This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/17/2020 at 01:25:14 (UTC).

NGL LOGISTICS, LLC, ET AL. VS RICARDO BERNAL ALVAREZ, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 09/30/2019 NGL LOGISTICS, LLC filed an Other lawsuit against RICARDO BERNAL ALVAREZ. 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:

    *******8983

  • Filing Date:

    09/30/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Other

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

NGL LOGISTICS LLC

LEE JAI JOON

Defendants

ALVAREZ RICARDO BERNAL

LAW OFFICES OF ALI R. MOGHADDAMI

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

MOOS DAMIAN MICHAEL

Defendant Attorney

MOGHADDAMI ALI R.

 

Court Documents

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Ruling

8/10/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Leave Motion for Leave to File Document...)

7/29/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Leave Motion for Leave to File Document...)

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re: Continuance of Hearing)

4/21/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re: Continuance of Hearing)

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Damian M. Moos In Support of Motion for Leave to File Documents Under Seal

11/19/2019: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Damian M. Moos In Support of Motion for Leave to File Documents Under Seal

Motion to Seal (name extension) - Motion to Seal For Leave to File Documents Under Seal

11/19/2019: Motion to Seal (name extension) - Motion to Seal For Leave to File Documents Under Seal

Motion for Order (name extension) - Motion for Order on Discharge

11/19/2019: Motion for Order (name extension) - Motion for Order on Discharge

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Jai Joon Lee In Support of Motion for Discharge

11/19/2019: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Jai Joon Lee In Support of Motion for Discharge

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Damian M. Moos In Support of Motion for Discharge

11/19/2019: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Damian M. Moos In Support of Motion for Discharge

Notice of Lodging (name extension) - Notice of Lodging Conditionally Under Seal

11/19/2019: Notice of Lodging (name extension) - Notice of Lodging Conditionally Under Seal

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion to Seal DEFENDANTS NGL LOGISTICS, LLC AND J...) of 10/28/2019

10/28/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion to Seal DEFENDANTS NGL LOGISTICS, LLC AND J...) of 10/28/2019

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Seal DEFENDANTS NGL LOGISTICS, LLC AND J...) of 10/28/2019

10/28/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Seal DEFENDANTS NGL LOGISTICS, LLC AND J...) of 10/28/2019

Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service) - Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service)

10/18/2019: Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service) - Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service)

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

10/18/2019: Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Answer - Answer

10/11/2019: Answer - Answer

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

9/30/2019: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

9/30/2019: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

Complaint - Complaint

9/30/2019: Complaint - Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

9/30/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

11 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 10/03/2022
  • Hearing10/03/2022 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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  • 03/29/2021
  • Hearing03/29/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion for Order of Discharge)

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  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Order of Discharge scheduled for 10/15/2020 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 10/15/2020; Result Type to Held

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  • 08/10/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: NGL Logistics, LLC (Plaintiff); Jai Joon Lee (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/29/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Order of Discharge scheduled for 10/15/2020 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 07/29/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion for Leave Motion for Leave to File Document...)

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  • 07/29/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Leave Motion for Leave to File Documents Under Seal scheduled for 07/29/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 07/29/2020; Result Type to Held

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  • 07/29/2020
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Hearing on Motion for Order of Discharge scheduled for 07/29/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion was rescheduled to 10/15/2020 10:00 AM

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  • 04/21/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Order of Discharge scheduled for 07/29/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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19 More Docket Entries
  • 10/11/2019
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Law Offices of Ali R. Moghaddami (Defendant); As to: NGL Logistics, LLC (Plaintiff); Jai Joon Lee (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/07/2019
  • DocketNotice of Related Case; Filed by: NGL Logistics, LLC (Plaintiff); Jai Joon Lee (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/01/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: NGL Logistics, LLC (Plaintiff); Jai Joon Lee (Plaintiff); As to: Ricardo Bernal Alvarez (Defendant); Law Offices of Ali R. Moghaddami (Defendant)

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  • 10/01/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 10/03/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 10/01/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 03/29/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 10/01/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 09/30/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 09/30/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 09/30/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: NGL Logistics, LLC (Plaintiff); Jai Joon Lee (Plaintiff); As to: Ricardo Bernal Alvarez (Defendant); Law Offices of Ali R. Moghaddami (Defendant)

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  • 09/30/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: NGL Logistics, LLC (Plaintiff); Jai Joon Lee (Plaintiff); As to: Ricardo Bernal Alvarez (Defendant); Law Offices of Ali R. Moghaddami (Defendant)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC08983    Hearing Date: October 15, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE:   Thu., October 15, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: NGL Logistics, LLC, et al. v. Alvarez, et al. COMPL. FILED: 09-03-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC08983 DISC. C/O: 02-27-21

NOTICE:   OK DISC. MOT. C/O:    03-14-21

TRIAL DATE: 03-29-21

PROCEEDINGS    MOTION FOR DISCHARGE

MOVING PARTY:   Plaintiffs NGL Logistics, LLC and Jai Joon Lee

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO DEPOSIT BY STAKEHOLDER, TO DISCHARGE FROM LIABILITY, AND REQUEST FOR ATTORNEY’S FEES

(CCP §§ 386, 386.5)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiffs NGL Logistics, LLC and Jai Joon Lee’s Motion for Discharge is GRANTED. Plaintiffs are entitled to $1,100.70 in reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. Trial remains scheduled for March 29, 2021 in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

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 9, 2020 [   ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of October 9, 2020 [   ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On September 3, 2019, Plaintiffs NGL Logistics, LLC (“NGL”) and Jai Joon Lee (“Lee”) filed this Complaint in interpleader against Defendants Ricardo Bernal Alvarez (“Alvarez”) and the Law Offices of Ali R. Moghaddami (“Moghaddami”). On October 11, 2019, Defendant Moghaddami filed an Answer. Defendant Alvarez was served with the Summons and Complaint on October 6, 2019, but has not filed an answer.

On November 19, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Leave to File Documents Under Seal (the “Motion to Seal”) and the instant Motion for Discharge. The Motion to Seal sought to file an unredacted version of the Motion for Discharge, which included a confidential settlement agreement. The Court granted Plaintiffs’ unopposed Motion to Seal on July 29, 2020. (7/29/20 Minute Order.)

To date, no opposition to the Motion for Discharge has been filed.

  1. Legal Standard

Interpleader is a procedure whereby a person holding money or personal property to which conflicting claims are being made by others, can join the adverse claimants and force them to litigate their claims among themselves. (Hancock Oil Co. v. Hopkins (1944) 24 Cal.2d 497, 508 (i.e., an escrow-holder who receives conflicting demands from the parties to the escrow regarding the funds or documents he or she holds); City of Morgan Hill v. Brown (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 1114, 1122.)

Once the stakeholder’s right to interplead is established, and he or she deposits the money or personal property in court, he or she may be discharged from liability to any of the claimants. This enables the stakeholder to avoid multiplicity of actions, and the risk of inconsistent results if each of the claimants were to sue him or her separately. (Cantu v. Resolution Trust Corp. (1992) 4 Cal.App.4th 857, 874; City of Morgan Hillsupra, 71 Cal.App.4th at 1122.)

“An interpleader action is traditionally viewed as two suits: one between the stakeholder and the claimants to determine the stakeholder's right to interplead, and the other among the claimants to determine who shall receive the funds interpleaded ... As against the stakeholder, claimants may raise only matters which go to whether the suit is properly one for interpleader; i.e., whether the elements of an interpleader action are present.” (State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Pietak (2001) 90 Cal.App.4th 600, 612.)

If the stakeholder is a defendant who claims no interest in the funds or property held, he or she need not file a cross-complaint interpleader in interpleader. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 386, subd. (a).) He or she may simply apply to the court for permission to deposit the money or property with the court clerk, and for an order discharging him or her from further liability to the adverse claimants. (Code Civ. Proc., § 386, subd. (a).) Such order will also substitute the adverse claimants as parties to the action; or, if only money is involved, simply dismiss the stakeholder. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 386, subd. (a), 386.5.) The motion must be supported by an affidavit by the stakeholder establishing the ground for interpleader.  (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 386, subd. (a), 386.5.) Notice of the motion must be served on each of the adverse claimants to the funds or property. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 386, subd. (a), 386.5.)

The stakeholder may seek reimbursement for its costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred. 

(UAP-Columbus JV 326132 v. Nesbitt (1991) 234 Cal.App.3d 1028, 1036.) The court may order payment thereof out of the funds deposited by the stakeholder. (Ibid.) Ultimately, such payment may be charged to one or more of the adverse claimants in the final judgment. (Code Civ. Proc., § 386.6.)

Finally, the Court may issue an “order restraining all parties to the action from instituting or further prosecuting any other proceeding in any court in this state affecting the rights and obligations as between the parties to the interpleader until further order of the court.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 386, subd. (f).)

  1. Discussion

Plaintiffs have served all claimants with the Summons and Complaint. The subject matter of this action are settlement funds of $XXXX under a Settlement Agreement and Global Release (the “Settlement Agreement”). The Settlement Agreement was to settle and dismiss the claims filed by Defendant Alvarez against Plaintiff NGL in Alvarez v. NGL Logistics, LLC, LASC Case No. 18STCV05126 (the “Prior Action”). (Mot., Joon Decl., ¶ 3, Exh. A.) Defendant Moghaddami represented Defendant Alvarez in the Prior Action. (Mot., Moos Decl., ¶ 4.) Counsel Damian Moos represented Plaintiffs in the Prior Action. (Id.) Notably, the Settlement Agreement appears to have been entered into without the involvement of the parties’ attorneys. (See Mot., Moos Decl., ¶ ¶¶ 6-7, Exh. A.) The terms of the Settlement Agreement provided for dismissal of the Prior Action in exchange for Plaintiffs’ payment of $XXXX to be paid as follows: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXXX. (Mot., Joon Decl., ¶ 3, Exh. A.) Upon executing the Settlement Agreement, Plaintiff Joon gave Defendant Alvarez a check for $XXXX, which was cashed on September 10, 2019. (Id. at ¶ 4, Exh. B.) Thereafter, Defendants made conflicting demands against the remaining settlement funds of $XXXX. (Mot., Joon Decl., ¶¶ 5-8; Moos Decl., ¶ 7.) Specifically, Defendant Moghaddami stated that his law firm had a lien on the balance of the settlement funds and Defendant Alvarez disputed that lien. (Id.) Plaintiffs further state that they cannot determine the validity of Defendants’ conflicting demands and that they have no interest in the settlement funds. (Id., Joon Del., ¶¶ 9-10.) Plaintiffs have already deposited the remaining $XXXX settlement funds with the Court. Thus, Plaintiffs’ Request to be discharged from liability is GRANTED.

Plaintiffs also request $1,100.70 in attorney’s fees. (Mot., p. i, ¶ 3; pp. 4:26-5:11; Moos Decl., ¶¶ 14-20.) Plaintiffs incurred attorney’s fees in bringing this interpleader action and protecting themselves from liability. Specifically, Plaintiffs’ counsel filed the instant action, served both Defendants, filed and served the Motion to Seal as well as instant Motion. (Id.) Costs incurred total $600.70, based on $345.00 in filing and motion fees and $255.70 in service of process fees. (Id.) Attorney’s fees total $2,900.00 which include 1 hour of attorney time billed at $435.00 per hour for Mr. Damian Moos and 8.5 hours of attorney time for Ms. Kandice Kim billed at $290.00 per hour. (Id.) However, Plaintiffs only seek $500.00 in attorney’s fees. (Id.) Attorney’s fees and costs are GRANTED in the amount of $1,100.75.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs NGL Logistics, LLC and Jai Joon Lee’s Motion for Discharge is GRANTED. Plaintiffs are entitled to $1,100.70 in reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. Trial remains scheduled for March 29, 2021 in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

Moving parties are ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC08983    Hearing Date: July 29, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE:   Wed., July 29, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: NGL Logistics, LLC et al. v. Alvarez, et al.  COMPL. FILED: 09-30-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC08983 DISC. C/O: 02-27-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O:    03-14-21

TRIAL DATE: 03-29-21

PROCEEDINGS    (1) MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL

(2) MOTION FOR DISCHARGE OF STAKEHOLDER

MOVING PARTY:   Plaintiffs NGL Logistics, LLC and Jai Joon

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE DOCUMENTS UNDER SEAL; MOTION FOR DISCHARGE OF STAKEHOLDER

(CRC 2.550; CCP § 386, 386.5)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiffs NGL Logistics, LLC and Jai Joon’s unopposed Motion for Leave to File Documents Under Seal is GRANTED. In addition, Plaintiffs’ Motion for Discharge is CONTINUED TO OCTOBER 15, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

SERVICE

[X] Proof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK (both)

[X] Correct Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK (both)

[X] 16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) OK (both)

Motion to File Under Seal

OPPOSITION: None filed as of July 27, 2020 [   ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of July 27, 2020 [   ] Late [X] None

Motion for Discharge 

OPPOSITION: None filed as of July 27, 2020 [   ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of July 27, 2020 [   ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On September 30, 2019, Plaintiffs NGL Logistics, LLC (“NGL”) and Jai Joon Lee (“Lee”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint in interpleader against Defendants Ricardo Bernal Alvarez (“Alvarez”) and Law Offices of Ali R. Moghaddami (“Law Offices”) (collectively, “Defendants”). On October 11, 2019, Defendant Law Offices filed an Answer. To date, Defendant Alvarez has not filed an answer and default has not yet been entered against him.

On November 19, 2019, Plaintiffs filed the instant Motion for Leave to File Documents Under Seal (“Motion for Leave”) and a Motion for Discharge. To date, no opposition to either motion has been filed.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

A. Motion to File Under Seal

A party requesting that a record be filed under seal must file a motion or application for an order sealing the record. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.551, subd. (b)(1).) The motion or application must be accompanied by a memorandum and declaration that provides sufficient facts to justify the sealing. (Id.)

“The Court may order that a record be filed under seal only if it expressly finds facts that establish:

(1) There exists an overriding interest that overcomes the right of public access to the record;

(2) The overriding interest supports sealing the record;

(3) A substantial probability exists that the overriding interest will be prejudiced if the record is not sealed;

(4) The proposed sealing is narrowly tailored; and

(5) No less restrictive means exist to achieve the overriding interest.”

(Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.550, subd. (d).)

Here, Plaintiffs state that, on September 8, 2019, the parties entered into a Settlement Agreement to resolve the parties’ claims in a lawsuit previously filed by Defendant Alvarez against Plaintiffs. (Mot., p. 1:3-6.) The Settlement Agreement provided for the payment of a specified amount in exchange for the dismissal of the lawsuit against Plaintiffs. (Id. at p. 1:6-7.) After the Settlement Agreement was executed by the parties and an initial payment was made, Defendant Alvarez and his counsel, Defendant Law Offices, made conflicting demands on Plaintiff for payment of the outstanding settlement funds. (Id. at p. 1:7-9; Joon Decl., ¶ 4.) As a result, Plaintiffs filed the instant complaint in interpleader, deposited the outstanding settlement funds with the Court, and seek to be discharged from the action and have the Court determine which party is entitled to the remaining funds. (Id. at p. 1:9-15.)

 

The Settlement Agreement contains a provision requiring the terms of the agreement to be kept confidential. (Mot., Lee Decl., ¶ 3, Exh. A, ¶ 7.) For this reason, Plaintiffs seek permission to file an unredacted version of the redacted Motion for Discharge already on file with the Court. (Mot., pp. 4:24-5:17.) The redactions are limited to the settlement amount and specific financial details on financial instruments. (Id.)

Plaintiffs demonstrate they have an overriding interest in complying with their contractual obligation under the Settlement Agreement and should not be forced to violate the confidentiality terms of said agreement in seeking an order for discharge. (Id. at p. 4:6-8.) Plaintiffs also argue they will be prejudiced if the Motion for Discharge is not filed under seal because they will either not be able to demonstrate they have satisfied their contractual obligations under the Settlement Agreement or will be forced to breach their contractual obligations under the Settlement Agreement to enforce its terms. (Id. at pp. 4-5:24-2.) They further demonstrate that the public version will contain minimal redactions and that no less restrictive means exist to achieve the overriding interest. (Id. at p. 5:11-17.)

The Court finds that Plaintiff has satisfied California Rules of Court, rule 2.550, subdivision (d). Thus, the Motion for leave to file a redacted version of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Discharge under seal is GRANTED.

B. Motion for Discharge

 

As the Court needs time to review Plaintiffs’ unredacted Motion for Discharge, it is CONTINUED to OCTOBER 15, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs NGL Logistics, LLC and Jai Joon’s unopposed Motion for Leave to File Documents Under Seal is GRANTED. In addition, Plaintiffs’ Motion for Discharge is CONTINUED TO OCTOBER 15, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.