On 12/16/2016 AMIR REJAEI, filed a Contract - Debt Collection lawsuit against BRYAN SIEGEL, . This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is NANCY L. NEWMAN. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
NANCY L. NEWMAN
PLUSH PROPERTIES LLC
NATIONWIDE CONSULTING INC.
BUNDOVA AN INDIVIDUAL TEREZIA
SAMOSKA WILLIAM M.
RICHMAN STEVEN NORMAN
EPPORT RICHMAN & ROBBINS
WOHRLE JOSEPH PATRICK
WOHRLE JOSEPH P.
ROSSMAN ADAM S.
6/28/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF NAMI R. KANG IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS' APPLICATION FOR ORDER FOR PUBLICATION
8/14/2019: Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt
8/16/2019: Notice - JOINT DISCOVERY STATEMENT FOR INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE
6/25/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Notice of Motion
8/8/2018: Stipulation - No Order - For Leave to Allow Plantiffs to File A Second Amended Complaint
8/9/2018: Separate Statement - Opposing Motion to Compel Responses to Special Interrogatories Set Two
8/15/2018: Reply - In Support of Motion to Compel
9/21/2018: Motion to Compel -
10/18/2018: Motion to Strike (not initial pleading) - MOTION TO STRIKE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT
11/16/2018: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice
11/27/2018: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice
12/14/2018: Minute Order - Minute Order (Defendant Plush Properties, Inc.'s Motion to Strike Punitive ...)
12/14/2018: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for Minute Order (Defendant Plush Properties, Inc.'s Motion to Strike Punitive ...) of 12/14/2018
1/25/2019: Notice - Notice JOINT DISCOVERY STATEMENT FOR INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE
3/25/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF STEVEN N. RICHMAN IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT
3/29/2019: Response - RESPONSE DEFENDANTS RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFFS EX PARTE APPLICATION TO ADVANCE INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE ON TAX RETURN PRIVILEGE ISSUE
5/9/2019: Summons - SUMMONS ON COMPLAINT
Hearing02/03/2020 at 09:00 AM in Department P at 1725 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401; Jury TrialRead MoreRead Less
Hearing01/24/2020 at 09:00 AM in Department P at 1725 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401; Final Status ConferenceRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department P; Status Conference - HeldRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Status Conference)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketJoint Status Report; Filed by Amir Rejaei (Plaintiff); Bonnie Rejaei (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketRequest for Entry of Default / Judgment; Filed by Amir Rejaei (Plaintiff); Bonnie Rejaei (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketObjection (to Counter Notice of Rulings); Filed by Amir Rejaei (Plaintiff); Bonnie Rejaei (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Bryan Siegel (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice (Notice of Unavailability of Counsel); Filed by Bryan Siegel (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Amir Rejaei (Plaintiff); Bonnie Rejaei (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketDemurrer; Filed by Bryan Siegel (Defendant); Nationwide Consulting, Inc. (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketDemurrer (TO PLAINTIFFS' FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT ); Filed by Attorney for DefendantRead MoreRead Less
DocketRequest for Judicial Notice; Filed by Attorney for DefendantRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Service (SUMMONS & COMPLAINT PARTY SERVED: BRYAN SIEGEL BY PERSONAL DELIVERY ON 12/18/16 AT 7:50 AM ); Filed by Attorney for PlaintiffRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Amir Rejaei (Plaintiff); Bonnie Rejaei (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketFirst Amended Complaint; Filed by Attorney for PlaintiffRead MoreRead Less
DocketFirst Amended Complaint; Filed by Amir Rejaei (Plaintiff); Bonnie Rejaei (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint Filed; Filed by Attorney for PlaintiffRead MoreRead Less
DocketSummons; Filed by PlaintiffRead MoreRead Less
DocketSummons Filed; Filed by Attorney for PlaintiffRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: SC126782 Hearing Date: September 15, 2020 Dept: P
Amir Rejaei et al. v. Bryan Siegel et al. Case No. SC126782
Hearing Date September 15, 2020
Defendants’ Motion to Quash Deposition Subpoenas
Plaintiffs sued defendants for failing to repay two loans. Defendants cross-complained, alleging usury. On February 6, 2020 the court granted plaintiffs’ unopposed motion to conduct limited discovery on defendants’ financial condition for punitive damages purposes. Plaintiffs served deposition subpoenas on various financial institutions, seeking documents from 2005 and 2012-2013, as well as financial statements, loan applications and credit reports for the last five years, as well as insurance policies, promissory notes and property appraisals with no time limitation. Defendants move to quash.
A plaintiff who seeks punitive damages must introduce evidence of a defendant’s net worth to avoid a constitutionally excessive award. Adams v. Murakami (1991) 54 Cal.3d 105, 110. A punitive damages award should reflect the defendant’s financial condition at the time of trial. Soto v. BorgWarner Morse Tec, Inc. (2013) 239 Cal.App.4th 165, 195.
Defendants argue the scope of documents sought is excessively broad. Requests for documents with no time limitation are excessively burdensome and harassing, given the confidential nature of the information sought. The court disagrees with defendants’ suggestion that plaintiffs are only entitled to an “already prepared business statement.” The prior court order allows plaintiffs to obtain a full picture of defendants’ finances, as permitted under Soto and Adams. Plaintiffs have the right to confirm the accuracy of business statement prepared by defendants by seeking relevant documents from third parties.
The court granted plaintiffs’ unopposed motion seeking discovery of defendants’ financial condition. See 2/6/2020 minute order. That motion, however, only argued plaintiffs were entitled to financial information in connection with punitive damages. See plaintiffs’ 11/27/2020 motion at pgs. 6-7. Because of that motion’s limited scope, the court’s order only allows plaintiffs to discover documents relevant to defendants’ current financial status, which can be used to calculate punitive damages. Plaintiffs did not request, nor did the court contemplate, financial discovery going back to 2005.
Discovery will be limited to financial documents from 2018 on, as older documents are not directly relevant to defendants’ current financial condition. No sanctions will be awarded, as defendants have not shown plaintiffs acted in bad faith, and plaintiffs’ discovery requests – though overbroad – were not entirely invalid. A protective order was entered, which protects defendants’ legitimate right of privacy regarding financial matters.
Plaintiffs’ motion to compel the deposition of Lisa Binder regarding finances is set for 9/23/20. The parties should be prepared to discuss that issue at the hearing of this motion.
DUE TO THE ONGOING COVID-19 PANDEMIC, PARTIES AND COUNSEL ARE ENCOURAGED TO AVOID IN-PERSON APPEARANCES AND TO APPEAR REMOTELY VIA LA COURT CONNECT.
Case Number: SC126782 Hearing Date: June 24, 2020 Dept: P
Amir Rejaei et al. v. Bryan Siegel et al., Case No. SC126782
Hearing Date June 24, 2020
Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment
Plaintiffs state they lent defendants money pursuant to two loan agreements. Plaintiffs allege the loans have not been repaid. Defendants move for summary judgment, arguing they have already paid the loans’ principal and that any remaining interest or fees owed are void under the California Constitution’s usury prohibition.
Plaintiff’s evidentiary objection OVERRULED. Defendants’ evidentiary objections OVERRULED.
A loan is usurious if the amount of interest to be paid exceeds the lesser of 10% per annum, or 5% per annum plus the rate established by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco on advances to member banks on the 25th day of the month preceding the date of the loan. Cal. Const. Art. XV §1(2). A lender cannot exceed the constitutionally-allowed interest rate by charging “any fee, bonus, commission, [or] discount” as part of a loan agreement that causes the borrower to owe a de facto interest rate of more than 10 percent. Id, Mission Hills Development Corp. v. Western Small Business Investment Co. (1968) 260 Cal.App.2d 923, 926. A usurious transaction is void as to any agreement to pay interest. Strike v. Trans-West Discount Corp. (1979) 92 Cal.App.3d 735, 744.
The usury laws also apply to a “forbearance” of money, wherein a lender gives further time for the payment of a debt and agrees not to enforce a claim at its original due date. Southwest Concrete Products v. Gosh Construction Corporation (1990) 51 Cal.3d 701. In determining whether a transaction constitutes a loan or forbearance, the court looks to the substance rather than the form of the transaction. Id. at 705. If a loan is usurious, none of its “descendant obligations, however remote, can be free of the taint if the descent can be fairly traced.” Hardwick v. Wilcox (2017) 11 Cal.App.5th 975, 993-994. There is a rebuttable presumption against usury, and a borrower bears the burden of proving the essential elements of a usurious transaction. Ghirardo v. Antonioli (1994) 8 Cal.4th 791, 798-799.
Siegel provides evidence that plaintiffs lent him $60,000.00 on December 2, 2004, to be repaid on December 10, 2004, and on June 2, 2005 plaintiffs lent him an additional $500,000.00 and extended the due date of the first loan. Defendants provide evidence the parties agreed to extend the due date for payment of both loans by ten years, and that as of November 2016 the loans’ principal had been fully repaid. Defendants argue plaintiffs are entitled to no further payments because the loans’ effective rate of interest constitutes usury. Defendants argue the two initial loan agreements called for $11,200.00 in fees, which must be treated as a usurious “fee, bonus, commission, or discount.”
Plaintiffs argue there are four loans, not two, the extension agreement should be treated as a separate loan (the fourth loan) and there were no fees, costs, or points associated with the fourth loan. Plaintiffs argue all amounts owed on the fourth loan are principal, so the usury prohibition does not apply.
The “fourth loan,” is more properly characterized as a forbearance. When analyzing loans or forbearances, courts look to the substance, rather than the form, of the agreement. While the purported fourth loan is a “no-interest” agreement, the purpose of the agreement is to recover unpaid amounts owed on the prior loans, including 10% interest and $11,200.00 in fees. See Rejaei Depo. at 146:6-146:16. The fourth loan is actually a forbearance, with the purpose of recovering unpaid interest and fees on the original loans. Under Hardwick, if the interest and fees provided in the underlying loans was usurious, the later forbearance is also usurious.
The prohibition on usurious interest does not include “a reasonable charge for investigating, arranging, negotiating, brokering, making, servicing, collecting, and enforcing,” the loan. Cambridge Dev. Co. v. U.S. Financial (1970) 11 Cal.App.3d 1025, 1028-1029. If, however, a fee is included as “consideration for the loan,” it must be treated as interest for the purposes of determining whether a loan is usurious. Id. 1028.
The Rejaei declaration states the $11,200.00 fees were “for the purposes of negotiating, making, servicing, and collecting the loans in question.” Rejaei decl. at paragraph 7. If the declaration is accepted as true, the fees cannot be included as an element of interest under Camridge Dev. Co., and the loan is not usurious. Defendants argue the Rejaei declaration is “self-serving” and inadmissible and contradicted by Ms. Rejaei’s deposition. The deposition transcript contains multiple references to “points” charged; it does not explicitly state the purpose of these charges or that they were part of the loans’ consideration. A reasonable finder of fact could determine there is no contradiction between Rejaei’s declaration and the content of her deposition, and both taken together indicate the points were for servicing, collecting, or negotiating the loans.
The court agrees the Rejaei declaration is self-serving, and the deposition transcript implies (although it does not say so explicitly) the “points” were part of consideration for the loan. Though it is weak evidence, the declaration is admissible and reflects Ms. Rejaei’s personal knowledge of the making of the loan and its purpose. It is sufficient to create a triable issue of material fact as to the purpose of the fees.
Defendants also argue that “incidental charges” authorized under Cambridge cannot be paid directly to “the lender itself,” or “be known to, or authorized or ratified by the lender,” citing to Forte v. Norfi (1972) 25 Cal.App.3d 656, 681-682. This argument mischaracterizes Cambridge. The case does not stand for the proposition that a lender cannot include “incidental charges” in a loan agreement, but that a lender cannot directly charge a commission. There is no evidence a commission was charged, so Forte is inapplicable.
The court finds a question of fact is created by the Rejaei declaration. Also, based on the rebuttable presumption, the borrower bears the burden of proof. For these reasons, the motion is DENIED.
IN LIGHT OF THE ONGOING COVID-19 PANDEMIC, PARTIES ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND ORAL ARGUMENTS VIA COURT CALL.
Case Number: SC126782 Hearing Date: February 06, 2020 Dept: P
Amir Rejaei et al. v. Bryan Siegel et al., Case No. SC126782
Hearing Date: February 6, 2020
Plaintiff’s Motion for Order Permitting Discovery of Defendant’s Financial Condition UNOPPOSED
Plaintiffs allegedly made three loans to defendant Siegel, whom they allege failed to provide collateral as promised, failed to make required “interest only” payments on the loan and transferred a piece of real property for no consideration to the entity defendants. Plaintiffs also allege in 2016 Siegel claimed he could not make further payments on any of the loans.
Production of a defendant’s financial information is permitted when a plaintiff seeks punitive damages, so long as disclosure of the produced information is properly limited. Richards v. Superior Court (1978) 86 Cal.App.3d 265, 273. Plaintiffs seek punitive damages and may do discovery regarding defendant’s finances. Defendant does not oppose this motion, and plaintiffs have agreed to stipulate to a protective order. GRANTED. Defendant will draft and submit a proposed protective order.