This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 04/20/2020 at 07:06:28 (UTC).

2H CONSTRUCTIONS, INC. VS COMPLETE SERVICE, INC.

Case Summary

On 08/14/2018 2H CONSTRUCTIONS, INC filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against COMPLETE SERVICE, INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Santa Monica Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are JON R. TAKASUGI and LAWRENCE CHO. The case status is Other.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******0612

  • Filing Date:

    08/14/2018

  • Case Status:

    Other

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Santa Monica Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judges

JON R. TAKASUGI

LAWRENCE CHO

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Cross Defendants

2H CONSTRUCTIONS INC.

ALLIANCE HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING INC.

KILROY REALTY CORPORATION

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

COMPLETE SERVICE INC.

ALLIANCE HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING INC.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Cross Defendant Attorney

CAGNEY LAWRENCE ROBERTSON

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorney

WEISS DAVID E.

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

4/16/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 04/16/2020

4/16/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 04/16/2020

Judgment - Judgment by Court

4/16/2020: Judgment - Judgment by Court

Motion for Order (name extension) - Motion to Set Aside and Vacate Judgment on Count 2 and Supporting Brief Pursuant to CCP 663

3/30/2020: Motion for Order (name extension) - Motion to Set Aside and Vacate Judgment on Count 2 and Supporting Brief Pursuant to CCP 663

Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (170.6) - Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (170.6)

2/11/2020: Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (170.6) - Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (170.6)

Minute Order - Minute Order (Non-Jury Trial)

2/26/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Non-Jury Trial)

Other - (name extension) - Other - Closing Argument

3/2/2020: Other - (name extension) - Other - Closing Argument

Limited Jurisdiction Trial Transfer Order - Limited Jurisdiction Trial Transfer Order to Judge Cho, Dept. K, Santa Monica Court, OTR today at 1:30 p.m.

2/11/2020: Limited Jurisdiction Trial Transfer Order - Limited Jurisdiction Trial Transfer Order to Judge Cho, Dept. K, Santa Monica Court, OTR today at 1:30 p.m.

Minute Order - Minute Order (Non-Jury Trial)

2/18/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Non-Jury Trial)

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application to serve cross-complaint)

11/4/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application to serve cross-complaint)

Summons - Summons on Cross Complaint

11/22/2019: Summons - Summons on Cross Complaint

Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

1/27/2020: Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

1/28/2020: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

2/5/2020: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

Minute Order - Minute Order (Non-Jury Trial)

2/11/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Non-Jury Trial)

Cross-Complaint

9/26/2018: Cross-Complaint

Summons - on Complaint

8/14/2018: Summons - on Complaint

Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

8/14/2018: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

26 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/27/2020
  • Hearing04/27/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department K at 1725 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401; Hearing on Motion - Other (name extension)

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  • 04/27/2020
  • Hearing04/27/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department K at 1725 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401; Hearing on Motion - Other (name extension)

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  • 04/16/2020
  • DocketCourt orders judgment entered for Plaintiff 2H Constructions, Inc., a California corporation against Defendant Complete Service, Inc., a California Corporation on the Complaint filed by 2H Constructions, Inc. on 08/14/2018 for the principal amount of $11,975.50 for a total of $11,975.50. Cost to be determined per filing of Memorandum of Costs.

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  • 04/16/2020
  • DocketCourt orders judgment entered for Cross-Complainant Complete Service, Inc., a California Corporation against Cross-Defendant 2H Constructions, Inc., a California corporation on the Cross-Complaint filed by Complete Service, Inc. on 09/26/2018 for the principal amount of $7,204.00 for a total of $7,204.00. Cost to be determined per filing of Memorandum of Costs.

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  • 04/16/2020
  • DocketJudgment by Court; Signed and Filed by: 2H Constructions, Inc. (Plaintiff); As to: Complete Service, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 04/16/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Judgment by Court: Filed By: 2H Constructions, Inc. (Plaintiff); Result: Granted; Result Date: 04/16/2020

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  • 04/16/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Court Order)

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  • 04/16/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 04/16/2020; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 04/16/2020
  • DocketAddress for David E. Weiss (Attorney) null

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  • 04/16/2020
  • DocketAddress for David E. Weiss (Attorney) null

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64 More Docket Entries
  • 09/26/2018
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: 2H Constructions, Inc. (Plaintiff); As to: Complete Service, Inc. (Defendant); Proof of Mailing Date: 08/27/18; Service Cost: 0.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 09/26/2018
  • DocketGeneral Denial; Filed by: Complete Service, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 09/26/2018
  • DocketCross-Complaint; Filed by: Complete Service, Inc. (Cross-Complainant); As to: 2H Constructions, Inc. (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 08/15/2018
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Jon R. Takasugi in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 08/15/2018
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 02/11/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 08/15/2018
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause - Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 08/17/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 08/14/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: 2H Constructions, Inc. (Plaintiff); As to: Complete Service, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 08/14/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: 2H Constructions, Inc. (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/14/2018
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Clerk

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  • 08/14/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 18STLC10612    Hearing Date: July 07, 2020    Dept: K

CASE NAME: 2H CONSTRUCTION v. COMPLETE SERVICE, Inc.

CASE NUMBER: 18STLC10612

HEARING DATE: 6/29/20

TRIAL DATE: 2/11-20 to 3/2/20 (BENCH)

______________________________________________________________________________

TENATIVE RULING

MOTION: Plaintiff & Defendant’s Cross Motions

For Attorney’s Fees GRANTED & DENIED IN PART

INTRODUCTION

This was a bench trial in which Plaintiff-General Contractor sought damages arising from the loss of a construction bond in the amount of $15,966 stemming from Plaintiff’s inability to prove compliance with the City of Santa Monica (“City”) dump regulations. Specifically, the City required that any construction debris be dumped in a City approved dump. Plaintiff hired Defendant-subcontractor to do $2,000 of demolition work. Defendant completed the work and the refuse was allegedly dumped in the approved dump site per City regulations. However, Defendant was unable to furnish Plaintiff documentary proof (in the form of “dump receipts”) to prove to the City that their dump requirement had been satisfied. As such, the City forfeited Plaintiff’s entire $20,000 bond. Plaintiff sued Defendant to recover that loss under breach of contract and negligence causes of action (COAs).

Defendant also had a cross-claim on an unrelated construction project in the city Loma Linda in which Defendant claimed that Plaintiff owed “retention” fees for sub-contracting work performed. Plaintiff denied the allegations in its answer to the cross-complaint and in pretrial, but conceded liability in the amount of $7,204 (including interest penalty) just before closing argument on Day 5 of trial.

This Court found for Defendant on COA 1, the contract claim, finding that the retention of dump receipts was not contractually required, but found for Plaintiff on COA 2, the negligence cause of action. However, in Defendant’s post-trial motion to vacate the negligence verdict, this Court agreed with Defendant and vacated the verdict for Plaintiff on that cause of action. An amended judgment was entered for Defendant both COA’s as well as on Defendant’s uncontested cross-claim.

Both parties now bring cross motions for attorney’s fees.

ANALYSIS

  1. Plaintiff’s Motion

    Even though Plaintiff is not the prevailing party, it brings this motion under CCP § 2033.420 seeking attorney’s fees for cost-of-proof stemming from Defendant’s failure to admit RFA #4[1]. Plaintiff asserts that this request framed “the central issue that was in this case,” i.e., whether Defendant submitted dump receipts to prove compliance with Plaintiff’s obligations to the city. (Cagney Decl. ¿ 11). Plaintiff argues that had Defendant admitted this, it would have saved Plaintiff from expending unnecessary attorneys’ fees proving this up at trial. Plaintiff seeks $16,369.69 in attorneys’ fees at a rate of $295/hr. Although Plaintiff’s declaration fails to submit the number of hours it seeks reimbursement for, simple math yields 55.5 hours.

    Defendant opposes this motion on the grounds that RFA #4 did not relate to the issue of whether Defendant provided dump receipts/waste tickets, but instead asked about diversion of 75% of waste from the City project. Plaintiff counters that this RFA is really asking about the dump receipts because that is the proof necessary to show compliance with City diversion ratio requirements. Plaintiff’s first trial witness Greg Harris testified that the City required a Waste Management Plan for the project to ensure that a certain percentage of the waste generated would be deposited into a City approved recycle center. This was the only trial testimony this Court could find regarding waste ratios and diversion.

    This Court agrees with Plaintiff that whether Defendant submitted dump receipts was one of the core factual issues to be resolved by this Court. However, this Court agrees with Defendant that RFA #4 does not clearly ask for an admission on that core issue. The RFA focuses on evidence of diversion ratios compliance, not proof of that project refuse was deposited into an approved recycle center. Plaintiffs argument that they are one and the same, or a “distinction without a difference” is rejected. The exact wording of the RFA refers to proof of 75% diversion of waste; as is conceded by Plaintiff, the dump receipts would show the weight of the refuse dumped, the date, and the location, but not necessarily the percentage of total waste diverted. This Court finds that because the RFA was not clear enough in framing the core issue of dump receipts, the information requested in the RFA was of no substantial importance and there was a good reason for Defendant’s failure to admit such under CCP 2033.420(b)(2) & (4).

    Plaintiff’s motion is DENIED.

  2. Defendant’s Motion

    Both sides agree that attorney’s fees are awardable when a general contractor improperly withholds a retention owed to a sub-contractor under CC § 8818. Defendant seeks $17,610 in attorney’s fees for having to litigate its cross-claim for Plaintiff’s improper withholding $7,204 in retention fees. Plaintiff does not contest that attorney’s fees under that provision are awardable, but argues that the sum sought is excessive.

    This Court completely agrees with Plaintiff that the hours sought are unreasonably excessive. Defendant’s cross-claim was uncontested at trial in that no evidence or argument was submitted by Plaintiff to challenge Defendants’ counterclaim. Particularly galling is Defendant’s request to be recompensed for all 5 days of trial for $7,500 for “being at trial each day prepared to prosecute the counter-claim.” (Defendant Reply Brief, p. 6). The fact is that less than an hour of trial time over a 5 day trial was devoted to this issue. To award attorneys’ fees of 25 hours when less than 1 was actually spent on the counterclaim would be perverse and a miscarriage of justice.

    However, Defendant is correct in that up until the end of the last day of trial, Plaintiff represent to Defendant that it intended to contest the counter-claim (even asserting a defense to that claim in an earlier email), and caused Defendant to file a pocket brief to educate the Court on the retention issue. Thus, Defendant did have to prepare to prove up its counterclaim and did expend significant resources pretrial even though Plaintiff stipulated to liability at the last minute. Apprortioning between the trial time spent on Plaintiff’s claim vs. Defendant’s cross-claim, and considering the 13.7 hours Defendant spent in pretrial preparation, this Court determines that a reasonable number of hours compensable is 16. At a reasonable rate of $300/hr, the total award in attorney’s fees comes to $4,800.

    HELD: In addition to the Amended Judgment entered, Defendant is awarded attorneys’ fees in the amount of $4,800 and costs in the uncontested sum of $599.95.


[1] Admit that Defendant had “failed to submit proof that [Defendant] had diverted at least 75% of waste (by volume) generated by [Defendant’s]scope of work on the project from disposal to landfills and incineration facilities.”