This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/17/2019 at 21:05:44 (UTC).

AMIR REJAEI, ET AL., VS BRYAN SIEGEL, ET AL.,

Case Summary

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.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6782

  • Filing Date:

    12/16/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Debt Collection

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

NANCY L. NEWMAN

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

REJAEI BONNIE

REJAEI AMIR

Defendants

PLUSH PROPERTIES LLC

SIEGEL BRYAN

NATIONWIDE CONSULTING INC.

BUNDOVA AN INDIVIDUAL TEREZIA

BINDER LISA

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

SAMOSKA WILLIAM M.

RICHMAN STEVEN NORMAN

EPPORT RICHMAN & ROBBINS

Defendant Attorneys

WOHRLE JOSEPH PATRICK

WOHRLE JOSEPH P.

ROSSMAN ADAM S.

 

Court Documents

Answer

6/13/2019: Answer

Declaration - DECLARATION OF NAMI R. KANG IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS' APPLICATION FOR ORDER FOR PUBLICATION

6/28/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF NAMI R. KANG IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS' APPLICATION FOR ORDER FOR PUBLICATION

Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt

8/14/2019: Notice and Acknowledgment of Receipt

Notice - JOINT DISCOVERY STATEMENT FOR INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

8/16/2019: Notice - JOINT DISCOVERY STATEMENT FOR INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Notice of Motion

6/25/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Notice of Motion

Stipulation - No Order - For Leave to Allow Plantiffs to File A Second Amended Complaint

8/8/2018: Stipulation - No Order - For Leave to Allow Plantiffs to File A Second Amended Complaint

Separate Statement - Opposing Motion to Compel Responses to Special Interrogatories Set Two

8/9/2018: Separate Statement - Opposing Motion to Compel Responses to Special Interrogatories Set Two

Reply - In Support of Motion to Compel

8/15/2018: Reply - In Support of Motion to Compel

Motion to Compel -

9/21/2018: Motion to Compel -

Motion to Strike (not initial pleading) - MOTION TO STRIKE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

10/18/2018: Motion to Strike (not initial pleading) - MOTION TO STRIKE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

11/16/2018: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

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

Minute Order - Minute Order (Defendant Plush Properties, Inc.'s Motion to Strike Punitive ...)

12/14/2018: Minute Order - Minute Order (Defendant Plush Properties, Inc.'s Motion to Strike Punitive ...)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for Minute Order (Defendant Plush Properties, Inc.'s Motion to Strike Punitive ...) of 12/14/2018

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

Notice - Notice JOINT DISCOVERY STATEMENT FOR INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

1/25/2019: Notice - Notice JOINT DISCOVERY STATEMENT FOR INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF STEVEN N. RICHMAN IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT

3/25/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF STEVEN N. RICHMAN IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT

Response - RESPONSE DEFENDANTS RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFFS EX PARTE APPLICATION TO ADVANCE INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE ON TAX RETURN PRIVILEGE ISSUE

3/29/2019: Response - RESPONSE DEFENDANTS RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFFS EX PARTE APPLICATION TO ADVANCE INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE ON TAX RETURN PRIVILEGE ISSUE

Summons - SUMMONS ON COMPLAINT

5/9/2019: Summons - SUMMONS ON COMPLAINT

74 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 02/03/2020
  • Hearing02/03/2020 at 09:00 AM in Department P at 1725 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401; Jury Trial

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  • 01/24/2020
  • Hearing01/24/2020 at 09:00 AM in Department P at 1725 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401; Final Status Conference

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  • 10/10/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department P; Status Conference - Held

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  • 10/10/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/03/2019
  • DocketJoint Status Report; Filed by Amir Rejaei (Plaintiff); Bonnie Rejaei (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/11/2019
  • DocketRequest for Entry of Default / Judgment; Filed by Amir Rejaei (Plaintiff); Bonnie Rejaei (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/04/2019
  • DocketObjection (to Counter Notice of Rulings); Filed by Amir Rejaei (Plaintiff); Bonnie Rejaei (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/30/2019
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Bryan Siegel (Defendant)

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  • 08/30/2019
  • DocketNotice (Notice of Unavailability of Counsel); Filed by Bryan Siegel (Defendant)

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  • 08/28/2019
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Amir Rejaei (Plaintiff); Bonnie Rejaei (Plaintiff)

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276 More Docket Entries
  • 02/23/2017
  • DocketDemurrer; Filed by Bryan Siegel (Defendant); Nationwide Consulting, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 02/23/2017
  • DocketDemurrer (TO PLAINTIFFS' FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT ); Filed by Attorney for Defendant

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  • 02/23/2017
  • DocketRequest for Judicial Notice; Filed by Attorney for Defendant

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  • 01/27/2017
  • DocketProof of Service (SUMMONS & COMPLAINT PARTY SERVED: BRYAN SIEGEL BY PERSONAL DELIVERY ON 12/18/16 AT 7:50 AM ); Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 01/27/2017
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Amir Rejaei (Plaintiff); Bonnie Rejaei (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/17/2017
  • DocketFirst Amended Complaint; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 01/17/2017
  • DocketFirst Amended Complaint; Filed by Amir Rejaei (Plaintiff); Bonnie Rejaei (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/16/2016
  • DocketComplaint Filed; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 12/16/2016
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Plaintiff

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  • 12/16/2016
  • DocketSummons Filed; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: SC126782    Hearing Date: September 15, 2020    Dept: P

 

Tentative Ruling

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

 

Tentative Ruling

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

 

Tentative Ruling

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.