This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/18/2020 at 02:07:48 (UTC).

PEOPLE'S UNION LLC VS T-MOBILE WEST LLC

Case Summary

On 03/22/2019 PEOPLE'S UNION LLC filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against T-MOBILE WEST LLC. 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:

    *******2876

  • Filing Date:

    03/22/2019

  • 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

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

PEOPLE'S UNION LLC

Defendant

T-MOBILE WEST LLC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

FIDLER GARY D.

SHAKER DAVID

Defendant Attorney

KUHN BRADFORD B

 

Court Documents

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Limited Scope Representation

7/15/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Limited Scope Representation

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

7/16/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Defendant T-Mobile West LLC's Opposition to Plaintiff People's Union's Motion to Reclassify; Memorandum of Points and Authorities; Declaration of Bradford Kuhn

4/14/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Defendant T-Mobile West LLC's Opposition to Plaintiff People's Union's Motion to Reclassify; Memorandum of Points and Authorities; Declaration of Bradford Kuhn

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

4/17/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Reply (name extension) - Reply RE; MOTION TO RECLASSIFY CASE TO UNLIMITED; DECLARATION OF FORMER COUNSEL

4/27/2020: Reply (name extension) - Reply RE; MOTION TO RECLASSIFY CASE TO UNLIMITED; DECLARATION OF FORMER COUNSEL

Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

12/23/2019: Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

Notice of Related Case - Notice of Related Case

11/12/2019: Notice of Related Case - Notice of Related Case

Answer - Answer

6/12/2019: Answer - Answer

Amended Complaint - Amended Complaint First

5/6/2019: Amended Complaint - Amended Complaint First

Substitution of Attorney - Substitution of Attorney

4/18/2019: Substitution of Attorney - Substitution of Attorney

Complaint - Complaint

3/22/2019: Complaint - Complaint

Summons - Summons on Complaint

3/22/2019: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

3/22/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

3/22/2019: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

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

3/22/2019: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

3 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/16/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

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  • 07/16/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion) scheduled for 07/16/2020 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 07/16/2020; Result Type to Held - Motion Granted

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  • 07/16/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 09/18/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 07/16/2020; Result Type to Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 07/16/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 03/25/2022 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 07/16/2020; Result Type to Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 07/15/2020
  • DocketNotice of Limited Scope Representation; Filed by: People's Union LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/27/2020
  • DocketReply RE; MOTION TO RECLASSIFY CASE TO UNLIMITED; DECLARATION OF FORMER COUNSEL; Filed by: People's Union LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/17/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 04/17/2020
  • DocketReset - Court Unavailable, Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion) scheduled for 05/06/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court was rescheduled to 07/16/2020 10:00 AM

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  • 04/14/2020
  • DocketOpposition Defendant T-Mobile West LLC's Opposition to Plaintiff People's Union's Motion to Reclassify; Memorandum of Points and Authorities; Declaration of Bradford Kuhn; Filed by: T-Mobile West LLC (Defendant)

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  • 12/24/2019
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion) scheduled for 05/06/2020 at 10:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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6 More Docket Entries
  • 05/06/2019
  • DocketAmended Complaint 1st; Filed by: People's Union LLC (Plaintiff); As to: T-Mobile West LLC (Defendant)

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  • 04/18/2019
  • DocketSubstitution of Attorney; Filed by: People's Union LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/25/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 09/18/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/25/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 03/25/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/25/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 03/22/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: People's Union LLC (Plaintiff); As to: T-Mobile West LLC (Defendant)

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  • 03/22/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: People's Union LLC (Plaintiff); As to: T-Mobile West LLC (Defendant)

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  • 03/22/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: People's Union LLC (Plaintiff); As to: T-Mobile West LLC (Defendant)

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  • 03/22/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/22/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC02876    Hearing Date: July 16, 2020    Dept: 25

MOTION TO RECLASSIFY

(CCP § 403.040)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff People’s Union, LLC’s Motion to Reclassify is GRANTED. The action is RECLASSIFIED as an unlimited jurisdiction case and is transferred to the transfer/reclassification desk for collection of fees and reassignment. Plaintiff is ordered to pay the reclassification fee within ten (10) days of this order.

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 April 14, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on April 27, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On March 22, 2019, Plaintiff People’s Union, LLC (“Plaintiff”) filed this action for breach of settlement agreement, fraud and deceit, unfair business practices, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, nuisance, trespass, breach of contract, and declaratory relief against Defendant T-Mobile West, LLC (“Defendant”). On May 6, 2019, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (the “FAC”) eliminating the breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing cause of action. Defendant filed an Answer on June 12, 2019.

On November 11, 2019, Defendant filed a Notice of Related Case for People’s Union, LLC v. T-Mobile West, LLC, LASC Case No. 19STUD09370 currently pending in Department 97 at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. (11/12/19 Notice of Related Case.)

On December 23, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Reclassify Case to Unlimited Jurisdiction (the “Motion”). On April 14, 2020, Defendant filed an Opposition and on April 27, 2020, Plaintiff filed a reply.

  1. Legal Standard

Code of Civil Procedure section 403.040 allows a plaintiff to file a motion for reclassification of an action within the time allowed for that party to amend the initial pleading. (Code Civ. Proc., § 403.040, subd. (a).) The court may, on its own motion, reclassify a case at any time. (Id.) If the motion is made after the time for the plaintiff to amend the pleading, the motion may only be granted if (1) the case is incorrectly classified; and (2) the plaintiff shows good cause for not seeking reclassification earlier. (Code Civ. Proc., § 403.040, subd. (b).)

In Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257, 262, the California Supreme Court held that a matter may be reclassified from unlimited to limited only if it appears to a legal certainty that the plaintiff's damages will necessarily be less than $25,000. (Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257.) If there is a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00, the case cannot be transferred to limited. (Ibid.) This high standard is appropriate in light of “the circumscribed procedures and recovery available in the limited civil courts.” (Ytuarte v. Superior Court (2005) 129 Cal.App.4th 266, 278.)

In Ytuarte, the Court of Appeals examined the principles it set forth in Walker and held that “the court should reject the plaintiff's effort to reclassify the action as unlimited only when the lack of jurisdiction as an “unlimited” case is certain and clear.” (Id. at 279.) Nevertheless, the plaintiff must present evidence to demonstrate a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00 and the trial court must review the record to determine “whether a judgment in excess of $25,000.00 is obtainable.” (Ibid.)

  1. Discussion

Here, because the initial time for Plaintiff to amend the pleadings has passed, it must show that the case was incorrectly classified and that it had good cause for not moving to reclassify earlier. (Code Civ. Proc., § 403.040, subd. (b).)

Plaintiff argues that this action was incorrectly classified as a limited jurisdiction action by Plaintiff’s former counsel, who accidentally checked off the “limited” box on the Civil Cover Sheet. (Mot., Shaker Decl., ¶ 4.) In Opposition, Defendant argues that reclassifying the matter at this stage would be prejudicial, that Plaintiff’s Motion is untimely, and that Plaintiff has not provided any evidence in support of the alleged clerical error or mistake. (Oppo., pp. 6:23-7:17; p. 7:21-28; p. 8:8-16; p. 9:16-23.)

Plaintiff submits a declaration stating he discovered the incorrect classification in April or May 2019, when he filed the FAC. (Mot., Shaker Decl., ¶¶ 4-5.) To memorialize this, Plaintiff included a footnote stating that the action had been accidentally classified as a limited action, and that a motion would be filed if Defendant did not stipulate to correct the error. (Id. at ¶¶ 6-7; FAC, p. 1, fn. 1.) Plaintiff’s counsel further states he did not immediately file this motion because he believed the parties were engaged in productive and promising settlement negotiations. (Mot., Shaker Decl., ¶ 8.) After settlement negotiations stalled on December 5, 2019, Plaintiff asked Defendant to stipulate to the reclassification, but Defendant refused to do so. (Id. at ¶ 9.) This Motion was thereafter filed on December 23, 2019.

The good cause requirement is simply defined as “a good reason for a party’s failure to perform a specific requirement [of the statute] from which he seeks to be excused. [Citation.]” (Robinson v. U-Haul Co. of CA (2016) 4 Cal.App.5th 304, 327.) Here, counsel believed the action would settle, so filing a motion to reclassify the action would have been unnecessary. Thus, the Court finds this constitutes good cause for not bringing the Motion earlier.

More importantly, the FAC seeks declaratory relief. (FAC, ¶¶ 86-89.) Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 580, subdivision (b)(4), “[d]eclaratory relief, except as authorized by section 86,” is not permissible in a limited jurisdiction court.” Section 86 permits an action for declaratory relief when it is brought by way of cross-complaint or when sought to conduct a trial after a nonbinding fee arbitration between an attorney and his client. (Code Civ. Proc., § 86, subd. (a)(7).) Section 86 is not applicable here. Thus, the action was incorrectly classified.

As Plaintiff’s request for declaratory relief deprives the Court of jurisdiction over this case, the Motion is GRANTED.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff People’s Union, LLC’s Motion to Reclassify is GRANTED. The action is RECLASSIFIED as an unlimited jurisdiction case and is transferred to the transfer/reclassification desk for collection of fees and reassignment. Plaintiff is ordered to pay the reclassification fee within ten (10) days of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC02876    Hearing Date: July 15, 2020    Dept: 25

MOTION TO RECLASSIFY

(CCP § 403.040)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff People’s Union, LLC’s Motion to Reclassify is GRANTED. The action is RECLASSIFIED as an unlimited jurisdiction case and is transferred to the transfer/reclassification desk for collection of fees and reassignment. Plaintiff is ordered to pay the reclassification fee within ten (10) days of this order.

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 April 14, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on April 27, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On March 22, 2019, Plaintiff People’s Union, LLC (“Plaintiff”) filed this action for breach of settlement agreement, fraud and deceit, unfair business practices, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, nuisance, trespass, breach of contract, and declaratory relief against Defendant T-Mobile West, LLC (“Defendant”). On May 6, 2019, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (the “FAC”) eliminating the breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing cause of action. Defendant filed an Answer on June 12, 2019.

On November 11, 2019, Defendant filed a Notice of Related Case for People’s Union, LLC v. T-Mobile West, LLC, LASC Case No. 19STUD09370 currently pending in Department 97 at the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. (11/12/19 Notice of Related Case.)

On December 23, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Reclassify Case to Unlimited Jurisdiction (the “Motion”). On April 14, 2020, Defendant filed an Opposition and on April 27, 2020, Plaintiff filed a reply.

  1. Legal Standard

Code of Civil Procedure section 403.040 allows a plaintiff to file a motion for reclassification of an action within the time allowed for that party to amend the initial pleading. (Code Civ. Proc., § 403.040, subd. (a).) The court may, on its own motion, reclassify a case at any time. (Id.) If the motion is made after the time for the plaintiff to amend the pleading, the motion may only be granted if (1) the case is incorrectly classified; and (2) the plaintiff shows good cause for not seeking reclassification earlier. (Code Civ. Proc., § 403.040, subd. (b).)

In Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257, 262, the California Supreme Court held that a matter may be reclassified from unlimited to limited only if it appears to a legal certainty that the plaintiff's damages will necessarily be less than $25,000. (Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257.) If there is a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00, the case cannot be transferred to limited. (Ibid.) This high standard is appropriate in light of “the circumscribed procedures and recovery available in the limited civil courts.” (Ytuarte v. Superior Court (2005) 129 Cal.App.4th 266, 278.)

In Ytuarte, the Court of Appeals examined the principles it set forth in Walker and held that “the court should reject the plaintiff's effort to reclassify the action as unlimited only when the lack of jurisdiction as an “unlimited” case is certain and clear.” (Id. at 279.) Nevertheless, the plaintiff must present evidence to demonstrate a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00 and the trial court must review the record to determine “whether a judgment in excess of $25,000.00 is obtainable.” (Ibid.)

  1. Discussion

Here, because the initial time for Plaintiff to amend the pleadings has passed, it must show that the case was incorrectly classified and that it had good cause for not moving to reclassify earlier. (Code Civ. Proc., § 403.040, subd. (b).)

Plaintiff argues that this action was incorrectly classified as a limited jurisdiction action by Plaintiff’s former counsel, who accidentally checked off the “limited” box on the Civil Cover Sheet. (Mot., Shaker Decl., ¶ 4.) In Opposition, Defendant argues that reclassifying the matter at this stage would be prejudicial, that Plaintiff’s Motion is untimely, and that Plaintiff has not provided any evidence in support of the alleged clerical error or mistake. (Oppo., pp. 6:23-7:17; p. 7:21-28; p. 8:8-16; p. 9:16-23.)

Plaintiff submits a declaration stating he discovered the incorrect classification in April or May 2019, when he filed the FAC. (Mot., Shaker Decl., ¶¶ 4-5.) To memorialize this, Plaintiff included a footnote stating that the action had been accidentally classified as a limited action, and that a motion would be filed if Defendant did not stipulate to correct the error. (Id. at ¶¶ 6-7; FAC, p. 1, fn. 1.) Plaintiff’s counsel further states he did not immediately file this motion because he believed the parties were engaged in productive and promising settlement negotiations. (Mot., Shaker Decl., ¶ 8.) After settlement negotiations stalled on December 5, 2019, Plaintiff asked Defendant to stipulate to the reclassification, but Defendant refused to do so. (Id. at ¶ 9.) This Motion was thereafter filed on December 23, 2019.

The good cause requirement is simply defined as “a good reason for a party’s failure to perform a specific requirement [of the statute] from which he seeks to be excused. [Citation.]” (Robinson v. U-Haul Co. of CA (2016) 4 Cal.App.5th 304, 327.) Here, counsel believed the action would settle, so filing a motion to reclassify the action would have been unnecessary. Thus, the Court finds this constitutes good cause for not bringing the Motion earlier.

More importantly, the FAC seeks declaratory relief. (FAC, ¶¶ 86-89.) Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 580, subdivision (b)(4), “[d]eclaratory relief, except as authorized by section 86,” is not permissible in a limited jurisdiction court.” Section 86 permits an action for declaratory relief when it is brought by way of cross-complaint or when sought to conduct a trial after a nonbinding fee arbitration between an attorney and his client. (Code Civ. Proc., § 86, subd. (a)(7).) Section 86 is not applicable here. Thus, the action was incorrectly classified.

As Plaintiff’s request for declaratory relief deprives the Court of jurisdiction over this case, the Motion is GRANTED.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff People’s Union, LLC’s Motion to Reclassify is GRANTED. The action is RECLASSIFIED as an unlimited jurisdiction case and is transferred to the transfer/reclassification desk for collection of fees and reassignment. Plaintiff is ordered to pay the reclassification fee within ten (10) days of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.