On 02/18/2011 ASSESSMENT APPEALS SERVICES LLC filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against FARHAD FARAHMAND. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are HOLLY E. KENDIG and ADR NEUTRAL. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
HOLLY E. KENDIG
ASSESSMENT APPEALS SERVICES LLC
DOES 1 TO 25
UMBRIAN PROPERTIES LLC
GLOVER JON-RENE M. ESQ.
VIVOLI MICHAEL W.
5/24/2011: Minute Order
7/8/2011: Minute Order
10/5/2011: OPPOSITION TO DEMURPER TO COMPLAINT; MORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES
10/11/2011: REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS DEMURRER
10/18/2011: CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER
10/27/2011: PROOF OF SERVICE
6/22/2012: Minute Order
3/2/2016: NOTICE OF TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE AND NOTICE OF LIFTING OF STAY
12/15/2016: NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS OR OTHER CONTACT INFORMATION
1/4/2017: DECLARATION OF JASON P. SACCUZZO IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS' SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF RE MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS FOR FAILURE TO BRING THE ACTION TO TRIAL WITHIN FIVE YEARS
1/18/2017: Minute Order
3/29/2017: MEMO COSTS SUMMARY
4/14/2017: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES
5/15/2017: NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL (UNLIMITED JURISDICTION)
8/15/2017: PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES
8/22/2017: REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES
11/15/2017: NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL
11/27/2017: APPELLANT'S NOTICE DESIGNATING RECORD ON APPEAL (UNLIMITED CIVIL CASE)
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Notice of Trial Setting Conference Filed by Attorney for Pltf/PetnrRead MoreRead Less
Notice of Trial Setting Conference Filed by Attorney for Pltf/PetnrRead MoreRead Less
Notice of Continuance Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
List of Exhibits (joint ) Filed by Attorney for Deft/RespntRead MoreRead Less
Brief (trial ) Filed by Attorney for Pltf/PetnrRead MoreRead Less
Statement of Case (joint ) Filed by Attorney for Deft/RespntRead MoreRead Less
Jury Instructions (joint ) Filed by Attorney for Deft/RespntRead MoreRead Less
List of Witnesses (joint ) Filed by Attorney for Deft/RespntRead MoreRead Less
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Proof of Service Filed by Attorney for Deft/RespntRead MoreRead Less
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Demurrer Filed by Attorney for Deft/RespntRead MoreRead Less
Proof-Service/Summons ((2) FILED ) Filed by Attorney for Pltf/PetnrRead MoreRead Less
OSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
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ComplaintRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC455466 Hearing Date: December 24, 2019 Dept: 26
Superior Court of California
Assessment appeals services, lc,
farhad farahmand, UMBRIAN PROPERTIES, LLC, and DOES 1 to 25,
Case No.: BC455466
Hearing Date: December 24, 2019
[TENTATIVE] order RE:
DEFENDANTs’ motion for attorney fees on appeal
On September 6, 2017, the court entered judgment in favor of Farhad Farahmand and Umbrian Properties, LLC (collectively, “Defendants”) after the court dismissed the case under Code of Civil Procedure section 583.310. Plaintiff appealed. The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment on April 26, 2019. On August 15, 2019, Defendants filed the instant motion for attorney fees. Plaintiff has not filed any opposition.
Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (a)(10)(A), attorney fees when authorized by contract are allowable as costs and may be awarded upon a noticed motion pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (c)(5).
In determining what fees are reasonable, California courts apply the “lodestar” approach. (See, e.g., Holguin v. DISH Network LLC (2014) 229 Cal.App.4th 1310, 1332.) This inquiry “begins with the ‘lodestar,’ i.e., the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate.” (See PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095.) From there, the “[t]he lodestar figure may then be adjusted, based on consideration of factors specific to the case, in order to fix the fee at the fair market value for the legal services provided.” (Ibid.) Relevant factors include: “(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, [and] (4) the contingent nature of the fee award.” (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1132.)
Right to Recover
“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.” (CA CIVIL 1717(a).) Here, Plaintiff and Defendants agreed to the prevailing party recovering attorney fees and costs. (See Complaint, The Agreement at ¶ 4.) As the prevailing party, Defendants are entitled to seek their attorney fees in connection with this litigation including appeal.
Reasonableness of Attorney’s Fees on Appeal
Defendants seeks attorney fees in the amount of $7,475.00 in connection with their appeal.
The trial court has broad authority to determine the amount of a reasonable fee. (PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095.) The party bears the burden of proof as to “reasonableness” of any fee claim. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1033.5, subd. (c)(5).) The party seeking fees has the burden of documenting the appropriate hours expended and hourly rates. (City of Colton v. Singletary (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 751, 784.) This burden requires competent evidence as to the nature and value of the services rendered. (Martino v. Denevi (1986) 182 Cal.App.3d 553, 559.)
An attorney's testimony as to the number of hours worked is sufficient evidence to support an award of attorney fees, even in the absence of detailed time records or billing statements, and there is no requirement that such records or statements be offered in evidence. (Steiny & Co., Inc. v. California Electric Supply Co. (2000) 79 Cal.App.4th 285, 293.) Ascertaining the fee amount is left to the trial court’s sound discretion. (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1132.)
Attorney for defendants, Jason P Saccuzzo billed at an hourly rate of $325.00 and spent a total of 23 hours working on the appeal. (Saccuzzo Decl. ¶ 7-8.) Of these 23 hours, Saccuzzo spent 17.7 hours preparing Respondent’s Brief and another 5.3 hours on other related matters, such as addressing issues relating to the completeness of the record and responding to inquiries from the Court of Appeal. (Id. at ¶ 8.) The court finds that these rates are well within the range of prevailing rates for attorneys in the community and agrees that they are on the lower side of that range. Further, the court finds that the hours spent on appeal are also exceedingly reasonable.
Therefore, the Court awards the full $7,475.00 for attorney fees on appeal.
Reasonableness of Fees – Motion for Attorney Fees
Defendants seek attorney fees in the amount of $1,300.00 in connection with this motion for attorney fees. Of this, Defendants’ counsel spent two hours researching and preparing this motion and anticipated spending one hour to prepare a reply brief and one hour to prepare for and appear at the hearing on this motion. (Id. at ¶ 9.)
Because Plaintiff has not filed any opposition, no reply is necessary. The anticipated cost is reduced to one hour for preparing for and appearing at the hearing on this motion. Therefore, the court awards $975 with regards to attorney’s fees spent on this motion.
CONCLUSION AND ORDER
Accordingly, Defendants’ motion for attorney fees and costs is GRANTED in the total amount of $8,450.00 ($7,475.00, fees with regards to the appeal and $975.00 fees for this attorney fees motion.)
Defendants are ordered to provide notice of this order and file proof of service of such.
DATED: December 24, 2019 ___________________________
Judge of the Superior Court