A California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana has upheld a lower court's $3.3 million judgment for the Kansas City Art Institute after an Orange County Republican power couple reneged on a 2005 pledge to donate $5 million.
On Sept. 30, a three-justice appellate panel rejected a contention by Kristina Dodge that Superior Court Judge Robert J. Moss erred by issuing a 2011 default judgment in favor of the art institute, which had named a building for the Dodge family.
Dodge argued ignorance of California law as an explanation why she failed to file a response to the lawsuit and that opposing lawyers should have advised her of their specific legal plans.
Justices Eileen C. Moore, Kathleen O'Leary and David Thompson were not amused.
"Counsel [for the art institute] is under no legal obligation [to advise the couple]," they wrote in their seven-page opinion.
At one point, the Dodges were big shot Republican contributors who donated $20 million to Chapman University before a massive financial collapse.
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(Lawrence Dodge, Kristina's husband, was not a party to the appeal because he filed for bankruptcy, according to court records.)