On 03/24/2016 ARASH SHAKOURI filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against TESLA MOTORS INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is WILLIAM F. FAHEY. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.
Disposed - Judgment Entered
WILLIAM F. FAHEY
TESLA MOTORS INC.
DOES 1 THROUGH 10
MYERS PAMELA L.
DDS LEGAL SUPPORT SYSTEMS INC
BECK BENJEMAN R. ESQ.
GIELEGHEM LAW OFFICE
STRATEGIC LEGAL PRACTICES APC
ROSENSTEIN MICHAEL H.
HAW CHRISTINE J.
10/9/2019: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore
11/7/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (JURY TRIAL)
12/27/2019: Memorandum of Costs (Summary)
1/16/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION - OTHER PREJUDGMENT INTEREST)
7/13/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION OF ANDREA CHEUK IN SUPPORT OF TESLA'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES
7/22/2020: Response - RESPONSE PLAINTIFF'S RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT'S EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS TO THE SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF ANH NGUYEN
11/5/2018: Ex Parte Application - Ex Parte Application to Continue Trial by 75-90 days
10/11/2016: DECLARATION OF CHRISTINE HAW IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF?S MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFF?S REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, SET ONE
12/1/2016: Minute Order -
12/29/2016: NOTICE OF RULING REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER ADVANCING THE HEARING ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION OF DEFENDANT'S PMQ AND REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS
1/18/2017: Minute Order -
1/18/2017: NOTICE OF RULING RE: PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, SET ONE
2/14/2017: TESLA MOTORS, INC.'S OBJECTION TO THE DECLARATION OF CHRISTINE HAW IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER
6/1/2017: ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE
9/26/2017: SECOND AMENDED STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] ORDER REGARDING SEALING THE DECLARATION OF YOON KIM FILED IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS,
10/4/2017: DEFENDANT TESLA, INC.'S LIMITED OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND ALL RELATED DATES; ETC
DocketAppeal Record Delivered; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice to Reporter to Prepare Transcript on Appeal (;B307273, NOA 8/21/20;); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 37; Hearing on Motion to Tax Costs - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by PartyRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Filing of Notice of Appeal (Unlimited Civil); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 37; Hearing on Motion for Attorney Fees - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
DocketAppeal - Notice of Appeal/Cross Appeal Filed; Filed by Arash Shakouri (Appellant)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 37; Hearing on Motion to Tax Costs - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice (of Entry of Judgement or Order); Filed by Arash Shakouri (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 37; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (to Strike Plaintiff's New Arguments First Raised in His Reply Memorandum) - Not Held - Rescheduled by CourtRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 37; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (to Strike Plaintiff's New Arguments First Raised in His Reply Memorandum) - HeldRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute order entered: 2016-04-05 00:00:00; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketChallenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (170.6); Filed by Plaintiff/PetitionerRead MoreRead Less
DocketPEREMPTORY CHALLENGE TO JUDICIAL OFFICER (CODE CIV. PROC., 170.6)Read MoreRead Less
DocketORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARINGRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCERead MoreRead Less
DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Arash Shakouri (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAINT FOR VIOLATION OF STATUTORY OBLIGATIONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC614940 Hearing Date: January 16, 2020 Dept: 37
HEARING DATE: January 16, 2020
CASE NUMBER: BC614940
CASE NAME: Arash Shakouri v. Tesla Motors, Inc., et al.
MOVING PARTY: Plaintiffs Arash Shakouri
RESPONDING PARTY: Defendant Tesla, Inc., f/k/a Tesla Motors, Inc.
TRIAL DATE: None. Verdict Entered December 13, 2019
PROOF OF SERVICE: OK
MOTION: Motion for Prejudgment Interest
OPPOSITION: Timey filed July 3, 2020
TENTATIVE: Plaintiff’s motion for prejudgment interest is granted in the amount of $32,032.80. Plaintiff’s alternative request for prejudgment interest under Civil Code section 3287(b) is moot.
This case arose from Defendant Tesla, Inc., formerly known as Tesla Motors, Inc. (“Tesla”)’s alleged breach of warranties by failing to repair Plaintiff, Arash Shakouri’s (“Plaintiff”) Tesla Motor S when it began exhibiting defects with charging and with the radio in violation of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. Following a jury trial, the court entered judgment on December 13, 2019 in favor of Plaintiff and against Tesla for the total amount of $96,145. (Judgment of December 13, 2019.) This amount compromised of $78,855.00 for restitution and $17,290.00 for civil penalties.
Plaintiff moves for prejudgment interest from the date of injury in the amount of $45,338.40 under Civil Code section 3287, subdivision (a) or in the alternative, prejudgment interest from the date of the complaint in the amount of $28,728.00 from the date of the complaint under Civil Code section 3287, subdivision (b). Tesla opposes the motion.
Civil Code section 3287 allows a party to recover prejudgment interest in either of the following situations:
“A person who is entitled to recover damages certain, or capable of being made certain by calculation, and the right to recover which is vested in the person upon a particular day, is entitled also to recover interest thereon from that day, except when the debtor is prevented by law, or by the act of the creditor from paying the debt.
Every person who is entitled under any judgment to receive damages based upon a cause of action in contract where the claim was unliquidated, may also recover interest thereon from a date prior to the entry of judgment as the court may, in its discretion, fix, but in no event earlier than the date the action was filed.”
Plaintiff contends that he is entitled to prejudgment interest under either subdivision of this section. Tesla contends that Plaintiff is not entitled to prejudgment interest because Plaintiff did not sue under a breach of contract theory and neither liability nor damages were certain until the jury rendered their verdict. Alternatively, Tesla contends that if Plaintiff is deemed entitled to some prejudgment interest, he should be awarded some minimal amount from the date he first complained of a lemon law purchase until the date of Tesla’s section 998 offer, based on the amounts actually paid towards the vehicle.
Prejudgment Interest under Civil Code section 3287(a)
“[P]rejudgment interest is allowable where the amount due plaintiff is fixed by the terms of a contract, or is readily ascertainable by reference to well-established market values.” (Leaf v. Phil Rauch, Inc. (1975) 47 Cal.App.3d 371, 375.) “A dispute concerning liability does not preclude prejudgment interest in a civil action.” (Boehm & Assocs v. Workers’ Comp. Appeals Bd. (1999) 76 Cal.App.4th 513, 517.) “Nothing in the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act bars recovery of prejudgment interest.” (Doppes v. Bentley Motors, Inc. (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 1004, 1010 (“Doppes II”).)
Plaintiff contends that he is entitled to prejudgment interest from the date he purchased his vehicle through the date the jury rendered its verdict (February 14, 2014 through November 14, 2019) (Motion, 5-6.) Plaintiff cites to and discusses various cases for the general proposition that prejudgment interest is permitted in actions alleging violation of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act and for the proposition that a disagreement about liability or the exact amount of damages does not preclude an award of prejudgment interest.
First, Plaintiff cites to Doppes II for the proposition that an award of prejudgment interest is generally permissible for “lemon law” cases alleging violation of the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act. (Motion, 3.) Plaintiff is correct. In Doppes II, the Court of Appeal found that, as a general principle, the trial court had jurisdiction to award Plaintiff prejudgment interest under Civil Code section 3287 in a lemon law action. (Doppes II, 174 Cal.App.4th at 1010-1011.)
Second, both Plaintiff and Tesla cite to Duale v. Mercedes-Benz USA, LLC (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 718 (Cantil-Sakauye, J.) (Duale). Plaintiff’s motion discusses Duale but alleges that it can be distinguished by the specific defects alleged. (Motion, 4-5.) Defendant cites to Duale for the proposition that Plaintiff should not be awarded prejudgment interest because the amount of damages could not be determined except by verdict (Opposition, 13.)
The Duale Court stated, in relevant part:
Determination of the award required the jury to determine (1) whether any of the many defects alleged in the complaint represented a nonconformity, (2) whether any such nonconformity “substantially impaired [the] use, value, or safety” of the vehicle, and (3) then to determine—for any such nonconformity—the mileage at which plaintiffs first presented the car to defendant for repair. (See Civ. Code, §§ 1793.2, subd. (d)(2)(C), 1794, subd. (b).) The trial court found that “[a]ll of these issues were contested at the trial” and, further, even as to the single nonconformity found by the jury, whether it substantially impaired the car's use, value or safety and the mileage at which it was first presented to defendant for repair were both in dispute at trial. Thus, the amount of damages could not be resolved except by verdict, and prejudgment interest was not appropriate.
(Id. at p. 729; see also Warren v. Kia Motors America, Inc. (2018) 30 Cal.App.5th 24, 43-44.)
Third, Defendant also distinguishes Doppes II on opposition arguing that the trial court there had entered default against the defendant based upon an alleged discovery abuse in an earlier related appellate opinion and, as such, Doppes II is factually distinct from the instant case and cannot be applied for the proposition Plaintiff asserts. (Opposition, 14.) The court disagrees with this interpretation. Although the Doppes Court issued sanctions on the defendant in that case based on discovery abuses, the court of appeal’s instructions regarding default were for the trial court to enter a default judgment against Defendant Bentley only on the fraud cause of action. (Doppes v. Bentley Motors, Inc. (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 967, 996-997. (“Doppes I”).)
As with Doppes II, the Court in Lukather v. General Motors, LLC (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 1041 found that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding prejudgment interest in a Song-Beverly automobile warranty case. (Id. at p. 1053.) Defendant distinguishes Lukather by arguing that the Lukather defendant conceded at trial that the car in question was a lemon, unlike in the case at hand, but the Court of Appeal did not rely on this fact in its reasoning affirming the trial court’s award. (See ibid.)
Based on Duale and Warren, there is authority for not awarding pre-judgment interest under Civil Code section 3287 subdivision (a). This is also a case in which “the jury had to determine ‘(1) whether any of the many defects alleged in the complaint represented a nonconformity, (2) whether any such nonconformity substantially impaired [the] use, value, or safety of the vehicle, and (3) then to determine—for any such nonconformity—the mileage at which [Shakouri] first presented the car to [Tesla] for repair.’” (Warren v. Kia Motors America, Inc. (2018) 30 Cal.App.5th 24, 44.) However, once those issues were decided, the damages were calculated by the jury using simple arithmetic. According to our Supreme Court, the question of prejudgment interests does not depend on the specific arguments or concessions made by the defendant/debtor during the course of litigation, but upon the nature of the claim for damages and whether the damages were certain or capable of being made certain by calculation prior to trial. (See Leff v. Gunter (1983) 33 Cal.3d 508, 519.) In Leff, the parties agreed that once liability was established the basis for damages could be calculated from uncontested facts. (Id.)
Here, the jury made a mathematical calculation based on uncontested facts as is set out in the verdict form. (see Verdict of December 13, 2019 ¶ 11-13.) Unlike Warren the jury did not incorporate any incidental or consequential damages. (see Warren, supra, 30 Cal.App.5th at 45.) Because the damages awarded in this case was determined by a simple arithmetic calculation, ,” the court finds that the damages awarded were certain or capable of being made certain, and that prejudgment interest is warranted under Civil Code, section 3287, subdivision (a).
Plaintiff’s motion seeks interest from the date of the purchase of the vehicle, but Civil Code, section 3287, subdivision (a) provides “A person who is entitled to recover damages certain, or capable of being made certain by calculation, and the right to recover which is vested in the person upon a particular day, is entitled also to recover interest thereon from that day, . . .” (emphasis added.) Plaintiff does not provide any authority for the proposition that the interest accrues from the date of purchase. Lukather v. General Motors, LLC (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 1041, 1053, which Plaintiff cites, approved prejudgment interest from the date on which the vehicle was presented and not repurchased. In this case, the jury calculated the offset for mileage driven before the presentation for repair based on the October 22, 2015 visit where the battery coolant heater was replaced. From that date to the date of the verdict was 1483 days for prejudgment interest of $32,032.80. For the reasons stated above, the court GRANTS Plaintiff’s motion for prejudgment interest in the amount of $32,032.80. Having awarded Plaintiff prejudgment interest under Civil Code section 3287, subdivision (a), Plaintiff’s alternate request for prejudgment interest under Civil Code, section 3287, subdivision (b) is moot.
Plaintiff’s motion for prejudgment interest is granted in the amount of $32,032.80. Plaintiff’s alternative request for prejudgment interest under Civil Code section 3287(b) is moot.
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