Litigious guru keeps returning for another hug


San Diego Union-Tribune, January 18, 2000
By Peter Rowe

Can't you feel the love?

Can't you feel your ageless spirit being rocked upon the cosmos' timeless bosom? Can't you glimpse your monogrammed beach towel on the beaches of ecstasy?

Can't you, in other words, feel the warm embrace of Deepak Chopra's lawyers?

If not, don't blame Chopra. For the CEO and founder of La Jolla's Chopra Center for Well Being, it's all about the love. You see it in the titles of his books, "The Path to Love" and "The Love Poems of Rumi." In his "Gift of Love" seminar. In his ever-lengthening list of courtroom rendezvous.

After filing a $35 million libel suit against The Weekly Standard and the New York Post, Chopra termed it "an act of love meant to lift them to a higher state of awareness, accountability and respectability."

That was many lawsuits ago, in 1997, but Chopra remains a hopeless romantic. Last week, after a San Diego Superior Court jury ash-canned his suit against a former employee -- he had claimed that she had tried to blackmail him -- the New Age apostle of mind-body healing revealed that his ardor has not cooled.

"Maybe it is my karma to dismantle the corruption in the San Diego judicial system," he said.

Let the loving continue!

Helpful and appropriate

Like many Romeos, Chopra is a tad bit -- how shall we say this? -- promiscuous in his legal affairs. He may not have loved wisely, but he's loved well beyond the city limits.

Or perhaps it's more accurate to say that several out-of-towners have loved him. With a vengeance. Last year, a former Newport Beach psychotherapist expressed her affection with a $100 million lawsuit, charging Chopra with lifting portions of her unpublished manuscript for his "Seven Spiritual Laws of Success."

In 1997, professor Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford University biologist, leveled similar charges against another Chopra work. The case was settled with both parties issuing a joint statement:

"Dr. Deepak Chopra acknowledges that in the original printing of `Ageless Body, Timeless Mind' it would have been helpful and appropriate to identify the substantial contributions to the field of stress research made by Professor Robert Sapolsky and his influence on Dr. Chopra's work. Dr. Chopra and his publisher will include in any future printings of `Ageless Body, Timeless Mind' an attribution to Professor Sapolsky for his contributions . . . "

Clearly, these distant liaisons meant nothing to the Lama of La Jolla. After all, Chopra has spent untold hours spreading his unique brand of bliss closer to home. If the depth of a man's commitment can be plumbed by the number of his court appearances, Chopra is passionately attached to San Diego County.

In Superior Court here since 1994, Chopra or his center has been the plaintiff in six cases and defendant in six more. He's charged others with trespassing, blackmail and libel. They've charged him with wrongful termination, breach of contract and personal injury.

All you need is love, and a law firm on retainer.

Casanova strikes out

Romancing the legal system, Chopra wins some and loses some. Like all star-crossed paramours, when the Casanova of the Courthouse is jilted, he burns to know why.

Last week, why did that jury unanimously dismiss his blackmail case against former employee Joyce Weaver? A conspiracy, according to Chopra, led by Judge Thomas Murphy.

"Chopra and (his lawyer, Michael) Flynn complained that Murphy and other judges who have handled Chopra's cases are biased against him and his attorneys," reported Anne Krueger of this newspaper.

I visited the Hall of Justice the other day to witness this conspiracy. As Chopra had no business before the court, the conspirators tackled other cases, sentencing drug dealers, child abusers, rapists, thieves.

You wonder how their karma handles the abuse. Or, as some call it, the love.


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