This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 11/18/2020 at 09:17:13 (UTC).

VIDEO SYMPHONY, LLC VS JASON WHITTON

Case Summary

On 07/25/2019 VIDEO SYMPHONY, LLC filed a Contract - Debt Collection lawsuit against JASON WHITTON. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is ROBERT SCHUIT. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******8878

  • Filing Date:

    07/25/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Debt Collection

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

ROBERT SCHUIT

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Cross Defendants

VIDEO SYMPHONY LLC

FLANAGAN MICHAEL GERARD

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff

WHITTON JASON

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Cross Defendant Attorneys

FLANAGAN MICHAEL

FLANAGAN MICHAEL GERARD

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorney

BUTLER AIDAN WOODWARD

 

Court Documents

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Ruling on Submitted Matter) of 11/12/2020

11/12/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Ruling on Submitted Matter) of 11/12/2020

Minute Order - Minute Order (Ruling on Submitted Matter)

11/12/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Ruling on Submitted Matter)

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

11/5/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for [Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)]

9/22/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for [Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)]

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

9/22/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re Reassignment to Non-Collections Limited Jurisd...)

9/23/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re Reassignment to Non-Collections Limited Jurisd...)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re Reassignment to Non-Collections Limited Jurisd...) of 09/23/2020

9/23/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re Reassignment to Non-Collections Limited Jurisd...) of 09/23/2020

Cross-Complaint - Cross-Complaint

12/19/2019: Cross-Complaint - Cross-Complaint

Notice of Trial - Notice of Trial

12/19/2019: Notice of Trial - Notice of Trial

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Michael Flanagan Re: Meet and Confer Pursuant to CCP 430.41 and Notice of Automatic Extension of 30 Days Under CCP 430.41

1/21/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Michael Flanagan Re: Meet and Confer Pursuant to CCP 430.41 and Notice of Automatic Extension of 30 Days Under CCP 430.41

Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT OF DEFENDANT JASON WHITTON;

2/21/2020: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT OF DEFENDANT JASON WHITTON;

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

3/20/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

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

6/11/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

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

6/16/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Complaint - Complaint

7/25/2019: Complaint - Complaint

Summons - Summons on Complaint

7/25/2019: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

7/25/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Order to Show Cause Hearing/Trial Date (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.740) - Order to Show Cause Hearing/Trial Date (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.740)

7/25/2019: Order to Show Cause Hearing/Trial Date (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.740) - Order to Show Cause Hearing/Trial Date (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.740)

10 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/15/2021
  • Hearing04/15/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 11/12/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Ruling on Submitted Matter)

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  • 11/12/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Ruling on Submitted Matter) of 11/12/2020; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 11/05/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

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  • 11/05/2020
  • DocketHearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike scheduled for 11/05/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 updated: Result Date to 11/05/2020; Result Type to Held - Taken under Submission

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  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketCase reassigned to Spring Street Courthouse in Department 26 - Hon. Serena R. Murillo; Reason: Other

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  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketHearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike scheduled for 11/05/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 04/15/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Court Order Re Reassignment to Non-Collections Limited Jurisd...)

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  • 09/23/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re Reassignment to Non-Collections Limited Jurisd...) of 09/23/2020; Filed by: Clerk

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20 More Docket Entries
  • 12/19/2019
  • DocketUpdated -- Event scheduled for 07/30/2020 at 08:30 AM in Chatsworth Courthouse at Department F43 Type changed from Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service and Failure to File Default Judgment Pursuant to CRC 3.740 to Non-Jury Trial

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  • 12/18/2019
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Jason Whitton (Defendant); As to: Video Symphony, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/29/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service and Failure to File Default Judgment Pursuant to CRC 3.740 scheduled for 07/30/2020 at 08:30 AM in Chatsworth Courthouse at Department F43

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  • 07/29/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Robert Schuit in Department F43 Chatsworth Courthouse

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  • 07/25/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Video Symphony, LLC (Plaintiff); As to: Jason Whitton (Defendant)

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  • 07/25/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Video Symphony, LLC (Plaintiff); As to: Jason Whitton (Defendant)

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  • 07/25/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Video Symphony, LLC (Plaintiff); As to: Jason Whitton (Defendant)

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  • 07/25/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Hearing/Trial Date (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.740); Filed by: Clerk

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  • 07/25/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 07/25/2019
  • DocketThe case is placed in special status of: Collections Case (CCP 3.740)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19CHLC28878    Hearing Date: November 05, 2020    Dept: 26

Video Symphony, LLC v. Whitton, et al.

DEMURRER

(CCP §§ 430.31, et seq.)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Cross-Defendants Video Symphony, LLC and Michael Gerard Flanagan’s Demurrer to the Cross-Complaint is OVERRULED AS TO THE FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION AND SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND AS TO THE SECOND AND THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION.

ANALYSIS:

On July 25, 2019, Plaintiff Video Symphony, LLC (“VSLLC”) filed the instant action for breach of loan agreement against Defendant Jason Whitton (“Whitton”). On December 19, 2019, Whitton filed the Cross-Complaint against Cross-Defendants VSLLC and Michael Gerard Flanagan (“Flanagan”) (collectively “Cross-Defendants”) for (1) violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act; (2) unfair business practices; and (3) declaratory relief.

On February 21, 2020, Cross-Defendants filed the instant Demurrer to the Cross-Complaint. On September 9, 2020, Whitton filed an opposition and Cross-Defendants replied on October 15, 2020.

Discussion

The Demurrer demonstrates compliance with the requirements of Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41. The demurring party is required to meet and confer in person or telephonically at least five days before the responsive pleading is due. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a).) The Demurrer is accompanied by a declaration demonstrating a prior meet and confer effort. (Meet and Confer Decl., filed 1/21/20.)

Allegations in the Pleadings

VSLLC’s Complaint alleges that it is an assignee of Video Symphony EnterTraining, Inc., which was a TV, film and audio vocational college. (Compl., ¶¶2-3.) Whitton allegedly entered into an educational services contract and promissory note (“the Enrollment Agreement”) with VSE on March 10, 2011. (Id. at ¶¶4-5 and Exh. A.) VSE allegedly performed all obligations required under the Enrollment Agreement until Whitton’s graduation in May 2012. (Id. at ¶¶7-8 and Exh. B.) Whitton allegedly ordered optional equipment from VSE that was not included with the program and agreed to authorize VSE to apply his Federal Student Aid (“FSA”) funds toward payment for the items. (Id. at ¶9 and Exh. C.) In order to cover the balance of the program cost that was not covered by FSA and a down payment, Whitton allegedly signed two promissory notes. (Id. at ¶¶10-13 and Exhs. D-F.) Following VSE’s receipt of FSA and non-FSA payments, Whitton allegedly had an unpaid balance remaining on his student account. (Id. at ¶¶15-19 and Exhs. G-H.) VSLLC brings a single cause of action for breach of promissory note against Whitton and alleges the statute of limitations is six years under Civil Code section 3118. (Id. at ¶¶21-28.)

The Cross-Complaint alleges Whitton was persuaded to sign the two loan documents that falsely created the illusion that VSE had loaned him money for the program. (Cross-Compl., ¶¶8-9.) Whitton alleges that the false loan documents were to cover up a tuition credit from VSE and that in 2013, the Department of Education’s review of VSE reported systematic non-compliance with applicable Title IV regulations. (Id. at ¶¶10-12.) Despite being given an opportunity by the Department of Education to respond to the report, VSE and Flanagan never did so. (Id. at ¶¶13-15.) VSE was then compelled to involuntary bankruptcy. (Id. at ¶16.) Whitton brings claims for (1) violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”); (2) unfair business practices; and (3) declaratory relief against Cross-Defendants.

Demurrer to Cross-Complaint

Insofar as Whitton’s opposition does not address the second and third causes of action, the Court sustains the Demurrer to the those causes of action without leave to amend. The first cause of action for violation of the FDCPA is brought only against Flanagan. (Cross-Compl., p. 5:6-8.) Flanagan demurs to the first cause of action for failure to allege facts sufficient to state any cause of action. (Code Civ. Proc., §430.10, subd. (e).) The first cause of action broadly alleges that Flanagan violated the FDCPA by, including, but are not limited to, using false representations and deceptive, unfair and/or unconscionable means to collect a debt. (Cross-Compl., ¶19.) The Cross-Complaint goes on to specify that these debt collection means were violations of the FDCPA because the Complaint in this action was filed after the four-year statute of limitations for breach of promissory notes had run. (Id. at ¶20.) According to the Cross-Complaint, “Whitton’s breach well preceded four years before the July, 2019, filing of [VSLLC]’s lawsuit.” (Ibid.)

The Complaint, on the other hand, makes different allegations regarding the statute of limitations. Specifically, that Whitton was to make payments from May 20, 2012 to May 20, 2016 pursuant to the schedule in the loan documents. (Compl., Exh. D.) The date of breach, therefore, is alleged by the Complaint to be May 20, 2016 as of which Whitton had an outstanding balance on his student account. (Id. at ¶28.) The Demurrer reiterates the allegation in the Complaint that the cause of action for breach of promissory note is subject to a six-year statute of limitations under Civil Code section 3118. (See ibid.)

Due to the fact that the pleadings make contradictory allegations regarding the applicable statute of limitations, the Court cannot find that the Complaint is not barred by the statute of limitations without making a factual determination, which would inappropriate on demurrer. Resolution of the statute of limitations requires a determination of the date of Whitton’s alleged breach of the loan agreement, which is more suited to a motion for summary judgment.

Conclusion

Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendants Video Symphony, LLC and Michael Gerard Flanagan’s Demurrer to the Cross-Complaint is OVERRULED AS TO THE FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION AND SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND AS TO THE SECOND AND THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION.

Moving party to give notice.