Over the last few weeks, there have been few developments in Robson (civil) and Safechuck (probate claim) cases. First, the hearing date for all active issues (civil demurrer, probate demurrer and motion to quash) has been consolidated to July 20,2015. Previously they were spread out at June 30, July 8 and July 13. Documents show that lawyers for both sides had conflict with some of the dates so they agreed to consolidate it all to July 20.
On July 20 hearing, Judge will hear arguments for 3 matters.
First matter is the demurrer for Robson civil case against MJ companies. I previously wrote a detailed post explaining all the developments for that demurrer. You can find the link here: Robson Civil Case: Demurrer for the Third Amended Civil Complaint.
Second matter is a motion to quash filed by Robson. As I reported previously, Estate has served subpoenas to three doctors (2 treating physicians and a doctor retained to write the required certificate of merit) related to this case. Estate asked: entire file for Robson, billing records for Robson, date of every appointment, any medical records and notes, all communication between the doctors and Robson/Robson lawyers and anything in the possession of the doctor related to MJ. Robson lawyers have filed a motion to quash the subpoena served to the doctor that was hired by Robson's lawyers and provided the certificate of merit. They state they would use that doctor as an expert witness and expert witness depositions/ testimonies are only exchanged before a trial.
On July 8th, Estate filed their reply to Robson’s motion to quash. The document can be found here. From the document we learn that Robson consulted another law firm before his current attorneys and the doctor’s declaration included information about Robson and his family’s psychiatric history. Estate also claims that Robson’s testimony in 2005 “along with documents other doctors have disclosed in this case, which tend to show Robson’s motivations for filing this action for years after Michael’s death were not as pure as he would like a Court and jury to believe”. Estate questions Robson’s motion to quash, his attempt to avoid discovery and asks “What is Robson so concerned about this Doctor disclosing?”
Robson’s answer was due July 13 and case summary shows a reply was filed. But the document isn’t added to the online system yet.
Third and final matter is the demurrer for Safechuck probate claim. I don’t have easy access to the probate documents (as they aren’t available on the court online document system). So unfortunately I don’t have Estate’s demurrer or their reply. However I have Safechuck’s opposition to demurrer document. (This document was filed just days before Estate accounting therefore I was able to get it at the same time with Estate accounting.) Safechuck’s opposition to MJ Estate demurrer can be found here.
I’m not going to provide a detailed summary about this document as without Estate’s demurrer and reply documents, it is impossible for me to provide a complete picture. I’ll just say that Safechuck is mostly using same arguments as Robson (such as equitable estoppel). Given such arguments didn’t work for Robson and his probate claim got dismissed, I personally think a similar outcome for Safechuck probate claim is highly expected.
As I mentioned in a previous post, judge might rule on the day of hearing or could take some or all of the matters under consideration and rule on at a later time (could take days/weeks/months).
For Robson civil case demurrer and for Safechuck probate claim demurrer, there are 3 possible outcomes:
- Sustain demurrer without leave to amend: Sustain a demurrer means law does not recognize a legal claim for the facts stated by the complaining party. With no chance to amend the complaint, it basically gets dismissed.
- Sustain demurrer with leave to amend: Sustain a demurrer means law does not recognize a legal claim for the facts stated by the complaining party but leave to amend means an amended complaint can be filed. An amended complaint would result in another round of complaint, demurrer, opposition, reply, hearing and ruling.
- Overrule the demurrer: Allow the claim to proceed further. However this doesn’t mean the case will go to trial. Allowing the claim to process would start the discovery process and there still would be the chance for a summary judgment and get the claim fully or partially dismissed before any trial.
As for the Robson motion to quash, there are also 2 possible outcomes:
- Judge can grant Robson’s motion to quash meaning voids Estate’s subpoena and Estate can’t get discovery.
- Judge can deny Robson’s motion to quash, allowing Estate subpoena the doctor and get discovery. (It is also possible that Judge can allow Estate discovery with some limitations.)
Follow my blog and my twitter for developments on Robson & Safechuck matters.