|Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz
defamation lawsuit against
for statements on this website
|Deposition of Maura Larkins
by Ljubisa Kostic
June 16, 2008
Pages 73 to 80
8 Q. Okay. Understood. Now, at some point, did
9 you put on your Web site an order that was granted by
10 a federal judge against a law firm by the name of
11 Lozano Smith?
12 A. I don't know if I put the order. I wrote
13 about it.
14 Q. Did you, at some point prior to writing
15 about the order with respect to Lozano Smith, did you
16 read the order?
17 A. I have never read the entire order. I think
18 it's 80 pages or something.
19 Q. Did you have a copy of it, the order?
20 A. I never printed out the whole order.
21 Q. How did you find out about that order?
22 A. It was on the Internet. It was a news
23 story. It was quite a scandal, apparently. People
24 don't know how corrupt public entity lawyers are.
25 When I saw that I thought, "Wow, Stutz is not the only
1 one." I mean...
2 Q. Did you read a portion of the order, or did
3 you read a story about the order?
4 A. Well, I certainly did read stories about the
5 order. I glanced through the order, but I did not
6 read it all.
7 Q. Did you then do a search to see if there had
8 ever been any similar orders issued against the Stutz
9 firm by any judge ever, anywhere?
10 A. These orders are not just on the Internet.
11 You would have to go to the court -- well, like if it
12 is federal court you have to look on PACER. With
13 state court, you have to actually go down and find all
14 their cases, which you can't search by attorney. You
15 would have to know what their cases are and look
16 through there. No, no, I had no way to do that.
17 Q. You mentioned PACER, that's the federal
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. And the order we're talking about with
21 Lozano Smith, that was an order in the federal court?
22 A. Um-hmm.
23 Q. "True"?
24 A. Yeah.
25 Q. On the PACER system -- PACER, by the way, is
1 a database that's accessible online, and it keeps
2 records of the federal courts, true?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. And the PACER system does allow you to
5 search by lawyer, does it not?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Did you do a search on any PACER database to
8 see if any orders had been issued by any judge ever,
9 accusing the Stutz firm of unethical behavior?
10 A. No. I knew that from personal experience.
11 Q. Did you do a search to see if any judge ever
12 agreed with your personal experience?
13 A. No. The whole point of this Lozano decision
14 and the reason why it was so newsworthy is that judges
15 generally allow corrupt public attorneys to get away
16 with all this stuff. It was newsworthy that for --
17 finally a federal judge said, "Heck with this noise.
18 You guys need to straighten up."
19 Q. Did the judge in the order that has to do
20 with the Lozano Smith firm, did that judge make these
21 general statements about how all public entity lawyers
22 are corrupt and they all need to straighten up?
23 A. No.
24 Q. That order was specific with respect to the
25 Lozano Smith firm and specific actions that specific
1 lawyers in that firm took in a specific case, true?
2 A. Of course.
3 Q. Do you know if the Stutz firm participated
4 in the case from which the order against Lozano Smith
6 A. I am quite sure they did not.
7 Q. At some point in time, did you take portions
8 of that order about Lozano Smith and take out wherever
9 the judge had said Lozano Smith, and put in instead
10 the name of our firm, Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff and
12 A. I applied -- in my own words I am saying
13 that these certain things do apply to Stutz.
14 Q. No, no. I personally went on your Web site
15 at some point in time. I had prior to that time seen
16 the order against Lozano Smith. Then I saw the exact
17 same order or portions of it on your Web site, where
18 what it appeared to me you did, is took out the name
19 "Lozano Smith" and you put in "Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff
20 & Holtz" into the verbatim verbiage of, at least,
21 portions of that order?
22 A. I would say that you're -- what I did was, I
23 chose specific -- I did use the same wording, and I
24 chose specific things that I knew to be a fact to be
25 true about Stutz. I don't even know for a fact if
1 they are true about Lozano. The judge says it is. I
2 believe them, but I don't know it through firsthand
3 knowledge. I do know through firsthand knowledge that
4 Stutz has done the things that the judge said Lozano
6 Q. But in order to communicate that to the
7 public -- it was your intention to communicate with
8 the public through your Web site?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. You wanted to impart to the public
11 information about the Stutz firm?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You took verbatim portions of the order
14 against the Lozano Smith firm and cut and pasted those
15 portions on to your Web site?
16 A. I really think portion makes it sound bigger
17 than phrases. I think "phrases" is the correct word.
18 Q. You took specific phrases from the order?
19 A. Yes, yes.
20 Q. You took those phrases from the order
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You put them on your Web site?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. The only thing --
1 A. But not quoting the judge. I am saying that
2 Stutz did this. Stutz did this. Stutz did this,
3 which is exactly what the judge accused Lozano of
5 Q. When you took those verbatim portions of the
6 order and put them on your Web site, you substituted
7 the name of "Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz" for
8 where the judge had used "Lozano Smith"?
9 A. It sounds to me like you are trying to frame
10 this in a certain way that doesn't really quite work.
11 Because it is like you are trying to say, "Oh, well,
12 she took this order and just plugged in." No. What I
13 did was I took phrases from the order and said, "Stutz
14 did this. Stutz did this. Stutz did that."
15 Q. The part where you said "Stutz," or you
16 might have said "Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz"?
17 A. Yeah.
18 Q. Okay. You wrote that because that was not
19 in the order.
20 A. Right.
21 Q. And then the part where you were saying
22 "Stutz did this," the "this" part you took verbatim
23 from the order in phrases, not in -- you are saying it
24 is not portions. It is just phrases?
25 A. Right.
1 Q. So you took phrases from the order and you
2 plugged in the "Stutz" name for where "Lozano Smith"
3 had been in the order?
4 A. Only where it was applicable.
5 Q. Okay. You say that what you said on your
6 Web site is that the Stutz firm did this in your case?
7 A. Most of what I have on my Web site is what I
8 learned from my case, although you may have noticed
9 that I also write about other cases, like
10 Marian Weeker and Coach James Ted Carter.
11 So everything isn't my case. But my
12 personal knowledge of how corrupt Stutz is obviously
13 comes from my case.
14 Q. Okay. Is that portion where you are taking
15 phrases from the order with respect to Lozano Smith,
16 and you're then telling the public that the Stutz firm
17 has done the exact same things?
18 A. Um-hmm.
19 Q. Is that still on your Web site?
20 A. I hope so.
21 Q. As far as you know -- I mean, you personally
22 have not taken it down?
23 A. I have not taken it down.
24 Q. If I grabbed a laptop, could you help me
25 navigate to that portion of the Web site so we could
1 take a look at it?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. It is noon. Why don't we break for lunch.
4 When we come back, what I am going to do is I am going
5 to bring in my laptop, and you are going to help me
6 navigate to that portion of the Web site so we can
7 talk about it in concrete terms rather than trying to
8 describe it.
9 A. Sounds like fun. I love visual aids.
10 Q. Good, good. Let's take our break. Why
11 don't we come back here in one hour.
12 Would that be enough time for you to have
14 A. That's fine with me.
15 MR. KOSTIC: We will be back at 1 o'clock.
16 (Recess taken.)
|Above section used in Stutz Motion for
Summary Judgment Issue 1, "Fact" 7.