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Jury Rejects Homeless Man’s Claims Against Seau Estate, Denies Damages

Murray "Moose" Lea of Carlsbad fails to persuade panel with a "tree falls in a forest" argument.

Updated at 7:10 p.m. Sept. 6, 2012

Calling no witnesses and presenting little evidence, homeless surfboard-maker Murray “Moose” Lea used a “tree fell in a forest” argument to claim that the estate of Junior Seau should pay him tens of thousands of dollars.

The sandal-wearing Carlsbad man, who lives in a Dodge van, told a downtown San Diego Superior Court jury Thursday that even though he had no proof of being injured while jumping away from Seau’s SUV in October 2010, “Why would I come here and make you waste your time if I’m lying?”

In closing arguments, Lea told the eight-man, four-woman civil jury that he was the only witness to the Seau accident that exacerbated injuries going back 27 years.

“If we were in a forest, and a tree fell down, does it make a noise?” Lea said. “Hell, yes—one big kaboom!”

But defense attorney Rayna Stephan said: “We wish [Lea] the best, but Mr. Seau’s estate should not be responsible” for Lea’s medical expenses and lost earnings. “It’s just not right.”

The jury took less than an hour to return a unanimous verdict—agreeing with Stephan and denying Lea any damages for the Oct. 18, 2010, incident involving the late football star’s Cadillac Escalade going over a seaside cliff.

Lea acted as his own attorney, having fired his first one and not being able to find another, according to his court filings. His attempts to introduce treatment records from a medical doctor and a chiropractor were rebuffed when Stephan objected to them as hearsay and without anyone to vouch for their accuracy.

On Thursday, a day after saying one of his caregivers was on vacation, he said that doctor was unavailable to testify because he was in North Dakota attending an uncle’s funeral.

In any case, he told the jury, he owed one $3,200 and another $7,500.

Stephan also pointed to what she called contradictions and inconsistencies in Lea’s story and said a letter he sent Seau after the incident said: “I’m poor. I need help. I aggravated my hip [injury] in the commotion and running around” afterward, including time he spent talking to TV and radio stations.

She said he failed to note his injuries during media interviews in the immediate hours after the accident.

And Lea’s letter pointed to a motive, she said.

“If it wasn’t Mr. Seau, there wouldn’t be a letter,” Stephan said. “If it wasn’t for Mr. Seau, there wouldn’t be a lawsuit. ... There’s not one shred of evidence for anything” in the lawsuit that originally asked for $256,000.

“What he told you in closing argument defies common sense,” Stephan told the Hall of Justice jury on Broadway.

After the three-day trial, supervising juror Galene Thayer said the jury “looked very deeply into what evidence there was” for Lea’s claim. “We really didn’t see a substantial amount of evidence or proof” that Lea was injured that morning on the cliff.

“Everyone had their opinion on how—if they were in this situation—what they would do,” Thayer said. “Things like maybe getting an affidavit, some kind of notarized statement, some kind of eyewitnesses.”

Stephan, whose closing argument was observed by her deputy district attorney sister Summer and La Jolla attorney mother Jeanette, said the Seau family was pleased with the outcome.

“Justice was served, and on behalf of the estate of Junior Seau, we are grateful for the time that (jurors) took. … The jury saw it the way we see it—and that is the plaintiff did not meet the burden of proof.”

Lea’s homeless status was not ignored, the chief juror said.

“Some people said they really felt for the guy,” Thayer said. “But really part of the judge’s instructions were to take our own personal considerations out of the question and focus on the evidence.

“As much as our heart really went out to him and his situation … it really didn’t become a factor for our decision.”

Lea’s claims to being good friends with Seau—which he later said during closing wasn’t true—and other statements such as being a professional surfer some considered exaggerated led to doubts about his story.

“Veracity definitely factored into [the verdict],” Thayer said outside the courtroom while Lea stripped off his shirt and donned a green T-shirt promoting his business. “And motive also factored into it.”

Thayer said the jury took note of evidence that Lea, after a reputed 2008 injury at the Del Mar racetrack, sought damages there as well.

Lea told Channel 10 News after the trial that his case “reminds me a little about the O.J. [Simpson] trial—the one with the most expensive attorneys wins” and also said: “I’m almost better. Another 15 [to] 20 days, the hip flexor will get a little bit better. I have a couple of shops lined up and I’ll be back in business again.” 

During the rebuttal phase of his closing argument, Lea said his homelessness should not be held against him since “you could call half the San Diego Padres homeless, too.”

He said he chose to live out of his van on a Carlsbad coastal highway, and he depicted his motives as sincere, saying: “You’re going to have to believe me.” And before an objection was sustained, Lea said: “I’ve been getting life threats. People on the Internet are writing crazy stuff about me.”

Lea got no takers when he invited jurors to feel his hip flexor wrapped in “two 8-foot Ace bandages.”

But he tried an appeal to common sense.

“What stupid person would file a lawsuit against Junior Seau—the most famous San Diego athlete?” he asked. ”Why would I put myself through such scrutiny if it wasn’t true?”

James Jones September 08, 2012 at 04:17 PM
Libi wrote: "ken, who's paying the tab for court fees and appeals?" Da Moose wrote: "SAME PEOPLE WHO PAYS FOR THE ROADS YOU DRIVE ON LIBI" Yes Moose, those are called "people with jobs, who pay taxes."
Libi Uremovic September 08, 2012 at 04:31 PM
"..SAME PEOPLE WHO PAYS FOR THE ROADS YOU DRIVE ON LIBI.." yea, that would be myself....i pay for the roads i drive on through prop A and gas tax funds..
"Da Moose" September 08, 2012 at 04:42 PM
YOU KNOW WHAT COPY AND PASTE IS "SHOW ME"
"Da Moose" September 08, 2012 at 04:49 PM
SHEEPLE WHO NEED A JOB , WHEN YOUR THE CEO AND OWNER OF "WORLD WIDE WATER" HTTP://WWW.MOOSEWAKEBOARDS.COM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4uxlTE3e6U
sheeple herder September 08, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Apparently you do. Your monicker is "homeless"... I wouldn't be too proud of that...
John Galt September 08, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Lea lie #1: CEO AND OWNER OF "WORLD WIDE WATER" Lea lie #2: NOT ONE PERSON SAID I LYED,NOT ONE PERSON Lea lie #3: AN INDAIN FRIEND OF MINE TOLD ME " JUNIOR TRY TO KILL HIMSELF IN FRONT OF ME ,BEACAUSE HE KNEW I COULD SAVE HIS LIVE" All just from this run. Lea do you need more about being a liar? Everytime your lips move you spill lies. Clean up (if possible) and get a job. Maybe as a sign spinner. Also when did vans become RV's? Just because you wish it, it ain't so. You are a hustler, plain and simple. Hopefully others will see you for the POS you are and avoid giving money to a brainless fool.
"Da Moose" September 08, 2012 at 06:19 PM
YEAH ,YOU GUY'S THINK ,WHAT YOUR GOING TO THINK ,AND THATS YOUR RIGHTS ,I RESPECT THAT ,,, BUT THE NEXT TIME YOU BUMP YOUR ARM ON SOMETHING AND YOU LOOK AROUND TO SEE IF ANYONE SAW IT ,PLEASE THINK OF ME ,THERE CAN'T BE A WITNESS AT EVERYTHING IN LIFE . I THOUGH THIS WAS 2012 ,SO MANY PEOPLE OUT THERE JUDGING PEOPLE OFF A 15 SEC. INTERVIEW THAT WAS TAKEN JUST 45MINS, AFTER I ALL MOST GOT KILLED ,,,NOT THE HOURS AFTER LIKE YOU READ ...YOUR ALL SYICK,,, IM TAKING YOU ALL WITH NEXT YEAR TO OPENING DAY AT GOOD OLD DEL MAR ,,, YOU CAN TELL ME WITCH HORSE GOING TO WIN. WILL HIT THE PICK 6 TOGETHER (I AM IN THE PICK 6 CLUB) REMEMBER " PEOPLE WHO JUDGE DON'T MATTER ,,, AND PEOPLE WHO MATTER DON'T JUDGE"
"Da Moose" September 08, 2012 at 06:19 PM
" KEN STONE FROM CARLSBADPATCH WATCH THE WHOLE TRAIL (THANKS FOR THE $6 FOR THE TRAIN) KEN KNOW THAT THE JUDGE WAS STREN WITH ME WHEN I WAS LATE ,,,AND IT LOOKED BAD AT THE TIME ,,,HE SAW I WAS THE FIRST PERSON IN THE COURT ROOM EVERY DAY I WAS THERE.NOT ONE TIME DID HE GET STERN WITH ME ,,,DID HE KEN. JUST REMEMBER ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF FROM NOW ,YOU'LL HEAR A LITTLE STORY "ABOUT THE HOMELESSMAN WINING AN APPEAL FOR 7 FIGURES ...EVER HEAR OF BAD FAITH INSURANCE DAMAGES? " HOW WAS I GOING TO FIND A FAR JURY IN "DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO" ALL 55 MEMBERS KNEW JURY POOL KNEW JUNIOR AND HOW HE DID. SO ITS BEEN REAL FUNNNNNN PLAYING WITH YOU CLOWNS ON THE PATCH AND NEWS 10,BUT NOW I GOING TO GO BACK TO MAKING FRIENDS LAUGH AND SHAPING THEM THE BEST DAMMM SURFBOARDS AND WAKEBOARDS THAY EVER RODE... THATS NoBullJustMoose.com MY OLD SITE REMEMBER KIDS DON'T SMOKE CIGARETTES
Libi Uremovic September 08, 2012 at 07:12 PM
".. BUT THE NEXT TIME YOU BUMP YOUR ARM ON SOMETHING AND YOU LOOK AROUND TO SEE IF ANYONE SAW IT ,PLEASE THINK OF ME...' i think i can speak for everyone when i say that yes, the next time we bump our arms we will think of you.....and we'll laugh at the thought of suing the store for having a solid surface in the proximity of our arms... ...just yesterday a man was arrested right in front of me...i had to alter my walking route because the sheriff's were occupying the sidewalk... i had to step out into the street - which put me in danger......emotional distress... ....what's that worth, about $100,000...?
Marcus Boyd September 08, 2012 at 07:37 PM
I have a video of a local Sheriff 'traffic enforcement' officer, forcing pedestrians the off the sidewalk ONTO PALM AVE, AT A BLIND TURN! -it's really ugly! Maybe I should blog that....
"Da Moose" September 09, 2012 at 03:19 AM
WHERE AM I ?? I THOUGHT I LIVED IN SAN DIEGO,,, NOT ALABAMA ,,, WHERE THAY JUDGE YOU ON HOW YOU LOOK,,,,, SHAM ON YOU CLOWNS
Senior September 09, 2012 at 04:16 AM
We're judging your ridiculous actions Mooch not what you look like. You do look like hell and need to drop 50lbs you lard ass. You won't convince any jury of this bizarre, fairy tale story of yours. And you won't convince Patch readers either.
Doug Curlee September 09, 2012 at 04:18 AM
moose..the plain truth is.. we're just sick and tired of you.. doug
Senior September 09, 2012 at 04:19 AM
You may live in San Diego physically Mooch. Mentally you live in lala land.
Kevin George September 10, 2012 at 04:03 PM
It helps if you know what veracity means. “Veracity definitely factored into [the verdict],”
"Da Moose" September 11, 2012 at 07:42 PM
HERE'S FRIDAYS POD CAST ON LADONNA SHOW KOGOAM600/95.7FM http://www.kogo.com/player/?station=KOGO-AM&program_name=podcast&program_id=LaDonaHarvey.xml&mid=22426218
"Da Moose" September 11, 2012 at 07:42 PM
HERE'S FRIDAYS POD CAST ON LADONNA SHOW KOGOAM600/95.7FM http://www.kogo.com/player/?station=KOGO-AM&program_name=podcast&program_id=LaDonaHarvey.xml&mid=22426218
"Da Moose" September 11, 2012 at 08:00 PM
SORRY @ 13:20
"Da Moose" September 11, 2012 at 08:01 PM
SORRY @ 13:20
Doug Curlee September 11, 2012 at 08:46 PM
mooch.. when are you going to get the message?.. we don't CARE.. doug
"Da Moose" September 12, 2012 at 03:45 AM
yeah you do ,,, you care Soooo Much ,,, you keep checking it out
Doug Curlee September 12, 2012 at 04:28 AM
if you don't mind people laughing at you, and wondering about your sanity, then keep right on with your diatribes.. but we really don't care about you or your "case", except as an object of general ridicule.. doug
Sariously September 12, 2012 at 01:36 PM
No matter how crazy the guy may be, that is a really crappy thing to say.
"Da Moose" September 12, 2012 at 09:47 PM
dougie not so fresh,,, for every one laughing at me on "Da Alabama patch" I have a 100 people huging and shaking my hand ,,,100 to 1 people know im right ,,, in real live ,not I'll hide behind my keyboard ,and cyber bull people ,I HAVE NO CLUE WHAT THE STORY IS ,,, BUT I SAW THIS DUDE FOR 15 SEC. ON THE NEWS,WOW
91 November 16, 2012 at 12:27 PM
http://www.louisvuittonhandbagso.co.uk Louis Vuitton Handbags http://tiffany.jewelryc.co.uk Tiffany And Co Outlet Tiffany UK http://www.hervelegerfashion.co.uk Herve Leger Outlet
"Da Moose" December 10, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Zimmerman suing NBC over 911 tape edits http://times247.com/articles/zimmerman-suing-nbc-over-911-tape-edits Mmmmm ,you mean the news can't do what ever thay want???you can't edit or try to defame people ,MMMMM sounds a lot like what ken did to me ... How did ken know "Jurors Share Concerns About ‘Money-Digging’ Homeless Man in Seau Suit" 2 days befor the vedict ??? The Jury was told not to talk to the Media at ALL , then how did ken know "Jurors Share Concerns About ‘Money-Digging’ Homeless Man in Seau Suit" if he wasn't supost to talk to the Jury ...2 days befor the vedict ???MMMMMMM,sounds like ken mite have to explain himself sooooon..
Kevin George December 10, 2012 at 01:40 AM
JAIL KEN STONE !!! JAIL KEN STONE!!! Good to hear from you Mooooch! This is really great news for you though Mooooch, you can sue Ken and go after AOLs DEEP POCKETS! Get your buddies dad ( how's the case going BTW?) to go after Ken for defamation and slander. I'm figuring $500k no problem. Easy street is right around the corner.
Things I Learned December 10, 2012 at 02:40 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaHtuxBjljc
Shea Roney December 10, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Mooch, you are a loser. Bad ding repair, selling marijuana shirts on craigslist, and you still are barking about lawsuits? Invest on a tutor and learn some standard english speaking skills. Maybe you can even be a greeter at Wallmart! Ha!
"Da Moose" April 26, 2013 at 02:38 PM
This is the Question Nobody has asked ,"WHY IS THERE NO GUARD RAIL ON PCH THERE" AND 2 1/2 YEARS LATER ,,,STILL NO GUARD RAIL ,Next to a 100+ foot Cliff just 20 feet from a Highway where Cars travel 55+MPH. For all those who though I didn't get Hurt ,I'm on Disability now .Just going to make shur this NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN TO ANYONE,Because that's Who I am.

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