Murray “Moose” Lea, the homeless surfboard-maker who sued Junior Seau before the NFL great’s suicide, will be in a downtown San Diego court next week arguing he should get $256,000 from the player’s estate.
A hearing in the case took place Friday morning before Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego Superior Court, but a civil jury trial has been delayed until Tuesday, said Karen Dalton, a court spokeswoman.
“The case is ready for trial,” Dalton said via email. “The parties [were] directed to meet and confer [Friday] morning regarding witnesses.”
Three weeks ago, Lea said a settlement offer had been offered. Court documents don’t say the status of that offer.
Lea (pronounced LEE) contends that when Seau drove off a Carlsbad cliff in October 2010, the Cadillac Escalade nearly hit him, forcing Lea to leap back and suffer a series of injuries.
Among other things, Lea is asking for $60,000 in lost wages, $57,500 for pain and suffering, $11,500 for medications and $5,000 for relocating since “I have people threatening my life now,” he wrote the judge Aug. 7.
He fired his original lawyer, Scott Savary, and told Curiel in email: “Mr. Savary did nothing to help me at all, and now no lawyer in San Diego will take my case. Junior Seau is one of the most famous pro sports figures in the history of San Diego.”
Lea said he called more than 15 lawyers and “no one will help me out.”
He told Curiel: “I am confident that you will figure this mess out. Like I said when I [met] you: ‘You are the smartest man in that courtroom.’”
On July 10, Lea took part in a two-hour mediation session with Darin Boles representing the Seau estate. But the meeting led by independent mediator Joseph Barr Jr. led to “nonagreement,” according to court records.
On Aug. 22, Lea filed 88 pages of evidence for his injury claims, including police reports on the 2010 cliff plunge.
Carlsbad Police Lt. Kelly Cain, in an “investigative narrative” said Lea contacted him July 13.
“I spoke to Lea on the phone and he advised that he had spoken to me on the date of the collision, at the scene, although I did not recall the context of the conversation,” Cain wrote.
Lea had argued that he had jumped out of the way of the Seau SUV but Cain said Lea said he “did not seek medical attention from the responding medics and that four hours later he felt a burning sensation in his left groin and hip flexor muscle.”
Lea included an Oct. 18, 2010, report by Carlsbad police Officer Jim Marstell on the Seau incident that told of how Seau had reported being in a domestic dispute with his girlfriend that led to his arrest.
Marstell wrote that Seau said he had had “a few beers” the day before but nothing since being bailed out of jail at 3:30 a.m. Seau said he taken no medications either.
“I asked [Seau] if he wanted to hurt himself in any way,” Marstell wrote. “[Seau] said he did not want to hurt himself”—despite what witnesses at the scene said was a suicide attempt. “I was unable to substantiate these statements.”
Seau told Marstell that he was very tired “and remembers feeling a sharp ‘bump’ while driving and then going down the embankment. [Seau] remembered the air bag in his vehicle deploying and the bag pushing him into his seat.”
The former Chargers defensive back suffered a contusion above his right eye, abrasions to his left cheek and lacerated fingers on his right hand, Marstell wrote.
“[Seau] also complained of pain to his neck, back and legs,” the report said.
On Jan. 4, 2011, Jarrett Rustich of Farmers Insurance Exchange wrote Lea:
Since our investigation to date has led us to conclude the injuries you have claimed cannot be objectively sustained, we will be contesting them on our insured’s behalf and denying your bodily injury claim.
In his Aug. 22 filing, Lea provides what he calls evidence of many doctor and chiropractor visits. He also indicated he is suing for depression.
Lea’s civil trial, in Curiel’s court, is set to begin at 9 a.m Tuesday.