By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 06/19/14, 5:21 PM PDT |

SAN BERNARDINO >> Attorneys in a civil lawsuit stemming from a murder conspiracy case involving two San Manuel tribal members are quarrelling over the disclosure of the tribal members’ financial information in the upcoming punitive damages phase of the trial.

San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith today will consider motions filed by attorneys for both the plaintiff, Leonard Epps, and the defendants, Stacy Nunez-Barajas, 31, of Rancho Cucamonga and her brother, Erik Barajas, 41, of San Diego.

Attorneys for both sides are demanding that Smith impose sanctions of $11,192.50 against the other. The punitive damages phase of the trial has yet to be scheduled.

Epps’ attorney, Frank Peterson, argues in his motion that attorney Joseph Arias advised the Barajases to shun Smith’s prior two orders to produce their financial information so that a jury could decide what, if any, in punitive damages they must pay to Epps.

Arias, therefore, should pay $11,192.50 in sanctions, Peterson argues in his motion.

In his rebuttal, Arias claims his clients complied with Smith’s orders, and that Peterson filed a frivolous motion with the court. Peterson, therefore, should pay $11,192.50 for filing a frivolous motion and attempting to “harass and intimidate” his clients, Arias argues in his motion.

Epps sued the Barajases in 2008 after learning the two hatched a murder plot against him with high ranking members of the Mexican Mafia. The murder conspiracy, which was orchestrated following a run-in Epps had with Erik Barajas at the now-defunct Brass Key bar in Highland, was discovered during a 2006 criminal investigation by San Bernardino police and the Drug Enforcement Administration into the Mexican Mafia’s methamphetamine racket in San Bernardino.

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