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Kalpoe v. Superior Court (McGraw)

California Court of Appeal, Second District, Seventh Division

December 17, 2013

Deepak KALPOE et al., Petitioners,
v.
The SUPERIOR COURT of Los Angeles County, Respondent; Phillip C. McGraw, et al., Real Parties in Interest.

ORIGINAL PROCEEDINGS in mandate. William A. MacLaughlin, Judge. Petition denied. (Super. Ct. No. BC363201)

Page 207

COUNSEL

Cremer, Spina, Shaughnessy, Jansen & Siegert, Kristina M. Beck, William J. Cremer (pro hac vice), Joshua D. Yeager (pro hac vice) and I. Brian Marquez (pro hac vice); Girardi Keese, Thomas V. Girardi and Graham B. Lippsmith, Los Angeles, for Petitioners.

No appearance for Respondent.

Ford, Walker, Haggerty & Behar, William C. Haggerty, Long Beach, and Neil S. Tardiff, San Luis Obispo; Jackson Walker, Charles L. Babcock and Nancy W. Hamilton for Real Parties in Interest.

OPINION

WOODS, J.

Page 208

Deepak Kalpoe and Satish Kalpoe (individually referred to bye their first names, [166 Cal.Rptr.3d 81] collectively referred to as petitioners) filed a petition for writ of mandate after the trial court granted a motion in limine brought by Phillip C. McGraw, CBS Paramount Domestic Television, and Peteski Productions, Inc. (collectively real parties).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Petitioners, residents of Aruba, were questioned in connection with the 2005 disappearance of Natalee Holloway, an American teenager on a high school trip to Aruba. McGraw is the host of a television show (the Show) produced by Peteski Productions Inc. (Peteski) in association with CBS Paramount (CBS) and broadcast on a national television network.

Real parties hired a private investigator, Jamie Skeeters, to travel to Aruba in the summer of 2005 to investigate Holloway's disappearance. Skeeters arranged to meet with Deepak by representing that he would help exonerate him. Skeeters secretly recorded and videotaped the meeting with Deepak. During the meeting, Skeeters asked Deepak if he and Satish had sex with Holloway the night she disappeared.

Page 209

On September 15, 2005, real parties broadcast an episode of the Show which was devoted entirely to Holloway's disappearance. It was the first episode of the 2005 fall television season. The videotape showed that when asked by Skeeters, Deepak indicated that Holloway had sex with him and Satish.

After the episode aired, Deepak claimed he had not consented to the videotaping and recording of the meeting, and had not known that Skeeters was recording it. He also claimed that when Skeeters asked if Holloway had sex with him and his brother, he responded " No," shaking his head, and that the videotape played on the Show had been manipulated.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On December 13, 2006, petitioners filed a complaint alleging several causes of action against real parties.[1] A First Amended Complaint was filed on February 22, 2008. It contains causes of action for defamation, defamation per se, invasion of privacy, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, fraudulent misrepresentation and deceit, negligent misrepresentation and deceit and civil conspiracy.

In October 2011, real parties filed a motion in limine (" Motion in Limine No. 1" ) seeking to bar petitioners from introducing any evidence at trial regarding general or punitive damages for defamation, defamation per se, false light, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.[2] The motion was based on Civil Code section 48a (further statutory references are to the Civil Code) which requires that a plaintiff must demand a correction or is limited only to recovering special damages, as defined by the statute. Real parties argued that because petitioners had not demanded a correction, they could not introduce evidence of general or exemplary damages. Petitioners did not dispute that they did not demand a correction. The motion was initially heard on August 24, 2012, along with several other motions in limine, and the court took the matter under submission. At a continued [166 Cal.Rptr.3d 82] hearing, on November 13, 2012, the trial court granted real parties' motion.

Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied on December 19, 2012.

Page 210

Petitioners filed a petition for writ of mandate with this court on January 14, 2013.

On January 31, 2013, we issued an order to show cause to the superior court directing a written return to be filed by real parties in interest ...


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