This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 01/15/2021 at 20:15:34 (UTC).

AAWESTWOOD LLC VS LIBERAL ARTS 677 BENEVOLENT FOUNDATION IN

Case Summary

On 04/02/2013 AAWESTWOOD LLC filed a Property - Other Real Property lawsuit against LIBERAL ARTS 677 BENEVOLENT FOUNDATION IN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are JAMES C. CHALFANT, DEBRE K. WEINTRAUB, RANDOLPH M. HAMMOCK and SAMANTHA JESSNER. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****4513

  • Filing Date:

    04/02/2013

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Real Property

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

JAMES C. CHALFANT

DEBRE K. WEINTRAUB

RANDOLPH M. HAMMOCK

SAMANTHA JESSNER

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs, Petitioners, Respondents and Appellants

AAWESTWOOD LLC

LAWRENCE M LEBOWSKY

WESTWOOD LAWYERS A PROFESSIONAL LAW CORPORATION

LIBERAL ARTS 677 BENEVOLENT FOUNDATION

ALL PERSONS UNKNOWN CLAIMING ANY LEGAL OR

DOES 1 THROUGH 5

LAWRENCE LEBOWSKY

Defendants, Respondents and Appellants

ALL PERSONS UNKNOWN CLAIMING ANY LEGAL OR

DOES 1 THROUGH 5

LIBERAL ARTS 677 BENEVOLENT FOUNDATION

ALL PERSONS UNKNOWN CLAIMING ANY LEGAL OR EQUITABLE TITLE TO REALTY

Not Classified By Court

JAMES BUFORD

LEE LINDA

ALDERSON ANITA

WESTWOOD LAWYERS

NEILLY MARCO

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff, Petitioner and Respondent Attorneys

COHEN LOTTIE

LEBOWSKY LAWRENCE M. ESQ.

Respondent and Defendant Attorneys

LEBOWSKY LAWRENCE M. ESQ.

LEBOWSKY LAWRENCE M.

 

Court Documents

Minute Order -

9/26/2018: Minute Order -

Brief - BRIEF SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER TO ENTER FEES ON JUDGMENT

7/16/2019: Brief - BRIEF SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER TO ENTER FEES ON JUDGMENT

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER)

9/3/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER)

Appeal - Notice of Filing of Notice of Appeal - APPEAL - NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL FOR NOTICE OF APPEAL, FILED 10/25/19

10/29/2019: Appeal - Notice of Filing of Notice of Appeal - APPEAL - NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL FOR NOTICE OF APPEAL, FILED 10/25/19

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - PROOF OF SERVICE (NOT SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT) "U2"

12/10/2019: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - PROOF OF SERVICE (NOT SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT) "U2"

Appellate Order Reinstating Appeal - APPELLATE ORDER REINSTATING APPEAL NOA:10/25/19 B302363

1/13/2020: Appellate Order Reinstating Appeal - APPELLATE ORDER REINSTATING APPEAL NOA:10/25/19 B302363

Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

1/31/2020: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

Substitution of Attorney

10/21/2020: Substitution of Attorney

PLAINTIFF AND CROSS- DEFENDANT AAWESTW000, LLC?S EX PARTE APPLICATION TO OBTAIN ORDER SHORTENING TIME TO HEAR ITS MOTION TO COMPEL AND TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND PRETRIAL DISCOVERY AND OTHER PRETRIAL DATES

5/21/2014: PLAINTIFF AND CROSS- DEFENDANT AAWESTW000, LLC?S EX PARTE APPLICATION TO OBTAIN ORDER SHORTENING TIME TO HEAR ITS MOTION TO COMPEL AND TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND PRETRIAL DISCOVERY AND OTHER PRETRIAL DATES

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFF AAWESTWOOD'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT; ETC

12/11/2014: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFF AAWESTWOOD'S SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT; ETC

NOTICE OF COURT'S RULING GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION

1/15/2015: NOTICE OF COURT'S RULING GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION

DEFENDANT AND CROSS-COMPLAINANT LIBERAL ARTS 677 BENEVOLENT FOUDATION?S TRIAL BRIEF

2/6/2015: DEFENDANT AND CROSS-COMPLAINANT LIBERAL ARTS 677 BENEVOLENT FOUDATION?S TRIAL BRIEF

Minute Order -

2/9/2015: Minute Order -

Minute Order -

5/18/2015: Minute Order -

DEFENDANT AND CROSS? COMPLAINANT LIBERAL ARTS 677 BENEVOLENT FOUNDATION, INC.'S REQUEST FOR CLARIFICATION OF THE TENTATIVE RULING

6/15/2015: DEFENDANT AND CROSS? COMPLAINANT LIBERAL ARTS 677 BENEVOLENT FOUNDATION, INC.'S REQUEST FOR CLARIFICATION OF THE TENTATIVE RULING

RECEIPT FOR EXHIBITS/RECORDS

9/9/2015: RECEIPT FOR EXHIBITS/RECORDS

NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL (UNLIMITED JURISDICTION)

6/21/2016: NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL (UNLIMITED JURISDICTION)

NOTICE OF DEFAULT (UNLIMITED CIVIL APPEALS)

8/11/2016: NOTICE OF DEFAULT (UNLIMITED CIVIL APPEALS)

211 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 10/21/2020
  • DocketSubstitution of Attorney; Filed by Aawestwood, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/22/2020
  • DocketReporter Appeal Transcripts; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/19/2020
  • DocketAppeal - Original Clerk's Transcript 5 Volumes Certified (for Notice of Appeal, filed 10/25/19, "U2"); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/17/2020
  • DocketSubstitution of Attorney; Filed by Aawestwood, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/09/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 47, Randolph M. Hammock, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Order (MOTION FOR ORDER TO DETERMINE AMOUNT OF UNDERTAKING TO EXTINGUISH NOTICE OF CREDITOR'S LIEN) - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

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  • 02/11/2020
  • DocketAppeal - Notice of Fees Due for Clerk's Transcript on Appeal (10/25/19 B302363); Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/03/2020
  • Docketat 2:30 PM in Department 47, Randolph M. Hammock, Presiding; Ruling on Submitted Matter

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  • 02/03/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Ruling on Submitted Matter) of 02/03/2020, Final Ruling dated 2/03/2020); Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/03/2020
  • DocketFinal Ruling-Motion for Order to Determine Amount of Undertaking; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/03/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Ruling on Submitted Matter)); Filed by Clerk

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389 More Docket Entries
  • 04/02/2013
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Aawestwood, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/02/2013
  • DocketMinute order entered: 2013-04-02 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/02/2013
  • DocketMinute Order

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  • 04/02/2013
  • DocketU1LUSILIUIL O1 KTSPUR1I)T1 I LIBERAL ARTS 677 BENEVOLENT FOUNDATION, INC. TO EX PARTE PPLICATION OF AA WEST WOOD, LCC FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER OR ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE, PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION AND PERMANENT INJUNCTION; SUPPORTING LEMORANDUM OF POINTS

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  • 04/02/2013
  • DocketOpposition Document; Filed by Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation, (Defendant)

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  • 04/02/2013
  • DocketPLAINTIFF AAWESTWOOD, LLCS EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER, AND IN ALTERNATIVE ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION, DECLARATIONS OF COHEN AND TAMAYO, PROPOSED ORDER

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  • 04/02/2013
  • DocketPLAINTIFF AAWESTWOOD, LLCS VERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR QUIET TITLE OF PARKING COVENANT

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  • 04/02/2013
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 04/01/2013
  • DocketOrder; Filed by Court

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  • 03/09/2005
  • DocketOpposition Document; Filed by Aawestwood, LLC (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC504513    Hearing Date: May 14, 2021    Dept: 47

Tentative Ruling
Judge Theresa M. Traber, Department 47
HEARING DATE: May 14, 2021 JUDGMENT: August 17, 2015
CASE:  AA Westwood, LLC v. Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation, Inc.
CASE NO.:  BC504513
 
(1) MOTION FOR REASONABLE ATTORNEY FEES ON APPEAL;
(2) MOTION FOR POST JUDGMENT COSTS; (3) MOTION TO TAX COSTS
 
MOVING PARTY: (1)-(2) Defendant/Cross-Complainant Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation, Inc.; (3) Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant AA Westwood, LLC
RESPONDING PARTY(S): (1)-(2) Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant AA Westwood, LLC; (3) Defendant/Cross-Complainant Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation, Inc. 
CASE HISTORY:
04/02/13: Complaint filed.
05/02/13: Cross-Complaint filed.
06/30/14: First Amended Complaint filed.
11/07/14: Second Amended Complaint filed without leave of court; Barbara Haines, individually, and as Trustee of Daniel Haines and Barbara Revocable 1986 Trust substituted in as Doe 1.
02/10/15: Second Amended Complaint ordered stricken.
08/17/15: Judgment entered.
06/20/16: Notice of appeal filed.
08/17/18: Remittitur filed.
02/21/19: Attorney’s fees awarded to Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation.
02/28/19: Notice of appeal filed by AAWestwood from fee award.
03/05/19: Writ of execution filed by Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation.
03/29/19: AAWestwood’s appeal placed in default.
04/23/19: Cross-appeal filed by Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation.
05/29/19: AAWestwood’s motion for relief from default granted.
08/09/19: Cross-appeal abandoned by Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation.
12/12/19: Cross-appeal by Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation dismissed.
01/13/20: Cross-appeal by Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation reinstated.
01/13/21: Remittitur filed.
STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTS AND/OR PROCEEDINGS:
This was a quiet title action seeking to enforce a parking covenant that gave rise to an easement allegedly running in favor of Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant/Judgment Debtor AAWestwood, LLC’s (“Plaintiff’s”) benefitted parcel against Defendant/Cross-Complainant/Judgment Creditor Liberal Arts 877 Benevolent Foundation, Inc.’s (“Defendant’s”) burdened parcel.  The covenant at issue was an easement and right to use six parking spaces in rear of Defendant’s building for the benefit of Plaintiff’s tenants.  Defendant purported to terminate the parking covenant unilaterally.
Defendant filed a cross-complaint alleging that it never entered into any covenant and that the form including the covenant was recorded contrary to an agreement between Plaintiff’s predecessor and Defendant.  
Judgment was entered in August 2015, and Defendant was awarded attorney’s fees as the prevailing party in February 2019.  Plaintiff appealed, and Defendant prevailed on appeal.
 
Defendant now seeks an award of its attorney’s fees on appeal. Defendant also moves for post-judgment costs, and Plaintiff moves to tax those costs. 
TENTATIVE RULING:
Defendant Liberal Arts 877 Benevolent Foundation, Inc.’s motion for attorney fees on appeal is GRANTED in the amount of $55,000, representing the reasonable amount of fees incurred on appeal.
Defendant’s motion for post-judgment costs is GRANTED IN PART in the amount of $583.51.
Plaintiff AAWestwood, LLC’s motion to tax costs is GRANTED IN PART. Defendant’s costs are taxed in the amount of $133,966.50.
DISCUSSION:
Motion for Attorney Fees on Appeal
Defendant Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation, Inc., as the prevailing party on appeal, moves for an award of attorney fees incurred on appeal of $64,823.50 plus a 1.5 lodestar multiplier ($32,411.75), for a total of $97,235.25, plus costs of $72.75 for filing this motion. In its reply, Defendant requests an additional $8,502 in fees and $548 in costs for having a court reporter at the hearing.
//
Plaintiff’s Allegedly Overlength Memorandum
Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s memorandum is overlength because, when combined with her declaration, the eight-page memorandum exceeds 22 pages. The problem with this argument is that the page limit for memoranda “does not include . . . declarations.” (CRC 3.1113(d).) Arguing that Plaintiff’s declaration “consists almost entirely of legal argument” does not transform it into a memorandum – it means that the declaration will be given little weight, if any, to the extent that it merely consists of argument. In any event, Defendant’s argument – that the Court should disregard part of the declaration simply on the basis that the memorandum is overlength when the declaration is added to it – is entirely without merit. The Court has considered Plaintiff’s entire memorandum and has given the declaration its due weight.
Timeliness
A motion for attorney fees on appeal must be served and filed within 40 days after the clerk sends notice of the remittitur. (CRC Rule 3.1702(c)(1), 8.728(c)(1).)
Here, the notice of remittitur was issued on January 13, 2021. This motion was filed and served on February 22, 2021, 40 days after the remittitur was sent. Thus, the motion is timely.
Contractual Basis for Fees
Defendant seeks fees under Civil Code § 1717, which provides, in relevant part:
In any action on a contract, where the contract specifically provides that attorney's fees and costs, which are incurred to enforce that contract, shall be awarded either to one of the parties or to the prevailing party, then the party who is determined to be the party prevailing on the contract, whether he or she is the party specified in the contract or not, shall be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees in addition to other costs.
(Civil Code § 1717(a), bold emphasis added.)
Here, the underlying agreement between the parties provided for the recovery of attorney fees by the prevailing party:
Attorney’s Fees. If any party to this agreement brings an action or proceeding to enforce the terms hereof or declare rights hereunder, the prevailing party in any such proceeding, action or appeal thereon, shall be entitled to full reimbursement of all attorney’s fees reasonably incurred, regardless of court fee schedules. Such fees may be awarded in the same suit or recovered in a separate suit, whether or not such action or proceeding is pursued to decision or judgment.
(Motion, at p. 8, bold emphasis added.) 
This Court previously found that Defendant was the prevailing party “on the contract” for purposes of attorney’s fees. (Final Ruling, 2/21/2019, at p. 6.) Thus, if Defendant was the prevailing party on appeal, it is entitled to attorney fees under Civil Code § 1717.
Prevailing Party Determination
The Court of Appeal affirmed this Court’s award of attorney fees to Defendant. (Remittitur, at p. 2.) Thus, Defendant was the prevailing party on appeal – a point that Plaintiff does not dispute. Indeed, the Court of Appeal held that Defendant was “entitled to recover costs on appeal, including reasonable attorney fees pursuant to contract.” (Remittitur, at p. 17.)
Reasonable Amount of Fees
The determination of reasonable amount of attorney’s fees is within the sound discretion of trial courts. (PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095; Akins v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co. (2000) 79 Cal.App.4th 1127, 1134.) “The determination of what constitutes a reasonable fee generally ‘begins with the ‘lodestar,’ i.e., the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate . . . .’” (Graciano v. Robinson Ford Sales, Inc. (2006) 144 Cal.App.4th 140, 154.) “[T]he lodestar is the basic fee for comparable legal services in the community; it may be adjusted by the court based on factors including, as relevant herein, (1) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, (2) the skill displayed in presenting them, (3) the extent to which the nature of the litigation precluded other employment by the attorneys, (4) the contingent nature of the fee award….”  (Ibid.) In setting the hourly rate for a fee award, courts are entitled to consider the “fees customarily charged by that attorney and others in the community for similar work.” (Bihun v. AT&T Info. Sys., Inc. (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 976, 997 [affirming rate of $450 per hour], overruled on other grounds by Lakin v. Watkins Associated Indus. (1993) 6 Cal.4th 644, 664.)  The burden is on the party seeking attorney’s fees to prove the reasonableness of the fees. (Center for Biological Diversity v. County of San Bernardino (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 603, 615.) Reasonable fees incurred in bringing a motion for attorney’s fees are also recoverable. (McKenzie v. Ford Motor Co. (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 695, 703 [“The fees incurred in preparing a motion for fees are properly includable in the award.” (citing Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1133)].)
The Court has broad discretion in determining the amount of a reasonable attorney’s fee award, which will not be overturned absent a “manifest abuse of discretion, a prejudicial error of law, or necessary findings not supported by substantial evidence.” (Bernardi v. County of Monterey (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 1379, 1393-1394.)  The Court need not explain its calculation of the amount of attorney’s fees awarded in detail; identifying the factors considered in arriving at the amount will suffice. (Ventura v. ABM Indus. Inc. (2012) 212 Cal.App.4th 258, 274-275.) 
Here, the Court finds that counsel’s hourly rates ranging from $370 to $490 are reasonable, as is hourly rate of $185 for paralegal work. (Declaration of Lawrence M. Lebowsky ¶ 2.) Plaintiff’s argument that reasonable hourly rates would correspond to the rates Plaintiff pays its counsel and paralegal is without merit.
Although counsel’s rates are reasonable, the Court finds that certain hours expended were excessive. For example, in June 2020, Attorney Adelstein billed over 20 hours related to the brief that was being prepared at that time. (Lebowsky Decl., Exh. 1, at p. 38.) Over the same time period, Attorney Khang billed well over 30 hours related to the same brief. (Id., at pp. 27-28.) While it is to be expected that one attorney’s work will be reviewed by another, if both attorneys are billing at $370 to $450, not including additional hours for review of this work at an hourly rate of $490, the time involved is less reasonable. Further, the Court finds that the amount of hours spent on the reply brief is excessive.  To account for the unwarranted time, the Court reduces the loadstar amount and finds that Defendant has expended reasonable fees in the amount of $62,223.50, plus litigation costs of $72.75 for the filing fee.  
Utilizing a lodestar approach, and in view of the totality of the circumstances, the Court finds that the total and reasonable amount of attorney’s fees and costs incurred for the work performed on appeal is $62,296.25. The Court declines to award any lodestar multiplier, as the Court does not view this case as warranting the application of a multiplier to the lodestar amount.
Accordingly, Defendant’s motion for attorney’s fees is GRANTED in the amount of $62,296.25.
Motion for Post-Judgment Costs
Defendant seeks post-judgment enforcement costs in the amount of $3,467.86.
A judgment creditor is entitled to the “reasonable and necessary costs of enforcing a judgment.” (CCP § 685.040.) Attorney’s fees incurred in enforcing a judgment are only “included as costs collectible under this title if the underlying judgment includes an award of attorney’s fees to the judgment creditor” under CCP § 1033(a)(10(A). (CCP § 685.040.) Defendant does not seek attorney’s fees in this motion; Defendant’s cost item that seeks attorney’s fees is discussed below, in the context of Plaintiff’s motion to tax costs.
In this motion, Defendant seeks the following costs:
Court fees for downloading copies of documents from Court files ($25.40)
Court reporter fees for post-judgment hearings ($2,822.70)
Court fees for e-filing law and motion documents ($222.95)
Attorney service to deliver courtesy copies to courtroom ($309.83)
Federal express costs ($25.33)
Plaintiff’s overall challenge to Defendant’s ability to seek post-judgment costs is without merit, as Plaintiff is attempting to relitigate the Court’s previous decision denying Plaintiff’s motion to strike the memorandum of costs and this motion without filing a timely motion for reconsideration under CCP § 1008. 
Plaintiff’s overall challenge to Defendant’s motion on the ground that the stay of enforcement prevented Defendant from defending against Plaintiff’s attempts to strike the judgment liens is also without merit. “When there is a stay of proceedings other than enforcement of the judgment, the trial court shall have jurisdiction of proceedings related to the enforcement of the judgment as well as any other matter embraced in the action and not affected by the judgment or the order appealed from.” (CCP § 916(b).) To the extent that Plaintiff was able to continue to file motions under the Enforcement of Judgments Law, Defendant could incur costs in opposing those motions. Plaintiff cites no authority to the contrary.
As to Plaintiff’s challenges to the specific cost items, the Court rules as follows:
Costs for downloading documents ($25.40)
The Court finds that these costs are reasonable. Plaintiff argues only that there is “no such eligible costs anywhere in the CCP or case law.” (Oppo., at p. 5.) Even items not specifically mentioned in CCP § 1033.5, however, “may be allowed or denied in the court’s discretion.” (CCP § 1033.5(c)(4).) Plaintiff has made no attempt to show that these particular costs are unreasonable. The Court finds that they were reasonably necessary to the enforcement efforts.
Court reporter fees for post-judgment hearings ($2,822.70)
Costs for transcripts not ordered by the court are allowable only when expressly authorized by law. (CCP § 1033.5(b)(5).) 
Plaintiff correctly notes that Defendant has made no showing that this expense was incurred in connection with court-ordered transcripts or that this expense is otherwise justified. Accordingly, the Court declines to award these costs either under CCP § 1033(b)(5) or CCP § 1033(c)(4).
E-Filing Costs ($222.95), Attorney Service Costs ($309.83), Federal Express ($25.33)
The Court finds that these costs were reasonably necessary to the enforcement efforts and therefore awards them in the Court’s discretion. (CCP § 1033.5(c)(4).)
Accordingly, the motion is GRANTED IN PART in the amount of $583.51.
Motion to Tax Costs
Timeliness
In a repeat of a previous occurrence, although Plaintiff served this motion in a timely manner based on the Court’s previous rulings, it was not filed until April 19, 2021 due to an error in Plaintiff’s filing. Defendant is correct that this was late, but not for the reason Defendant gives. Rather, it was late because the Court had given Plaintiff until April 15, 2021 to file the motion. (Minute Order, 3/29/21.) Although the Court may refuse to consider a late-filed paper (CRC 3.1300(d)), the Court will consider the motion, especially given that Defendant was served in a timely manner.
//
Evidentiary Objections
In another repeat occurrence, Defendant has raised objections to the Declarations of Attorney Lottie Cohen in support of the motion. Defendant has not, however, cited any authority requiring the Court to rule on evidentiary objections in the context of a motion to tax costs. The Court is still unaware of any such authority outside of the context of a motion for summary judgment or an anti-SLAPP motion, as it was when Defendant last raised evidentiary objections in the context of a similar motion. Accordingly, the Court declines to rule on Defendant’s evidentiary objections and has considered the Declaration as appropriate.
Alleged Formatting Violations
Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s memorandum is overlength. Although Plaintiff’s memorandum has extra lines on certain pages that do not correspond to numbers, it is not clear that it would go beyond the fifteen-page limit if properly formatted. Though Plaintiff is cautioned that all filings are expected to comply with the Court’s formatting rules, the Court has considered the entirety of Plaintiff’s memorandum.
Analysis
At the outset, Plaintiff moves to strike Defendant’s entire memorandum of costs on the ground that the Court erred when it previously denied Plaintiff’s motion to strike the entire memorandum of costs and the motion for post-judgment costs discussed above. Plaintiff has not filed any timely motion for reconsideration of that ruling under CCP § 1008, and the Court declines to reconsider that ruling on its own motion. 
On a motion to tax costs, “the verified memorandum of costs is prima facie evidence of their propriety, and the burden is on the party seeking to tax costs to show they were not reasonable or necessary.” (Ibid.) Where the fees listed in the Memorandum of Costs appear proper on their face, the burden is on the party challenging those costs to show that they were unreasonable or unnecessary. (Ladas v. California State Auto Ass’n (1993) 19 Cal.4th 761, 774-776.)
Item No. 1.a(7) (Attorney Fees).
Aside from her argument that Defendant’s entire memorandum of costs is untimely, Plaintiff appears to seek to tax only Item No. 1.a(7) for $133,966.50 in attorney fees incurred to enforce the 2/21/2019 final ruling.
Attorney’s fees incurred in enforcing a judgment are only “included as costs collectible under this title if the underlying judgment includes an award of attorney’s fees to the judgment creditor” under CCP § 1033(a)(10(A). (CCP § 685.040.) Here, Defendants were awarded their attorney’s fees in the underlying judgment following their first successful appeal, but not under CCP § 1033(a)(10)(A). As Plaintiff notes, the award of attorney’s fees was pursuant to Civil Code § 1717. (Sanai v. Saltz (2009) 170 Cal.App.4th 746, 781 [characterizing a similar request for fees as an “improper attempt to recover attorney fees not authorized by Code of Civil Procedure section 685.070”].)
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion to tax costs is GRANTED.  Defendant’s costs are taxed in the amount of $133,966.50.
Defendant to give notice, unless waived.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated:   May 14, 2021 ___________________________________
Theresa M. Traber
Judge of the Superior Court
Any party may submit on the tentative ruling by contacting the courtroom via email at Smcdept47@lacourt.org by no later than 4:00 p.m. the day before the hearing.  All interested parties must be copied on the email.  It should be noted that if you submit on a tentative ruling the court will still conduct a hearing if any party appears. By submitting on the tentative you have, in essence, waived your right to be present at the hearing, and you should be aware that the court may not adopt the tentative, and may issue an order which modifies the tentative ruling in whole or in part.

Case Number: BC504513    Hearing Date: March 22, 2021    Dept: 47

Tentative Ruling
Judge Theresa M. Traber, Department 47
HEARING DATE: March 22, 2021 JUDGMENT: August 17, 2015
CASE:  AA Westwood, LLC v. Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation, Inc.
CASE NO.:  BC504513
 
(1) MOTION TO COMPEL JUDGMENT CREDITOR TO PROVIDE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF SATISFACTION OF JUDGMENT;
(2) APPLICATION TO STRIKE LIBERAL ARTS’ MEMORANDUM OF COSTS AFTER JUDGMENT AND MOTION FOR AWARD OF POST JUDGMENT COSTS AS UNTIMELY
 
MOVING PARTY: (1)-(2) Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant/Judgment Debtor AA Westwood, LLC
RESPONDING PARTY(S): (1)-(2) Defendant/Cross-Complainant/Judgment Creditor Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation, Inc. 
CASE HISTORY:
04/02/13: Complaint filed.
05/02/13: Cross-Complaint filed.
06/30/14: First Amended Complaint filed.
11/07/14: Second Amended Complaint filed without leave of court; Barbara Haines, individually, and as Trustee of Daniel Haines and Barbara Revocable 1986 Trust substituted in as Doe 1.
02/10/15: Second Amended Complaint ordered stricken.
08/17/15: Judgment entered.
06/20/16: Notice of appeal filed.
08/17/18: Remittitur filed.
02/21/19: Attorney’s fees awarded to Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation.
02/28/19: Notice of appeal filed by AAWestwood from fee award.
03/05/19: Writ of execution filed by Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation.
03/29/19: AAWestwood’s appeal placed in default.
04/23/19: Cross-appeal filed by Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation.
05/29/19: AAWestwood’s motion for relief from default granted.
08/09/19: Cross-appeal abandoned by Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation.
12/12/19: Cross-appeal by Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation dismissed.
01/13/20: Cross-appeal by Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation reinstated.
01/13/21: Remittitur filed.
STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTS AND/OR PROCEEDINGS:
This was a quiet title action seeking to enforce a parking covenant (an easement and right to use six parking spaces in rear of Defendant/Cross-Complainant/Judgment Creditor Liberal Arts 877 Benevolent Foundation, Inc.’s (“Defendant’s”) building for the benefit of Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant/Judgment Debtor AAWestwood, LLC’s (“Plaintiff’s”) tenants) allegedly running in favor of Plaintiff’s benefitted parcel against Defendant’s burdened parcel. Defendant unilaterally purported to terminate the parking covenant.
Defendant filed a cross-complaint alleging that it never entered into any covenant and that the form including the covenant was recorded contrary to an agreement between Plaintiff’s predecessor and Defendant.  
Judgment was entered in August 2015, and Defendant was awarded attorney’s fees as the prevailing party in February 2019.
 
Plaintiff now seeks to compel Defendant to provide an acknowledgment of satisfaction of judgment. Plaintiff also moves to strike Defendant’s memorandum of costs and its motion for an award of post-judgment costs. 
TENTATIVE RULING:
Plaintiff/Judgment Debtor AAWestwood, LLC’s motion to compel Defendant/Judgment Creditor Liberal Arts 877 Benevolent Foundation, Inc. to provide acknowledgment of satisfaction of judgment is DENIED.
Plaintiff’s request for damages and penalty in the amount of $8,160 against Defendant is DENIED.
Defendant’s request for fees, which are mandatory under CCP § 724.080, is GRANTED IN PART in the amount of $5,197.50 (4 hours @ $490/hour, 8 hours @ $370/hour, and 1.45 hours @ 185/hour), representing the reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in connection with this opposition.
Plaintiff’s application for an order striking Defendant’s memorandum of costs after judgment and its motion for award of post judgment costs as untimely is DENIED.
Plaintiff may file a motion to tax costs no later than April 8, 2021.
//
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DISCUSSION:
Evidentiary Objections as to Both Motions
Defendant has raised 36 objections to the Declarations of Attorney Lottie Cohen in support of the motion and application at issue. Defendant has not, however, cited any authority requiring the Court to rule on evidentiary objections in the context of a motion to compel acknowledgment of satisfaction of judgment or an application (or motion) to strike a memorandum of costs. The Court is unaware of any such authority outside of the context of a motion for summary judgment or an anti-SLAPP motion. Accordingly, the Court declines to rule on Defendant’s evidentiary objections and has considered the Declarations as appropriate.
Motion to Compel Judgment Creditor to Acknowledge Satisfaction of Judgment
Timeliness
Although Plaintiff served this motion in a timely manner on February 24, 2021, it was not filed until March 2, 2021 due to an error in Plaintiff’s filing that caused it to be rejected. Here, although the Court may refuse to consider a late-filed paper (CRC 3.1300(d)), the Court will consider the motion, especially given that Defendant was served in a timely manner.
Formatting Violations
Defendant argues that this motion “appears to be an overlength brief.” (Oppo., at p. 2 n.1.) It is true that Plaintiff should have consecutively numbered all pages and also should have included a table of authorities, given that the memorandum is over 10 pages. (CRC 3.1113(f), (h). However, the page limit does not include the “caption page, the notice of motion and motion,” or the “table of contents.” (CRC 3.1113(d).) Here, excluding those portions of Plaintiff’s filing, it is within the 15-page limit, though the Court recognizes that Plaintiff’s extensive single-spaced block quotes push the limit of what is acceptable under CRC 2.108(c). In any case, the Court has considered the entirety of Plaintiff’s moving papers.
Analysis
Plaintiff moves to compel Defendant to provide an acknowledgement of full satisfaction of judgment in this case. Alternatively, Plaintiff seeks permission to provide the full amount of the judgment to the Court in satisfaction of the judgment.
Plaintiff has sent several cashier’s checks to Defendant purporting to satisfy the judgment in full. However, Defendant argues that Plaintiff has not satisfied the judgment in full because it “has not accepted payment for the balance due on the 2019 Judgment, and all amounts due for attorneys’ fees and interest pursuant to the 2019 Judgment remain due and outstanding,” given that Defendant sent all of the checks back. (Oppo., at p. 5.)
Defendant is correct that tendering the cashier’s checks did not satisfy the judgment by “payment” under CCP § 724.010. (Oppo., at p. 9.) A money judgment may be satisfied by “payment of the full amount required to satisfy the judgment or by acceptance by the judgment creditor of a lesser sum in full satisfaction of the judgment.” (CCP § 724.010(a).) However, “[w]here a money judgment is satisfied by payment to the judgment creditor by check or other form of noncash payment that is to be honored upon presentation by the judgment creditor for payment, the obligation of the judgment creditor to give or file an acknowledgment of satisfaction of judgment arises only when the check or other form of noncash payment has actually been honored upon presentation for payment.” (CCP § 724.010(c), bold emphasis added.) As Defendant notes, it returned the checks, and therefore they were never “honored upon presentation for payment.” The fact that Defendant agreed to accept a cashier’s check rather than cash or another form of payment does not mean that Defendant is required to accept any cashier’s check in any amount as full satisfaction of the judgment.
Plaintiff essentially argues, however, that it fully satisfied the judgment by tendering payment, even if Defendant did not ultimately accept the payment and returned the checks. It is true that a judgment may be satisfied by tender of payment, in full or in part, on the date “satisfaction is actually received by the judgment creditor.” (CCP § 685.030(d)(1), bold emphasis added.) This statutory provision applies to the cessation of interest by satisfaction of judgment, however, not satisfaction of judgment for all purposes:
(b) If a money judgment is satisfied in full other than pursuant to a writ under this title, interest ceases to accrue on the date the judgment is satisfied in full.
(c) If a money judgment is partially satisfied . . . , interest ceases to accrue as to the part satisfied on the date the part is satisfied.
(d) For the purposes of subdivisions (b) and (c), the date a money judgment is satisfied in full or in part is the earliest of the following times:
(1) The date satisfaction is actually received by the judgment creditor.
(2) The date satisfaction is tendered to the judgment creditor or deposited in court for the judgment creditor.
(3) The date of any other performance that has the effect of satisfaction.
(e) The clerk of a court may enter in the Register of Actions a writ of execution on a money judgment as returned wholly satisfied when the judgment amount, as specified on the writ, is fully collected and only an interest deficit of no more than ten dollars ($10) exists, due to automation of the continual daily interest accrual calculation.
(CCP § 685.030(b)-(d), bold emphasis added.) Indeed, this very distinction was recently addressed by the Second District in a case cited by both parties here:
Currency argues that the definition of judgment satisfaction prescribed by section 685.030 for interest cessation should apply to postjudgment costs motions as well. No principle or authority supports the argument. We think the better rule is that described in Runyon, which like the instant case involved a post-judgment motion that had to be made before the judgment was “satisfied in full.” A judgment is not satisfied for purposes of postjudgment motions until the judgment creditor has been paid.
This rule makes sense from a policy standpoint as well. Sections 685.030, 685.080 and 883, pertaining respectively to interest cessation, postjudgment costs, and postjudgment contribution, vest a measure of control over postjudgment charges in the party to be charged. Section 685.030 enables a judgment debtor to limit its liability for postjudgment interest by tendering satisfaction of the judgment, whether or not the creditor chooses to accept the tender. Section 883 enables a judgment co-debtor to retain the option of seeking contribution so long as the debtor chooses not to satisfy his or her portion of the judgment, and provides a measure of insulation (30 days) should the judgment otherwise be satisfied. Section 685.080 enables a creditor to recoup its postjudgment costs notwithstanding an unperfected tender by filing its motion before accepting the tender. In each case the rights of the party at risk are insulated from unilateral acts of third parties over whom it may have no control.
This rule also works no mischief on the judgment debtor, who could unilaterally avoid further postjudgment costs simply by delivering cash.
In conclusion, satisfaction of a judgment for purposes of interest cessation does not satisfy the judgment for all purposes. In the context of a postjudgment motion for costs, the judgment is not satisfied until the judgment creditor has been paid. Because Wertheim has not yet been paid, its judgment remains unsatisfied, and its postjudgment motion, which otherwise was brought within two years of the costs having been incurred, was timely. The order denying Wertheim's motion on untimeliness grounds is therefore reversed and the matter is remanded to the trial court for determination of the motion on its merits.
(Wertheim, LLC v. Currency Corp. (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 1124, 1134–1135.)
Here, as in Wertheim, Plaintiff tendered payment to Defendant, which limited its liability for postjudgment interest under CCP § 685.030. In addition, however, as in Wertheim, full or partial satisfaction of the judgment for this purpose did not satisfy the judgment for purposes of a postjudgment motion for costs, given that Defendant was not paid.
For purposes of Plaintiff’s demand for acknowledgment of satisfaction of judgment under CCP § 724.050, the money judgment must have been satisfied first. (CCP § 724.050.) For purposes of that section, as noted above, when payment is made by check, the “obligation of the judgment creditor to give or file an acknowledgment of satisfaction of judgment arises only when the check . . . has actually been honored upon presentation for payment.” (CCP § 724.010(c).) This has not occurred in this case.
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion to compel Defendant to provide an acknowledgment of satisfaction of judgment is DENIED.
Alternatively, Plaintiff seeks permission to provide the full amount of the judgment to the Court in satisfaction of the judgment pursuant to CCP § 685.030(d). Even if granted, however, this would not have the effect Plaintiff seeks, which is an order “stating the amount ceased the accrual of interest as of December 2, 2020.” (Motion, at p. 14.)
CCP § 685.030(d) provides, in relevant part, that the date a money judgment is satisfied in full or in part is the “earliest” of the “date satisfaction is tendered to the judgment creditor or deposited in court for the judgment creditor.” (CCP 685.030(d)(2).) Here, as discussed above, Plaintiff already tendered satisfaction to Defendant. Any date on which Plaintiff would deposit funds in court would necessarily be later than that date.
Accordingly, Plaintiff’s alternative request to provide the full amount of the judgment to the Court is DENIED.
Plaintiff’s Request for Damages and Penalty
Plaintiff also seeks damages and a penalty totaling $8,160.00, consisting of attorneys’ fees of $8,000, a $100 penalty, and the $60 filing fee for this motion.
The statutory basis cited by Plaintiff in support of this request provides, in relevant part:
If the judgment has been satisfied and the judgment creditor fails without just cause to comply with the demand [to acknowledge satisfaction of the judgment] within the time allowed, the judgment creditor is liable to the person who made the demand for all damages sustained by reason of such failure and shall also forfeit one hundred dollars ($100) to such person. Liability under this subdivision may be determined in the proceedings on the motion pursuant to subdivision (d) or in an action.
(CCP § 724.050(e).)
Here, as discussed above, Defendant has not failed without just cause to acknowledge satisfaction of the judgment. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s request for damages and a penalty is DENIED.
Defendant’s Request for Fees
Defendant requests reasonable attorneys’ fees as the prevailing party on this motion based on CCP § 724.080, which provides that “[i]n an action or proceeding maintained pursuant to this chapter, the court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.”
Defendant’s request for fees, which are mandatory under CCP § 724.080, is GRANTED IN PART in the amount of $5,197.50 (4 hours @ $490/hour, 8 hours @ $370/hour, and 1.45 hours @ 185/hour), representing the reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in connection with this opposition.
Application for Order Striking Memorandum of Costs and Motion for Award of Postjudgment Costs
Formatting Violations
As with the motion discussed above, Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s application is overlength. The Court has considered the entire application, for the reasons discussed in connection with the motion above.
Analysis
For the reasons discussed in connection with the motion to compel acknowledgment of satisfaction of the judgment, Defendant’s motion for award of postjudgment costs is not untimely, because the judgment has not been fully satisfied for purposes of such a motion.
Plaintiff also argues that the memorandum of costs and the motion for an award of postjudgment costs should be stricken on the grounds of improper service because they were not served personally or by mail. (Application at p. 8.) As Defendant notes, however, as of the date when the memorandum of costs and the motion were filed (February 16, 2021), represented parties were required to accept electronic service when a document may be served by mail. (CCP § 1010.6(e)(1).)
Accordingly, the application to strike the memorandum of costs and the motion for award of postjudgment costs is DENIED.
As the Court stated in its Minute Order setting this ex parte application for hearing, Plaintiff was given until April 1, 2021 to file a motion to tax costs. The Court now extends the date to file a motion to tax costs to April 8, 2021.
Moving party to give notice, unless waived.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Dated:   March 22, 2021 ___________________________________
Theresa M. Traber
Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: BC504513    Hearing Date: January 31, 2020    Dept: 47

AA Westwood, LLC v. Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation, Inc.

 

MOTION FOR ORDER TO DETERMINE AMOUNT OF UNDERTAKING TO EXTINGUISH NOTICE OF CREDITOR’S LIEN

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff AA Westwood, LLC

RESPONDING PARTY(S): Defendant Liberal Arts 677 Benevolent Foundation, Inc.

STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTS AND/OR PROCEEDINGS:

This was a quiet title action seeking to enforce a parking covenant (easement and right to use six parking spaces in rear of Defendant/Cross-Complainant’s (“Defendant’s”) building for the benefit of Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant’s (“Plaintiff’s”) tenants) allegedly running in favor of Plaintiff’s benefitted parcel against Defendant’s burdened parcel. Defendant unilaterally purported to terminate the parking covenant.

Defendant filed a cross-complaint alleging that Defendant never entered into any covenant, and that the form including the covenant was recorded contrary to an agreement between Plaintiff’s predecessor and Defendant.

Judgment was entered in August 2015, and Defendant was awarded attorney’s fees as the prevailing party in February 2019.

Plaintiff now seeks an order to determine the amount of undertaking to extinguish notice of a creditor’s lien.

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff AAWestwood, LLC’s motion for order to determine amount of undertaking to extinguish notice of creditor’s lien is DENIED.

DISCUSSION:

On February 21, 2019, this Court granted the Foundation’s motions for attorney’s fees, resulting in an enforceable money judgment in its favor in the amount of $280,000. On February 27, 2019, the Foundation filed a Notice of Lien against AAWestwood in another pending action, AAWestwood v. Haines, BC630802, which is pending in Department 71 of this Court and in which AAWestwood sued the prior owner of the property at issue in this case. On February 28, 2019, AAWestwood appealed this Court’s judgment.

On April 11, 2019, according to the Foundation, AAWestwood and Haines entered into a “secret” settlement agreement in which Haines agreed to pay AAWestwood $30,000. (Declaration of Lawrence M. Lebowsky, Exh. 2.) AAWestwood has twice filed a motion to authorize the settlement, with the latest motion to be heard in Department 71 on February 3, 2020. With that motion, AAWestwood seeks to prevent Department 71 from ordering the proceeds paid to the Foundation pursuant to the Notice of Lien. With this motion, AAWestwood seeks to provide an undertaking so that this Court will extinguish the lien.

AAWestwood has pointed to no authority under which it would be appropriate for the Court to take this action. As elucidated in the Foundation’s opposition, CCP § 697.040 provides that “[i]f enforcement of the judgment is stayed on appeal by the giving of a sufficient undertaking under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 916) of Title 13: (1) Existing liens created under this division are extinguished.” (CCP § 697.040(a)(1). Here, however, AAWestwood did not give an undertaking to stay enforcement of the appeal. The Court is aware of no authority that would allow it to determine that AAWestwood could provide an undertaking of $30,000 (or any other amount) at this stage to extinguish an existing lien.

Accordingly, the motion is DENIED.

Moving party to give notice.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Dated: January 31, 2020 ___________________________________

Randolph M. Hammock

Judge of the Superior Court

Any party may submit on the tentative ruling by contacting the courtroom via email at Smcdept47@lacourt.org by no later than 4:00 p.m. the day before the hearing.  All interested parties must be copied on the email.  It should be noted that if you submit on a tentative ruling the court will still conduct a hearing if any party appears. By submitting on the tentative you have, in essence, waived your right to be present at the hearing, and you should be aware that the court may not adopt the tentative, and may issue an order which modifies the tentative ruling in whole or in part

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