This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/06/2021 at 00:03:33 (UTC).

ASSENI CORP. VS CALIFORNIA LEGAL FUNDING LLC, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 02/05/2020 ASSENI CORP filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against CALIFORNIA LEGAL FUNDING LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is SERENA R. MURILLO. The case status is Disposed - Dismissed.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******1153

  • Filing Date:

    02/05/2020

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Dismissed

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

SERENA R. MURILLO

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

ASSENI CORP.

Defendants

CALIFORNIA LEGAL FUNDING LLC

MORAN RICHARD

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

HASIC HALIL

Defendant Attorney

SEDY MARGARET A.

 

Court Documents

Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

6/29/2020: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

Motion for Sanctions - Motion for Sanctions

6/29/2020: Motion for Sanctions - Motion for Sanctions

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

6/30/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 06/30/2020

6/30/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 06/30/2020

Notice (name extension) - Notice OF COURT ORDER

7/6/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice OF COURT ORDER

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition To Defendants' Joint Demurrer

10/2/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition To Defendants' Joint Demurrer

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition To Defendants Motion for Dismissal With Prejudice and for Sanctions Pursuant to CCP 128.7

10/2/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition To Defendants Motion for Dismissal With Prejudice and for Sanctions Pursuant to CCP 128.7

Reply (name extension) - Reply to Opposition to Demurrer

10/7/2020: Reply (name extension) - Reply to Opposition to Demurrer

Reply (name extension) - Reply Motion to Strike

10/7/2020: Reply (name extension) - Reply Motion to Strike

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Order for Dismissal with Prejudice and ...)

10/15/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Order for Dismissal with Prejudice and ...)

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

10/15/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Order (name extension) - Order .

10/15/2020: Order (name extension) - Order .

Order (name extension) - Order .

10/15/2020: Order (name extension) - Order .

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

2/5/2020: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Complaint - Complaint

2/5/2020: Complaint - Complaint

Summons - Summons on Complaint

2/5/2020: Summons - Summons on Complaint

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

2/5/2020: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

2/5/2020: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

6 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Motion for Sanctions: Filed By: Richard Moran (Defendant),California Legal Funding LLC (Defendant); Result: Denied; Result Date: 10/15/2020

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  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Demurrer - without Motion to Strike: Filed By: Richard Moran (Defendant),California Legal Funding LLC (Defendant); Result: Sustained without Leave to Amend; Result Date: 10/15/2020

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  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketOrder . Filed by: California Legal Funding LLC (Defendant); Richard Moran (Defendant); As to: Asseni Corp. (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Order .: As To Parties changed from Asseni Corp. (Plaintiff) to Asseni Corp. (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketOrder . Filed by: California Legal Funding LLC (Defendant); Richard Moran (Defendant); As to: Asseni Corp. (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketOn the Complaint filed by Asseni Corp. on 02/05/2020, entered Order for Dismissal with prejudice as to the entire action

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  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: Richard Moran (Defendant)

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  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion for Order for Dismissal with Prejudice and ...)

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  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Order for Dismissal with Prejudice and For Sanctions Pursuant to C.C.P. 128.7 scheduled for 10/15/2020 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 updated: Result Date to 10/15/2020; Result Type to Held - Motion Denied

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  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketHearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike to Plaintiff's Complaint scheduled for 10/15/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 updated: Result Date to 10/15/2020; Result Type to Held

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11 More Docket Entries
  • 06/29/2020
  • DocketDemurrer - without Motion to Strike; Filed by: California Legal Funding LLC (Defendant); Richard Moran (Defendant)

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  • 06/29/2020
  • DocketMotion for Sanctions; Filed by: California Legal Funding LLC (Defendant); Richard Moran (Defendant); As to: Asseni Corp. (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/06/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 08/04/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 02/06/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 02/08/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 02/06/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Serena R. Murillo in Department 26 Spring Street Courthouse

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  • 02/05/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Asseni Corp. (Plaintiff); As to: California Legal Funding LLC (Defendant); Richard Moran (Defendant)

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  • 02/05/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Asseni Corp. (Plaintiff); As to: California Legal Funding LLC (Defendant); Richard Moran (Defendant)

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  • 02/05/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Asseni Corp. (Plaintiff); As to: California Legal Funding LLC (Defendant); Richard Moran (Defendant)

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  • 02/05/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 02/05/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STLC01153    Hearing Date: October 15, 2020    Dept: 26

Asseni Corp. v. California Legal Funding, LLC, et al.

MOTION FOR SANCTIONS; DEMURRER

(CCP §§ 128.7, 430.10)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendants California Legal Funding, LLC and Richard Moran’s Motion for Sanctions Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 128.7 is DENIED.

Defendants California Legal Funding, LLC and Richard Moran’s Demurrer to the Complaint is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

ANALYSIS:

Plaintiff Asseni Corporation (“Plaintiff’) filed the instant action for breach of contract and common counts against Defendants California Legal Funding, LLC and Richard Moran (“Defendants”) on February 5, 2020. On June 29, 2020, Defendants filed the instant Motion for Dismissal and Sanctions Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 128.7. Defendants concurrently filed the instant Demurrer to the Complaint. On October 2, 2020, Plaintiffs filed oppositions and Defendants replied on October 7, 2020.

Motion for Dismissal and Sanctions

Code of Civil Procedure “Section 128.7 requires that at least one attorney, or the party if he/she is not represented by an attorney, sign all pleadings, petitions, notice of motions and other similar papers. [Citation.] The signature indicates that the attorney, or party, certifies that: the paper is not being presented for an improper purpose; the legal contentions are warranted by law or nonfrivolous argument for extension, modification or reversal of existing law; the allegations and factual contentions have evidentiary support or are likely to have such support after a reasonable opportunity to further investigate; and the denials of factual contentions are warranted by the evidence. [Citation.] If the court determines, after notice or a reasonable opportunity to respond, that the attorney or party improperly certified the document, it may impose a proper sanction.” (Barnes v. Department of Corrections (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 126, 130.)

In addition, section 128.7 contains a “safe harbor” provision specifying the motion for sanctions may not be filed “unless, within 21 days after service of the motion, ... the challenged paper, claim, defense, contention, allegation, or denial is not withdrawn or appropriately corrected.” (CCP § 128.7(c)(1).) In effect, filing a motion for sanctions is a two-step procedure. First, the party must serve a notice of motion for sanctions on the offending party at least 21 days before filing the motion with the court. The motion must specifically describe the sanctionable conduct. If the offending party does not withdraw the pleading or otherwise correct the sanctionable conduct, then the motion may be filed and the court may determine an appropriate sanction. Likewise, the court, on its own motion, may enter an order directing the attorney to show cause why it should not be sanctioned. However, the court must allow the party 21 days to appropriately correct the offending conduct.

As stated above, there are strict procedural requirements that must be met before a motion for section 128.7 sanctions can be heard or granted. A section 128.7 motion for sanctions must be made separately from any other motion, and before such a motion can even be filed, the party subject to the sanction must be given 21 days to withdraw or correct the offending document. (Goodstone v. Southwest Airlines Co. (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 406, 418.)

Under section 128.7, a court may impose sanctions for filing a pleading if the court concludes the pleading was filed for an improper purpose or was indisputably without merit, either legally or factually. (Guillemin v. Stein (2002) 104 Cal.App.4th 156, 168.) A claim is factually frivolous if it is “not well grounded in fact” and it is legally frivolous if it is “not warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law.” (Peake v. Underwood (2014) 227 Cal.App.4th 428, 441.) In either case, to obtain sanctions, the moving party must show the party’s conduct in asserting the claim was objectively unreasonable. (Ibid.) A claim is objectively unreasonable if “any reasonable attorney would agree that [it] is totally and completely without merit.” (Ibid., citing In re Marriage of Flaherty (1982) 31 Cal.3d 637, 650; and Guillemin, supra, at p. 168, 128 Cal.Rptr.2d 65.)

Defendants have complied with the safe harbor provision. The Motion was electronically served on Plaintiff on May 8, 2020. (Motion, Sedy Decl., ¶2.) The Motion was not filed until June 29, 2020. (Motion, Proof of Service.)

The Motion seeks sanctions against Plaintiff and counsel of record pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 128.7, subdivision (b)(1) and (b)(2). Specifically, Defendants contend the Complaint is “not warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law” and is “being presented primarily for an improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.”

The Court does not find that the Complaint is not warranted by existing law or a good faith argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law. Defendants’ objection to the forum in which the Plaintiff filed its claims does not pertain to the legal merits of the claims. Defendants cite to no authority holding an action for breach of contract that contains an arbitration provision warrants sanctions under Code of Civil Procedure section 128.7.

Nor have Defendants demonstrated that the Complaint was filed for an improper purpose. The Motion is not supported by an evidence regarding Plaintiff or counsel’s purpose in bringing this action. (Motion, Sedy Decl.) It is not uncommon for parties to an arbitration agreement to file an action in court and then be subject to a motion to compel arbitration. Without evidence of Plaintiff’s motives, the Court will not presume that any failure to arbitrate the claims was intended to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.

Therefore, Defendants California Legal Funding, LLC and Richard Moran’s Motion for Sanctions Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 128.7 is DENIED.

Demurrer to Complaint

Defendants demur to the Complaint on the grounds that Court lacks jurisdiction over the claims (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10(a)) and failure to allege facts sufficient to state a cause of action (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10(e).) Defendants argues that the parties are bound by the arbitration agreement and by filing this action, Plaintiff has failed to comply with a precondition to the breach of contract claim.

“[W]here the only issue litigated is covered by the arbitration clause, and where plaintiff has not first pursued or attempted to pursue his arbitration remedy . . . defendant may [] elect to demur or move for summary judgment on the ground that the plaintiff has failed to exhaust arbitration remedies . . . .” (Kalai v. Gray (2003) 109 Cal.App.4th 768, 773 (citing Charles J. Rounds Co. v. Joint Council of Teamsters No. 42 (1971) 4 Cal.3d 888, 899).) “When remedies before an administrative forum are available, a party must in general exhaust them before seeking judicial relief. [Citation.] Exhaustion requires ‘a full presentation to the administrative agency upon all issues of the case and at all prescribed stages of the administrative proceedings.’ [Citation.]” (City of San Jose v. Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 (2010) 49 Cal.4th 597, 609.) An exception to the exhaustion of administrative remedies requirement applies when “resort to the administrative process would be futile because it is clear what the agency’s decision would be.” (Green v. City of Oceanside (1987) 194 Cal.App.3d 212, 222.)

Defendants point to the arbitration provision in the parties’ agreement, which is attached to the Complaint. (Compl., Exh. 1, p. 4.) The arbitration provision provides: “Binding Arbitration Clause. All claims and disputes arising under or relating to this Agreement are to be settled by binding arbitration exclusively in the state of California, Los Angeles County. … Parties shall have up to 3 months from 0the time a problem occurred to file for arbitration. No demand for arbitration may be made after the date when the institution of legal or equitable proceedings based on such claims or dispute would be barred by the applicable statute of limitation.” (Ibid.) In its opposition, Plaintiff offers no response regarding its failure to exhaust the administrative remedies mandated in the agreement. And the Complaint makes no allegation that Plaintiff exhausted its arbitration remedy prior to filing this action, making it subject to demurrer. (Holderby v. Intern. Union of Operating Engineers, Local Union No. 12 (1955) 45 Cal.2d 843, 846 (Cone v. Union Oil Co. (1954) 129 Cal.App.2d 558, 563).)

Based on Plaintiff’s failure to allege satisfaction of a condition precedent or explain how such compliance can be alleged, the Demurrer to the Complaint is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

Conclusion

Defendants California Legal Funding, LLC and Richard Moran’s Motion for Sanctions Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 128.7 is DENIED.

Defendants California Legal Funding, LLC and Richard Moran’s Demurrer to the Complaint is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

Moving party to give notice.

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