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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/10/2019 at 06:35:38 (UTC).

CANYON VIEW LIIMITED VS. NATIONAL DEFAULT SERVICEING CORP

Case Summary

On 05/03/2016 CANYON VIEW LIIMITED filed a Property - Other Real Property lawsuit against NATIONAL DEFAULT SERVICEING CORP. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Chatsworth Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is MELVIN D. SANDVIG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7040

  • Filing Date:

    05/03/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Real Property

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Chatsworth Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

MELVIN D. SANDVIG

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Respondent

CANYON VIEW LIMITED DBA CANYON VIEW

Defendants and Appellants

NATTIONSTAR MORTGAGE LLC

NATIONAL DEFAULT SERVICING CORPORATION

NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE LLC

TIFFANY & BOSCO

MCGLINCHEY & STAFFORD

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

NORMINTON WIITA & FUSTER

Defendant Attorneys

SHATZ SANFORD PHILIP

KIM KEVIN S

 

Court Documents

Case Management Statement

9/13/2016: Case Management Statement

Unknown

1/31/2017: Unknown

Unknown

3/7/2017: Unknown

Unknown

5/5/2017: Unknown

Minute Order

5/5/2017: Minute Order

Unknown

5/12/2017: Unknown

Unknown

1/12/2018: Unknown

Unknown

5/15/2018: Unknown

Unknown

5/25/2018: Unknown

Unknown

6/1/2018: Unknown

Objection

8/16/2018: Objection

Brief

1/18/2019: Brief

Minute Order

1/24/2019: Minute Order

Memorandum of Costs (Summary)

3/1/2019: Memorandum of Costs (Summary)

Minute Order

3/19/2019: Minute Order

Minute Order

3/20/2019: Minute Order

Reply

4/8/2019: Reply

Objection

5/24/2019: Objection

150 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/07/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department F47, Melvin D. Sandvig, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Tax Costs (Filed by Plaintiff Canyon View Limted dba Canyon View Estates) - Held

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  • 06/07/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department F47, Melvin D. Sandvig, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Tax Costs (Filed by Defendant Nationstar Mortgage, LLC) - Held

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  • 06/07/2019
  • Minute Order ( (HEARING ON MOTION OF DEFENDANT NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE, LLC TO TA...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/31/2019
  • Reply (Nationstar Mortgage LLC's Reply Memorandum of Points and Authorities in support of Its Motion to Strike and/or Tax Costs); Filed by Nattionstar Mortgage, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 05/31/2019
  • PLAINTIFF CANYON VIEW LIMITED?S REPLY BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO STRIKE AND/OR TAX DEFENDANT NATIONSTAR MORTGAGE, LLC?S MEMORANDUM OF COSTS; Filed by Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/24/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department F47, Melvin D. Sandvig, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Tax Costs - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 05/24/2019
  • Objection (Nationstar Mortgage LLC's Objection to Declaration of Kathleen Dority Fuster); Filed by Nattionstar Mortgage, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 05/24/2019
  • Opposition (Nationstar's Opposition Memorandum of Points and Authorities to Canyon View's Motion to Tax Costs); Filed by Nattionstar Mortgage, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 05/24/2019
  • Declaration (Declaration of Sanford Shatz in support of Nationstar's Opposition to Canyon View's Motion to Tax Costs); Filed by Nattionstar Mortgage, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 05/24/2019
  • Opposition (Of Canyon View Limited to Nationstar Mortg., LLC's Motion to Tax and/or Strike Canyon View's Memo of Costs; MPA; Supporting Declaration of Kathleen Fuster with Exhibits); Filed by Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View (Plaintiff)

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195 More Docket Entries
  • 09/02/2016
  • Case Management Statement; Filed by Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/20/2016
  • Declaration; Filed by NATIONAL DEFAULT SERVICING CORPORATION (Defendant); TIFFANY & BOSCO (Legacy Party)

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  • 06/08/2016
  • Answer; Filed by Nattionstar Mortgage, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 05/17/2016
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/13/2016
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/11/2016
  • Notice of Lis Pendens; Filed by Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/03/2016
  • Complaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by null

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  • 05/03/2016
  • Notice of All Purpose Case Assignment and Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/03/2016
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/03/2016
  • Summons; Filed by null

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: PC057040    Hearing Date: March 24, 2021    Dept: F47

Dept. F-47

Date: 3/24/21

Case #PC057040

MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES & COSTS

Motion filed on 8/17/20.

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Nationstar Mortgage, LLC

RESPONDING PARTY: Plaintiff Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View Estates

NOTICE: ok

RELIEF REQUESTED: An order against Plaintiff Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View Estates (Plaintiff) finding that Defendant Nationstar Mortgage, LLC (Defendant) is the prevailing party in this action based on its unaccepted offer to compromise under CCP 998, and based on its reconveyance of the deed of trust recorded on 5/11/16, and its disclaimer of interest under CCP 761.030 filed in its answer, and for an award of attorneys’ fees in the amount of $167,353.50 and for post-offer costs and expert witness fees in the amount of $3,041.50 against Plaintiff, and for such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.

RULING: The motion is denied.

Defendant Nationstar Mortgage LLC’s Request for Judicial Notice (DRJN) is granted.

Plaintiff Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View Estates’ Request for Judicial Notice (PRJN) is granted.

Defendant Nationstar Mortgage LLC’s objections to Plaintiff’s evidence (objections 1-15 to the declaration of Thomas M. Norminton) are overruled.

Plaintiff Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View Estates (Plaintiff) is the owner and operator of a manufactured home park/mobilehome park in Santa Clarita. In 2005, Plaintiff leased Lot 187 in the park to the Benvenutos. The Benvenutos installed their mobilehome on the lot. Thereafter, the Benvenutos breached the Lease by failing to pay the rent. Plaintiff served the notices required by the Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL), obtained a judgment of abandonment under CC 798.61, and on 5/7/09 purchased the mobilehome at a public sale. (Plaintiff’s RJN (PRJN), Ex.8, pp. 5:17-28 and 6:1-4). After Plaintiff purchased the mobilehome, Defendant Nationstar Mortgage LLC, and others, recorded title documents asserting a beneficial interest in the home and Lot 187 (the Property) adverse to Plaintiff’s fee interest (Recorded Documents). (PRJN, Ex.8, pp. 6:26-28, 7:1-13).

In early 2016, Plaintiff sent Defendant letters demanding Defendant agree to release the liens and take further actions necessary to remove the clouds on Plaintiff’s fee title to the Property. (PRJN, Ex.1, 2; PRJN, Ex.8, pp. 7:23-27). Defendant did not execute the releases. On 5/3/16, Plaintiff filed this action for quiet title, declaratory relief, removal of cloud on title, and unfair business practices. (PRJN, Ex.3). After Plaintiff filed this action, Defendant recorded a reconveyance, but did not execute a quitclaim deed of its interest in the Property. (Norminton Decl. ¶9). Defendant’s answer to the complaint raised several affirmative defenses, denied Plaintiff’s entitlement to judgment, and prayed for judgment in favor of Defendant and against Plaintiff. (PRJN, Ex.8, p.2:21-24; PRJN, Ex.4).

On 7/19/17, Plaintiff made a CCP 998 Offer to have a quiet title judgment entered in Plaintiff’s favor which Defendant did not accept. (RJN, Ex.5Norminton Decl. ¶¶19-20). On 10/31/18, Defendant made a CCP 998 Offer to settle wherein Defendant offered to pay $50,000.00 and to have four of the Recorded Documents against Plaintiff’s title removed. (PRJN, Ex.6). At that time, Plaintiff claims to have incurred $329,808.26 in attorneys’ fees and costs. (Norminton Decl. ¶¶14-16). On 1/9/19, Defendant made a second CCP 998 Offer which included conflicting payment amounts ($50,000 and $70,000). (PRJN, Ex.7).

After a court trial in January 2019, the Court issued a Statement of Decision and entered Judgment stating Plaintiff is the prevailing party. (PRJN, Ex.8, 9, 10).

Due to the Consolidated Appeals of other cases involving Plaintiff regarding the recovery of attorneys’ fees under the MRL, on 3/20/19, Plaintiff made an ex parte application to extend the time under CRC 3.1702(d) for Plaintiff to file its motion for attorneys’ fees until 60 days after the Court of Appeal’s decision on the Consolidated Appeals became final. (PRJN, Ex.12). Defendant opposed the ex-parte application. (PRJN, Ex.13). The Court granted Plaintiff’s ex parte application. (PRJN, Ex.14). Defendant did not make its own application for such relief.

On 12/4/19, the Court of Appeal filed its opinion in the Consolidated Appeals holding that an action need not involve the mobilehome park management-resident relationship or landlord-tenant issues in order for the action to “arise out of” the MRL and reversing three of the four rulings in the consolidated cases on the grounds that Plaintiff, as the prevailing party with the judgments in its favor, is entitled to recover its reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs using the lodestar method. (PRJN, Ex.17, pp.4, 41-42). On 4/17/20, Remittiturs were issued in the Consolidated Appeals. On 5/19/20, Plaintiff filed its Motion for Attorneys’ Fees.

On 5/26/20, Plaintiff and Defendant entered a stipulation to extend the due date for Defendant’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees by 60 days due to issues related to COVID-19. (See DRJN, Ex.BB, Stipulation filed on 9/9/20). The stipulation provides that by entering the stipulation, Plaintiff does not concede that Defendant is entitled to recover attorney fees, that the claimed 6/16/20 due date for Defendant’s motion had not been verified and Plaintiff did not waive objections based on timeliness if the stated date proves to be incorrect. (Id. p.1, fn.1). The foregoing was reiterated in the Stipulation and Order entered on 9/16/20. (PRJN, Ex.18, p.2, fn.1).

Defendant filed its Motion for Attorneys’ Fees on 8/17/20 which seeks an order against Plaintiff finding that Defendant is the prevailing party in this action based on its 10/31/18 unaccepted offer to compromise under CCP 998, and based on its reconveyance of the deed of trust recorded on 5/11/16, and its disclaimer of interest under CCP 761.030 in its answer, and for an award of attorneys’ fees in the amount of $167,353.50 and for post-offer costs and expert witness fees in the amount of $3,041.50 against Plaintiff, and for such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.

By way of the instant motion, Defendant improperly tries to re-litigate the merits of the case. Pursuant to the Statement of Decision and Judgment entered, Plaintiff is the prevailing party in this action. (PRJN, Ex.8, 9).

The instant motion is untimely. The Judgment was entered on 2/21/19 and on 2/25/19, Plaintiff served Defendant with Notice of Entry of Judgment. (PRJN Ex.9, 10). Unlike Plaintiff, Defendant did not make an application or motion to extend its time to make a motion for attorneys’ fees. The ex-parte application made by Plaintiff only sought to extend Plaintiff’s time to make such a motion; therefore, that was the only relief granted by the Court. (PRJN, Ex.13, 14). Further, the stipulations between the parties did not extend the time for Defendant to file the instant motion after the time to do so had already expired. The stipulations specifically reserved Plaintiff’s right to oppose the motion on the ground that it is untimely. (PRJN, Ex.18; DRJN, Ex.BB). Further, the parties could not stipulate to extend the time to bring a motion for attorneys’ fees after the time to do so had expired. See CRC 3.1702(b), (d). As such, the deadline for filing the instant motion expired more than a year before the motion was filed. CRC 3.1702(b).

Even if the motion was timely, it fails. Pursuant to the Court of Appeals opinion in the Consolidated Appeals, CC 798.85 governs an award of attorneys’ fees and costs where, as here, the action is between a mobilehome park owner and a lienholder. CC 798.85 provides, in relevant part:

In any action arising out of the provisions of this chapter the prevailing party shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. A party shall be deemed a prevailing party for the purposes of this section if the judgment is rendered in his or her favor…

Since Plaintiff obtained a Judgment in its favor, Plaintiff, as the prevailing party, is entitled to recover its reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. The foregoing result is not changed by CCP 998 which does not create an independent right to attorneys’ fees. See Ford Motor Credit Co. (2008) 163 CA4th 1526, 1529-1530. The right to recover attorneys’ fees is governed by the fee-shifting statute itself, here CC 798.85, rather than a strict interpretation of CCP 1032. Wohlgemuth (2012) 207 CA4th 1252, 1264; See also MacQuiddy (2015) 233 CA4th 1036, 1047; Salehi (2011) 200 CA4th 1146, 1153. Further, CCP 1032(b) provides that “[e]xcept as otherwise expressly provided by statute, a prevailing party is entitled as a matter of right to recover costs in any action or proceeding.” Here, CC 798.85 expressly provides otherwise because it states that in “any action arising out of” the Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL), the party in whose favor a judgment is entered “shall be deemed” the prevailing party. (See PRJN, Ex.17, pp.38-39).

Even if CCP 998 applied, Defendant’s 10/31/18 Offer, upon which it relies in this motion, was superseded by its 1/9/19 Offer. (PRJN, Ex.6, Ex.7). The 1/9/19 Offer was uncertain in that it included two conflicting payment amounts. (PRJN, Ex.7, ¶4, p.4:15). A CCP 998 Offer must be sufficiently specific to allow the recipient to evaluate its worth and make a reasoned decision whether to accept the offer and is strictly construed in favor of the party sought to be subjected to its operation. Fassberg Construction Co. (2007) 152 CA4th 720, 764; Berg (2004) 120 CA4th 721, 727; Barella (2000) 84 CA4th 793, 799. If a party makes a CCP 998 Offer that is not accepted and then makes another offer which is invalid, both offers are ineffectual. See Palmer (2003) 108 CA4th 154, 157-158; Distefano (1968) 263 CA2d 380, 385.

Even if Defendant’s CCP 10/31/18 Offer remained valid, Defendant has failed to establish that it was more favorable than the judgment obtained by Plaintiff. CCP 998 provides that only post-offer costs are excluded to determine if the judgment is “more favorable” than the CCP 998 Offer which indicates that Plaintiff’s pre-offer attorneys’ fees are included. See Heritage Engineering Const., Inc. (1998) 65 CA4th 1435, 1441-1442. In Heritage Engineering, the defendant made a lump sum offer, including costs, which the Court of Appeal determined was intended to compensate the plaintiff for the underlying wrong and the attorneys’ fees incurred up to the date of the offer. Therefore, the CCP 998 offer must be compared to the amounts eventually awarded in the judgment for both the underlying wrong and the pre-offer costs, including attorneys’ fees. Heritage Engineering, supra at 1440, 1442.

Here, Defendant’s 10/31/18 CCP 998 Offer included attorneys’ fees and costs. (PRJN, Ex.6 ¶4). At the time of the 10/31/18 Offer, Plaintiff claimed its attorneys’ fees and costs were over $300,000.00. (Norminton Decl.). Here, Plaintiff is entitled to more than $50,000.00 related to pre-offer attorneys’ fees. (See Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees & Ruling on same). Additionally, the Judgment in favor of Plaintiff eliminated more clouds on title than Defendant offered to remove in the 10/31/18 CCP 998 Offer. (See PRJN, Ex.6, Ex.9).

Based on the foregoing, Defendant has failed to establish it is the prevailing party in this action or its entitlement to recover attorneys’ fees, post-offer costs, and/or expert witness fees in this case.

Dept. F-47

Date: 3/24/21

Case #PC057040

MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS’ FEES & COSTS

Motion filed on 5/19/20.

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View Estates

RESPONDING PARTY: Defendant Nationstar Mortgage LLC

NOTICE: ok

RELIEF REQUESTED: An order directing Defendant Nationstar Mortgage LLC to pay Plaintiff Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View Estates attorneys’ fees in the amount of $470,338.23 and costs in the amount of $24,209.86.    

RULING: The motion is granted. 

Plaintiff Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View Estates’ (Plaintiff) Request for Judicial Notice (PRJN) is granted.

Defendant Nationstar Mortgage LLC (Defendant) Request for Judicial Notice (DRJN) is granted.

Defendant’s objections to Plaintiff’s evidence (objections 1-14 to the declaration of Thomas M. Norminton and objections 15-16 to the declaration of Edward A. Hoffman) are overruled. 

Plaintiff is the owner and operator of a manufactured home park/mobilehome park in Santa Clarita.  The instant action was filed on 5/3/16 for quiet title, declaratory relief, removal of cloud on title and unfair business practices.  After a court trial, on 2/21/19, Judgment was entered which set forth that Plaintiff is the prevailing party.  A Statement of Decision was filed the same date.  (See Ruling on Nationstar’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees & Costs for more details regarding the facts and procedural history of the case).

In the instant motion, Plaintiff seeks an order directing Defendant Nationstar Mortgage LLC to pay Plaintiff Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View Estates attorneys’ fees in the amount of $470,338.23 and costs in the amount of $24,209.86.

By way of the opposition to the instant motion, Defendant improperly tries to re-litigate the merits of the case.  Pursuant to the Statement of Decision and Judgment entered in February 2019, Plaintiff is the prevailing party in this action.  (See Plaintiff’s Request for Judicial Notice filed in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion (3/11/21 PRJN) Ex.8, 9).     

Pursuant to the Court of Appeals opinion in the Consolidated Appeals, CC 798.85 governs an award of attorneys’ fees and costs where, as here, the action is between a mobilehome park owner and a lienholder.  CC 798.85 provides, in relevant part:

In any action arising out of the provisions of this chapter the prevailing party shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.  A party shall be deemed a prevailing party for the purposes of this section if the judgment is rendered in his or her favor…

Since Plaintiff obtained a Judgment in its favor, Plaintiff, as the prevailing party, is entitled to recover its reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.

Defendant has failed to establish that the fees and costs awarded to Plaintiff should be cut-off as of the date Defendant purportedly disclaimed its interest in the Property with its answer.  In the Statement of Decision, this Court has already determined that Defendant did not disclaim all interest in the Property when it filed its answer.  (3/11/21 PRJN, Ex.8, p.22:24-26).  Further, Judgment was entered determining Plaintiff to be the prevailing party.  (3/11/21 PRJN, Ex.9, p.5:17-19).    

In determining a reasonable attorney fee award, the court begins with the “lodestar” method of calculation (the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate).  PLCM Group (2000) 22 C4th 1084, 1095.  Under the lodestar method, a party entitled to a fee award should recover for all hours reasonably spent unless special circumstances would render such an award unjust.  Vo (2000) 79 CA4th 440, 446.

Defendant does not challenge the hourly fees charged by Plaintiff’s attorneys ($190- $375 for attorneys and $90-$105 for paralegals), which this Court finds to be reasonable.  (See 5/19/20 Norminton Decl. ¶¶27-31; Hoffman Decl. ¶11).  Once a party submits a motion for attorneys’ fees supported by proper documentation, the opposing party must raise specific objections as generalized objections that the hours are excessive or unnecessary are insufficient.  See Kern River Public Access Com. (1985) 170 CA3d 1205, 1227-1228.  Here, Defendant does not meet its burden. 

While Defendant challenges certain entries regarding fees, the calculations used to reduce the amounts claimed are incorrect and Defendant fails to take into account discounts applied by Plaintiff to the entries.  (See 3/17/21 Norminton Decl. ¶¶16-65).  Defendant also does not make any specific objections to the costs claimed.  (Id. at ¶¶67-68).  This Court’s prior ruling on the parties’ respective Motions to Tax Costs does not preclude an award of costs to the prevailing party under CC 798.85.  

As noted above, the hourly rates of Plaintiff’s counsel are reasonable.  The Court further finds that the number of hours actually billed as detailed in the declarations and invoices provided with the motion and reply.  (See 5/19/20 Norminton Decl. Ex.1 and 2; Hoffman Decl.; 3/17/21 Norminton Decl.). 

Based on the lodestar method of calculation, Plaintiff is awarded attorneys’ fees against in the amount of $470,338.23 and costs in the amount of $24,209.86 against Defendant.  

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