This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 09/25/2020 at 03:36:19 (UTC).

JANE GIBSON VS CHENG MENG LAM

Case Summary

On 02/07/2020 JANE GIBSON filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against CHENG MENG LAM. 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:

    *******1281

  • Filing Date:

    02/07/2020

  • 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

Plaintiff

GIBSON JANE

Defendant

LAM CHENG MENG AKA JOSEPH LAM

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

GOLDSTEIN CARY W.

Defendant Attorney

DONOHOO RODNEY

 

Court Documents

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Non-Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Reclassify Action from Limited to Unlimited Jurisdiction

9/16/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Non-Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Reclassify Action from Limited to Unlimited Jurisdiction

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

9/23/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

9/23/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion)) of 09/23/2020

9/23/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion)) of 09/23/2020

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Hearing on Plaintiff Jane Gibson's Motion to Reclassify Action from Limited to Unlimited

6/18/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Hearing on Plaintiff Jane Gibson's Motion to Reclassify Action from Limited to Unlimited

Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

6/12/2020: Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

6/16/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 06/16/2020

6/16/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 06/16/2020

Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

3/20/2020: Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Answer - Answer

4/10/2020: Answer - Answer

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

2/7/2020: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

Complaint - Complaint

2/7/2020: Complaint - Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

2/7/2020: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

2/7/2020: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

Summons - Summons on Complaint

2/7/2020: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

2/10/2020: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

4 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Motion to Reclassify: Filed By: Jane Gibson (Plaintiff); Result: Granted; Result Date: 09/23/2020

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  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: Jane Gibson (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

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  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion)) of 09/23/2020; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion) scheduled for 09/23/2020 at 09:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 updated: Result Date to 09/23/2020; Result Type to Held - Motion Granted

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  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 08/06/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 updated: Result Date to 09/23/2020; Result Type to Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 02/10/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 updated: Result Date to 09/23/2020; Result Type to Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 09/16/2020
  • DocketNotice of Non-Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Reclassify Action from Limited to Unlimited Jurisdiction; Filed by: Jane Gibson (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/18/2020
  • DocketNotice of Hearing on Plaintiff Jane Gibson's Motion to Reclassify Action from Limited to Unlimited; Filed by: Jane Gibson (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/16/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion) scheduled for 09/23/2020 at 09:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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4 More Docket Entries
  • 03/20/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: Jane Gibson (Plaintiff); Proof of Mailing Date: 03/16/2020; Service Cost: 190.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 02/10/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 08/06/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 02/10/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 02/10/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 02/10/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Jane Gibson (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/10/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Serena R. Murillo in Department 26 Spring Street Courthouse

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  • 02/07/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Jane Gibson (Plaintiff); As to: Cheng Meng Lam (Defendant)

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  • 02/07/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Jane Gibson (Plaintiff); As to: Cheng Meng Lam (Defendant)

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  • 02/07/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Jane Gibson (Plaintiff); As to: Cheng Meng Lam (Defendant)

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  • 02/07/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 02/07/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STLC01281    Hearing Date: September 23, 2020    Dept: 26

Gibson v. Lam, et al.

MOTION TO RECLASSIFY

(CCP § 403.040)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Jane Gibson’s Motion to Reclassify Action as Unlimited is GRANTED. THIS CASE IS RECLASSIFIED AS AN UNLIMITED CIVIL CASE AND TRANSFERRED TO THE RECLASSIFICATION/TRANSFER DESK FOR REASSIGNMENT OF THE CASE TO AN INDEPENDENT CALENDAR COURT AND PAYMENT OF RECLASSIFICATION FEES.

ANALYSIS:

On February 7, 2020, Plaintiff Jane Gibson (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendant Cheng Meng Lam (“Defendant”) for breach of the parties’ “Marvin” agreement whereby Defendant would support Plaintiff and her daughters financially and Plaintiff would be Defendant’s companion, confidante, partner and helpmate in his social and professional life. (Compl., ¶¶5-8.) Defendant filed an Answer to the Complaint on April 10, 2020. Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Reclassify Action on June 16, 2020. To date, no opposition has been filed.

Legal Standard

Code of Civil Procedure section 403.040 allows a plaintiff to file a motion for reclassification of an action within the time allowed for that party to amend the initial pleading. (CCP § 403.040(a).) If the motion is made after the time for the plaintiff to amend the pleading, the motion may only be granted if (1) the case is incorrectly classified; and (2) the plaintiff shows good cause for not seeking reclassification earlier. (CCP § 403.040(b).) In Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257, 262, the California Supreme Court held that a matter may be reclassified from unlimited to limited only if it appears to a legal certainty that the plaintiff's damages will necessarily be less than $25,000. (Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257.) If there is a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00, the case cannot be transferred to limited. (Ibid.) This high standard is appropriate in light of “the circumscribed procedures and recovery available in the limited civil courts.” (Ytuarte v. Superior Court (2005) 129 Cal.App.4th 266, 278.)

In Ytuarte, the Court of Appeals examined the principles it set forth in Walker and held that “the court should reject the plaintiff's effort to reclassify the action as unlimited only when the lack of jurisdiction as an “unlimited” case is certain and clear.” (Id. at 279.) Nevertheless, the plaintiff must present evidence to demonstrate a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00 and the trial court must review the record to determine “whether a judgment in excess of $25,000.00 is obtainable.” (Ibid.)

Discussion

The initial time to amend the pleadings having passed, Plaintiff must show good cause for the timing of the Motion to Reclassify and that the amount in controversy exceeds the jurisdiction of this Court. Plaintiff relies on the declaration of counsel, who states that this action was mistakenly filed as a limited case due to clerical error. (Motion, Clark Decl., ¶4.) Upon realizing the error, Plaintiff filed an Amended Civil Case Cover Sheet on February 7, 2020 indicating that this was an unlimited case. (Id. at ¶5.) Plaintiff’s counsel did not realize the case assignment was not changed until later review of the online case summary and promptly filed the Motion to Reclassify. (Id. at ¶6.) The Court finds that Plaintiff has shown good cause of the timing of this Motion following realizing of the clerical error and that the Amended Civil Case Cover Sheet did not fix the error.

Additionally, the allegations in the Complaint indicate that the amount in controversy exceeds $25,000.00. Specifically, the Complaint alleges that Defendant provided Plaintiff with a luxurious lifestyle that included a $6,000.00 monthly allowance, access to luxury vehicles, and numerous expensive gifts. (Compl., ¶¶7-32.) Plaintiff allegedly gave up her career in exchange for supporting Defendant. (Id. at ¶36.) Defendant has brought no opposition to the Motion to Reclassify.

Conclusion

Plaintiff Jane Gibson’s Motion to Reclassify Action is GRANTED. THIS CASE IS RECLASSIFIED AS AN UNLIMITED CIVIL CASE AND TRANSFERRED TO THE RECLASSIFICATION/TRANSFER DESK FOR REASSIGNMENT OF THE CASE TO AN INDEPENDENT CALENDAR COURT AND PAYMENT OF RECLASSIFICATION FEES.

Moving party to give notice.