against this website
Deposition of Stutz, Artiano, Shinoff & Holtz
by Maura Larkins on November 8, 2007
Pages 30 through 39
5 Q. Okay. Have you been following the Mira Costa
7 A. I have not.
8 Q. You have not followed the Mira Costa scandal?
9 A. No.
10 Q. But you did see some articles about it in the
11 Union Tribune?
12 A. I do recall, there were some articles about it,
14 Q. Is the Union Tribune more careful of your ego
15 than the North County Times?
16 A. I have no --
17 MR. SHINOFF: I'm going to object that the
18 question is vague and argumentative. Don't answer that
20 THE WITNESS: Not to mention that I have no
21 idea what that question meant.
22 BY MS. LARKINS:
23 Q. Does the North -- okay. By the way, who was
24 the attorney that checked around before he joined your
1 A. B.C. Eziolu.
2 Q. Could you spell that?
3 A. I believe it is spelled E-z-i-o-l-u, but I
4 could be mistaken on that.
5 Q. Okay. Okay. Now, do you know of anyone other
6 than this one individual, B.C. Eziolu, who had doubts
7 about your firm as a result of my website?
8 A. I know that I had an inquiry from one lawyer
9 about the contents of your law firm. His name is Bob
10 Gile, G-i-l-e.
11 I know there was at least one other client,
12 whom I had known and had a relationship with for quite
13 sometime, that asked me about the website, who was this
14 person, why was she writing these things. And I
15 certainly assume again that any prospective client in
16 doing their due diligence will try to learn what they can
17 about the law firm.
18 For instance, when we respond to a request for
19 a proposal, and our firm is being considered along with
20 many other firms, the decision-makers, maybe an
21 individual or board members of a public entity will
22 likely do their due diligence. And even if they have no
23 reason to believe that the statements on your website are
24 true, it may still cause concern on their part.
25 Q. Do you believe that the public has a right to
1 know about public entity attorneys?
2 MR. SHINOFF: I'm going to object that the
3 question is vague and ambiguous. If you understand the
4 question, go ahead.
5 THE WITNESS: I'm not really sure what you are
7 BY MS. LARKINS:
8 Q. Let me rephrase it. Should the tactics of
9 public entity attorneys be protected from public view?
10 MR. SHINOFF: I'm going to object that the
11 question is vague and ambiguous in terms of the term
12 ambiguous -- in terms of the phrase tactics; and
13 protected from public view is also vague. And I'm going
14 to instruct him not to answer.
15 THE WITNESS: I have no idea what you are
17 (EXH. 2 was marked for identification.)
18 BY MS. LARKINS:
19 Q. Okay. I'd like to have a document marked as
20 Exhibit 2. Thank you for taking a look at this document,
21 Mr. Artiano. Does this newspaper article from the North
22 County Times from August 25th, 2006 look familiar to you?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Okay. Uhm. Do you want to -- do you still
25 want to refuse to read things into the record? Would you
1 rather I do it in the form of a question?
2 MR. SHINOFF: Please do it in the form of a
4 BY MS. LARKINS:
5 Q. Okay. Uhm. In this newspaper article, would
6 you look at paragraph five, and would you tell me if I
7 read this correctly. It says: An e-mail from the Mira
8 Costa public information office Friday stated that
9 Dr. Richart, or I guess her name is Richart or something
10 like that. Let me start over.
11 "An e-mail from the Mira Costa public
12 information office Friday stated that Dr. Richart was
13 informed this morning by college attorney Daniel Shinoff
14 that the vice president of instructional services would
15 be on leave until further notice."
16 You agree that that's what it says?
17 A. That's what it says, yes.
18 Q. Thank you. When Mr. Shinoff is telling the
19 president of a college what to do, would you say that he
20 becomes a public figure at that time?
21 MR. SHINOFF: I'm going to object that the
22 question is vague and argumentative.
23 THE WITNESS: Would I say that he becomes a
24 public figure?
25 BY MS. LARKINS:
1 Q. Yes.
2 A. No.
3 Q. Oh, I should have mentioned that it is a public
4 college. When Mr. Shinoff instructs the president of a
5 public college of an important personnel decision, is he
6 a public figure?
7 A. No, ma'am.
8 Q. I'd like you to look at paragraph 10. It says:
9 "'On the advice of our attorneys, we really can't say
10 anything beyond the memo you got from the public
11 information office,' said Fernandez."
12 Is that true? Does that say -- paragraph 10
13 say that?
14 A. You have read it correctly.
15 Q. Okay. Uhm. Does your firm believe that
16 information about how personnel decisions are made by
17 public entities should be kept from the press?
18 MR. SHINOFF: I'm going to object that the
19 question is vague and ambiguous and overly broad. If you
20 understand the question.
21 THE WITNESS: I have no idea what you are
23 BY MS. LARKINS:
24 Q. Does your law firm believe that the public
25 should be kept from knowing how personnel decisions are
1 made by public entities?
2 A. I don't know if I can speak for the law firm as
3 a whole; but I can tell you this, that anything having to
4 do with the attorney-client relationship and the
5 decision-making process, which involves the
6 attorney-client relationship, is privileged information;
7 and no one other than the parties have a right to know
8 about that information.
9 Q. Do you think that your firm uses
10 attorney-client privilege to hide information from the
11 public that the public has a right to know?
12 A. I know they don't.
13 Q. Are you aware that Mira Costa College
paid approximately $3 million for an investigation
conducted by Mr. Shinoff?
16 A. I have no idea about amounts paid to
afford an investigation, nor do I have any
knowledge that Mr. Shinoff conducted an
19 Q. That was in the Union Tribune.
20 MR. SHINOFF: It is not a question.
21 THE WITNESS: I know. You to have ask
23 MS. LARKINS: I know. I'm not a lawyer. So I
24 know I might not do this right.
25 THE WITNESS: I'm not here to have my time
2 BY MS. LARKINS:
3 Q. Someone who is not a lawyer is a waste of time,
4 is that what you are saying?
5 MR. SHINOFF: Don't respond to the
6 argumentative nature of that question.
7 MS. LARKINS: Okay. Actually, you weren't
8 responding to a question there. Move to strike
9 Mr. Artiano's last statement.
10 I need to take a break, about 10 minutes.
11 MR. SHINOFF: Okay. Very good.
12 THE VIDEOTAPE TECHNICIAN: Off the record at
13 11:18 a.m.
15 THE VIDEOTAPE TECHNICIAN: We are back on the
16 record at 11:27 a.m.
17 BY MS. LARKINS:
18 Q. Mr. Artiano, what members of your firm made the
19 decision to sue me for defamation?
20 A. It wasn't a matter of what members of the firm
21 made a decision. I made a decision, certainly, that
22 unless you did the right thing by correcting the
23 mistake --
24 Actually, I shouldn't call it a mistake.
25 Q. No, you shouldn't.
1 A. -- of the intentional misstatements you placed
2 in your website, if you had removed that, that would have
3 obviated the need for a lawsuit. And after I gave you
4 that opportunity to do that and you refused to do that, I
5 made the decision to go ahead and file suit.
6 Q. Did you do any investigation to find out if the
statements on my website were true?
8 A. I didn't have to do any investigation, because
I knew that the allegations in your -- that are posted on
your website are not true.
11 Q. How closely do you follow Mr. Shinoff's
actions in his work?
13 A. I don't follow his work. I have known
Mr. Shinoff for approximately 30 years; and I know that
he is an extremely ethical, diligent, excellent attorney.
16 I can also speak for myself. In one of your
17 websites, one of your website postings, it talks about
18 Stutz' partner, Ray Artiano, violating California law in
19 case after case; and I know that not to be true.
20 Moreover, I know that you didn't have any
21 involvement with me, knew nothing about any of the cases
22 that I handled, but yet you chose to make an
23 intentionally defamatory comment.
24 Q. I noticed that you read from a document just
25 now. Would you be willing to put that document into the
1 record as Exhibit 3.
2 A. You want to make a copy of it?
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. That would be fine.
5 You'll make a copy of this?
6 THE REPORTER: Yes.
7 (EXH. 3 was marked for identification.)
8 BY MS. LARKINS:
9 Q. Could I take a peak at that just to make sure
10 he didn't take something out of context.
11 Did you start your quote in the middle of a
12 sentence, Mr. Artiano?
13 A. I don't know that I started a quote anywhere.
14 Q. When you -- when you read from the document,
15 Exhibit Number 3, did you start your quote in the middle
16 of a sentence?
17 A. As I said, I don't know that I quoted anywhere.
18 What I said was that you have claimed that Sutz' partner,
19 Ray Artiano, violated California law in case after case.
20 Q. Okay.
21 A. You have also claimed that Daniel Shinoff,
22 Jeffrey Morris and Kelly Angell have violated California
23 law in case after case.
24 Q. When you first became aware of this
25 accusation --
|San Diego Education Report
Deposition continued HERE.