This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/28/2020 at 01:46:52 (UTC).

CAL INTERPRETING & TRANSLATIONS VS MICHAEL SULLIVAN & ASSOCIATES, LLP

Case Summary

On 06/25/2020 CAL INTERPRETING TRANSLATIONS filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against MICHAEL SULLIVAN ASSOCIATES, LLP. 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 Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******5374

  • Filing Date:

    06/25/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

CAL INTERPRETING & TRANSLATIONS

Defendant

MICHAEL SULLIVAN & ASSOCIATES LLP

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

SAIDIAN RABIN

 

Court Documents

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

10/7/2020: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

Complaint - Complaint

6/25/2020: Complaint - Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

6/25/2020: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Summons - Summons on Complaint

6/25/2020: Summons - Summons on Complaint

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

6/25/2020: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

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

6/25/2020: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/29/2023
  • Hearing06/29/2023 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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  • 12/23/2021
  • Hearing12/23/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 10/07/2020
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: Cal Interpreting & Translations (Plaintiff); As to: Michael Sullivan & Associates, LLP (Defendant); Service Date: 10/05/2020; Service Cost: 75.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 06/26/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 12/23/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 06/26/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 06/29/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 06/26/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 25 Spring Street Courthouse

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  • 06/25/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Cal Interpreting & Translations (Plaintiff); As to: Michael Sullivan & Associates, LLP (Defendant)

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  • 06/25/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Cal Interpreting & Translations (Plaintiff); As to: Michael Sullivan & Associates, LLP (Defendant)

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  • 06/25/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Cal Interpreting & Translations (Plaintiff); As to: Michael Sullivan & Associates, LLP (Defendant)

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  • 06/25/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 06/25/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STLC05374    Hearing Date: March 04, 2021    Dept: 25

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

CASE NAME: Cal Interpreting & Translations v. Michael Sullivan & Associates

CASE NUMBER: 20STLC05374 COMPL. FILED: 06-25-20

NOTICE: OK DISC. C/O: 11-23-21

DISC. MOT. C/O: 12-08-21

TRIAL DATE: 12-23-21

PROCEEDINGS: DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Michael Sullivan & Associates

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff California Interpreting & Translations

DEMURRER

(CCP § 430.10, et seq.)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Michael Sullivan & Associates’ Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint is SUSTAINED as to the first and fourth causes of action and OVERRULED as to the second and third causes of action. Plaintiff is GRANTED 20 DAYS’ LEAVE TO AMEND the first and fourth causes of action.

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: Filed on December 8, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on February 5, 2021 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On June 25, 2020, Plaintiff Cal Interpreting & Translations (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for breach of a written contract, account stated, quantum meruit, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing against Defendant Michael Sullivan & Associates (“Defendant”).

Defendant filed the instant Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint (the “Demurrer”) on November 4, 2020. Plaintiff filed an Opposition on December 8 and Defendant filed a Reply on February 5.

  1. 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. All other grounds listed in Section 430.10, including uncertainty under subdivision (f), are special demurrers. 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).)

  1. Discussion

Defendant’s Demurrer is accompanied by a meet and confer declaration as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41, subd. (a).

Defendant demurs to the complaint on the basis that (1) this Court lacks jurisdiction over the matter; (2) the causes of action are time-barred; and (3) the Complaint fails to state a cause of action. (Dem., pp. 1:21-25; 4:7-12; pp. 5:6:7.)

A. Jurisdiction

Defendant argues that this Court does not have jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter because “plaintiff purportedly rendered services for workers’ compensation cases and the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board has exclusive jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s claims.” (Dem., pp. 5:10-7.) However, the Complaint does not allege that the services rendered were in connection with workers’ compensation cases. Plaintiff only alleges that it provided “interpretation services” to Defendant. (Compl., ¶¶ 7-8, 11.) Defendant provides no judicially noticeable facts or citation to Plaintiff’s Complaint demonstrating this matter involves workers’ compensation matters. Thus, Defendant’s argument is not persuasive. Importantly, it is a defendant’s burden to plead and prove the Workers Compensation Act applies. (Ventura v. ABM Industries, Inc. (2012) 212 Cal.App.4th 258, 265-266.) A trial court has jurisdiction “ ‘unless and until’ the defendant proves otherwise. [Citation.]” (Id.)

Here, Plaintiff filed its action in limited jurisdiction court. Limited jurisdiction courts, such as this one, have jurisdiction over actions where the damages sought are $25,000 or less, exclusive of interest. (Code Civ. Proc., § 86, subd. (a)(1).) Plaintiff seeks $24,536.00 plus interest arising from an alleged agreement to pay for services. Thus, this Court has subject-matter jurisdiction over the action.

B. First Cause of Action – Breach of 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.) “If the action is based on an alleged breach of a written contract, the terms must be set out verbatim in the body of the complaint or a copy of the written agreement must be attached and incorporated by reference.” (Harris v. Rudin, Richman & Appel (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 229, 307.)

Plaintiff alleges (1) that “within the past two years, Plaintiff and Defendants entered into a series of written agreements whereby Plaintiff agreed to provide, and Defendants agreed to pay for, interpreting services for Defendants”; (2) that Plaintiff provided interpreting services to Defendant; (3) that “[t]he terms and particulars of each assignment were written in a ‘Confirmation of Scheduling” provided to Defendants upon Defendants’ ordering of each assignment and ratified by Defendants the day prior to each assignment” (4) that the terms of each assignment were as follows: “TERMS: Net cash 30 days from the date of invoice. Delinquent rate is 1.5% per month, 18% per annum, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and cost of collection”; (5) that the contracts also provided that Plaintiff would primarily turn to Defendant for payment, even if other sources of payment were available; (6) that the total agreed-upon value of Plaintiff’s services was $24,536.00; (7) that Defendant refused to pay and refused to assist Plaintiff in collecting payment from other sources; and (8) that as a result, Plaintiff’s damages total at least $24,536.00 plus interest. (Compl., ¶¶ 8-19.)

To the extent Defendant argues Plaintiff’s failure to allege any dates demonstrates the cause of action is barred by the statute of limitations and requires that the Court sustain the Demurrer without leave to amend, the Court is not persuaded. A demurrer lies only where the dates in question are shown on the face of the complaint. (See Union Carbide Corp. v. Superior Court (1984) 36 Cal.3d 1, 25.) “ ‘It is not enough that the complaint shows merely that the action may be barred.’ [Citation.]” (E-Fab, Inc. v. Accountants, Inc. Services (2007) 153 Cal.App.4th 1308, 1315, 1316.)

Nevertheless, the Court finds Plaintiff’s allegations insufficient. As Plaintiff alleges the contracts between the parties are written, Plaintiff must either attach copies of the purported contracts or must allege all terms of the alleged contract verbatim. Plaintiff only quotes one contract term, specifically, the term regarding the payment schedule and delinquent rates. (Compl., ¶ 10.) If Plaintiff elects to proceed without attaching a copy of the purported contracts, all contract terms must be alleged verbatim.

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

C. Second Cause of Action – Account Stated

“The essential elements of an account stated are: (1) previous transactions between the parties establishing the relationship of debtor and creditor; (2) an agreement between the parties, express or implied, on the amount due from the debtor to the creditor; (3) a promise by the debtor, express or implied, to pay the amount due. [Citations.]” (Leighton v. Forster (2017) 8 Cal.App.5th 467, 491.)

Here, Plaintiff alleges that the accounts stated are in writing and demonstrate a series of transactions between the parties; that Defendant acknowledged the debt of $24,536.00 plus delinquent rates, and that Defendants promised to pay the debt. (Compl., ¶¶ 20-25.) The Court finds these allegations sufficient. Thus, the Demurrer as to the second cause of action is OVERRULED.

D. Third Cause of Action – Quantum Meruit

“The requisite elements of quantum meruit are (1) the plaintiff acted pursuant to ‘an explicit or implicit request for services’ by the defendant and (2) the services conferred a benefit on the defendant. [Citation.]” Port Medical Wellness, Inc. v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (2018) 24 Cal.App.5th 153, 180.)

Here, Plaintiff alleges Defendant ordered interpretation services and that the interpretation services provided conferred a benefit on Defendant. (Compl., ¶¶ 7, 26-27.) The Court finds these allegations sufficient.

Relying on Newport Harbor Ventures, LLC v. Morris Cerullo World Evangelism (2016) 6 Cal. App. 5th 1207, 1222, Defendant argues that pleading a breach of contract cause of action is inconsistent with pleading a quantum meruit cause of action because a quantum meruit by definition “rests upon the equitable theory that there is no equitable basis for an implied-in-law promise to pay reasonable value when the parties have an actual agreement covering compensation.” (Reply, pp. 4:25-5:10.) However, that same case explains that while plaintiffs are permitted to plead inconsistent theories of recovery, such as breach of contract and a common counts causes of action, a plaintiff may not recover under inconsistent theories. (Newport Harbor Ventures, LLC v. Morris Cerullo World Evangelism (2016) 6 Cal.App.5th 1207, 1222-23.) Plaintiff is permitted to plead inconsistent theories of recovery at this stage. Defendant’s argument that the Demurrer should be sustained on this basis is unpersuasive.

The Demurrer as to the third cause of action is OVERRULED.

E. Fourth Cause of Action – Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith & Fair Dealing

“ ‘The [implied] covenant of good faith and fair dealing [is] implied by law in every contract.’ [Citation.] The covenant is read into contracts and functions ‘as a supplement to the express contractual covenants, to prevent a contracting party from engaging in conduct which (while not technically transgressing the express covenants) frustrates the other party’s rights to the benefits of the contract.’ [Citation.] The covenant also requires each party to do everything the contract presupposes the party will do to accomplish the agreement’s purposes. [Citation.] A breach of the implied covenant of good faith is a breach of the contract [citation], and ‘breach of a specific provision of the contract is not…necessary’ to a claim for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing [citation].” (Thrifty Payless, Inc. v. The Americana at Brand, LLC (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 1230, 1244.) (Emphasis in original.) Plaintiff’s allegations must show “that the conduct of the defendant, whether or not it also constitutes a breach of a consensual contract term, demonstrates a failure or refusal to discharge contractual responsibilities, prompted not by an honest mistake, bad judgment or negligence but rather by a conscious and deliberate act, which unfairly frustrates the agreed common purposes and disappoints the reasonable expectations of the other party thereby depriving that party of the benefits of the agreement. Just what conduct will meet this criteria will depend on the contractual purposes and reasonably justified expectations of the parties.” (Careau & Co. v. Security Pacific Business Credit, Inc. (1990) 222 Cal.App.3d 1371, 1395.) Actions for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing based on a written contract have a four-year statute of limitations, while actions based on an oral contract have a two-year statute of limitations. (Code Civ. Proc., § 337, subd. (a).)

As noted above, Plaintiff has not properly alleged the existence of a contract. Without a contract, Plaintiff cannot allege a cause of action for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing in contracts.

Thus, the Demurrer as to the fourth cause of action is SUSTAINED WITH 20 DAYS’ LEAVE TO AMEND.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Michael Sullivan & Associates’ Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint is SUSTAINED as to the first and fourth causes of action and OVERRULED as to the second and third causes of action. Plaintiff is GRANTED 20 DAYS’ LEAVE TO AMEND the first and fourth causes of action.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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