This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/18/2020 at 04:11:37 (UTC).

KENNETH NTIM VS AARON GUERRA

Case Summary

On 10/31/2018 KENNETH NTIM filed a Civil Right - Other Civil Right lawsuit against AARON GUERRA. 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:

    *******3648

  • Filing Date:

    10/31/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Civil Right - Other Civil Right

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

NTIM KENNETH

Defendant

GUERRA AARON

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

MEHRBAN MORSE

15720 Ventura Blvd Ste 228

Encino, CA 91436

Defendant Attorney

SANCHEZ DENNIS JOHN

 

Court Documents

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Release of Judgment Lien

10/14/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Release of Judgment Lien

Request (name extension) - Request to Set Case for Trial

10/14/2020: Request (name extension) - Request to Set Case for Trial

Answer - Answer

10/14/2020: Answer - Answer

Supplemental Declaration (name extension) - Supplemental Declaration OF AARON GUERRA IN SUPPORT OF HIS MOTION TO VACATE JUDGMENT

9/10/2020: Supplemental Declaration (name extension) - Supplemental Declaration OF AARON GUERRA IN SUPPORT OF HIS MOTION TO VACATE JUDGMENT

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

10/13/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment (CCP 473))

7/22/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment (CCP 473))

Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information - Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

11/20/2019: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information - Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

Memorandum of Costs After Judgment, Acknowledgment of Credit, and Declaration of Accrued Interest - Memorandum of Costs After Judgment, Acknowledgment of Credit, and Declaration of Accrued Interest

11/20/2019: Memorandum of Costs After Judgment, Acknowledgment of Credit, and Declaration of Accrued Interest - Memorandum of Costs After Judgment, Acknowledgment of Credit, and Declaration of Accrued Interest

Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and / or Default Judgment - Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and / or Default Judgment

2/20/2020: Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and / or Default Judgment - Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and / or Default Judgment

Judgment - Judgment

2/8/2019: Judgment - Judgment

Declaration Pursuant to 585 CCP in Support of Default Judgment - Declaration Pursuant to 585 CCP in Support of Default Judgment

1/24/2019: Declaration Pursuant to 585 CCP in Support of Default Judgment - Declaration Pursuant to 585 CCP in Support of Default Judgment

Request for Dismissal - Request for Dismissal

1/24/2019: Request for Dismissal - Request for Dismissal

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

1/24/2019: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

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

1/24/2019: Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Complaint - Complaint

10/31/2018: Complaint - Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

10/31/2018: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Summons - Summons on Complaint

10/31/2018: Summons - Summons on Complaint

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

10/31/2018: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

11 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/19/2020
  • Hearing11/19/2020 at 10:00 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: (name extension)

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  • 10/14/2020
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Aaron Guerra (Defendant); As to: Kenneth Ntim (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/14/2020
  • DocketNotice of Release of Judgment Lien; Filed by: Kenneth Ntim (Plaintiff); As to: Aaron Guerra (Defendant)

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  • 10/14/2020
  • DocketRequest to Set Case for Trial; Filed by: Kenneth Ntim (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/13/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Status of Defendant's Answer scheduled for 11/19/2020 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 10/13/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: Aaron Guerra (Defendant)

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  • 10/13/2020
  • DocketOn the Complaint filed by Kenneth Ntim on 10/31/2018, judgment entered on 02/08/2019 as to Aaron Guerra is

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  • 10/13/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- On the Complaint filed by Kenneth Ntim on 10/31/2018, judgment entered on 02/08/2019 is vacated

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  • 10/13/2020
  • DocketOn the Complaint filed by Kenneth Ntim on 10/31/2018, Default entered on 01/24/2019, Vacated - .

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  • 10/13/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment (CCP 473))

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28 More Docket Entries
  • 01/24/2019
  • DocketOn the Complaint filed by Kenneth Ntim on 10/31/2018, entered Request for Dismissal without prejudice filed by Kenneth Ntim as to Aaron Guerra, does 1-10

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  • 11/08/2018
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 04/29/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 11/08/2018
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 11/03/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 10/31/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Kenneth Ntim (Plaintiff); As to: Aaron Guerra (Defendant)

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  • 10/31/2018
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by: Kenneth Ntim (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/31/2018
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Signed and Filed by: Clerk; As to: Kenneth Ntim (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/31/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Kenneth Ntim (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/31/2018
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Clerk

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  • 10/31/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 10/31/2018
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Jon R. Takasugi in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 18STLC13648    Hearing Date: October 13, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Tue., October 13, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Ntim v. Guerra COMP. FILED: 10-31-18

CASE NUMBER: 18STLC13648 DEFAULT: 01-24-19

NOTICE: OK DEF. JUDGMENT: 02-08-19

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO VACATE DEFAULT JUDGMENT AGAINST DEFENDANT AARON GUERRA

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Aaron Guerra

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO SET ASIDE/VACTE DEFAULT JUDGMENT

(CCP §§ 473, 473.5)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Aaron Guerra’s Motion to Vacate Default and Default Judgment is GRANTED. The default entered on January 24, 2019 and default judgment entered on February 8, 2019 are HEREBY VACATED. Defendant Guerra is to file and serve his responsive pleading within ten (10) days of service of this order.

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 October 6, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of October 6, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On October 31, 2018, Plaintiff Kenneth Ntim (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act against Defendant Aaron Guerra (“Defendant”). On January 24, 2019, default was entered against Defendant. On February 8, 2019, default judgment was entered against him in the amount of $5,065.00, based on $4,000.00 in damages, $800.00 in attorney’s fees, and $265.00 in costs. (2/8/19 Judgment.)

On February 20, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default Judgment (the “Motion”).

At the initial hearing on July 22, 2020, the Court ordered Defendant to file and serve supplemental evidence demonstrating he was never served with the Summons and Complaint. (7/22/20 Minute Order.) On September 10, 2020, Defendant filed a supplemental declaration.

Plaintiff has not filed an opposition.

  1. Legal Standard

“‘A summons is the process by which a court acquires personal jurisdiction over a defendant in a civil action’ [citation], and a defendant has an absolute right to demand that process be issued against him in a manner prescribed by law.” (Mannesmann DeMag, Ltd. v. Superior Court (1985) 172 Cal.App.3d 1118, 1122.) “Constitutional due process requirements are satisfied where the form of service provided and employed is reasonably calculated to give a litigant actual notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard.” (Crescendo Corp. v. Shelted, Inc. (1968) 267 Cal.App.2d 209, 213.) “‘[C]ompliance with the statutory procedures for service of process is essential to establish personal jurisdiction. [Citation.] Thus, a default judgment entered against a defendant who was not served with a summons in the manner prescribed by statute is void. [Citation.]’” (Ellard v. Conway (2001) 94 Cal.App.4th 540, 544.) “‘[A] void at any time (Rockefeller Technology Investments (Asia) VII v. Changzhou Sinotype Technology Co., Ltd. (2018) 24 Cal.App.5th 115, 136.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 473.5 states, in relevant part:

  1. When service of a summons has not resulted in actual notice to a party in time to defend the action and a default or default judgment has been entered against him or her in the action, he or she may serve and file a notice of motion to set aside the default or default judgment and for leave to defend the action. The notice of motion shall be served and filed within a reasonable time, but in no event exceeding the earlier of: (i) two years after entry of a default judgment against him or her; or (ii) 180 days after service on him or her of a written notice that the default or default judgment has been entered.

  2. A notice of motion to set aside a default or default judgment and for leave to defend the action shall designate as the time for making the motion a date prescribed by subdivision (b) of Section 1005, and it shall be accompanied by an affidavit showing under oath that the party's lack of actual notice in time to defend the action was not caused by his or her avoidance of service or inexcusable neglect. The party shall serve and file with the notice a copy of the answer, motion, or other pleading proposed to be filed in the action.

  3. Upon a finding by the court that the motion was made within the period permitted by subdivision (a) and that his or her lack of actual notice in time to defend the action was not caused by his or her avoidance of service or inexcusable neglect, it may set aside the default or default judgment on whatever terms as may be just and allow the party to defend the action.

(Code Civ. Proc., § 473.5.)

A proof of service containing a declaration from a registered process server invokes a presumption of valid service. (See American Express Centurion Bank v. Zara (2011) 199 Cal.App.4th 383, 390; see also Evid. Code § 647.) This presumption is rebuttable. (See id.) The party seeking to defeat service of process must present sufficient evidence to show that the service did not take place as stated. (See Palm Property Investments, LLC v. Yadegar (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 1419, 1428; cf. People v. Chavez (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 1471, 1483 [“If some fact be presumed, the opponent of that fact bears the burden of producing or going forward with evidence sufficient to overcome or rebut the presumed fact.”].) Merely denying service took place without more is insufficient to overcome the presumption. (See Yadegar, supra, 194 Cal.App.4th at 1428.)

  1. Discussion

Defendant seeks to set aside the default and default judgment entered against him on the basis that he was never served with the Summons and Complaint. (Mot., pp. 6-7.)

Plaintiff filed a proof of service purporting to show that Defendant was served by California Sheriff Deputy Marc Ramirez (“Deputy”) on December 11, 2018 via substitute service. (1/24/19 Proof of Service.) The Deputy states he left the summons and complaint with “Roberto, employee” at 2214 Hooper Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90011 and thereafter mailed a copy of the documents to the same address. (Id.)

Defendant argues that he owns the building located at 2214 & 2214 ½ Hooper Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90011, but does not reside, own, or operate a business at that address, or have an employee named Roberto. (Mot., p. 6, Guerra Decl., ¶ 4; 9/10/20 Supp. Guerra Decl., ¶¶ 5-6, 9.) As evidence, he provides a copy of his driver’s license, issued May 23, 2018, demonstrating he resides at 4687 Rawhide St., Montclair, CA 91763. (Id. at ¶ 5, Exh. B.) He also states he is self-employed and his current business address is 635 Cunningham Dr., Whittier, CA 90601. (Id.) In his supplemental declaration, Defendant explains that at the time of the purported service, a business known as Los Reyes Pillows was operating at the 2214 Hooper Ave. address. (9/10/20 Guerra Supp. Decl., ¶¶ 7-9.) He also explains that the time of the purported a service, a business known as Tejeda’s Auto Electric was operating at the 2214 ½ Hooper Ave. address. (Id. at ¶¶ 4-6.) Lastly, Defendant states that he discovered the Judgment around May 2019, when Plaintiff filed an Abstract of Judgment. (Id. at ¶ 10.) Defendant explains that after discovering the Judgment, he attempted to reach Plaintiff’s counsel, Morse Mehrban, via telephone and email but was unable to do so. (Id. at ¶ 11.) Defendant thereafter went to Plaintiff’s counsel’s office in person but discovered the office was an empty shell. (Id. at ¶ 12.) He then filed a complaint against Plaintiff’s counsel with the California State Bar in June 2019 for Plaintiff’s counsel’s failure to return phone calls and for having an incorrect address, but states that an investigator was not assigned until November 2019. (Id. at ¶ 13.) In January 2020, the State Bar advised Defendant to file a motion to vacate. (Id. at ¶ 14.) This Motion was filed one month later, on February 20, 2020.

Based on Defendant’s evidence, the Court is persuaded that Defendant did not have actual notice of this action in time to defend and that he acted diligently once he discovered the Judgment entered against him. Importantly, Plaintiff has not filed an opposition arguing otherwise.

  1. Conclusion & Order

Defendant Aaron Guerra’s Motion to Vacate Default and Default Judgment is GRANTED. The default entered on January 24, 2019 and default judgment entered on February 8, 2019 are HEREBY VACATED. Defendant Guerra is to file and serve his responsive pleading within ten (10) days of service of this order.

Defendant is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 18STLC13648    Hearing Date: July 22, 2020    Dept: 25

MOTION TO SET ASIDE/VACTE DEFAULT JUDGMENT

(CCP §§ 473, 473.5)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Aaron Guerra’s Motion to Vacate Default Judgment is CONTINUED TO 0CTOBER 13, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. At least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing, Defendant must file and serve supplemental papers addressing the deficiencies identified 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 July 20, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of July 20, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On October 31, 2018, Plaintiff Kenneth Ntim (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act against Defendant Aaron Guerra (“Defendant”). On January 24, 2019, default was entered against Defendant. On February 8, 2019, default judgment was entered against him in the amount of $5,065.00, which consists of $4,000.00 in damages, $800.00 in attorney’s fees, and $265.00 in costs. (2/8/19 Judgment.)

On February 20, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default Judgment (the “Motion”). To date, no opposition has been filed.

  1. Legal Standard

“‘A summons is the process by which a court acquires personal jurisdiction over a defendant in a civil action’ [citation], and a defendant has an absolute right to demand that process be issued against him in a manner prescribed by law.” (Mannesmann DeMag, Ltd. v. Superior Court (1985) 172 Cal.App.3d 1118, 1122.) “Constitutional due process requirements are satisfied where the form of service provided and employed is reasonably calculated to give a litigant actual notice of the proceedings and an opportunity to be heard.” (Crescendo Corp. v. Shelted, Inc. (1968) 267 Cal.App.2d 209, 213.) “‘[C]ompliance with the statutory procedures for service of process is essential to establish personal jurisdiction. [Citation.] Thus, a default judgment entered against a defendant who was not served with a summons in the manner prescribed by statute is void. [Citation.]’” (Ellard v. Conway (2001) 94 Cal.App.4th 540, 544.) “‘[A] void at any time (Rockefeller Technology Investments (Asia) VII v. Changzhou Sinotype Technology Co., Ltd. (2018) 24 Cal.App.5th 115, 136.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 473.5 states, in relevant part:

  1. When service of a summons has not resulted in actual notice to a party in time to defend the action and a default or default judgment has been entered against him or her in the action, he or she may serve and file a notice of motion to set aside the default or default judgment and for leave to defend the action. The notice of motion shall be served and filed within a reasonable time, but in no event exceeding the earlier of: (i) two years after entry of a default judgment against him or her; or (ii) 180 days after service on him or her of a written notice that the default or default judgment has been entered.

  2. A notice of motion to set aside a default or default judgment and for leave to defend the action shall designate as the time for making the motion a date prescribed by subdivision (b) of Section 1005, and it shall be accompanied by an affidavit showing under oath that the party's lack of actual notice in time to defend the action was not caused by his or her avoidance of service or inexcusable neglect. The party shall serve and file with the notice a copy of the answer, motion, or other pleading proposed to be filed in the action.

  3. Upon a finding by the court that the motion was made within the period permitted by subdivision (a) and that his or her lack of actual notice in time to defend the action was not caused by his or her avoidance of service or inexcusable neglect, it may set aside the default or default judgment on whatever terms as may be just and allow the party to defend the action.

(Code Civ. Proc., § 473.5.)

A proof of service containing a declaration from a registered process server invokes a presumption of valid service. (See American Express Centurion Bank v. Zara (2011) 199 Cal.App.4th 383, 390; see also Evid. Code § 647.) This presumption is rebuttable. (See id.) The party seeking to defeat service of process must present sufficient evidence to show that the service did not take place as stated. (See Palm Property Investments, LLC v. Yadegar (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 1419, 1428; cf. People v. Chavez (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 1471, 1483 [“If some fact be presumed, the opponent of that fact bears the burden of producing or going forward with evidence sufficient to overcome or rebut the presumed fact.”].) Merely denying service took place without more is insufficient to overcome the presumption. (See Yadegar, supra, 194 Cal.App.4th at 1428.)

  1. Discussion

Defendant seeks to set aside the default and default judgment entered against him on the basis that he was never served with the summons and complaint. (Mot., pp. 6-7.)

Plaintiff filed a proof of service purporting to show that Defendant was served by California Sheriff Deputy Marc Ramirez (“Deputy”) on December 11, 2018 via substitute service. (1/24/19 Proof of Service.) The Deputy states he left the summons and complaint with “Roberto, employee” at 2214 Hooper Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90011 (the “Hooper Address”) and thereafter mailed a copy of the documents to the same address. (Id.)

Defendant argues that he owns the building located at 2214 ½ Hooper Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90011, but does not reside, own or operate a business at that address, or have an employee named Roberto. (Mot., p. 6, Guerra Decl., ¶ 4.) As evidence, he provides a copy of his driver’s license, issued May 23, 2018, demonstrating he resides at 4687 Rawhide St., Montclair, CA 91763. (Id. at ¶ 5, Exh. B.) He also states he is self-employed and his current business address is 635 Cunningham Dr., Whittier, CA 90601. (Id.) However, Defendant did not clarify, nor does his evidence establish, that he did not operate a business at the Hooper address on the day he was purportedly served in 2018. In addition, Defendant states that once he became aware of the judgment, he immediately made numerous attempts to contact Plaintiff’s counsel. (Id. at ¶ 9.) However, because Defendant does not specify when he discovered the judgment, the Court is not able to determine whether this Motion was brought within a reasonable time.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Aaron Guerra’s Motion to Vacate Default Judgment is CONTINUED TO OCTOBER 13, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. At least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing, Defendant must file and serve supplemental papers addressing the deficiencies identified herein. Failure to do so may result in the Motion being placed off calendar or denied.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.