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CATHEDRAL OAKS TENNIS, SWIM and ATHLETIC CLUB: COAC is an athletic club that ran an unlicensed day care facility, which never was subjected to State regulations or inspections as required by California law. COAC, WCAC, Inc., SBAC, and Club West are the alter egos of each other, in that they all share some of the same ownership, management and marketing.
SANTA BARBARA ATHLETIC CLUB (SBAC): COAC, WCAC, Inc., SBAC, and Club West are the alter egos of each other, in that they all share some of the same ownership, management and marketing.
CLUB WEST: COAC, WCAC, Inc., SBAC, and Club West are the alter egos of each other, in that they all share some of the same ownership, management and marketing.
RICHARD BERTI: SBAC, Cal West, COAC and WCAC, Inc. are all largely owned and controlled by Berti. Berti is also a trustee for the Richard and Marguerite Berti Revocable Trust and is being sued in that capacity in connection with the alleged fraudulent transfer of real property shortly after the drowning death of Yoni Gottesman.
MARGUERITE BERTI: Marguerite Berti is a trustee for the Richard and Marguerite Berti Revocable Trust and is being sued in that capacity in connection with the alleged fraudulent transfer of real property shortly after the drowning death of Yoni Gottesman.
JULIE MAIN: Manager of both COAC, WCAC, Inc., and SBAC. She was responsible for COAC's compliance with all applicable laws and regulations and adherence to appropriate hiring, supervision and training practices for all personnel. Main is also an officer and shareholder of JL Main, Inc.
KEVIN BURNES: Burnes is named as a member, manager or partner of COAC, LLC, an entity at the center if a fraudulent lease transaction involving the COAC Property.
CHARLOTTE VALENTINE: General Manager of COAC and WCAC, Inc. She was responsible for the hiring, supervision and training of all COAC personnel.
ESTHER CLARK: The Aquatics Director at COAC. She was responsible for the hiring, supervision and training of swim instructors and lifeguards, and for ensuring proper certification of swim instructors and lifeguards at COAC.
ELIZABETH HELLER: Activity Camp Director at COAC. She was responsible for the hiring, supervision and training of Activity Camp counselors.
MICHAEL BOWEN: Employed by COAC as a lifeguard and was on duty at the time of the drowning. Bowen sat directly in front and only a few feet away from where little Yoni was dying, yet he did nothing.

DAVID MERIN: Employed by COAC as a lifeguard and was on duty at the time of the drowning. Merin left his post to get a soda, and walked right past where little Yoni was drowning, yet he did nothing.

GABRIELA KASIMATIS: Employed by COAC as a swim instructor and was on duty at the time of the drowning.
SAM SHIPLEY: Employed by COAC as a Summer Activity Camp counselor and was on duty at the time of the drowning. Shipley aggressively "dunked" Yoni numerous times, leaving little Yoni exhausted and disoriented. Shipley later returned to within a couple of feet of where Yoni was floating face down, but took no notice of Yoni's motionless body right next to him.
JEANETTE (JENNIE) DARLING: Employed by COAC as a Summer Activity Camp counselor and was on duty at the time of the drowning.
MARYAM SAFINYA: Employed by COAC as a Summer Activity Camp counselor and was on duty at the time of the drowning.
WEST COAST ATHLETIC CLUBS: COAC, WCAC, Inc., SBAC, and Club West are the alter egos of each other, in that they all share some of the same ownership, management and marketing.
RICHARD ORTALE: A mere 17 days after the drowning, defendant Richard Ortale transferred by grant deed his ownership interest in the COAC Property to Cathedral Oaks Holdings, LLC. Richard Ortale formed Cathedral Oaks Holdings, LLC as part of a plan and conspiracy to fraudulently transfer assets out of the reach of the plaintiffs as creditors.
JAMES KNELL: James Knell is the President of JAJE, Inc. JAJE, Inc. is a partner in West Coast Athletic Club Partnership, which leased the COAC Property in a transaction intended to defraud defendants' creditors and especially the plaintiffs.
CATHEDRAL OAKS HOLDINGS: The formation of Cathedral Oaks Holdings, LLC was in furtherance of a plan and conspiracy to transfer property so as to defraud the plaintiffs as creditors.
CATHEDRAL OAKS PROPERTIES: The formation of Cathedral Oaks Properties, LLC was in furtherance of a plan and conspiracy to fraudulently transfer property owned by the Berti Trust so that it would not be available to satisfy Berti's liability to the plaintiffs.
COAC: COAC is an athletic club that ran an unlicensed day care facility, which never was subjected to State regulations or inspections as required by California law. COAC, WCAC, Inc., SBAC, and Club West are the alter egos of each other, in that they all share some of the same ownership, management and marketing.
WEST COAST ATHLETIC CLUB PARTNERSHIP: COAC, WCAC, Inc., SBAC, and Club West are the alter egos of each other, in that they all share some of the same ownership, management and marketing.
JL MAIN: Julie Main is listed as the President of JL Main. Shortly after consummating a fraudulent lease transaction, an announcement was made in a letter to employees that the Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club was under new ownership. The news was described as "exciting." The letter did not disclose that this transfer of ownership was actually part of a scheme to defraud the COAC's creditors, especially the plaintiffs. Incredibly, the letter indicates that Julie Main is the "new owner" of COAC.
JAJE: JAJE, Inc. is a partner in West Coast Athletic Club Partnership, which leased the COAC Property in a transaction intended to defraud defendants' creditors and especially the plaintiffs.
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Judgement

Nearly four years after Yoni's death, four years of denying any responsibility by the defendants, on the first day of trial, March 24, 2009, for the first time the following defendants admitted (through their attorney) that they were negligent and the cause of Yoni Gottesman's death:

Cathedral Oaks Tennis, Swim and Athletic Club, Inc.; Julie Main; Charlotte Valentine; Esther Clark; Elizabeth Heller; Michael Bowen; David Merin; Sam Shipley, Jeanette (Jennie) Darling; and Maryam Safinya. Yet in depositions, most of them denied any responsibility.

The Club owner Richard Berti and his corporation took no responsibility and did not admit any negligence, but the judgement indicated otherwise.

Highlights of the Verdict and Judgement

Phase 1:

a) Was Cal-West Group the agent for Cathedral Oaks Tennis, Swim and Athletic Club, Inc.?
Answer: YES.

b) Was Cal-West Group negligent?
Answer: YES.

c) Was Cal-West Group's negligence a substantial factor in causing plaintiffs' harm?
Answer: YES.


Question 5. Did the following defendants commit wilful misconduct?

Cathedral Oaks Tennis, Swim & Athletic Club: YES.
Julie Main: YES.
Charlotte Valentine: YES.
Esther Clark: YES.

Question 6. Did plaintiffs prove by clear and convincing evidence that any of the following named defendants engaged in the conduct with malice, oppression, or fraud?

Cathedral Oaks Tennis, Swim and Athletic Club: YES.
Julie Main: YES.
Charlotte Valentine: YES.
Esther Clark: YES.


Phase 2 ("Punitive Damages"):

Question 1. What amount of punitive damages, if any, do you award plaintiffs against the following named defendants?

Cathedral Oaks Tennis, Swim and Athletic Club: $xxxxx
Julie Main: $xxx
Charlotte Valentine: $xxx
Esther Clark: $xxx


III. JUDGMENT ON PHASE THREE (Alter Ego and Fraudulent Transfer Claims):

On November 25, 2008, the Court severed for trial plaintiffs' claims for fraudulent transfer and alter ego (Phase Three), related to fraudulent ownership transfer by Richard Berti. The trial on Phase Three was scheduled for October 20, 2009, and trailed from that date.

The Alter Ego and Fraudulent Transfer claims were resolved by a settlement that included a substantial payment by Richard Berti.

Read more about the defendants below:



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Yoni Gottesman