Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz
defamation lawsuit against
Maura Larkins
for statements on this website
Deposition of Maura Larkins
by Stutz law firm
June 16, 2008

Pages 48-60
18 Q. Did you look for a lawyer to represent you
19 in your action against Robin Donlan or Colls?
20 A. Yes, I did.
21 Q. Did you have a lawyer?
22 A. I did. His name was David A. Stevens.
23 Q. All right. Did Mr. Stevens represent you
24 throughout that action?
25 A. No.

1 Q. Why not?
2 A.
Well, on the very first day that I talked to
3 him, he told me about how Daniel Shinoff was his
4 friend, or at least he hoped he was still his friend,
5 and then things became -- and he filed with the court
6 that he was the attorney. Stutz had sent me, like
7 100 interrogatories. At that time, I didn't know that
8 you had to give -- the court had to -- you could ask
9 the court to protect -- for protection for more than
10 35 interrogatories.
11 Mr. Stevens' attitude just changed real
12 suddenly. It became obvious to me that he had talked
13 to Daniel Shinoff, and Daniel Shinoff had convinced
14 him that I was crazy.
15 Because all of a sudden he started saying
16 things like, "Oh, well, gee, maybe you could do an
17 Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuit, and I am
18 thinking, "What? I am afraid I don't qualify for any
19 disability lawsuit." He didn't help me with these
20 interrogatories.
21 So finally I called him up one day and I
22 said, "You know, I have the feeling that you really
23 don't want to do this case. Would you please tell me
24 if that is the case?" He goes, "Um, well, um." I
25 said, "Please," you know, "I need to know." Finally

1 he said, "Yeah, I guess I really don't," so...
2 Q. Did he tell you why he did not want to do
3 the case?
4 A. Actually, one of the things he said was that
5 he thought that I would win in the Office of
6 Administrative Hearings. He thought it would be a
7 slam dunk, because what they had done was so bad.
8 Q. You mean in a petition to have the decision
9 overturned?
10 A. No. You see, after I filed my suit.
11 Q. I have the order of events. The lawsuit
12 against Robin Donlan was ongoing prior to the decision
13 by the Office of Administrative Hearings; is that --
14 A. In fact, it was ongoing before the decision
15 to fire me.
16 Q. Right. I understand. All right.
17 A. Which is a violation of Labor Code 1102.5,
18 to fire someone in retaliation for filing a
19 Q. So Mr. Stevens thought that you would
20 prevail at the Office of Administrative Hearings?
21 A. Any rational person would, if they believed
22 that the Office of Administrative Hearings was going
23 to behave in any sort of reasonable manner.
24 Q. So your belief is that the Office of
25 Administrative Hearings behaved unreasonably?
1 A. Yes. The Office of Administrative Hearings
2 said that I should be fired -- I was being fired for
3 filing grievances in a lawsuit.
4 That is not only a violation of Labor Code
5 1102.5, it's a violation of the constitution, a right
6 to petition for a redress of grievances. It was
7 completely -- a completely illegal decision.
8 Q. All right. So what else did Mr. Stevens
9 tell you about -- actually, I am not sure you gave me
10 an answer to my question. What did Mr. Stevens tell
11 you about why he didn't want to do your case against
12 Robin Donlan?
13 A. Because he thought that the Office of
14 Administrative Hearings would make an award to me but
15 it would not be much, and then that would settle the
16 case and I could not get any further awards in
17 Superior Court and, therefore, Mr. Stevens would not
18 be getting an adequate amount of money to make it
19 worth his while.
20 Q. Did he tell you anything else as far as a
21 reason why he did not want to continue to represent
22 you in that lawsuit other than what you just told?
23 A. Well, yeah. I will go into detail. Since I
24 am under oath, I have to. Although I am not sure it
25 is all that relevant.
1 The very day that I first went into his
2 office --
3 Q. No, I just want to know, at the time that
4 you and Mr. Stevens discussed his unwillingness to
5 continue to represent you, I just want to know what he
6 said that day. I don't want your opinions about what
7 you saw on the first day you met or anything like
8 that. When he said, "I don't want to represent you,"
9 I want to know what he said to you.
10 A. He said ever since that first day when he
11 got that phone call about his good friend in Arizona
12 who had just been murdered in this gay bar that he
13 owned, that he just -- he just, that conversation on
14 the phone, that traumatic phone event, that he had
15 associated it with me. Because I was there, sitting
16 right there when he got the phone call, and that it
17 was hard for him psychologically.
18 Q. So we have what you explained to me about
19 how you had prevailed at the OAH and there would not
20 be a lot of money for Mr. Stevens in the civil
21 lawsuit. You explained about his association between
22 the phone call about the murder of his friend and you.
23 Anything else that he said to you as far as
24 his reasons for not desiring to represent you?
25 A. Well, not that he said to me, no. But I did
1 tell you about the other reason that seemed clear, was
2 that he had had a sudden change in his attitude toward
3 me as to whether or not I was crazy.
4 Q. Meaning competent?
5 A. Or sane, yeah. I think Daniel Shinoff
6 convinced him I was crazy.
7 Q. Have you ever sought medical treatment for
8 any mental condition?
9 A. First, I am going to say that -- no, I am
10 going to answer the question, but first I am just
11 going to -- no, I should say something first. I don't
12 see how that is relevant to whether my allegations
13 about Stutz Law Firm are true or not.
14 Q. Okay. I am not hear to have a debate with
15 you about relevance.
16 A. Could you give me a proof of --
17 Q. Well, what I will tell you is that what I am
18 entitled to ask about are things that are reasonably
19 calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible
20 evidence.
21 A. What evidence are you trying to --
22 Q. Potentially, statements you have made to a
23 treating mental health practitioner could possibly
24 have an impact. I don't know. But the standard is
25 not relevance. In other words, I don't have to ask
1 you for only that information which itself is
2 admissible and relevant.
3 The other part of that is you have options.
4 I understand your objection. I will take it as such.
5 But you could either go on and provide me the
6 information I am asking for, or you could essentially
7 instruct yourself not to answer. In which case, I
8 will have to make a decision as to whether or not to
9 ask the court to make you provide me that response. I
10 would prefer if you provided me the information.
11 To the extent that you feel it is not
12 relevant, you could argue that to the court at a later
13 time. We won't have to come and do this again.
14 A. Let's come back and do it again.
15 Q. So you are not going to provide me any
16 information?
17 A. No, wait a minute. Let me clarify that. It
18 makes it sound like I am all ready to come back. I do
19 not want to come back and do this again. I don't
20 think that the court would allow you to come back and
21 do this again. I should not have responded so
22 flippantly. I am sorry. No, I don't want to get into
23 answering those questions.
24 Q. So any question I ask you about any past
25 mental illness or treatment of any mental illness or
1 things such as depression, any of those things having
2 to do with your psychological well-being in the past,
3 you are not going to provide me any of that
4 information here today?
5 A. Aren't you interested in my psychological
6 well-being in the present?
7 Q. I am.
8 A. Do you mean past or present?
9 Q. I mean all of it.
10 A. Okay.
11 Q. You are not going to tell me anything about
12 your mental condition?
13 A. No, no. I think that you are way out of
14 line.
15 Q. All right.
16 A. Unless -- no, never mind.
17 Q. Have you done any legal research to
18 determine whether I am entitled to ask you about your
19 mental status, past or present?
20 A. I have done legal research, not specifically
21 about that question. But my legal research leads me
22 to believe that there are limits to proper questioning
23 in a deposition.
24 Q. What I want to know is whether you have
25 specifically researched the limits on asking someone
1 questions related to their mental status, past or
2 present?
3 A. I think I just said no, but I will say it
4 again: No.
5 Q. So that specific topic, you have not
6 researched?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Now, how did you find out that it was
9 Linda Watson -- did you tell me how you found out that
10 Linda Watson was the second anonymous tipster?
11 A. You did not want to hear my story. You
12 wanted to limit my discussion of that. We talked
13 about her changing her testimony in her deposition.
14 Do you want more?
15 Q. Yeah, I think now I remember. Now, how did
16 you find out that it was Robin Donlan who had obtained
17 your arrest records from the police department?
18 A. That is a good question, very good question.
19 Q. Why don't you give me the answer.
20 A. I will give you the answer. It was a fluke,
21 a complete fluke. This case has so many bizarre
22 coincidences. None -- this case would not have
23 happened if all of these different people had not made
24 so many weird actions where they all came together to
25 make this case.
1 Anyway, it was in late 2000 at Castle Park
2 Elementary School. I believe my kids were in the
3 library and I had a 45-minute break. Usually, I never
4 get to see the -- I never got to see the upper-grade
5 teachers. I taught third grade. Primary and
6 upper-grade teachers don't get to see each other much
7 at lunch.
8 So I went into the teacher workroom, which
9 is right next to the teacher's lounge, and I was
10 making copies. Robin Donlan has a tendency to speak
11 very loudly, and I could hear her talking in the other
12 room.
13 She was talking about her brother who was a
14 deputy and that he was the one that -- I just happened
15 to walk into the teacher's lounge at that time.
16 Q. I'm sorry. Her brother was the one who
17 obtained the arrest records?
18 A. Just what I told you. I didn't hear any
19 more, just, "My brother was the one who."
20 Q. Okay.
21 A. Then all of a sudden I heard another teacher
22 like, "Keep it down," you know. I just happened to
23 walk in then. Normally, people in the teacher's
24 lounge when someone walks in they will say, "Oh, hi,"
25 you know.
1 There were three people sitting there;
2 Robin Donlan, Virginia -- what was her name --
3 Copeland, and her aide. I think her last name was
4 Cammer or something like that. I forget these names.
5 It has been so many years. They were real friendly
6 people.
7 Robin Donlan was never friendly to me. But
8 the other two were always friendly to me, always
9 greeted me.
10 So I walk into the room where they're
11 talking about this sheriff's deputy "who was the one
12 who," and they just stared at me and they were just
13 speechless. I thought nothing of it, nothing of it at
14 the time.
15 You know, when something like that happens,
16 one of your suspicions is that they are talking about
17 you, when people suddenly, you know, go quiet and
18 don't talk when you come into a room. But I didn't
19 think anything of it.
20 Q. Did you have any other suspicions in why
21 they might have gone quiet when you walked in?
22 A. Sure, a million possibilities. I never gave
23 it another thought.
24 Q. Okay.
25 A. You know, they might not even have been
1 talking about me. Also, they might have been talking
2 about something that was hush-hush, that they wanted
3 to keep secret. Well, obviously they were talking
4 about something they wanted to keep secret.
5 But it did not occur to me that it involved
6 me. Because I had no idea that there was any
7 connection between Robin Donlan's brother, of whom I
8 knew nothing, and me at that time.
9 But then when all this stuff happened a few
10 months later, you know, I would keep thinking about
11 how could this have happened, you know. These people
12 are not this crazy.
13 I mean, they didn't just all of a sudden one
14 day go nuts, you know, with extreme paranoia, extreme
15 random paranoia. They are not that crazy. There had
16 to be something that made them think about me and
17 violence. It was nothing that I had ever done. It
18 had to be something else.
19 Then, of course, like I told you, on
20 April 4th it became pretty -- oh, and on April 4th,
21 during that meeting, three times Richard Werlin said,
22 "This has nothing to do with the police report."
23 Three times he said that.
24 I had not mentioned a police report in my
25 fax. I had just said the accusations against me by
1 Kathleen Elton. I did not mention that I was arrested
2 or that there was any police report.
3 Q. Let me stop you right there. I will be
4 right back. You don't even need to turn off the
5 camera.
6 (Recess taken.)
092704 Nevitt statements
Main Timeline
Motivations CP teachers
Case Summary
2003 Stutz invoices
2002 SDCOE payments
to Daniel Shinoff
2003 part 2 Stutz invoices
Public Records Requests
SDCOE Crosier denial
Payments to Shinoff
Maura Larkins
Summary Judgment
SD Education Report
Education and the
Culture Wars Blog
San Diego
Education Report
Education Reform
Site Map
Judge Ahler OAH
page 89-91

Is Shinoff or Mark
Bresee to blame?
pages 91-94

pages 95-105

pages 105-111

pages 112-123

pages 124-138

pages 138-157

pages 157-175

pages 175-203

pages 203-222

Errata and signature
Larkins case
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
"The Office of
Administrative Hearings
said that I should be
fired --
I was being
fired for filing
grievances in a

"That is not only a
violation of Labor Code
1102.5, it's a violation of
the constitution, a right
to petition for a redress
of grievances.

"It was a completely
illegal decision."