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Plaintiffs' Opposition to LSU Motion to Strike

Plaintiffs' Opposition to LSU Motion to Strike

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Published by Jared Wright
Richard McCune on behalf of Kaatz et al, Plaintiffs, files this Opposition to LSU's motion to strike Plaintiffs' complaint.
Richard McCune on behalf of Kaatz et al, Plaintiffs, files this Opposition to LSU's motion to strike Plaintiffs' complaint.

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Published by: Jared Wright on Oct 25, 2011
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12/31/2013

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1RichardD.McCune,StateBarNo.132124DavidC.Wright,StateBarNo.1774682MicheleM.Vercoski,StateBarNo.244010
l\tlcCUNEWRIGHTLLP
32068OrangeTreeLane,Suite216Redlands,California923744Telephone:(909)557-1250Facsimile:(909)557-12755678910
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141516171819202122
23II
AttorneysforPlaintiffsINTHESUPERIORCOURTOFCALIFORNIAOCTINANDFORTHECOUNTYOFRIVE~E",",_,~,_,c
~w"'_~,_'''w
)CaseNo.:RIC1112557
)
)PLAINTIFFS'OPPOSITIONTO)DEFENDANTLASIERRAUNIVERSITY'S)MOTIONTOSTRIKEPORTIONSOF)PLAINTIFFS'COMPLAINT
)
)
)HearingDate:October20,2011)HearingTime:8:30a.m.)Judge:CommissionerPauletteDurand-Barkley)Department:2
)))
)JudgeAssigned:Hon.CraigG.Riemer)ComplaintFiled:July28,2011
))
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JEFFRYM.KAATZ,JAMESW.BEACH,andGARYL.BRADLEY,Plaintiffs,v.RICARDOGRAHAM;PACIFICUNIONCONFERENCEOFSEVENTH-DAYADVENTISTS,anot-for-profitcorporation;DANIEL
R.
JACKSON;LARRYBLACKMER;NORTHAMERICANDIVISIONCORPORATIONOFSEVENTH-DAYADVENTISTS,anot-for-profitcorporation;andLASIERRAUNIVERSITY,anot-for-profitcorporation;andDOES1-100,Defendants.
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Plaintiffs'OppositiontoDefendants'MotiontoStrikeComplaint
 
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1I
2INTRODUCTION3DefendantLaSierraUniversitybeginsitMemorandumofPointsandAuthoritiesinsupportofit4MotiontoStrikewiththesamemanufacturedrefrainthatisrepletethroughoutallofitsvariousmotions;5namely,thatPlaintiffsareaskingthisCourttobecomeinvolvedindecidinghowSeventh-dayAdventist6Churchorganizationsaretobegoverned,interact,andaccomplishtheirreligiousmission,
in
violationof7theFirstAmendment.However,Defendant'srelentlessrepetitionofthistalkingpointdoesnotserveto8makeitanymoretrue.NoreasonableandfairreadingofPlaintiffs'Complaintcansupportthis9characterizationofPlaintiffs'allegations.
In
nowaydoesPlaintiffs'ComplaintasktheCourttodecide10areligiousissue.
11
WhatisabundantlyclearfromtheComplaint,isthatPlaintiffsarealleging
that
theywere12lifelongemployeesofLaSierraUniversitywhowerewrongfullydischargedfromtheiremployment13whentheywerecoercedandforcedintosigningaresignationletterbyDefendantRicardoGraham,the14BoardChairoftheiremployer,LaSierraUniversity,underthethreatofpublicfiringandreleaseofa15secretandimproperrecordingofPlaintiffs'privateconversationthathadbeenrecordedbyaLaSierra16Universityboardmember.PlaintiffsallegethattheBoardChair'sactionwasimproperbothforuseof17thesecretly-recordedconversationtocoercePlaintiffs'resignationandbecausehedidnothavethe18authoritytoseekPlaintiffs'resignationsorthreatenthemwithtermination.Plaintiffsallegethatinso19doing,GrahamviolatedmultipleproceduralanddueprocessprotectionsprovidedbyLaSierra20Universityforitsemployeesintakingthoseactions.21TheBoardChair'sviolationsofemployeedueprocessandproceduralprotectionsincluded22takingunauthorizedandunilateralboardaction;failingtoconsultorseekboardapproval;bypassingthe23PresidentandtheLaSierraUniversityadministrationinmakingunilateralandunauthorizeddecisions24regardingoperationsandemployment-decisionsoutsideoftheboard'sscopeofdutyandcontrol;and25actingindirectbreachofhisfiduciarydutytoLaSierraUniversityasBoardChair.26Plaintiffsallegethatnotonlywerethecoercedandforcedresignationlettersnotlegallybinding27becauseofthecircumstancesunderwhichtheywereobtained,buttotheextenttheyhadanyeffect,they28werewithdrawnbeforetheboardtookactionontheresignationsandwerenotthereforelegallybinding.
Plaintiffs'OppositiontoDefendants'MotiontoStrikeComplaint
 
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1Totheextenttheboardcouldactontheresignations,theboard'sactionwasprocedurallydeficientand2substantivelyillegalbecauseofundueinfluenceexertedontheboardmembersbyoutsideentitiesand3intereststhatmandatedboardmemberstoviolatetheirfiduciarydutiesofloyaltyandinteresttoLa4SierraUniversity.5Thisisnotacaseofreligiousfreedom;itisacaseofcorporatemalfeasance,breachofcontract,6andbreachofthedutyofgoodfaithandfairdealing.ContrarytoDefendant'sunfoundedassertions,it7simplydoesnotimplicateFirstAmendmentprotectionofreligiousfreedom.8
In
conjunctionwithademurrer,DefendantLaSierraUniversityhasfiledamotiontostrikeno9fewerthan73differentportionsofPlaintiffs'Complaint"onthegroundsthatsaidallegationsare10irrelevant,false,orimpropermatterwithinthemeaningofCodeofCivilProceduresection436."11(Def.'sMot.toStrike,atp.7:5-6.)NowhereinDefendant'smotiondoesitmakeanyattempttoidentify12whichground(s)applytoeachofthe73objections.However,initssupportingMemorandumofPoints13andAuthorities,Defendantappearstoargue5generalbasesforitsmotiontostrike:1)punitivedamages14cannotbesoughtagainstthereligiously-affiliatedcorporations;2)theFirstAmendmentbarscivilcourts15frominterferinginchurchgovernance;3)unspecificallegationsareirrelevantorconclusory;4)money16damagesarenotavailableunderBusiness
&
ProfessionsCodesection17200;and5)thereisnobasisfor17recoveryofattorney'sfees.18Asthefollowingwillexplainingreaterdetail,eachofDefendant'scontentionsiswithoutmerit,19withtheexceptionoftheircontentionthatmoneydamagesarenotavailableunderBusiness
&
20ProfessionsCodesection17200.21
n
22ARG~NT
23A.
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PlaintiffsDoNotSeekPunitiveDamagesAgainsttheNot-for-ProfitReligiousCorporationsasIsMadeClearinthePrayerforRelief25DefendantarguesthatPlaintiffshavenotobtainedacourtorderallowingthemtoclaimpunitive26damagesagainsttheChurch.However,Plaintiffsdonotdisputethatpunitivedamagesagainsta27religiouscorporationshallnotbeincludedinthecomplaintunlessthecourtfirstentersanorderallowin
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Plaintiffs'OppositiontoDefendants'MotiontoStrikeComplaint

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