This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 02/06/2021 at 11:26:35 (UTC).

ATKINSON-BAKER, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION VS THOMAS J ANTON, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 03/26/2019 ATKINSON-BAKER, INC , A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against THOMAS J ANTON. 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 Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******2934

  • Filing Date:

    03/26/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

ATKINSON-BAKER INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Defendants

ANTON THOMAS J

THOMAS ANTON & ASSOCIATES A LAW CORPORATION A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

BATES JAMES

Defendant Attorney

ANTON THOMAS

Court Documents

Court documents are not available for this case.

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/26/2021
  • Hearing04/26/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 02/04/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)

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  • 02/04/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Summary Judgment scheduled for 02/04/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 02/04/2021; Result Type to Held - Taken under Submission

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  • 11/18/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Summary Judgment scheduled for 02/04/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 11/17/2020
  • DocketMotion for Summary Judgment; Filed by: Atkinson-Baker, Inc., a California corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Thomas J Anton (Defendant); Thomas Anton & Associates, A Law Corporation, a California corporation (Defendant)

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  • 11/17/2020
  • DocketSeparate Statement; Filed by: Atkinson-Baker, Inc., a California corporation (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/17/2020
  • DocketNotice Of Entry Of Order Continuing Trial Date; Filed by: Atkinson-Baker, Inc., a California corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Atkinson-Baker, Inc., a California corporation (Plaintiff); Thomas J Anton (Defendant); Thomas Anton & Associates, A Law Corporation, a California corporation (Defendant)

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  • 09/16/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 09/16/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 03/29/2022 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 09/16/2020

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  • 09/16/2020
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Non-Jury Trial scheduled for 09/22/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court was rescheduled to 04/26/2021 08:30 AM

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16 More Docket Entries
  • 04/03/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Deem Request for Admissions Admitted scheduled for 06/02/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 05/15/2019
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Thomas J Anton (Defendant); Thomas Anton & Associates, A Law Corporation, a California corporation (Defendant); As to: Atkinson-Baker, Inc., a California corporation (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/26/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 03/29/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 03/26/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 09/22/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 03/26/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 03/26/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 03/26/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Atkinson-Baker, Inc., a California corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Thomas J Anton (Defendant); Thomas Anton & Associates, A Law Corporation, a California corporation (Defendant)

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  • 03/26/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Atkinson-Baker, Inc., a California corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Thomas J Anton (Defendant); Thomas Anton & Associates, A Law Corporation, a California corporation (Defendant)

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  • 03/26/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Atkinson-Baker, Inc., a California corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Thomas J Anton (Defendant); Thomas Anton & Associates, A Law Corporation, a California corporation (Defendant)

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  • 03/26/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC02934    Hearing Date: February 04, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Thu., February 4, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Atkinson-Baker, Inc. v. Anton, et al.

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC02934 COMPL. FILED: 03-26-19

NOTICE: OK DISC. C/O: 03-27-21

DISC. MOT. C/O: 04-11-21

TRIAL DATE: 04-26-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Atkinson-Baker, Inc.

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

(CCP § 437c)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Atkinson-Baker’s Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the Alternative, Summary Adjudication is DENIED.

SERVICE:

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

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

[X] 75/80 Day Lapse (CCP 12c and 1005 (b)) OK

OPPOSITION: None filed as of February 2, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of February 2, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On March 26, 2019, Plaintiff Atkinson-Baker, Inc. (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for breach of oral contract, open book account, and services performed against Defendants Thomas J. Anton (“Anton”) and Thomas Anton & Associates, a Law Corporation (the “Law Corp.”) (collectively, “Defendants”). Defendants filed an Answer on May 15, 2019.

On April 3, 2020, Plaintiff filed two motions to deem requests for admission admitted against each Defendant. The Court granted Plaintiff’s unopposed motions on August 6, 2020 and ordered Defendants to pay sanctions of $520.00 within thirty days’ notice. (8/6/20 Minute Order.)

On November 17, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the Alternatively Summary Adjudication of the Issues (the “Motion”). To date, no opposition has been filed.

  1. Legal Standard

A party seeking summary judgment has the burden of producing evidentiary facts sufficient to entitle him/her to judgment as a matter of law. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (c); Vesely v. Sager (1971) 5 Cal.3d 153.) The moving party must make an affirmative showing that he/she is entitled to judgment irrespective of whether or not the opposing party files an opposition. (Villa v. McFerren (1995) 35 Cal.App.4th 733.)

When a Defendant or Cross-Defendant seeks summary judgment, he/she must show either (1) that one or more elements of the cause of action cannot be established; or (2) that there is a complete defense to that cause of action. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).) When a Plaintiff or Cross-Complainant seeks summary judgment, he/she must produce admissible evidence on each element of each cause of action on which judgment is sought. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(1).) The moving party’s “affidavits must cite evidentiary facts, not legal conclusions or ‘ultimate’ facts” and be strictly construed. (Scalf v. D. B. Log Homes, Inc. (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 1510, 1519; Hayman v. Block (1986) 176 Cal.App.3d 629, 639.)

The opposing party on a motion for summary judgment is under no evidentiary burden to produce rebuttal evidence until the moving party meets his or her initial movant’s burden. (Binder v. Aetna Life Insurance Company (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 832.) Once the initial movant’s burden is met, then the burden shifts to the opposing party to show, with admissible evidence, that there is a triable issue requiring the weighing procedures of trial. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p).) The opposing party may not simply rely on his/her allegations to show a triable issue but must present evidentiary facts that are substantial in nature and rise beyond mere speculation. (Sangster v. Paetkau (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 151.) As to any alternative request for summary adjudication of issues, such alternative relief must be clearly set forth in the Notice of Motion and the general burden-shifting rules apply but the issues upon which summary adjudication may be sought are limited by statute. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (f)(1).) “A motion for summary adjudication shall be granted only if it completely disposes of a cause of action, an affirmative defense, a claim for damages, or an issue of duty.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (f)(1).)

  1. Discussion

A. First Cause of Action – Breach of Oral Contract

“To establish a cause of action for breach of contract, the plaintiff must plead and prove (1) the existence of the contract, (2) the plaintiff’s performance or excuse for nonperformance, (3) the defendant’s breach, and (4) resulting damages to the plaintiff. [Citation.]” (Maxwell v. Dolezal (2014) 231 Cal.App.4th 93, 97-98.) “The elements of a breach of oral contract are the same as those for breach of a written contract. [Citations.]” (Stockton Mortgage, Inc. v. Tope (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 437, 453.)

Plaintiff presents the following evidence: (1) that Plaintiff is engaged in the business of court reporting; (2) that between February 6, 2018 and April 30, 2018, Plaintiff provided court reporting and transcription services to Defendants; (3) that each invoice sets forth payment terms, including that invoices 30 days past due are subject to a finance charge of 0.75% per month and that in the event of legal action, interest, court costs, and attorney’s fees may be sought by Plaintiff; (4) that neither Defendants ever disputed the February 6 through April 30, 2018 invoices; (5) that pursuant to the admitted Requests for Admission, Defendants admit they owe Plaintiff $6,512.14; (6) that interest of $1,096.56 has accrued on the unpaid balance; and (7) that there is now due and owing an unpaid balance of $7,724.32. (UMF No. 1, 5-6, 8-11; Medina Decl., ¶¶ 2, 6-9; Exh. 1; Bates Decl., ¶¶ 2-9, Exhs. 2-4.)

However, Plaintiff’s evidence does not demonstrate the existence of an oral contract. No facts are presented as to when the oral contract was created, who entered into the contract with Defendants on Plaintiff’s behalf, what the terms of the contract were, and how the terms were reached.

Thus, Plaintiff has not carried its initial burden to demonstrate no issue of material fact exists as to the first cause of action.

B. Second Cause of Action – Common Counts (Open Book Account)

“ ‘A common count is not a specific cause of action . . .; rather, it is a simplified form of pleading normally used to aver the existence of various forms of monetary indebtedness . . . .’ [Citation.]” (Professional Collection Consultants v. Lujan (2018) 23 Cal.App.5th 685, 690.) “‘A ‘book account’ is ‘a detailed statement which constitutes the principal record of one or more transactions between a debtor and a creditor arising out of a contract or some fiduciary relation, and shows the debits and credits in connection therewith . . . .’’ [Citation.] The creditor must keep these records in the regular course of its business and ‘in a reasonably permanent form,’ such as a book or card file. [Citation.] ‘A book account is ‘open’ where a balance remains due on the account.’ [Citation.]” (Id. at p. 690-691.) (Emphasis added.)

As noted above, Plaintiff has not established the existence of a contract. Plaintiff also has not provided any evidence that a fiduciary relationship existed between Plaintiff and Defendants. For this reason, the Court finds Plaintiff has not carried its burden as to the second cause of action for open book account.

C. Third Cause of Action – Common Counts (Services Rendered)

“ ‘Quantum meruit refers to the well-established principle that “the law implies a promise to pay for services performed under circumstances disclosing that they were not gratuitously rendered.” [Citation.] To recover in quantum meruit, a party need not prove the existence of a contract [citations], but it must show the circumstances were such that “the services were rendered under some understanding or expectation of both parties that compensation therefor was to be made.” ’ [Citation.]” [Citation.]” (E.J. Franks Construction, Inc. v. Sahota (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 1123, 1127–1128.) “To recover on a claim for the reasonable value of services under a quantum meruit theory, a plaintiff must establish both that he or she was acting pursuant to either an express or implied request for services from the defendant and that the services rendered were intended to and did benefit the defendant. [Citation.]” (Ochs v. PacifiCare of California (2004) 115 Cal.App.4th 782, 794.) (Emphasis added.)

Here, Plaintiff has not provided any evidence that the services provided were pursuant to Defendants’ express or implied requests. Thus, Plaintiff has failed to carry his initial burden as to this cause of action as well.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Atkinson-Baker’s Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the Alternative, Summary Adjudication is DENIED.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC02934    Hearing Date: August 06, 2020    Dept: 25

PROCEEDINGS    (1) MOTION FOR ORDER THAT THE TRUTH OF REQUEST FOR ADMISSION BE DEEMED ADMITTED BY DEFENDANT THOMAS J. ANTON

(2) MOTION FOR ORDER THAT THE TRUTH OF REQUEST FOR ADMISSION BE DEEMED ADMITTED BY DEFENDANT THOMAS ANTON & ASSOCIATES, A LAW CORP.

MOVING PARTY:   Plaintiff Atkinson-Baker, Inc.

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO DEEM REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2033.280)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff’s (1) Motion for Order that Truth of Requests for Admission be Deemed Admitted by Defendant Thomas J. Anton and (2) Motion for Order that Truth of Requests for Admission be Deemed Admitted by Defendant Thomas Anton & Associates, A Law Corp. are GRANTED. In addition, Plaintiff’s requests for sanctions are also GRANTED in the amount of $520.00 to be paid within thirty (30) days of service of notice of this order.

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)) OK

OPPOSITION: None filed as of August 4, 2020 [   ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of August 4, 2020 [   ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On March 26, 2019, Plaintiff Atkinson-Baker, Inc. (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for breach of oral contract, open book account, and services performed against Defendants Thomas J. Anton (“Anton”) and Thomas Anton & Associates, a Law Corporation (“Law Corporation”) (collectively, “Defendants”). On May 15, 2019, Defendants filed an Answer.

On April 3, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant (1) Motion for Order that Truth of Request for Admission be Deemed Admitted by Defendant Thomas J. Anton and Request for Sanctions and (2) Motion for Order that Truth of Request for Admission be Deemed Admitted by Defendant Thomas Anton & Associates, a Law Corp. and Request for Sanctions (collectively, the “Motions”). To date, no oppositions have been filed.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

A party must respond to requests for admissions within 30 days after service of such requests. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.250, subd. (a).)  “If a party to whom requests for admission are directed fails to serve a timely response…(a) [that party] waives any objection to the requests, including one based on privilege or on the protection for work product…” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280, subd. (a).) “The requesting party may move for an order that the genuineness of any documents and the truth of any matters specified in the requests be deemed admitted, as well as for a monetary sanction under Chapter 7.” (Id. at subd. (b).)  A motion dealing with the failure to respond, rather than with inadequate responses, does not require the requesting party to meet and confer with the responding party. (Deymer v. Costa Mesa Mobile Home Estates (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 393, 395, fn. 4 [disapproved on other grounds in Wilcox v. Birtwhistle (1999) 21 Cal.4th 973]. There is no time limit within which a motion to have matters deemed admitted must be made. (Brigante v. Huang(1993) 20 Cal.App.4th 1569, 1585.)

Here, Plaintiff served each Defendant with Requests for Admission on June 24, 2019 via regular mail. (Motions, Bates Decl., ¶¶ 3, Exhs. 1.) Plaintiff’s counsel granted Defendants an extension up to and including August 5, 2019 to provide responses. (Id. at ¶¶ 4.) Although not statutorily required, Plaintiff’s counsel sent a letter to Defendants on October 24, 2019 regarding the lack of discovery responses. (Id. at ¶¶ 6, Exhs. B.) To date, Plaintiff has not received any response to its discovery. (Id. at ¶¶ 8.) Thus, Plaintiff is entitled to an order deeming the Request for Admission admitted against Defendants. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280.)

In addition, Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030, subdivision (a) provides, in pertinent part, that the court may impose a monetary sanction on a party engaging in the misuse of the discovery process to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct. A misuse of the discovery process includes failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.010, subd. (d).) Furthermore, it is “mandatory that the Court impose a monetary sanction…on the party or attorney, or both, whose failure to serve a timely response to requests for admission necessitated this motion.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280, subd. (c).)

Plaintiff’s counsel requests a total of $1,720.00 in sanctions, which consists of eight hours of attorney time billed at a reduced rate of $200.00 per hour and two filing fees of $60.00. (Motions, Bates Decl., ¶¶ 10.) However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of these Motions and the lack of opposition and reply. The Court finds sanctions of $520.00, based on two hours of attorney time and two filing fees, to be reasonable. Defendants are ordered to pay sanctions within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s (1) Motion for Order that Truth of Requests for Admission be Deemed Admitted by Defendant Thomas J. Anton and (2) Motion for Order that Truth of Requests for Admission be Deemed Admitted by Defendant Thomas Anton & Associates, A Law Corp. are GRANTED. In addition, Plaintiff’s requests for sanctions are also GRANTED in the amount of $520.00 to be paid within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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