Storix v. Johnson | Malicious Prosecution, Conversion, etc. (State)
JUDGE KATHERINE BACAL
After trial, Johnson discovered that David Huffman, Richard Turner, Manuel Altamirano & David Kinney had siphoned $475,000 of his Storix earnings while he was on medical leave in 2011 - shortly after he gave them their stock in the company for free. This finally explained their need to keep Johnson out of the company and its financial records. So Johnson filed a new lawsuit which included a claim of malicious prosecution against them and David Smiljkovich for filing and continuing the frivolous Janstor Suit against Johnson for competing, knowing he was living in Florida and no competing business ever existed.
The case was assigned to Judge Katherine A. Bacal who refused to enter default against the defendant when they failed to answer, then allowed them to file motions to dismiss the claims while the default was pending. This prevented Johnson from amending his complaint to avoid the claims being dismissed with prejudice after being forced to post a $180,000 out-of-state plaintiff's bond to cover the defendants' costs - even knowing they were still having Wilson/Elser send all their attorney bills to Storix for payment.
Judge Bacal held an initial status conference where Procopio attorney Sean Sullivan stood with Management (even though Storix was not a party to the case). She made clear that she was not going to allow Johnson's claims to be heard, so Johnson filed a peremptory challenge (statutory right to transfer a case to a different judge before any hearings), which Judge Bacal rejected without explanation. Johnson had to voluntarily dismiss the suit and file it in federal court instead to have it heard by a different judge. Judge Bacal retaliated by making Johnson pay the defendants (who were still using his own Storix profits for their defense) over $15,000 in costs and fees for filing their motions.