Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Michael Shames loses appeal of libel suit

Former UCAN head protested payment of legal fees

The Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, yesterday (March 25) ruled that Michael Shames, former head of Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN), will have to pay legal fees incurred in a libel suit he lost at the trial level.

David Peffer, a UCAN whistleblower, and his attorney Mike Aguirre, had filed suit against Shames for alleged misdeeds at the organization. Shames sued Peffer and Aguirre for libel and interference with prospective economic relations.

Shames lost and was told to pay legal fees. He appealed, saying, among other things, that Aguirre should not get fees because he was represented by a member of his own firm, Mia Severson. The appeals court, disagreeing, said, "Shames has sued Aguirre personally as an individual, not as a representative of the law firm, and has not named the law firm as a defendant."

Shames contested the $12,500 fees awarded Peffer, but among several things, the appeals court noted that the trial court had knocked down Peffer's request from $37,474 to $12,500.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
AVIATION THEATER
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
Retired Vet Trophy Business For Sale
San Diego Reader Classified ads
February 6, 2020
SPRING VALLEY HOME $425,000.
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
MENDEZ HOME SERVICES
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
Rides for Seniors
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 27, 2020
Ad
Previous article

In love with tikka masala at Himalayan House

Lunch with the hand-wash missionary
Next Article

Mary Lynn Coulson: finding the bigger embrace of God’s love

If people reject God, then what?
Comments
17

Shames should know once Mike gets his teeth on you he never lets go.

March 26, 2015

Murphyjunk: Shames used to post anti-Aguirre stuff on a website. I don't know if he does anymore. Best, Don Bauder

March 26, 2015

don't prod a pit bull, they have a long memory

March 27, 2015

Murphyjunk: Pit bulls have long memories and sharp teeth. Best, Don Bauder

March 27, 2015

Excellent. Better news would be that Shameless is charged with acts that corrupted UCAN, embezzlement, and conspiracy. Is anyone investigating this now? The FBI, the attorney general, and the DA all should have an interest in knowing much more about the demise of UCAN, and UCAN's failure to effectively represent ratepayers.

March 26, 2015

Visduh: I doubt that the FBI is still on the case, but Ii don't know. Best, Don Bauder

March 26, 2015

Great news for everyone except Shams, too bad the Judge did not add additional penalties so that these types of silly countersuits don't clog the San Diego legal system. I'd like to see all the current UCAN board members resign so that a new Board can take over and start to do the job since UCAN is no longer doing what it was designed to do, protect the ratepayers from Utility excesses.

March 26, 2015

CaptD: The question is how long UCAN really protected ratepayers. I think Shames started out honorably. Then he found out how much he could rake in from intervenor fees by playing ball with the commission. He also found out how much his lawyer friends could make chasing scams that didn't have anything to do with utilities. Best, Don Bauder

March 26, 2015

Aguirre taught Shames a good lesson. I hope this teaches intervenors a lesson, too.

The PUC itself needs to be cleaned up. It is a go-along-to-get-along system. The PUC must go along with utility companies, and intervenes must go along with the PUC to get their intervene's fees. The intervenors make some noise but cave in at the last moment. If they do not cave in, they are not awarded attorneys fees and costs because the PUC determines that the intervenors did not make a contribution to ratepayers' interests.

Thus, the PUC can, in effect, punish effective intervenors rather than to reward them. Setting intervenors' fees leads to abuse by pro-utility PUC Commissioners who routinely deny fees to those intervenors who question utility company waste,.fraud and abuse.

We saw this happen in the SONGS decommissioning settlement. The tendency to corruption is something that should not be tolerated either at the PUC or by intervenors.

Aguirre stood up to both ends of this rotten fish.

March 27, 2015

Diogenes: The intervenor fee system is as rotten as the CPUC itself. You describe it perfectly. Hopefully, Peevey and others will be indicted. Under such circumstances, the CPUC will have to reform the intervenor fee system. The legislature will smell a good political issue and move on this, forcing the CPUC's hand. Best, Don Bauder

March 27, 2015

Thanks, Don. I have had experience with the PUC in advising an intervenor and in making statements at public meetings of the PUC. Reading all the filings by the various intervenors is quite revealing. Many decided to recommend the settlement at SONGS on the basis that the PUC had already made up its mind. How true that was! Thank God for Aguirre/Severson, Ray Lutz and Rochelle Becker who did not give in.

The next Governor of California is now the Lt. Governor. He may be more inclined to listen to consumers. Then there is the Wrath of Aguirre/Severson in the former of their federal lawsuit. The criminal investigations and civil suits should help end the dog-and'pony show that is the PUC. Ex part settlement conferences need to be ended. Maybe court oversight of the PUC will need to be ongoing under court orders.

Reading through the documents regarding the SONGS settlement reveals a deeply flawed system. I told the Commissioners in Costa Mesa last year that all documents should be produced first, the authors placed under oath and questioned, and the issue of prudence determined BEFORE settlement. They literally hung their heads in shame but went ahead and approved the settlement.

There was a huge cover-up at SONGS. The operator endangered 8.5 million people in Southern California. Documents have been withheld from Senator Boxer's Committee. It is beyond criminal. Thanks to some very determined people that terrible fate was avoided. Now it it time for justice.

The UT ran an article today about the search warrants executed at former Chairman Michael Peevey's home. Add this to San Bruno and Diablo Canyon misconduct and one begins to see the dimensions of the problem.

Keep up the reporting of this important issue.

March 27, 2015

Diogenes: Agreed on kudos to Aguirre, Severson, Lutz et al. Without them, Peevey would have gotten away with his anti-consumer capers. Now, we can all hope that he will be convicted for crimes against ratepayers. After he and perhaps others are convicted, then the job of reforming the entire CPUC should be front and center. Best, Don Bauder

March 27, 2015

Don, Let's hope that the PUC procedures can be reformed.

Today's UT article reveals that Attorney Mia Severson has noticed depositions of PUC President Michael Piker, Timothy Sullivan, Michael Florio and Michael Peevey in her lawsuit to challenge the retention of expensive criminal defense lawyers over at Shephard Mullin to defend the Commission from multiple criminal investigations now under way.

These depositions are to be public, if Mia Severson gets her way.

The attorneys cost $882 per hour for the big guns and $700 per hour plus for non-big gun lawyers at Sheppard Mullin. That is a very expensive taxi cab! They are talking about 5.2 million dollars to defend the Commission.

I would probably advice former Chairman Michael Peevey to take the Fifth Amendment if the criminal case is strong, which I do not know.

I hope that the clique is broken up on the smug little fraternity at the PUC. They think they are god-like and immune from legal process. Their cozy little backroom deals are over. Sunshine is the best antiseptic.

Bravo! Mia Severson is one tough cookie. Hopefully, the SONGS settlement can be set aside and documents discovered and depositions taken in that matter. That settlement was a huge fraud on ratepayers. Phase three involved the key issue of prudence. How can a 4.5 billion dollar settlement be based on lack of discovery and public hearings? The answer is that a massive cover-up went down.

Best to you, Don.

March 28, 2015

Diogenes: Mia Severson is one tough cookie. Ditto Mike Aguirre. I believe the criminal case is strong against Peevey. The trouble is that law enforcement and the courts have traditionally let the CPUC get away with all kinds of mischief. So we are breaking new ground here. Best, Don Bauder

March 28, 2015

Is Shepard, Mullin, et al yet another elephant?

March 31, 2015

It is a shame that Shames shammed several suckers successfully, so the Shame sob story slathered the judge so successfully that the judgement was suckered in enough to slice the settlement

March 31, 2015

Re: Don Bauder March 27, 2015 @ 5:50 p.m.

I get the impression that the media at large largely ignore this issue. Without them, how will it come front and center?

March 31, 2015

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Michael Shames
Michael Shames

The Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, yesterday (March 25) ruled that Michael Shames, former head of Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN), will have to pay legal fees incurred in a libel suit he lost at the trial level.

David Peffer, a UCAN whistleblower, and his attorney Mike Aguirre, had filed suit against Shames for alleged misdeeds at the organization. Shames sued Peffer and Aguirre for libel and interference with prospective economic relations.

Shames lost and was told to pay legal fees. He appealed, saying, among other things, that Aguirre should not get fees because he was represented by a member of his own firm, Mia Severson. The appeals court, disagreeing, said, "Shames has sued Aguirre personally as an individual, not as a representative of the law firm, and has not named the law firm as a defendant."

Shames contested the $12,500 fees awarded Peffer, but among several things, the appeals court noted that the trial court had knocked down Peffer's request from $37,474 to $12,500.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
VW BUG TRADE 4 MOTORCYCLE -- $6400 Value
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
QSC MODEL 1400 POWER AMP
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
3 Beds 2 Baths house Lakeside — $499,000
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 26, 2020
PET SITTING BUSINESS
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
US ELECTRIC CONTRACTING
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
Previous article

Oversized H&M blazers make a comeback

Style influenced by Bella Hadid, Alexa Chung, Harry Styles, but mostly Mom
Next Article

Is the corona virus pushing us into the future?

“Unlike with MERS and SARS, this is so televised. All day, every day!”
Comments
17

Shames should know once Mike gets his teeth on you he never lets go.

March 26, 2015

Murphyjunk: Shames used to post anti-Aguirre stuff on a website. I don't know if he does anymore. Best, Don Bauder

March 26, 2015

don't prod a pit bull, they have a long memory

March 27, 2015

Murphyjunk: Pit bulls have long memories and sharp teeth. Best, Don Bauder

March 27, 2015

Excellent. Better news would be that Shameless is charged with acts that corrupted UCAN, embezzlement, and conspiracy. Is anyone investigating this now? The FBI, the attorney general, and the DA all should have an interest in knowing much more about the demise of UCAN, and UCAN's failure to effectively represent ratepayers.

March 26, 2015

Visduh: I doubt that the FBI is still on the case, but Ii don't know. Best, Don Bauder

March 26, 2015

Great news for everyone except Shams, too bad the Judge did not add additional penalties so that these types of silly countersuits don't clog the San Diego legal system. I'd like to see all the current UCAN board members resign so that a new Board can take over and start to do the job since UCAN is no longer doing what it was designed to do, protect the ratepayers from Utility excesses.

March 26, 2015

CaptD: The question is how long UCAN really protected ratepayers. I think Shames started out honorably. Then he found out how much he could rake in from intervenor fees by playing ball with the commission. He also found out how much his lawyer friends could make chasing scams that didn't have anything to do with utilities. Best, Don Bauder

March 26, 2015

Aguirre taught Shames a good lesson. I hope this teaches intervenors a lesson, too.

The PUC itself needs to be cleaned up. It is a go-along-to-get-along system. The PUC must go along with utility companies, and intervenes must go along with the PUC to get their intervene's fees. The intervenors make some noise but cave in at the last moment. If they do not cave in, they are not awarded attorneys fees and costs because the PUC determines that the intervenors did not make a contribution to ratepayers' interests.

Thus, the PUC can, in effect, punish effective intervenors rather than to reward them. Setting intervenors' fees leads to abuse by pro-utility PUC Commissioners who routinely deny fees to those intervenors who question utility company waste,.fraud and abuse.

We saw this happen in the SONGS decommissioning settlement. The tendency to corruption is something that should not be tolerated either at the PUC or by intervenors.

Aguirre stood up to both ends of this rotten fish.

March 27, 2015

Diogenes: The intervenor fee system is as rotten as the CPUC itself. You describe it perfectly. Hopefully, Peevey and others will be indicted. Under such circumstances, the CPUC will have to reform the intervenor fee system. The legislature will smell a good political issue and move on this, forcing the CPUC's hand. Best, Don Bauder

March 27, 2015

Thanks, Don. I have had experience with the PUC in advising an intervenor and in making statements at public meetings of the PUC. Reading all the filings by the various intervenors is quite revealing. Many decided to recommend the settlement at SONGS on the basis that the PUC had already made up its mind. How true that was! Thank God for Aguirre/Severson, Ray Lutz and Rochelle Becker who did not give in.

The next Governor of California is now the Lt. Governor. He may be more inclined to listen to consumers. Then there is the Wrath of Aguirre/Severson in the former of their federal lawsuit. The criminal investigations and civil suits should help end the dog-and'pony show that is the PUC. Ex part settlement conferences need to be ended. Maybe court oversight of the PUC will need to be ongoing under court orders.

Reading through the documents regarding the SONGS settlement reveals a deeply flawed system. I told the Commissioners in Costa Mesa last year that all documents should be produced first, the authors placed under oath and questioned, and the issue of prudence determined BEFORE settlement. They literally hung their heads in shame but went ahead and approved the settlement.

There was a huge cover-up at SONGS. The operator endangered 8.5 million people in Southern California. Documents have been withheld from Senator Boxer's Committee. It is beyond criminal. Thanks to some very determined people that terrible fate was avoided. Now it it time for justice.

The UT ran an article today about the search warrants executed at former Chairman Michael Peevey's home. Add this to San Bruno and Diablo Canyon misconduct and one begins to see the dimensions of the problem.

Keep up the reporting of this important issue.

March 27, 2015

Diogenes: Agreed on kudos to Aguirre, Severson, Lutz et al. Without them, Peevey would have gotten away with his anti-consumer capers. Now, we can all hope that he will be convicted for crimes against ratepayers. After he and perhaps others are convicted, then the job of reforming the entire CPUC should be front and center. Best, Don Bauder

March 27, 2015

Don, Let's hope that the PUC procedures can be reformed.

Today's UT article reveals that Attorney Mia Severson has noticed depositions of PUC President Michael Piker, Timothy Sullivan, Michael Florio and Michael Peevey in her lawsuit to challenge the retention of expensive criminal defense lawyers over at Shephard Mullin to defend the Commission from multiple criminal investigations now under way.

These depositions are to be public, if Mia Severson gets her way.

The attorneys cost $882 per hour for the big guns and $700 per hour plus for non-big gun lawyers at Sheppard Mullin. That is a very expensive taxi cab! They are talking about 5.2 million dollars to defend the Commission.

I would probably advice former Chairman Michael Peevey to take the Fifth Amendment if the criminal case is strong, which I do not know.

I hope that the clique is broken up on the smug little fraternity at the PUC. They think they are god-like and immune from legal process. Their cozy little backroom deals are over. Sunshine is the best antiseptic.

Bravo! Mia Severson is one tough cookie. Hopefully, the SONGS settlement can be set aside and documents discovered and depositions taken in that matter. That settlement was a huge fraud on ratepayers. Phase three involved the key issue of prudence. How can a 4.5 billion dollar settlement be based on lack of discovery and public hearings? The answer is that a massive cover-up went down.

Best to you, Don.

March 28, 2015

Diogenes: Mia Severson is one tough cookie. Ditto Mike Aguirre. I believe the criminal case is strong against Peevey. The trouble is that law enforcement and the courts have traditionally let the CPUC get away with all kinds of mischief. So we are breaking new ground here. Best, Don Bauder

March 28, 2015

Is Shepard, Mullin, et al yet another elephant?

March 31, 2015

It is a shame that Shames shammed several suckers successfully, so the Shame sob story slathered the judge so successfully that the judgement was suckered in enough to slice the settlement

March 31, 2015

Re: Don Bauder March 27, 2015 @ 5:50 p.m.

I get the impression that the media at large largely ignore this issue. Without them, how will it come front and center?

March 31, 2015

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close