Saturday, May 17, 2014
Oral arguments took place May 16, 2014 in Stutz V. Larkins defamation case; James Holtz did not appear
I was very nervous yesterday when I made my oral argument before the Court of Appeal, but apparently James Holtz was even more nervous. He didn't show up at all, nor did any of the other Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz attorneys who have been involved in this case. James Holtz had been appearing frequently in the Superior Court hearings in the case, but he was nowhere in sight on Friday.
Stutz law firm sent a new contender, Scott Ingold, to do the honors.
Mr. Ingold spoke smoothly, while I had a couple of embarrassing pauses. Mr. Ingold seemed detached, which was appropriate. It would have been unseemly for him to get up on his high horse when the whole case was based on a summary adjudication based on a technicality, devoid of any weighing of evidence.
In February 2009 Judge Hayes threw out my opposition because of a small mistake in format. Then, based on this technicality rather than a jury verdict, Judge Hayes issued a couple of unlimited injunctions. One was thrown out by the Court of Appeal in 2011 for being an overly broad prior restraint on speech.
Now the other injunction is at issue. Here's how Judge Hayes explained this injunction in June 2012: "I'm not giving you permission to put anything on [your website]." In other words, it's exactly the same injunction that was found "exceedingly broad" by the Court of Appeal in 2011.
The Presiding Justice pointed out to Mr. Ingold that there didn't seem to be any information in the record about my financial condition. A showing of my ability to pay should have been required by Judge Judith Hayes of the San Diego Superior Court before she approved punitive damages against me.
But perhaps Judge Hayes wasn't focused on such small details after granting a default to Plaintiff FIVE YEARS AFTER I FILED MY ANSWER--and four years after she had granted summary adjudication with NO weighing of evidence. I paid my jury fees and asked repeatedly over the years for a jury trial on damages, but was always ignored or refused. The judge didn't want a jury trial on damages; she wanted a default.
Young Mr. Ingold admitted that he, too, had failed to find any evidence in the record of my financial condition, but he insisted that I should pay punitive damages anyway. I didn't bother to say anything in response to that.
I did respond when Mr. Ingold said that there was no evidence in the record about my negotiations with James Holtz on April 6, 2009 (regarding the agreement I signed that day). I pointed out that there were multiple declarations signed by me under penalty of perjury in the record, and that Mr. Holtz had never denied the truth of my declarations. I'm guessing that James Holtz didn't want to discuss this issue in person.
See all posts re Stutz v. Larkins in San Diego Education Report Blog.