While most people try to minimize legal entanglements, Santa Clara Unified Trustee Christopher Stampolis has been actively adding to his growing portfolio of litigation.
On Dec. 5 he filed two new small claims lawsuits; one against his estranged wife’s, Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee Anna Song’s, attorney Dennis Luca claiming assault and battery; and the second on behalf of his child against Santa Clara Unified School District that reportedly claims unlawful imprisonment – a charge which he unsuccessfully tried to file with the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety against Peterson Middle School Principal Susan Harris last September.
Stampolis’ suit against Luca claims that the attorney assaulted him on Dec. 4 in Luca’s office. Luca’s version of the encounter, unsurprisingly, is different.
On the afternoon in question, Stampolis went to Luca’s office uninvited “and barged into the conference room where I was with another client,” says Luca. “I told him to leave, and he called 9-1-1.”
After taking statements from Luca, his client, and Luca’s staff, Luca says, the San Jose Police put Stampolis on official notice that if he came to Luca’s office again, he would be charged with trespassing.
In an echo of what he allegedly told SCUSD Superintendent Stan Rose during a Sept. meeting during which Rose claims Stampolis threatened him, Stampolis wrote in his complaint against Luca, “I offered Defendant by email the opportunity to resolve this matter before litigation would be filed.” During his Sept. meeting with Rose, Stampolis is alleged to have said, Rose “could avoid being sued” if he “wanted to settle with him financially right there and then.”
At this point, many, including Luca, question Stampolis’ motives.
“He is at a point where he’s using the judicial system as a sword, not a shield,” Luca says. “His perception of events is skewed. If he doesn’t hear what he wants to hear, he becomes obstructive, abusive, and makes false allegations. He’s an explosive, aggressive person,” and, adds Luca, “the distance between [his] thought and action is very short.”
The new legal entanglements are in addition to a one-year restraining order that SCUSD Middle School Principal Susan Harris received against him for his threatening behavior towards her on the school campus; a request for a second restraining order by SCUSD Superintendent Stanley Rose based on alleged threats to sue and “cause as much pain as possible” to Rose; a divorce and custody case that’s been in court since last April; and a criminal domestic violence complaint he filed against Song last July.
Stampolis has also been censured by the other SCUSD trustees, stripped of his committee assignments, and prohibited from representing the district at meetings or public functions. In addition, the censure allows district employees to refuse contact or communication with him.
Rose’s hearing was continued until Jan. 5, 2015, after Stampolis showed up more than two hours late to a hearing last Tuesday morning, and then killed an agreement that had been worked out earlier by mediators and the parties’ attorneys.
The Trustee couldn’t make it on time to Tuesday’s hearing in Superior Court because he was at another hearing that morning in Family Court – continued from the previous day – on his requests for a permanent restraining order against Song, and custody of their children.
The Family Court judge ruled against Stampolis; immediately lifted the temporary restraining order against Song that had been granted last July, and restored Song’s rights to unsupervised visits with her children, and joint legal and physical custody of them. The judge found, according to Attorney Luca, that the “domestic violence was not perpetrated by my client against him as he alleged.”
As for Song, she says she’s “just happy to have her children back and be able to be a mother to them again.”