that this case could affect his dealings with other school
districts.) Who has the best interests of the children of Chula Vista at heart? Daniel
Shinoff or Plaintiff? Defendant Robin Donlan or principal Oly Matos? Defendant
Gina Boyd or Superintendent Lowell Billings?
RULES OF ETHICS
Defendants’ counsel does not appear to have respect for the principle of ethics.
Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz appears to be interested only in the rules of ethics in
order to gain an advantage over its opposition.
Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz has a conflict of interest with the school district
which is paying its bills, and if it really want rules of ethics followed in this case, it
should turn the case over to a law firm which does not have such a conflict.
Dated: September 24, 2004
Maura Larkins, Plaintiff in pro per
Plaintiff in pro per
) Case No. GIC 781970
) Judge: Hon. William R. Nevitt, Jr.
) Dept: 64
) Hearing Date: September 27, 2004
) Time: 8:15 a.m.
) PLAINTIFF’S OPPOSITION TO
) DEFENDANTS’ EX PARTE
) COMPLAINT FILED: 1/24/2002
) TRIAL DATE: 10/22/2004
CHULA VISTA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
DISTRICT, a California public entity,
and DOES 1 through 50, inclusive,
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO