Subject(s) discussed: Rick Werlin ordered Maureen Grove to falsify
Maura Larkins' payroll card, marking her as being on leave when she
was actually teaching.
Deposition of Maura Larkins
by Ljubisa Kostic
June 16, 2008
Pages 1 to 14
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOR THE COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, CENTRAL BRANCH
STUTZ, ARTIANO, SHINOFF & HOLTZ, APC,
MAURA LARKINS and DOES 1-100, inclusive,
Case No. 37-2007-00076218 CU-DF-CTL
Deposition of MAURA LARKINS, taken on behalf of the Plaintiff at
2488 Historic Decatur Road,
Suite 200, San Diego, California,
beginning at 10:06 a.m. and ending at 5:12 p.m., on June 16, 2008,
before PATRICIA Y. SCHULER,
Certified Shorthand Reporter No. 11949
2 FOR PLAINTIFF:
3 STUTZ, ARTIANO, SHINOFF & HOLTZ
BY: LJUBISA KOSTIC, ESQ.
4 2488 Historic Decatur Road Suite 200
5 San Diego, California 92106 619-232-3122
7 FOR DEFENDANT:
8 MAURA LARKINS IN PRO PER...
2 WITNESS: EXAMINATION
3 MAURA LARKINS
4 BY MR. KOSTIC 5
8 PLAINTIFF'S PAGE
9 1 Maura Larkins' Web site information 126
10 2 Maura Larkins' Web site information 141
regarding Stutz Law Firm
1 SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, JUNE 16, 2008
2 10:06 A.M. - 5:12 P.M.
4 MAURA LARKINS,
5 having been administered an oath, was examined and
6 testified as follows:
9 BY MR. KOSTIC:
10 Q. Good morning, Ms. Larkins. My name is
11 Ljubisa Kostic. I introduced myself to you off the
13 Have you ever had your deposition taken
15 A. Yes, I have.
16 Q. How many times?
17 A. Well, one deposition in two parts by your
18 law firm. Kelly Angell was the lawyer.
19 Q. Okay.
20 A. I took my own deposition.
21 Q. When did you do that?
22 A. It was for the same case. 2004.
23 Q. When you took your own deposition, did you
24 give yourself any admonishments about what to do in a
1 A. Probably not.
2 Q. Let me go through some of those things
3 today. You may remember them from Kelly Angell's
4 deposition in 2004, but I am going to cover it again.
5 It has been a few years.
6 You understand you are under oath here
7 today. So it's the same as if you were in a court of
8 law and carries with it the penalty of perjury,
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. You understand that the court reporter to my
12 left can only take down what one of us is saying at a
14 So it is very important that you let me
15 finish my questions before you respond, okay?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. You understand I need verbal answers such as
18 "yes, no," or whatever your response may be. Because
19 nods of the head, shoulder shrugs, "uh-huhs" and
20 "uh-uhs," don't translate well into a deposition
22 Do you understand that?
23 A. I understand. But you might need to remind
25 Q. I will. If I do, it's not to embarrass you.
1 A. I know.
2 Q. It is just so that we have a clear record of
3 what's happening, although we do have a videotape that
4 you are making here today, the admissibility of which
5 I am not sure about, I am only going to have the
6 written record at least for now.
7 A. Right.
8 Q. So we will try to make it as nice and clean
9 as we can.
10 I may ask you from time to time, for some
11 estimates, but I don't want you to guess.
12 Do you understand the difference between a
13 guess and an estimate?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Do you need me to give you an example
16 between a guess and an estimate?
17 A. I am an elementary school teacher. We do a
18 lot of estimating, some of us.
19 Q. Fair enough. One of the things that is most
20 important to me is that you understand all of my
21 questions. If you don't understand what I am asking
22 you, please just let me know, and I am going to do my
23 best to rephrase the question or clarify it as best I
25 But if you answer any of my questions, I am
1 going to assume that you understood them; is that fair
3 A. Very fair.
4 Q. Have you had any drugs, alcohol, or is there
5 any other reason why you cannot give me your most
6 complete and accurate testimony here today?
7 A. No.
8 Q. All right.
9 A. In fact, I brought a whole bunch of food
10 here to make sure that my blood sugar level stays up.
11 So I should be good.
12 Q. Do you have any health issues that we need
13 to think about today in terms of how long we can go?
14 A. No, no. I have got enough food to last
15 probably through the morning.
16 Q. Okay. You understand you are entitled to a
17 break anytime you would like one. All you have to do
18 is let me know.
19 It is, you know, your absolute right to ask
20 for a break anytime, okay?
21 A. Wow. That is different from normal Stutz
23 Q. What is normal Stutz procedure?
24 A. To not allow breaks.
25 Q. How did you find out that normal Stutz
1 procedure is to not allow breaks?
2 A. Well, for example, on November -- I believe,
3 it was the 9th, 2007, I deposed Ray Artiano, and they
4 were very loath to take breaks when I wanted to take a
6 Q. Have you read that transcript?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Is Mr. Artiano's and Mr. Shinoff's loathing
9 of breaks clearly reflected in that record?
10 A. Well, you know, perhaps the emotional word
11 "loathing" should not be used. Perhaps it was just
12 coldly calculated. But it was very clear that they
13 would not allow me to take a break when I asked for
15 Q. How many times did you ask for a break that
16 they did not allow you to take one?
17 A. Well, I am a quick learner. So, obviously,
18 I would not keep asking once they made it clear what
19 their attitude was. Perhaps once or twice, maybe
20 three times.
21 Q. Did they outright refuse to take a break?
22 A. Yes. We did have a break at one point, but
23 then at another point they outright refused.
24 Q. What was the reason that you needed to take
25 a break during the deposition of Ray Artiano on
1 November 9th, 2007?
2 A. You know, I have a question now as to what
3 the relevance of this is?
4 Q. Well, I am going to be asking the questions
5 today and if you want to refuse to answer any of them,
6 you let me know. If you have some objection to make
7 on the record, please do.
8 A. I would request that you give an offer of
9 proof for the relevance.
10 Q. Okay. Well, one of the things we are going
11 to explore here today is whether some of the
12 statements you are making about our firm are true or
14 So what I am doing now is I am exploring one
15 of your beliefs about our firm with you to see what
16 the basis of that is.
17 A. Um-hmm.
18 Q. Okay. So if you could answer my question,
19 please, which was, when you asked to take a break on
20 November 9th, 2007 and Mr. Artiano or Mr. Shinoff
21 refused to take a break, my question is, what was the
22 reason that you needed to take a break?
23 A. I wanted to look for documents. I was
24 impressed by your offer of proof.
25 Q. Do you know how long the deposition had been
1 going at the time that you asked to take a break to
2 look for documents?
3 A. I am just going to guess -- no, well, I am
4 not allowed to guess. I could estimate, though.
5 About an hour and a half.
6 Q. Are you currently employed?
7 A. No.
8 Q. When was the last time that you were
10 A. February 11th, 2003.
11 Q. Let me give you a little instruction.
12 A. I know you are allowed to ask employment
14 Q. Well, it is not so much about what I am
15 allowed to ask. We are going to get into your
16 employment. I understand that there is some
17 connection between some litigation in the past; your
18 employment, our firm. There may be things that you
19 think that I would know.
20 But I just want you to know, I know next to
21 nothing about the prior litigation and all those
22 things. I want to go through all that with you.
23 So I don't want you to assume that I know
24 these things. So I would appreciate it if you could
25 give me as complete and accurate information as you
1 can; is that fair enough?
2 A. Sounds great. That sounds very fair.
3 Q. So you were last employed February 11th,
5 Who was your employer?
6 A. Chula Vista Elementary School District.
7 Q. What particular school were you employed at
8 prior to your separation from Chula Vista Elementary
9 School District?
10 A. I have no idea. That is a bad question.
11 Q. Well, what was the last school where you
12 taught classes prior to February 11th, 2003?
13 A. Castle Park
15 Q. Do you recall the last day on which you
16 taught any class at Castle Park Elementary?
17 A. April 20th, 2001.
18 Q. Then what happened there in that interim
19 period between April of 2001 and February of 2003?
20 What were you doing?
21 A. Let me give a summary.
22 Q. Sure.
23 A. There was a period of great confusion
24 whether I was on administrative leave, or suspension
25 with pay, or suspension without pay. In fact,
1 Chula Vista actually changed the record on that.
2 Q. What was your understanding of the reason
3 that you were placed either on administrative leave or
4 suspension whether it was with or without pay?
5 A. When I told you that Chula Vista changed the
6 record on that, if you want a full and complete
7 record, I probably should--and would like to--explain
8 more about that.
9 Q. No. All I need to know is what you
10 understood to be the reason that you were placed on
11 some type of suspension or administrative leave.
12 I am not concerned about
13 changed them, what they said.
I want to know what you
14 thought was the reason that you were placed on
15 administrative leave or suspension, whichever it may
16 have been.
17 A. I think it is important in order to have
18 this be a full and accurate record, for me to give the
19 details of my last statement, which was the district
20 changed the record.
On April 20th, I was put on --
21 oh, gosh. It was so confusing.
22 But anyway,
the record was changed to show
23 that I was not working on April 20th.
The record was
24 changed to pretend that I had never
gone back to work
25 for the week of April 16th
to April 20th by
1 Richard Werlin. He instructed the
payroll clerk to
2 change the record.
3 Q. Okay.
4 A. Her name is Maureen Grove -- or it was at
5 that time anyway.
6 Q. Can you spell that last name for me?
7 A. G-r-o-v-e.
8 Q. Did you speak to Ms. Grove about the
9 changing of the record?
10 A. Yes. She was shocked.
11 Q. Did she tell you that Richard Werlin
12 instructed her to change the record?
13 A. Yes. She was shocked to learn that I had
14 gone back to work.
15 Q. No, no. I am not asking about whether she
16 was shocked to learn that you had gone back to work.
17 I want to know what she told you about this changing
18 of the record. What did she tell you about that?
19 A. I already answered that question. I said
21 Q. But I want to know specifically what she
22 told you. What did Maureen tell you about changing
23 the record?
24 A. That Rick Werlin had told her to put that I
25 had been on -- either administrative leave or sick
1 leave. It kept changing back and forth between those
2 two, and I would be hard-pressed to tell exactly which
3 it was at any one time. But it was either one of
4 those, either sick leave or administrative leave that
5 I was on that -- on leave for that week.
6 Q. What was the significance between whether
7 you were on leave or not on leave during that week, as
8 you understand it?
9 A. Well, it is pretty bizarre because, I guess,
10 they wanted to pretend that they had never asked me to
11 come back to work.
12 Q. Why did they want to pretend that?
13 A. Because asking me to come back without any
14 investigation, without the fitness for duty that they
15 had originally asked for, made it look like they
16 believed the accusations against me in the first
Ljubisa Kostic: "But I
just want you to know,
I know next to nothing
about the prior
litigation and all those
Richard Werlin ordered the
payroll clerk to change the
record to show that Maura
Larkins had been on leave
during the week of April
16-20, when she had
actually been working.
At one point, it
Maura Larkins to
go alone to be
with the man who
stories about her
when he had
taken her to a
in part, for not
work--but has no
idea what school
expected her to
< < <
< < <
Stutz Artiano Shinoff &
Holtz sued Maura Larkins
for defamation for
statements on this
Education Reform Report