This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/17/2020 at 06:58:22 (UTC).

SOUTHWEST LAW CENTER, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION AKA SOUTHWEST LEGAL GROUP VS LUCERO MIRAMONTES, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 06/26/2019 SOUTHWEST LAW CENTER, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION AKA SOUTHWEST LEGAL GROUP filed a Property - Other Property Fraud lawsuit against LUCERO MIRAMONTES. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is WENDY CHANG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******6143

  • Filing Date:

    06/26/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Property Fraud

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

WENDY CHANG

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Cross Defendants

SOUTHWEST LAW CENTER A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION AKA SOUTHWEST LEGAL GROUP

SOUTHWEST LAW CENTER AKA SOUTHWEST LEGAL GROUP

SOUTHWEST LAW CENTER

LOPEZ JR. ANTHONY R.

Defendants

ACCIDENT CENTER

MIRAMONTES LUCERO

DISCOVERY DIAGNOSTICS INC.

Cross Plaintiff

DANIEL POWERS MD. INC. DBA DISCOVERY DIAGNOSTICS INC. A CORPORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Cross Defendant Attorneys

LOPEZ ANTHONY R JR.

SMITH JR. L. DEAN

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorney

GOLDSTEIN NEAL

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer)

8/12/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer)

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

7/31/2020: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

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

6/17/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

6/3/2020: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

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

Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment - Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment

2/13/2020: Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment - Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment

Summons - Summons on Amended Complaint (1st)

2/24/2020: Summons - Summons on Amended Complaint (1st)

Amended Complaint - Amended Complaint

2/24/2020: Amended Complaint - Amended Complaint

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant Daniel Powers, M.D. dba Discovery Diagnostics, Inc. 's Demurrer

1/21/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant Daniel Powers, M.D. dba Discovery Diagnostics, Inc. 's Demurrer

Reply (name extension) - Reply Reply in Support of Demurrers

1/27/2020: Reply (name extension) - Reply Reply in Support of Demurrers

Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment - Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment

12/12/2019: Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment - Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment

Request (name extension) - Request REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

12/12/2019: Request (name extension) - Request REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

10/15/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

10/24/2019: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

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

9/26/2019: Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

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

8/19/2019: Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Summons - Summons on Complaint

6/26/2019: Summons - Summons on Complaint

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

6/26/2019: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

24 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/29/2022
  • Hearing06/29/2022 at 10:30 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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  • 01/11/2021
  • Hearing01/11/2021 at 10:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

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  • 12/23/2020
  • Hearing12/23/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 08/12/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer)

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  • 08/12/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer) of 08/12/2020; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 08/12/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer scheduled for 08/12/2020 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 updated: Result Date to 08/12/2020; Result Type to Held

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  • 07/31/2020
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: SOUTHWEST LAW CENTER (Plaintiff); SOUTHWEST LAW CENTER, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION aka SOUTHWEST LEGAL GROUP (Cross-Defendant); As to: Daniel Powers, MD., Inc., (Cross-Complainant); LUCERO MIRAMONTES (Defendant); ACCIDENT CENTER (Defendant) et al. Service Cost: 77.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 07/16/2020
  • DocketReply TO DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO MOTION T STRIKE PUNITIVE DAMAGES; Filed by: SOUTHWEST LAW CENTER, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION aka SOUTHWEST LEGAL GROUP (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 07/10/2020
  • DocketOpposition to Motion to Strike Punitive Damages); Filed by: Daniel Powers, MD., Inc., (Cross-Complainant)

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  • 06/17/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by: Clerk

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32 More Docket Entries
  • 09/26/2019
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: SOUTHWEST LAW CENTER, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION aka SOUTHWEST LEGAL GROUP (Plaintiff); Service Cost: 50.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 08/19/2019
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: SOUTHWEST LAW CENTER, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION aka SOUTHWEST LEGAL GROUP (Plaintiff); As to: ACCIDENT CENTER (Defendant); Proof of Mailing Date: 08/16/2019; Service Cost: 62.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 07/02/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 12/23/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 07/02/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 06/29/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 07/02/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Wendy Chang in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 06/26/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: SOUTHWEST LAW CENTER, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION aka SOUTHWEST LEGAL GROUP (Plaintiff); As to: LUCERO MIRAMONTES (Defendant); ACCIDENT CENTER (Defendant); DISCOVERY DIAGNOSTICS, INC. (Defendant)

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  • 06/26/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: SOUTHWEST LAW CENTER, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION aka SOUTHWEST LEGAL GROUP (Plaintiff); As to: LUCERO MIRAMONTES (Defendant); ACCIDENT CENTER (Defendant); DISCOVERY DIAGNOSTICS, INC. (Defendant)

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  • 06/26/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: SOUTHWEST LAW CENTER, A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION aka SOUTHWEST LEGAL GROUP (Plaintiff); As to: LUCERO MIRAMONTES (Defendant); ACCIDENT CENTER (Defendant); DISCOVERY DIAGNOSTICS, INC. (Defendant)

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  • 06/26/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 06/26/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC06143    Hearing Date: August 12, 2020    Dept: 26

Southwest Law Center v. Miramontes, et al.

MOTION TO STRIKE

(CCP §§ 435, 436)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Southwest Law Center’s Motion to Strike is PLACED OFF CALENDAR. THIS CASE IS RECLASSIFIED AS AN UNLIMITED CIVIL CASE AND TRANSFERRED TO THE RECLASSIFICATION/TRANSFER DESK FOR COLLECTION OF FEES AND REASSIGNMENT OF THE CASE TO AN INDEPENDENT CALENDAR COURT. CROSS-COMPLAINANT TO PAY THE RECLASSIFICATION FEE WITHIN TEN (10) DAYS’ NOTICE OF THIS ORDER.

ANALYSIS:

On June 26, 2019, Plaintiff Southwest Law Center, a professional corporation, aka Southwest Legal Group (“Cross-Defendant”) filed the instant action for interpleader against Defendants Lucero Miramontes, Accident Center, and Discovery Diagnostics, Inc. On October 15, 2019, Defendant Discovery Diagnostics, Inc. (“Cross-Complainant”) filed a Cross-Complaint for (1) breach of contract; and (2) fraud and deceit. The Cross-Complaint seeks monetary damages of $58,476, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief. (Cross-Compl., Prayer for Damages.)

Discussion

Cross-Defendant Southwest Law Center moves to strike the request for punitive damages in the Cross-Complaint. The Court, however, must first address the assignment of this action to a court of limited jurisdiction. In its opposition to the Motion to Strike, Cross-Complainant includes a single footnote contending that the action is improperly classified due to its “inability to navigate properly the Court's efiling portal.” (Opp., p. 2, n. 1.) The Court points out that reclassification of this action could have been accomplished upon the filing of the Cross-Complaint had Cross-Complainant followed the instruction of Code of Civil Procedure section 403.030 by indicating on the face of the Cross-Complaint that this was an unlimited action and concurrently paying the reclassification fee. Neither of these steps having been followed, however, this case proceeded in the limited jurisdiction court for the past ten months without any objection from Cross-Complainant.

Nevertheless, under Code of Civil Procedure section 403.040, subdivision (a), the Court may reclassify an action at any time. The Court, therefore, reclassifies the instant action based on the relief sought in the Cross-Complaint, which exceeds that permitted in a court of limited jurisdiction. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 85-86.) Cross-Defendant makes no argument that this case should remain in the limited jurisdiction court.

THE HEARING ON THE MOTION TO STRIKE IS PLACED OFF CALENDAR. THIS CASE IS RECLASSIFIED AS AN UNLIMITED CIVIL CASE AND TRANSFERRED TO THE RECLASSIFICATION/TRANSFER DESK FOR COLLECTION OF FEES AND REASSIGNMENT OF THE CASE TO AN INDEPENDENT CALENDAR COURT. CROSS-COMPLAINANT TO PAY THE RECLASSIFICATION FEE WITHIN TEN (10) DAYS’ NOTICE OF THIS ORDER.

Case Number: 19STLC06143    Hearing Date: February 04, 2020    Dept: 26

Southwest Law Center v. Miramontes, et al

DEMURRER

(CCP §§ 430.31, et seq.)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Daniel Powers, M.D., Inc. dba v. Discovery Diagnostics, Inc.’s Demurrer to the First Amended Complaint is SUSTAINED WITH 20 DAYS’ LEAVE TO AMEND.

ANALYSIS:

On June 26, 2019, Plaintiff Southwest Law Center, a professional corporation, aka Southwest Legal Group (“Plaintiff”) filed the instant action for interpleader against Defendants Lucero Miramontes, Accident Center, and Discovery Diagnostics, Inc. On October 15, 2019, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint for the same cause of action against the same Defendants. On December 13, 2019, Defendants filed the instant Demurrer to the First Amended Complaint. Defendant Daniel Powers, M.D., Inc. dba v. Discovery Diagnostics, Inc. filed an opposition on January 21, 2020 and Plaintiff replied on January 27, 2020.

Discussion

The Court finds that the Demurrer is accompanied by a meet and confer declaration as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41. (Demurrer, Goldstein Decl., ¶¶3-5.) The First Amended Complaint alleges a single cause of action for interpleader. Specifically, the First Amended Complaint alleges that this matter arises out of a slip and fall accident involving Defendant Miramontes at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. (FAC, ¶5.) Following settlement of Defendant Miramontes’ claim by Oracle Arena’s insurer for $9,000.00, conflicting claims to the settlement proceeds were made by each Defendant. (Id. at ¶¶5-7.) Defendant Accident Center makes a claim in the amount of $9,050.00 and Defendant Discovery Diagnostics makes a claim in the amount of $4,250.00. (Id. at ¶6.) Plaintiff alleges that it is willing to deliver the net settlement funds after deduction of attorney’s fees and costs to the party legally entitled to those funds. (Id. at ¶8.) It further alleges that the net settlement funds after deduction of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs are $3,998.00. (Ibid.)

In demurring to the Complaint, Defendant Discovery Diagnostics contends that the First Amended Complaint fails to allege facts sufficient to state a cause of action. (Citing Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10, subds. (e).) In order to allege a cause of action for interpleader, Plaintiff must allege it has no interest in the funds. (Code Civ. Proc., § 386; State Farm Fire & Casualty Co. v. Pietak (2001) 90 Cal.App.4th 600, 614.) The demurrer argues that in seeking to deposit only a portion of the settlement funds with the Court, Plaintiff has alleged an interest in the remainder of the settlement funds it plans to withdraw for attorney’s fees and costs. Therefore, Defendant Discovery Diagnostics argues that Plaintiff is not merely a disinterested stakeholder, but an entity with a claim to the interpleader funds.

First, in order to allege an interpleader claim, Plaintiff must allege facts showing a reasonable probability of double vexation, or a valid threat of double vexation. (Westamerica Bank v. City of Berkeley (2011) 201 Cal.App.4th 598, 607-608.) Here, the First Amended Complaint does not allege facts showing a reasonable probability of double vexation. There are no facts alleged as to the relationship of Defendants Accident Center, and Discovery Diagnostics to the interpleader funds. (FAC, ¶6.) Plaintiff simply alleges that they have made conflicting demands to the settlement proceeds. (Ibid.) This is insufficient to allege a claim for interpleader. Without allegations regarding the basis of Defendants’ claims to the settlement proceeds, the Court cannot determine whether there is a reasonable probability of double vexation.

Second, while the total settlement proceeds are $9,000.00 Plaintiff claims it will only deposit the net settlement after deduction of its attorney’s fees and costs. Plaintiff, therefore, claims an interest in the settlement proceeds based on its attorney’s fees and costs. In opposition to the Demurrer, Plaintiff argues that an attorney lien has priority over all other liens, including medical liens. But there is nothing the First Amended Complaint to show that the basis of Defendant Discovery Diagnostic’s claim is a medical lien. Because the basis of Defendant Discovery Diagnostic’s claim is not alleged in the First Amended Complaint, this argument in opposition to the Demurrer improperly relies on facts outside of the pleading.

To the extent Plaintiff wishes to allege the existence and priority of its attorney lien, facts in support thereof must be fully alleged. Case law is clear that in order to establish the existence of the attorney lien, determine the lien amount, and enforce it, Plaintiff must bring a separate, independent action. (Southern California Gas Co. v. Flannery (2016) 5 Cal.App.5th 476, 494 (citing Carroll v. Interstate Brands Corp. (2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 1168, 1173).) There is no authority that allows Plaintiff to self-determine the validity and amount of the attorney lien, thereby finding it enforceable. These are issues that must be adjudicated.

Finally, Plaintiff argues that partial interpleader is allowed under the statute. The portion of the statute to which Plaintiff cites, however, pertains only to defendants: “A defendant, against whom an action is pending upon a contract, or for specific personal property, may, at any time before answer . .  . may file a verified cross-complaint in interpleader, admitting that he has no interest in such amount or such property claimed, or in a portion of such amount or such property . . . .” (Code Civ. Proc., § 386, subd. (a).) The case on which Plaintiff relies also pertains to a defendant insofar as it holds that partial interpleader is appropriate “where the obligor admits some liability but makes a partial claim or asserts a partial interest.” (City of Morgan Hill v. Brown (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 1114, 1123.) It does not make sense for a plaintiff to “admit some liability” nor does the First Amended Complaint allege that Plaintiff admits liability as to a part of the interpleader funds and that it is asserting a partial interest in those funds.

Based on the foregoing, the demurrer to the First Amended Complaint is sustained with leave to amend.

Conclusion

Defendant Daniel Powers, M.D., Inc. dba v. Discovery Diagnostics, Inc.’s Demurrer to the First Amended Complaint is sustained with 20 days’ leave to amend.

Moving party to give notice.