This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/02/2019 at 00:35:19 (UTC).

CANYON VIEW LIMITED VS. LAKEVIEW LOAN SERVICE, LLC

Case Summary

On 07/14/2016 CANYON VIEW LIMITED filed a Property - Other Real Property lawsuit against LAKEVIEW LOAN SERVICE, LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Chatsworth Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.

Case Details Parties Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7181

  • Filing Date:

    07/14/2016

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Real Property

  • Courthouse:

    Chatsworth Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

CANYON VIEW LIMITED

CANYON VIEW ESTATES

Defendants

LAKEVIEW LOAN SERVICING LLC

QUALITY LOAN SERVICE CORP.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

NORMINTON WIITA & FUSTER

Defendant Attorney

HENNESSEE ASHLEY B.

Court Documents

Court documents are not available for this case.

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/28/2017
  • Notice; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/18/2017
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by LAKEVIEW LOAN SERVICING, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 10/18/2017
  • Designation of Record on Appeal; Filed by LAKEVIEW LOAN SERVICING, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 10/10/2017
  • at 08:30 AM in Department F49; Non-Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 10/05/2017
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by CANYON VIEW ESTATES (Legacy Party); CANYON VIEW LIMITED (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/04/2017
  • Designation of Record on Appeal; Filed by CANYON VIEW ESTATES (Legacy Party); CANYON VIEW LIMITED (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/03/2017
  • at 08:35 AM in Department F49; (Motion to Strike; Motion Denied) -

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  • 10/03/2017
  • Ntc to Attorney re Notice of Appeal; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/28/2017
  • at 08:33 AM in Department F49; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 09/27/2017
  • Notice of Appeal

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49 More Docket Entries
  • 09/19/2016
  • Points and Authorities; Filed by Defendant/Respondent

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  • 09/08/2016
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by QUALITY LOAN SERVICE CORP. (Defendant)

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  • 09/08/2016
  • Notice; Filed by QUALITY LOAN SERVICE CORP. (Defendant)

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  • 09/08/2016
  • Declaration; Filed by QUALITY LOAN SERVICE CORP. (Defendant)

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  • 08/30/2016
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by CANYON VIEW LIMITED (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/30/2016
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by CANYON VIEW LIMITED (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/15/2016
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

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  • 08/01/2016
  • Notice; Filed by CANYON VIEW LIMITED (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/14/2016
  • Complaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by null

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/14/2016
  • Summons; Filed by null

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: PC057181    Hearing Date: November 04, 2020    Dept: F49

Dept. F-49

Calendar # 8

Date: 11-4-20 c/f 9-21-20

Case #PC 057181

FEES AND COSTS

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff, Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View Estates

RESPONDING PARTY: Defendant, Lakeview Loan Servicing

RELIEF REQUESTED

Motion for $8,097.46 in Costs and $191,175.07 in Attorney Fees

SUMMARY OF ACTION:

Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View Estates (“Canyon View”) owns and operates a mobile home park. On December 17, 2004, certain third parties entered into a lease for a lot. Lessees breached the lease in 2013, due to their failure to pay rent, utilities and other charges. Lessees vacated the home, thereby leading to Canyon View filing a complaint for a Declaration of Abandonment and sale in 2014. On July 2, 2014, Canyon View purchased the home at a public sale following the judgment in favor of Canyon View. According to Canyon View, the sale provided it with title to the property free of any security interest or lien, except as provided in Health and Safety Code section 18116.1.

Canyon View recorded its grant deed on July 15, 2014. Canyon View submitted an Accounting to the court on August 18, 2014.

On May 14, 2015, defendants recorded a Recission of Notice of Notice of Default and Election to Sell Under Deed of Trust. Defendants represented a $167,982 note secured by deed of trust continuing to encumber the property.

On July 14, 2016, Canyon View filed a verified complaint for Quiet Title, Declaratory Relief, Removal of Cloud on Title, and Unfair Business Practices. On August 10, 2016, Canyon View recorded a lis pendens.

On April 5, 2017, the court entered a stipulation for judgment between Plaintiff and defendants Lakeview Loan Servicing, LLC and Quality Loan Service Corp. Stipulating defendants agreed to withdraw any and all claims on the parcel, and quieted title in favor of Plaintiff. The parties acknowledged that Plaintiff is a prevailing party for the purposes of recovering attorney fees and costs.

On September 13, 2017, the court denied Plaintiffs’ motion for costs and attorneys fees. On October 3, 2017, the court denied the motion of Lakeview Loan Servicing, LLC to strike Plaintiff’s memorandum of costs. Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal of the September 13, 2017 order. On April 17, 2020, the Court of Appeal issued a remittitur reversing the order denying the recovery of costs and attorney fees. The motion for attorney fees and costs was filed on July 27, 2020.

RULING: Continued for Specific Determination of Amount of Fees and Costs.

Plaintiff seeks to recover $8,097.46 in costs and $191,175.07 in attorney fees. Plaintiff states that in the first motion it sought $79,483.76 in attorney fees, but fees incurred between the filing and hearing of the denied requests were actually higher than requested in the original motion, and are therefore now included in the instant motion. The balance of fees were incurred in the appellate process.

Defendant in opposition challenges the awarded fees on grounds that the Court of Appeal only awarded fees based on the Mobilehome Residency Law, and that Plaintiff unnecessarily proceeded with the quiet title action. Hence, Defendant contends the request for attorney fees is not integral to any Mobilhole Residency Law attorney fee recovery.

Defendant seeks to limit any recovery of fees to only entries between the filing of the complaint and the conveyance of title. Defendant again relies on the “necessity” of the MRL action, and therefore seeks to distinguish the recovery.

Defendant finally challenges the specifics of certain entries, including citing bills for unrelated entities, propounded discovery after execution of the conveyance, excessive appellate fees, and other examples of duplicative entries. The “excessive” billing undermines the overall “credibility” of the requested fees.

Plaintiff in reply contends the opposition “relitigates” the stipulated judgment quieting title which was not the subject matter of the appeal. The underlying action was necessary after Lakeview refused to clear title. Plaintiff proceeds to reiterate the underlying litigation, and accuses defense counsel of using extrinsic declarations. Plaintiff finally contends that Lakeview “needlessly increased” discovery expenses, argues against the limitation of attorney fees to one and one-half months, and claims all costs were necessarily incurred.

Defendant’s argument directly contradicts the Appellate Court opinion. The Court of Appeal specifically found that Plaintiff is entitled to recover attorney fees pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 798.85 of the Mobile Home Residency Law. “Thus, in order to enforce the right the MRL guarantees—that a purchaser at an MRL-compliant abandonment or warehouse lien sale receive free and clear title to the mobile home purchased—Canyon View had no choice but to sue Lakeview, the BONY respondents, and the Household respondents.” (Canyon View Ltd. v. Lakeview Loan Servicing, LLC (2019) 42 Cal.App.5th 1096, 1115.)” Lakeview is specifically identified and cannot rely on a challenge to a specific conclusion made by the Court of Appeal based on argument regarding its own opinion on how title would have/should have/could have been cleared by different means.

Furthermore, the Court of Appeal definitively found an entitlement to fees under the MRL. “[A]n action arises out of the MRL when the ‘foundation of the case [is] grounded in [any portion of] the MRL.’” (Id. at p. 1113.)

The court therefore declines any argument against the applicability or necessity of the action of prevailing party Canyon View, and determines the reasonableness of the fees. “Upon remand the court shall determine in a manner consistent with this opinion, the amount of reasonable attorney fees and costs to award Canyon View in each of the three action.” (Id. at p. 1118 (emphasis added).)

The reasonableness of attorney fees lies within the discretion of the trial court. (PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1096.) The court makes it determination based on the consideration of a number of factors, including, “the nature of the litigation, its difficulty, the amount involved, the skill required in its handling, the skill employed, the attention given, the success or failure, and other circumstances in the case.” (Ibid.) The court should apply an objective standard of reasonableness. (Id. at p. 1098.) 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.)

The lodestar method applies.

“‘[T]he lodestar is the basic fee for comparable legal services in the community; it may be adjusted by the court based on factors including, as relevant herein, (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, (4) the contingent nature of the fee award. [Citation.] The purpose of such adjustment is to fix a fee at the fair market value for the particular action. In effect, the court determines, retrospectively, whether the litigation involved a contingent risk or required extraordinary legal skill justifying augmentation of the unadorned lodestar in order to approximate the fair market rate for such services.’”

(Graciano v. Robinson Ford Sales, Inc. Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1132.)

The appeal itself was in fact a consolidation of four cases. Plaintiff contends that the appeal was for a case of first impression on the issue of whether the Mobile Home Residency Law applied to mobile home park owners and secured creditors of mobile homes. Appellate counsel was retained, thereby increasing the billed amount.

Moving counsel bills at a rate of $325 per hour on this action. Two associates of the law firm billed at rates of $260-$265/hour and $190-$195/hour, and the paralegal billed at $90/hour. [Declaration of Thomas Normiton.] The court finds all billable rates reasonable. The declaration of counsel lacks a summary and breakout of hours billed by each member of the law firm.

Appellate counsel billed at a rate of $375 per hour. Counsel represents total billing of 46 hours spent on the consolidated appeal, and also seeks an additional 12 hours for the subject motion. Counsel states that the pro rata share of the fee as to responding party Lakeview Loan Servicing is $13,982.10. [Declaration of Edward Hoffman.] The court finds the billable rate for attorney Hoffman reasonable.

This leaves the issue of the fees billed by moving counsel. Defendant raises valid arguments on grounds of both vague and questionable billing entries, as well as the necessity of certain action. Plaintiff in reply dedicated the majority of attention to the “relitigation” and barely addressed the reasonableness arguments extensively raised in the opposition. The court considers the presented bills.

On May 14, 2015, defendant recorded a Recission of Notice of Notice of Default and Election to Sell Under Deed of Trust. Defendants represented a $167,982 note secured by deed of trust continuing to encumber the property, which justifiably led to the consultation of counsel. Billing statements begin as early as January 8, 2016 though the complaint was not filed until July 14, 2016. The court finds the pre-litigation billing valid, especially given the pre-litigation demands. The hourly amounts are not excessive, though it is not broken down by hourly rate, and only shows a monthly total due. The redacted items are presumably not included in the bill.

Defendant concedes that the work during litigation until the April 5, 2017 stipulation for judgment between Plaintiff and defendants Lakeview Loan Servicing, LLC and Quality Loan Service Corp., whereby the parties agreed to withdraw any and all claims on the parcel and quieted title in favor of Plaintiff, should be the cut-off for billing. The court finds the entries regarding the post-stipulation drafting of the attorney fee motion valid, but agrees with defendant that post-stipulation discovery lacks any facially apparent justification.

It’s also not clear why Plaintiff added entries for a demurrer and trial preparation given the stipulation and fact that the case never went to trial. Other examples of superfluous entries include over one hour billed just for the drafting of the withdrawal from the action after the stipulation, yet within three days of the trial prep and demurrer entries. Billing for non-fee related items continues until the September 13, 2017 hearing denying the motion for attorney fees, and appellate related costs through September 30, 2017. Again, while the reply offers brief address of “discovery” and “demurrer” related expenses, nothing addresses the actual timing of the motion in the two paragraphs dedicated to defending the ledger.

The court finds Plaintiff’s argument that it only sought $79,483.76 in fees in the original denied motion, but fees increased to $191,175.07 in attorney fees is both unsupported and grossly exaggerated, through the examples as addressed above. The court therefore awards fees from January 8, 2016 through April 5, 2017. The court also allows for the recover of fees associated with the denied motion for attorney fees, and fees billed in preparation of the appeal. The court, however, remains unable to determine whether the fees requested seek duplicative recovery of attorney fee costs, and whether the entries pro rata separate the appellate brief costs. Certain entries reference more than one brief, and appellate counsel also acknowledges a pro rata split between the four individual defendants.

The court therefore orders further briefing both articulating actual billable fees by partner, associate, and paralegal, accounting for both the denied and current fee motion, and a pro rata accountability for the appellate work handled by moving counsel, not appellate counsel.

On costs, Defendant only challenges costs incurred after the “disclaimer of interest” filed on March 2, 2017, or $2,702.70. Lakeview states it already paid $767.50, which is not in dispute. Plaintiff in reply concedes that it mistakenly added in $1,296.88 in costs, which it now agrees to withdraw. [Norminton Decl., ¶12.] It’s not clear whether the subject costs were already deducted, or will be deducted.

Regardless, the time period argued by Defendant improperly disregards the costs incurred leading up to the unsuccessful motion for attorney fees and appeal. The court therefore awards all costs—subject to a determination of the $1,296.88 in mistaken items—barring a showing of costs incurred after the stipulation and unrelated to the motion for attorney fees or appeal. The parties may address specific amounts of the final cost bill in the supplemental brief.

The motion is therefore continued to December 10, 2020. The parties are ordered to submit a supplemental brief articulating the items addressed above. The briefs may not raise any new legal arguments and should instead focus on the applicability of the requested fees relative to any and all work done as to Lakeview ONLY. Plaintiff shall submit supplemental declarations and/or billing statements. The court will not consider any further points and authorities. Briefs to be filed in conformance with statutory deadlines for any motion. Plaintiff’s supplemental brief is due no later than November 16, 2020. Defendant may submit any opposition no later than November 24, 2020. The court will not consider any reply brief.

Plaintiff to give notice.

Case Number: PC057181    Hearing Date: September 21, 2020    Dept: F49

Dept. F-49

Calendar # 4

Date: 9-21-20

Case #PC 057181

FEES AND COSTS

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff, Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View Estates

RESPONDING PARTY: Defendant, Lakeview Loan Servicing

RELIEF REQUESTED

Motion for $8,097.46 in Costs and $191,175.07 in Attorney Fees

SUMMARY OF ACTION:

Canyon View Limited dba Canyon View Estates (“Canyon View”) owns and operates a mobile home park. On December 17, 2004, certain third parties entered into a lease for a lot. Lessees breached the lease in 2013, due to their failure to pay rent, utilities and other charges. Lessees vacated the home, thereby leading to Canyon View filing a complaint for a Declaration of Abandonment and sale in 2014. On July 2, 2014, Canyon View purchased the home at a public sale following the judgment in favor of Canyon View. According to Canyon View, the sale provided it with title to the property free of any security interest or lien, except as provided in Health and Safety Code section 18116.1.

Canyon View recorded its grant deed on July 15, 2014. Canyon View submitted an Accounting to the court on August 18, 2014.

On May 14, 2015, defendants recorded a Recission of Notice of Notice of Default and Election to Sell Under Deed of Trust. Defendants represented a $167,982 note secured by deed of trust continuing to encumber the property.

On July 14, 2016, Canyon View filed a verified complaint for Quiet Title, Declaratory Relief, Removal of Cloud on Title, and Unfair Business Practices. On August 10, 2016, Canyon View recorded a lis pendens.

On April 5, 2017, the court entered a stipulation for judgment between Plaintiff and defendants Lakeview Loan Servicing, LLC and Quality Loan Service Corp. Stipulating defendants agreed to withdraw any and all claims on the parcel, and quieted title in favor of Plaintiff. The parties acknowledged that Plaintiff is a prevailing party for the purposes of recovering attorney fees and costs.

On September 13, 2017, the court denied Plaintiffs’ motion for costs and attorneys fees. On October 3, 2017, the court denied the motion of Lakeview Loan Servicing, LLC to strike Plaintiff’s memorandum of costs. Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal of the September 13, 2017 order. On April 17, 2020, the Court of Appeal issued a remittitur reversing the order denying the recovery of costs and attorney fees. The motion for attorney fees and costs was filed on July 27, 2020.

RULING: Continued.

The Court of Appeal specifically found that Plaintiff is entitled to recover attorney fees pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 798.85 of the Mobile Home Residency Law. The Court of Appeal ordered this court to determine the reasonableness of fees and costs consistent with its order. Any challenge to the right to recovery fees and costs will not be considered.

The motion remains unopposed. Prior to the hearing date, Plaintiff’s counsel reached out to the court regarding a continuance of the hearing date. The court reserved November 4, 2020. The hearing is therefore continued to the November date. Any opposition and reply shall conform to the statutory deadlines of the new date.

Plaintiff to give notice.

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