This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/16/2021 at 03:45:28 (UTC).

STEPHEN LEPLEY, ET AL. VS ROBERT CAMPBELL

Case Summary

On 03/02/2020 STEPHEN LEPLEY filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against ROBERT CAMPBELL. 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:

    *******2017

  • Filing Date:

    03/02/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

SERENA R. MURILLO

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

LEPLEY STEPHEN C.

LEPLEY CHRISTINE E.

Defendant

CAMPBELL ROBERT

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Defendant Attorney

SMITH MARC

 

Court Documents

Answer - Answer

8/28/2020: Answer - Answer

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees - Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

2/16/2021: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees - Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted - Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted

2/26/2021: Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted - Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition by Defendant to Plaintiffs' Motion to Deem the Truth of Matters Specified in RFA, Set One, Admitted and Conclusively Established

3/12/2021: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition by Defendant to Plaintiffs' Motion to Deem the Truth of Matters Specified in RFA, Set One, Admitted and Conclusively Established

Reply (name extension) - Reply to Defendant's Opposition to Motion to Deem the Truth of Matters Specified in Requests for Admission, Set One

3/17/2021: Reply (name extension) - Reply to Defendant's Opposition to Motion to Deem the Truth of Matters Specified in Requests for Admission, Set One

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Deem Request for Admissions Admitted)

3/25/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Deem Request for Admissions Admitted)

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

3/25/2021: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Motion for Summary Judgment - Motion for Summary Judgment

5/11/2021: Motion for Summary Judgment - Motion for Summary Judgment

Request for Judicial Notice - Request for Judicial Notice

5/11/2021: Request for Judicial Notice - Request for Judicial Notice

Separate Statement - Separate Statement

5/11/2021: Separate Statement - Separate Statement

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Robert Campbell (DEFENDANT ROBERT CAMPBELLS EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN DEFENDANTS FAVOR ON THE COMPLAINT, OR, IN THE ALTERNAT

5/11/2021: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Robert Campbell (DEFENDANT ROBERT CAMPBELLS EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN DEFENDANTS FAVOR ON THE COMPLAINT, OR, IN THE ALTERNAT

Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order in Support of Rescheduling Trial Date

6/10/2021: Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order in Support of Rescheduling Trial Date

Motion to Continue (name extension) - Notice of Motion and Ex Parte Motion to Continue Date of Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment; Memorandum of Points and Authorities In Support

6/28/2021: Motion to Continue (name extension) - Notice of Motion and Ex Parte Motion to Continue Date of Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment; Memorandum of Points and Authorities In Support

Motion to Continue (name extension) - Motion to Continue Date of Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support; Declaration of Stephen Lepley; Declaration of

6/29/2021: Motion to Continue (name extension) - Motion to Continue Date of Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment; Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support; Declaration of Stephen Lepley; Declaration of

Application (name extension) - Application for Ex Parte Hearing on Motion to Continue Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment

6/30/2021: Application (name extension) - Application for Ex Parte Hearing on Motion to Continue Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

7/1/2021: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition by Defendant Campbell to Plaintiffs' Exparte Application to Cont Hearing on Defs MSJ

7/1/2021: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition by Defendant Campbell to Plaintiffs' Exparte Application to Cont Hearing on Defs MSJ

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for Ex Parte Hearing on Motio...)

7/2/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for Ex Parte Hearing on Motio...)

42 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/19/2022
  • Hearing05/19/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 07/29/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Motion for Summary Judgment: Filed By: Robert Campbell (Defendant); Result: Denied; Result Date: 07/29/2021; As To Parties changed from Stephen C. Lepley (Plaintiff), Christine E. Lepley (Plaintiff) to Stephen C. Lepley (Plaintiff), Christine E. Lepley (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/29/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment;)

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  • 07/29/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment;) of 07/29/2021; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 07/29/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Summary Judgment scheduled for 07/29/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 updated: Result Date to 07/29/2021; Result Type to Held - Motion Denied

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  • 07/26/2021
  • DocketDeclaration of Christine Lepley in Authentication of Exhibits Included in Plaintiffs' Evidence in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment or in the Alternative Summary Adjudication; Filed by: Christine E. Lepley (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/26/2021
  • DocketDeclaration of Stephen Lepley in Authentication of Exhibits Included in Plaintiffs' Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment or in the Alternative Summary Adjudication; Filed by: Christine E. Lepley (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/23/2021
  • DocketReply ISO of Def Campbell's Motion for Summary Judgment on the Complaint; Filed by: Robert Campbell (Defendant)

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  • 07/23/2021
  • DocketObjection (Evidentiary) to Declaration of Stephen C. Lepley ISO of Plaintiff's Opposition; Filed by: Robert Campbell (Defendant)

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  • 07/23/2021
  • DocketObjection (Evidentiary) to Declaration of Christina Lepley ISO of Plaintiff's Opposition; Filed by: Robert Campbell (Defendant)

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56 More Docket Entries
  • 04/21/2020
  • DocketRequest for Entry of Default / Judgment; Filed by: Stephen C. Lepley (Plaintiff); Christine E. Lepley (Plaintiff); As to: Robert Campbell (Defendant)

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  • 04/01/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: Stephen C. Lepley (Plaintiff); As to: Robert Campbell (Defendant); Proof of Mailing Date: 03/06/2020; Service Cost: 106.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 03/03/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 03/06/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 03/03/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 08/30/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 03/03/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Serena R. Murillo in Department 26 Spring Street Courthouse

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  • 03/02/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 03/02/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 03/02/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Stephen C. Lepley (Plaintiff); Christine E. Lepley (Plaintiff); As to: Robert Campbell (Defendant)

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  • 03/02/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Stephen C. Lepley (Plaintiff); Christine E. Lepley (Plaintiff); As to: Robert Campbell (Defendant)

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  • 03/02/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Stephen C. Lepley (Plaintiff); Christine E. Lepley (Plaintiff); As to: Robert Campbell (Defendant)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STLC02017    Hearing Date: March 25, 2021    Dept: 26

Lepley, et al. v. Campbell, et al.

MOTION TO DEEM REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED

(CCP § 2033.280)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiffs Stephen C. Lepley and Christine E. Lepley’s Motion to Deem Requests for Admission Admitted and Request for Sanctions is ruled on as follows. THE REQUEST TO DEEM THE ADMISSIONS AGAINST DEFENDANT IS DENIED. THE REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS IS GRANTED JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY AGAINST DEFENDANT AND COUNSEL OF RECORD IN THE AMOUNT OF $129.50. SANCTIONS ARE TO BE PAID WITHIN 20 DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER.

ANALYSIS:

Plaintiffs Stephen C. Lepley and Christine E. Lepley (“Plaintiffs”) filed the instant action for breach of lease agreement against Defendant Robert Campbell (“Defendant”) on March 2, 2020. Following Defendant’s failure to file a responsive pleading, the Court entered his default on April 21, 2020. The Court granted Defendant’s motion to vacate on August 12, 2020 and the Answer was filed on August 28, 2020.

Plaintiffs filed the instant Motion to Deem to Requests for Admission Admitted and Request for Sanctions (“the Motion”) on February 26, 2021. Defendant filed an opposition on March 12, 2021 and Plaintiffs replied on March 17, 2021.

Discussion

Plaintiffs served Requests for Admissions on Defendant on December 19, 2020. (Motion, S. Lepley Decl., Exh. A.) At Defendant’s request, Plaintiffs extended the time to respond to February 12, 2021. (Id. at Exh. C.) On February 12, 2021, Defendant served responses without verification. (Id. at Exh. B.) Thereafter, Plaintiffs filed the instant Motion. In opposition, Defendant argues that the verification was inadvertently omitted and promptly served on March 1, 2021 upon receipt of this Motion. (Opp., Fuster Decl., ¶¶16-17 and Exh. 4.)

There is no requirement for a prior meet and confer effort before a motion to deem requests for admission can be filed. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280.) Further, the motion can be brought any time after the responding party fails to provide the responses. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280.) While the Court agrees that Plaintiffs should have reached out to Defendant regarding the missing verification prior to bringing this Motion, out of courtesy to the opposing party, no such action was required by the statute. Nor does the Court have discretion to ignore the mandate of the statute. The Court shall make an order “that the genuineness of any documents and the truth of any matters specified in the requests be deemed admitted, as well as for a monetary sanction” “unless it finds that the party to whom the requests for admission have been directed has served, before the hearing on the motion, a proposed response to the requests for admission that is in substantial compliance with Section 2033.220.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280, subds. (b), (c).)

The Court is satisfied that the verification provided by Defendant on March 1, 2021 corrected the failure to include it when the responses were initially served. While not attached to the opposition, Plaintiffs do not contend on reply that the verification was improper. (Reply, pp. 2:18-3:7.) Instead, Plaintiffs argue that the failure to provide a verification with the initial responses made this Motion proper. This is correct, but the statute specifically allows a party to correct non-compliant responses prior to the hearing date, as Defendant has done. (See Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280, subd. (c).)

Therefore, Plaintiff is not entitled to an order deeming the Requests for Admission admitted. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280.) However, sanctions are required under Code of Civil Procedure sections 2023.010, 2023.030 and 2033.280, and have been properly noticed. It does not appear that the sanctions sought are for attorney fees, which would be improper for a pro per litigant. Rather, Plaintiff’s seek $2,500.00 as a sanction and $129.50 as costs. (Motion, Lepley Decl., ¶¶11-12.)

Plaintiffs seek to sanction Defendant and counsel $2,500.00 for inadvertently failing to attach a verification to the responses. The Court does not find a monetary sanction in addition to costs is warranted for a simple mistake. Nor does the Court that sanctions should be imposed for Defendant’s “significant uncooperativeness” with discovery generally. (See id. at ¶12.) No statutory basis for sanctions for general lack of cooperation has been cited, nor does one exist to the Court’s knowledge. Sanctions under Code of Civil Procedure sections 2023.010 and 2023.030 must be brought in relation to a violation of a particular discovery statute. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.030 [“To the extent authorized by the chapter governing any particular discovery method or any other provision of this title, the court, after notice to any affected party, person, or attorney, and after opportunity for hearing, may impose the following sanctions . . . .”].)

Therefore, Plaintiffs are awarded sanctions of $129.50.

Conclusion

Plaintiffs Stephen C. Lepley and Christine E. Lepley’s Motion to Deem Requests for Admission Admitted and Request for Sanctions is ruled on as follows. THE REQUEST TO DEEM THE ADMISSIONS AGAINST DEFENDANT IS DENIED. THE REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS IS GRANTED JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY AGAINST DEFENDANT AND COUNSEL OF RECORD IN THE AMOUNT OF $129.50. SANCTIONS ARE TO BE PAID WITHIN 20 DAYS’ SERVICE OF THIS ORDER.

Moving party to give notice.

Case Number: 20STLC02017    Hearing Date: August 12, 2020    Dept: 26

Lepley, et al. v. Campbell, et al

MOTION TO VACATE ENTRY OF DEFAULT

(CCP § 473(b))

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Robert Campbell’s Motion to Vacate Entry of Default is GRANTED. DEFENDANT TO FILE AND SERVE THE ANSWER WITHIN 20 DAYS’ NOTICE OF THIS ORDER.

ANALYSIS:

Plaintiffs Stephen C. Lepley and Christine E. Lepley (“Plaintiffs”) filed the instant action for breach of lease agreement against Defendant Robert Campbell (“Defendant”) on March 2, 2020. Following Defendant’s failure to file a responsive pleading, the Court entered his default on April 21, 2020. Defendant filed the instant Motion to Vacate Entry of Default on April 30, 2020. Plaintiffs filed an opposition on May 18, 2020 and Defendant replied on August 5, 2020.

Discussion

Defendant seeks relief from the default entered on April 21, 2020 pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure, section 473, subdivision (b). Under this statute, an application for relief must be made no more than six months after entry of the order from which relief is sought and must be accompanied by an affidavit of fault attesting to the mistake, inadvertence, surprise or neglect of the moving party or its attorney. (Code Civ. Proc., § 473, subd. (b); English v. IKON Business Solutions (2001) 94 Cal.App.4th 130, 143.) Additionally, a copy of the proposed response to be submitted with the moving papers. (Code Civ. Proc.,§ 473, subd. (b).)

The Motion is timely brought six months after dismissal of the action and is supported by an attorney affidavit of fault. Defendant’s attorney declares that following substitute service of the Summons and Complaint on Defendant on March 6, 2020, Defendant mailed the papers to defense counsel’s office on March 20, 2020. (Motion, Smith Decl., ¶3.) Due to the COVID-19 stay at home order, however, defense counsel’s office location was closed and the attorneys were predominantly working remotely. (Id. at ¶4.) As a result, this matter fell through the cracks and a timely response was not filed. (Id. at ¶4.) Contrary to Plaintiffs’ contention in opposition, the Court finds this explanation sufficiently demonstrates that both Defendant and defense counsel were at fault in allowing the entry of default. Defense counsel allowed the case to “fall through the cracks” while it was closed, as indicated above. And Defendant himself failed to follow up with defense counsel regarding receipt of the Summons and Complaint after they were mailed on March 20, 2020. In combination, the neglect of both Defendant and defense counsel was responsible for the entry of default and supports an order vacating the entry of default.

In Benedict v. Danner Press (2001) 87 Cal.App.4th 923, the Court of Appeal addressed a request for relief from entry of default where the facts demonstrated fault by both the defendant and defense counsel. (Benedict v. Danner Press (2001) 87 Cal.App.4th 923, 927-932.) The Court of Appeal found that “[o]n its face, section 473, subdivision (b), does not preclude relief under the mandatory provision when default is entered as a result of a combination of attorney and client fault.” (Id. at 928-929.) Benedict is further relevant here because it also involved an attorney who was not retained until after entry of default. (Ibid.) Here, while it is unclear whether defense counsel was retained prior to entry of default, Plaintiffs argue that mandatory relief cannot be granted without evidence that defense counsel was retained before entry of default. The cases on which Plaintiffs rely for this rule, however, are addressed in Benedict and found to be inapplicable. (Id. at 931 [“Cisneros is not instructive because, in that case, as in Yeap, J.A.T. Entertainment and other cases, the default was not caused by the mistaken or neglectful conduct of both the attorney and the client, as is the case here.]”.)

Based on the foregoing, the Court finds that relief from the entry of default is warranted under Code of Civil Procedure section 473, subdivision (b). A copy of Defendant’s proposed answer is attached as Exhibit 3 to the Motion. Finally, Defendant’s objections to the declarations of Plaintiff Stephen Lepley and Chris Demirdjian are sustained for lack of relevance.

Conclusion

Defendant Robert Campbell’s Motion to Vacate Entry of Default is GRANTED. DEFENDANT TO FILE AND SERVE THE ANSWER WITHIN 20 DAYS’ NOTICE OF THIS ORDER.

Moving party to give notice.

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