Appellant Maura Larkins Opening Brief
re Dec. 11, 2009 San Diego Superior Court Injunction re San Diego Education
Report website
Filed in the California Court of Appeal on October 29, 2010

Plaintiff filed a complaint for defamation on October 5, 2007 against MAURA
LARKINS based on statements she published on her website, mauralarkins.
com, regarding Plaintiff law firm's relationship with local public schools (I AA
1).  Defendant filed an answer on November 16, 2007 (I AA 10).  Defendant
filed a Motion to Compel Depositions of Plaintiff’s official representative,
and Plaintiff attorney and production of documents.  The motion was denied (I
AA 63).  

Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint on July 29, 2008  (I AA 64).  
Defendant filed an Answer on September 29, 2008 (I AA 75).  Defendant filed
a second Motion to Compel Deposition and Production of documents on
January 15, 2009 (I AA 93).  The hearing was scheduled for February 6, 2009,
but the decision was delayed until February 20, 2009, which was the date of
the Summary Judgment hearing.  This Motion #2 to Compel Depositions was
denied (I AA 154).

Summary Judgment Motion was filed by Plaintiff on October 24, 2008 (I AA
155).  Plaintiff’s request to throw out Defendant’s declaration in its entirety
(II AA 290) was granted by court (II AA 401).  Summary judgment was granted
to Plaintiff on February 20, 2009 (exhibit 26) (II AA 401).  

A jury trial to determine damages was set for April 6, 2009, however, instead
of a trial, a stipulated injunction was signed in which Defendant agreed not to
publish “statements with regard to Plaintiff and its lawyers accusing illegal
conduct or violations of law, unethical conduct, lack of professional
competence or intimidation” (exhibit 33) (II AA 467).

Plaintiff thereafter filed a Motion to Enforce Injunction, claiming that
Defendant had not gone far enough in censoring her website (exhibit 34) (II
AA 480).  

On August 7, 2009 the court ruled that Defendant had violated the injunction,
but did not indicate whether one, some or all of the five statements were
defamatory (exhibit 37) (III AA 655a-c).  Defendant removed some of the
statements from her website, but kept other statements that did not say that
Plaintiff had behaved illegally or unethically or practiced intimidation.

Plaintiff then filed a Motion to Strike Answer and Enter Default (exhibit 38) (II
AA 656), specifying five statements on Defendant’s website (exhibit 38) (II
AA page 658).  Defendant removed one of the statements from her website,
but kept the other statements on her website.  

The Superior Court’s October 30, 2010 ruling on the Motion to Strike Answer
as to whether any of the statements violated the injunction (exhibit 44) (III AA
748), but implied in her remarks at the hearing on October 30, 2009 that the
statements did violate the injunction (RT 98-103).  
Following up on the October 30, 2009 minute order, Plaintiff prepared the
order on which this appeal is based, the injunction order signed on December
11, 2009 modifying the April 6, 2009 stipulated injunction (exhibit 46) (III AA

The Notice of Entry of the December 11, 2009 order modifying injunction was
served on Defendant on January 20, 2010, and filed on January 21, 2010 (IV
AA 789).  On the same day, Plaintiff filed an ex parte application requesting
that the court find Defendant in contempt of court.  In response, the court
scheduled a Motion to Show Cause regarding contempt, and Defendant was
found in contempt of court on March 10, 2010 and sanctioned $3000, to be
paid to Plaintiff.

The Notice of Appeal was filed on March 18, 2010 (IV AA 1013).   Appellant’s
Notice Designating Record on Appeal was filed on March 25, 2010 (IV AA


This appeal is from an injunction order of the San Diego County Superior Court
and is authorized by the Code of Civil Procedure section 904.1(a)(6).  The
intent of CCP section 904.1 (a)(6) is that all orders granting injunctions,
whether temporary, permanent or provisional, are appealable [Western
Electroplating Co. v. Henness (1959) 172 Cal. App. 2d 278, 283, 341 P.2d
718].  In particular, orders modifying injunctions are appealable [Pro-Family
Advocates v. Gomez (a996) 46 Cal. App. 1674, 1678 n.1, 54 Cal. Rptr. 2d 600;
see also Chico Feminist Women’s Health Center v. Scully (1989) 208 Cal. App.
3d 230, 251, 256 Cal Rptr. 194].
University of San Diego (USD) law professor Shaun Martin represented Maura Larkins pro bono in
the Court of Appeal.  He is the author of the blog
California Appellate Report.

California Court of Appeal decision: Stutz Artiano
Shinoff & Holtz v. Maura Larkins injunction is
Stutz attorney Daniel Shinoff is a favored attorney of San Diego County Office of Education.
December 11, 2009 Injunction

“Due to Defendant’s continued
circumvention of this Court’s
orders, the Court hereby
modifies the Injunction to
prevent Defendant from making
any mention of Plaintiff law firm
or any of its attorneys, past or
present.  Defendant is enjoined
and restrained from continuing
to publish or republishing, by
any method or media, including
but not limited to all electronic
data, websites and web pages,
any statements pertaining to
Plaintiff and any of its lawyers,
past or present, and future
publication of statements with
regard to Plaintiff and its
lawyers.  Defendant is ordered
to remove all mention of
Plaintiff and any of its lawyers,
past or present, from her
websites or websites under her
control within twenty days.”
The four statements that
triggered the injunction below:

1 “Who trains school attorneys?  

Attorneys who have helped schools
avoid revealing events in schools are
in charge of training both new board
members and new school
attorneys…Mr. X trains board
members and employees as well as

2.        “One of Mr. X’s specialties
is planning legal tactics against
parents who complain that their
kids aren’t getting the right

3.        “Mr. X should be ashamed
of misusing the suffering of his
wife’s relatives to gain an
advantage in the courtroom.”

ATTORNEY when the city made
deals which the SEC and the FBI are
now investigating.  Perhaps this one
bit of information explains why Ms. A
is outraged at Aguirre’s efforts to
expose the facts about actions by
public officials!  [Plaintiff's law firm] to
which the SDCOE JPA steers the lion’
s share of its cases, is closely tied to
right-wing Republicans such as Ms.
A.  Ms. A joined the Stutz law firm
after losing to Michael Aguirre in the
race for San Diego City Attorney.  
Ms. A has recently admitted that if
she had been elected, she would
HAVE HELPED city officials and
employees, not the public, regarding
the secret 2002 pension
underfunding deal.  I think the city
attorney should, in the public
interest, demand explanations from

Plaintiff discussed a fifth statement in
its motion, but that statement had
been removed from her website by
Defendant since Defendant.  The
fifth statement was, “Attorney Dan
Shinoff fools the US Office of Civil
Rights…In fact, Stutz law firm itself
used the courts to try to force a paid
expert witness to testify as the school
district wished” [Vista Unified School
District v. Dr. B. J. Freeman, a case
that was wisely dropped by the
school district in its early stages].”   
Defendant has made a sincere effort
to obey the stipulated injunction, and
in order to err on the side of caution,
removed the statement because it
contained the words “fooled the
Office of Civil Rights” and “used the
court to try to force a paid expert
witness to testify as the school district
wished.”  It is a simple fact  that
Plaintiff's law firm filed a lawsuit
against a psychologist because she
refused to testify in support of Vista
Unified School District’s
determination that a specific child
was ineligible for special education,
but Defendant is willing to go out of
her way not to publish  her own
opinions about the legality and ethics
of Plaintiff’s actions.  Defendant
does, however, realize now that the
stipulated injunction amounted to a
blatant subterfuge by Plaintiff and
Judge Hayes, and is
unconstitutionally broad, as proven
by the infinite vastness of statements
that it prohibits in the interpretation of
the Superior Court, and
unconstitutionally vague, as  proven
by the fact that it has been
interpreted by the Superior Court to
mean something completely different
from what Defendant understood
when she agreed to it.  
Now the true identities of the
lawyers in the statements below
can be revealed:
Mr. "X" is Daniel Shinoff.  
Ms. "A" is Leslie Devaney.
San Diego Education Report
San Diego
Education Report
San Diego Education Report
San Diego
Education Report
Despite the Court of
Appeal ruling on
August 5, 2010 (see
next box), defendant
Maura Larkins was
forced to return to the
Court of Appeal after
Judge Judith Hayes
continued to forbid her
to say "anything" about
Stutz Law firm.  
Stutz v. Larkins appeal regarding
unconstitutional injunctions against free speech
(Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz v. Maura Larkins defamation case)
Stutz v. Larkins appeal #2
Appeals Stutz v. Larkins
#2   2010 Appeal re Dec. 11,
                    2009 injunction
#3    Sanctions Petition for Writ
EXHIBITS for 4 and 5
And new volumes XI and XII
for appeal 5
4 AND 5, asking Court of
Appeal to ignore Larkins'
Appeal 4, and allow Stutz to
ignore it--without Stutz being
found in default
Court transcripts
Maura Larkins won this appeal on August 5, 2011
“The sanction selected by the trial court—eliminating all
references to the law firm—is not constitutionally different from a
money sanction.  An order to pay a monetary sanction does not
violate freedom of speech.”
--Stutz law firm brief page 14 and first three lines of page 15