There are two things that any first-year law student could tell you are essential for courtroom success: don't make stuff up, and don't insult the judge.
Perhaps Dino M. Zaffina didn't get the memo.
As the Weekly's Chris Vogel first reported in February, Zaffina had become angry that the Southern California Darts Association failed to include his middle initial in their online listings. Realizing the group had allowed its incorporation to lapse, Zaffina incorporated under it -- and promptly sued the darts lovers for using a name he now controlled. The darts lovers then sued Zaffina in federal court for trademark violations.
Last week, U.S. District Judge Gary Klausner ruled against Zaffina, barring him from using the Southern California Darts Association name while the court battle continues.
Now Zaffina is fighting back.
In a 12-page declaration filed yesterday, Zaffina -- who has a law degree but is not a member of the State Bar of California -- begged Judge Klausner to reconsider the injunction. He argues that the decision was "a draconian ruling that places an unconstitutional prior restraint on Corporation's and my First Amendment right of free speech and freedom of expression." He claims that he's been "punished without due process of law."
And then he quotes from some nasty emails he's received, claiming they were sent by one of the darts lovers suing him -- a camera operator on Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune named David Irete.
"In all my years prior to law school and in over a decade of legal experience thereafter, I have never known of a Court to have "BITCHSLAPPED!" anyone," Zaffina writes. "Apparently, this Court's injunction has given Irete the idea that the injunction is a bitchslapping."
As evidence, Zaffina attaches an email from "GeorgeSpelvin32" -- Spelvin being a pseudonym frequently used in theater.
Zaffina continues, "Irete commenced sending his hateful and vitriolic emails using this pseudonym, since he is obviously a coward and never uses his own name. He seems to think that this Court's Order is a suppository, since he stated, 'Take that petard and shove it up your ass!'"
Zaffina adds, "I cannot help but ponder the thought of how proud this Court must be that it stripped a fully legal corporation of all its powers, rights, and privileges, to 'temporarily' give a reprieve to a criminal (Irete) and approximately 20 of his criminal cohorts..."
There's only one problem. Irete insists he's not GeorgeSpelvin32. And GeorgeSpelvin32 says he's not Irete.
Reached by phone, Irete tells us, "I'm not stupid. I watch a lot of Law & Order." As one of the people suing Zaffina over the trademark issue, he says, he wouldn't do anything to screw up the case: "I am not George Spelvin."
Reached through his gmail address, "GeorgeSpelvin32," meanwhile, tells the Weekly:
I am not David Irete. I told Dino that as soon as one of his "press releases" was "published" that identified George Spelvin as David.
I am a dart player who is disgusted with what is going on right now. It is obvious to anyone who is not delusional that this is a vendetta that Dino is carrying on because someone made him mad. Peope are made mad every day and they don't sue other people. You don't have to work too hard to see that Dino is an angry man who sues anyone who makes him mad.
I set up this email address for the purpose of reminding Dino what a piece of crap he is every time he issues one of his "press releases". I thought the reference to George Spelvin was appropriate given one of the "professions" that Dino has. He gets all poetic and stuff when he adds pictures of lemmings and states that his way is the only way and that there is no other way out. He pretends to be erudite when he says that people have been hoisted by their own petard. Petard? Who says that anymore?
Yes, I told him to shove that petard up his backside because it is clear he is being hoisted by it, and my solution is the only way for him to get his feet closer to the ground.
Spelvin also writes that he has not corresponded with any of the litigants. "I am not in cahoots with anyone on this. I guess you could say that I am 'going rogue.' Dino can cry all he wants about what I have written, but he's crying because I have made him look at himself in the mirror and see himself for what he is."
Zaffina's declaration seems to suggest Judge Klausner should be chagrined by the emails from the Spelvin account. At one point, he quotes from an email calling him a "piece of shit." Once again concluding it's from David Irete, Zaffina writes, "Ironically, this is the same person that this Court believed was a legitimate businessman ... Irete's statement must make this Court so proud."
Zaffina also notes that the group of darts players had failed to file corporate income taxes for 36 years -- yet, he writes, "this Court disgustingly overlooks these 'unclean hands.'"
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"Disgustingly?" Yeah, judges just love to see their actions referred to with that adverb.
We've attached Zaffina's complete declaration. Let us know what you think in the Comment section below.