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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/26/2019 at 15:20:02 (UTC).

AMIR MOSTAFAVI VS JOSE SERRATOS, ET AL

Case Summary

On 10/19/2015 AMIR MOSTAFAVI filed an Other - Arbitration lawsuit against JOSE SERRATOS. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is ELIZABETH ALLEN WHITE. The case status is Other.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8006

  • Filing Date:

    10/19/2015

  • Case Status:

    Other

  • Case Type:

    Other - Arbitration

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

ELIZABETH ALLEN WHITE

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Cross Defendants

MOSTAFAVI AMIR AN INDIVIDUAL

MOSTAFAVI AMIR

HERNANDEZ MIGUEL AN INDIVIDUAL

SERRATOS JOSE AN INDIVIDUAL

Defendants and Cross Defendants

HERNANDEZ MIGUEL AN INDIVIDUAL

MUGICA JOSE LUIS AN INDIVIDUAL

SERRATOS JOSE AN INDIVIDUAL

HERNANDEZ MIGUEL

MUGICA JOSE LUIS

SERRATOS JOSE

Defendant and Respondent

MUGICA JOSE LUIS AN INDIVIDUAL

Other

LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT-LIMITED JURIS.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Cross Defendant Attorneys

MOSTAFAVI LAW GROUP APC

MOSTAFAVI AMIR

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

KINGSLEY & KINGSLEY APC

KINGSLEY ERIC B. ESQ.

KINGSLEY ERIC BRYCE

 

Court Documents

Minute Order

4/6/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

10/10/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

1/14/2019: Minute Order

Minute Order

5/14/2019: Minute Order

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

10/19/2015: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

10/19/2015: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

Unknown

10/19/2015: Unknown

DEFENDANTS? PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY THE ACTION

10/19/2015: DEFENDANTS? PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY THE ACTION

PLAINTIFF?S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS? PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY THE ACTION

10/19/2015: PLAINTIFF?S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS? PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY THE ACTION

NOTICE OF APPEARANCE

10/19/2015: NOTICE OF APPEARANCE

- NOTICE OF CASE ASSIGNMENT - UNLIMITED CIVIL CASE

10/19/2015: - NOTICE OF CASE ASSIGNMENT - UNLIMITED CIVIL CASE

DECLARATION OF ERIC B. KINGSLEY IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS' PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY THE ACTION

11/13/2015: DECLARATION OF ERIC B. KINGSLEY IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS' PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY THE ACTION

DEFENDANTS? NOTICE OF RELATED CASE

11/20/2015: DEFENDANTS? NOTICE OF RELATED CASE

NOTICE OF DEFENDANTS' PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY THE ACTION

12/17/2015: NOTICE OF DEFENDANTS' PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY THE ACTION

Minute Order

12/1/2016: Minute Order

NOTICE OF PETITION AND PETITION TO CONFIRM ARBITRATION AWARD AND REQUEST FOR FEES AND COSTS OF $1,670.00 INCURRED TO CONFIRM AWARD (BUS. & PROF. CODE SECTION 6203); MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIE

6/22/2017: NOTICE OF PETITION AND PETITION TO CONFIRM ARBITRATION AWARD AND REQUEST FOR FEES AND COSTS OF $1,670.00 INCURRED TO CONFIRM AWARD (BUS. & PROF. CODE SECTION 6203); MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIE

DECLARATION OF ARI J. STILLER IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS' RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST TO VACATE ARBITRATION AWARD AND TO PLAINTIFF'S RESPONSE TO PETITION TO CONFIRM ARBITRATION AWARD

8/1/2017: DECLARATION OF ARI J. STILLER IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS' RESPONSE IN OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST TO VACATE ARBITRATION AWARD AND TO PLAINTIFF'S RESPONSE TO PETITION TO CONFIRM ARBITRATION AWARD

Minute Order

9/20/2017: Minute Order

57 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/25/2019
  • Objection (Objection to Plaintiff Amir Mostafavi's Proposed Order for Release of Funds Pursuant to Judgment); Filed by Jose Serratos (Defendant); Miguel Hernandez (Defendant); Jose Luis Mugica (Defendant)

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  • 05/14/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 48, Elizabeth Allen White, Presiding; Status Conference - Held

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  • 05/14/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/14/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 48, Elizabeth Allen White, Presiding; Status Conference - Held - Continued

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/14/2019
  • Minute Order ((Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/10/2018
  • at 08:31 AM in Department 48, Elizabeth Allen White, Presiding; Status Conference - Held - Continued

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/10/2018
  • Certificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (Status Conference) of 10/10/2018); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/10/2018
  • Minute Order ((Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/06/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 48; Status Conference (Status Conference; Matter continued) -

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  • 04/06/2018
  • Minute Order

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107 More Docket Entries
  • 10/19/2015
  • RECEIPT FOR TRANSMITTED RECORD

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  • 10/19/2015
  • NOTICE OF APPEARANCE

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  • 10/19/2015
  • Complaint; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 10/19/2015
  • REJECTION OF AWARD AND REQUEST FOR TRIAL AFTER ATTORNEY-CLIENT FEE ARBITRATION

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  • 10/19/2015
  • PLAINTIFF S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY THE ACTION

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  • 10/19/2015
  • NOTICE OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT - CIVIL

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  • 10/19/2015
  • NOTICE OF INCOMING TRANSFER

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  • 10/19/2015
  • DEFENDANTS PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY THE ACTION

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  • 10/19/2015
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Amir Mostafavi (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/19/2015
  • CIVIL DEPOSIT

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC598006    Hearing Date: July 29, 2020    Dept: 48

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: MOTION FOR POST-JUDGMENT INTEREST AND DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS FROM TRUST

Plaintiff Amir Mostafavi (“Plaintiff”) represented Defendants Jose Serratos, Miguel Hernandez, and Jose Luis Mugica (collectively, “Defendants”) in a different action, which settled in March 2014. The settlement funds are held in a trust account established at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machintinger LLP (“Greenberg Glusker Trust Fund”). Plaintiff and Defendants disputed the amount of attorney fees due to Plaintiff, eventually proceeding to nonbinding arbitration. Plaintiff then filed this action seeking a trial de novo, which was decided in a binding arbitration.

On August 23, 2017, the Court granted Defendants’ petition to confirm the arbitration award. On September 6, 2017, the Court entered judgment in favor of Defendants in the amounts of $31,900.12 for Jose Serratos, $31,900.12 for Miguel Hernandez, and $5,192.31 for Jose Luis Mugica.

Plaintiff appealed, and the Court of Appeal affirmed on May 28, 2019, awarding Defendants their costs on appeal. Defendants received their judgment principal. (Motion at p. 3; Stiller Decl. ¶¶ 16-17.) A writ of execution was issued on September 12, 2019, but the administrator of the Greenberg Glusker Trust Fund requested that Defendants get an order authorizing the interest to be released. (Motion at p. 3.)

On December 18, 2019, Defendants filed a motion for an order that Plaintiff pay post-judgment interest and for disbursement of funds from the Greenberg Glusker Trust Fund. After the Court denied a motion to file under seal, Defendants refiled the motion on January 16, 2020.

In opposing the motion, Plaintiff requests that the Court take judicial notice of a proposed order for release of funds filed by Plaintiff on June 21, 2019, and the Court’s September 18, 2019 minute order sustaining Defendants’ objection to the release of funds. The Court denies the request to take judicial notice because these documents are irrelevant to this motion.

Defendants seek interest in the amounts of $6,047.91 for Jose Serratos, $6,047.91 for Miguel Hernandez, and $984.41 for Jose Luis Mugica, calculated from entry of judgment on September 6, 2017 until the Court of Appeal remanded the case on July 30, 2019. (Motion at p. 3; Stiller Decl. ¶ 19.) “Interest accrues at the rate of 10 percent per annum on the principal amount of a money judgment remaining unsatisfied.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 685.010, subd. (a).) Post-judgment interest on a money judgment automatically accrues by force of law, regardless whether it explicitly declares as much. (Hernandez v. Siegel (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 165, 172.)

Plaintiff contends that Defendants have forfeited their entitlement to post-judgment interest for four reasons.

First, Plaintiff contends that although judgment was entered in favor of Defendants, the judgment did not identify who judgment was entered against. (Opposition at pp. 6-7.) Plaintiff provides no support for this argument that he is therefore not a judgment debtor, nor that this should preclude Defendants from collecting post-judgment interest. Moreover, as the only parties to this action, judgment in favor of Defendants necessarily is against Plaintiff.

Second, Plaintiff contends that Defendants are responsible for the failure to satisfy the judgment earlier because they did not request it from Plaintiff or the administrator of the Greenberg Glusker Trust Fund in September 2017. (Opposition at p. 7.) However, the funds could be released only “upon agreement by both Kingsley & Kingsley, APC and the Law Offices of Amir Mostafavi and/or an Order from an arbitrator or court who hears such dispute and orders the funds released based on the allocation decided in the Order.” (Stiller Decl., Ex. G-I [“Settlement Agreements”] ¶ 3.2.) Although the Court entered judgment, it did not order the funds released. Plaintiff’s appeal of the judgment indicated that he would not agree to the funds’ release. (See Ryan v. California Interscholastic Federation (2001) 94 Cal.App.4th 1033, 1040 [collecting cases finding that voluntary satisfaction of a judgment constitutes a waiver of the right to appeal].) And, with some specific exceptions, “the perfecting of an appeal stays proceedings in the trial court upon the judgment or order appealed from . . . including enforcement of the judgment or order.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 916, subd. (a).) Therefore, Defendants could not have sought receipt of the judgment earlier.

Third, Plaintiff contends that the writ of execution is defective because it must be served on the judgment debtor or the attorney, it was served on him but he is not the judgment debtor, and Defendants did not serve it on the administrator of the Greenberg Glusker Trust Fund. (Opposition at p. 8.) The Court rejects this for the same reasons discussed with Plaintiff’s first argument.

Finally, Plaintiff contends that enforcement of the judgment was not stayed pending appeal because neither Plaintiff nor the administrator of the Greenberg Glusker Trust Fund gave an undertaking under Code of Civil Procedure section 697.040. (Opposition at p. 8.) That section governs the effect such an undertaking and a stay of enforcement of judgment would have on liens. As discussed in connection with Plaintiff’s second argument, enforcement of the judgment was stayed during his appeal, and Defendants could not have sought release of the judgment then.

Defendants also request $543.50 in costs on appeal. (Motion at p. 4.) A prevailing party on appeal must file and serve a verified memorandum of costs within 40 days after issuance of remittitur. (California Rules of Court, rule 8.278(c)(1).) A party’s failure to file a timely memorandum of costs using the Judicial Council form Memorandum of Costs on Appeal waives and forfeits entitlement to costs. (Moulin Electric Corp. v. Roach (1981) 120 Cal.App.3d 1067, 1070; Eisenberg et al., Cal. Practice Guide: Civil Appeals and Writs (The Rutter Group Nov. 2019 Update) ¶¶ 14:97, 14:100.) Remittitur issued on July 30, 2019, and on August 12, 2019, Defendants served on Plaintiff a memorandum of costs on appeal. (Stiller Decl. ¶¶ 12-13 & Ex. F.) However, Defendants did not file it with the Court. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ request for their costs on appeal is denied.

Accordingly, the motion is GRANTED IN PART. The Court orders the administrator of the Greenberg Glusker Trust Fund to release $6,047.91 in interest for Jose Serratos, $6,047.91 in interest for Miguel Hernandez, and $984.41 in interest for Jose Luis Mugica. The Court denies Defendants’ request for their costs on appeal.

Moving party to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMCDEPT48@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit. Parties intending to appear are STRONGLY encouraged to appear remotely.

Case Number: BC598006    Hearing Date: January 14, 2020    Dept: 48

(1) MOTION TO SEAL;

(2) MOTION TO ORDER PAYMENT OF POST JUDGMENT INTEREST AND DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS FROM TRUST

MOVING PARTY: (1) & (2) Defendants Jose Serratos, Miguel Hernandez and Jose Luis Mugica

RESPONDING PARTY(S): (1) No opposition filed; (2) Plaintiff Amir Mostafavi

PROOF OF SERVICE:

ANALYSIS

Motion to Seal Documents

Defendants Jose Serratos, Miguel Hernandez and Jose Luis Mugica move to seal documents. Defendants have lodged conditionally under seal the following five documents: (1) Unredacted Motion to Order Plaintiff to Pay Post Judgment Interest And Disbursement of Funds From Trust Account; (2) Unredacted Declaration of Ari J. Stiller In Support of Defendants’ Motions To Order Plaintiff to Pay Post Judgment Interest and For Disbursement of Funds From Trust; (3) The Confidential Settlement Agreement for Jose Serratos; (4) The Confidential Settlement Agreement for Miguel Hernandez; and (5) The Confidential Settlement Agreement for Jose Luis Mugica.

The CRC Rules pertaining to motions to seal apply to settlement agreements. See, e.g., Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Superior Court (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 1273, 1283-84.

A motion seeking an order sealing the record must be accompanied by “a declaration containing facts sufficient to justify the sealing.” CRC Rule 2.551(b)(1)(bold emphasis and underlining added). Per CRC Rule 2.550(d), a court may order that a record be filed under seal “only if it expressly finds facts that establish” all of the following:

(Bold emphasis added.)

CRC Rule 2.550(e) provides:

(1) An order sealing the record must:

(A) Specifically state the facts that support the findings;

(B) Direct the sealing of only those documents and pages, or, if reasonably practicable, portions of those documents and pages, that contain the material that needs to be placed under seal. All other portions of each document or page must be included in the public file.

“A request to seal a document must be filed publicly and separately from the object of the request. It must be supported by a factual declaration or affidavit explaining the particular needs of the case.” In re Marriage of Lechowick (1998) 65 Cal.App.4th 1406, 1416 (bold emphasis and underlining added).

Unless confidentiality is required by law, court records are presumed to be open.” CRC Rule 2.550(c)(bold emphasis and underlining added). The trial court cannot rely solely on an agreement or stipulation of the parties as the basis for permitting records to be filed under seal. (Citations omitted.)” Savaglio v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 588, 600 (bold emphasis and underlining added).

Here, the motion to seal does not address each of the five aforementioned documents.

The fact that confidentiality is a term of the settlement, may support a finding that there is an overriding interest (first factor). However, Plaintiff has not demonstrated a substantial probability that the overriding interest will be prejudiced if the record is not sealed.

Indeed, the amount of a settlement has been held not to be confidential:

We are sympathetic to the student's situation as a young crime victim. However, we find no authority that the amount of money a person receives in judgment or court-approved settlement as the result of tortious conduct is confidential. The fact of a damage award, whatever size, is not in itself a private fact deserving protection and secrecy in public education is not in the public interest. The settlement amount is not a trade secret, within a privilege, or likely to place anyone in "clear and present danger of attack." (See Estate of Hearst, supra, 67 Cal. App. 3d 777, 784-785.) Nor is the amount itself the cause of the student's "mental anguish." Although a court is not powerless to seal portions of its records to protect litigants, it may do so only in exceptional circumstances upon a showing of compelling reasons. The student has not shown his interest in sealing the amount of the settlement, even temporarily, outweighs the public right of access to court records.

Copley Press v. Superior Court (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 367, 375-76 (bold emphasis added).

Moving party has not presented admissible evidence that the overriding interest will be prejudiced if the record is not sealed. Indeed, no evidence was submitted to articulate a specific showing of serious injury, nor that there is a substantial probability of prejudice, if the record is not sealed:

Defendant has not demonstrated any prejudice to its business interests if it is revealed the parties entered into the October 14, 1998, settlement agreement. No admissible evidence has been presented showing defendant will be harmed if the October 14, 1998, agreement or any of its nonfinancial terms are made public particularly in light of the 88 redactions which have deleted any reference to financial data. The fact the parties entered into the October 14, 1998, settlement agreement is a matter of public record. It is discussed in the complaint which is not sealed. It is discussed at length in the mandate petition filed in this case which is unsealed. Defendant has expressly indicated it is not seeking to seal its mandate petition. The mandate petition: refers 49 times to the October 14, 1998, arbitration and settlement agreement; by doing so, defendant identifies the parties to the agreement; explicitly states that a confidential arbitration has been going on before retired Superior Court Judge Eli Chernow since January 1999; on five different pages identifies the motion picture which gave rise to the dispute, “Private School”; explains Mr. Ben Efraim’s relationship to the dispute; and identifies a relative of Mr. Ben Efraim who has knowledge of some of the facts. Apart from the financial figures which have been redacted, the October 14, 1998 agreement is a routine settlement document. Defendant has presented no evidence that disclosure of any of the substantive provisions as distinguished from the redacted financial terms of the October 14, 1998, agreement will prejudice any legitimate confidential business practice. Finally, the arbitration which has been conducted in secret since January 1999, can continue out of the public eye.

To sum up, no substantial prejudice to the contractual obligation not to disclose has been proven. The heavily redacted October 14, 1998, agreement is not the same document presented to us. Defendant has failed to make any showing of prejudice to any of its legitimate commercial interests if the heavily redacted October 14, 1998, agreement is unsealed.

Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Superior Court (2003) 110 Cal.App.4th 1273, 1284 (bold emphasis added).

As such, the application to seal is DENIED.

Pursuant to CRC Rule 2.551(b)(6), Defendants must notify the court within 10 days of this order if the lodged record is to be filed unsealed. If Defendant does not notify the Court within 10 days of this order, the lodged record will be returned to Defendants. Id.

Motion to Order Plaintiff to Pay Post-Judgment Interest and For Disbursement of Funds from Trust

Given the ruling on the motion to seal, above, the hearing on the motion to order payment of post-judgment interest and for disbursement of funds from trust is CONTINUED to March 3, 2020. If the lodged record is not filed unseal by January 24, 2020, the motion to order payment of post-judgment interest and for disbursement of funds will be placed off-calendar.

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