This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 03/25/2019 at 02:56:33 (UTC).

LOIS FRIEDMAN ET. AL. VS. JOHN MURPHY,M.D. ET. AL.

Case Summary

On 08/06/2013 LOIS FRIEDMAN filed an Other lawsuit against JOHN MURPHY,M D. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are ALLAN J. GOODMAN, NANCY L. NEWMAN and H. CHESTER HORN, JR.. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****1128

  • Filing Date:

    08/06/2013

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Other

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

ALLAN J. GOODMAN

NANCY L. NEWMAN

H. CHESTER HORN, JR.

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

FRIEDMAN LOIS

STEIN JARED

Defendants

MAAG DARRELL

MAXWELL & COMPANY CPA'S INC.

MAXWELL WILLIAM

MURPHY M.D. JOHN

SCHREIBER & SCHREIBER INC.

SCHREIBER EDWIN C.

SOUTHERN CLAIFORNIA RESEARCH

SOUTHWESTERN RESEARCH INC.

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA RESEARCH

Not Classified By Court

WEST HON. CARL J. RET.

HON. PATRICIA COLLINS RET

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

CORNWELL DONALD L.

Defendant Attorneys

SCHRIEBER & SCHREIBER INC.

KLINEDINST PC

RICHTER SCOTT M.

CHAPMAN GLUCKSMAN DEAN ROEB & BARGER

BERNSTEIN POLINA F.

PC KLINEDINST

 

Court Documents

Motion for Protective Order

8/6/2018: Motion for Protective Order

Request for Judicial Notice

8/21/2018: Request for Judicial Notice

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

8/31/2018: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Reply

9/4/2018: Reply

Other -

9/14/2018: Other -

Declaration

9/25/2018: Declaration

Memorandum

10/1/2018: Memorandum

Objection

10/17/2018: Objection

Unknown

12/17/2018: Unknown

Notice

12/17/2018: Notice

Notice

1/25/2019: Notice

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

3/7/2019: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Response

3/12/2019: Response

Notice of Ruling

3/14/2019: Notice of Ruling

Request for Judicial Notice

3/20/2019: Request for Judicial Notice

Request for Judicial Notice

3/20/2019: Request for Judicial Notice

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

3/20/2019: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Request for Judicial Notice

3/20/2019: Request for Judicial Notice

70 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/20/2019
  • Separate Statement; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); Jared Stein (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2019
  • Separate Statement; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); JARED STEIN (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2019
  • Declaration (of Donald Cornwell (Vol II - Exhibits 25-58); Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); Jared Stein (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2019
  • Declaration (of Donald Cornwell in Support of Motions to Compel and For Additional Issue Sanctions or Terminating Sanctions); Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); JARED STEIN (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2019
  • Separate Statement; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); Jared Stein (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2019
  • Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); Jared Stein (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2019
  • Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); JARED STEIN (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2019
  • Memorandum of Points & Authorities; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); Jared Stein (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2019
  • Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); Jared Stein (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2019
  • Separate Statement; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); Jared Stein (Plaintiff)

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1,400 More Docket Entries
  • 08/27/2013
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); JARED STEIN (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/27/2013
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); JARED STEIN (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/27/2013
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); JARED STEIN (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/27/2013
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 08/27/2013
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); JARED STEIN (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/27/2013
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); JARED STEIN (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/27/2013
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); JARED STEIN (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/27/2013
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); JARED STEIN (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/06/2013
  • Complaint Filed

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  • 08/06/2013
  • Complaint; Filed by LOIS FRIEDMAN (Plaintiff); JARED STEIN (Plaintiff); SOUTHWESTERN RESEARCH, INC. (Defendant)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: SC121128    Hearing Date: January 17, 2020    Dept: P

 

Lois Friedman et al. v. John Murphy, M.D. et al. Case No. SC121128

Hearing Date 1/17/2020

TENTATIVE RULINGS

Referee Report and Recommendation re: Motion for Terminating Sanctions (Heard 11/25/19)

Plaintiffs, as shareholders of defendant Southwestern Research, Inc. (SRI) and as trustees of the Dennis Munjack Inter Vivos Trust (“the Trust”), allege defendants Dr. Murphy (SRI’s 50% shareholder) and Maag wrongfully directed SRI’s revenues away from the Trust. Further, defendants allegedly formed a competing entity, Southern California Research LLC (SCR), while working for SRI, planning to dissolve SRI and continue its business under SCR’s name.

Plaintiffs moved for terminating sanctions against Murphy for failing to comply with a November 7, 2018 court order requiring him to produce SRI’s records from a storage locker, respond to contention interrogatories and supplement prior discovery with an explanation of why he could not produce missing documents. The discovery referee issued a report recommending terminating sanctions for failure to comply with the order.

Requests for Production of Documents – Storage Locker

On June 8, 2016, plaintiffs requested production of SRI records Murphy placed in a storage locker. On April 28, 2017, the court ordered Murphy to produce the documents, as well as documents in the possession of his accountants, the Maxwell defendants. On November 7, 2018, the court adopted the referee’s finding that Murphy failed to produce the storage locker documents and awarding sanctions.

The referee concluded, inter alia, that Murphy continues to have access to the storage locker despite representations to the contrary, and that by repeatedly failing to produce the locker’s contents, Murphy violated multiple court orders. The referee recommends terminating sanctions.

Requests for Production of Documents – Deletion of Emails

The referee determined Murphy ordered the deletion of defendant Maag’s entire SRI email account, while Maag deleted Murphy’s SCR accounts. The referee found this spoliation justifies terminating sanctions.

Fabricated Evidence

The referee concluded Murphy fabricated documents stating SRI was ineligible to perform four clinical trials (the Shire and Forest studies) in order to transfer those trials to SCR. The referee concluded that, despite the documents’ contents, SRI was eligible to perform the trials.

False Responses

The referee determined Murphy provided false responses to plaintiffs’ discovery, inaccurately representing he lacked access to his own tax returns, SRIs tax returns and emails with the Maxwell accountant defendants.

Objections

Procedure – Length of Separate Statement

Murphy first argues the motion underlying the referee’s recommendations was improper, since it contained a 71-page separate statement and hundreds of pages of exhibits. California Rule of Court 3.1345 (c) requires motions for sanctions to include a separate statement and imposes no page limit on the statement.

Jurisdiction

Murphy argues the referee had no jurisdiction to issue terminating sanctions, since the referee’s powers are limited to discovery motions, and the instant motion was for sanctions due to disobedience of a court order. Opposition at pgs. 2-3. The court disagrees. The instant motion seeks to enforce court orders related to defendant’s failure to comply with discovery obligations. The motion was brought under various discovery statutes (Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §§2030.300(e), 2031.310(i), 2031.320(c), and 2023.010). The motion constitutes a “dispute relevant to discovery in the action,” so falls within the scope of the court’s order appointing the referee.

Compliance with Court Order

Murphy argues he has acted in good faith to comply with his discovery obligations, and any failure to comply with the court orders has been accidental, a result of the “avalanche of discovery” propounded. Objection at pgs. 9-11. Defendant also argues, contrary to the referee’s determinations, that plaintiffs had access to the storage locker’s contents.

Murphy does not dispute that the SRI email accounts were deleted in May 2016, in violation of his duty to preserve those accounts. Further, he does not directly address the referee’s finding that he fabricated evidence in connection with the Shire and Forest studies.

Defendant’s argument that discovery has been voluminous, and some failures of production were likely, even had Murphy been acting in good faith throughout the discovery process, is well taken. The court notes Murphy has, to a large extent, complied with his discovery obligations, producing hundreds of pages of documents and submitting to hours of deposition. Finally, Murphy provides credible evidence of multiple good-faith attempts to make the contents of the storage locker available to plaintiffs. In this context, the court is reluctant to impose the drastic penalty of terminating sanctions.

The court does finds sanctions are warranted, since Murphy unquestionably engaged in discovery violations, notably by failing to preserve the SRI email accounts. The court will therefore impose issue sanctions as follows:

The court will treat as a fact that from 2008-2011 defendant Murphy engaged in email correspondence with Maag, the Maxwell Defendants, the Schreiber Defendants and other SRI employees evidencing a plan to create a new entity (SCR) for the purposes of taking over SRI’s studies.

The court will also order Murphy and/or Public Storage to make the locker’s contents available, so all relevant documents can be produced.

Referee Report and Recommendation re: Motion to Compel Gould Deposition (Heard 12/13/19)

The Schreiber defendants seek to depose Howard Gould, the Trust’s corporate counsel and a member of SRI’s board. Plaintiffs objected on the grounds that Gould is the trust’s corporate counsel, and the criteria allowing a deposition of opposing counsel are not met.

The referee found the relevant test was articulated in Spectra-Physics, Inc. v. Superior Court (1988) 198 Cal.App.3d 1487. Applying that test, the referee determined that none of the three prongs were fulfilled and denied the Schreiber defendants’ motion to compel. No objection has been filed. The court adopts the referee’s recommendation.

Case Number: SC121128    Hearing Date: December 12, 2019    Dept: P

 

Lois Friedman et al. v. John Murphy, M.D. et al., Case No. SC121128

Schreiber Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment

Hearing Date December 12, 2019

TENTATIVE RULING

The Schreiber defendants move for summary judgment on all causes of action.

Defendants move for summary judgment on the grounds that plaintiffs have no evidence of causation. Defendants cite Dr. Murphy’s deposition, wherein he testified none of the decisions he made when running SRI were influenced by Schreiber’s advice. Motion at pgs. 14-17. This makes a prima facie showing, shifting the burden to plaintiff.

The prima facie showing is contradicted by the issue sanctions the court issued for spoliation of evidence, which determined inter alia, that the Schreiber defendants aided Dr. Murphy in his alleged scheme and breached their duties as counsel for SRI. See plaintiffs’ exhibit A. The issues deemed admitted via sanctions create a triable issue of fact as to causation, despite Dr. Murphy’s deposition testimony. For the foregoing reasons, the motion is DENIED.