Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz
defamation lawsuit against
Maura Larkins
for statements on this website
Testimony on this page:
Deposition of Maura Larkins
by Ljubisa Kostic
June 16, 2008

Pages 157 to 175
12 Q. Other than yourself, who else has
13 Dan Shinoff attempted to have arrested? Which other
14 plaintiffs has Dan Shinoff tried to have arrested?
15 A. No. Let me preface my answer by saying that
16 Dan Shinoff is the lead attorney under contract for
17 several school districts; among them, Vista Unified
18 School District, Poway Unified School District, and
19 Encinitas.
20 He will often farm out the -- like the
21 paperwork in cases to other lawyers like -- let me see
22 here, the Lindsey Stewart case. I think that -- you
23 know, I am really not sure. But these two cases here,
24 I believe, there were other lawyers involved, yeah. I
25 think this was Justin Shinnefield of


158
1 Atkinson Andelson.
2 Q. She is the one who handled the
3 Lindsey Stewart case?
4 A. He, Justin Shinnefield.
5 Q. Oh, I'm sorry.
6 A. Yeah. And Claudia Houston -- I think there
7 were other lawyers in that one too, besides
8 Dan Shinoff.
9 Q. What I am asking you is --
10 A. No, no. I know. I know. Please let me
11 finish. So he is the lead attorney directing. He is
12 the one that goes and sits with the school board's
13 meetings' closed sessions. I know that because he has
14 been seen frequently leaving by the back door.
15 Q. Who provided you the information about
16 Mr. Shinoff leaving through the back door?
17 A. I don't want to say.
18 Q. You have to. You are under oath.
19 A. I am going to instruct myself not to answer
20 that question.
21 Q. On what basis? In other words, why am I not
22 entitled to ask that question?
23 A. Because your law firm tries to get people
24 arrested and is extremely abusive to people and if I
25 give you a name, I believe with all my heart that you
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1 will harm that person.
2 Q. Won't that just prove your case?
3 A. Oh, and you think I want to harm someone to
4 prove your case? No, thank you.
5 Q. All right. So you are not going to provide
6 me with that information?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Which people has Daniel Shinoff had
9 arrested?
10 A. Claudia Houston spent a week in jail.
11 Q. Why was she arrested?
12 A. The reason given was, "disturbing the
13 school."
14 Q. How do you know that Daniel Shinoff was
15 involved -- well, no, no, let's back up.
16 Was Ms. Houston arrested right at the
17 school?
18 A. Yeah, I believe so.
19 Q. Who called the police?
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. Whose idea was it to call the police?
22 A. I believe that the idea originated with
23 Daniel Shinoff. It is sort of like with my brother,
24 Joseph Hogan. It was his idea that my sister-in-law
25 call the police on me to get me arrested.
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1 Q. How did you find that out?
2 A. She said so. She told neighbors, and he
3 admitted it.
4 Q. Now, has Dan Shinoff admitted to you that he
5 said that the school should have Claudia Houston
6 arrested?
7 A. One thing Dan Shinoff is good at is not
8 admitting the truth.
9 Q. So he has admitted something like that to
10 you?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Okay. So we have eliminated that. Now, has
13 anybody told you that Dan Shinoff said that they
14 should try to get Claudia Houston arrested?
15 A. Dan Shinoff has a pattern of behavior. The
16 school districts who work with Dan Shinoff are
17 obviously encouraged to behave in this manner.
18 When I was taken out of my classroom, there
19 was a lot of my stuff, a lot. After 27 years of
20 teaching, you accumulate quite of bit of learning
21 materials and science equipment and all sorts of books
22 and other things.
23 There was a huge amount of my personal
24 possessions that were basically converted by
25 Chula Vista Elementary School District. They put it
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1 in a warehouse. I figured, you know, they didn't want
2 me coming there.
3 So I sent my husband. You know, he is a
4 nice-looking guy, you know; shirt and tie, slim, trim.
5 You really don't look like someone who goes around,
6 you know, being violent. He looks very, very much the
7 same.
8 He goes up to Chula Vista School District
9 and says, you know, "I would like to get my wife's
10 stuff out of the warehouse." You know, the warehouse
11 is just like 100 yards away. Richard Werlin calls the
12 police on him. He said, "You can't have that stuff
13 until your wife comes in for a meeting." The
14 policeman approached him with his hand on his gun.
15 This kind of abusive tactic, utilizing law enforcement
16 to help them get away with wrongdoing.
17 In the case of Claudia Houston -- well, it's
18 pretty nasty what they to her --
19 Q. Should we click on the link? Would that
20 give us more information?
21 A. It might, yeah. Yeah, I think there are
22 some pages down below, some scanned court documents.
23 Oh, yeah, this one is funny. This one is really
24 funny. In his deposition, Ray Artiano said that no
25 one but me had ever complained about Stutz' ethics.
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1 Just less than three months before he made
2 this statement under oath, these documents -- that you
3 will see down below here, had been filed by
4 Claudia Houston where she accuses Daniel Shinoff
5 personally of tortious interference.
6 Q. Let me see if I can get us back on track.
7 Well, when Richard Werlin called the police
8 on your husband, do you have any reason to believe
9 that Mr. Werlin first consulted Dan Shinoff?
10 A. No. I think it is -- let me see, when was
11 that? Oh, I remember when that was. That was
12 October.
13 Q. Do you see how that was not part of my
14 question when it occurred, where I asked you if
15 Mr. Werlin consulted with Dan Shinoff and you said no?
16 Because really that is all I am interested in, is
17 whether you have any reason to believe that they
18 consulted.
19 A. But, Mr. Kostic, dates are important as far
20 as figuring out when Mr. Shinoff became involved.
21 Q. I am not interested right now in knowing
22 when Mr. Shinoff became involved. You already told me
23 that. All I needed to know was whether you had any
24 reason to believe that Mr. Werlin called Mr. Shinoff
25 to see if he should call the police to intimidate your
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1 husband.
2 A. I already answered that question.
3 Q. I know. That's what I'm saying.
4 A. But then you asked --
5 Q. So now I would like to go on to the next
6 one. I have not asked any other question. I don't
7 want you to tell me that I am cutting you off, because
8 I'm not. I just want to go on to my next question.
9 A. Oh, you know, maybe I am imagining things.
10 But I thought that you asked if -- well, I thought
11 that it was important whether Rick Werlin and Shinoff
12 had talked before that date.
13 Q. Okay.
14 A. Before the police were called.
15 Q. I would have expected that if you had any
16 reason to believe that they did, that you would have
17 told me so.
18 A. I was trying to figure out the dates.
19 Q. But what I want to know is whether you know
20 if the two of them spoke about having the police come
21 out to intimidate your husband. I am not interested
22 in inferences of if Dan was ever involved. I want to
23 know if you know that; you heard it from someone; you
24 overheard a conversation; you saw a piece of paper,
25 things of that sort?
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1 A. Well, see, now you are just being silly.
2 Obviously there would have been no way for them to
3 know that my husband was going to come.
4 So the way you framed the question is way
5 too narrow.
6 But the question about whether Shinoff had
7 given encouragement to Rick Werlin to use the police
8 to intimidate people whom the district wanted to
9 intimidate, I thought that was a worthwhile question.
10 I was trying to figure out if they had indeed already
11 conferred about my case.
12 Q. How would you know if they conferred about
13 your case?
14 A. By the timeline.
15 Q. So you would assume they conferred about
16 your case if Mr. Shinoff had become involved by that
17 time?
18 A. Mr. Shinoff went around interviewing just
19 about every teacher at Castle Park in the fall of
20 2001. Obviously he would have interviewed Werlin
21 first. This event with my stuff, I believe that was
22 happening right about at the same time. So the dates
23 here are very close together.
24 Now, if Rick Werlin got involved on
25 October 4th -- you know what, I don't think
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1 Rick Werlin and Shinoff talked before the date that my
2 husband went down there. I think it happened before
3 October 4th.
4 Q. That eliminates, in your mind, the potential
5 that Dan Shinoff was the one who encouraged
6 Rick Werlin to have the police come out to intimidate
7 your husband?
8 A. Well, in this case, specifically. Although,
9 he could have talked to him about him to many other
10 people.
11 Q. Certainly, you don't personally know whether
12 Mr. Shinoff ever said anything; I mean, that is to
13 say, you never heard Mr. Shinoff say anything to
14 Mr. Werlin to the effect?
15 A. No, hmm-um.
16 Q. With Claudia Houston, how do you know that
17 Mr. Shinoff is the one who gave the advice to have
18 this woman arrested?
19 A. I don't know that he specifically advised
20 them to have this person arrested. I just know that
21 he creates an attitude in school districts that it is
22 a good idea to use law enforcement to intimidate
23 people who complain.
24 Q. In what instances other -- okay, so we have
25 already talked about Claudia Houston.
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1 What other instances do you know where
2 Mr. Shinoff advised his client or clients to use law
3 enforcement to intimidate people who complain?
4 A. This David Alberts case, I would have to go
5 read the article. Shinoff spoke to the press about
6 the David Alberts case.
7 Q. Was David Alberts arrested?
8 A. Yes, he was arrested. I believe it was at
9 Helix High School. He was complaining about a coach.
10 Shinoff seemed to think that that was a good thing to
11 have him arrested, when he was talking to the press.
12 Q. So Mr. Shinoff openly in the press said that
13 he thought that it was appropriate for Mr. Alberts to
14 have been arrested?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. There's a record of what Mr. Shinoff said?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. So, again, how do we know that it is a
19 favorite tactic of Mr. Shinoff to have people
20 arrested?
21 A. Because if he didn't like it, he would
22 discourage them from it and say, "You know, maybe we
23 should stop arresting so many parents."
24 Q. We have Lindsey Stewart, David Alberts. Do
25 you know if Mr. Shinoff -- aside from what he said
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1 after the arrest -- do you know if Mr. Shinoff advised
2 anyone to have David Alberts arrested before it was
3 done?
4 A. I don't know.
5 Q. How about Lindsey Stewart, what happened in
6 that case?
7 A. She went kind of nuts and she sent a
8 600-page fax. So the district -- let's see, was that
9 Poway -- yeah, that was Poway, asked that she be
10 sanctioned -- and this is a parent who has nothing, no
11 money, nothing, that she be sanctioned.
12 They said, "You know, the lawyers charge $2
13 per page to the school district for faxes received."
14 So the lawyers charged the school district
15 $1,300-something because she sent this
16 600-something-page fax.
17 So the court granted the sanctions against
18 Lindsey Stewart. When she refused to pay, they got a
19 warrant -- a $25,000 warrant for her arrest.
20 Q. Who is "they"?
21 A. The school district.
22 Q. Was the Stutz firm involved with that, do
23 you know?
24 A. Well, Shinoff --
25 Q. In obtaining the warrant?
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1 A. I don't think he did the paperwork.
2 Q. Okay.
3 A. She never did get arrested. I think right
4 now -- I think the warrant went stale, you know. It
5 was too old to be enforced.
6 Q. But this says that the Stutz firm charged
7 the parent over $1,000, and what you have told me now
8 is that the court issued sanctions; is that right?
9 A. Yeah. I should change that.
10 Q. Okay. Because it is not accurate, is it?
11 A. No, it is not. Let me change that. Okay.
12 This is the "change Stutz page" and it should say
13 "Vista Unified School District."
14 Q. "Obtained a court order sanctioning a
15 parent"?
16 A. "Obtained" -- yeah, "A court order charging
17 a parent over $,1,000 for sending a long document, $2
18 for a page." Okay. I will change that.
19 Q. All right. Now, I know we have been talking
20 about it for quite some time. Do you know of any
21 specific instance when Dan Shinoff actually instructed
22 a client to have a parent arrested?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Now, are you able to help me get to that
25 Lozano Smith order, where you took portions of it or
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169
1 phrases from it and put in "Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff &
2 Holtz"?
3 A. I would go to Google.
4 Q. Here is Google up here (indicating). Tell
5 me what to type in.
6 A. Yeah. I would type in "Lozano Smith," and
7 maybe "federal sanctions."
8 Q. This is going to give us the actual order,
9 right?
10 A. Or it might be an article about it, which
11 will probably have a link to the order.
12 Q. Yeah. But what I want to know is where do I
13 find the one that you put up, where you took out
14 "Lozano Smith" and you put in "Stutz, Artiano"?
15 A. You are the one that is claiming that.
16 Q. Was I not right about that? I thought you
17 told me you took phrases from the order and you talked
18 about how Stutz does the same stuff. I am trying to
19 figure out where on your Web site we can go to look at
20 that.
21 A. Well, why don't you just press "return" and
22 we will do that Google search.
23 Q. Okay. You think that will point us to the
24 portion of your Web site?
25 A. No. I think it will take us to a Google
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170
1 page. Oh, my. That is an interesting one.
2 Q. Right. But I am not interested in other
3 than what you said about.
4 A. I'm sorry.
5 Q. I want to know where on your Web site we can
6 find this -- oh, here it is.
7 A. That's just the page we were right on.
8 Q. So that's not going to -- let's try it.
9 A. Yeah, go ahead.
10 Do you want to see the order of the judge?
11 Q. Yeah. No, I want to know what you said on
12 your Web site about the order. I have seen it before
13 on your Web site.
14 A. It is here on this page.
15 Q. That is what I want to see.
16 A. Just find where it says "Lozano Smith."
17 Let's go to the top and then scroll down. I thought I
18 put it pretty high. Okay. Let's keep going down. We
19 will find it. It's on this page. Just keep going
20 down. I think it was over here (indicating). Gee, I
21 guess I moved it down. Let's keep going down. Let's
22 see -- here. No, that is different. Let's keep going
23 down. I think this is it, right there (indicating).
24 Yeah.
25 Q. Okay. So there's a link to the sanctions
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1 order.
2 A. Is there, good. Or it might be to an
3 article. But the article probably will have a link to
4 the order. There might be one lower, if you really
5 want to see the order itself. No -- oh, wait a
6 minute. No, it doesn't have a link.
7 Q. It was not really what I was looking for
8 anyway. Let's go back.
9 According to you -- and this is from the
10 Web page here.
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. "Judge Wanger's words also exactly describe
13 what has happened in many San Diego cases, thanks to
14 San Diego Office of Education-Joint Powers Authority
15 favoritism toward unethical law firms such as
16 Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz, and Lozano Smith."
17 So you believe that Judge Wanger's words
18 describe exactly what Stutz, Artiano has been --
19 A. Well, some of his words. Of course, you
20 know, the specifics of the case will be different.
21 But the method of attack, the manner of dealing with,
22 for example, plaintiffs against school district.
23 Q. Have you ever seen an order in which a judge
24 said that the Stutz firm was guilty of repeated
25 mischaracterizations of the law?
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172
1 A. Asked and answered.
2 Q. I don't believe it has.
3 A. We talked about that. I think you have
4 asked it a couple of times, and I have answered it a
5 couple of times.
6 Q. Was I being specific about
7 mischaracterizations of the law? I want to break down
8 your statement.
9 A. Well, you asked me if I had looked for any
10 order by a judge against Stutz, and said no.
11 Q. Okay. Let me explain to you the asked and
12 answered objection. It is not an objection to say
13 that something you've told me before should inform my
14 opinion about it, because that may be true. I am
15 entitled to ask more specific questions, even if they
16 might be subsumed with prior answers. That's not
17 asked and answered.
18 So what I want to know is, specifically,
19 have you ever seen an order that said that the Stutz
20 firm, or any lawyer in it, was guilty of repeated
21 mischaracterizations of the law?
22 A. Well, I am glad you are sitting down so you
23 don't fall off your chair in shock. No.
24 Q. Please, it would have taken five seconds for
25 you to say "no," and we have had this long discussion.
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1 It has really taken up a lot of time.
2 So, please don't do that. I am just trying
3 to get through some specific things. If we could cut
4 out the sarcasm and get the answers, we'll be --
5 A. But the question itself is really just meant
6 to take up time. If I have never seen any order by a
7 judge against Stutz --
8 Q. I don't want to argue with you. I just want
9 to go through these specifics.
10 A. Okay. If you want to waste time.
11 Q. Have you ever seen an order that
12 specifically said that the Stutz firm, or any lawyer
13 in it, made repeated misstatements of the record?
14 A. Obviously not, Mr. Kostic.
15 Q. Have you ever seen an order where a judge
16 said that the Stutz firm, or any lawyer in it, was
17 guilty of frivolous objections to plaintiff's
18 statements of fact?
19 A. Are you talking about exact words?
20 Q. Anything to that effect.
21 A. Well, you know what, now that I am thinking
22 about this, there might have been some orders in my
23 case that said something similar to this.
24 Q. Something about the Stutz firm making
25 frivolous objections to your statement of fact?
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1 A. Well, not the exact words, but the idea.
2 Q. Did it have to do with frivolous objections
3 to your statements of fact?
4 A. It might have. You know --
5 Q. You are not sure, as you sit here today?
6 A. The judges orders in my own case are the
7 orders that I would be thinking about and referring to
8 in answering these questions here.
9 Q. Do you have those orders in your possession?
10 A. Yeah.
11 Q. What I'll do is I'll just request them from
12 you.
13 A. You do too.
14 Q. I might. But I am going to ask you for
15 them.
16 A. You might.
17 Q. Yeah. I don't know which orders you're
18 talking about.
19 A. In my case that your law firm was involved
20 in. Obviously you have all the orders, unless you
21 have destroyed some files in my case.
22 Q. So if I asked you for them, you will be able
23 to produce them to me?
24 A. If I ask you for them, will you be able to
25 produce them to me?


175
1 Q. If you describe them sufficiently, I
2 suppose. I am going to be very specific.
3 A. I think you wanted all the orders.
4 Q. No, no. I am going to ask you for orders
5 where the judge said anything to the effect that the
6 Stutz firm was making frivolous objections to your
7 statements of fact. That is all I am going to
8 request.
9 A. Yeah. Why don't you do that in an
10 interrogatory.
11 Q. All right. You are not sure if any of th
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Maura Larkins
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Is Shinoff or Mark
Bresee to blame?
pages 91-94

pages 95-105

pages 105-111

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pages 157-175

pages 175-203

pages 203-222


Errata and signature
page
Larkins case
summary
Case Timeline
Deposition of
Maura Larkins

Richard Werlin changed
the record
pages 1-15

pages 15-25

pages 25-35

pages 35-48

pages 48-60

Pages 60--68

pages 68-73

Lozano Smith order/
Shinoff tactics
pages 73-80

pages 80-89
Summary Judgment