On 06/21/2016 LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT filed a Contract - Debt Collection lawsuit against ABBOTT, MARISA. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
AYURA ADELA JOY
OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL LAUSD
Court documents are not available for this case.
NON-JURY TRIAL SET FOR 12/21/17, 08:30 AM, DEPT 77Read MoreRead Less
OSC SET 06/21/19, 08:30 AM, DEPT. 77 PURSUANT TO GENERAL ORDERRead MoreRead Less
A/C - COMPLAINT FILEDRead MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT FILED - OTHER COLLECTION CASERead MoreRead Less
SUMMONS FILEDRead MoreRead Less
FEE WAIVER ENTERED - GC 6103Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: 16K07779 Hearing Date: March 03, 2020 Dept: 25
MOTION TO SEVER
(CCP § 1048(b))
Plaintiff Los Angeles Unified School District’s Motion to Sever is GRANTED. In addition, Defendant Roshini Das’ request for sanctions is DENIED.
OPPOSITION: Filed on February 18, 2020
REPLY: Filed on February 25, 2020
On June 21, 2016, Plaintiff Los Angeles Unified School District (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for recovery of money paid by mistake, money had and received, money paid, and open book against 177 defendants, including Roshini Das (“Defendant Das”). On July 11, 2018, Defendant Das filed an Answer and a Cross-Complaint seeking statutory penalties under Labor Code sections 203 and 226, for violation of unfair competition laws, and for declaratory and injunctive relief. On August 23, 2018, Defendant Das filed a First Amended Complaint (“FACC”).
On September 10, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Demurrer to Defendant Das’ Cross-Complaint. On October 25, 2018, in lieu of the hearing on the Demurrer, the Court reclassified the entire action as a civil unlimited jurisdiction case. (10/25/18 Minute Order.) On December 12, 2018, the Court set an OSC Hearing re: Failure to Pay Reclassification Fee for February 13, 2019. (12/12/18 Minute Order.)
On January 2, 2019, Defendant Dulcinea Echegoyen (“Defendant Echegoyen”) filed a Notice of Stay of Proceedings (the “Stay”) with regard to all parties due to her bankruptcy filing. (1/2/19 Notice of Stay.)
On February 13, 2019, the Court found that Defendant Das failed to pay the reclassification fee and thus struck the request for declaratory and injunctive relief from her FACC. (2/13/19 Minute Order.) The reclassification fee was paid on February 27, 2019.
On July 31, 2019, Plaintiff’s Demurrer as to Defendants FACC was overruled. (7/31/19 Minute Order.) In addition, the Court exercised its discretion and granted Defendant Das leave to re-add his request for declaratory and injunctive relief to the FACC. (Id.)
On October 28, 2019, the Court denied Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Application to Sever the Action Pending Against Defendant and Cross-Complainant Das, or in the Alternative to Shorten Time to Hear Plaintiff’s Motion to Sever the Action Pending Against Defendant and Cross-Complainant. (10/28/19 Minute Order.) The Court also noted that there had been no update on the Notice of Stay of Proceedings filed on January 2, 2019 and set a Status Conference re: Bankruptcy for March 3, 2020. (Id.) Further, the Court stated that “[t]he matter is to remain in Limited Jurisdiction until further order from this court.” (Id.)
On January 31, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Sever the Action Pending Against Defendant and Cross-Complainant Roshini Das (the “Motion”). On February 18, 2020, Defendant Das filed an Opposition and on February 25, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Reply.
On February 28, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Termination of Stay demonstrating Defendant Echegoyen’s bankruptcy had been discharged on April 1, 2019.
Code of Civil Procedure section 1048 provides that “[t]he court, in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice, or when separate trials will be conducive to expedition and economy, may order a separate trial of any cause of action, including a cause of action asserted in a cross-complaint, or of any separate issue or of any number of causes of action or issues, preserving the right of trial by jury required by the Constitution or a statute of this state or of the United States.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 1048, subd. (b).) Section 1048 authorizes the separation of issues when it can be done without prejudice to a substantial right. (Bratton & Moretti v. Finerman & Son (1959) 171 Cal.App.2d 430, 435.)
“Whether separate actions shall be consolidated for trial, or whether there shall be severance and separate trials of issues in a single action, is a matter within the discretion of the trial court. [Citation.]” (Mellone v. Lewis (1965) 233 Cal.App.2d 4, 7.)
Motion to Sever
Here, Plaintiff requests that the action pending against Defendant Das be severed from the action pending against the remaining defendants because reclassifying the entire action to unlimited jurisdiction would prejudice Plaintiff. (Mot., p 3.) Specifically, Plaintiff argues that Defendant Das is procedurally situated differently than the other defendants, as she seeks unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act and declaratory and injunctive relief, and none of the other defendants seek the same. (Id. at p. 5.) In addition, Plaintiff argues that severing the action pending against Defendant Das would promote efficient litigation as the remaining defendants would only be allowed to engage in limited discovery instead of numerous defendants engaging in voluminous discovery as permitted in unlimited jurisdiction. (Id. at p. 6.)
In opposition, Defendant Das argues that Plaintiff’s Motion to Sever should be stricken because it was filed in willful violation of the stay filed by Defendant Echegoyen. (Oppo. p. 6.) He further argues that Plaintiff was required to give notice of the automatic stay, and that Plaintiff failed to serve notice on the Court and all parties.
California Rules of Court, rule 3.650 states, in pertinent part:
“The party who requested or caused a stay of a proceeding must immediately serve and file a notice of the stay and attach a copy of the order or other document showing that the proceeding is stayed. If the person who requested or caused the stay has not appeared, or is not subject to the jurisdiction of the court, the plaintiff must immediately file a notice of the stay and attach a copy of the order or other document showing that the proceeding is stayed. The notice of stay must be served on all parties who have appeared in the case.”
(Cal Rules of Court, rule 3.650.)
Here, Defendant Echegoyen had not yet appeared in the action when she filed the Stay on January 2, 2019. Indeed, Plaintiff had filed a request for entry of default against Defendant Echegoyen on October 30, 2018. Thus, Plaintiff was required to give notice. However, it is unclear whether Plaintiff actually received notice of the Stay, as no proof of service is attached to the notice filed by Defendant Echegoyen. Indeed, Plaintiff states that the first time it was made aware the Stay was in effect was during the October 28, 2019 hearing on Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Application. (Reply, p. 3.) Notably, both parties engaged in law and motion practice between January 2, 2019 and October 28, 2019, and the Court did not raise the issue of the Stay during any of the hearings held.
In addition, Defendant Das argues that severance would prejudice the remaining defendants and would result in a waste of judicial resources. (Oppo., p. 6.) Specifically, she argues that, should Defendant Das be successful, it would bar Plaintiff’s recovery of wages against all remaining defendants. (Oppo. p. 6-7.) The Court disagrees. No other defendant has filed a cross-complaint asserting similar causes of action against Plaintiff. Reclassifying the entire action may needlessly prolong the resolution against the remaining defendants due to Defendant Das’ unlimited jurisdiction claims.
Given the number of defendants in this action, that Defendant Das’ FACC alleges causes of action that are unique to herself, and that the Stay has been lifted, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s Motion to Sever.
Defendant Das’ Request for Sanctions
Relying on 11 U.S.C. section 362, Defendant Das’ Opposition requests that the Court award attorney’s fees incurred in opposing this Motion. (Oppo. p., 9.) Section 362 states, in relevant part:
“(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, a petition filed under section 301, 302, or 303, or an application filed under section 5(a)(3) of the Securities Investor Protection Act of 1970, operates as a stay, applicable to all entities, of (1) the commencement or continuation, including the issuance of employment of process, of a judicial, administrative, or other action or proceeding against the debtor that was or could have been commenced before the commencement of the case under this title, or to recover a claim against a debtor that arose before the commencement of the case under this title.
“(k)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2), an individual injured by any willful violation of a stay provided by this section shall recover actual damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, and, in appropriate circumstances, may recover punitive damages.
(2) If such violation is based on an action taken by an entity in the good faith belief that subsection (h) applies to the debtor, the recovery under paragraph (1) of this subsection against such entity shall be limited to actual damages.
However, Defendant Das has not demonstrated how why the statute would apply to her, as she is not a debtor who filed a petition for bankruptcy. In addition, Defendant Das has not supported with legal authority, that the federal statute, asserted by a defendant who did not file a bankruptcy petition herself, is applicable in state court.
Thus, Defendant Das’ request for sanctions is DENIED.
Conclusion & Order
For the foregoing reasons Plaintiff Los Angeles Unified School District’s Motion to Sever is GRANTED. In addition, Defendant Roshini Das’ request for sanctions is DENIED.
Moving party is ordered to give notice.