This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/08/2020 at 04:23:24 (UTC).

MARK C LAYTON, ET AL. VS ALISA MOFFETT, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 04/30/2019 MARK C LAYTON filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against ALISA MOFFETT. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is WENDY CHANG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******4236

  • Filing Date:

    04/30/2019

  • 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

WENDY CHANG

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

LAYTON MARK C

LONG BEACH WATERMARK LLC

Defendants

MOFFETT ALISA

DOMANI DESIGNS INC. DBA ALISA MOFFETT INTERIORS

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

WALLACE GARY R

Defendant Attorney

PERRY ROBIN

 

Court Documents

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

8/6/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

5/1/2020: Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

4/20/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

4/21/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

3/17/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Declaration re Meet and Confer relating to demurrer to First Amended Complaint

1/17/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Declaration re Meet and Confer relating to demurrer to First Amended Complaint

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10))

1/13/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10))

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Demurrer to First Amended Complaint

12/30/2019: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Demurrer to First Amended Complaint

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Motion to Strike re First Amended Complaint

12/30/2019: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Motion to Strike re First Amended Complaint

Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) - Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

11/21/2019: Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) - Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

Amended Complaint - Amended Complaint

10/11/2019: Amended Complaint - Amended Complaint

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10))

9/23/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10))

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

9/23/2019: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Notice of Motion - Notice of Motion

8/26/2019: Notice of Motion - Notice of Motion

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

4/30/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Complaint - Complaint

4/30/2019: Complaint - Complaint

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

4/30/2019: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

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

4/30/2019: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

12 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/03/2022
  • Hearing05/03/2022 at 10:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service

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  • 04/22/2021
  • Hearing04/22/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 02/10/2021
  • Hearing02/10/2021 at 09:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Post-Mediation Status Conference

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  • 08/06/2020
  • DocketPost-Mediation Status Conference scheduled for 02/10/2021 at 09:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 08/06/2020
  • DocketJury Trial scheduled for 04/22/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 08/06/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: Alisa Moffett (Defendant); DOMANI DESIGNS, INC. (Defendant)

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  • 08/06/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10))

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  • 08/06/2020
  • DocketHearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) scheduled for 08/06/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 updated: Result Date to 08/06/2020; Result Type to Held

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  • 08/06/2020
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Jury Trial scheduled for 10/27/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 Held - Continued was rescheduled to 04/22/2021 08:30 AM

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  • 05/01/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Mail; Filed by: Mark C Layton (Plaintiff); As to: Alisa Moffett (Defendant); DOMANI DESIGNS, INC. (Defendant)

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25 More Docket Entries
  • 08/26/2019
  • DocketNotice of Motion; Filed by: Alisa Moffett (Defendant)

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  • 08/26/2019
  • DocketDemurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10); Filed by: Alisa Moffett (Defendant)

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  • 05/01/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 10/27/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 05/01/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 05/03/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 05/01/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Wendy Chang in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 04/30/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Mark C Layton (Plaintiff); LONG BEACH WATERMARK, LLC (Plaintiff); As to: Alisa Moffett (Defendant); DOMANI DESIGNS, INC. (Defendant)

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  • 04/30/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Mark C Layton (Plaintiff); LONG BEACH WATERMARK, LLC (Plaintiff); As to: Alisa Moffett (Defendant); DOMANI DESIGNS, INC. (Defendant)

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  • 04/30/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Mark C Layton (Plaintiff); LONG BEACH WATERMARK, LLC (Plaintiff); As to: Alisa Moffett (Defendant); DOMANI DESIGNS, INC. (Defendant)

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  • 04/30/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 04/30/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC04236    Hearing Date: August 06, 2020    Dept: 26

Layton v. Moffett, et al.

DEMURRER; MOTION TO STRIKE

(CCP §§ 430.10, et seq., 435, 436)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendants Alisa Moffett and Domani Designs, Inc. dba Alisa Moffett Interiors’ Demurrer to the First Amended Complaint is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND AS TO THE 1ST AND 5TH CAUSES OF ACTION.

Defendants’ Motion to Strike is GRANTED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

ANALYSIS:

Plaintiffs Mark C. Layton and Long Beach Watermark, LLC (“Plaintiffs”) filed the instant action against Defendants Alisa Moffett and Domani Designs, Inc. dba Alisa Moffett Interiors (“Defendants”) on April 30, 2019. The Complaint alleges causes of action for 1) fraud; 2) breach of contract; 3) unjust enrichment; 4) money had and received’ and 5) violation of Penal Code section 496. On September 23, 2019, the Court sustained Defendants’ Demurrer to the Complaint and granted Defendants’ Motion to Strike with leave to amend.

Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint on October 11, 2019 alleging the same five causes of action. Defendants filed a Demurrer and Motion to Strike the First Amended Complaint on November 21, 2019. Plaintiffs filed the opposition on December 30, 2019. At the initial hearing on January 13, 2020, the Court ordered counsel for both parties to meet and confer and file a declaration demonstrating their efforts. On January 17, 2020, Defendants filed a meet and confer declaration.

Demurrer to First Amended Complaint

Defendants demur to the first and fifth causes of action for failure to allege sufficient facts under Code of Civil Procedure section 430.10, subdivision (e).

1st Cause of Action for Fraud

The first cause of action is for fraud. The elements of fraud claim are (1) misrepresentation of a material fact; (2) knowledge of falsity or lack of a reasonable ground for belief in the truth of the representation; (3) intent to induce reliance; (4) actual and justifiable reliance by the plaintiff; and (5) resulting damage. (Orient Handel v. United States Fid. & Guar. Co. (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 684, 693.) “[E]very element of the [fraud] cause of action . . . must be alleged in full, factually and specifically, and the policy of liberal construction of pleading will not usually be invoked to sustain a fraud claim deficient in any material respect.” (Wilhelm v. Pray, Price, Williams & Russell (1986) 186 Cal.App.3d 1324, 1331.) This means alleging facts that “show how, when, where, to whom, and by what means the representations were tendered.” (Lazar v. Superior Court (1996) 12 Cal.4th 631, 645.) Also, fraud alleged against a corporate defendant must specifically allege the names of the persons who allegedly made the representation, their authority to speak, to whom they spoke, what they said or wrote, and when it was said or written. (Tarmann v. State Farm Mutual Auto Ins. Co. (1991) 2 Cal.App.4th 153, 157.)

The First Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff Long Beach Watermark (“Plaintiff LBC”), of which Plaintiff Layton is the managing member and principal owner, owns a residential property located at 5718-5724 E. Ocean Boulevard, Long Beach, California (“the subject property”). (Compl., ¶11.) On June 18, 2018, Plaintiff Layton and Defendant Moffett entered into interior design agreement whereby Plaintiffs paid Moffett $4,200.00. (Compl., ¶¶12-14.) After some work on the contract, on November 8, 2018 Moffett emailed Plaintiff Layton with a list of the remaining tasks she had to complete. (Id. at ¶¶15-18.) Thereafter, Plaintiffs did not hear from Defendants nor has the work upon which they agreed been completed. (Id. at ¶19.)

Allegations added to the First Amended Complaint more strongly contend that the representations made by Defendant Moffett in the prior to the agreement, within the agreement, and after payment of the contract price, were lies told to induce Plaintiff’s reliance. (FAC, ¶21.) Plaintiffs also allege that Defendant Moffett had a “pre-determined intent not to perform the contract.” (Ibid.) However, no new factual allegations are added to the First Amended Complaint, which simply reiterates that the parties had agreed to what services Defendants would provide and that after Plaintiff paid for the services, Defendant Moffett continued to represent that performance on the contract was forthcoming.

As before, these new allegations do not indicate that at the time Defendant Moffett entered the contract she had no intention of completing her obligations or that her promises were falsely made in order to obtain money under false pretenses. These allegations state a simple breach of contract claim. The additional allegations that Defendant Moffett lacked the intent to complete the contract and sought to include Plaintiffs’ reliance are not factual. Rather, the First Amended Complaint still only generic statements regarding Defendant Moffett’s conduct. (See FAC, ¶¶21-22.) The Court of Appeals explained:

[F]raudulent intent must often be established by circumstantial evidence. Fraudulent intent has been inferred from such circumstances as defendant's insolvency, his hasty repudiation of the promise, his failure even to attempt performance, or his continued assurances after it was clear he would not perform. The defendant's intent not to perform may also be shown by direct evidence, such as: (1) a defendant's admission in documents showing defendant planned not to perform; (2) circumstantial evidence that the defendant could not have performed, such as defendant had already been denied necessary permits; or (3) that defendant had demonstrated a pattern of making representations that were never performed.

(Tenzer v. Superscope, Inc. (1985) 39 Cal.3d 18, 30-31.) No circumstances are alleged in the First Amended Complaint that would demonstrate Defendant Moffett’s intent to lie prior to Plaintiff’s reliance on the representations. Plaintiff’s reliance was the payment of the contract price shortly after the agreement was reached on June 18, 2018. (FAC, ¶14.) Nor do facts showing a pattern of misrepresentations after Plaintiff’s payment demonstrate that Defendant Moffett’s intent at the execution of the agreement was fraudulent. The First Amended Complaint does not allege that Plaintiffs relied on the representations after payment was made—namely in October and November 2018—to their detriment. No additional money was paid such that Plaintiffs were damaged after the one-time payment of $4,200.00.

The allegations of fraud set forth in the First Amended Complaint, therefore, remain inadequate. The demurrer to the first cause of action is sustained without leave to amend.

5th Cause of Action for Violation of Penal Code section 496

Cal. Penal Code section 496, subdivision (c) provides a private right of action against any “person who buys or receives any property that has been stolen or that has been obtained in any manner constituting theft or extortion . . . or who conceals, sells, withholds, or aids in concealing, selling, or withholding any property from the owner” if they know the property to be stolen. (Cal. Pen. Code, § 496, subd. (c).) Plaintiffs argue that the money paid to Defendants was paid under false pretenses, making Defendants’ conduct theft. (Citing Bell v. Feibush (2013) 212 Cal.App.4th 1041, 1047-1049.)

As discussed above, there are still insufficient allegations to show the money paid under the contract was paid “under false pretenses.” There are no allegations that Defendants’ conduct goes beyond breach of contract. The demurrer to the fifth cause of action is also sustained without leave to amend.

Motion to Strike Punitive Damages Allegations

Defendants move to strike the request for punitive damages in the First Amended Complaint on the basis of insufficient factual allegations. Punitive damages are authorized by Civil Code section 3294 in non-contract cases “where the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice, express or implied . . . .” (Civil Code, § 3294, subd. (a).) As noted above, fraud means an intentional misrepresentation, deceit, or concealment of a material fact known to the defendant with the intention on the party of the defendant of thereby depriving a person of property or legal rights or otherwise causing injury. (Civil Code, § 3294, subd. (c)(3).) As also noted above, the First Amended Complaint does not sufficiently allege that Defendants are guilty of fraud.

The Motion to Strike, therefore, is granted without leave to amend.

Conclusion

Defendants Alisa Moffett and Domani Designs, Inc. dba Alisa Moffett Interiors’ Demurrer to the First Amended Complaint is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND AS TO THE 1ST AND 5TH CAUSES OF ACTION.

Defendants’ Motion to Strike is GRANTED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

Moving Party to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC04236    Hearing Date: January 13, 2020    Dept: 94

DEMURRER; MOTION TO STRIKE

(CCP §§ 430.10, et seq., 435, 436)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Counsel of record for Defendants Alisa Moffett and Domani Designs, Inc. dba Alisa Moffett Interiors and Plaintiffs Mark C. Layton and Long Beach Watermark, LLC are ordered to personally appear for the hearing on Defendants’ Demurrer and Motion to Strike the First Amended Complaint as scheduled on January 13, 2020 at 10:30 am in Department 94.

Defendants Alisa Moffett and Domani Designs, Inc. dba Alisa Moffett Interiors’ Demurrer and Motion to Strike the First Amended Complaint are CONTINUED TO MARCH 23, 2020 AT 10:30 AM IN DEPARTMENT 94.

ANALYSIS:

Background

Plaintiffs Mark C. Layton and Long Beach Watermark, LLC (“Plaintiffs”) filed the instant action against Defendants Alisa Moffett and Domani Designs, Inc. dba Alisa Moffett Interiors (“Defendants”) on April 30, 2019. The Complaint alleges causes of action for 1) fraud; 2) breach of contract; 3) unjust enrichment; 4) money had and received’ and 5) violation of Penal Code section 496. On September 23, 2019, the Court sustained Defendants’ Demurrer to the Complaint and granted Defendants’ Motion to Strike with leave to amend.

Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint on October 11, 2019 alleging the same five causes of action. Defendants filed a Demurrer and Motion to Strike the First Amended Complaint on November 21, 2019. Plaintiffs filed the opposition on December 30, 2019.

Discussion

Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41 requires that “[b]efore filing a demurrer pursuant to this chapter, the demurring party shall meet and confer in person or by telephone with the party who filed the pleading that is subject to demurrer for the purpose of determining whether an agreement can be reached that would resolve the objections to be raised in the demurrer.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a).) The parties are to meet and confer at least five days before the date the responsive pleading is due. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a)(2).) Thereafter, the demurring party shall file and serve a declaration detailing their meet and confer efforts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a)(3).)

The meet and confer requirement also applies to amended pleadings: “If an amended complaint, cross-complaint, or answer is filed, the responding party shall meet and confer again with the party who filed the amended pleading before filing a demurrer to the amended pleading.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a) (emphasis added).) The same is true for motions to strike pleadings or amended pleadings. (Code Civ. Proc., § 435.5, subd. (a).)

The meet and confer declaration filed in support of the instant Demurrer and Motion to Strike is inadequate. It relies on the meet and confer effort made with respect to the demurrer and motion to strike the Complaint. (Demurrer and Motion to Strike First Amended Complaint, Perry Decl., ¶¶2-5 and Exh. A.) This is in direct contravention to the mandate of the meet and confer statute. Accordingly, counsel of record for Defendants and Plaintiffs are ordered to personally appear for the hearing on Defendants’ Demurrer and Motion to Strike the First Amended Complaint as scheduled on January 13, 2020 at 10:30 am in Department 94. Counsel for both parties are to be prepared to conduct a complete and thorough meet and confer regarding the First Amended Complaint at that time. Following their appearance, the hearing on the Demurrer and Motion to Strike the First Amended Complaint will be continued to March 23, 2020 at 10:30 am in Department 94. At least 16 court days prior to the new hearing date, Defendants are to file (1) a declaration demonstrating compliance with the meet and confer requirements; and (2) a statement of the issues that remain to be resolved with respect to the Demurrer and Motion to Strike. Failure to comply with the court’s orders may result in the Demurrer and Motion to Strike being placed off calendar, or further action as the Court may see fit.

Moving party to give notice.