This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 02/15/2021 at 20:15:00 (UTC).

AI-AJAH PARKER VS LIBERTY LAW GROUP

Case Summary

On 11/15/2019 AI-AJAH PARKER filed a Contract - Professional Negligence lawsuit against LIBERTY LAW GROUP. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JAMES E. BLANCARTE. The case status is Disposed - Dismissed.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******0538

  • Filing Date:

    11/15/2019

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Dismissed

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Professional Negligence

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

PARKER AI-AJAH

Defendant

LIBERTY LAW GROUP

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Defendant Attorney

TER-HOVHANNISYAN EDGAR

 

Court Documents

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

1/28/2021: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

1/28/2021: Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

Reply (name extension) - Reply LIBERTY LAW GROUP'S JOINT REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEMURRER AND MOTION TO STRIKE

2/1/2021: Reply (name extension) - Reply LIBERTY LAW GROUP'S JOINT REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEMURRER AND MOTION TO STRIKE

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10); Hea...)

2/11/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10); Hea...)

Motion to Strike (not initial pleading) - Motion to Strike (not initial pleading)

10/9/2020: Motion to Strike (not initial pleading) - Motion to Strike (not initial pleading)

Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) - Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

8/28/2020: Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) - Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

Amended Complaint - (Amended)

7/24/2020: Amended Complaint - (Amended)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)) of 07/07/2020

7/7/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)) of 07/07/2020

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10))

7/7/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10))

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration OF EDGAR TER-HOVHANNISYAN, ESQ REGARDING MEET AND CONFER ON DEMURRER

4/15/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration OF EDGAR TER-HOVHANNISYAN, ESQ REGARDING MEET AND CONFER ON DEMURRER

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

4/16/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

4/16/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Reply (name extension) - Reply Opposition To Motion To Strike

4/16/2020: Reply (name extension) - Reply Opposition To Motion To Strike

Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

4/20/2020: Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) - Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

1/28/2020: Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) - Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration DECLARATION OF DEMURRING OR MOVING PARTY IN SUPPORT OF AUTOMATIC EXTENSION

12/20/2019: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration DECLARATION OF DEMURRING OR MOVING PARTY IN SUPPORT OF AUTOMATIC EXTENSION

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

11/15/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

11/15/2019: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

18 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/18/2022
  • Hearing11/18/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service

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  • 05/14/2021
  • Hearing05/14/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 02/11/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10): Filed By: Liberty Law Group (Defendant); Result: Sustained without Leave to Amend; Result Date: 02/11/2021

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  • 02/11/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10); Hea...)

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  • 02/11/2021
  • DocketHearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) scheduled for 02/11/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 02/11/2021; Result Type to Held

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  • 02/11/2021
  • DocketHearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) scheduled for 02/11/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 02/11/2021; Result Type to Held

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  • 02/01/2021
  • DocketReply LIBERTY LAW GROUP'S JOINT REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEMURRER AND MOTION TO STRIKE; Filed by: Liberty Law Group (Defendant)

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  • 01/28/2021
  • DocketHearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) scheduled for 02/11/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 01/28/2021
  • DocketProof of Service by Mail; Filed by: Ai-Ajah Parker (Plaintiff); As to: Liberty Law Group (Defendant); After Substituted Service of Summons & Complaint ?: No

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  • 01/28/2021
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by: Ai-Ajah Parker (Plaintiff); As to: Liberty Law Group (Defendant)

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30 More Docket Entries
  • 11/15/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 11/18/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 11/15/2019
  • DocketRequest to Waive Additional Court Fees (Superior Court); Filed by: Ai-Ajah Parker (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/15/2019
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by: Ai-Ajah Parker (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/15/2019
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Signed and Filed by: Clerk; As to: Ai-Ajah Parker (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/15/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Ai-Ajah Parker (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/15/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Clerk

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  • 11/15/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 11/15/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 11/15/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 11/15/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 05/14/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC10538    Hearing Date: February 11, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Thu., February 11, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Parker v. Liberty Law Group COMP. FILED: 11-15-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC10538 DISC. C/O: 04-14-21

NOTICE: OK MOTION C/O: 04-29-21

TRIAL DATE: 05-14-21

PROCEEDINGS: (1) DEFENDANT’S DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF’S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

(2) DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO STRIKE

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Liberty Law Group

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff Ai-Ajah Parker, in pro per

DEMURRER WITH MOTION TO STRIKE

(CCP §§ 430.31, et seq., 435)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Liberty Law Group’s Demurrer to the First Amended Complaint is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND. The Motion to Strike is DENIED AS MOOT.

SERVICE:

[X] Proof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

[X] Correct Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

[X] 16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) NO

OPPOSITION: Filed on October 9, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on February 1, 2021 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On November 15, 2019, Plaintiff Ai-Ajah Parker (“Plaintiff”) filed a form Complaint, in pro per, for general negligence, intentional tort, and legal malpractice against Defendant Liberty Law Group (“Defendant”). (Compl., ¶ 10.)

On December 20, 2019, Defendant filed a Declaration of Demurring or Moving Party in Support of Automatic Extension, stating Defendant had been unable to meet and confer with Plaintiff. (12/20/19 Declaration.) On January 28, 2020, Defendant filed a demurrer to the complaint with a motion to strike. The Court sustained the demurrer and granted the motion to strike with 20 days’ leave to amend on July 7, 2020. (7/7/20 Minute Order.) Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (the “FAC”) alleging a single cause of action for general negligence on July 24, 2020.

Defendant filed the instant Demurrer and Motion to Strike on August 28, 2020. Plaintiff filed an Opposition on October 9, 2020, and Defendant filed a Reply on February 1, 2021.

  1. Demurrer

A. Legal Standard

“The primary function of a pleading is to give the other party notice so that it may prepare its

case [citation], and a defect in a pleading that otherwise properly notifies a party cannot be said to

affect substantial rights.” (Harris v. City of Santa Monica (2013) 56 Cal.4th 203, 240.)

“A demurrer tests the legal sufficiency of the factual allegations in a complaint.” (Ivanoff v. Bank of

America, N.A. (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 719, 725.) The Court looks to whether “the complaint alleges

facts sufficient to state a cause of action or discloses a complete defense.” (Id.) The Court does not

“read passages from a complaint in isolation; in reviewing a ruling on a demurrer, we read the

complaint ‘as a whole and its parts in their context.’ [Citation.]” (West v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,

N.A. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 780, 804.) The Court “assume[s] the truth of the properly pleaded

factual allegations, facts that reasonably can be inferred from those expressly pleaded and matters of

which judicial notice has been taken.” (Harris, supra, 56 Cal.4th p. 240.) “The court does not,

however, assume the truth of contentions, deductions or conclusions of law. [Citation.]” (Durell v.

Sharp Healthcare (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 1350, 1358.)

A general demurrer may be brought under Code of Civil Procedure section 430.10, subdivision (e) if insufficient facts are stated to support the cause of action asserted or under section 430.10, subdivision (a), where the court has no jurisdiction of the subject of the cause of action alleged in the pleading. Special demurrers are not allowed in limited jurisdiction courts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 92, subd. (c).)

Leave to amend must be allowed where there is a reasonable possibility of successful amendment. (Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal.3d 335, 348.) The burden is on the complainant to show the Court that a pleading can be amended successfully. (Id.)

Finally, Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41 requires that “[b]efore filing a demurrer pursuant to this chapter, the demurring party shall meet and confer in person or by telephone with the party who filed the pleading that is subject to demurrer for the purpose of determining whether an agreement can be reached that would resolve the objections to be raised in the demurrer.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a).) The parties are to meet and confer at least five days before the date the responsive pleading is due. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a)(2).) Thereafter, the demurring party shall file and serve a declaration detailing their meet and confer efforts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a)(3).)

B. Discussion

As an initial matter, the Court notes that the Demurrer is not accompanied by a meet and confer declaration as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41. Defendant’s counsel is admonished for failing to meet and confer with Plaintiff before seeking judicial intervention. However, the Court finds it is in the interest of judicial economy to proceed and make a ruling on the merits.

1. General Negligence

Defendant demurs to the First Amended Complaint on the basis that it is uncertain and that it fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. (Dem., p. 2:7-12.) However, as noted above and in the Court’s July 7, 2020 Order, special demurrers are not permitted in limited jurisdiction courts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 92, subd. (c).) Thus, the Court does not consider this Demurrer on the basis of uncertainty.

To successfully allege a cause of action for negligence, Plaintiff must allege that “defendant owed plaintiff a legal duty, that defendant breached that duty, and that the breach was a proximate or legal cause of injuries suffered by plaintiff.” (Ambriz v. Kelegian (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 1519, 1530-31.)

In her First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges, in pertinent part: (1) that she was involved in a car accident on September 9, 2018; (2) that she signed a retainer agreement with Defendant; (3) that on January 29, 2019, someone at Defendant’s office signed a letter informing Plaintiff of their decision to withdraw from representation; (4) that the letter advised Plaintiff to seek advice from another attorney “immediately”; (5) that Plaintiff sought other legal representation but was unable to find any; (6) that during this time, she suffered continuous back pain, loss of employment, and loss of wages; (7) that she does not know if she was “dismissed for discriminatory reasons”; (8) that she was dismissed without explanation; (9) that Defendant did not file an action related to the accident in superior court; (10) that Defendant was required to obtain court approval before withdrawing from representation; and (11) that as a result, Plaintiff incurred medical expenses and legal fees and suffered mental anguish, stress, and loss of wages. (FAC., pp. 4-6.)

While it is true that attorneys owe duties to their clients, Plaintiff’s allegations do not identify which duty was breached or how it was breached. Plaintiff’s claim for relief relies exclusively on Defendant’s decision to terminate the attorney-client relationship. (FAC, pp. 4-6.) However, an attorney generally has a right to end the attorney-client relationship. (Flake v. Neumiller & Beardslee (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 223, 230.) It is when litigation is pending that the court has control over the termination “in part to ensure that the client is not harmed – for example, by the abandonment of counsel on the eve of trial.” (Id.)

Here, Plaintiff alleges that no action was filed in superior court. (FAC., p. 5.) Thus, Defendant law firm did not have to obtain permission from the Court to terminate the attorney-client relationship. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant expressly advised her to seek alternative legal counsel “immediately.” (FAC, p. 4.) Furthermore, because Plaintiff alleges she was involved in a car accident on September 9, 2018, she presumably sought to file an action for personal injury and property damage. (FAC, p. 4.) The statute of limitations for personal injury is two years and three years for property damage. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 335.1; 338, subd. (c).) Plaintiff alleges Defendant withdrew from representation in late January, approximately six months after a potential cause of action for property damage or personal injury accrued but well before the statute of limitations ran.

The Court finds Plaintiff’s allegations insufficient to state a cause of action for negligence. Notably, Plaintiff’s Opposition does not demonstrate how the FAC can be amended to state a negligence or any other cause of action against Defendant.

Thus, the Demurrer is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

  1. Motion to Strike

As the Demurrer is sustained without leave to amend, the Motion to Strike is DENIED AS MOOT.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Liberty Law Group’s Demurrer to the First Amended Complaint is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND. The Motion to Strike is DENIED AS MOOT.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC10538    Hearing Date: July 07, 2020    Dept: 25

DEMURRER WITH MOTION TO STRIKE

(CCP §§ 430.31, et seq., 435-436 )

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Liberty Law Group’s Demurrer is SUSTAINED and the Motion to Strike is GRANTED. Plaintiff is granted 20 DAYS’ LEAVE TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT.

SERVICE:

[X] Proof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

[X] Correct Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

[X] 16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) NO

OPPOSITION: Filed February 21, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on April 16, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On November 15, 2019, Plaintiff Ai-Ajah Parker (“Plaintiff”) filed a form Complaint, in pro per, for general negligence, intentional tort, and legal malpractice against Defendant Liberty Law Group (“Defendant”). (Compl., ¶ 10.)

On December 20, 2019, Defendant filed a Declaration of Demurring or Moving Party in Support of Automatic Extension, stating Defendant had been unable to meet and confer with Plaintiff. (12/20/19 Declaration.) On January 28, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Demurrer to Complaint (the “Demurrer”) and Motion to Strike Portions of Plaintiff’s Complaint (the “Motion”). On February 21, 2020, Plaintiff filed an Opposition to the Demurrer and Motion.

On February 24, 2020, the Court continued the hearing because Plaintiff had been given insufficient notice and because Defendant had not met and conferred with Plaintiff in person or by telephone. (2/24/20 Minute Order.)

On April 16, 2020, Defendant filed a Reply to Plaintiff’s Opposition.

  1. Demurrer

A. Legal Standard

“The primary function of a pleading is to give the other party notice so that it may prepare its

case [citation], and a defect in a pleading that otherwise properly notifies a party cannot be said to

affect substantial rights.” (Harris v. City of Santa Monica (2013) 56 Cal.4th 203, 240.)

“A demurrer tests the legal sufficiency of the factual allegations in a complaint.” (Ivanoff v. Bank of

America, N.A. (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 719, 725.) The Court looks to whether “the complaint alleges

facts sufficient to state a cause of action or discloses a complete defense.” (Id.) The Court does not

“read passages from a complaint in isolation; in reviewing a ruling on a demurrer, we read the

complaint ‘as a whole and its parts in their context.’ [Citation.]” (West v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,

N.A. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 780, 804.) The Court “assume[s] the truth of the properly pleaded

factual allegations, facts that reasonably can be inferred from those expressly pleaded and matters of

which judicial notice has been taken.” (Harris, supra, 56 Cal.4th p. 240.) “The court does not,

however, assume the truth of contentions, deductions or conclusions of law. [Citation.]” (Durell v.

Sharp Healthcare (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 1350, 1358.)

A general demurrer may be brought under Code of Civil Procedure section 430.10, subdivision (e) if insufficient facts are stated to support the cause of action asserted or under section 430.10, subdivision (a), where the court has no jurisdiction of the subject of the cause of action alleged in the pleading. Special demurrers are not allowed in limited jurisdiction courts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 92, subd. (c).)

Leave to amend must be allowed where there is a reasonable possibility of successful amendment. (Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal.3d 335, 348.) The burden is on the complainant to show the Court that a pleading can be amended successfully. (Id.)

Finally, Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41 requires that “[b]efore filing a demurrer pursuant to this chapter, the demurring party shall meet and confer in person or by telephone with the party who filed the pleading that is subject to demurrer for the purpose of determining whether an agreement can be reached that would resolve the objections to be raised in the demurrer.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a).) The parties are to meet and confer at least five days before the date the responsive pleading is due. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a)(2).) Thereafter, the demurring party shall file and serve a declaration detailing their meet and confer efforts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a)(3).)

B. Discussion

As an initial matter, the Court notes that the Demurer is accompanied by a meet and confer declaration as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41, subdivision (a). (4/15/20 Ter-Hovhannisyan Decl., ¶ 6.)

Defendant demurs to Plaintiff’s Complaint on the basis that it fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action and because it is uncertain. Demurrers for failure to state a cause of action are “general” demurrers. (McKenney v. Purepac Pharmaceutical Co. (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 72, 77.) All other grounds listed in Code of Civil Procedure section 430.10, including uncertainty, are “special” demurrers. Special demurrers are not allowed in limited jurisdiction courts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 92, subd. (c).) Thus, the Court cannot consider this Demurrer on grounds of uncertainty.

1. First Cause of Action – General Negligence

To successfully allege a cause of action for negligence, Plaintiff must allege that “defendant owed plaintiff a legal duty, that defendant breached that duty, and that the breach was a proximate or legal cause of injuries suffered by plaintiff.” (Ambriz v. Kelegian (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 1519, 1530-31.)

Plaintiff’s cause of action attachment alleges after she signed a legal retainer agreement with Defendant, Defendant dismissed her as a client “for no reason, without any explanation” which left Plaintiff “wondering and stressed out thinking for discrimination purposes or what [sic].” (Compl., p. 4, ¶ GN-1.) Plaintiff also lists various expenses totaling $21,610.00. (Id.) However, these allegations do not clearly allege that Defendant had a duty, or how Defendant breached the duty owed to her. In addition, Plaintiff’s form attachment is incomplete as it completely fails to specify any defendant against which the negligence cause of action is alleged as required by the form. (See id.)

In Opposition, Plaintiff provides a narrative in support of her action but does not address the merits of Defendant’s Demurrer or argues that the Complaint properly alleges a negligence cause of action. (Oppo., pp. 2-3.)

Thus, Defendant’s Demurrer to the first cause of action is SUSTAINED WITH 20 DAYS’ LEAVE TO AMEND.

2. Second and Third Causes of Action – Intentional Tort & Legal Malpractice

Plaintiff’s form Complaint also checks off the boxes alleging intentional tort and legal malpractice causes of action. (Compl., ¶ 10.) However, as Plaintiff has not included an attachment for each of these as required, the Court finds she has not alleged any facts in support of these causes of action. In addition, the Court notes that an “intentional tort” is not an independent cause of action, but rather a category that encompasses various actionable wrongs against a person.

As noted above, although Plaintiff submitted an Opposition, it did not address the merits of Defendant’s Demurrer.

Thus, Defendant’s Demurrer to the second and third causes of action is SUSTAINED WITH 20 DAYS’ LEAVE TO AMEND.

  1. Motion to Strike

A. Legal Standard

California law authorizes a party’s motion to strike matter from an opposing party’s pleading if it is irrelevant, false, or improper. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 435; 436, subd. (a).) Motions may also target pleadings or parts of pleadings that are not filed or drawn in conformity with applicable laws, rules or orders. (Code Civ. Proc., § 436 subd. (b).) Motions to strike in limited jurisdiction courts may only challenge pleadings on the basis that “the damages or relief sought are not supported by the allegations of the complaint.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 92 subd. (d).) A motion to strike is used to address defects that appear on the face of a pleading or from judicially noticed matter but that are not grounds for a demurrer. (Pierson v. Sharp Memorial Hospital (1989) 216 Cal.App.3d 340, 342; see also City & County of San Francisco v. Strahlendorf (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1911, 1913 [motion may not be based on a party's declaration or factual representations made by counsel in the motion papers].)

In particular, a motion to strike can be used to attack the entire pleading or any part thereof – in other words, a motion may target single words or phrases, unlike demurrers. (Warren v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co. (1971) 19 Cal.App.3d 24, 40.) California’s policy of liberal construction applies to motions to strike. (Code Civ. Proc., § 452; see also Duffy v. Campbell (1967) 250 Cal.App.2d 662, 666 [noting that courts must resolve all reasonable doubts in favor of the pleading when considering a motion to strike].) The Code of Civil Procedure also authorizes the Court to act on its own initiative to strike matters, empowering the Court to enter orders striking matter “at any time in its discretion, and upon terms it deems proper.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 436.)

Finally, Code of Civil Procedure section 435.5 requires that “[b]efore filing a motion to strike pursuant to this chapter, the moving party shall meet and confer in person or by telephone with the party who filed the pleading that is subject to the motion to strike for the purpose of determining whether an agreement can be reached that resolves the objections to be raised in the motion to strike.” (Code Civ. Proc § 435.5, subd. (a).)

B. Discussion

Defendant’s Motion is supported by a meet and confer declaration as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 435.5, subdivision (a). (4/15/20 Ter-Hovhannisyan Decl., ¶ 6.)

Defendant moves to strike Plaintiff’s request for medical expenses of $2,610.00, mental anguish/stress damages of $5,000.00, lost wages of $3,000, and negligence damages of $10,000 on the basis that there are insufficient allegations to support any cause of action and as a result, the allegations do not support any claim for damages. (Mot., p. 2:1-4; Compl., p. 4, ¶ GN-1.)

As noted above, Plaintiff failed to allege sufficient facts to support any cause of action, and as a result, her allegations do not support the damages requested. Thus, Defendant’s Motion to Strike is GRANTED with 20 days’ leave to amend.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Liberty Law Group’s Demurrer is SUSTAINED and the Motion to Strike is GRANTED. Plaintiff is granted 20 DAYS’ LEAVE TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC10538    Hearing Date: February 24, 2020    Dept: 25

DEMURRER WITH MOTION TO STRIKE

(CCP §§ 430.31, et seq., 435-436 )

TENTATIVE RULING:

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Liberty Law Group’s Demurrer with Motion to Strike is CONTINUED to APRIL 29, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

At least 16 court days prior to the next scheduled hearing, Plaintiff must file an amended proof of service as to the Summons and Complaint. In addition, Defendant must file a supplemental declaration demonstrating compliance with the meet and confer requirement.

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On November 15, 2019, Plaintiff Ai-Ajah Parker (“Plaintiff”) filed an action in pro per for general negligence/legal malpractice against Defendant Liberty Law Group (“Defendant”).

On December 20, 2019, Defendant filed a Declaration of Demurring or Moving Party in Support of Automatic Extension, stating Defendant had been unable to meet and confer with Plaintiff. (12/20/19 Declaration.) On January 28, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Demurrer to Complaint (the “Demurrer”) and Motion to Strike Portions of Plaintiff’s Complaint (the “Motion”). To date, no opposition or reply briefs have been filed.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

  1. Service of the Moving Papers

Code of Civil Procedure section 1005 requires that all moving and supporting papers be filed and served at least 16 court days before the hearing, plus an additional 5 calendar days if service is effectuated by mail to a California address. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1005, subd. (b).)

Here, Defendant filed and served the instant Motion on Plaintiff on January 28, 2020. Thus, the earliest hearing date that complies with the notice requirements of Section 1005, subdivision (b) is February 27, 2020. Because the hearing on this Motion was scheduled for hearing before then, the Court finds that Plaintiff did not receive sufficient notice.

  1. Plaintiff’s Proof of Service and Timeliness of Defendant’s Motions

A party may demur to a complaint or cross-complaint within 30 days of service. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.40, subd. (a).) Similarly, a party within the time allowed to respond to a pleading, may file a motion to strike the whole or any part of the pleading. (Code Civ. Proc., § 435, subd. (b)(1).)

Here, Defendant filed the instant Demurrer and Motion to Strike on January 28, 2020. However, the proof of service Plaintiff filed for the Summons and Complaint is incomplete, making it impossible to determine whether Defendant’s motions have been timely filed. Specifically, the proof of service indicates that the Summons and Complaint were served by mail and acknowledgement of receipt of service. (11/15/19 Proof of Service.) However, it does not specify when the documents were sent, from which city they were mailed, and does not check off box #3 indicating that two copies of the Notice and Acknowledgement of Receipt form and a postage-paid return envelope addressed to Plaintiff were also mailed as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 415.30, subdivision (a).

Accordingly, the Court orders Plaintiff to file an amended and complete proof of service indicating the Summons and Complaint were properly served on Defendant.

  1. Meet and Confer Requirement

The Court also notes that Defendant has not included a meet and confer declaration with its Demurrer. Although a meet and confer declaration is not required for motions to strike when one of the parties is not represented by counsel, a meet and confer declaration is required for demurrers regardless of representation. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a)(3); Code Civ. Proc., § 435.5, subd. (d)(1).)

In the declaration filed in support of an automatic extension, Defendant states that Plaintiff did not provide a telephone number on any of her pleadings, and as a result, counsel was “forced” to meet and confer in writing. (12/20/19 Declaration.) While it is true that Plaintiff’s forms provide an incomplete phone number, Plaintiff attached copies of what appear to be intake documents, which bear Defendant’s logo, that list her full phone number as “(323) 338-9259.” (Compl., Attach.)

Accordingly, Defendant is ordered to meet and confer with Plaintiff in person or by telephone as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41, subdivision (a) and file and serve a declaration attesting to such efforts.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Liberty Law Group’s Demurrer with Motion to Strike is CONTINUED to APRIL 29, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

At least 16 court days prior to the next scheduled hearing, Plaintiff must file an amended proof of service as to the Summons and Complaint. In addition, Defendant must file a supplemental declaration demonstrating compliance with the meet and confer requirement.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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