This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/05/2020 at 09:02:23 (UTC).

WESCO INSURANCE COMPANY, A CORPORATION VS SCOTT BERGGREN, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 10/01/2019 WESCO INSURANCE COMPANY, A CORPORATION filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against SCOTT BERGGREN. 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:

    *******9069

  • Filing Date:

    10/01/2019

  • 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

WESCO INSURANCE COMPANY A CORPORATION

Defendants

BERGGREN SCOTT AKA SCOTT EDWARD BERGGREN DBA SPECIALIZED POOL CARE

AYALA JOHN

PLUMA PHIL

ROD MARY

GOULD RODNEY

AFSHANGOL MEHRI

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

PAGAN JOHN

Defendant Attorney

PETERS DUKE

 

Court Documents

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration In Support of Claim Against Funds Deposited With Court

8/5/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration In Support of Claim Against Funds Deposited With Court

Answer - Answer

7/15/2020: Answer - Answer

Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order to Set Aside Default

7/10/2020: Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order to Set Aside Default

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

6/26/2020: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

Request for Dismissal - Request for Dismissal

5/27/2020: Request for Dismissal - Request for Dismissal

Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service) - Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service)

5/14/2020: Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service) - Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service)

Reply (name extension) - Reply to Opposition to Motion to Deposit

4/24/2020: Reply (name extension) - Reply to Opposition to Motion to Deposit

Request for Judicial Notice - Request for Judicial Notice

4/6/2020: Request for Judicial Notice - Request for Judicial Notice

Memorandum (name extension) - Memorandum of Points and Authorities of Defendant Felipe Palma and Declaration of Duke Peters in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion To Deposit and Interplead Funds

4/6/2020: Memorandum (name extension) - Memorandum of Points and Authorities of Defendant Felipe Palma and Declaration of Duke Peters in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion To Deposit and Interplead Funds

Notice (name extension) - Notice Amended Notice of Motion to Deposit by Stakeholder

4/15/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice Amended Notice of Motion to Deposit by Stakeholder

Clerk's Application to Vacate and Order - Clerk's Application to Vacate and Order

2/18/2020: Clerk's Application to Vacate and Order - Clerk's Application to Vacate and Order

Motion re: (name extension) - Motion re: to Deposit by Stakeholder

1/28/2020: Motion re: (name extension) - Motion re: to Deposit by Stakeholder

Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

12/6/2019: Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

12/6/2019: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

10/29/2019: Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

10/30/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

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

10/1/2019: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

Complaint - Complaint

10/1/2019: Complaint - Complaint

26 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 10/04/2022
  • Hearing10/04/2022 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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  • 03/30/2021
  • Hearing03/30/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 01/20/2021
  • Hearing01/20/2021 at 09:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing - Other (name extension)

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  • 08/05/2020
  • DocketDeclaration In Support of Claim Against Funds Deposited With Court; Filed by: Felipe Palma, aka Phil Palma Erroneously Sued As Phil Pluma (Defendant)

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  • 08/05/2020
  • DocketDeclaration In Support of Claim Against Funds Deposited With Court; Filed by: John Ayala (Defendant)

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  • 07/15/2020
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: John Ayala (Defendant); As to: Wesco Insurance Company, a corporation (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/10/2020
  • DocketHearing - Other on Disbursement of Funds scheduled for 01/20/2021 at 09:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 07/10/2020
  • DocketStipulation and Order to Set Aside Default; Filed by: John Ayala (Defendant); As to: Wesco Insurance Company, a corporation (Plaintiff); Felipe Palma, aka Phil Palma Erroneously Sued As Phil Pluma (Defendant); John Ayala (Defendant)

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  • 07/10/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Stipulation and Order to Set Aside Default: Status changed from Filed to Signed and Filed

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  • 07/10/2020
  • DocketOn the Complaint filed by Wesco Insurance Company, a corporation on 10/01/2019, Default entered on 12/06/2019, Vacated - .

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39 More Docket Entries
  • 10/29/2019
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: Wesco Insurance Company, a corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Phil Pluma (Defendant); Service Date: 10/20/2019; Service Cost: 65.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 10/29/2019
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: Wesco Insurance Company, a corporation (Plaintiff); As to: John Ayala (Defendant); Service Date: 10/20/2019; Service Cost: 65.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 10/02/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 03/30/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 10/02/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 10/04/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 10/02/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Serena R. Murillo in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 10/01/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Wesco Insurance Company, a corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Scott Berggren (Defendant); Phil Pluma (Defendant); John Ayala (Defendant)

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  • 10/01/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Wesco Insurance Company, a corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Scott Berggren (Defendant); Phil Pluma (Defendant); John Ayala (Defendant)

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  • 10/01/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Wesco Insurance Company, a corporation (Plaintiff); As to: Scott Berggren (Defendant); Phil Pluma (Defendant); John Ayala (Defendant)

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  • 10/01/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 10/01/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC09069    Hearing Date: July 10, 2020    Dept: 26

MOTION TO DEPOSIT BY STAKEHOLDER, FOR DISCHARGE OF STAKEHOLDER, AND FOR ATTORNEY’S FEES

(CCP §§ 386, 386.5)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Wesco Insurance Company’s Motion to Deposit by Stakeholder, for Discharge of Stakeholder, and for Attorney’s Fees is CONDITIONALLY GRANTED. PLAINTIFF IS AWARDED $2,500.00 IN ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS. PLAINTIFF IS ORDERED TO DEPOSIT THE FUNDS OF $12,500 ($15,000 - $2,500) WITHIN TEN (10) DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THIS ORDER AS A CONDITION FOR GRANTING THIS MOTION.

TRIAL REMAINS SET FOR MARCH 30, 2021 AT 8:30 AM IN DEPARTMENT 26 IN THE SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

ANALYSIS:

On October 1, 2019, Plaintiff Wesco Insurance Company (“Plaintiff”) initiated this action for indemnity, reimbursement and interpleader against Defendants Scott Berggren Aka Scott Edward Berggren Individually and dba Specialized Poolcare (“Defendant Berggren”), Felipa Palma aka Phil Palma (erroneously sued as Defendant Pluma) (“Defendant Palma”) and John Ayala (“Defendant Ayala”). This action arose from a dispute over Bond No. 04-WB068582 (the “Bond”) in the penal sum of $15,000 for homeowner claimants or $7,500 for non-homeowner claimants. (Compl. ¶¶ 6, 24.) Pursuant to the Application and Indemnity Agreement, Defendant Berggren agreed to indemnify Plaintiff in exchange for the issuance of the Bond. (Id. ¶ 6.) Defendants Palma and Ayala allegedly made claims on the Bond and are named only on the third cause of action for interpleader.

Plaintiff then filed two Amendments to the Complaint naming Does 21 and 22 as Rodney Gould (“Defendant Gould”) and Mary Rod (“Defendat Rod”), respectively.

Defendant Palma answered on November 5, 2019. Default was entered against Defendants Berggren, Ayala and Gould on December 6, 2019. Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Deposit by Stakeholder, for Discharge of Stakeholder, and for Attorney’s Fees (the “Motion”) on January 28, 2020. Defendant Palma filed an Opposition to the Motion on April 6, 2020 and Plaintiff replied on April 24, 2020.

On May 7, 2020, Plaintiff added Mehri Afshangol as a defendant previously named Doe 23. Plaintiff also dismissed Defendant Rod on May 27, 2020. On June 18, 2020, Defendant Ayala filed a Stipulation to Vacate Default reached with Plaintiff whereby the default entered against him on December 6, 2019 would be vacated and he would be given 30 days to file an Answer. On June 26, 2020, Defendant Palma filed a second Opposition and the Court entered default against Defendant Afshangol.

Legal Standard

Interpleader is a procedure whereby a person holding money or personal property to which conflicting claims are being made by others, can join the adverse claimants and force them to litigate their claims among themselves. (Hancock Oil Co. v. Hopkins (1944) 24 Cal.2d 497, 508 (i.e., an escrow-holder who receives conflicting demands from the parties to the escrow regarding the funds or documents he or she holds); City of Morgan Hill v. Brown (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 1114, 1122.)

Once the stakeholder’s right to interplead is established, and he or she deposits the money or personal property in court, he or she may be discharged from liability to any of the claimants. This enables the stakeholder to avoid multiplicity of actions, and the risk of inconsistent results if each of the claimants were to sue him or her separately. (Cantu v. Resolution Trust Corp. (1992) 4 Cal.App.4th 857, 874; City of Morgan Hill, supra, 71 Cal.App.4th at 1122.)

“An interpleader action is traditionally viewed as two suits: one between the stakeholder and the claimants to determine the stakeholder's right to interplead, and the other among the claimants to determine who shall receive the funds interpleaded ... As against the stakeholder, claimants may raise only matters which go to whether the suit is properly one for interpleader; i.e., whether the elements of an interpleader action are present.” (State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Pietak (2001) 90 Cal.App.4th 600, 612.)

If the stakeholder is a defendant who claims no interest in the funds or property held, he or she need not file a cross-complaint interpleader in interpleader. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 386, subd. (a).) He or she may simply apply to the court for permission to deposit the money or property with the court clerk, and for an order discharging him or her from further liability to the adverse claimants. (Code Civ. Proc., § 386, subd. (a).) Such order will also substitute the adverse claimants as parties to the action; or, if only money is involved, simply dismiss the stakeholder. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 386, subd. (a), 386.5.) The motion must be supported by an affidavit by the stakeholder establishing the ground for interpleader. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 386, subd. (a), 386.5.) Notice of the motion must be served on each of the adverse claimants to the funds or property. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 386, subd. (a), 386.5.)

The stakeholder may seek reimbursement for its costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred.

(UAP-Columbus JV 326132 v. Nesbitt (1991) 234 Cal.App.3d 1028, 1036.) The court may order payment thereof out of the funds deposited by the stakeholder. (Ibid.) Ultimately, such payment may be charged to one or more of the adverse claimants in the final judgment. (Code Civ. Proc., § 386.6.)

Finally, the Court may issue an “order restraining all parties to the action from instituting or further prosecuting any other proceeding in any court in this state affecting the rights and obligations as between the parties to the interpleader until further order of the court.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 386, subd. (f).)

Discussion

Plaintiff moves to deposit the interpleader funds and be discharged from liability on the cause of action for Interpleader. Plaintiff has demonstrated that all claimants have been served with the Summons and Complaint, served with the instant motion, are in default, or were dismissed from the action. The Court also finds Plaintiff’s request to deposit the interpleader funds and be discharged from the interpleader cause of action to be proper. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 386 and 386.5.) Under Code of Civil Procedure section 386, “[w]hen a person may be subject to conflicting claims for money or property, the person may bring an interpleader action to compel the claimants to litigate their claims among themselves.” (City of Morgan Hill v. Brown (1999) 71 Cal.App.4th 1114, 1122.) “‘‘The purpose of interpleader is to prevent a multiplicity of suits and double vexation. [Citation.] ‘The right to the remedy by interpleader is founded, however, not on the consideration that a [person] may be subjected to double liability, but on the fact that he is threatened with double vexation in respect to one liability.’ [Citation.]’ [Citation.]” (Southern California Gas Company v. Flannery (2014) 232 Cal.App.4th 477, 487.)

Plaintiff’s counsel declares: “It is [Plaintiff’s] position that it does not know and cannot determine the respective merits of the remaining claimants which are conflicting claims against the subject bond.” (Motion, Pagan Decl., ¶ 8.) Defendant Palma’s opposition on the grounds that there are no remaining conflicting claims because all the remaining claimants have defaulted is unpersuasive. First, as noted above, Defendant Rod’s status is not settled. Furthermore, a determination on the propriety of interpleader is made based on the claims in the Complaint and does not change continually as the litigation evolves. In fact, there is no requirement that an interpleader plaintiff bring a motion or obtain an order prior to depositing the funds. (Code Civ. Proc., § 386, subd. (c).)

The subject matter of this action is a Contractor’s State License Bond in the amount of $15,000.00. (Id. at ¶2.) Upon deposit of the funds to the court, Plaintiff may be discharged from further liability. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 386.5, 386, subd. (f).) Accordingly, the Court also issues an order restraining all parties to the action from instituting or continuing to prosecute any other proceeding in any court in this state that would affect the parties’ rights and obligations as to the funds until further order of the Court. (Code Civ. Proc., § 386, subd. (f).)

Furthermore, the fees and costs sought by Plaintiff are proper. Plaintiff’s counsel has expended substantial attorneys’ fees and costs bringing this action and protecting itself from liability. Specifically, Plaintiff’s counsel filed the instant action and motion, served all Defendants, will appear at the instant hearing, will deposit the bond, and has sought to preserve the surplus funds. (Motion, Pagan Decl., ¶10 and Exh. 1.) Therefore, fees and costs are awarded in the amount of $2,500.00. (Ibid.) Plaintiff is to deposit the funds of $12,500.00 within 30 days of receipt of this order.

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s Motion to Deposit by Stakeholder, etc. is CONDITIONALLY GRANTED. PLAINTIFF IS AWARDED $2,500.00 IN ATTORNEY’S FEES AND COSTS. PLAINTIFF IS ORDERED TO DEPOSIT THE FUNDS OF $12,500 ($15,000 - $2,500) WITHIN TEN (10) DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THIS ORDER AS A CONDITION FOR GRANTING THIS MOTION.

TRIAL REMAINS SET FOR MARCH 30, 2021 AT 8:30 AM IN DEPARTMENT 26 IN THE SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

Moving party to give notice.