Friday, April 10, 2020
Opinion Affirms Judge Juhas’s Order Based on His Disbelief of an Ex-Wife’s Factual Assertion
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A law firm’s effort, on behalf of a client, has resulted in a Court of Appeal opinion which spotlights, and accepts, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge’s finding that a woman fabricated a post-divorce claim in a bid to gain additional assets from her ex-husband, the executive producer/director of television’s popular series “Judge Judy.”
Ex-model Patrice Jones (identified in other litigation as “Patric Jones”) had already captured $6.3 million in temporary and permanent spousal support—which came to an end on June 30, 2018—from Randall Douthit, a longtime and successful producer. Her alleged extravagances during marriage had purportedly put the family finances in jeopardy.
The appeals court opinion, by Presiding Justice Laurence D. Rubin of this district’s Div. Five, was filed Wednesday. Though not certified for publication in the Official Reports, it is publicly posted and draws attention to Superior Court Judge Mark A. Juhas’s disbelief of Jones’s contention that she had just recently come upon a “treatment” for a television show—a proposal that is short of a script—that Douthit supposedly prepared before their 2007 separation.
That treatment, Jones asserted, was valuable and was a concealed community asset, entitling her to a setting aside of the 2013 property division.
Juhas found there was insufficient evidence that the treatment “was actually created in 2006, or earlier.”
The treatment contained text from a 2008 article in an insurance journal and computer evidence suggested that it was Jones who crafted the treatment, “Legal Eagles.”
“Wife’s argument that the Treatment was an omitted asset turned on the credibility of her claim that she had, in fact, ‘discovered’ the Treatment on a computer disc in a storage box. However, the court found reason to doubt wife’s credibility….”
He said Juhas “drew reasonable inferences” from the evidence and declared:
“Substantial evidence supported the court’s finding.”
Not mentioned in the opinion is that Douthit had sought sanctions in the appellate court of $138.884.50.
The case is Douthit v. Jones, B293641.
Representing Jones were Jerold Oshinsky and Tracy B. Rane of the law firm of the Los Angeles office of Kasowitz Benson Torres, a firm headquartered in New York.
Joseph Mannis and Andrew Stein of Hersh Mannis teamed with David R. Carpenter and Chad S. Hummel of Sidley Austin in arguing for affirmance.
Jones has separately appealed a $300,000 sanction imposed on her by Juhas. The Court of Appeal on Tuesday advised the parties:
“We are in receipt of the superior court clerk’s notice of non-compliance of default on appeal filed January 6, 2020, wherein appellant is defaulted for signing, as a party, the proof of service on the notice of appeal and not having the document served by a nonparty to the action. You are hereby notified that the Clerk of the Court of Appeal is allowing the case to move forward notwithstanding the clerk’s notice of non-compliance of default on appeal.”
Jones in 2018 sued Judith Sheindlin—who portrays Judge Judy—along with Douthit and others in connection with the treatment. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory on Oct. 25, 2018, stayed proceedings in that case pending the outcome of the appeal before Div. Five.
In 2013, Jones sued Sheindlin over china and flatware Douthit sold her. Jones claimed the value of the community assets was $514,421.14, and her ex-husband received only $50,000.
Sheindlin’s immediate reaction, as quoted by TMZ, was:
“I have not seen any complaint by the former Mrs. Douthit, however, I don’t owe this lady a cent. And if this 50-year-old woman would spend her time more productively at trying to find a job, instead of abusing the judicial system with frivolous lawsuits, we would all be a lot better off.”
A few days later, however, she returned the tableware to Douthit, saying in a statement to TMZ:
“This very unpleasant lady doesn’t give a hoot about dishes. She cares about pressuring her ex-husband and the way to do that is to attempt to embarrass me. She and her attorney want a circus, and I refuse to be a further participant in their drama.”
Copyright 2020, Metropolitan News Company