This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 12/03/2020 at 07:17:25 (UTC).

DELTA RIDGE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION. VS MIGUEL A ARZATE

Case Summary

On 01/24/2019 DELTA RIDGE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION filed an Other lawsuit against MIGUEL A ARZATE. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JON R. TAKASUGI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******0746

  • Filing Date:

    01/24/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Other

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

DELTA RIDGE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION.

Defendant

ARZATE MIGUEL A

Palmdale, CA 93551

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

MEDIONI DANIEL

MEDIONI DANIEL M

 

Court Documents

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment) of 11/02/2020

11/2/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment) of 11/02/2020

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)

8/31/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)

Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

11/15/2019: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted - Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted

11/15/2019: Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted - Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted

Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

11/15/2019: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery...)

1/22/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery...)

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery...)

2/10/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery...)

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

3/16/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Separate Statement - Separate Statement

4/8/2020: Separate Statement - Separate Statement

Notice (name extension) - Notice Compendium of Exhibits in support of Motion for Summary Judgment

4/8/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice Compendium of Exhibits in support of Motion for Summary Judgment

Motion for Summary Judgment - Motion for Summary Judgment

4/8/2020: Motion for Summary Judgment - Motion for Summary Judgment

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)

6/23/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)

Notice (name extension) - Notice (1) Continuance of Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment; and (2) Continuance of Non-Jury Trial

6/25/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice (1) Continuance of Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment; and (2) Continuance of Non-Jury Trial

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

7/17/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

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

3/5/2019: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

1/24/2019: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

Complaint - Complaint

1/24/2019: Complaint - Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

1/24/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

16 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/12/2021
  • Hearing03/12/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/07/2021
  • Hearing01/07/2021 at 11:00 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: (name extension)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/07/2021
  • Hearing01/07/2021 at 11:00 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/02/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Why Case Should Not Be Dismissed and the Motion for Summary Judgment deemed moot because of possible settlement scheduled for 01/07/2021 at 11:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/02/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/02/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment) of 11/02/2020; Filed by: Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/02/2020
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment scheduled for 11/02/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Held - Continued was rescheduled to 01/07/2021 11:00 AM

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/22/2020
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Non-Jury Trial scheduled for 10/26/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion was rescheduled to 03/12/2021 08:30 AM

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/21/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Non-Jury Trial) of 10/21/2020; Filed by: Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/21/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Court Order Re: Non-Jury Trial)

    Read MoreRead Less
44 More Docket Entries
  • 02/11/2019
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: DELTA RIDGE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION. (Plaintiff); As to: MIGUEL A ARZATE (Defendant); Proof of Mailing Date: 02/05/2019; Service Cost: 135.00; Service Cost Waived: No

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/04/2019
  • DocketCase reassigned to Stanley Mosk Courthouse in Department 94 - Hon. James E. Blancarte; Reason: Inventory Transfer

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/25/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 01/27/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/25/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 07/23/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/25/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Jon R. Takasugi in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/24/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/24/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/24/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: DELTA RIDGE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION. (Plaintiff); As to: MIGUEL A ARZATE (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/24/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: DELTA RIDGE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION. (Plaintiff); As to: MIGUEL A ARZATE (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/24/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: DELTA RIDGE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION. (Plaintiff); As to: MIGUEL A ARZATE (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC00746    Hearing Date: November 02, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Mon., November 2, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Delta Ridge Homeowners Association v. Arzate

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC00746 COMP. FILED: 01-24-19

NOTICE: OK DISC. C/O: 02-10-21

MOTION C/O: 02-25-21

TRIAL DATE: 03-12-21

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

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Delta Ridge Homeowners Association

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

(CCP § 437c)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Delta Ridge Homeowners Association’s Motion is GRANTED as to the first, second, and fourth causes of action but DENIED as to the third cause of action.

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 October 29, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of October 29, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On January 24, 2019, Plaintiff Delta Ridge Homeowners Association (“Plaintiff”) filed an action to foreclose lien, for breach of covenants, quantum meruit, and account stated against Defendant Miguel A. Arzate (“Defendant”). On August 5, 2019, Defendant filed an Answer, in pro per.

On November 15, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel responses to production of documents, a motion to compel responses to form interrogatories, and motion to deem requests for admission admitted against Defendant. On February 10, 2020, the Court granted Plaintiff’s discovery motions and awarded $930.00 in sanctions to be paid within thirty (30) days. (2/10/20 Minute Order.)

On April 8, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment (the “Motion”). No opposition was filed. At the initial hearing on June 23, 2020, Defendant informed the Court he had attempted to communicate with Plaintiff to discuss a settlement but was unable to do so. (6/23/20 Minute Order.) The Court ordered the parties to meet and confer prior to the next scheduled hearing to discuss a possible settlement of the case. (Id.)

On July 28, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Stipulation to Dismiss Case with the Court Retaining Jurisdiction Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6 (the “Stipulation”). However, the Stipulation was rejected because Defendant had not yet paid his first appearance fee. (8/3/20 Notice of Rejection of Electronic Filing.) For this reason, on August 31, 2020, the Court continued the hearing to allow the parties to pay Defendant’s first appearance fee and refile the stipulation. (8/31/20 Minute Order.)

To date, however, the parties have not refiled their stipulation.

  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

1. First & Second Cause of Action – Breach of Covenants & Foreclosure of Lien

Plaintiff’s first cause of action is to foreclose an assessment lien pursuant to Civil Code section 5700. (Compl., p. 1.)

If a common interest development’s declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (“CC&Rs”) is recorded before a sale is made, the later purchaser is deemed to agree to them. (Citizens for Covenant Compliance v. Anderson (1995) 12 Cal.4th 345, 363.) CC&Rs can reasonably be construed and enforced as a contract “when the issue involved is the operation or governance of the association or the relationship between owners and between owners and the association…” (Treo @ Kettner Homeowners Assn. v. Superior Court (2008) 166 Cal.Ap.4th 1055, 1066.)

Here, Plaintiff presents the following evidence:

Plaintiff is the governing body for a residential complex (the “Complex) that is governed by a declaration of CC&Rs recorded with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office on April 14, 2000, Instrument No. 00-0562699. (UMF, Nos. 1-3.) Defendant purchased a unit located within the Complex commonly known as 38720 Annette Ave., located in Palmdale, CA (the “Unit”) on November 30, 2016. (UMF, No. 7.) The CC&Rs require that owners of units within the Complex pay certain assessments and failure to do so creates an assessment lien on that owner’s unit. (UMF, Nos. 4-5.) Beginning February 1, 2017, Defendant failed to pay several assessments, and, as of April 1, 2020, Defendant’s assessment account reflects a balance of $2,196.40. (UMF Nos. 8-9.) To date, Defendant has not paid the balance. (UMF, No. 15.) Defendant also admits his assessment fees are delinquent and explains that he has been unsuccessful in his attempts to negotiate a payment plan with Plaintiff. (Answer, p. 1-2.)

In addition, Civil Code section 5650 provides that regular or special assessments and any late charges, reasonable fees, costs of collection, attorney’s fees, and interest “shall be a debt of the owner of the separate interest at the time the assessment or other sums are levied.” (Civ. Code, § 5650, subd. (a).) Regular and special assessments levied pursuant to the CC&Rs become delinquent 15 days after they become due unless the CC&Rs provide otherwise. (Civ. Code, § 5640, subd. (b).) An association may record a lien upon an owner’s separate interest to collect a debt past due under Section 5650 provided that at least 30 days prior to recording the lien, the association provides written notice via certified mail which includes (1) a general description of the collection and lien, method of calculation of the amount and a warning that a separate interest placed in foreclosure may be sold without court action, (2) an itemized statement of charges owed, (3) a statement that an owner is not liable if assessments were paid on time, (4) notice of the right to request a meeting with the board, (5) the right to dispute an assessment debt, and (6) the right to request alternative dispute resolution with a neutral third party. (Civ. Code, § 5660, subds. (a)-(f).)

“The amount of the assessment, plus any costs of collection, late charges, and interest assessed in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 5650, shall be a lien on the owner's separate interest in the common interest development from and after the time the association causes to be recorded with the county recorder of the county in which the separate interest is located, a notice of delinquent assessment, which shall state the amount of the assessment and other sums imposed in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 5650, a legal description of the owner's separate interest in the common interest development against which the assessment and other sums are levied, and the name of the record owner of the separate interest in the common interest development against which the lien is imposed.” (Civ. Code, § 5675, subd. (a).) A copy of the recorded notice must be mailed by certified mail to every owner of the separate interest no later than 10 calendar days after recordation. (Civ. Code, § 5675, subd. (e).)

Here, Plaintiff presents evidence that before recording a lien, it sent Defendant a letter regarding the delinquent assessment on March 29, 2018. (UMF, No. 12.) This letter complies with the requirements of Civil Code section 5660, subdivisions, (a)-(f). (Id.) On July 3, 2018, Plaintiff recorded a lien with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office, Instrument No. 20180664482. (UMF, No. 13.) On July 10, 2018, Plaintiff sent Defendant a copy of the recorded lien via certified mail in accordance with Civil Code section 5675, subdivision (e). (UMF, No. 14.)

Furthermore, “[A]fter the expiration of 30 days following the recording of a lien created pursuant to section 5675, the lien may be enforced in any manner permitted by law, including sale by sale by the court…” (Civ. Code, § 5700, subd. (a).) The decision to initiate the foreclosure of a recorded lien shall be made by the association’s board of directors, by majority vote, and record the vote in the minutes of the next meeting. (Civ. Code, § 5705, subd, (c).) Thereafter, the board shall provide notice by personal service to an owner who occupies the separate interest and by first-class mail to any other owner that does not occupy the separate interest. (Civ. Code, § 5705, subd. (d).)

Plaintiff presents evidence that, prior to initiating this action to foreclose on the recorded lien, Plaintiff’s board of directors approved a resolution to foreclose, which was published in the board’s meeting minutes. (UMF, Nos. 16-17.) Thereafter, Plaintiff served a copy of the board’s decision to foreclose by substituted service on November 10, 2018. (UMF, No. 17.)

Plaintiff’s evidence has carried its initial burden to demonstrate that Defendant breached the CC&Rs and that Plaintiff has complied with all legislative requirements imposed by Civil Code section 5700 et seq., for the enforcement of an assessment lien. The burden now shifts to Defendant to demonstrate a triable issue of material fact. However, as the Motion is unopposed, Defendant has not carried his burden.

2. Third Cause of Action – Quantum Meruit

The essential elements of a quantum meruit cause of action are “(1) the plaintiff acted pursuant to ‘an explicit or implicit request for the 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.) (Italics added.)

Here, Plaintiff argues that by accepting the grant deed to the Unit, Defendant requested and accepted the terms and conditions of the CC&Rs. (Mot., p. 13:2-6.) However, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that it actually performed any services or that any services performed conferred a benefit to Defendant.

Thus, Plaintiff’s Motion is DENIED as to the third cause of action.

3. Fourth Cause of Action – Account Stated

An account stated is an “agreement, based on prior transactions between the parties, that the items of an account are true and that the balance struck is due and owing. [Citation.] ‘[A]n element essential to render the account stated is that it received the assent of both parties, but the assent of the party sought to be charged may be implied from his conduct’. [Citation.] For example, ‘[w]hen a statement is rendered to a debtor and no reply is made in a reasonable time, the law implies an agreement that the account is correct as rendered.’ [Citation.]” (Professional Collection Consultants v. Lauron (2017) 8 Cal.App.5th 958, 968.)

Plaintiff presents evidence that, as an owner of the Unit in Plaintiff’s Complex, Defendant was required to pay certain assessments pursuant to the CC&Rs. (UMF, Nos. 62-64, 67.) Beginning February 1, 2017, Defendant failed to pay several assessments to Plaintiff. (UMF, No. 68.) Monthly statements were sent to Defendant. (UMF, No. 68.) As of the date of this Motion, Defendant has not paid the balance of $2,196.40. (UMF, Nos. 59, 68.) In addition, by virtue of Plaintiff’s admitted requests for admission, Defendant admitted the account ledger sent to him is accurate (Mot., Exh. 12 and RFA No. 5).

Based on the above, Plaintiff has carried its initial burden and demonstrated that no triable issue of material fact exists as to the account stated cause of action. The burden now shifts to Defendant to show a triable issue of material fact does exist. However, as Defendant has failed to file an opposition, he has not carried his burden. Thus, Plaintiff’s Motion as to the fourth cause of action is GRANTED.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Delta Ridge Homeowners Association’s Motion is GRANTED as to the first, second, and fourth causes of action but DENIED as to the third cause of action.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC00746    Hearing Date: August 31, 2020    Dept: 25

MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

(CCP § 437c)

TENTATIVE RULING:

To allow for the parties to continue their settlement efforts, Plaintiff Delta Ridge Homeowners Association’s Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the Alternative, Summary Adjudication, is CONTINUED TO NOVEMBER 2, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

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 August 26, 2020 [   ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of August 26, 2020 [   ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

 

On January 24, 2019, Plaintiff Delta Ridge Homeowners Association (“Plaintiff”) filed an action to foreclose lien, for breach of covenants, quantum meruit, and account stated against Defendant Miguel A. Arzate (“Defendant”). On August 5, 2019, Defendant filed an Answer, in pro per.

On November 15, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel responses to production of documents, a motion to compel responses to form interrogatories, and motion to deem requests for admission admitted against Defendant. On February 10, 2020, the Court granted Plaintiff’s discovery motions and awarded $930.00 in sanctions to be paid within thirty (30) days. (2/10/20 Minute Order.)

On April 8, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment (the “Motion”). No opposition was filed. At the initial hearing on June 23, 2020, Defendant informed the Court he had attempted to communicate with Plaintiff to discuss a settlement but was unable to do so. (6/23/20 Minute Order.) The Court ordered the parties to meet and confer prior to the next scheduled hearing to discuss a possible settlement of the case. (Id.)

On July 28, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Stipulation to Dismiss Case with the Court Retaining Jurisdiction Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6 (the “Stipulation”). However, the Stipulation was rejected because Defendant had not yet paid his first appearance fee. (8/3/20 Notice of Rejection of Electronic Filing.) Thus, as it appears that the parties have reached a settlement, the Court will CONTINUE the hearing on this Motion to allow the parties to pay Defendant’s first appearance fee and re-file the Stipulation.

 

II. Conclusion & Order

 

To allow for the parties to continue their settlement efforts, Plaintiff Delta Ridge Homeowners Association’s Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the Alternative, Summary Adjudication, is CONTINUED TO NOVEMBER 2, 2020 at 10:30  a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC00746    Hearing Date: June 23, 2020    Dept: 25

MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

(CCP § 437c)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Delta Ridge Homeowners Association’s Motion is GRANTED as to the first, second, and fourth causes of action but DENIED as to the third cause of action.

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 June 17, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of June 17, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On January 24, 2019, Plaintiff Delta Ridge Homeowners Association (“Plaintiff”) filed an action to foreclose lien, for breach of covenants, quantum meruit, and account stated against Defendant Miguel A. Arzate (“Defendant”). On August 5, 2019, Defendant filed an Answer, in pro per.

On November 15, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion to compel responses to production of documents, a motion to compel responses to form interrogatories, and motion to deem requests for admission admitted against Defendant. On February 10, 2020, the Court granted Plaintiff’s discovery motions and awarded $930.00 in sanctions to be paid within thirty (30) days. (2/10/20 Minute Order.)

On April 8, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment (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

1. First & Second Cause of Action – Breach of Covenants & Foreclosure of Lien

Plaintiff’s first cause of action is to foreclose an assessment lien pursuant to Civil Code section 5700. (Compl., p. 1.)

If a common interest development’s declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions (“CC&Rs”) is recorded before a sale is made, the later purchaser is deemed to agree to them. (Citizens for Covenant Compliance v. Anderson (1995) 12 Cal.4th 345, 363.) CC&Rs can reasonably be construed and enforced as a contract “when the issue involved is the operation or governance of the association or the relationship between owners and between owners and the association…” (Treo @ Kettner Homeowners Assn. v. Superior Court (2008) 166 Cal.Ap.4th 1055, 1066.)

Here, Plaintiff presents the following evidence:

Plaintiff is the governing body for a residential complex (the “Complex) that is governed by a declaration of CC&Rs recorded with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office on April 14, 2000, Instrument No. 00-0562699. (UMF, Nos. 1-3.) Defendant purchased a unit located within the Complex commonly known as 38720 Annette Ave., located in Palmdale, CA (the “Unit”) on November 30, 2016. (UMF, No. 7.) The CC&Rs require that owners of units within the Complex pay certain assessments and failure to do so creates an assessment lien on that owner’s unit. (UMF, Nos. 4-5.) Beginning February 1, 2017, Defendant failed to pay several assessments, and, as of April 1, 2020, Defendant’s assessment account reflects a balance of $2,196.40. (UMF Nos. 8-9.) To date, Defendant has not paid the balance. (UMF, No. 15.) Defendant also admits his assessment fees are delinquent and explains that he has been unsuccessful in his attempts to negotiate a payment plan with Plaintiff. (Answer, p. 1-2.)

In addition, Civil Code section 5650 provides that regular or special assessments and any late charges, reasonable fees, costs of collection, attorney’s fees, and interest “shall be a debt of the owner of the separate interest at the time the assessment or other sums are levied.” (Civ. Code, § 5650, subd. (a).) Regular and special assessments levied pursuant to the CC&Rs become delinquent 15 days after they become due, unless the CC&Rs provide otherwise. (Civ. Code, § 5640, subd. (b).) An association may record a lien upon an owner’s separate interest to collect a debt past due under Section 5650 provided that at least 30 days prior to recording the lien, the association provides written notice via certified mail which includes (1) a general description of the collection and lien, method of calculation of the amount and a warning that a separate interest placed in foreclosure may be sold without court action, (2) an itemized statement of charges owed, (3) a statement that an owner is not liable if assessments were paid on time, (4) notice of the right to request a meeting with the board, (5) the right to dispute an assessment debt, and (6) the right to request alternative dispute resolution with a neutral third party. (Civ. Code, § 5660, subds. (a)-(f).)

“The amount of the assessment, plus any costs of collection, late charges, and interest assessed in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 5650, shall be a lien on the owner's separate interest in the common interest development from and after the time the association causes to be recorded with the county recorder of the county in which the separate interest is located, a notice of delinquent assessment, which shall state the amount of the assessment and other sums imposed in accordance with subdivision (b) of Section 5650, a legal description of the owner's separate interest in the common interest development against which the assessment and other sums are levied, and the name of the record owner of the separate interest in the common interest development against which the lien is imposed.” (Civ. Code, § 5675, subd. (a).) A copy of the recorded notice must be mailed by certified mail to every owner of the separate interest no later than 10 calendar days after recordation. (Civ. Code, § 5675, subd. (e).)

Here, Plaintiff presents evidence that before recording a lien, it sent Defendant a letter regarding the delinquent assessment on March 29, 2018. (UMF, No. 12.) This letter complies with the requirements of Civil Code section 5660, subdivisions, (a)-(f). (Id.) On July 3, 2018, Plaintiff recorded a lien with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office, Instrument No. 20180664482. (UMF, No. 13.) On July 10, 2018, Plaintiff sent Defendant a copy of the recorded lien via certified mail in accordance with Civil Code section 5675, subdivision (e). (UMF, No. 14.)

Furthermore, “[A]fter the expiration of 30 days following the recording of a lien created pursuant to section 5675, the lien may be enforced in any manner permitted by law, including sale by sale by the court…” (Civ. Code, § 5700, subd. (a).) The decision to initiate the foreclosure of a recorded lien shall be made by the association’s board of directors, by majority vote, and record the vote in the minutes of the next meeting. (Civ. Code, § 5705, subd, (c).) Thereafter, the board shall provide notice by personal service to an owner who occupies the separate interest and by first-class mail to any other owner that does not occupy the separate interest. (Civ. Code, § 5705, subd. (d).)

Plaintiff presents evidence that, prior to initiating this action to foreclose on the recorded lien, Plaintiff’s board of directors approved a resolution to foreclose, which was published in the board’s meeting minutes. (UMF, Nos. 16-17.) Thereafter, Plaintiff served a copy of the board’s decision to foreclose by substituted service on November 10, 2018. (UMF, No. 17.)

Plaintiff’s evidence has carried its initial burden to demonstrate that Defendant breached the CC&Rs and that Plaintiff has complied with all legislative requirements imposed by Civil Code section 5700 et seq., for the enforcement of an assessment lien. The burden now shifts to Defendant to demonstrate a triable issue of material fact. However, as the Motion is unopposed, Defendant has not carried his burden.

2. Third Cause of Action – Quantum Meruit

The essential elements of a quantum meruit cause of action are “(1) the plaintiff acted pursuant to ‘an explicit or implicit request for the 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.) (Italics added.)

Here, Plaintiff argues that by accepting the grant deed to the Unit, Defendant requested and accepted the terms and conditions of the CC&Rs. (Mot., p. 13:2-6.) However, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that it actually performed any services or that any services performed conferred a benefit to Defendant.

Thus, Plaintiff’s Motion is DENIED as to the third cause of action.

3. Fourth Cause of Action – Account Stated

An account stated is an “agreement, based on prior transactions between the parties, that the items of an account are true and that the balance struck is due and owing. [Citation.] ‘[A]n element essential to render the account stated is that it received the assent of both parties, but the assent of the party sought to be charged may be implied from his conduct’. [Citation.] For example, ‘[w]hen a statement is rendered to a debtor and no reply is made in a reasonable time, the law implies an agreement that the account is correct as rendered.’ [Citation.]” (Professional Collection Consultants v. Lauron (2017) 8 Cal.App.5th 958, 968.)

Plaintiff presents evidence that, as an owner of the Unit in Plaintiff’s Complex, Defendant was required to pay certain assessments pursuant to the CC&Rs. (UMF, Nos. 62-64, 67.) Beginning February 1, 2017, Defendant failed to pay several assessments to Plaintiff. (UMF, No. 68.) Monthly statements were sent to Defendant. (UMF, No. 68.) As of the date of this Motion, Defendant as not paid the balance of $2,196.40. (UMF, Nos. 59, 68.) In addition, by virtue of Plaintiff’s admitted requests for admission, Defendant admitted the account ledger sent to him is accurate (Mot., Exh. 12 and RFA No. 5).

Based on the above, Plaintiff has carried its initial burden and demonstrated that no triable issue of material fact exists as to the account stated cause of action. The burden now shifts to Defendant to show a triable issue of material fact does exist. However, as Defendant has failed to file an opposition, he has not carried his burden. Thus, Plaintiff’s Motion as to the fourth cause of action is GRANTED.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Delta Ridge Homeowners Association’s Motion is GRANTED as to the first, second, and fourth causes of action but DENIED as to the third cause of action.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC00746    Hearing Date: February 10, 2020    Dept: 25

MOTION TO DEEM REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED; MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES AND COMPEL RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION

(CCP §§ 2030.290; 2031.300; 2033.280)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Delta Ridge Homeowners Association’s (1) Motion to Deem Requests for Admissions, Set One, Admitted, (2) Motion to Compel Defendant to Provide Responses to Form Interrogatories, Set one, and (3) Motion to Compel Defendant to Provide Responses to Demand for Production of Documents, Set One, are GRANTED.

Plaintiff’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $930.00 to be paid within thirty (30) days of service of notice of this order.

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On January 24, 2019, Plaintiff Delta Ridge Homeowners Association (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendant Miguel A. Arzate (“Defendant”) for breach of covenants, quantum meruit, account stated, and to foreclose lien. Defendant filed an Answer on March 5, 2019.

On November 11, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Deem Requests for Admissions, Set One, Admitted and Request for Sanctions (the “RFA Motion”), Motion to Compel Defendant to Provide Responses to Form Interrogatories, Set One, and Request for Sanctions (the “Interrogatories Motion”), and Motion to Compel Defendant to Provide Responses to Demand for Production of Documents, Set One, and Request for Sanctions (the “Production of Documents Motion”) (collectively, the “Motions”).

During the hearing for these Motions on January 22, 2020, Defendant asked for a Spanish interpreter. (1/22/19 Minute Order.) Because none was available at that time, the hearing was continued to February 10, 2020. (Id.)

To date, no opposition or reply briefs have been filed.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

  1. Request for Admissions

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.)

Plaintiff’s RFA Motion is timely. Plaintiff served Requests for Admission on Defendant by mail on September 4, 2019. (RFA Mot., Medioni Decl., ¶ 6, Exh. A.) Defendant has not responded to Plaintiff’s request. (Id., ¶ 11.) No meet and confer efforts are required. Thus, Plaintiff is entitled to an order deeming the Requests for Admission admitted against Defendant. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280.)

  1. Form Interrogatories & Request for Production of Documents

A party must respond to form interrogatories and requests for production of documents within 30 days after service. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.260, subd. (a); Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.260, subd. (a).) If a party to whom interrogatories or requests for production of documents are directed does not provide timely responses, the requesting party may move for an order compelling responses to the discovery. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290, subd. (b); Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300, subd. (c).) The party also waives the right to make any objections, including one based on privilege or work-product protection. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290, subd. (a); Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300, subd. (a).) There is no time limit for a motion to compel responses to interrogatories or production of documents other than the cut-off on hearing discovery motions 15 days before trial. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2024.020, subd. (a), 2030.290; Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300.) No meet and confer efforts are required before filing a motion to compel responses to the discovery. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290; Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300; Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 390, 411.)

Plaintiff’s Interrogatories Motion and Demand for Production Motion are timely as they were filed before the July 8, 2020 cut-off for discovery motions. Plaintiff served on Defendant Form Interrogatories, Set One, and Demand for Production of Documents, Set One, by mail on September 4, 2019 (Interrogatories and Demand for Production Motions, Medioni Decl., ¶ 6, Exh. A) Defendant has not provided any responses to the Interrogatories or the Request for Production of Documents. (Id., ¶ 11.) Thus, Plaintiff is entitled to an order compelling Defendant to serve responses without objections. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2030.290; Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300.)

  1. Sanctions

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).)

The Court finds Defendant’s failure to respond to Plaintiff’s Requests for Admissions, Form Interrogatories, and Request for Production of Documents, a misuse of the discovery process.

Plaintiff’s counsel requests a total of $2,430.00 in sanctions, which includes $2,250.00 for 7.5 hours of attorney time billed at $300.00 an hour and three $60.00 filing fees. However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of these nearly identical Motions and the lack of opposition and reply. Plaintiff’s request for sanctions is GRANTED in the amount of $930.00 based on 2.5 hours of attorney time and three filing fees of $60.00 for each Motion. Defendant is ordered to pay sanctions within thirty (30) days of service of notice of this order.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Delta Ridge Homeowners Association’s (1) Motion to Deem Requests for Admissions, Set One, Admitted, (2) Motion to Compel Defendant to Provide Responses to Form Interrogatories, Set One, and (3) Motion to Compel Defendant to Provide Responses to Demand for Production of Documents, Set One, are GRANTED.

Plaintiff’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $930.00 to be paid within thirty (30) days of service of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.