4th Appellate District Division 1
(Cases begin at D035601)

Court data last updated:
02/09/2008 08:05 PM

Trial Court Case:  GIN23022

Court of Appeal Case:  
Case Caption:  Smithfield et al.
v. Vista Unified School District
et al.  
Case Type:   
Filing Date:  12/02/2003  

Docket (Register of Actions)

Smithfield et al. v. Vista Unified
School District et al.
Case Number D043357 Date
Description Notes
12/09/2003  Notice of appeal
lodged/received.  Filed
December 1, 2003 by

12/09/2003  Notice of appeal
lodged/received.  Amended
notice filed 12/2/03 by
appellants to reflect correct
date of judgment

12/09/2003  Appellate package

12/09/2003  Note:  appellants
paid in cash

12/09/2003  Notice per rule 5.1
- with reporter's transcript.  Filed
Dec. 1, 2003

12/19/2003  Civil case
information statement filed.  

12/17/2003  Notice to reporter
to prepare transcript.  S.
Anderson - 8/1/03

01/21/2004  Filing fee.  check
received by County

01/27/2004  Change of address
filed for:  Dean Gregory
(Old address) Law Ofc Dean
220 W Grand Ave
Escondido CA 92025

02/25/2004  REPORTER'S
rule 5.1; Reporter's-1

03/12/2004  Association of
attorneys filed for:  appellants.
Dean G. Chandler associates
IN Martha L. McGill for
appellants Richard and
Rosemary Smithfield.

03/26/2004  Granted -
extension of time.  Attorney:
McGill, Martha > to 4/26/04
Party: Smithfield, Rosemary
Party: Smithfield, Richard

04/28/2004  Granted -
extension of time.  Attorney:
Chandler, Dean > to 5/26/04
Party: Smithfield, Rosemary
Attorney: Chandler, Dean
Party: Smithfield, Richard

05/11/2004  Change of address
filed for:  Martha L. Mc Gill
(Old address)
732 North Highway 101, Suite B
Encinitas CA 92024

05/26/2004  Granted -
extension of time.  Attorney:
Chandler, Dean > 16 days to
6/11/04 AS LAST
Party: Smithfield, Rosemary
Party: Smithfield, Richard

06/16/2004  Appellant notified
pursuant to rule 17(a)(1).  

06/18/2004  APPELLANT'S
Chandler, Dean last extension
Party: Smithfield, Rosemary
Party: Smithfield, Richard
Attorney: McGill, Martha

06/18/2004  Appellant's
appendix filed.  2 Vols.

07/19/2004  Stipulation of
extension of time filed to:  
Attorney: Shinoff, Daniel > 30
days to 8/18/04
Party: Vista Unified School
Attorney: Shinoff, Daniel
Party: Monce, Eric

08/19/2004  Granted -
extension of time.  Attorney:
Shinoff, Daniel > to 9/17/04
Party: Vista Unified School
Party: Monce, Eric
NO ENVELOPES - Extension
returned via atty. service slip

08/19/2004  Received
document entitled:  Amended
proof of service to show service
of req. ext. time to file
RB on correct address for atty.

09/22/2004  Respondent
notified pursuant to rule

10/07/2004  RESPONDENT'S
BRIEF.  Attorney: Shinoff, Daniel
Party: Vista Unified School
Party: Monce, Eric

10/27/2004  APPELLANT'S
REPLY BRIEF.  Attorney: Mc Gill,
Party: Smithfield, Rosemary
Party: Smithfield, Richard
Attorney: Chandler, Dean

10/27/2004  Oral argument
waiver notice sent.  11/8/04

10/27/2004  CASE FULLY

11/01/2004  Request for oral
argument filed by:  appellant/15

11/05/2004  Request for oral
argument filed by:  
respondents-15 minutes
POS on way

11/10/2004  Received letter
from:  Atty McGill re recent
decision of the California
Supreme Court in
Stockett case

11/15/2004  Received
document entitled:  POS for o/a
letter of November 4, 2004

12/03/2004  **CALENDAR
NOTICE SENT** Calendar
Date:  Wednesday, January 12,
2005 @ 1:30 p.m.

12/29/2004  Order filed.  The
order of December 3, 2004
placing this matter on calendar
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
at l:30 p.m. is vacated. Oral
will be calendared in
FEBRUARY. The clerk of the
court will notify
all parties of the new date and

01/06/2005  **CALENDAR
NOTICE SENT** Calendar
Date:  Wednesday, February 16,
2005 at l:30 p.m.

02/16/2005  Cause argued and

03/10/2005  Opinion filed.  The
judgment is affirmed. Irion, J.;
We Concur: McConnell, PJ,
Huffman, J.

05/10/2005  Remittitur issued.  

05/10/2005  Case complete.  

05/10/2006  Record sent to

Smithfield v. Vista Unified
School Dist.


California Rules of Court, rule
977(a), prohibits courts and
parties from citing or relying on
opinions not certified for
publication or ordered
published, except as specified
by rule 977(b). This opinion has
not been certified for publication
or ordered published for
purposes of rule 977.

Plaintiffs Richard Smithfield
and Rosemary Smithfield
appeal a summary judgment
favoring defendants Vista
Unified School District (District)
and Eric Monce on plaintiffs'
complaint for retaliatory
harassment, negligent hiring,
and intentional/negligent
infliction of emotional distress.
Plaintiffs contend the superior
court reversibly erred by
determining (1) their cause of
action for retaliatory
harassment was barred by their
failure to comply with the claim
presentation requirements of
the Tort Claims Act (Gov. Code,
§ 810 et seq.); (2) their cause of
action for District's negligently
hiring, supervising and
retaining its employee Monce
was barred by the statutory
immunity accorded a
"mandated reporter" under the
Child Abuse and Neglect
Reporting Act (Pen. Code, §
11164 et seq.); and (3) their
causes of action for
intentional/negligent infliction of
emotional distress were barred
by mandated reporter immunity
and by the exclusive remedy
provisions of the Workers'
Compensation Act (Lab. Code,
§ 3600 et seq.). We determine
defendants were entitled to
judgment as a matter of law
and, accordingly, affirm the
summary judgment.


This lawsuit arises from
several workplace disputes at
District's Mission Meadows
Elementary School (Mission
Meadows) between plaintiffs
(teachers at the school) and
Monce (the school's principal).

For purposes of determining
the propriety of the defense
summary judgment, we state
the facts undisputed by the
parties and other facts in the
light most favorable to plaintiffs.

A. Events Before Plaintiffs
Presented Their Original Claim
Under the Tort Claims Act

On August 13, 2001, Mission
Meadows teacher Cami
Lonnegren gave Monce a letter
alleging Richard had been
emotionally and physically
abusive and/or sexually
inappropriate with students and
staff members. Without first
conducting an investigation of
Lonnegren's allegations,
Monce decided to report her
allegations to San Diego
County's Child Protective
Services (CPS). On August 15,
2001, Monce told Richard
allegations of child abuse had
been received that made it
necessary for Monce to file a
report with CPS. As a mandated
reporter under the Child Abuse
and Neglect Reporting Act (Pen.
Code, §§ 11165.7, 11165.9),
Monce reported Lonnegren's
allegations to CPS.

At the meeting held September
5, 2001, Monce provided and
read to Richard a
memorandum (September
2001 Memorandum) to give
Richard more information about
the child abuse allegations
against him and to hear
Richard's response to that
Vista Unified School District
Best & Best does some
Vista Unified School
District work (Keenan)
and some of Marsh and
McMillan (Tri City
Hospital through BETA

VUSD took a lawyer out
of Best and Best
(Woody); also from
Foley and Lardner
(Greg Moser).
3 contractors
campaigned for union
candidate, friends with
teachers association

campaigned to pass
went door to door

bond passed about 2005

to build a high school

high school was not built

contractors sat on bond
oversight committee

they bid low, were picked
They were friends of
superintendent and
facilities director

cost overruns

bought trailers instead of
building schools

roofs leaked

bailed out

$70 million out of $200
million not accounted for

Mike Vail of Temecula

Jerry McCloud filed
lawsuit against VUSD
Joyce Bayles,
superintendent, did
internal audit when she
came in, found money not
used as it should have
been, fired a lot of people,
Teacher Union hostile to
State Supreme Court to hear lawsuit
against VUSD

By: SCOTT MARSHALL - Staff Writer
June 30, 2005

VISTA ---- A lawsuit alleging that a teacher had sex multiple times with one of
his teenage students at Vista High School more than 25 years ago could set
a statewide legal standard regarding when such cases can be filed against
public agencies, such as school districts.

The state Supreme Court agreed June 22 to review the case of a woman
who sued the Vista Unified School District and her former teacher, Jeffrey
Paul Jones, 57, in connection with the allegations that Jones sexually
molested her between May 1978 and November 1979.

The woman was 15 in 1978. Jones was 30.

At issue is whether a state law that allows adults to file lawsuits based on
allegations of childhood sexual abuse also extends the time in which they
can file a claim against public agencies.

State law requires that claims be filed with public agencies within six months
of an alleged injury and before a lawsuit is filed. The claims give agencies a
chance to investigate, settle some claims, avoid lawsuits, "quickly rectify a
dangerous condition" and account for the claim in fiscal planning, a state
appeals court decision stated.

The state's 4th District Court of Appeal in San Diego ruled in April that the
woman's lawsuit against Vista Unified and Jones was filed within time limits
specified by state law and that the law extended the time for her to file a
claim. The appeals court overturned a Superior Court judge's decision to
dismiss the woman's lawsuit at the district's request because a claim was
not filed within six months in 1979.

In May, attorneys for the school district asked the state Supreme Court to
hear the case.

Daniel Shinoff, an attorney for the district, said that within days of the appeals
court ruling in Vista Unified's case, a different state appeals court issued a
"completely opposite" opinion in a case that was "almost identical" to the
lawsuit against Vista Unified.

Shinoff said he was pleased the state Supreme Court agreed to review the
case against Vista Unified and resolve the discrepancy among appeals

"It's a serious issue for public entities, no doubt about that," Shinoff said.

The woman's attorney, David Ronquillo, said Thursday that he disagrees
with the district's contention that state appeals courts have varied in their
opinions about the law at issue in his client's case against Vista Unified.
Ronquillo said he believes the state's highest court will agree with the 4th
District Court of Appeal in San Diego and "give a strong pronouncement" of
the appeals court's position in the case.

"There really is no disagreement," Ronquillo said. "The statute is pretty clear."

Jones' attorney, Jonathan Vanderpool, could not be reached Thursday for

The woman filed a claim and her lawsuit against the district and Jones in
September 2003, after a psychological evaluation linked psychological
problems the woman had as an adult to the alleged sexual molestation by
her teacher years before, the 4th District Court of Appeals opinion stated.

The lawsuit was filed about two months after the district attorney's office
dismissed criminal charges against Jones because of a June 2003 U.S.
Supreme Court ruling. The nation's highest court found that the California
law prosecutors used to charge Jones ---- which allowed them to bypass the
usual statute of limitations in such criminal cases ----- was unconstitutional.

At a preliminary hearing in 2002 for the criminal case, the woman, then 40,
testified that she and Jones had sex about 200 times and engaged in sex
acts in the teacher's lounge, the school's audiovisual room, at a teachers
convention, at Jones' home and other places.

The woman testified that she did not report the sex acts to law enforcement
until June 2001. The woman's daughter had just turned 16 and the woman
had run into Jones at Vista High School on occasion, she said. She would
get sick as a result and believed she had a duty to step forward, she said at
the hearing.
Shirk v. VUSD California Supreme Court Decision
Shirk v. Vista Unified
Delayed claim for girl who was abused by teacher

VUSD Attorneys Dan  Shinoff, Jeffrey Morris and Carreli gloat
that district doesn't have to pay even though girl was abused
From the website of the Stutz law firm:

"In California Supreme Court Victory, Shinoff, Sleeth, Carelli, Morris
and Pate Save the Tort Claim Act from Revival Statutes

In a precedent setting decision, the California Supreme Court upheld
the stricter time limitations for alleged victims of childhood sexual
abuse to file suit against public entities. The reversal of the local Court
of Appeal, obtained by attorneys Dan Shinoff, Jack Sleeth, Bill Pate,
Jeff Morris and Paul Carelli, all partners with the firm Stutz Artiano
Shinoff & Holtz, protects public entities from the so-called “revival”
statutes. As the name suggests, the Legislature (under Gray Davis)
passed the revival statutes to revive really old claims, which normally
would have expired under statutes of limitation. Revival statutes have
been the vehicle for the highly publicized clergy abuse claims against
the Catholic Diocese. This decision virtually eliminates the ability to
bring similar cases against government entities. [ Shirk v. Vista Unified
Sch. Dist. (2007) 42 Cal.4th 201, 164 P.3d 630.]"
Donna Caperton
represents VUSD
sent cease and desist
San Diego Education
Report Home
Map of Site
Education and the Culture
Wars Blog
SD Education Report BLOG
District reviewing
charter's practices
Grade inflation among
By Bruce Lieberman
San Diego Union-Tribune
January 25, 2009

Guajome Park Academy charter
is undergoing a review by the
Vista Unified School District, which
has received several complaints in
recent months over how the charter is
run, allegations of grade inflation and
other issues.

District administrators have revealed
few details about their investigation,
but they have requested numerous
records from the charter school. They
include conflict-of-interest statements
for board members, tax records, board
meeting minutes and other

The interim superintendent of
Guajome Park Academy, which enrolls
about 1,500 students in sixth through
12th grade, said she has no idea what
the complaints are about.

“This is unprecedented,” Carla Skaggs
said of the district's review. “They are
looking into something, (and) we don't
know what it is.

“We are positive and hopeful,” she
said. “We know that we are
transparent and will cooperate with
their review in a positive manner.”

Skaggs has served as the academy's
interim superintendent since June,
when former Superintendent Penny
Harrison abruptly resigned. The
reasons for Harrison's departure are
unclear, and Skaggs and district
officials have offered no clues.

But Vista Unified administrators
suggested that the 27-member school
board for Guajome Park Academy has
dragged its feet in hiring a
replacement. Skaggs is essentially the
sole administrator at the charter
school, serving as interim
superintendent, director of personnel
and chief business officer.

“The District urges you and the GPA
governing board to act quickly in filling
that position consistent with the
requirements of the GPA charter,”
wrote Donna Caperton, Vista Unified's
chief business officer, in a Dec. 12
letter to Skaggs. “Failure to do so
would constitute a serious violation.”

The letter also requested charter
school records...

Charter schools enjoy significant
autonomy from many state regulations
so they can try innovative approaches
to teaching and learning. But they are
still publicly funded institutions and are
subject to oversight by the public
school districts that sponsor them.

On Thursday, Skaggs said the charter
school board has prepared a job
description for a new superintendent
and intends to hire someone by July 1.

Some parents, among them a former
board member, have said Guajome
Park Academy needs new leadership
to halt systemic grade inflation.

“We have kids who are in the top levels
in our math and English classes who
cannot pass basic math and English
at the junior college level,” said Lori
Quattrone, who pulled her daughter
out of Guajome Park Academy last
summer and transferred her to Vista
High School. Her son, who graduated
from the charter school last summer,
has been struggling at Palomar

Justin Quattrone, 18, said he
graduated with an A-plus grade point
average of 4.2. But community college
has been tough.

“I guess my grades were a little
inflated, and that hurt me in the long
run,” he said...
Blog posts about VUSD
Peters v.
Guajome Park Academy
Cox goes to jail
CDE Charter Schools
Charter Schools
Brown Act Violations
Vista Unified
School District
VUSD v. BJ Freeman

Shinoff Bully
Public Records
Shirk case

GPA finally
VUSD/GPA lawsuits
Beverly Kanawi v.
Shinoff conflict of interest
SIA tech
Guajome Park Academy
sues students and
GPA connection to SIA Tech
B J Freeman case
Sandra Gecewisz separation agreement April 2010
VUSD Brown Act violations
May 10, 2010 meeting
Getting rid of employees/consultants who can't be trusted
to follow orders:
Shirk amicus brief by California cities
Shirk case:
Lawsuit against Vista district reaches state
Supreme Court
North County Times
May 27, 2007

The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Thursday in a lawsuit in
which a former Vista High School student alleges that a teacher sexually abused
her almost 30 years ago and that the Vista school district failed to prevent it.

The former teacher, Jeffrey Paul Jones, 59, does not dispute that he had a
relationship with the former student, but contends she has "overstated" some of
the allegations in her lawsuit, Jones' attorney said.

The case could reverberate far beyond Vista.

The former student did not file a lawsuit until more than two decades after the
alleged sexual abuse occurred -- long after the time limits state law normally
imposes for bringing cases against public agencies.

If the Supreme Court decides that a change in state law in 2002 extended those
time limits, representatives of public schools and other agencies statewide have
said they fear public entities could be exposed to childhood sexual abuse lawsuits
similar to those that plague the Roman Catholic Church today.

The woman's attorney, however, said purported fears of an onslaught of new
cases are unfounded because the law at issue required cases like his client's
lawsuit to be filed by the end of 2003.

Woman sues former teacher, district

The lawsuit that has reached the state Supreme Court was filed in September
2003, about 24 years after the sexual activity between Jones and his student is
said to have come to an end.

The former student, who today is a 44-year-old mother, alleged that Jones had sex
with her the first time in May 1978 and continued to molest her until November
1979. She was 15 when the alleged sexual abuse began, and Jones was 30. The
lawsuit alleged that Jones used his position of trust to seduce his then-student,
and that her age at the time invalidated "any consent on her part."

The woman did not report what had happened until 2001, when her own daughter
was a Vista High School student. The woman saw Jones at a school function,
became upset about what had happened to her in her youth, and eventually filed a
report with the Sheriff's Department, the lawsuit alleged.

Prosecutors filed criminal charges against Jones in connection with the woman's
report to the Sheriff's Department. A Superior Court judge dismissed those
charges in July 2003 because of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that year. The
nation's highest court ruled in an unrelated case that the California law
prosecutors used to file charges against Jones was unconstitutional.

A document prosecutors filed in the criminal case that is part of the court's public
record and was reviewed by the North County Times alleged that Jones admitted
to Detective Peggy Vistercil in a May 2002 interview that he engaged in sex acts
with the woman when she was a student between the ages of 15 and 17.

The woman's lawsuit alleged that it was not until September 2003 that a
psychologist diagnosed that "psychological injuries" the woman experienced as
an adult were caused by "sexual abuse" by Jones. The lawsuit does not specify
what the psychological injuries were.

The North County Times does not identify victims of alleged sexual abuse.

Manuel Corrales, an attorney for the woman, declined to elaborate on the
psychological injuries the woman suffered and how she is coping with them today.

The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has revoked Jones'
teaching credential.

Jonathan Vanderpool, Jones' attorney in the civil case, said that some of the
woman's allegations in her lawsuit are "overstated" and that he would "take issue"
with the allegations that the relationship caused "everything that has befallen her
personally and otherwise."

The woman also alleged in her lawsuit that "like the Catholic Church," school
district officials knew or should have known about Jones' alleged sexual
misconduct toward his student, "but failed to do anything to protect" her. The
lawsuit included an allegation that a school administrator at one point knocked on
Jones' locked classroom door when Jones and his student were having sex and
knew what was occurring.

The Vista Unified School District's attorney, Daniel Shinoff, disputed the allegation
that district officials knew what was happening.

"I haven't found any evidence that anybody knew anything about this," Shinoff said.

Appeals reach Supreme Court

Superior Court Judge S. Charles Wickersham dismissed the lawsuit against
Jones and the Vista Unified School District in 2003 because the woman did not file
a claim with the district within six months of when the alleged sexual molestation
ended in 1979.

A person with a grievance against a public agency generally must file a claim
within six months of being injured to give school districts and other agencies a
chance to investigate, possibly settle, and fix dangerous conditions before a
lawsuit is filed.

The 4th District Court of Appeal in San Diego overturned Wickersham in 2005,
based on changes to a law that allow more alleged childhood sexual abuse
victims to file lawsuits several years after the fact.

State legislators amended the law in 2002 to allow victims of alleged childhood
sexual abuse who are older than 26 to file lawsuits against institutions like the
Catholic Church. The law stated that cases that otherwise would have been
prohibited before Jan. 1, 2003, would be allowed if they were filed by the end of

The Supreme Court will decide whether the changes to that law also extend the
time in which people can file claims with public agencies like school districts,
cities or counties.

Corrales said the law at issue originally was enacted to protect children from
abuse in the home, later extended that protection outside the home, and should
apply to schools.

"Children have to be protected in school just like they have to be protected in
church and at home," Corrales said...
Return to
Dan Shinoff cases
Silvia Peters Uniform
Complaint against
Vista Unified School
August 24, 2010
re Policy No. 3530

In the policy VUSD states, "the
Board of Trustees strongly
supports a risk management
program that protects District
resources and promotes safety of
students, staff and public."

VUSD further pledges that they
are going to, "keep its liability at a
minimum and its insurance
premiums as low as possible
while maintaining adequate

...VUSD has the highest
premiums in San Diego County
and Riverside along with Poway
Unified School District.  While
other school districts pay .19
cents per student DA in
premiums. Both VUSD and PUSD
pay over .29 cents DA per
student in premiums per Joint
Power of Authority "JPA."

The more lawsuits and violations
the higher the insurance

What this means is that VUSD
spends almost the entire budget
in employee salaries and
insurance companies [JPA's]!  A
perfect example of legal advice
which VUSD has had for decades
is Thursday August 19, 2010
closed session item
37-2009-00057592.   VUSD
voted to appeal this case.  

The case is a simple $ 6, 412.07
dollars which Superior Court
Judge Nugent entered
judgment against VUSD in
favor of California School
Employees Association an
d its
Vista Chapter 389.  Instead of
paying the $ 6, 412.07 Court

[The case concerns a bus
driver who was injured in a
minor accident.  Why not just
pay the victim?  The judge did
not even order the district to
pay attorney fees.]

VUSD on advice from attorney
of record Daniel Shinoff and
Lee Patajo advised VUSD to
appeal the judgment to the
California Fourth
Appellate.[10]  Churning and
churning the billable hours
and higher insurance
premiums in the Southern
Golden State.[11]
Education Reform Report