This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/14/2020 at 07:21:17 (UTC).

ROYAL PRINTEX, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION VS NICO N. TABIBI

Case Summary

On 01/16/2020 ROYAL PRINTEX, INC , A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against NICO N TABIBI. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is SERENA R. MURILLO. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******0497

  • Filing Date:

    01/16/2020

  • 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

SERENA R. MURILLO

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

ROYAL PRINTEX INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Defendant

TABIBI NICO N.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

DONIGER STEPHEN M.

 

Court Documents

Notice (name extension) - Notice CONSENT TO ELECTRONIC SERVICE AND NOTICE OF ELECTRONIC SERVICE ADDRESS

6/5/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice CONSENT TO ELECTRONIC SERVICE AND NOTICE OF ELECTRONIC SERVICE ADDRESS

Answer - Answer

3/10/2020: Answer - Answer

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

2/10/2020: Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

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

1/16/2020: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

1/16/2020: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

Summons - Summons on Complaint

1/17/2020: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

1/17/2020: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Complaint - Complaint

1/17/2020: Complaint - Complaint

 

Docket Entries

  • 01/19/2023
  • Hearing01/19/2023 at 08:30 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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  • 07/15/2021
  • Hearing07/15/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 06/05/2020
  • DocketNotice CONSENT TO ELECTRONIC SERVICE AND NOTICE OF ELECTRONIC SERVICE ADDRESS; Filed by: Royal Printex, Inc., a California Corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Nico N. Tabibi (Defendant)

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  • 03/10/2020
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Nico N. Tabibi (Defendant); As to: Royal Printex, Inc., a California Corporation (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/10/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: Royal Printex, Inc., a California Corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Nico N. Tabibi (Defendant); Proof of Mailing Date: 02/05/2020; Service Cost: 104.95; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 01/17/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Royal Printex, Inc., a California Corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Nico N. Tabibi (Defendant)

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  • 01/17/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Royal Printex, Inc., a California Corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Nico N. Tabibi (Defendant)

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  • 01/17/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Royal Printex, Inc., a California Corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Nico N. Tabibi (Defendant)

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  • 01/17/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 01/19/2023 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 01/17/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 07/15/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 01/17/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Serena R. Murillo in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 01/16/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 01/16/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STLC00497    Hearing Date: January 28, 2021    Dept: 26

Royal Printex, Inc. v. Tabibi, et al.

MOTIONS TO COMPEL DEFENDANT’S FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION AND REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP §§ 2031.300, 2033.290)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Royal Printex, Inc.’s (1) Motion for Order Compelling Defendant Nico N. Tabibi’s Further Responses to Request for Admission and Request for Sanctions; and (2) Motion for Order Compelling Defendant Nico N. Tabibi’s Further Responses to Request for Production of Documents, Set One, and Request for Sanctions are GRANTED. DEFENDANT IS TO SERVE VERIFIED RESPONSES WITHOUT OBJECTION WITHIN 20 DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER. DEFENDANT IS ORDERED TO PAY TOTAL SANCTIONS OF $3,560.00 TO PLAINTIFF’S COUNSEL WITHIN 20 DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER.

ANALYSIS:

On January 16, 2020, Plaintiff Royal Printex, Inc. (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendant Nico N. Tabibi (“Defendant”). The Complaint alleges a single cause of action for breach of guaranty. Specifically, that Plaintiff entered into a settlement agreement with M.R.R. Fabric, Inc. on March 10, 2015. (Compl., ¶6.) M.R.R. Fabric was allegedly represented by Defendant during the underlying action and through execution of the settlement agreement (Id. at ¶7.) Pursuant to the settlement agreement, M.R.R. Fabric was to make an initial $10,000.00 payment followed by a “Future Payment” of $10,000.00 in the form of surcharges on additional fabric orders by M.R.R. to Royal within eighteen months of the execution of the agreement. (Id. at ¶8.) The total settlement amount was allegedly to be paid by November 1, 2016. (Ibid.) M.R.R. Fabric’s payment under the settlement agreement was allegedly expressly guaranteed by Defendant. (Id. at ¶10.) Following M.R.R. Fabric’s alleged failure to pay as required, Plaintiff filed the instant action against Defendant.

On November 10, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant (1) Motion for Order Compelling Defendant’s Further Responses to Requests for Admission, and Request for Sanctions; and (2) Motion for Order Compelling Defendant’s Further Responses to Demand for Production of Documents, Set One, and Request for Sanctions. Defendant filed oppositions on January 15, 2021 and Plaintiff replied on January 21, 2021.

Discussion

Notice of the motion to compel further must be given “within 45 days of service of the verified response, or any supplemental verified response, or any specific later date to which the requesting party and the responding party have agreed in writing,” otherwise, the propounding party waives any right to compel a further response. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.300, subd. (c); § 2033.290, subd. (c).) Here, the parties mutually agreed to extend the time to file a motion to compel to November 16, 2020. (Motions, Barrett Decl., Exh. 4.) The notices of motion and Motions to Compel Further were timely served on November 10, 2020. (Motions, POS.)

The motions must also be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.300, subd. (b); § 2033.290, subd. (b).) Plaintiff filed a declaration demonstrating that the parties engaged in a significant meet and confer effort prior to the filing of the instant Motions. (Motion, Barrett Decl., Exhs. 3-4.) The meet and confer requirement, therefore, is satisfied.

Finally, Cal. Rules of Court Rule 3.1345 requires all motions or responses involving further discovery contain a separate statement with the text of each request, the response, and a statement of factual and legal reasons for compelling further responses. (Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 3.1345, subd. (a).) The Motions are both accompanied by a separate statement. (Separate Statements, filed 11/10/20.)

Requests for Admission

Plaintiff seeks to compel Defendant’s further responses to Requests for Admission, Nos. 1-12.

The Court initially notes that the majority of Defendant’s objections are boilerplate objections, which are not only improper but sanctionable. (Korea Data Systems Co. v. Superior Court (1997) 51 Cal.App.4th 1513, 1516.) The Court now addresses each Request below based on the categories set forth in the Separate Statement.

Request No. 4 asks Defendant to admit he has no evidence M.R.R. Fabrics made any of the required orders, which refers to orders required under the Settlement Agreement attached to the Complaint. In response, Defendant denies the request “to the extent Plaintiff and MRR had their own agreement regarding referral of orders.” The Court agrees that this response is improper because it fails to address orders required under the Settlement Agreement. Plaintiff must admit or deny the request as it is written.

Request No. 8 asks Defendant to admit that he has no evidence to prove that M.R.R. Fabric completed any fabric orders with Plaintiff during the “Purchase Period,” defined as the period from March 2015 to November 1, 2016 during which orders required under the Settlement Agreement were to be made. (Separate Statement, ¶8.) As with Request No. 4, Defendant conditions his denial on the existence of a different agreement between Plaintiff and M.R.R. Fabric. For the reasons stated above, Defendant must answer the Request as asked; not with reference to something outside the terms of the Request.

Request for Admission No. 1 asks Defendant to admit that “the settlement agreement is valid.” The request inadvertently included “a” before the word “valid,” which Plaintiff clarified was an error during the meet and confer process. Defendant’s objection that he cannot determine the meaning of the request is no longer valid. Nor are Defendant’s objections that the request calls for privileged material, a legal conclusion or is intended solely to harass, valid. The request does not seek communications between Tabibi and his clients, or his work product. And requests for admission may seek legal conclusions from a party. (Grace v. Mansourian (2015) 240 Cal. App. 4th 523, 530.) Finally, there is nothing about the request that is harassing; it requires a simple admission or denial.

Requests for Admission Nos. 2 and 3 similarly ask Defendant to admit that the settlement agreement is enforceable and that Plaintiff signed the agreement, respectively. Again, Plaintiff’s objections that these requests call for a legal conclusion, seek privileged information, or are harassing, are improper. Nor are the requests ambiguous because the term “Settlement Agreement” is unclear. The term is clearly set forth in the definitions at paragraph 4 and by reference to the exhibit attached to the Complaint. (Separate Statement, ¶4.)

Request No. 5 asks Defendant to admit that he breached the settlement agreement. Defendant again relies on the objections raised in Request Nos. 2-3, including objecting to the term “Settlement Agreement,” which the Court has already determined are without merit.

Request No. 6 asks Defendant to admit that he did not pay the “Guaranty Amount.” Defendant objects on the grounds that the meaning of Guaranty Amount is unclear. The term, however, is defined as “the total of any unpaid portion of the ‘Future Payment’ as stated in the Settlement Agreement. (Separate Statement, ¶9.) “Future Payment” is further defined in the Settlement Agreement as $10,000.00 from surcharges on additional fabric orders by M.R.R. Fabric to Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶6; Compl., Exh. A, § 4.1.) So, the Guaranty Amount is the unpaid portion of the $10,000.00 surcharges on additional fabric orders by M.R.R. Fabric to Plaintiff.

Request No.7 asks Defendant to admit that he did not make any “Guaranty Payments.” Defendant’s objection to the definition of “Guaranty Payments” tries to make a simple concept so complicated that the Request cannot be answered. Guaranty Payments, however, are simply those payments Defendant made towards the Guaranty Amount. (Separate Statement, ¶10.)

Request No. 9 asks Defendant to admit that he never inquired into the status of the orders required under the Settlement Agreement during the Purchase Period. Defendant response relies solely on generic and boilerplate objections that have already been addressed by the Court.

Request No. 10 asks Defendant to admit that owes Plaintiff $10,000.00 as the Guaranty Amount. Again, the definition of Guaranty Amount is clear and Defendant’s objection is without merit.

Request No. 11 asks Defendant to admit that he never communicated to Plaintiff that any performance under the Settlement Agreement was deficient. Defendant’s generic and boilerplate objections are overruled as explained above. Additionally, Defendant’s objection that the term undefined term “deficient” makes the Request ambiguous is without merit. Plaintiff is not required to define every lay term in the Request where the meaning is plain from ordinary usage.

Request No. 12 asks Defendant to admit that M.R.R. Fabric agreed to make the orders required under the Settlement Agreement. Defendant again uses meritless boilerplate and cut-and-paste objections as evidenced by reference to the term “deficient,” which is only used in Request No. 11.

Based on the foregoing, Defendant’s objections to Request for Admissions, Request Nos. 1-12 are overruled. Plaintiff is entitled to an order compelling Defendant’s further response to each Request at issue. Plaintiff is also entitled to an order for monetary sanctions, which are mandatory under Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.290, subdivision (d). Sanctions have been properly noticed but must be reduced under a lodestar calculation. Sanctions are awarded against Defendant in the amount of $1,780.00 based on four (4) hours attorney time billed at $445.00 per hour. (Motion, Barrett Decl., ¶¶8-9.)

Requests for Production

Plaintiff seeks to compel Defendant MCI’s further responses to Requests for Production, Nos. 3, 8-11, 18-19 and 22.

Request No. 3 asks Defendant to produce all documents “relating to your failure to make any and all guaranty payments.” Defendant again relies on boilerplate objections and his objection to the term Guaranty Payments. The Court has explained above why that these objections are improper. Nor is the request overbroad as Defendant contends because it does not specify the maker or recipient. Requests for production of documents are statutorily limited to documents in the possession, custody, or control of the party on whom the discovery is propounded. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.220.) Therefore, Defendant is not required to produce document that may exist anywhere, as he argues in opposition.

Similarly, Request Nos. 10 asks Defendant to produce all documents relating to his decision not to make Guaranty Payments; and Request No. 22 asks Defendant to produce all documents that refer to Plaintiff’s letters to Defendant regarding his obligation to make the Guaranty Payments. Defendant’s objections to these requests mirror those to Request No. 3 and are likewise overruled.

Request No. 8 asks Defendant to produce all documents “related to financial summaries, checks, wire transfers, balance sheets, ledgers, or charts sufficient to show payments” Defendant made to Plaintiff within the past five years. The category is described with more than reasonable specificity to allow Defendant to produce responsive documents that show what payments he made to Plaintiff over the past five years. The generic objections raised to this request are without merit.

Like Request No. 8, Request No. 19 more broadly asks Defendant to produce documents that reflect, performance of his obligations under the Settlement Agreement. Defendant reiterates his objections to this from Request No. 8 to this category of documents and the Court finds they are without merit. The specific objection that the term “obligations” is unclear is not persuasive. The obligations refer to the terms of the Settlement Agreement and are clearly articulated therein. (Compl., Exh. A at p. 7.) Defendant offers no explanation as to why his obligations under the Settlement Agreement are unclear.

Request No. 9 asks Defendant to produce all documents that refer to the Settlement Agreement that were created after its effective date. Request No. 11 asks Defendant to produce all documents that reflect his performance of his obligations under the Settlement Agreement. Finally. Request No. 18 asks Defendant to produce all documents that support his affirmative defenses. Defendant objects to both requests solely using generic objections that the Court has already addressed.

Based on the foregoing, Defendant’s objections to Request for Admissions, Request Nos. 3, 8-11, 18-19 and 22 are overruled. Plaintiff is entitled to an order compelling Defendant’s further response to each Request at issue. Plaintiff is also entitled to an order for monetary sanctions, which are mandatory under Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.290, subdivision (d). Sanctions have been properly noticed but must be reduced under a lodestar calculation. Sanctions are awarded against Defendant in the amount of $1,780.00 based on four (4) hours attorney time billed at $445.00 per hour. (Motion, Barrett Decl., ¶¶8-9.)

Conclusion

Plaintiff Royal Printex, Inc.’s (1) Motion for Order Compelling Defendant Nico N. Tabibi’s Further Responses to Request for Admission and Request for Sanctions; and (2) Motion for Order Compelling Defendant Nico N. Tabibi’s Further Responses to Request for Production of Documents, Set One, and Request for Sanctions are GRANTED. DEFENDANT IS TO SERVE VERIFIED RESPONSES WITHOUT OBJECTION WITHIN 20 DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER. DEFENDANT IS ORDERED TO PAY TOTAL SANCTIONS OF $3,560.00 TO PLAINTIFF’S COUNSEL WITHIN 20 DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER.

Moving party to give notice.

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