Doumanian’s reprisal move against Danielle Baez

 

 

We’ve known about this new case for a while but weren’t going to write about it yet, if only to preserve whatever’s left of Danielle Baez’s privacy in what is obviously a trumped up reprisal move from the desk of Glendale attorney Nancy Doumanian.

Hopefully, because of this case, Ms. Doumanian will be either disbarred or suspended from practice by the time it’s all over. She better have a damned good cause of action against Baez here or she more than likely will be (she doesn’t).

The Leader article today gets into some of the story, but not all of it. Just for now, all we’ll say is that…

  1. This is an old claim from a so-called employer of Baez. The BPD investigated his complaints about a year and a half ago and found nothing.
  2. It raises some very serious and troubling questions about why this tort case against Baez was filed after it was obvious she would prevail in her appeal against the BUSD, and for the same amount of money; as well as why it is being handled by the very same attorney who she so righteously humiliated in the public eye with all the bad publicity from the first one. Among California judges and her fellow attorneys, Doumanian’s professional reputation took a big hit because of that ridiculous 7-year-long BUSD case. So her displeasure is obvious.
  3. Nancy Doumanian is not a tort/business fraud attorney, and so why is she handling this kind of case in the first place? She specializes in personal injury and employment law — she’s not (in other words) O’Melveny and Myers. And who approached whom first? Client, or attorney?
  4. From what we’ve heard, this case against Baez has no merit — although she and her sister’s countersuit against the guy sounds promising.
  5. At ‘press time’ here it still appears that the BUSD is holding up payment of Baez’s $200,000 settlement amount until after this other case gets decided or goes to trial. The net effect of this action of course will be to prevent Baez from being able to spend any of her settlement money. Right now she could be spending at least some of it on accrued bills and such, but afterwards — if she loses, or gets close to a verdict — any expenditure on her part could be viewed as a blatant attempt to avoid collection. So is the BUSD wrongfully colluding with Nancy Doumanian in order to continue to punish Danielle Baez, and with a meritless case that was designed to retaliate against her for winning the earlier one?

 

Btw, Danielle Baez isn’t the only problem that Doumanian has had the last couple of years. Not too long ago this same attorney was admonished for misconduct by a judge who goes out of her way to cite the following event in her ruling against granting D’s clients a new trial.

(Incidentally, the original case involved three employees who sued Pasadena City College. One sued for discrimination and harassment (hostile work environment), the others sued because they were witnesses to the act; when they reluctantly noted this fact to the supervisor who was responsible he immediately fired them both on the very same day! That’s right– instead of instantly settling with these obviously aggrieved employees, and firing the guy responsible for the grief, PCC hired Doumanian to defend them.)

For those interested, this case is actually being used in employment law legal procedure seminars at UC Hastings. Unbelievable transcript portion here from the original trial. (It’s always the janitors that get the crap, isn’t it?)

Also from the trial transcript, as noted in the judge’s opinion:

“MS. DOUMANIAN: THIS CASE IS NOT ABOUT INJUSTICE OR CIVIL RIGHTS. THIS CASE IS THE TYPE OF CASE THAT MAKES THAT MAKES LEGITIMATE CASES LOOK ILLEGITIMATE. THIS IS THE KIND OF CASE THAT HARMS ALL WORKERS WHO HAVE LEGITIMATE CLAIMS THAT THEY BRING TO THE COURTS. THIS CASE IS NOT ABOUT $5 MILLION. IT IS NOT ABOUT WRITING A WRONG. IN FACT, WHAT THIS CASE IS REALLY ABOUT IS YOU CANNOT EVEN AWARD THEM A
DOLLAR OUT OF SYMPATHY. YOU CANNOT EVEN AWARD THEM $1,00 OUT OF SYMPATHY JUST AS A MATTER OF PRINCIPLE. IF YOU AWARD ONE DOLLAR TO THE PLAINTIFFS, THEY GET TO COLLECT ALL OF THEIR ATTORNEY FEES AND RECOVER ATTORNEY FEES IN THEIR CASE.

MR. GOLDBERG: OBJECTION YOUR HONOR.

THE COURT: I’M SORRY.

MR. GOLDBERG: OBJECTION YOUR HONOR. THAT IS TOTALL Y IMPROPER ARGUMENT.

THE COURT: ALL RIGHT. LETS SEE. OH, YES. I AM SHOCKED THAT YOU WOULD SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

MS. DOUMANIAN: THERE WAS NO IN LIMINE ON IT. I APOLOGIZE.

THE COURT: THERE WAS NO WHAT?

MS. DOUMANIAN: THERE WAS NO MOTION IN LIMINE ON THAT.

THE COURT: YOU KNOW THAT THAT IS COMPLETELY INADMISSIBLE. YOU KNOW THAT THAT IS COMPLETELY SOMETHING THAT IS NEVER TOLD TO JURORS. IT IS ONE OF THE DIRTIEST TRICKS I HAVE EVER SEEN. SO I AM GOING TO TELL THE JURY THAT WHAT SHE SAYS IS NOT EVIDENCE. YOU DON’T KNOW WHETHER SHE IS TELLING YOU THE TRUTH OR NOT. YOU MUST COMPLETEL Y DISREGARD WHAT SHE SAID. THERE IS NO WITNESS, THERE IS NO LEGAL INSTRUCTION THAT BACKS THAT UP, AND I AM SHOCKED. WHY DON’T YOU FINISH RIGHT NOW.”

Her opinion continues:

Defendant [Pasadena City College] complains that the judge impugned Ms. Doumanian’s truthfulness with the foregoing admonition. However, Ms. Doumanian’s statement of the law was, indeed, untrue. Counsel’s claim that plaintiffs would “get to collect all of their attorney fees” so long as the jury awarded one dollar is a misstatement of the law. Trial courts have discretion to deny, and do deny, attorney fees to a plaintiff who recovers less than $25,000 on a FEHA claim. (Chavez v. City of Los Angeles (2010) 47 Ca1.4th 970,990.)

Moreover, defense counsel should not have needed a motion in limine to warn her not to mention that plaintiffs might recover attorney’s fees. Counsel knew that CACI 3964, which had just been read aloud to the jury in defense counsel’s presence, states: “You must not consider or include
as part of any award, attorney fees or expenses that the parties incurred in bringing or defending this lawsuit.” Defense counsel knew that it was improper to raise the issue of attorney fees in closing argument and did it anyway.

This was not the first time defense counsel had made a clearly improper appeal to the jurors’ sympathies passions and prejudices. A few minutes earlier in her closing argument, defense counsel had argued that the five million dollars plaintiffs were seeking in emotional distress damages would be better used if kept by the College for textbooks classrooms. This comment was not based on any evidence presented and was an improper appeal to the passions and prejudices of these particular jurors, many of whom were college or high school teachers or students. The court had just sustained an objection to this argument without significant comment.

Nor was this the first time during closing argument or trial that defense counsel had misstated the evidence to the jury. Her closing argument had been rife with incorrect statements about what witnesses had testified to, as well as misleading omissions from testimony she quoted to the jury. (See Order granting Pop’s motion for new trial, prepared concurrently herewith.)
 
 

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30 Comments

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30 responses to “Doumanian’s reprisal move against Danielle Baez

  1. Interested in reform of the school district

    Given how everything has been mis-managed by the school board this is a very interesting story to read. Complete with lies and deception these school board members have a shaded history of difficulty with the truth.

    Being honest here this is the work of Applebaum and Reynolds along with their lap dogs like Superintendent Britz.

    The district needs a complete investigation and a complete audit that is done by an outside authority that has no connection to anyone is the school district.

    The fact that they hire and get in bed with the people that they do, only goes to show that they have been dishonest with the citizens of Burbank who pay the bills for a very long time.

    No doubt in my mind that Applebaum is the chief rat among them but the rest of them seem to go for the cheese every time without a word of objection. For that they are all culpable.

    • semichorus

      In the old days, the once-very fine CSEA union would have done a forensic audit of the district in order to establish some groundwork for salary and benefit negotiations. Such BUSD perfidy would have been quickly discovered.

      But nowadays that outfit is a complete disaster. They betray their employees at a minute’s notice whenever there’s a problem by running to management to give them aid and comfort. Still, according to California law, this legal fees/settlement information must be disclosed by the BUSD upon public request to ANYONE who asks.

      Of course, it would take about $200,000 in attorneys fees to get the info– and you’d ultimately win — but they will NOT disclose any of this on their own.

  2. Jay

    Question how can the school headquarters hold off on paying a jury awarded verdict do they think they are above the law ? Also if they hold up payment doesn’t Baez get interest that adds up on the daily ?

    • semichorus

      Yes. But if they can hold it up long enough, Baez then has to forfeit ALL of the money to this judgment creditor if and when she loses he case. The amount sought by the guy is exactly the same as what she got from the BUSD.

      What a coincidence, eh?

      If Baez spends it first in light of a defeat, she’s guilty of fraudulent intent. A defendant can’t vaporize their money like that in order to defer collection.

      So is there a connection here? Is the BUSD helping to deprive Baez of her long-fought gain by deliberately holding up her money until she loses it possibly?

      Were any of us born yesterday?

      Doumanian better have a good case here. Otherwise, I think her professional legal career is in jeopardy. Anyone can see what’s going on with her and this new representation.

      I don’t think Doumanian does– because of her displeasure over losing this case, I think she is instead engaging in a blatant retaliatory effort against Baez (new legal fees to pay, etc.) in order to deprive her of the BUSD judgment. She’s trying to drain Baez of her money via the need to defend a malicious prosecution.

      That’s my opinion, and I think the timing here proves it.

  3. Anonymous

    Makes me wonder if they hire this attorney what are the other people they hire really like ? This makes me concerned about all the people this district hires and works with.

    • semichorus

      The PCC case was just extraordinary in its meanspiritedness and insanity. There is no way in HELL that anyone could defend what that employer did to those three substitute custodial employees.

      Fortunately, they had Gloria Allred’s firm to represent them. I’m no fan of hers, but she is more than a bit of a liberal Humanist with these things.

  4. Anonymous

    I just had to deal with Burbank Adult School about a transfer of money I paid and couldn’t attend class. Wow, I was told by this woman that I should call her again as she gets distracted!

    • semichorus

      She’s distracted by the fact that her boss has told her not to give back money to students.

      You know, btw, that the Adult School got in big trouble a few years ago back when they:

      1. Charged ESL and adult high school students money for required fees and materials (high school’s still illegal to do so, ESL they now can– the law was changed, but not then.)

      2. Charged Adult School students hundreds of dollars for “Real College Classes!” offered through Valley College, when the College itself only charged something like the $60 each per state community college limit. They got nailed REAL bad on that one 🙂

      Sadly, the BAS never used to be this way. But for the last 20 years or so we’ve had liars, crooks, and assholes running this once fine Burbank Unified School District.

      The decline has been very sad to witness. The days of Dolores Palmer, Tom Barkelew, and Bob Leland are long, LONG gone.

      And oh, and do they hate me! The lying and reputation-bashing that has come from that place over the last same many years is just something to behold.

      • Anonymous

        I signed up for a class. On my way there, had a blow out on the freeway. Told them. Spoke to Instructor all cool. Missed second week due to illness. All I want is for my $99 to be transferred to the next time the course is available (Spanish conversational 1). They have refused. I am going after them. I have already bought the text book ($60). Such arrogant witches.

        • semichorus

          I just noticed that Urioste is the BAS principal.

          No wonder you’re having problems. He’s a major a-hole. Wonder what did he do wrong to have been demoted there, too. Wasn’t he a big district-wide asst super?

          99 bucks for a class? That’s atrocious. The BUSD has been (for quite a few years now) using the BAS as a cash cow for their other operations. This used to be illegal — financial firewalls were in place due to old state law — but now it’s free-ride time for California school districts when it comes to their adult school operations.

          They’re big now on online ripoff classes. They promise the kids all this future freedom when it comes to high school class choice if they partake of the new offerings, and at a BIG price.

          I love too all these new policies they have — all of the “you must” this and “you must” that. Go to hell, I’d tell them.

          Ah for the days of Bill Doyle and Kim Rhodes! And Ray Hraskokowski. David Bayer, too. Very nice and concerned people, very good operation, very cheap tuition. Oftentimes it was totally free.

          They were educators first.

  5. Anonymous

    We need to vote out the trolls that are running the schools like piggy banks and acting like big piggies. Applebomb needs to go maybe Baez could run against him and take him out.

  6. Anonymous

    BUSD board and leadership is completely dysfunctional! If teachers from the various BUSD schools were really united and spoke with one voice about the true problems with the district then possibly some change could occur. But, that doesn’t happen because the teachers union only represents bargaining contract issues and not the incompetent district leadership from Tom Kissinger to Applebaum.
    Speaking frankly, most teachers are to insecure about their jobs to speak up about the real problems with the district.If a teacher speaks up the principal will retilitate against that teacher at some time in her/his career.Principals in BUSD are a group all to themselves and our always looking out for their own careers.School principals are abvery closed leadership group and their support system is each other,not their staff.
    What is not shared is board members have/had almost zero communication with teachers, Kissinger has/had zero communication with teachers, and the Super only has a token visit or two at a school during a school year.The board is isolated from the schools, leadership is isolated from the teachers, principals are distant from their staff so they can keep control, all while most teachers are isolated in their classrooms holding up the district with their hard under appreciated work.
    Until a real honest communication is evident by all stakeholders then BUSD will continue to be same old business as usual!
    Tune into a board meeting on tv from time to time.How many speakers do you see stand up at the podium and share their displeasure with the board?You will see almost zero speakers because teachers are afraid of the negative ramifications, and most parents are so under informed about whats really going on with the schools they have no reason to voice a concern!

    • semichorus

      The BTA was absolutely INSANE for not supporting that CSEA guy for school board during the last election. It would have been a true wonderment to have a CSEA field/financial rep on there.

      But, that’s how foolishly sectarian they are.

      Twenty years ago things were quite different. People spoke up there all the time– the place would be packed. And 30 years ago both unions worked together to elect an SEIU guy to the board, Chuck Goldwasser.

      • Evelyn

        Word has it that this Nancy hired private investigators to go after Baez and submitted the Bill to the BUSD insurer after losing 3 trials.
        When another lawyer represented the District on Appeal, she hustled this sub-contractor for the Burbank Housing Corp.to go after Baez and sister.
        Mr. Semi has some revealing info.
        We always heard he had good sources at BUSD. We believe it.

        • semichorus

          Yes, I’ve assumed that she solicited her “client,” and not the other way around.

          The BPD already investigated Baez, too. Cleared her.

          Thanks for the tip Evelyn. You’re sources are always impeccable.

          Btw. BUSD use of private investigators on their employees is quite common. They’ve even sicced a few on me over the years.

          Back in the 80s they went into my 70s “past” after we (me and the CSEA chapter) took them on with what ended up being a winning arbitration case. Judge Murphy had to hold up all their state funds until they abided by the arbitrator’s binding decision against them. Happy Campers they were not.

          It has continued on as well. They also handed over my sealed personnel files to the BPD a few years ago — sealed by CSEA agreement and never released via a court order.

          You old BPD guys didn’t think I knew that, did you? Or how a few of your ‘Cowboys’ stole my car one night from my driveway and dumped it over on Spazier four blocks away in Glendale, right after I began writing about the Portos mess. Yeah, fuck you too.

          Sealed personnel files completely full of self-serving b.s., btw. Desperate characters they are, this BUSD, and have been since about the big mid-80s management changes.

          About a dozen years ago the board also directed their attorney at the time– Dick Currier — to write a letter to the Leader against me after I’d criticized them in the same paper. He illegally referenced my employment history against me (lies always) to retaliate against a free speech move on my part that had nothing to do with my personal history with them. To try to discredit me.

          I’d been talking about Keiko Hentell and how awful they’d been to her. As well as David Bayer a few years earlier. Issues that had nothing to do with my employment.

  7. chad

    Well, as my mom (who would have been 95 on Tuesday) would have said, “Gawd luv ya.”

  8. John Trapper

    Nancy is a time bomb ready to explode. A smart person would lay back for a while after the 3.2 million dollar loss, which is a huge embarrassment if not cause for many of her clients to drop her since the judge stated it was her misconduct that lost the case for them. Does she honestly think that her reputation does not precede itself. She will not be able to walk into a courtroom in the Greater Los Angeles area where they have not heard about her comma and I mean judges and attorneys alike. She might have a chance if she wasn’t so driven 2 attack opposition in a very personal way. Working on hundreds of cases, I have never seen an attorney who operated out of ego like this one other than common sense or doing what’s best for her clients. Her time to practice law is limited Kama so I guess she might as well use that time chaotically.

    • semichorus

      Her misconduct got the second trial, yes, which was victorious for Baez. I believe her first appeals court ordered it. (P.s. The second one ended in an immediate mistrial, also because of some of Doumanian’s comments … So there was a third, which Baez won.)

      This new case isn’t going to make Doumanian look good. If she loses it, she’s toast. I also question the ethics here anyway, of her immediately taking on a new case against a victorious plaintiff. No matter if it’s a good case or not. It seems like there’s at least an ethical conflict of interest. Not sure about Bar Association propriety, or rules, but I wouldn’t have done it.

    • Anonymous

      Brilliant analysis.

    • Power of Three

      Good to see you on here John. Now if we can only get Danielle Baez and Elizabeth Pop. Couldn’t the three of you get together and file a complaint with the ABA against Nancy? It seems to me that regardless of how notorious Nancy’s antics are until a Superior Court Judge takes the time to report her she isn’t motivated to change. If this happened in the Federal Courts she would have been hit with large sanctions and possibly even jail time as they don’t put up with these kind of antics over there. Until people take the time to take a stance then change will never come. Until it happens to you no-one really understands what it is like to be attacked by this vindictive attorney but maybe if the three of you stood together, there is power in numbers, then at least the ABA would have to review her antics.

      I have a question for Semi….doesn’t anyone one wonder why this contractor just so happens to be suing Baez TWO YEARS later?!?! Seems to me he was stalking her case and waited until she won and her appeal had been heard. I know if someone stole from me I would immediately go to the police and not wait for the individual to come into money two years later. Must be why the BPD looked into this but did nothing more. If it smells fishy….

      • semichorus

        He went to the police first– although he knew from long back that she possibly had some money coming to her. The police cleared her on a criminal complaint, at least from what I heard.

        Then — after much time had elapsed, he suddenly files this case against Baez in January, when it looks like the appeals court will finally be coming through for her. Using the same angry attorney who already has a record of court misconduct against the defendant.

        You’re right. No credibility. There’s also the concept of laches to consider. I hope the court will.

      • John

        I would love to connect with Danielle and Elizabeth and see what options we could pursue. I already submitted a lengthy (70 pages I think) complaint to the bar. They are usually useless in these matters and were in this case. I complained about an Attorney a few years back. They refused to do anything but the Attorney General got involved and he was suspended. Danielle and Elizabeth can feel free to contact me at StopNancy@plaintiffparalegal.net I taked with Nathan Goldberg at the Popp Trial and some players in the Burbank case, but never the victims. I’d really like to join forces. Also, I witnessed the Popp Trial first hand where Nancy was constantly being pulled to sidebar to be reprimanded by the Judge who was very fair. I’m not sure if you know, but I have oral arguments in my appeal on April 15th. If she loses to a pro se, she’s really done. I will be focusing on her misconduct in my oral arguments as the briefs cover everything else thoroughly.

  9. chad

    If this new suit has any legs, Baez’s attorney has to argue to allow prior history into the case. If that’s allowed, Baez should be okay. It is pretty dubious that the $200 grand figure just happens to come up again.

  10. Elliott

    You may find that SHE went hunting for a client to SLAP at Baez.
    That’s when the BPD got involved.
    Enter the spokesperson with the standard line he uses.
    He speaks as if there was a time warp.
    Apparently Sgt. Lasocko is told nothing.
    The BUSD attorney, and her pal Jan the courtroom laugher “found” this innocent little subcontractor to ride as a hobby horse.
    Nancy is known for “cruisin’ for a bruisin'”
    Sooner, not later.

  11. John

    Also, knowing Nancy’s sloppy work, I imagine there will be evidence that gets into this 2nd lawsuit against Danielle that was collected improperly, another reason to discipline Doumanian. I would think anything she obtained in the case she Defended for the school district is not to be used. In fact, I think some of you who are speaking out at school board meetings should get the Board to commit to NOT allowing Nancy to use anything that they paid for.

  12. TONI CAMPBELL

    Great work, John.

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