"...ESR has lost nearly all of its ground in Houston, Texas and San Diego,CA and
CLOSED its operations in Arizona to better suited companies who treat their employees
with respect. As a result ESR has hired private investigators to follow ex-employees and is
currently suing one of them."

Emergency Services Restoration
4429 W. 153rd St. Lawndale, CA 90260
United States of America
Phone: 1-800-540-5532
Web: esr24.com/
April 05, 2012
Category: Building Services
Emergency Services Restoration Dan Hartwell Emergency Services Restoration
Dan Hartwell Restoration, waetr Damage Scam Internet


This report has supplemental information to the 1st  report called “What a Water Damage
Company (ESR) Doesn’t Want You to Know”- which can still be found on the net despite
ESR’s attempts to take it down by suing the ex-employee of theirs who wrote it. To find the
first report just Google “What a Water Damage Company Doesn’t want you to Know
Emergency Services Restoration Inc.”.

ESR runs out of Lawndale, Ca with another satellite office in Hayward, Ca.

ESR’s job is to “market” the company. All of the marketing girls, trucks, flyers, all events
thrown, etc carry the name “ESR”. All the companies who refer them, refer them as ESR
and know them as ESR only. Even though ESR is being referred by licensed contractors
to do work that REQUIRES a license, ESR is NOT licensed. Why does it require a license?
Because anyone who knows restoration knows that 95% of the work one comes across is
over $500 and that in 90% of the jobs you are required to remove drywall or baseboard or
padding or carpet or flooring or cabinets and so on, which DOES require a license. Eye
witness reports corroborate that ESR lays concrete, removes drywall and does illegal
unlicensed work.

ESR is therefore an unlicensed contractor doing the work of a
licensed contractor, ESR itself carries NO contractor’s license
and claims that they “refer” any construction related work to the
other company IRR.

So then we get to IRR. This company is licensed. IRR is out of Lawndale Ca. (located in
the same office as ESR) and has no offices in Northern California.

There are no trucks that say IRR, no marketing material and quite possibly no direct
You can find Dan Hartwell (first name Kasson) and his
wife Sendy Suzanne Hartwell under that license in the CSLB

IRR is run as a separate company so that the owners can skip back and forth from saying
that they “are” and that they “are NOT” licensed as they please and deceive their
employees, clients, vendors. And the State.

Possibly the most important fact is that IF ESR carried the license ESR could actually do
restoration work legitimately, BUT! (and this is the big one) they would have to advertise
with Mr. Hartwell’s license as it is the LAW. This would mean two

things: #1 since ESR gets so many complaints and gets sued all the time Mr. Hartwell
could lose his license, if not because of the internal lawsuits because of the bad
workmanship and cheap labor they hire. #2 because as of today ESR claims they “sub
contract” all their techs (yet ALL the techs wear ESR uniforms and drive ESR trucks and
use ESR equipment) ESR is lying. It is just a way to hide from liability for the bad
workmanship. ESR says they use “sub contractors” the interesting thing is that ESR is not
a contractor and the techs they employ are not contractors either, they “say” they are
independent employees, yet they are made to report to the company and are hired and
fired like any employee and by wearing ESR uniforms and driving ESR trucks they are
presenting themselves as employees of the company, something the CSLB, EDD and the
IRS would have a problem with. This IS basic business 101 and ESR is using this as a sly
way to profiteer and evade taxation.

At this moment in time it is suspected that up to 50% of their “sub contracted” techs are
currently not insured nor carry workman’s compensation insurance.  This means that if the
work is done incorrectly the client CAN NOT sue ESR directly (as ESR “sub contracts”)
and when the client sues the individual tech, the technician has no insurance to cover
anything. What the technician will do is close the “existing business entity” and open
“another business entity” or file for bankruptcy and continues about his day, while the
client is left with nothing. Since the technicians do NOT have state licenses they could
care less about it.

Moreover, if ESR carried the license as it should, either all their employees would
ACTUALLY have to be employees and ESR would have to pay taxes and have proper
insurance for them and pay workman’s comp insurance and assume RESPONSIBILITY,
things that would cut into the profiteering.


If ESR does decide to get properly licensed and keep their techs as “sub contractors” all
of these sub contractors would have to get themselves duly licensed, insured and if they
employ anyone, have themselves workman’s comp, etc (things that actual normal
subcontractors have to do). Since NONE of ESR’s techs are actually licensed by the CSLB
then ESR would have to get all NEW techs who actually know how to do proper work. The
problem would be that these new guys would actually cost ESR some money and again
would cut into the profiteering.

Now, for RTT this is their website (http://www.rtt-training.com/).

RTT owns all of the equipment, trucks and uniforms. RTT also does the “training” for ESR
and by training I mean low grade certification that means close to nothing here in
California when a restoration company NEEDS to be LICENSED. All of their “sub
contracted” techs “rent” the equipment and trucks and uniforms from RTT. RTT claims to
“train” other companies too, but they mainly “certify” a few Plumbers who refer them, and
refer them illegally may I add.

RTT “rents” these trucks, equipment, supplies to “ESR technicians” at a cost of
$800/month or more. ESR “subcontracted” technicians also have to pay fees for the
dispatchers and marketing people. RTT is supposedly owned by Dan Hartwell’s
brother in-law, also done to prevent taxation and liability regarding the connection
between ESR, IRR and RTT.

ESR “Contracts”, this company is known for pressuring their referral sources such as
plumbers to sign these “5 or even 10 year contracts”.  If the referral source decides to
refer anyone else they are threaten with lawsuits!!!

ESR is NOT a contractor and they CAN NOT do Restoration work in California. If the
company was to decide to sue a plumber per say, just bring the issue up with the CSLB
and see what happens.

ESR “Contracts” or “Agreements” (or whatever they try to call them nowadays) are NOT
legally binding in California and if you have one with them you should throw it away.

ESR lawsuits, this company has a long history of suing competitors,
clients, plumbing accounts and ex-employees. And even a bigger
history of bullying anyone who
Mr. Dan Harwell sees as opposition.

For these reason ESR has lost nearly all of its ground in Houston,
Texas and San Diego,CA and CLOSED its operations in Arizona to
better suited companies who treat their employees with respect. As a
result ESR has hired private investigators to follow ex-employees and
is currently suing one of them.  The latest lawsuit was brought about
because one of ESR’s ex marketing girls in her early 30’s decided to
get a Job with Serv-Pro of Napa. She was threatened and followed
around by a PI and when she stood her ground Mr. Hartwell decided to
sue her. Would YOU want to work with this company?

Recently ESR has come under a lot of pressure in Northern California, where several of
their accounts decided to no longer refer them due to their Unlicensed status.
in their main area (Los Angeles) ESR has suffered from loosing their two largest
accounts due to their Unlicensed status and poor workmanship.

Mr. Hartwell had to even open a “new” company to funnel money through, “Restoration
Leasing & Supplies”. This was brought about after intense scrutiny by the State for their
illegal “set-up”.

Even though a complicated set up (like a tangled web of lies and deceit), Mr. Hartwell
manages to make millions because of his funneling of money from one company to the
other and skipping back and forth evading laws when possible.  His companies are owned
by different family members and relatives (for tax and liability purposes) and any ex-
employee you find of theirs will tell you that they are all a litigious bunch and will sue
anyone for any reason. For these reasons everyone should know who they are dealing

The CSLB, EDD and the IRS would be very interested in this information.

September, 2009
Updated- April 2012

Additional Links:






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02/22/08 08:45AM
Prager, Ronald S.    
Civil Jury Trial
C)DERCO LLC       
Stutz v. Larkins
defamation suit
04/25/08 10:30AM C-68    

Hayes, Judith F.               
Motion Hearing  

P)Stutz Artiano Shinoff &

02/20/09 10:30AM C-68    CV Hayes,
Judith F.               Summary Judgmen
P)Stutz Artiano Shinoff
& Holtz
Ray James Artiano        
San Diego Education
Report Blog
Problem Lawyers Blog
Site Map
Deposition of Ray Artiano
by the author of this website
(with Dan Shinoff acting as Artiano's counsel)
Managing Partner
Stutz Artiano Shinoff &
41593 Winchester Road
Temecula, CA

University of San Diego,
J.D., 1979 A founding
member and managing
partner of the firm, Mr.
Artiano represents state
and local agencies, public
and private employers, and
national manufacturing
companies throughout the
State of California. He
focuses his practice in
employment and product
liability matters. Mr. Artiano
has extensive experience in
the defense of employers in
employment related
litigation including wrongful
termination, harassment
and discrimination claims in
matters brought by both
private employers and
agencies of the United
States government. He has
defended these claims in
state and federal court and
has represented his clients'
interests in administrative
charges filed with the Equal
Employment Opportunity
Commission, Department of
Fair Employment and
Housing and the Office of
Civil Rights. Mr. Artiano also
has substantial experience
representing national
manufacturing companies in
catastrophic injury cases.
Mr. Artiano has been
admitted to practice before
all courts in the State of
California as well as the
United States Supreme
Court. Mr. Artiano is a
frequent lecturer on a
variety of litigation issues.
He is an active member of
numerous professional and
legal organizations, and
formerly served as
President of the San Diego
Defense Lawyers
Association. Bar Admissions
California United States
Supreme Court
Honors/Affiliations Member,
Federation of Defense and
Corporate Counsel
Member, Presidential
Business Commission
Member, Defense Research
Institute Member, American
College of Barristers
Member, San Diego County
Bar Association Member,
Serving Artiano
San Diego attorney Ray James Artiano

One of the "best legal minds in the world"
(according to Sky Radio's Marc Holland)
Ray Murphy Solutions
For College Funding

Ray artiano, (zip code:
92101) $300 to national
congressional (zip code:
92126) $225 to nea
fund for children and
public education on
Prager, Ronald S.  
)Dave Evans                       
D)San Diego Community Colle   
D)San Diego Mesa College
Ray James Artiano        
Sam Farahani v. San Diego Community College District
Filed 7/28/09
See decision

Plaintiff and Respondent,


Defendants and Appellants.

(Super. Ct. No. GIC881390)
APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of San Diego County, Joan M. Lewis, Judge. Affirmed.

Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz,
Ray J. Artiano and Richard E. Romero for Defendants and Appellants.

Grady and Associates, Dennis M. Grady, Kenneth W. Baisch, and Bradley K. Moores for Plaintiff and

In this case we hold that Education Code section 87485 (undesignated statutory references are to the
Education Code) renders “null and void” the “last chance agreement” (Agreement) under which
community college faculty member Sam H. Farahani waived his statutory due process rights relating
to faculty discipline. The San Diego Community College District (District) terminated Farahani after he
allegedly violated his Agreement with the District. The trial court granted Farahani’s petition for writ of
mandate (Code Civ. Proc., § 1085), ruling that the Agreement violated the Education Code and
Farahani’s due process rights. The court issued a peremptory writ of mandate under Code of Civil
Procedure section 1085 directing the District to: (1) reinstate Farahani with full back pay, interest and
benefits and (2) require its governing board to determine whether Farahani should be terminated, “all
in compliance with the requirements of the Education Code, including appropriate notice and
opportunity to be heard.” The District appeals.

In addition to concluding that Farahani’s purported waiver of the right to a hearing in the Agreement
and attached General and Special Release and Settlement Agreement (Release) were
unenforceable under section 87485, we also reject the District’s claim that Farahani’s petition was
barred by laches, unclean hands, and the failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Accordingly, we
affirm the judgment.


Farahani was a tenured professor of international relations and public policy at Mesa College. He
had worked for the District for 18 years prior to his termination in June 2006.

Beginning in 1994, the District received complaints from female students and staff about what they
described as unwanted sexual and social advances. In October 2000, after investigating some of
these complaints, the District gave Farahani a written reprimand advising him that continued
misconduct would result in discipline up to and including termination.

On September 20, 2004, the District sent Farahani written “Notice of Pre-Disciplinary Hearing:
Suspension.” The notice cited the basis for the recommended one-year suspension without pay as
“a continuing pattern of inappropriate behavior toward students and employees over several years.”
The notice informed Farahani that he had “the right to respond to the proposed discipline either orally
or in writing or both.”

The matter did not proceed to the hearing stage. In November 2004, the attorney for the American
Federation of Teachers Guild, California Federation of Teachers Local 1931 (Union) presented
Farahani with the Agreement, and told him that the District would suspend him for a year without pay
unless he signed it. Among other things, the Agreement and Release provided that Farahani: (1)
accept a reduction of pay equivalent to one month’s salary and (2) for a period of 18 months agree to
refrain from conduct that constituted sexual harassment, “including any verbal, physical or visual
conduct” on campus, and from “personal contacts and/or communications” with students off campus.
The Agreement stated that if Farahani failed to comply with its provisions, he could be “terminated at
the Chancellor’s discretion, without the issuance of charges under the Education Code or District
policies and without right of appeal . . . .” The Release included the following provision: “Farahani
waives any and all appeal rights he may otherwise have to challenge the discipline or otherwise
pursue any appeal relating to the pre-disciplinary notice.”
02/26/10 10:00AM C-65    
CV Lewis, Joan M.   
Trial Readiness
D)San Diego Community
Ray James Artiano
Category: CL-PO         
PI/PD/WD - Other
When Artiano settles
a case, is he

I imagine he would say no.

But how about when the
shoe is on the other foot?

North County Times reports,
"While Artiano acknowledged
that Tri-City has admitted no
culpability with regard to
open meetings law
violations, he said the fact
that the hospital settled
means something."

Read more here.

HOSPITAL: Tri-City settles
Brown Act lawsuit filed by former

Hospital agrees to
pay $300,000, but
admits no violation

[Maura Larkins' comment: this
is exactly the type of lawsuit
that the Californians Against
Lawsuit Abuse (CALA)
organization complains about.  
Yet this shakedown of a public
entity was perpetrated by
Leslie Devaney, a
former CALA board member in
San Diego.]

By PAUL SISSON -  February 25,

Tri-City Medical Center has
settled a lawsuit brought by a
group of former hospital
executives who alleged Tri-City
violated the state's open meeting
law, called the Brown Act, when
four hospital board members put
the executives on paid leave
during a hastily called
closed-door meeting in
December 2008.

Ray Artiano, an attorney for the
seven executives, said Thursday
afternoon that Tri-City settled
the case for $300,000, which will
cover attorney's fees. The
executives ---- who were later
fired by Tri-City ---- have also
filed a wrongful termination
lawsuit that is still working its way
through the courts.

Courtney Berlin, a spokesperson
for Tri-City, confirmed the
settlement in the Brown Act
lawsuit this week. She said in an
e-mail that it doesn't admit "any
error on the part of our Board or
any violation of the Brown Act."

"In order to preserve the
company's resources, we felt it
was appropriate to settle the
matter," Berlin said.

Four of seven Tri-City board
members voted during a special
meeting on Dec. 8, 2008, to
sideline the seven executives
and call in an accounting firm to
conduct a forensic investigation
of the public hospital's books.
Tri-City's former chief executive
Arthur Gonzalez was put on
leave during the same meeting.

In February 2009, the seven
sued Tri-City's board, alleging it
had violated several aspects of
public meetings law.

The suit asked a Superior Court
judge to declare the decision
invalid, but more than one year
later there had been no ruling in
the case. Artiano said that when
the suit was filed, there was
some hope among the
executives that a decision would
come quickly and could result in
them being reinstated.

In the intervening months,
Gonzalez settled with the
hospital district and found a new
job running a large hospital
system in Minneapolis.

In the wrongful termination
lawsuits, the remaining
executives are seeking more
than $1 million each. Lawyers on
both sides are now arguing
whether the case belongs in
federal or state court.

Artiano's clients include Doreen
Sanderson, Tri-City's former vice
president of human resources;
Allen Coleman, former vice
president of strategic services;
Robert Wardwell, former chief
financial officer; Daniel
Groszkruger, former director of
information systems; Ondrea
Labella, former director of
patient business services;
Suellyn Ellerbe, former chief
operating officer and chief nurse
executive; and Terry Howell,
former vice president of
performance improvement.

Their salaries ranged from
$194,000 to $325,000 per year.

While Artiano acknowledged that
Tri-City has admitted no
culpability with regard to open
meetings law violations, he said
the fact that the hospital settled
means something.

"We thought the amount was
sufficient to make a point, and
now we will focus on the wrongful
termination cases," Artiano said.

Call staff writer Paul Sisson at
Ray James Artiano -
Bar Number         88916
Stutz Artiano Shinoff &
2488 Historic Decatur Rd
San Diego, CA
(619) 232-3122
Fax  (619) 232-3264
Undergraduate School     
Boston Univ; Boston MA
Law School         
Univ of San Diego SOL;
San Diego CA
Sections         None
Present         Active
11/29/1979         Admitted
to The State Bar of

Business Advisory
Council of the National
Committee Member,

Association of Southern
California Defense
Counsel Member,
Professional Liability
Underwriting Society
Member, American
Board of Trial
Advocates Board of
Directors, San Diego
Defense Lawyers
Association, 1999-2000
President, San Diego
Defense Lawyers
Association, 2001
San Diego  
Case Type:         Civil        
Date Filed:        
Category:         CU-PO       
PI/PD/WD - Other
MICHAEL            P  
LEN A PAUL                       
05/21/10 08:30AM C-66    
Hayes, Charles R.              
Trial Readiness
P) Michael Knapp
Ray James Artiano        
05/21/10 08:30AM C-69    CV Parte        
P)Arthur Gonzalez           
Ray J Artiano            
Tri-City Hospital

08/26/09 08:30AM
Ex Parte        
P)Arthur Gonzalez  
Ray J Artiano            

North County
08/28/09 01:30PM N-30     Nugent, Thomas
           Motion Hearing  
P) Allen
P) Art Gonzalez
P) Bob
Ondrea Labella           
P) Suellyn Ellerbe          
Ray James Artiano        
06/25/10 09:00AM C-66    CV Hayes, Charles
R.              Civil Jury Tria
37-2008-00085422-CU-PO-CTL     P)Michael
Ray James Artiano        
Two questions for Mr. Artiano from Maura Larkins:
1. Why don't you take your own advice?
2. How much did Sky Radio charge you for advertising you as one of the "best legal minds in the
01/21/11 08:30AM C-65    CV Lewis, Joan
M.                 Civil Case Mana
37-2010-00097203-CU-BC-CTL     D)San
Diego Community Colle Ray James
01/21/11 08:30AM C-65    CV Lewis, Joan
M.                 Demurrer / Moti
37-2010-00097203-CU-BC-CTL     D)San
Diego Community Colle Ray James
01/21/11 10:00AM C-75    CV Strauss, Richard
E. L.         Civil Case Mana
C)Emergency Service Restora JAMES
Blog posts Ray Artiano

Tri-City Healthcare case with
Leslie Devaney
Page 2
Volume 16, Issue 2

President’s Message

By: Ray J. Artiano
Stutz, Gallagher, Artiano, Shinoff
& Holtz

As we move into the second
half of the year, we are well-
positioned to benefit our
members in a number of
different ways. We continue
to make educational
opportunities available to our
membership. We have
provided six of the planned 14
MCLE units to our members.
The four brown bag seminars
have been extremely
successful. As you know, one
of the most significant benefits
available to you as SDDL
members is the SDDL website,
which is now fully operational.
Like many other sites,
www.sddl.org has access to
many legal resources. In
addition, the current site also
contains a bulletin board
which allows the members to
post messages and ask
questions. The bulletin board
can only be reached by other
SDDL members who gain
access through a password
(which you should have
already received). The bulletin
board has been functional for
a short time, but it is being
underused. We are now
considering an upgrade to the
website which will make
available distribution lists to
all members so that your
questions or messages can be
sent directly to your fellow
SDDL members. Instead of
posting an inquiry on the
bulletin board and having to
depend upon other members
to routinely review the bulletin
board, you will be able to have
immediate access and,
hopefully, feedback from the
membership. The website is
an extremely valuable resource
and I encourage everyone to
use it.

We are continuing in our
effort to offer additional
benefits to our membership.
To help ensure that our voice is
heard, we have asked one of
our board members, Norm
Ryan, to participate as a
member on the Superior Court
Committee. We are currently
looking into representation on
the Bench/Bar Committee as
well. We have spoken with
representatives at both
Defense Research Institute and
Southern California Defense
Counsel about opportunities
which they may be able to
provide our members. Both
organizations have been very
receptive, and a separate
mailing on the arrangements
will be announced in the near
future. We are in the process
of gathering survey data from
questionnaires which were
sent to member firms. The
survey deals with law firm
management issues and the
results will be released by the
end of the year. We believe
this will also be a valuable tool
to all member firms.
We do need your continued
input on matters which effect
the defense bar. You need to
tell us how we can best serve
you. What types of programs
would you like to see? What
benefits can SDDL provide?
Would you like to see more
social events? Would you like
to see a different format for
the educational seminars? Are
there rule changes in the court
system which you would like
to see considered? We want to
hear from you. Please email
us at info@sddl.org . Let us
know what you are thinking.
If you can donate some time to
the organization please let us
know. If there are others in
your firm who are not SDDL
members, please encourage
them to join. Our strength is
partly dependent upon the size
of our membership. We need
your continued support in
order to remain a strong and
vital organization.

By: Ray J. Artiano. Stutz,
Gallagher, Artiano, Shinoff &
Holtz. As we move into the
second. half of the year, we are
well-. positioned to benefit our ...
Why This Website

Stutz Artiano Shinoff
The following story on Ray Artiano's case against Tri-City Hospital is interesting, given
that Ray Artiano walked out of his own deposition (see link above) when
he sued the
author of this website for defamation.
Attorneys allowed to gather more evidence in Tri-City
wrongful termination suit
Nathan Scharn
Nov. 29, 2011

OCEANSIDE — A U.S. District Court judge issued an order Monday allowing attorneys to gather more
evidence in wrongful termination suits between former Tri-City Healthcare District administrators and
their former employer, including trustees of the public health care district.

Judge Thomas J. Whelan ruled that attorneys for the administrators would be able to take depositions
from defendants involved in a meeting held at Coco’s Restaurant in Vista on Nov. 20, 2008 regarding
the discussion at the restaurant. They were fired in 2009 in an overhaul by the elected board of Tri-City’s

Whelan concluded that the meeting, attended by an attorney and now Chairwoman Rosemarie Reno
and trustees Kathleen Sterling, George Coulter and Charlene Anderson, violated the state open
government law called the Brown Act.

The law requires public notice of discussions of public business by a majority of elected officials on a
board. At the time, only Sterling, who has since been dropped from the case, and Reno were on the
board. Coulter and Anderson had been elected, but had not yet assumed office, which constituted a
future majority, Whelan said in the ruling.

“The Brown Act also prevents future majorities from gathering privately to make collective commitments
affecting the future of the local agency without public input,” Whelan wrote.

The get-together at Coco’s is not related to another controversial dinner meeting, held at West Steak
and Seafood in Carlsbad in May 2010 and attended by Reno, Sterling and Coulter, though that meeting
has been a factor in several lawsuits, including criminal hearings.

Much of the Coco’s meeting has been kept secret under Magistrate Judge Bernard G. Skomal’s July 18,
2011 discovery order, which held that the discussion at the meeting fell under attorney client privilege.
Whelan reversed that, saying the meeting violated the law “in furtherance of a present criminal act,” the
ruling said, and was thus exempt from the privilege.

The depositions could provide significant facts in the wrongful termination suit between the former
administrators and the health care district.

Trustees fired nine employees after placing them on paid administrative leave. Then-Chief Executive
Arthur Gonzalez received a severance package in 2009 worth as much as $1 million. Seven others
sought damages in excess of $100,000.

Earlier this year, former vice president of strategic services Allen Coleman received $385,000 and
former vice president of performance improvement William “Terry” Howell received $390,000 in
settlements, their attorney Ray Artiano and Tri-City officials have confirmed. The other five employees are
still pursuing the lawsuit.

The other employees fired were Suellyn Ellerbe, chief operating officer and chief nurse executive; Robert
Wardwell, chief financial officer; Doreen Sanderson, vice president of human resources; Daniel
Groszkruger, director of information systems; and Ondrea Labella, director of patient business services.

Whelan denied part of the ex-administrators’ contention that Skomal had erred as a matter of law.

Public Tri-City Healthcare District serves residents in Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista.
I've noticed that lawyers tend to change their positions regarding attorney-client privilege
depending on whose testimony is sought.
REGION: New ruling favors attorneys for fired Tri-City
nctimes.com |
November 30, 2011

U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan ruled that attorneys for the five former executives ----
who were put on paid leave by Tri-City in December 2008 and fired several months later
---- can depose four hospital officials and an attorney who met at a Coco's restaurant in
Vista on Nov. 20, 2008.

A spokeswoman for the healthcare district said Wednesday that the matter is not settled.
Tri-City will appeal.

The meeting at Coco's involved attorney Julie Biggs, hospital board members Kathleen
Sterling and RoseMarie Reno, and board members-elect George Coulter and Charlene

Roughly a month later, the four board members voted in a closed-door session to put the
hospital's entire executive team on paid leave and launch an internal investigation that
remains under wraps.

Since the lawsuit was filed in July 2009, the attorneys who represent the fired executives
have been trying to get a clearer picture of what happened at the Coco's meeting.

At first, Tri-City's lawyers were successful in sheltering the four directors from deposition
requests on grounds that their conversations were protected by attorney-client privilege.

But in this week's ruling, Judge Whelan found that the Coco's meeting was subject to the
Brown Act, which requires open, publicly noticed meetings. The act requires public boards
to notice meetings if a majority of an elected body's membership is present.

Tri-City's lawyers had argued that the presence of Coulter and Anderson didn't violate the
quorum rule, because they hadn't yet assumed their duties as new board members. But
Judge Whelan disagreed.

In his ruling, the judge stated that the law considers elected officials to be part of a
governing body when they are elected, not when they are seated.

"Thus, for the purposes of the Brown Act, a four-member majority of the seven-member
TCHD Board attended the Coco's meeting," Whelan stated in his ruling.

The judge went on to rule that the conversation that occurred at Coco's is not protected
by attorney-client privilege because any discussion with attorney Biggs "necessarily
furthered the Brown Act violation."

Teresa Connors, director of media relations for Tri-City, said in an e-mail Wednesday that
the healthcare district disagrees with the legal reasoning outlined in the judge's ruling.

"The board believes Judge Whelan misinterpreted key provisions of the Brown Act, and
their application to facts of the case. The board is confident that no laws were broken,"
Connors said.
Stutz sues the BLM to stop wind energy construction
June 19, 2012
Ray J. Artiano, Esq., William C. Pate, Esq., Brent M. Douglas, Esq.
01/25/13 10:00AM C-71    
Prager, Ronald S.              
Summary Judgmen
C)Emergency Services Restor           

Susan L Shirk , age 67
Susan L Shirk
Susan L Popkin         La Jolla, CA
Washington, DC
Austin, TX                                                 
Lucy Popkin (58)
Shirk Popkin
Samuel Popkin (70)
David Popkin (29)

POPKIN           SAMUEL           P  
SHIRK           SUSAN             


CITY OF SAN DIEGO                      P  
COLICH & SONS LP                        
San Diego Education Report
San Diego
Education Report
07/11/14 09:15AM
Bacal, Katherine           
Civil Case Mana
D)San Diego
Community College
Ray James Artiano     

Case reassigned from
Judge Taylor, Timothy
to William Dato
effective 05/23/2013
Peremptory Challenge
(GRANTED 5/23/13) filed
by San Diego Community
College District.

Case Number:         
37-2013-00047598-CU-PO-CTL         Date
Filed:         05/07/2013                 
Case Title:         Caromona vs.
Family Health Centers of San
Diego Inc [IMAGED]         
Case Status:         
Case Category:         Civil -
Unlimited         Location:         
Case Type:         
PI/PD/WD - Other         
Judicial Officer:         
Case Age:         426
Department:         C-69
Future Events
Name        Role        
Plaintiff        Vicknair,
Family Health Centers of
San Diego Inc; DBA :
Logan Heights Family
Health Center        
Defendant, Cross -
Loeza, Augustin         
Defendant, Cross -
Complainant        Kenny,
Eugene P
Mavrakis MD,
Defendant, Cross -
San Diego Community
College District        
Defendant, Cross -
Defendant        Artiano,
Ray J
Address        Phone
ARTIANO, RAY J         
2488 Historic Decatur
Road 200 San Diego
CA 92106        (619)
232-3122, (619)
P         GRIMM
CA 92101        (619)
402 W Broadway 1760
San Diego CA
92101        (619)
231-4300, (619)
No. ED CV13-1247-JAK (SPx).
Dennis Rutherford, et al. v.
PaloVerde Health Care District, et
United States District Court, C.D.
November 14, 2014.

Dennis Rutherford, Plaintiff,
represented by Ljubisa Kostic,
Stutz Artiano Shinoff and Holtz
APC, Melissa A Lewis, Stutz
Artiano Shinoff and Holtz APC &
Ray J Artiano, Stutz Artiano
Shinoff and Holtz APC.

Peter Klune, Consol Plaintiff, represented by
Ljubisa Kostic, Stutz Artiano Shinoff and Holtz
APC, Melissa A Lewis, Stutz Artiano Shinoff and
Holtz APC & Ray J Artiano, Stutz Artiano
Shinoff and Holtz APC.

Tara Barth, Consol Plaintiff, represented by
Ljubisa Kostic, Stutz Artiano Shinoff and Holtz
APC, Melissa A Lewis, Stutz Artiano Shinoff and
Holtz APC & Ray J Artiano, Stutz Artiano
Shinoff and Holtz APC.

Palo Verde Health Care District,
a public entity, Defendant,
represented by Alison P Adema,
Sweeney Greene & Roberts,
Laura M Brandenberg, Sweeney
Greene & Roberts & Maria C
Roberts, Sweeney Greene &

Trina Sartin, an individual, Defendant,
represented by Alison P Adema, Sweeney
Greene & Roberts, Laura M Brandenberg,
Sweeney Greene & Roberts & Maria C Roberts,
Sweeney Greene & Roberts.

Sandra Hudson, an individual, Defendant,
represented by Alison P Adema, Sweeney
Greene & Roberts, Laura M Brandenberg,
Sweeney Greene & Roberts & Maria C Roberts,
Sweeney Greene & Roberts.

Samuel Burton, an individual, Defendant,
represented by Alison P Adema, Sweeney
Greene & Roberts, Laura M Brandenberg,
Sweeney Greene & Roberts & Maria C Roberts,
Sweeney Greene & Roberts.

Desert Air Ambulance, Inc., ThirdParty
Defendant, represented by Harold C Trimmer,
Klinedinst PC.
Desert Critical Care Transport, Inc., ThirdParty
Defendant, represented by Harold C Trimmer,
Klinedinst PC.


SHERI PYM, District Judge.

Proceedings: (In Chambers) Order
Granting in Part Motion to Compel
Defendants Burton and Sartin to
Appear for Deposition in Excess of
Seven Hours [277]

On October 13, 2014, plaintiffs filed
a motion to compel defendants
Samuel Burton and Trina Sartin to
appear for depositions in excess of
seven hours (docket no. 277). At
this point plaintiffs have deposed
each of these defendants for seven
hours or a bit more, and seek five
more hours of deposition time with
each. Defendants oppose the
motion, contending plaintiffs have
had sufficient time with each

The parties have fully briefed the
motion to compel, including
submitting a Joint Stipulation ("JS"),
supporting declarations and
exhibits, and supplemental papers.
The court has considered the
papers submitted by the parties,
and finds that a hearing on the
motion is not necessary. The court
previously took the hearing off

For the reasons that follow, the
court grants in part plaintiffs' motion
to compel.

Plaintiffs Peter Klune, Dennis
Rutherford, and Tara Barth are
former executive employees of
defendant Palo Verde Health Care
District ("PVHD"). PVHD operates
Palo Verde Hospital in Blythe,
California. Plaintiffs filed lawsuits
(which are now consolidated) in July
2013 alleging they were wrongfully
terminated in January and February
2013 in response to their work in
exposing or pursuing prosecution of
an illegal kickback scheme at the
hospital. Plaintiffs' claims include
claims under the federal False
Claims Act, for breach of their
employment contracts, and for
retaliatory termination and

Defendants Samuel Burton and
Trina Sartin are members of the
PVHD Board of Directors.
Defendant Burton has served on
the Board since December 2010,
and defendant Sartin has served
on the Board since December
2012. Defendant Sartin is also a co-
owner of Desert Air Ambulance, the
use of which by Palo Verde Hospital
is one of the underlying issues in
this case.

Plaintiffs deposed defendant Burton
for something over seven hours on
September 18, 2014. Plaintiffs
deposed defendant Sartin for some
seven hours on October 14, 2014.
At the conclusion of both
depositions, plaintiffs' counsel
indicated he had additional
questions to ask, and defendants'
counsel opposed any further time
for these depositions.

"Unless otherwise stipulated or
ordered by the court, a deposition
is limited to 1 day of 7 hours." Fed.
R. Civ. P. 30(d)(1). The parties
have not stipulated to exceed this
limit; instead, plaintiffs seek an
order of this court to exceed that
limit. "The court must allow
additional time consistent with Rule
26(b)(2) if needed to fairly examine
the deponent or if the deponent,
another person, or any other
circumstance impedes or delays the
examination." Id.

As a preliminary matter, the court
notes that defendants object to
allowing plaintiffs additional time to
depose them because defendants
have asserted a qualified immunity
defense. See JS at 24-25. The
cases defendants cite generally
state that the court has the option
to stay discovery until the qualified
immunity defense is resolved. But
that has not happened here. Given
that discovery has proceeded,
there is no logical reason to limit a
particular party's deposition time
simply because that party has
asserted a qualified immunity
defense, and the authority
defendants cite does not suggest

Plaintiffs seek what amounts to a
full twelve hours each to depose
defendants Burton and Sartin,
noting that, in a January 22, 2014
order on a motion opposed by
plaintiffs, the court granted
defendants that much time to
depose each of the plaintiffs. The
court notes that it also granted
defendants an addition 90 minutes
to depose plaintiff Klune to again
ask him questions he had
previously refused to answer. That
defendants were given additional
time to depose plaintiffs is certainly
a relevant consideration, but it is
not determinative of whether
plaintiffs need additional time to
fairly depose these defendants.

In deciding this issue, the court first
considers the nature of this case,
including the allegations in the
Third Amended Complaint, the
complexity of the claims and issues,
and the thousands of pages of
documents produced. These
considerations suggest that, for
significant parties or substantial
witnesses in this case, additional
deposition time may be appropriate.

At the same time, the court
considers that, as defendants point
out, they are in a different situation
than plaintiffs. In particular, plaintiffs
were executives at PVHD with
extensive knowledge about the
workings of PVHD and the
investigation of wrongdoing they
claim led to their terminations. As
Board members, defendants Burton
and Sartin would not have the same
knowledge. But they are not so
ignorant of relevant matters as
defendants contend. Although
defendant Burton is and was only a
Board member, he served on the
Board for a full two years leading
up to plaintiffs' terminations. And
although defendant Sartin was only
a Board member for a couple
months leading up to the
terminations, this was a critical
period. More importantly, as an
owner of Desert Air Ambulance that
is at the heart of plaintiffs'
allegations of wrongdoing,
defendant Sartin's relevant
knowledge goes far beyond her
role as a PVHD Board member.

Defendants Burton and Sartin also
contend that since they are named
in only one claim in the operative
complaint, their relevant testimony
is necessarily limited. This does not
follow. It is their roles on the PVHD
Board and defendant Sartin's
additional role as a Desert Air
Ambulance co-owner that
determines the number of matters
on which they may have relevant
testimony to give.

The court also considers the topics
not yet covered in the depositions.
Plaintiffs maintain they need more
time with defendant Burton to ask
him about PVHD Board meeting
minutes not covered in the first day
of deposition, and about documents
related to plaintiffs' job
performances and PVHD's financial
condition. It is less clear what topics
plaintiffs still seek to cover with
defendant Sartin, likely because
her deposition had not yet
commenced when this motion was
filed. Nonetheless, from the
conclusion of her first day of
deposition and plaintiffs' counsel's
supplemental declaration, it
appears that plaintiffs seek to ask
her additional questions regarding
board meetings and other matters
partially covered.

Finally, the court considers the
parties' use of time at the
depositions to date. Both sides
accuse each other of wasting time,
and the court agrees with both
sides in part. For example, from the
court's partial review of defendant
Burton's deposition, it appears that
defense counsel made numerous
speaking objections that obstructed
the examination and verged on
coaching the witness, and also
gave some questionable
instructions not to answer. At the
same time, plaintiffs' counsel did
not appear to focus as quickly as
he might have on the more
important questions in this case.
Defendants argue that plaintiffs'
counsel wasted time at defendant
Sartin's deposition asking questions
about Dr. Sahlolbei's pending
criminal matter, given that the court
previously struck allegations
regarding the criminal case pending
against Dr. Sahlolbei, finding that
case does not bear on the claims in
this case. See docket no. 180 at
23. But although that criminal case
has been excluded, that does not
mean that inquiries concerning the
underlying misconduct alleged are
not reasonably calculated to lead to
the discovery of admissible

Considering all of these factors, the
court concludes that more time is
warranted to depose defendants,
but not as much time as plaintiffs
seek. In particular, the court finds
that plaintiffs will have sufficient
time to fairly depose defendants if
they are granted an additional two
hours to depose defendant Burton
and an additional four hours to
depose defendant Sartin.

Plaintiffs request sanctions. Rule 37
(a)(5) provides that the prevailing
party on a discovery motion is
entitled to an award of its
reasonable expenses incurred in
bringing or opposing the motion,
including attorney's fees, except no
payment should be ordered if: (1)
the motion was filed before the
moving party made a good faith
effort to resolve the dispute; (2) the
losing party's position was
substantially justified; or (3) other
circumstances make award of
expenses unjust. Fed. R. Civ. P. 37
(a)(5). Plaintiffs are the prevailing
party here; however, defendants'
position was substantially justified
as reflected by the fact that the
court has not granted plaintiffs all of
the additional deposition time they
seek. Although this is another
matter that the parties should have
been able to resolve without
significant hardship to either side,
sanctions are not warranted here.

Based on the foregoing, IT IS
Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel
Defendants Samuel Burton and
Trina Sartin to Appear for
Depositions in Excess of Seven
Hours (docket no. 277) is
GRANTED IN PART as set forth
above and as follows:

1. The deposition of defendant
Samuel Burton shall be
reconvened for an additional
two hours of testimony; and

2. The deposition of defendant
Trina Sartin shall be
reconvened for an additional
four hours of testimony.