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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/13/2021 at 00:45:56 (UTC).

JEOVANNI M SERRANO VS RIGOBERTO VARELA ROJAS, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 09/24/2020 JEOVANNI M SERRANO filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against RIGOBERTO VARELA ROJAS. 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:

    *******8064

  • Filing Date:

    09/24/2020

  • 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

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

SERRANO JEOVANNI M

Defendants

VARELA ROJAS RIGOBERTO DBA RV AUTO SALES

HUDSON INSURANCE COMPANY

WESTLAKE SERVICES LLC DBA WESTLAKE FINANCIAL SERVICES

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

SADR KASRA

Defendant Attorney

GASCOU CHRISTIAN JEAN

 

Court Documents

Answer - Answer

5/10/2021: Answer - Answer

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Leave Motion to Compel Arbitration)

5/11/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Leave Motion to Compel Arbitration)

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Continued Motion to Compel Arbitration

2/25/2021: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Continued Motion to Compel Arbitration

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

3/25/2021: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Supplemental Declaration of Nima Heydari in Support of Motion to Compel Arbitration

3/26/2021: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Supplemental Declaration of Nima Heydari in Support of Motion to Compel Arbitration

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 04/14/2021

4/14/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 04/14/2021

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

4/14/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion for Leave Motion to Compel Arbitration) of 02/22/2021

2/22/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion for Leave Motion to Compel Arbitration) of 02/22/2021

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Leave Motion to Compel Arbitration)

2/22/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Leave Motion to Compel Arbitration)

Proof of Service - No Service - Proof of Service - No Service

12/11/2020: Proof of Service - No Service - Proof of Service - No Service

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

12/11/2020: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

Answer - Answer

11/20/2020: Answer - Answer

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Declaration of Nima Heydari In Support of Plaintiffs Petition to Compel Arbitration

10/9/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Declaration of Nima Heydari In Support of Plaintiffs Petition to Compel Arbitration

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

9/24/2020: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

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

9/24/2020: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

Complaint - Complaint

9/24/2020: Complaint - Complaint

Summons - Summons on Complaint

9/24/2020: Summons - Summons on Complaint

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

9/24/2020: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

8 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/28/2023
  • Hearing09/28/2023 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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  • 03/24/2022
  • Hearing03/24/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 06/14/2021
  • Hearing06/14/2021 at 10:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Leave (name extension)

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  • 05/11/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Leave Motion to Compel Arbitration scheduled for 06/14/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 05/11/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion for Leave Motion to Compel Arbitration)

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  • 05/11/2021
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Hearing on Motion for Leave Motion to Compel Arbitration scheduled for 05/11/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Held - Continued was rescheduled to 06/14/2021 10:30 AM

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  • 05/10/2021
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Rigoberto Varela Rojas (Defendant)

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  • 04/14/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Leave Motion to Compel Arbitration scheduled for 05/11/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 04/14/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Court Order)

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  • 04/14/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 04/14/2021; Filed by: Clerk

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13 More Docket Entries
  • 10/09/2020
  • DocketDeclaration Declaration of Nima Heydari In Support of Plaintiffs? Petition to Compel Arbitration; Filed by: Jeovanni M Serrano (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/09/2020
  • DocketMotion to Compel Arbitration; Filed by: Jeovanni M Serrano (Plaintiff); As to: Rigoberto Varela Rojas (Defendant); Westlake Services, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 09/24/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 03/24/2022 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 09/24/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 09/28/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 09/24/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Jeovanni M Serrano (Plaintiff); As to: Rigoberto Varela Rojas (Defendant); Westlake Services, LLC (Defendant); Hudson Insurance Company (Defendant)

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  • 09/24/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Jeovanni M Serrano (Plaintiff); As to: Rigoberto Varela Rojas (Defendant); Westlake Services, LLC (Defendant); Hudson Insurance Company (Defendant)

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  • 09/24/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Jeovanni M Serrano (Plaintiff); As to: Rigoberto Varela Rojas (Defendant); Westlake Services, LLC (Defendant); Hudson Insurance Company (Defendant)

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  • 09/24/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 09/24/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 09/24/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 25 Spring Street Courthouse

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STLC08064    Hearing Date: May 11, 2021    Dept: 25

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION, PETITION FOR COURT TO PICK ARBITRATION FORUM, REQUEST FOR STAY, AND REQUEST FOR COSTS

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Jeovanni M. Serrano

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION

(CCP § 1281.2, et seq.)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Jeovanni M. Serrano’s Motion to Compel Arbitration, Petition for Court to Pick Arbitration Forum, Request for Stay and Request for Costs is CONTINUED ONE FINAL TIME TO JUNE 14, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. At least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing, Plaintiff must file supplemental papers as requested herein. Failure to do so may result in the Motion being placed off calendar or denied.

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 May 7, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of May 7, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On September 24, 2020, Plaintiff Jeovanni M. Serrano (“Plaintiff”) filed an action against Defendants Rigoberto Varela Rojas dba RV Auto Sales (“Rojas”), Westlake Services, LLC dba Westlake Financial Services (“Westlake”), and Hudson Insurance Company (“Hudson”) (collectively, “Defendants”). Defendant Hudson filed an Answer on November 20, 2020.

Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Compel Arbitration, Petition for Court to Pick Arbitration Forum, Request for Stay, and Request for Costs (the “Motion”) on October 9, 2020.

The initial February 22, 2021 hearing was continued to April 19, 2021 because Defendant Rojas was not served with the Summons and Complaint or with the instant Motion. (2/22/21 Minute Order.) Plaintiff filed a proof of service on March 25, 2021 demonstrating Defendant Rojas was served with the Summons, Complaint, and Motion. (3/25/21 Proof of Service.)

Due to the Court’s unavailability, the hearing scheduled for April 19 was continued to May 11. (4/14/21 Minute Order.) Plaintiff did not file a proof of service demonstrating Defendants were given notice of the continuance.

To date, no opposition to the Motion has been filed.

II. Legal Standard

“On petition of a party to an arbitration agreement alleging the existence of a written agreement to arbitrate a controversy and that a party to the agreement refuses to arbitrate that controversy, the court shall order the petitioner and the respondent to arbitrate the controversy if it determines that an agreement to arbitrate the controversy exists, unless it determines that: (a) The right to compel arbitration has been waived by the petitioner; or (b) Grounds exist for rescission of the agreement.” (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 1281.2(a)-(b).) As with other types of agreements, “[t]he failure of the [party] to carefully read the agreement and the amendment is not a reason to refuse to enforce the arbitration provisions.” (Powers v. Dickson, Carlson & Campillo (1997) 54 Cal.App.4th 1102, 1115.) “California law, ‘like [federal law], reflects a strong policy favoring arbitration agreements and requires close judicial scrutiny of waiver claims.’” (Wagner Const. Co. v. Pacific Mechanical Corp. (2007) 41 Cal.4th 19, 31.) If the court orders arbitration, then the court shall stay the action until arbitration is completed. (See Code Civ. Proc., § 1281.4.)

III. Discussion

With this Motion, Plaintiff seeks to compel Defendants Rojas and Westlake to submit their controversy to arbitration. (Mot., pp. 1-2.) The action arises from Plaintiff’s purchase of a used 2016 Honda Civic (the “Vehicle”) from Defendant Rojas pursuant to a retail installment sales contract (the “Contract”). (Id. at p. 3:4-8, Heydari Decl., ¶ 3, Exh. 1.) The Contract was later assigned to holder Defendant Westlake. (Id.) The Contract provides:

“EITHER YOU OR WE MAY CHOOSE TO HAVE ANY DISPUTE BETWEEN YOU AND US DECIDED BY ARBITRATION, AND NOT BY A COURT OR BY JURY TRIAL…Any dispute, whether in contract, tort, statute or otherwise (including the interpretation and scope of this Arbitration Provision, and the arbitrability of the claim or dispute), between you and us, our employees, agents, successors or assigns, which arises out of or relates to your credit application, purchase or condition of this vehicle, this contract or any resulting transaction or relationship…shall at your or our election be resolved by neutral binding arbitration and not by court action…”

(Id.) The Contract further provides that the parties may choose the American Arbitration Association (the “AAA”) or any other organization to conduct the arbitration subject to the holder’s approval. (Id.)

Plaintiff’s Complaint arises from the condition of the Vehicle (Compl., ¶¶ 16-24), so it is subject to arbitration. Plaintiff’s counsel provides evidence that, on or around February 19, 2020, her office sent Defendant Rojas and Defendant Westlake a letter regarding the action, including a demand to arbitrate the matter should they not settle within thirty (30) days. (Mot., Heydari Decl., ¶ 4, Exh. 2.) Plaintiff’s counsel did not receive an agreement to arbitrate from Defendants Westlake or Rojas. (Id. at ¶ 6.) The Court finds Plaintiff has demonstrated the existence of a valid arbitration agreement. Notably, neither Defendant Rojas nor Defendant Westlake filed an opposition demonstrating a defense to the arbitration provision exists.

On or around April 21, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel’s office filed for arbitration with AAA. (Id. at ¶ 7.) On or around May 11, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel received a letter from the AAA stating that, due to Defendant Rojas’ failure to comply with AAA’s policies, AAA closed its file. (Id. at ¶ 8.) On a separate matter, in April 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel was informed that AAA refused to administer an arbitration hearing involving Defendant Westlake due to Defendant Westlake’s failure to comply with AAA policies. (Id. at ¶ 9.) Plaintiff argues, however, that AAA regularly agrees to re-open matters as long as the business complies with its policies and pays any requires fees. (Mot., p. 6:5-17.)

Plaintiff also seeks costs as a result of unnecessarily having to bring this Motion due to Defendant Rojas’ and Westlake’s refusal to voluntarily arbitrate the matter. (Id. at p. 7:6-20.) “The court shall award costs upon any judicial proceeding under this title as provided in Chapter 6 (commencing with Section 1021) of Title 14 of Part 2 of this code.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 1293.2.) “A petition to compel arbitration under section 1281.2 is a judicial proceeding covered by this provision.” (Otay River Constructors v. San Diego Expressway (2008) 158 Cal.App.4th 796, 805.) Thus, the Court finds Plaintiff is entitled to $673.90 in costs. (3/26/21 Heydari Decl., ¶¶ 3-6, Exhs. 2-5.)

Although the Court is inclined to grant the Motion, Defendants Westlake and Rojas were not served with notice of the April 14 continuance. Thus, the matter is CONTINUED one last time so that Plaintiff may file proof that Defendants were given adequate notice of the hearing on this Motion.

IV. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Jeovanni M. Serrano’s Motion to Compel Arbitration, Petition for Court to Pick Arbitration Forum, Request for Stay and Request for Costs is CONTINUED ONE FINAL TIME TO JUNE 14, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. At least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing, Plaintiff must file supplemental papers as requested herein. Failure to do so may result in the Motion being placed off calendar or denied.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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