On 07/06/2018 LONG BEACH HOMEMAKERS, INC filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against SACHIKO TERAJIMA. 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 Other.
JON R. TAKASUGI
LONG BEACH HOMEMAKERS INC. AKA OXFORD HEALTH CARE
HIROTA RYAN KAZUO
BRADDOCK ISAAC HENSON
1/8/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment) of 01/08/2020
1/15/2020: Notice of Settlement - Notice of Settlement
1/15/2020: Order to Show Cause re: Dismissal (Settlement) - Order to Show Cause re: Dismissal (Settlement)
1/27/2020: Request for Dismissal - Request for Dismissal
10/4/2019: Separate Statement - Separate Statement
10/4/2019: Memorandum (name extension) - Memorandum Defendant's Memorandum and Points and Authorities in Opposition of Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, Declarations of Sachiko Terajima (Filed concurrentl
10/11/2019: Objection (name extension) - Objection to Defendant's Declaration in support of motion for summary judgment
10/11/2019: Supplemental Declaration (name extension) - Supplemental Declaration Declarations in support of motion for summary judgment
10/21/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)
10/21/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment) of 10/21/2019
12/23/2019: Objection (name extension) - Objection Plaintiff's Evidentiary Objections to Defendant's Supplemental Declaration regarding Motion for Summary Judgment
6/24/2019: Notice of Motion - Notice of Motion
6/24/2019: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Exhibits to Declarations
6/24/2019: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information - Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information
6/24/2019: Separate Statement - Separate Statement
6/24/2019: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Exhibits 7 to 11 to Declarations
7/6/2018: Summons - on Complaint
DocketOn the Complaint filed by Long Beach Homemakers, Inc. on 07/06/2018, entered Request for Dismissal with prejudice filed by Long Beach Homemakers, Inc. as to the entire actionRead MoreRead Less
DocketOrder to Show Cause - Hearing re: Dismissal Date scheduled for 05/06/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 01/29/2020Read MoreRead Less
DocketRequest for Dismissal; Filed by: Long Beach Homemakers, Inc. (Plaintiff); As to: Sachiko Terajima (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Settlement; Filed by: Long Beach Homemakers, Inc. (Plaintiff); Vacate Future Dates: No; Settlement Type: Unconditional; Set Hearing and Generate Notice?: NoRead MoreRead Less
DocketUpdated -- Notice of Settlement: As To Parties: removedRead MoreRead Less
DocketOrder to Show Cause - Hearing re: Dismissal Date scheduled for 05/06/2020 at 10:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94Read MoreRead Less
DocketOrder to Show Cause re: Dismissal (Settlement); Filed by: ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 07/09/2021 at 10:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 01/15/2020Read MoreRead Less
DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 02/21/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 01/15/2020Read MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)Read MoreRead Less
DocketRequest for Entry of Default / Judgment; Filed by: Long Beach Homemakers, Inc. (Plaintiff); As to: Sachiko Terajima (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketDefault entered as to Sachiko Terajima; On the Complaint filed by Long Beach Homemakers, Inc. on 07/06/2018Read MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: Long Beach Homemakers, Inc. (Plaintiff); As to: Sachiko Terajima (Defendant); Service Date: 07/15/18; Service Cost: 154.00; Service Cost Waived: NoRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Long Beach Homemakers, Inc. (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by: Long Beach Homemakers, Inc. (Plaintiff); As to: Sachiko Terajima (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketCase assigned to Hon. Jon R. Takasugi in Department 94 Stanley Mosk CourthouseRead MoreRead Less
DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 01/03/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94Read MoreRead Less
DocketOrder to Show Cause - Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 07/09/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: 18STLC09238 Hearing Date: January 08, 2020 Dept: 94
Plaintiff Long Beach Homemakers, Inc.’s Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the Alternative, for Summary Adjudication is DENIED.
On October 2, 2015, Plaintiff Long Beach Homemakers, Inc. (“Plaintiff”) and Defendant Sachiko Terajima (“Defendant”) executed two agreements, a Client Agreement & Consent for Home Health Services (the “Client Agreement”) and a Client Agreement for Financial Responsibility (the “Financial Responsibility Agreement”) (collectively, the “Agreements”). (Mot., Sobel Decl., ¶¶ 11, 16, Exhs. 1, 2.) The Agreements provided for the care of Defendant’s newborn child. (Mot., p. 6.) Defendant terminated Plaintiff’s services on November 12, 2015. (Supp. Solorzano Decl., ¶ 6.)
On July 6, 2018, Plaintiff filed an action for breach of contract and account stated against Defendant for failure to pay for the care provided to Defendant’s son as agreed. (Id.)
On June 24, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the Alternative, for Summary Adjudication (the “Motion”). On October 4, 2019, Defendant filed an Opposition. On October 11, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Reply.
II. 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) 68Cal.App.4th 151.) “[T]he court may not weigh the plaintiff’s evidence or inferences against the defendants’ as though it were sitting as the trier of fact. [Citation.]” Andrews v. Foster Wheeler, LLC (2006) 138 Cal.App.4th 96, 113.)
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.” (Id.)
I. Evidentiary Objections
On Plaintiff’s evidentiary objections to the Declaration of Defendant, the Court rules as follows:
sustained as to objection B; overruled as to objections A and C.
On Plaintiff’s evidentiary objections to the Supplemental Declaration of Defendant filed on December 19, 2019, the Court rules as follows: overruled as to objections B, C, and D; sustained as to objection A.
On Plaintiff’s evidentiary objections to the Supplemental Declaration of Defendant filed on December 30, 2019, the Court rules as follows: sustained as to objections A, B, C, D – this declaration is a duplicate of the December 19, 2019 declaration already submitted.
Plaintiff moves for summary judgment, or the alternative, summary adjudication as to each cause of action in the Complaint.
1. Breach of Contract
“To establish a cause of action for breach of contract, the plaintiff must plead and prove (1) the existence of the contract, (2) the plaintiff’s performance or excuse for nonperformance, (3) the defendant’s breach, and (4) resulting damages to the plaintiff. [Citation.] ‘In an action based on a written contract, a plaintiff may plead the legal effect of the contract rather than its precise language.’ [Citation.]” (Maxwell v. Dolezal (2014) 231 Cal.App.4th 93, 97-98.)
a. Existence of a ContractHere, Plaintiff presents evidence that that the parties executed the Client Agreement and the Financial Responsibility Agreement on October 2, 2015. (UMF No. Mot., Sobel Decl., ¶¶ 11, 16, Exhs. 1, 2.) Notably, neither Agreement provides the exact number of hours of health care services for which the parties contracted. Plaintiff provides declarations demonstrating on or about September 30, 2015, Defendant requested 24-hour care for her son and that she was informed she would be personally responsible for any portion not covered by her insurance, including overtime rates pursuant to the California Labor Code. (Solorzano Decl., ¶ 5; Supp. Solorzano Decl., ¶ 5; Supp. Sobel Decl., ¶ 7; Saldana Decl., ¶¶ 6-7.) Defendant’s request apparently was oral, and Plaintiff does not provide a writing reflecting Defendant’s request for 24-hour care. The 24-hour care would be provided in two shifts of 12 hours each. (Supp. Solorzano Decl. ¶ 6, Saldana Decl., ¶ 6.) Plaintiff has met its burden and now it shifts to Defendant.
Defendant does not dispute she signed the Agreements. (UMF, Nos. 1-2.) Defendant argues she did not authorize any services beyond the 520 hours approved by California Children’s Services (“CSS”), which Medi-Cal would pay for, or any overtime, and that she repeatedly objected, orally and in writing, and requested that nurses only work 8-hour shifts. (Oppo., Terajima Decl., ¶ 6; Supp. Terajima Decl., ¶ 4.) She submits an email dated October 23, 2015, from Defendant to Chie Ishige at the Department of Child and Family Services (which was involved in Defendant’s son’s care) asking for assistance in eliminating overtime charges and a November 2, 2015 email to Plaintiff requesting that overtime be eliminated. (Id., Exhs., A, B.) Defendant’s evidence raises a question as to what the full terms of the Agreements between the parties were.
Thus, Defendant has established an issue of material fact as to the full terms of the parties’ Agreements.
a. Plaintiff’s Performance
Plaintiff argues it has duly performed all of the conditions contained in the Agreements between the parties. (Plaintiff’s UMF No. 8.) Specifically, Plaintiff argues it provided home health services to Defendant’s son from October 1, 2015 through November 12, 2015. (Id., No. 3.) Plaintiff also provides copies of the original time cards regarding each nurse visit for Defendant’s son, demonstrating a total of 617.75 hours worked until Plaintiff’s services were terminated on November 12, 2015. (Sobel Decl., ¶ 10, Exhs. 6-7.) Plaintiff has met its burden and it now shifts to Defendant to show with admissible evidence to demonstrate a triable issue of material fact.
It is not clear whether Defendant admits or disputes Plaintiff’s performance. On Defendant’s Separate statement, she denied Plaintiff provided care between October 1st and November 11 in one section (Defendant’s Separate Statement, UMF No. 3), but admitted the exact same statement in a second section (Id., No. 11). Defendant’s denial cites to a portion of her declaration that disputes overtime charges and authorization beyond 520 hours, which doesn’t negate Plaintiff performed as required under the contract. (Defendant’s UMF, No. 3.) In addition, Defendant bases her denial on her own allegations without submitting any evidence, which is insufficient. (Sangster v. Paetkau (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 151.)
Thus, Defendant has not met her burden as to this element.
a. Defendant’s Breach
“A contract must be so interpreted as to give effect to the mutual intention of the parties as it existed at the time of contracting, so far as the same is ascertainable and lawful.” (Civ. Code, § 1636.) For a written contract, the parties’ intention is to be determined from the writing alone, if possible. (Civ. Code, §§ 1638, 1639.) It must also be ascertained from contract language that is clear and explicit and does not state an absurdity. (Civ. Code, §§ 1638, 1639; Alameda County Flood Control v. Department of Water Resources (2013) 213 Cal. App. 4th 1163, 1180.) Ultimately, the court must interpret the contract in a way that is fair and reasonable, and that does not lead to absurd conclusions. (Eucasia Schools Worldwide, Inc. v. DW August Co. (2013) 218 Cal. App. 4th 176, 182.) It is only when a contract’s interpretation turns on a credibility determination or when the meaning of a contract is uncertain that the meaning of the contract becomes a question of fact. (Powers v. Dickson, Carlson & Campillo (1997) 54 Cal.App.4th 1102, 1111.) Otherwise, the court makes a determination of the contract’s meaning as a matter of law. (Brawthen v. H&R Block, Inc. (1972) 28 Cal.App.3d 131, 137-138.)
Here, the Financial Responsibility Agreement states, in relevant part:
“ By signing this Client Agreement & Consent For Financial Responsibility, [Defendant has] agreed to pay for services regardless of the client’s insurance status.”
“Be aware that [Plaintiff]’s insurance submission does not relieve you of your financial obligation. You responsible for any amount not covered by the insurance company.”
“I understand that I am financially responsible to [Plaintiff] for any and all charges not covered by this authorization.” (Id.)
The parties agree Medi-Cal (through authorization by CSS) and Health Net would be responsible for covering an authorized portion of health care services provided. In the Financial Responsibility Agreement, Defendant signed and acknowledged RN skilled nursing visits are billed at $140.00 per visit, and LVN skilled nursing – shift nursing care is billed at $50.00 per hour. (Mot., Exh. 2.) Plaintiff provides copies of the original time cards regarding each nurse visit for Defendant’s son, demonstrating a total of 617.75 hours. (Sobel Decl., ¶ 10, Exhs. 6-7.) Charges for Plaintiff’s services totaled approximately $36,005.78, of which HealthNet paid about $7,321.74, Medi-Cal paid about $6,990.52, and $4,759.01 was covered by a California Children’s Services (“CSS”) Authorization. (Plaintiff’s UMF No. 4.) Plaintiff argues Defendant was unresponsive to telephone calls or correspondence, and provides copies of two letters sent to Defendant dated October 16, 2017 and December 7, 2017 demanding payment. (Solorzano Decl., ¶ 14, 15, 17, Exhs. 9, 10.) Defendant did not pay. (Id., Nos. 4, 5, 6.) Plaintiff has met its burden as to breach and it now shifts to Defendant to demonstrate with admissible evidence that a triable issue of material fact exists.
Defendant argues in response that she was unaware of any calls or letters sent prior to the initiation of this lawsuit. (Oppo., Terajima Decl., ¶ 9.) Defendant also argues Plaintiff “expressly agreed to accept the payments from Medi-Cal and HealthNet as payment in full.” (Oppo., Terajima Decl., ¶ 3.) As evidence, Defendant submits a copy of an explanation of benefits document from her insurer HealthNet for the October and November 2015 purportedly showing her co-pay for services provided by Plaintiff is $0. (Id., ¶ 4, Exh. C.) The HealthNet documents are dated January 5, 2016 and February 23, 2016. (Id.) Defendant also submits a copy of an Authorization for Services from CSS, which states, “[b]y providing these authorized services, you agree to accept payment from the CSS program as payment in full.” (Id., Exhs. A, B.) The authorizations are dated after the Agreements were signed, on October 27, 2015 and November 11, 2015. (Id.) Plaintiff argues that it accepted payment in full for the portion of services authorized by CSS only and not payment in full for the entirety of its services. (Supp. Solorzano Decl., ¶ 5.)
Defendant’s does not establish a triable issue of material fact as to breach. The plain language of the Agreements makes clear that, at the time they were executed, Plaintiff intended, and Defendant agreed, to be financially responsible for any portion of the services not covered by Medi-Cal or HealthNet. Defendant’s evidence is dated after the parties signed the both Agreements, so it cannot be used to establish the parties’ intent at the time the Agreements were signed. (See Civ. Code, § 1636.)
a. Plaintiff’s Damages
Plaintiff states that CSS authorized Medi-Cal to pay for 39.5 hours per week for 13 weeks plus 6 additional hours for RN visits, totaling 520 authorized hours. (Supp. Sobel Decl., ¶ 5, Exh. 4.) Anything in excess of the authorized 39.5 hours per week would be covered by HealthNet or Defendant. (See Id.)
Plaintiff argues it provided 617.75 hours of care. (Sobel Decl., ¶ 10, Exhs. 6-7.) It has already been paid $19,071.27 by Medi-Cal, CSS, and HealthNet. (Plaintiff’s UMF No. 4.) A total of $16,934.51, plus interest at the rate of 1.5% per month as provided in the Financial Responsibility Agreement, remains outstanding. (UMF No. 7; Mot., Exh. 1.) Plaintiff has met his burden as to damages and now it shifts to Defendant.
Defendant argues Plaintiff’s billings are inaccurate because Plaintiff did not provide any services on October 24, 2015 or on October 31, 2015. (Oppo., Terajima Decl., 5.) Plaintiff explains that 12-hour shifts that began at 7 p.m. and ended at 7 a.m. the following morning were billed on the next calendar day. (Supp. Sobel Decl., ¶ 6.) Accordingly, services that began at 7 p.m. on October 24 and October 31 would be billed on October 25 and November 1, respectively. Plaintiff did not provide a time card for October 24, 2015 but did provide one for October 25, 2015. (Mot., Exh. 6.) However, this time card is for work performed between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., so it doesn’t represent any started the day before and finished overnight. In addition, any hours worked on October 31, 2015 would be reflected on a November 1, 2015 timecard. Plaintiff stated that it provided time cards “regarding each and every visit” performed by Plaintiff, but one is not provided for neither October 31, 2015 nor November 1, 2015. (See Sobel Decl., ¶ 10, Exh. 6.) Thus, there is a question as to whether services that were billed for on these dates were actually provided.
Defendant has carried her burden in establishing an issue of material fact exists as to damages.
1. Account Stated
“The essential elements of an account stated are: (1) previous transactions between the parties establishing the relationship of debtor and creditor, (2) an agreement between the parties, express or implied, on the amount due from the debtor to the creditor; (3) a promise by the debtor, express or implied to pay the amount due.” (Zinn v. Dred R. Bright Co. (1969) 271 Cal.App.2d 597, 600.)
As noted above, a triable issue of material fact exists as to damages. Thus, summary judgment is inappropriate for the account stated cause of action.
I. Conclusion & Order
Plaintiff Long Beach Homemakers, Inc.’s Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the Alternative, for Summary Adjudication is DENIED.
Moving Party is ordered to give notice.
Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMCdept94@lacourt.org as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.
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