This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 02/07/2019 at 18:18:49 (UTC).

RANCHO BELLA VISTA HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC. VS AMELIA ROBERTA ESPINOSA

Case Summary

On 07/11/2018 a Other - Sister State Judgment case was filed by RANCHO BELLA VISTA HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC against AMELIA ROBERTA ESPINOSA in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******1796

  • Filing Date:

    07/11/2018

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Other - Sister State Judgment

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

RANCHO BELLA VISTA HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION INC.

Defendant

ESPINOSA AMELIA ROBERTA

 

Court Documents

Proof of Service by Substituted Service

9/18/2018: Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Abstract of Judgment - Civil and Small Claims - Abstract of Judgment - Civil and Small Claims

12/17/2018: Abstract of Judgment - Civil and Small Claims - Abstract of Judgment - Civil and Small Claims

Civil Case Cover Sheet

7/11/2018: Civil Case Cover Sheet

Application for Entry of Judgment on Sister-State Judgment

7/11/2018: Application for Entry of Judgment on Sister-State Judgment

Judgment

7/11/2018: Judgment

 

Docket Entries

  • 12/17/2018
  • Abstract of Judgment - Civil and Small Claims; Issued by: RANCHO BELLA VISTA HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC. (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/19/2018
  • Writ of Execution (SANTA CLARA); Issued by: Clerk; County: SANTA CLARA

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  • 09/18/2018
  • Proof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: RANCHO BELLA VISTA HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC. (Plaintiff); As to: AMELIA ROBERTA ESPINOSA (Defendant); Proof of Mailing Date: 08/19/2018; Service Cost: 0.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 07/30/2018
  • Case assigned to in ROOM 118 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 07/11/2018
  • Application for Entry of Judgment on Sister-State Judgment; Filed by: RANCHO BELLA VISTA HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC. (Plaintiff); As to: AMELIA ROBERTA ESPINOSA (Defendant)

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  • 07/11/2018
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: RANCHO BELLA VISTA HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC. (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/11/2018
  • Judgment; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 07/11/2018
  • Court orders judgment entered for Plaintiff RANCHO BELLA VISTA HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC. against Defendant AMELIA ROBERTA ESPINOSA on the Complaint filed by RANCHO BELLA VISTA HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION, INC. on 07/11/2018 for the principal amount of $4,249.94, interest of $1,546.35, and costs of $225.00 for a total of $6,021.29.

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 18STCP01796    Hearing Date: February 26, 2020    Dept: 26

Rancho Bella Vista HOA v. Isom, et al.

MOTION FOR ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS

(CCP § 685.040)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Rancho Bella Vista Homeowners Association’s Motion for Award of Attorney’s Fees and Costs is GRANTED IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,525.00 ATTORNEYS’ FEES AND $944.66 COSTS, AS REQUESTED.

ANALYSIS:

On July 11, 2011, the Apache Junction Justice Court in the State of Arizona entered judgment in favor of Rancho Bella Vista Homeowners Association (“Judgment Creditor”) and against Amelia Roberta Espinosa (“Judgment Debtor”). Pursuant to the Application for Entry of Sister State Judgment, on July 11, 2018, this Court entered judgment against Judgment Debtor in the amount of $6,021.29.

On October 8, 2019, Judgment Creditor filed the instant Motion for Award of Attorney’s Fees and Costs (the “Motion”). The motion is accompanied by a request for judicial notice of the (1) Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, Restrictions and Basements for Rancho Bella Vista recorded in the Pinal County, Arizona Recorder's Office on July 23, 2003 as Instrument No. 2003-050173; (2) Judgment entered in the Apache Junction Justice Court, County of Maricopa, State of Arizona, entitled Rancho Bella Vista Homeowners Association v. Amelia Roberta Espinosa and John Doe Espinosa with case number CV2G11-G264; and (3) Judgment on Sister-State Judgment entered in the above-entitled action, in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, case number 18STCP01796. The request for judicial notice is granted pursuant to California Evidence Code section 452, subdivisions (c)-(d).

Legal Standard

Judgment Creditor moves for recovery of its post-judgment attorney’s fees pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 685.040, which states: “The judgment creditor is entitled to the reasonable and necessary costs of enforcing a judgment. Attorney's fees incurred in enforcing a judgment are not included in costs collectible under this title unless otherwise provided by law.  Attorney's fees incurred in enforcing a judgment are included as costs collectible under this title if the underlying judgment includes an award of attorney's fees to the judgment creditor pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (10) of subdivision (a) of Section 1033.5.”

The Court’s objective is to award attorney’s fee at the fair market value based on the particular action. (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1132.) “The reasonable hourly rate is that prevailing in the community for similar work.”  (PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095.)   “‘[T]he fee setting inquiry in California ordinarily begins with the 'lodestar,' i.e., the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate . . . .’” (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1134.) The lodestar method is based on the factors, as relevant to the particular case: “(1) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, (2) the skill displayed in presenting them, (3) the extent to which the nature of the litigation precluded other employment by the attorneys, (4) the contingent nature of the fee award.” (Id. at 1132.) “The ‘‘experienced trial judge is the best judge of the value of professional services rendered in his court, and while his judgment is of course subject to review, it will not be disturbed unless the appellate court is convinced that it is clearly wrong.’’” (Id.) A negative modifier was appropriate when duplicative work had been performed. (Thayer v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2001) 92 Cal.App.4th 819.) Code of Civil Procedure section 685.070, subdivision (a) states in pertinent part: “The judgment creditor may claim under this section the following costs of enforcing a judgment: . . . (6) Attorney's fees, if allowed by Section 685.040.”

Thus, the Court may award attorney’s fees as costs under Code of Civil Procedure section 685.070, subdivision (a)(6). Code of Civil Procedure section 685.070, subdivision (b) requires that: “The notice of motion shall describe the costs claimed, shall state their amount, and shall be supported by an affidavit of a person who has knowledge of the facts stating that to the person's best knowledge and belief the costs are correct, are reasonable and necessary, and have not been satisfied. The notice of motion shall be served on the judgment debtor. Service shall be made personally or by mail.”

Discussion

Here, because the judgment from the underlying case awarded Plaintiff attorney’s fees, Plaintiff is entitled to attorneys’ fees in enforcement its judgment pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 685.040. (Motion, RJN, Exh. B at ¶6.) Plaintiff submits the declaration of its attorney, Austin Baillio (“Baillio”), in support of its request for attorneys’ fees. Baillio declares that his hourly rate for this matter was $275.00 before December 15, 2018, and $300.00 after December 15, 2018, and he charged a flat rate fees of $450 to prepare a writ of execution and earning withholding order. (Motion, Baillio Decl. ¶¶5-10.) Baillio submits his billing records for attorney’s fees and costs from May 18, 2018 through September 27, 2019. (Id. at Exh. A.) Baillio declares that the attorney’s fees and costs are reasonable and necessary, as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 685.080, subdivision (b). (Id. at 15d.)

A court determining the number of hours reasonably expended on a case “must carefully review attorney documentation of hours expended.” (Ketchum, supra, 24 Cal.4th at 1132.) In doing so, the court must exclude hours that “were not reasonably expended in pursuit of successful claims,” (Harman v. City & County of San Francisco (2007) 158 Cal. App.4th 407, 417), “attorney time spent on services which produce no tangible benefit for the client,” (Meister v. Regents of Univ. of Cal. (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 637, 652), or hours that were otherwise “duplicative or excessive.” (Graciano v. Robinson Ford Sales, Inc. (2006) 144 Cal.App.4th 140, 161.)

Based on the billing record, Plaintiff requests $2,525.00 in attorneys’ fees and $944.66 in costs, totaling $3,469.66. (Baillio Decl, ¶¶11-13 and Exh. A.) The Court finds that that the hours spent and rates charged were reasonable. Plaintiff’s attorney spent 4.7 hours on post-judgment collection including entering the judgment in this State, serving notice, obtaining a writ of execution and bank levy, and recording an abstract of judgment. (See id. at ¶¶5 and Exh. A.) Thereafter, Plaintiff spent 2.5 hours drafting, filing and serving the instant Motion for Attorney’s fees. (Id. at ¶9 and Exh. A.) Additionally, Plaintiff incurred filing, service and other costs. (Ibid.)

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorney’s Fees and Costs is GRANTED IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,525.00 attorneys’ fees and $944.66 costs, as requested.

Moving party to give notice.