Category Archives: Cory Spencer v. Lunada Bay Boys

Lunada Bay Boys Judge Otero Grants City Of Palos Verdes Estates And Former Chief Jeff Kepley’s Motion For Summary Judgment, Meaning They Are Out Of The Case!

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

This is a very short note to announce the breaking news that James Otero, judge in the Lunada Bay Boys case, filed an order last night granting the motion of the City of Palos Verdes Estates and Jeff Kepley for summary judgment. Thus these two defendants are out of the case at this point. The plaintiffs’ theory with respect to these defendants was that they conspired with the Bay Boys to keep outsiders from surfing Lunada Bay.

Plaintiffs alleged two means by which this happened. First, that the City enforced laws, e.g. traffic laws, more harshly against outsiders than against locals. Second, that the City refused to protect outsiders from harassment by locals. The basic finding in the order is that the plaintiffs don’t have enough evidence to support the first kind of claim and that the City as a matter of law has no affirmative duty to protect anyone from harassment or attacks. I apologize for the fact that I don’t have time this morning to transcribe even part of the order, but I recommend it as very interesting, if disappointing, reading.

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Lunada Bay Boys Judge James Otero Accepts Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver’s Report And Recommendation With Respect To Defendant Brant Blakeman, Thereby Putting Him On The Hook For Monetary Sanctions To Plaintiffs, A New Deposition On His Dime, And Plaintiffs Will Be Allowed To Present Evidence At Trial About Blakeman’s Missing Texts

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

Listen, I really apologize for the fact that the last you, my audience heard, the Lunada Bay Boys trial was scheduled for February 6. In December Otero cancelled this trial date and has not yet set a new one. I’m not sure why I didn’t write about it, but I didn’t. As soon as a new trial date is set I’ll let you know, and will do my very best to keep on top of announcing cancellations.

The last time we heard from the Bay Boys or their attorneys was in January of this year, with Brant Blakeman mouthpiece Thomas Stobart arguing against Rozella Oliver’s report and recommendation for sanctions against Blakeman for his failure to preserve a bunch of his text messages. His argument essentially consisted of putting scare quotes around everything Oliver wrote in her report, possibly intending to make her recommendations against his client seem silly or something.

That her recommendations were not silly was and is completely obvious to anyone who read Oliver’s report, and thus it was in some sense no surprise that this morning, Judge James Otero filed an order accepting Oliver’s report and recommendations for sanctions against Brant Blakeman. There’s a transcription of this PDF after the break.

In short, though, it requires Blakeman to pay plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and costs for the motion for sanctions against him and to submit to another deposition about the text messages he did not preserve (and to pay plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and costs for the deposition). It also allows the plaintiffs to present evidence at trial about the missing text messages. It’s not the entire war, but it’s a significant tactical victory for the plaintiffs. Turn the page for a transcription of Otero’s order.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Judge James Otero Accepts Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver’s Report And Recommendation With Respect To Defendant Brant Blakeman, Thereby Putting Him On The Hook For Monetary Sanctions To Plaintiffs, A New Deposition On His Dime, And Plaintiffs Will Be Allowed To Present Evidence At Trial About Blakeman’s Missing Texts

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Lunada Bay Boys Defendant Brant Blakeman Objects To Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver’s Recommendation That He Be Sanctioned Via The Sarcastic Use Of About A Zillion Scare Quotes — Meanwhile Judge Otero Issues Order Accepting Oliver’s Recommendations With Respect To Charlie and Frank Ferrara and Sang Lee And Thereby Casts Much Doubt On The Likely Efficacy Of Blakeman’s Middle-School-Style Strategy

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

So maybe you recall that in December, Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver filed an amended report and recommendation to the court regarding the plaintiffs’ motions for sanctions against Charlie and Frank Ferrara and Sang Lee for their plausibly willful mishandling of evidence in the case. Yesterday Judge James Otero filed an order accepting Oliver’s recommendations. In particular, following Oliver’s recommendations precisely, Otero ruled:

… that Plaintiffs are permitted to depose Defendants Sang Lee, Charlie Ferrara, and Frank Ferrara regarding issues relevant to spoliation, with costs to be shared by Plaintiffs and the deposed Defendants. At trial, the parties will be permitted to present evidence and argument related to the unrecoverable text messages for Defendant Lee and the Ferrara Defendants and the unavailable cellular billing records for Charlie Ferrara.

This was not unexpected, but it’s interesting nevertheless. However, the plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions against these three clowns was not the only such motion concerning which Rozella Oliver has recommendations. There’s also, of course, her report on Brant Blakeman and his wildly antisocial handling of evidence in his possession. Well, on December 27, John Stobart, Blakeman’s lawyer, filed an opposition to Oliver’s recommendations, and this morning the plaintiffs responded to Blakeman’s objection. The two pleadings are available here:

The plaintiffs’ response was written by the agressively sane Samantha Wolff of Hanson Bridgett. And it’s definitely worth reading, but it’s, you know, competent, prudent, measured, and so on. Therefore there’s not much for me to comment on.

On the other hand, Brant Blakeman’s objection, written by John Stobart, is, as befits the rapiest Bay Boy, a surreal sludge pot of scare quotes, sophomoric sarcasm, and generalized cack-handedness, and, as such, is required reading!1

Selections after the break, and please, note that I didn’t add a single quotation mark. Not a single one. Footnotes also are as in the original,2 and read them if you want to see some of John Stobart’s most flamboyantly weird scare quotation.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Defendant Brant Blakeman Objects To Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver’s Recommendation That He Be Sanctioned Via The Sarcastic Use Of About A Zillion Scare Quotes — Meanwhile Judge Otero Issues Order Accepting Oliver’s Recommendations With Respect To Charlie and Frank Ferrara and Sang Lee And Thereby Casts Much Doubt On The Likely Efficacy Of Blakeman’s Middle-School-Style Strategy

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Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver Recommends That Because Defendant Brant Blakeman Failed To Preserve Text Messages After He Became Aware Of The Lawsuit He Must Pay Attorneys’ Fees And Costs For Motion For Sanctions And Cover Costs Of Additional Deposition On Subject Of What Happened To The Damn Text Messages!

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

At this point the Lunada Bay Boys discovery-related complaints, cross-complaints, bitching, cross-bitching, moaning, cross-moaning, and so on and on and on have gotten so tortuously complexicated that there’s essentially no way to summarize them any longer. However, I will remind you all that there was a hearing on December 6 before Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver on spoliation of evidence by the City Defendants1 and most rapiest Bay Boy defendant Sr. Brant Blakeman.

At issue were some text messages that Blakeman failed to preserve. The texts were on a phone issued to him by the City of PVE, which is why they were involved. The plaintiffs asked Oliver to find that Blakeman and the City not only had a duty to preserve the texts but that they had been so adversely affected by their destruction that the court ought to make Blakeman and the City pay fines, pay fees, pay costs, their motions for summary judgment ought to be denied out of hand, and an instruction to the jury stating that they should draw an adverse implication from the destruction of the texts. Blakeman and the City argued that they didn’t do anything wrong at all because they had no duty to preserve anything. Just yesterday Magistrate Judge Oliver issued her report and recommendations on the issues raised during the hearing.

With respect to the City, Oliver found that while they did have a legal obligation to preserve evidence starting earlier than they claimed, no evidence was lost specifically due to the City’s inaction, so she declined to recommend any sanctions against the City. Blakeman, on the other hand, did a few bad things, according to the Magistrate Judge.

First of all, he did have a duty to preserve the text messages. Also he failed to take reasonable steps to preserve them. Finally, the text messages were lost because of his inaction, and this prejudices the plaintiffs’ case. However, Oliver declines to find that Blakeman did it on purpose,2 and so she declines to recommend the most harsh sanctions possible.

Basically, she’s recommending that Blakeman have to pay the plaintiffs’ attorneys for their costs and fees in bringing the motion for sanctions against him, and that he submit to an additional deposition that he pay for on the subject of what happened to the text messages. Additionally she recommends that the plaintiffs be allowed to present evidence to the jury about his failure to preserve and that if Judge Otero thinks it’s justified at trial, he consider allowing an instruction to the jury on what kind of inferences they can draw from Blakeman’s actions. Finally, she declined to recommend that Blakeman’s motion for summary judgment be dismissed a priori. Turn the page for transcribed selections.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver Recommends That Because Defendant Brant Blakeman Failed To Preserve Text Messages After He Became Aware Of The Lawsuit He Must Pay Attorneys’ Fees And Costs For Motion For Sanctions And Cover Costs Of Additional Deposition On Subject Of What Happened To The Damn Text Messages!

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Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Oliver Files Amended Recommendation For Sanctions Against Sang Lee And Some Ferraras, Plaintiffs Respond To Blakeman’s and City’s Oppositions To Their Motions For Sanctions In Preparation For Tomorrow’s Hearing Before Oliver

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

You probably remember that a few weeks ago Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver set a hearing for tomorrow, Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. in her courtroom on the ninth floor of the Spring Street Federal Courthouse. The subject of the hearing is sanctions for Brant Blakeman and the City defendants for allegedly destroying or failing to preserve relevant evidence. They filed oppositions to the plaintiffs’ motions a few days ago, and yesterday the plaintiffs filed responses to these oppositions:

They’re both interesting, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of new material there. They’re quite plainly spoken as to the failures of defendants to preserve evidence. There’s a transcription of the response to Blakeman’s reply after the break.

Also recall that in late October, Rozella Oliver filed a report making various recommendations for sanctions against Sang Lee and Charlie and Frank Ferrara for their failure to preserve evidence. Last week she filed an amended version of this report softening some of her recommendations.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Magistrate Judge Oliver Files Amended Recommendation For Sanctions Against Sang Lee And Some Ferraras, Plaintiffs Respond To Blakeman’s and City’s Oppositions To Their Motions For Sanctions In Preparation For Tomorrow’s Hearing Before Oliver

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Lunada Bay Boys Defendants Blakeman And City of PVE File Timely Oppositions To Plaintiffs’ Motion For Sanctions, Blakeman Throws His Co-Defendant Frank Ferrara Under The Bus To Some Extent

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

OK, so the Lunada Bay Boys plaintiffs filed a motion for sanctions against defendants Brant Blakeman, the City of PVE, and some others. The motion is here. And a couple weeks ago Judge James Otero ordered all relevant parties to brief Rozella Oliver, the magistrate judge in the case, on the issues. She turned around and set a briefing schedule and a hearing, which will happen in her courtroom on Spring Street on Wednesday, December 6, at 1:30 p.m.

That order required Blakeman and the City defendants to file briefs in opposition by November 27, which they did, and which are the reason for today’s post.3 The issue is, of course, whether these particular defendants destroyed evidence, mainly text messages, after they had a legal duty to preserve it. No one seems to deny that they did destroy the texts, so the argument is mostly about precisely when their duty to preserve evidence was activated.4

You might recall that at some point various Ferraras argued that their duty to preserve only attached when they were served with papers in the suit, but Rozella Oliver wasn’t buying it. She said that because Frank Ferrara had been interviews by the Daily Breeze prior to service he knew about the suit and ought to have not destroyed his texts. Well, Blakeman turns that argument to his own account by asserting that because he wasn’t interviewed by the paper, there’s no evidence that he knew about the suit prior to service.

Anyway, here are the briefs filed, and there are selected transcriptions from Blakeman’s pleading after the break:

Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Defendants Blakeman And City of PVE File Timely Oppositions To Plaintiffs’ Motion For Sanctions, Blakeman Throws His Co-Defendant Frank Ferrara Under The Bus To Some Extent

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Lunada Bay Boys: Otero Orders Parties To Brief Magistrate Judge Oliver On Spoliation By Defendants, Other Issues, On Basis Of Plaintiffs’ Ex Parte Application For A Hearing — Oliver Sets Hearing For December 6 at 1:30 p.m.

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

As usual things are super complicated over in Lunada Bay. A couple weeks ago the plaintiffs filed this ex parte application for an order setting a hearing on something something something regarding Blakeman’s and the City Defendants’ spoliation of evidence. I can’t untangle the recursive character of the name of this thing, but essentially the plaintiffs are asking for a hearing on the issue of whether defendant Brant Blakeman and the City of PVE destroyed evidence after they weren’t allowed to any more. This request was based on text messages newly obtained out of Papayans’s cell phone.

This was opposed by Blakeman on the usual grounds and possibly also by the City Defendants.5 Blakeman’s opposition was the subject of a fine rejoinder filed by the plaintiffs. And yesterday Judge Otero filed an order ruling that the plaintiffs had raised allegations sufficient to require a hearing and told Judge Oliver to get on it. She filed her own order this morning setting a hearing date for December 6 at 1:30 p.m. Transcriptions of the orders are after the break.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys: Otero Orders Parties To Brief Magistrate Judge Oliver On Spoliation By Defendants, Other Issues, On Basis Of Plaintiffs’ Ex Parte Application For A Hearing — Oliver Sets Hearing For December 6 at 1:30 p.m.

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Lunada Bay Boys Trial Continued Until February 6, 2018 — Transcript Of Contentious October Hearing Before Rozella Oliver Published! — Plaintiffs Call Out Brant Blakeman On His Nonsense For The Eleventy-Jillionth Time

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

Here’s an update of what’s going on with the Bay Boys. Most crucially Judge Otero has moved the trial date from next month out to February 6, 2018. Here’s a copy of the order he filed the other day.

We also have the Ferraras filing their objection to the fairly heavy sanctions against them recommended recently by Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver. If you recall, back in August Judge Otero specifically granted her the authority to rule on this stuff and given the moderate nature of her recommendations it seems unlikely that he’s going to ignore her thoughtful work just because a bunch of Ferraras ask him to. But of course we’ll see what we see.

Most interestingly, I think, we have this Plaintiffs’ reply to Blakeman’s opposition to their ex parte application for relief from Blakeman’s and the City’s spoliation of evidence. Blakeman filed this whiny-baby opposition a while ago, but the plaintiffs’ response is well worth your time. There are transcribed selections after the break.

Best of all, though, is the fact that as part of this pleading, the plaintiffs filed this transcript of the hearing held before Rozella Oliver on October 12, which attended and reported on, but how much nicer to have the transcript. Read the whole thing, please! Oliver’s dry humor is just lovely. I wish I had time to transcribe the whole thing for you, but I don’t.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Trial Continued Until February 6, 2018 — Transcript Of Contentious October Hearing Before Rozella Oliver Published! — Plaintiffs Call Out Brant Blakeman On His Nonsense For The Eleventy-Jillionth Time

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Lunada Bay Boys Case: Magistrate Judge The Honorable Rozella Oliver Recommends Sanction-Slaps For 67% Of The Ferrara Defendants, Additional Depositions Concerning Discovery Shenanigans Of Those Same Ferraras And Sang “Friend N A Pirate” Lee, Allowing Plaintiffs To Argue Inferences From Missing Evidence Before Jury!

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

Perhaps you recall that on Thursday, October 12, the plaintiffs and defendants Charlie and Frank Ferrara and Sang “Friend N A Pirate” Lee appeared before Magistrate Judge Rozella Oliver to discuss the plaintiffs’ motion that these defendants be sanctioned for destroying a bunch of obviously incriminating text messages.

Today Oliver issued a Report and Recommendation on Motion for Sanctions. The document is well worth reading, as it summarizes the entire background of discovery disputes between the plaintiffs and these three defendants in a comprehensive, comprehensible style.

This paper is in the form of a recommendation to Judge Otero rather than an order. I don’t know for sure why this is, but I’m guessing it’s because this matter is beyond the traditional powers of Magistrates and Oliver is allowed to deal with it because Otero specifically granted her the authority to do so. His having done so, I’m guessing, makes it pretty likely that he’ll accept her recommendations, especially given their prudent, moderate nature.

In particular, she says that there’s no evidence showing that Sang Lee spoiled evidence on purpose when he had a duty to preserve it. She does recommend that the plaintiffs be allowed to depose Lee again to explore the issue of evidence. To emphasize that she’s not punishing him she recommends that he and the plaintiffs split the cost of his depo. The Ferraras, that is, Charlie and Frank, come off quite a bit worse, and you can turn the page to learn their fate and read a teensy bit of the document itself.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Case: Magistrate Judge The Honorable Rozella Oliver Recommends Sanction-Slaps For 67% Of The Ferrara Defendants, Additional Depositions Concerning Discovery Shenanigans Of Those Same Ferraras And Sang “Friend N A Pirate” Lee, Allowing Plaintiffs To Argue Inferences From Missing Evidence Before Jury!

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Lunada Bay Boys Case: Charlie And Frank Ferrara Withdraw Motion For Summary Judgment, City Of PVE Releases A Bunch Of Formerly Confidential Material Proving Among Other Things That Former Police Chief Jeff Kepley Wanted To Charge Bay Boys As A Gang, More Papayans Text Messages, Powerful Plaintiffs’ Opposition To City Defendants’ Motion

For background take a look at this excellent article from the Times on this lawsuit. Also see here to download all pleadings in this case. You can also read all my posts on the case.

There’s so much going on right now that I barely have time to list the recent paper filed in the Lunada Bay Boys case, but there’s a lot of interesting stuff here.

• First of all, recall that during last week’s hearing on sanctions against defendants Charlie Ferrara, Frank Ferrara, and Sang Lee, magistrate judge the honorable Rozella Oliver strongly hinted to the Ferraras’ attorney, Alison K. Hurley, that she really ought to consider withdrawing her clients’ motion for summary judgment. Well, I suppose that when judges hint, smart people listen, and, additionally, it seems that Alison K. Hurley does as well. Thus on Monday the Ferraras filed this notice of withdrawal of their previous motion.

• Next we have the Plaintiffs’ supplemental brief in opposition to City defendants’ motion for summary judgment. The overarching issue is that the City of PVE has been so remiss in its duties to release documents that they’ve made it impossible for the plaintiffs to respond effectively to this motion for summary judgment. This is worth reading, and there’s a partial transcription at the end of this post.

• Also, this item comes with a statement of supplemental facts and a bunch of exhibits. These contain tons of super-interesting, formerly confidential, documentary evidence. The point is to enumerate all the ways in which the City defendants failure to provide this new evidence, some of it obtained as recently as yesterday, hindered the plaintiffs’ response. The new evidence is fascinating. There’s a list of links and descriptions after the break.

• Finally, there’s a supplemental brief in opposition to the individual defendants’ motions for summary judgment, which plays a role parallel to the analogous document for the City defendants. This too is well worth your attention, and there’s a partial transcription after the break. This also comes with a statement of supplemental facts, also worth reading, with lots of new creepy Bay Boy texts and so on.
Continue reading Lunada Bay Boys Case: Charlie And Frank Ferrara Withdraw Motion For Summary Judgment, City Of PVE Releases A Bunch Of Formerly Confidential Material Proving Among Other Things That Former Police Chief Jeff Kepley Wanted To Charge Bay Boys As A Gang, More Papayans Text Messages, Powerful Plaintiffs’ Opposition To City Defendants’ Motion

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