This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/01/2020 at 02:41:21 (UTC).

MYRNA J. BERGER GOODMAN, TRUSTEE OF THE MYRNA J. BERGER GOODMAN TRUST VS RICHARD LA BARCA

Case Summary

On 02/20/2020 MYRNA J BERGER GOODMAN, TRUSTEE OF THE MYRNA J BERGER GOODMAN TRUST filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against RICHARD LA BARCA. 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:

    *******1727

  • Filing Date:

    02/20/2020

  • 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

MYRNA J. BERGER GOODMAN TRUSTEE OF THE MYRNA J. BERGER GOODMAN TRUST

Defendant

LA BARCA RICHARD

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

LIPOFSKY LOUIS A

Defendant Attorney

NAVA ALFREDO

 

Court Documents

Notice (name extension) - Notice of demurrer hearing

8/20/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice of demurrer hearing

Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order to amend request for judicial notice

9/2/2020: Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order to amend request for judicial notice

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration DECLARATION OF LOUIS A. LIPOFSKY IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR SANCTIONS

7/17/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration DECLARATION OF LOUIS A. LIPOFSKY IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR SANCTIONS

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

7/17/2020: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration DECLARATION OF THOMAS M. REGELE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SANCTIONS

7/17/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration DECLARATION OF THOMAS M. REGELE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SANCTIONS

Memorandum (name extension) - Memorandum PLAINTIFFS MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SANCTIONS PURSUANT TO CCP SECTION 128.5 AGAINST RICHARD LA BARCA AND ALFREDO NAVA

7/17/2020: Memorandum (name extension) - Memorandum PLAINTIFFS MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SANCTIONS PURSUANT TO CCP SECTION 128.5 AGAINST RICHARD LA BARCA AND ALFREDO NAVA

Motion for Sanctions - Motion for Sanctions

7/17/2020: Motion for Sanctions - Motion for Sanctions

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re: Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

7/8/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re: Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike) of 07/08/2020

7/8/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike) of 07/08/2020

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

4/23/2020: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

4/23/2020: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

4/24/2020: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

3/16/2020: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

2/20/2020: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Summons - Summons on Complaint

2/20/2020: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Complaint - Complaint

2/20/2020: Complaint - Complaint

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

2/20/2020: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

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

2/20/2020: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

13 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 02/23/2023
  • Hearing02/23/2023 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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  • 08/19/2021
  • Hearing08/19/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 01/14/2021
  • Hearing01/14/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Sanctions

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  • 09/21/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

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  • 09/21/2020
  • DocketHearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike scheduled for 09/21/2020 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 09/21/2020; Result Type to Held

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  • 09/14/2020
  • DocketReply to Defendant's opposition; Filed by: Richard La Barca (Defendant)

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  • 09/02/2020
  • DocketStipulation and Order to amend request for judicial notice; Signed and Filed by: Richard La Barca (Defendant); As to: Myrna J. Berger Goodman, Trustee of the Myrna J. Berger Goodman Trust (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/27/2020
  • DocketOpposition PLAINTIFF?S MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT?S DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF?S COMPLAINT; Filed by: Myrna J. Berger Goodman, Trustee of the Myrna J. Berger Goodman Trust (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/26/2020
  • DocketRequest for Judicial Notice Amended; Filed by: Richard La Barca (Defendant)

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  • 08/20/2020
  • DocketNotice of demurrer hearing; Filed by: Richard La Barca (Defendant); As to: Myrna J. Berger Goodman, Trustee of the Myrna J. Berger Goodman Trust (Plaintiff)

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17 More Docket Entries
  • 04/23/2020
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by: Richard La Barca (Defendant); As to: Myrna J. Berger Goodman, Trustee of the Myrna J. Berger Goodman Trust (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/16/2020
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: Myrna J. Berger Goodman, Trustee of the Myrna J. Berger Goodman Trust (Plaintiff); As to: Richard La Barca (Defendant); Service Date: 03/10/2020; Service Cost: 75.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 02/21/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 02/23/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 02/21/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 08/19/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 02/21/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 25 Spring Street Courthouse

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  • 02/20/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 02/20/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 02/20/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Myrna J. Berger Goodman, Trustee of the Myrna J. Berger Goodman Trust (Plaintiff); As to: Richard La Barca (Defendant)

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  • 02/20/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Myrna J. Berger Goodman, Trustee of the Myrna J. Berger Goodman Trust (Plaintiff); As to: Richard La Barca (Defendant)

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  • 02/20/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Myrna J. Berger Goodman, Trustee of the Myrna J. Berger Goodman Trust (Plaintiff); As to: Richard La Barca (Defendant)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STLC01727    Hearing Date: September 21, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Mon., September 21, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Goodman v. La Barca COMPL. FILED: 02-20-20

CASE NUMBER: 20STLC01727 DISC. C/O: 07-20-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O: 08-04-21

TRIAL DATE: 08-19-21

PROCEEDINGS: DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Richard La Barca

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff Myrna J. Berger Goodman, Trustee of the Myrna J. Berger Goodman Trust

DEMURRER

(CCP § 430.41, et seq.)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Richard La Barca’s Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND as to the unjust enrichment cause of action. However, Plaintiff is GRANTED 20 DAYS’ LEAVE TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT as to the quantum meruit cause of action.

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: Filed on August 27, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on September 14, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On February 20, 2020, Plaintiff Myrna J. Berger Goodman, Trustee of the Myrna J. Berger Goodman Trust (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for unjust enrichment and quantum meruit against Defendant Richard La Barca (“Defendant”).

Defendant filed the instant Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint (the “Demurrer”) on May 8, 2020. On August 27, 2020, Plaintiff filed an Opposition and on September 14, 2020, Defendant filed a Reply.

  1. Request for Judicial Notice

Defendant seeks judicial notice of (1) the Court’s unlawful detainer action file for case Goodman v. La Barca, LASC Case No. 19VEUD02424; (2) Plaintiff’s Complaint filed in Goodman v. La Barca, LASC Case No. 19VEUD02424; (3) the Court’s entry of judgment in Goodman v. La Barca, LASC Case No. 19VEUD02424; (4) Plaintiff’s Statement on Appeal filed on March 9, 2020 in Goodman v. La Barca, LASC Case No. 19VEUD02424; and (5) the Court’s conformed verdict form in Goodman v. La Barca, LASC Case No. 19VEUD02424.

Defendant’s request is GRANTED. (Evid. Code, § 452, subd. (d).)

  1. Legal Standard

“The primary function of a pleading is to give the other party notice so that it may prepare its

case [citation], and a defect in a pleading that otherwise properly notifies a party cannot be said to

affect substantial rights.” (Harris v. City of Santa Monica (2013) 56 Cal.4th 203, 240.)

“A demurrer tests the legal sufficiency of the factual allegations in a complaint.” (Ivanoff v. Bank of

America, N.A. (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 719, 725.) The Court looks to whether “the complaint alleges

facts sufficient to state a cause of action or discloses a complete defense.” (Id.) The Court does not

“read passages from a complaint in isolation; in reviewing a ruling on a demurrer, we read the

complaint ‘as a whole and its parts in their context.’ [Citation.]” (West v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,

N.A. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 780, 804.) The Court “assume[s] the truth of the properly pleaded

factual allegations, facts that reasonably can be inferred from those expressly pleaded and matters of

which judicial notice has been taken.” (Harris, supra, 56 Cal.4th p. 240.) “The court does not,

however, assume the truth of contentions, deductions or conclusions of law. [Citation.]” (Durell v.

Sharp Healthcare (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 1350, 1358.)

Leave to amend must be allowed where there is a reasonable possibility of successful amendment. (Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal.3d 335, 348.) The burden is on the complainant to show the Court that a pleading can be amended successfully. (Id.)

Finally, 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).)

  1. Discussion

The Demurrer is accompanied by a meet and confer declaration. (Dem., Nava Decl., ¶ 2.)

Plaintiff alleges causes of action of quantum meruit and unjust enrichment. (Compl., p. 4.) The Complaint alleges that Defendant and Doe 1 have been and are presently occupying 4524 Vista Del Monte Ave., Unit #1, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 (the “Premises”), that Defendant and Doe 1 were requested to vacate the Premises on or about July 30, 2019, that Defendant and Doe 1 refused to vacate the Premises, that the fair rental market value of the Premises is $2,000.00 per month, that Defendant and Doe 1 were unjustly enriched by occupying the premises and not paying any rent since August 1, 2019, and that Plaintiff is entitled to the value of the premises since August 1, 2019. (Id.)

A. Plea in Abatement

First, Defendant demurs to the Complaint and argues he is entitled to a plea in abatement because Plaintiff sought the same relief in Goodman v. La Barca, LASC Case No. 19VEUD02424 (the “Unlawful Detainer Action”), which was denied by a jury but is currently pending on appeal. (Dem., p. 6:9-11; Reply, pp. 2-4.) A plea in abatement under to Code of Civil Procedure section 430.10, subdivision (c) is a special demurrer. Special demurrers are not allowed in limited jurisdiction courts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 92, subd. (c).) Thus, the Court does not have the authority to consider Defendant’s plea in abatement argument.

B. Unjust Enrichment

Defendant also argues the common count causes of action are insufficiently pled. (Dem., p. 8:26-28; p. 9:13-19; Reply, pp. 5:15-6:18.) As noted above, Plaintiff alleges causes of action for unjust enrichment and quantum meruit. (Compl., p. 4.) “‘A common count is not a specific cause of action . . .; rather, it is a simplified form of pleading normally used to aver the existence of various forms of monetary indebtedness . . . .’ [Citation.]” (Professional Collection Consultants v. Lujan (2018) 23 Cal.App.5th 685, 690.) While some California courts recognize unjust enrichment as a cause of action, it is not recognized in the second appellate district. (De Havilland v. FX Networks, LLC (2018) 21 Cal.App.5th 845, 870.) Rather, unjust enrichment is a “general principle, underlying various legal doctrines and remedies” and is “synonymous with restitution.” (McBride v. Boughton (2004) 13 Cal.App.4th 379, 387; see also Levine v. Blue Shield of California (2010) Cal.App.4th 1117, 1138.) Restitution can be awarded in lieu of damages when an express contract exists but is void because it was procured by fraud or is unenforceable for some other reason or was rescinded. (Rutherford Holdings, LLC v. Plaza Del Rey (2014) 233 Cal.App.4th 221, 231.) (Italics added.) “A claim for restitution is permitted even if the party inconsistently pleads a breach of contract claim that alleges the existence of a contract.” (Ibid.)

Because Plaintiff has not alleged the existence of a contract and because restitution is a remedy and not a cause of action (Reid v. City of San Diego (2018) 24 Cal.App.5th 343, 362), Defendant’s demurrer to the unjust enrichment cause of action is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

C. Quantum Meruit

“Quantum meruit refers to the well-established principle that ‘the law implies a promise to pay for services performed under circumstances disclosing that they were not gratuitously rendered.’ [Citation.] To recover in quantum meruit, a party need not prove the existence of a contract [citations], but it must show circumstances were such that the ‘services rendered under some understanding or expectation of both parties that compensation therefor was to be made’ [citations]. [Citations.]” (Chodos v. Borman (2014) 227 Cal.App.4th 76, 96.) “The requisite elements of quantum meruit are (1) the plaintiff acted pursuant to an ‘explicit or implicit request for the services’ by the defendant, and (2) the services conferred an actual benefit on the defendant. [Citations.]” (Port Medical Wellness, Inc. v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Co. (2018) 24 Cal.App.5th 153, 180.)

Here, Plaintiff has not alleged she provided any good or services to Defendant pursuant to Defendant’s explicit or implicit request. (See Compl.) Thus, Plaintiff has not properly alleged a cause of action for quantum meruit. Accordingly, Defendant’s demurrer to Plaintiff’s quantum meruit cause of action is SUSTAINED. Plaintiff is GRANTED 20 DAYS’ LEAVE TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT.

D. Request to Advance Motion to Sanctions

In passing, Plaintiff requests that the Motion for Sanctions filed by Defendant on July 17, 2020 and currently scheduled to be heard on January 14, 2021, be advanced and concurrently heard with this Demurrer. (Oppo., p. 6:9-14.) The Court finds Plaintiff’s request improper and is thus DENIED.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Richard La Barca’s Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND as to the unjust enrichment cause of action. However, Plaintiff is GRANTED 20 DAYS’ LEAVE TO AMEND THE COMPLAINT as to the quantum meruit cause of action.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.