A man locked in a cross-border dispute with his former flame over possession of a small dog won a round in court Friday when a Los Angeles judge ruled that any evidence he allegedly used cocaine during the former couple’s relationship is inadmissible.
Superior Court Judge Teresa Beaudet said it was “speculative at best” that Toronto advertising executive Paul Wallace abused drugs. Wallace alleges deceit and intentional infliction of emotional distress in his lawsuit against Alexandra Wells.
Wells’ lawyer, Crystal Boultinghouse, told the judge that her client would have testified she saw Wallace using cocaine. The attorney also said the alleged drug abuse contributed to the breakup of the pair’s relationship and also may have played a role in what she called a “dognapping” of the animal by Wallace and another man in 2015.
Wallace attorney Stephen Rinka told the judge there was no evidence his client consumed cocaine.
“This is nothing more than a character assassination,” Rinka said, adding sarcastically, “Why not call him a child molester?”
Wallace is vying with Wells for permanent custody of “Berryhill Thinkingmans Crumpet,” the name given the smooth-coated Brussels Griffon that Wallace says he bought in July 2011 for $1,237 from a well-known Canadian breeder.
Wallace posted the female pooch’s face on Instagram, and the canine has made numerous other appearances on social media.
Wallace started the litigation by suing Wells, of Los Angeles, in June 2015. He says Wells paid him for her interest in the pet, but later relinquished her ownership claim. Wells maintains she was always the dog’s sole owner.
The Brussels Griffon breed, also known as Griffon Bruxellois, is a stock of toy dog named for Brussels, Belgium.
Wallace and Wells dated from August 2008 until May 2013 and lived together in Toronto, according to his suit. In April 2012, Wells said she was temporarily moving to Los Angeles for five months, but would return, while Crumpet remained in Toronto with Wallace, his court papers say.
But Wells did not return, and in May 2013 told Wallace that she would remain in Los Angeles, but missed Crumpet and asked that she be allowed to have the pet for a while in the Southland, according to his suit.
Wallace says he declined the visitation, but later that year agreed to Wells’ request that Crumpet spend time with her for two months while he would be traveling. The parties agreed the dog could stay with Wells until February 2014, then be returned to Wallace in Toronto, but that never happened, according to his lawsuit.
Wells countersued in July 2015, alleging assault, battery, domestic violence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and stalking. According to the countersuit, Wallace and another man grabbed Crumpet from Wells’ grasp in May 2015 in Sherman Oaks. She alleges that Wallace twisted her arms and wrists and banged her body against a wall, leaving her with bruises and scratches, and also shouted profanities at her before he and the other man left with the dog.
“To us, this is a case about domestic violence,” Boultinghouse told the judge.
Wells obtained a stay-away order against Wallace about two weeks after the Sherman Oaks incident. He was ordered to return the dog to her, according to her suit, and the canine has remained with her ever since.
Boultinghouse said after the hearing that the restraining order is still in effect and that Wells will seek an extension when it expires. She said the judge has jurisdiction over Wallace even though the plaintiff is a Canadian because the seizure of the dog took place in California.
Boultinghouse said she does not yet know if the dog will be brought into the courtroom during trial, which was originally scheduled to begin Aug. 23 but is now scheduled as a final status conference. The judge indicated a new trial date will be set at that hearing.
–City News Service
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