Lawyer for Audrie Pott's Parents Lashes Out at Man Claiming to be Biological Father

Audrie Pott killed herself following an assault and the humiliation that followed when nude photos were shown to classmates. (Photo Credit: Pott Family)
Audrie Pott killed herself following an assault and the humiliation that followed when nude photos were shown to classmates. (Photo Credit: Pott Family)
The attorney for the legal parents of teen suicide victim Audrie Pott today described a lawsuit filed Wednesday in San Jose by a man claiming to be the girl's biological father as "frivolous" and "a money grab."

Robert Allard, who represents Sheila and Lawrence Pott in their wrongful death case against the parents of four juveniles they said were partly to blame for Audrie's suicide, claimed that Michael Lazarin's self-filed civil case "has no merit whatsoever" since no lawyer agreed to take it.

"This is a frivolous lawsuit personally filed by Mr. Lazarin as part of an apparent money grab," Allard wrote in a prepared statement.

[Previous: Man Files Lawsuit Saying He Is Audrie Pott's Biological Father, Seeks Nod As Heir.]

Audrie, who was 15, hanged herself at Sheila Pott's Los Altos home on Sept. 10, 2012, and died at a hospital in Mountain View after being taken off life support two days later.

She had become upset following a Labor Day weekend party with other teens that Sept. 2 at a friend's home in Saratoga. During the party, she passed out inside a bedroom after drinking vodka mixed with Gatorade.

While Audrie was asleep, three male teen classmates of hers from Saratoga High School removed some of her clothes, used a felt pen to draw messages on her body, took photos of her and sexually abused her by digital penetration.

After pleading guilty to sexual assault, two of the boys were sentenced to 30 days in juvenile jail, which they served on weekends, and a third to 45 consecutive days.

Although Allard did not address Lazarin's main claim to being Audrie's biological father, he stated that Lawrence Pott "is always and always has been the legal father to Audrie. End of story."

Allard also described Lazarin's case, filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court, as "a cheap stunt" and accused him of assisting the boys during their criminal case "in an attempt to get them exonerated for their heinous actions."

In response, Lazarin denied trying to help the boys with their criminal case, saying that one of the boy's defense attorneys subpoenaed the records of a paternity case he filed in 2003 in an unsuccessful attempt to be declared Audrie's father.

About the case and exhibits he filed Wednesday to be considered an heir to Audrie's estate, Lazarin said, "Let the truth be revealed."

"My documents will speak for themselves," he said. "Let a Superior Court judge decide if my case is valid or not," he said. "I am the biological father, period. Allard is sidestepping it again."

Lazarin, 46, alleged in his suit that Sheila Pott and Lawrence Pott, who are no longer married, falsely claimed to be Audrie's sole heirs in their suit filed on April 15, 2013.

The Potts' suit against the boys' parents asks for monetary damages for defamation, invasion of privacy, false imprisonment, battery, sexual battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and conspiracy.
 The Potts are also suing an unnamed teenage girl who they allege assisted in taking Audrie to the room, watched the boys with Audrie and then lied about it to sheriff's deputies investigating Audrie's death in 2012.

In his lawsuit, Lazarin attached as exhibits dozens of family photos of himself, Audrie, Sheila Pott and Lazarin family members taken from the late 1990s to early 2000s, prior to when he and Sheila broke up in December 2003 after an eight-year relationship.
Lazarin, to bolster his case as Audrie's biological father, also included an email sent last Sept. 24 to his former lawyer Gloria Allred by the Potts' attorney Allard, who described Lazarin as "nothing more than a sperm donor."

He also furnished printouts of posts on Facebook written to him about Audrie by Lawrence Pott's second wife, Lisa Pott, in 2011 before Audrie's death, that Lazarin claims indicates acknowledgement of his paternity.

A hearing on Lazarin's suit by a case management judge in Superior Court in San Jose is set for Aug. 19.

Lazarin said in an interview that he expects his case to be combined with the Potts' lawsuit. He met Sheila in 1995 when he said she told him she was separated from Lawrence.

He said he fathered Audrie and after she was born in 1997, he was active in her life, financial support and upbringing in his San Jose home up to when she was 6.

Following his break up with Sheila in December 2003, she denied him further access to Audrie, and that month he filed the paternity claim to establish himself as Audrie's parent, Lazarin said.

He ended up losing the case in 2006 when a judge cited a statute that said in order to be legally declared the father, Lazarin had to claim paternity within two years of her birth. Lazarin said that during the paternity case, it was never disputed that he was Audrie's biological father.

In a court filing in 2006, Sheila Pott's lawyer Mary Simpson wrote that the Potts were married in 1992, Lawrence Pott filed for divorce in 2001 but it did not became final until 2004.

Simpson stated that Sheila, while still legally married to Lawrence Pott, had an affair with Lazarin between April and September 1996, prior to Audrie's birth on May 27, 1997.

Previous stories:

Teens Arrested For Alleged Sexual Assault That Resulted in Girl's Suicide After Photos Posted on Facebook.

Mother of Audrie Pott Filed a Restraining Order.

Parents of Assault Victim Audrie Pott File Wrongful Death Lawsuit.

Audrie Pott's Parents Reach Partial Settlement; Second Victim Revealed.

School Supe Issues Statement About Audrie Pott Case.

New Law Cracks Down on Teen Cyberbullying.

--Bay City News


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