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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 02/04/2021 at 05:15:57 (UTC).

DR DORAN HENDELMAN, ET AL. VS ELLIS LAW CORPORATION, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 10/07/2020 DR DORAN HENDELMAN filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against ELLIS LAW CORPORATION. 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 Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******8485

  • Filing Date:

    10/07/2020

  • 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

SERENA R. MURILLO

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

HENDELMAN DR DORAN DBA DORAN HENDELMAN CHIRO

MASON GERALD

Defendants

ELLIS ANDREW L

ELLIS LAW CORPORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

NESBIT ALAN

 

Court Documents

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

12/16/2020: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

Request for Dismissal - Request for Dismissal

12/16/2020: Request for Dismissal - Request for Dismissal

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

1/19/2021: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment - Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment

1/19/2021: Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment - Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment

Summons - Summons on Complaint

10/7/2020: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

10/7/2020: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Complaint - Complaint

10/7/2020: Complaint - Complaint

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

10/7/2020: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

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

10/7/2020: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

 

Docket Entries

  • 10/11/2023
  • Hearing10/11/2023 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service

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  • 04/06/2022
  • Hearing04/06/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 01/19/2021
  • DocketRequest for Entry of Default / Judgment; Filed by: Dr Doran Hendelman (Plaintiff); Gerald Mason (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/19/2021
  • DocketNotice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 12/16/2020
  • DocketOn the Complaint filed by Dr Doran Hendelman, et al. on 10/07/2020, entered Request for Dismissal with prejudice filed by Dr Doran Hendelman and Gerald Mason as to Andrew L Ellis

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  • 12/16/2020
  • DocketAddress for Alan Nesbit (Attorney) null

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  • 12/16/2020
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: Dr Doran Hendelman (Plaintiff); Gerald Mason (Plaintiff); As to: Ellis Law Corporation (Defendant); Service Date: 12/16/2020; Service Cost: 0.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 10/07/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Dr Doran Hendelman (Plaintiff); Gerald Mason (Plaintiff); As to: Ellis Law Corporation (Defendant); Andrew L Ellis (Defendant)

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  • 10/07/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Dr Doran Hendelman (Plaintiff); Gerald Mason (Plaintiff); As to: Ellis Law Corporation (Defendant); Andrew L Ellis (Defendant)

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  • 10/07/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Dr Doran Hendelman (Plaintiff); Gerald Mason (Plaintiff); As to: Ellis Law Corporation (Defendant); Andrew L Ellis (Defendant)

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  • 10/07/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 10/07/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 10/07/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 04/06/2022 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 10/07/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 10/11/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 10/07/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Serena R. Murillo in Department 26 Spring Street Courthouse

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STLC08485    Hearing Date: March 9, 2021    Dept: 26

Dr. Doran Hendelman DC, et al. v. Ellis Law Corp., et al.DEMURRER

(CCP § 430.10, et seq.)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Ellis Law Corporation’s Demurrer to the Complaint is OVERRULED.

DEFENDANT ELLIS LAW CORPORATION IS TO FILE AND SERVE AN ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT WITHIN 20 DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER.

ANALYSIS:

On October 7, 2020, Plaintiffs Dr. Doran Hendelman DC dba Doran Hendelman Chiro and Gerald Mason (“Plaintiffs”) filed the Complaint in this action against Defendants Ellis Law Corporation (“Defendant”) and Andrew L. Ellis, Esq., who was dismissed on December 16, 2020. The Complaint alleges causes of action for (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of fiduciary duty; (3) conversion; (4) violation of Cal. Business & Professions Code § 17200; and (5) intentional interference with contractual relations. Defendant filed the instant Demurrer to the Complaint on February 5, 2021. Plaintiffs filed an opposition on February 16, 2021.

Discussion

The Demurrer is accompanied by a meet and confer declaration as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41. (Demurrer, Yazdi Decl., ¶¶2-3 and Exhs. A-B.) Defendant demurs to each cause of action for failure to allege sufficient facts to state a cause of action (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10, subd. (e)) and to the first, second and fifth causes of action for defect of parties (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10, subd. (c).) However, special demurrers are not permitted in courts of limited jurisdiction. (Code Civ. Proc., § 92, subd. (c).) Therefore, the Court will not consider the demurrer for defect of parties.

Allegations in the Complaint

The Complaint alleges that Defendant sent its client, Nassim Sanani (“the patient”), to be treated by Plaintiffs following a personal injury accident in July 2015. (Compl., ¶8.) The patient and Defendant signed a healthcare lien agreement (“the Lien Agreement”) on November 13, 2017 that obligated Defendant to pay the lien amount to Plaintiffs once the patient’s case settled. (Id. at ¶¶9-10 and Exh. A.) The Lien Agreement entitles Plaintiffs to 100 percent of their billings regardless of the settlement amount. (Id. at ¶10.) After Plaintiffs provided medical care to the patient, Defendant breached its fiduciary duty by disbursing the funds directly to the patient. (Id. at ¶15.) Plaintiffs have been forced to go directly to the patient to recover the monies owed under the Lien Agreement. (Id. at ¶25.)

1st Cause of Action for Breach of Contract

In order to allege a cause of action for breach of contract, the Complaint must allege facts showing (1) the existence of a contract; (2) plaintiff’s performance under the contract or excuse for non-performance; (3) defendant’s breach of the contract; and (4) resulting damage to plaintiff from the breach. (Wall Street Network, Ltd. v. New York Times Co. (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 1171, 1178.) Defendant demurs on the grounds that there is no allegation of breach. The Complaint, however, alleges Defendant is obligated under the Lien Agreement to withhold sums from any settlement agreement reached on the patient’s behalf to adequately protect Plaintiffs with respect to sums due for treatment to the patient. (Compl., ¶28 and Exh. A.) The Complaint further alleges that Defendant failed to withhold the sums as required in breach of the Lien Agreement. (Id. at ¶29.) This adequately alleges a cause of action for breach of contract.

The demurrer to the first cause of action is overruled.

2nd Cause of Action for Breach of Fiduciary Duty

Defendant demurs to this cause of action on the grounds that the Complaint fails to allege facts showing the existence of a fiduciary relationship between the parties. The California Supreme Court, however, has held that an attorney who holds funds in trust for a third-party non-client, is a fiduciary to that third-party. (Johnstone v. State Bar (1966) 64 Cal.2d 153, 155-156 [“the funds in his possession are impressed with a trust, and his conversion of such funds is a breach of the trust.”].)

The Complaint alleges that, under the Lien Agreement, Defendant was to hold the settlement funds from the patient’s case for Plaintiffs’ benefit. (Compl., ¶36.) This allegation supports the existence of a fiduciary relationship between the parties.

The demurrer to the second cause of action is overruled.

3rd Cause of Action for Conversion

Conversion is defined as defendant’s disposition of property inconsistent with plaintiff's rights resulting in damages. (Fremont Indemnity Co. v. Fremont General Corp. (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 97, 119.) Defendant argues that this cause of action fails to allege that Defendant disbursed any funds claimed by Plaintiffs.

The Complaint, however, alleges that Plaintiffs owned the rights to the proceeds from the patient’s settlement and that by disbursing the funds to the patient, Defendant “illicitly converted Plaintiffs’ rights and property to” its own use. (Compl., ¶¶44-47.) This sufficiently alleges Defendant’s disposition of the settlement proceeds in a manner inconsistent with Plaintiff’s right to those proceeds.

The demurrer to the third cause of action is overruled.

4th Cause of Action for Violation of Business & Professions Code § 17200

A cause of action for unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business practices is brought pursuant to Cal. Business & Professions Code section 17200, et seq. “[A] breach of contract may ... form the predicate for Section 17200 claims, provided it also constitutes conduct that is ‘unlawful, or unfair, or fraudulent.’ ” (Puentes v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, Inc. (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 638, 645 [citing Watson Laboratories, Inc. v. Rhone–Poulenc Rorer, Inc. (2001) 178 F.Supp.2d 1099, 1117, fn. 12].) Defendant vaguely demurs to this cause of action on the grounds that the Complaint relies on assumptions and guesses. Whether a fact alleged in the Complaint is an assumption or guess is not something to be determined on demurrer. (Fox v. JAMDAT Mobile, Inc. (2010) 185 Cal.App.4th 1068, 1078 [“a demurrer accepts as true all well pleaded facts and those facts of which the court can take judicial notice.”].) The Complaint alleges that Defendant unfairly deducted its own costs and fees from the settlement amount before making the remainder available to lien holders such as Plaintiffs. (Id. at ¶53.) The Court accepts this allegation as true and finds that it supports the cause of action for unfair business practices.

The demurrer to the fourth cause of action is overruled.

5th Cause of Action for Intentional Interference with Contractual Relations

The elements of a cause of action for intentional interference with contractual relations are (1) the plaintiff had a valid and existing contract with a third party; (2) defendant had knowledge of the contract; (3) defendant committed intentional and unjustified acts designed to interfere with or disrupt the contract; (4) actual interference with or disruption of the relationship; and (5) resulting damages. (Davis v. Nadrich (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 1, 10.) Defendant demurs to this cause of action on the grounds that Plaintiffs again have not alleged it disbursed funds claimed by Plaintiffs. As discussed above, Plaintiffs have alleged their right to the settlement funds disbursed by Defendant to the patient. This is again alleged in the fifth cause of action. (Compl., ¶58.)

The demurrer to the fifth cause of action is overruled.

Conclusion

Defendant Ellis Law Corporation’s Demurrer to the Complaint is OVERRULED.

DEFENDANT ELLIS LAW CORPORATION IS TO FILE AND SERVE AN ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT WITHIN 20 DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER.

Moving party to give notice.

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