Lauter v. Anoufrieva

Citation642 F.Supp.2d 1060
Decision Date14 July 2009
Docket NumberCase No. CV 07-6811 JVS(JC).
CourtU.S. District Court — Central District of California
PartiesKing Brett LAUTER, Plaintiff, v. Irina ANOUFRIEVA, et al., Defendants.

King Brett Lauter, Santa Monica, CA, pro se.

Irina Anoufrieva, San Francisco, CA, pro se.

Lee I. Petersil, Morris Polich & Purdy, Los Angeles, CA, Marc J. Schneider, Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, Newport Beach, CA, Armen E. Gekchyan, Law Offices of Armen E. Gekchyan, Glendale, CA, for Defendants.

ORDER ADOPTING FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

JAMES V. SELNA, District Judge.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636, the Court has reviewed the First Amended Complaint, all documents filed in connection with the pending motions to dismiss, motion to strike, and motions for summary judgment, and all of the records herein, including the attached Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge ("Report and Recommendation"), the parties' objections thereto, and the parties' responses to the objections.1 The Court has further made a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objection is made. The Court concurs with and adopts the Report and Recommendation with the following modifications: (1) Claim Ten is dismissed with leave to amend; and (2) Footnote 30, at page 23 is deleted.2

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED: (1) the Motion to Dismiss is granted in part and denied in part;3 (2) the Anoufrieva Motion is denied; (3) the Anti-SLAPP Motion is denied without prejudice; (4) Plaintiff's Summary Judgment Motions are denied; (5) to the extent plaintiff elects to amend those portions of the First Amended Complaint as to which leave to amend has been granted, plaintiff must file any Second Amended Complaint within twenty (20) days of the entry of this Order;4 and (6) plaintiff is advised that the failure timely to file a Second Amended Complaint will result in this action proceeding solely on the remaining portions of the First Amended Complaint absent further order of the court.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Clerk serve copies of this Order and the Report and Recommendation on plaintiff and on defendants' counsel.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

[RE DKT. NOS. 75, 77, 78, 84, 109]

JACQUELINE CHOOLJIAN, United States Magistrate Judge.

This Report and Recommendation is submitted to the Honorable James V. Selna, United States District Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and General Order 05-07 of the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

I. SUMMARY

On April 3, 2008, plaintiff King Brett Lauter ("plaintiff"), who is at liberty, has paid the filing fee, and is proceeding pro se, filed the operative First Amended Complaint ("First Amended Complaint" or "FAC") in this action.1 The eighty-four page First Amended Complaint purports to raise claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act ("RICO"), 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961-68, claims under federal civil rights statutes, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985(2), and various state law claims.2 The seven named defendants are: (1) plaintiff's former wife, Irina Anoufrieva ("Anoufrieva"); (2) former paralegal Lauren Liebert ("Liebert"); (3) former paralegal Tere Lynn Guerrero ("Guerrero"); (4) deceased attorney Jonathan C.S. Cox ("Cox"); (5) Debra Cox as representative of the estate of Jonathan C.S. Cox (the "Cox Estate"); (6) Cox Padmore Skolnik & Shakarchy LLP (the "Cox Firm"); and (7) former paralegal Ellen Bodisco (Miller) ("Miller").3

Pending before the court and addressed in this Report and Recommendation are five motions: (1) a Motion to Dismiss the First Amended Complaint ("Motion to Dismiss") filed by defendants Liebert, Cox, the Cox Estate and the Cox Firm (collectively the "Liebert/Cox Defendants") in which defendants Guerrero and Miller have joined;4 (2) a Motion to Dismiss filed by defendant Anoufrieva ("Anoufrieva Motion");5 (3) a Special Motion to Strike Portions of the First Amended Complaint on Slapp Suit Grounds (the "Anti-SLAPP Motion") filed by the Liebert/Cox Defendants in which defendants Guerrero and Miller have joined;6 (4) Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment Against Defendant Guerrero ("Plaintiff's Guerrero Motion");7 and (5) Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment Against Defendant Anoufrieva ("Plaintiff's Anoufrieva Motion").8 (Plaintiff's Guerrero Motion and Plaintiff's Anoufrieva Motion will collectively be referred to as "Plaintiff's Summary Judgment Motions").

Based upon the record and the applicable law, and as further discussed below: (1) the Motion to Dismiss should be granted in part and denied in part; (2) the Anoufrieva Motion should be denied; (3) the Anti-SLAPP Motion should be denied; and (4) Plaintiff's Summary Judgment Motions should be denied.

II. THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Plaintiff essentially alleges that defendant Anoufrieva and the other defendants—all of whom were at one time affiliated with the Cox Firm—engaged in a pattern of harassment against plaintiff, pursuant to which they, among other things, falsely reported to various government authorities and courts that plaintiff had physically abused Anoufrieva and had violated a restraining order.

In the First Amended Complaint, plaintiff alleges, among other things, the following:9

A. Background

On March 13, 1999, plaintiff executed and submitted to immigration authorities, a petition in support of obtaining a fiancee visa for defendant Anoufrieva, a Russian citizen. (FAC at 4, 11-12). On July 28, 1999, defendant Anoufrieva entered the United States based upon the fiancee visa. (FAC at 12). On October 26, 1999, plaintiff and defendant Anoufrieva married and lived together in an apartment on the Stanford University campus, where plaintiff was a student. (FAC at 12). On October 27, 1999, plaintiff and defendant Anoufrieva applied for a conditional permanent resident visa for Anoufrieva, based upon her status as plaintiff's wife. (FAC at 12). Defendant Anoufrieva later received the temporary visa. (FAC at 13).

In August 2000, defendant Anoufrieva began to have an affair with another man and became pregnant with the other man's child. (FAC at 12). In the same month, the Cox Firm hired Anoufrieva to work as a paralegal for defendant Cox and with defendants Liebert, Guerrero and Miller. (FAC at 12).10

On November 1, 2000, defendant Anoufrieva moved out and left plaintiff a voicemail message stating that she had decided to end the marriage. (FAC at 13).

B. Stanford Police Reports/Investigation

On November 1, 2000—the same date defendant Anoufrieva left plaintiffdefendant Cox reported to the Stanford Police Chief that plaintiff had raped and committed domestic violence against Anoufrieva. (FAC at 13). Defendant Cox persuaded the Chief to initiate a criminal investigation against plaintiff. (FAC at 13). On the same date, defendants Cox, Liebert and Guerrero, acting on behalf of the Cox Firm, contacted another Stanford Police officer and stated that plaintiff had committed domestic violence and spousal rape against Anoufrieva and had threatened to kill her and dispose of her body. (FAC at 14). On November 2, 2000, defendants Anoufrieva and Liebert went to the police station to file a crime report (the "Stanford Police Report").11 (FAC at 14). Defendant Liebert made a litany of false accusations against plaintiff. (FAC at 14).

On November 6, 2000, the Stanford Police telephonically contacted plaintiff and told him that he was being investigated for domestic violence and spousal rape. (FAC at 14). Between November 1, 2000 and January 18, 2001, the Stanford Police investigated defendants' allegations against plaintiff. (FAC at 16). The police concluded that there was no evidence and no charges were filed. (FAC at 16).

C. The Bankruptcy Case

On November 7, 2000—the day after the Stanford Police advised plaintiff that he was being investigated—plaintiff, who had been experiencing financial hardship due in part to debts incurred by his father who had died the prior year, decided to file for bankruptcy. (FAC at 15). On May 11, 2001, plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the bankruptcy case. (FAC at 22).

D. The Asylum Case

Between November 2000 and June 2001, defendants prepared and submitted documents, including the Stanford Police Report, to immigration authorities in an effort to demonstrate that Anoufrieva was a victim of domestic violence and to support a claim for asylum (the "Asylum Case"). (FAC at 16).

E. The Domestic Violence Action and the Annulment Case

On November 9, 2000, defendants Cox, the Cox Firm, Liebert and Anoufrieva initiated a Superior Court action ("the Domestic Violence Action") against plaintiff, alleged that plaintiff had terrorized, raped and tortured Anoufrieva over a 15-month period, and obtained a domestic violence prevention restraining order against him. (FAC at 15).12 The next day plaintiff was served with the restraining order and hired an attorney. (FAC at 15). On December 1, 2000, the judge in the Domestic Violence Action concluded that there was no evidence that plaintiff had committed domestic violence or rape and that plaintiff did not owe Anoufrieva any money or support payments. (FAC at 17).

On December 18, 2000, plaintiff filed a Superior Court action to annul his marriage to defendant Anoufrieva based upon fraud. (FAC at 18).

On February 1, 2001, plaintiff and defendant Anoufrieva (through a non-defendant lawyer), agreed in writing to settle the annulment action on the following terms: (i) the restraining order would be vacated; (ii) the parties would sign mutual general releases for all civil and criminal claims accrued as of that date; (iii) a judgment of...

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