Ruling Expected Today on Move to Bar Philosophy in Hoiles’ Suit

Times Staff Writer

An Orange County judge is expected to decide this morning if he will ban further evidence of the libertarian philosophy in the trial of dissident shareholder Harry H. Hoiles’ lawsuit to dissolve Freedom Newspapers Inc.

Superior Court Judge Leonard Goldstein listened Tuesday to arguments from Hoiles’ attorney and from the attorneys for the family-held, Irvine-based media chain and its majority shareholders, which consist of the families of Hoiles’ sister, Mary Jane Hoiles Hardie, and their late brother, Clarence H. Hoiles.

The libertarian philosophy is a key element in the trial for Hoiles because it provides the basis for his claim that all family members had reasonable expectations about what they could do with their ownership interests.

The defense filed a written motion Monday afternoon, seeking to block further testimony on libertarianism, which is the philosophy espoused by company founder R.C. Hoiles and the cornerstone of the company.


Lawyers for the company and the majority owners contend that the suit does not raise the philosophy as an issue and that volumes of pretrial depositions show only that Hoiles’ attorneys objected to Hoiles answering questions on libertarianism because they were irrelevant to the case.

Whatever deposition testimony exists on the philosophy relates to the editorial stance of the newspapers, not to the operation of the company, they contend.

Hoiles’ attorneys claim that the issue is relevant to show the reasonable expectations of the parties and that the frustration of those expectations constitute the persistent unfairness, which is required to be proven to dissolve the company.