Search

Attributes

This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 03/31/2021 at 19:27:57 (UTC).

CHANG KOK AHN ET AL VS HOLLYWOOD ENTERPRISES INC ET AL

Case Summary

On 02/03/2016 CHANG KOK AHN filed a Labor - Other Labor lawsuit against HOLLYWOOD ENTERPRISES INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are DEIRDRE HILL and RANDOLPH M. HAMMOCK. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****9271

  • Filing Date:

    02/03/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Labor - Other Labor

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

DEIRDRE HILL

RANDOLPH M. HAMMOCK

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

JEONG BRANDON

AHN CHANG KOK

KANG JEONG

RHEE OLIVE

Defendants and Respondents

LIM MINA

DOES 1 THROUGH 100

HOLLYWOOD ENTERPRISES INC.

KARNAK CLUB

SONG HWAN HONG; DOE 1

KOO EDWARD; DOE 2

CHA ALEX

HOLLYWOOD ENTERPRISES INC. DBA KARNAK CLUB

KOO EDWARD

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

LEE HENRY M. ESQ.

LEE HENRY M

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

CHA ALEX ESQ.

OHN GERALD S. ESQ.

POURMORADY KOUROSH

OHN GERALD S

 

Court Documents

Order - ORDER RULING

3/15/2021: Order - ORDER RULING

Order - ORDER RE: EX PARTE APPLICATION

3/4/2020: Order - ORDER RE: EX PARTE APPLICATION

Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

3/23/2020: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

5/28/2020: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Notice - NOTICE OF COURT'S RULING

8/17/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF COURT'S RULING

Status Report - STATUS REPORT PLAINTIFFS'

1/21/2021: Status Report - STATUS REPORT PLAINTIFFS'

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS OF COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT CHA

1/31/2018: NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS OF COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT CHA

Minute Order - (Legacy Event Type : OSC-Failure to File Request Ent of Def/Fi...)

10/12/2018: Minute Order - (Legacy Event Type : OSC-Failure to File Request Ent of Def/Fi...)

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

2/8/2016: ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS & COMPLAINT

3/2/2016: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS & COMPLAINT

CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT -

8/15/2016: CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT -

Minute Order -

1/25/2017: Minute Order -

Minute Order -

1/30/2017: Minute Order -

NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL (UNLIMITED JURISDICTION)

3/23/2017: NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL (UNLIMITED JURISDICTION)

DEFENDANTS HOLLYWOOD ENTERPRISES, INC. AND MINA LIM'S NOTICE OF EX PARTE APPLICATION AND EX PARTE APPLICATION TO STAY THE ACTION PENDING APPEAL OF ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT ALEX CHA'S SPECIAL MOTION TO

3/30/2017: DEFENDANTS HOLLYWOOD ENTERPRISES, INC. AND MINA LIM'S NOTICE OF EX PARTE APPLICATION AND EX PARTE APPLICATION TO STAY THE ACTION PENDING APPEAL OF ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT ALEX CHA'S SPECIAL MOTION TO

PLAINTIFFS AND PLAINTIFF COUNSEL'S REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR AWARD OF ATTORNEY'S FEES AFTER DENIAL OF ANTI-SLAPP MOTION; ETC.

4/18/2017: PLAINTIFFS AND PLAINTIFF COUNSEL'S REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR AWARD OF ATTORNEY'S FEES AFTER DENIAL OF ANTI-SLAPP MOTION; ETC.

NOTICE OF ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING REGARDING SANCTIONS/DISMISSAL FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR/FAILURE TO PROSECUTE

9/1/2017: NOTICE OF ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING REGARDING SANCTIONS/DISMISSAL FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR/FAILURE TO PROSECUTE

DECLARATION OF J. EDWARD KIM IN OPPOSITION TO COURT'S ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE REGARDING SANCTIONS/DISMISSAL FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR/FAILURE TO PROSECUTE

11/2/2017: DECLARATION OF J. EDWARD KIM IN OPPOSITION TO COURT'S ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE REGARDING SANCTIONS/DISMISSAL FOR FAILURE TO APPEAR/FAILURE TO PROSECUTE

182 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/11/2021
  • Hearing05/11/2021 at 09:30 AM in Department I at 1725 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401; Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/23/2021
  • Hearing04/23/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 49 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Post-Mediation Status Conference

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/23/2021
  • Hearing04/23/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 49 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Trial Setting Conference

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/23/2021
  • Hearing04/23/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 49 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/24/2021
  • DocketNotice (of Mandatory Settlement Conference); Filed by Alex Cha (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/16/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 49; Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel - Held - Motion Granted

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/16/2021
  • DocketOrder (RULING); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/16/2021
  • DocketOrder Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil; Filed by Mina Lim (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/16/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/15/2021
  • Docketat 08:31 AM in Department 49; Hearing on Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

    Read MoreRead Less
341 More Docket Entries
  • 03/02/2016
  • DocketAffidavit ; Filed by Chang Kok Ahn (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/23/2016
  • DocketMiscellaneous-Other; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/23/2016
  • DocketCHECK ALERT

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/08/2016
  • DocketORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/08/2016
  • DocketOSC-RE Other (Miscellaneous); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/08/2016
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/08/2016
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/03/2016
  • DocketSUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/03/2016
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: 1. UNLAWFUL BUSINESS PRACTICES (BUS. & PROF. CODE 17200 ET. SEQ.); ETC

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/03/2016
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Chang Kok Ahn (Plaintiff); Jeong Kang (Plaintiff); Brandon Jeong (Plaintiff) et al.

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC609271    Hearing Date: March 16, 2021    Dept: 49

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Chang Kok Ahn, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

Case No.

BC609271

v.

[Tentative] Ruling

Hollywood Enterprises Inc., et al.,

Defendants.

Hearing Date: March 16, 2021

Department 49, Judge Stuart M. Rice

Motions to be Relieved as Counsel

Moving Party: Counsel Kourosh Pourmorady

Responding Party: none

Ruling: Pourmorady’s motions to be relieved as counsel are granted.

Counsel Kourosh Pourmorady moves to be relieved as counsel of record for Defendants Mina Lim and Hollywood Enterprises, Inc.

The hearing on Pourmorady’s motion to be relieved as counsel was continued from January 21, 2021 to allow for Pourmorady to correct the defects of his motion. Pourmorady has now fulfilled the requirements of California Rules of Court, Rule 3.3162 and filed the requisite forms for both clients.

Pourmorady now declares that the corporate client is still active and lists the physical address for both Pourmorady’s individual client Mina Lim and the corporate client Hollywood Enterprises. Pourmorady declares that he has also electronically served the documents to the last known email address of his client who left the United States for medical treatment, and with whom he has not been in contact for twelve months.

Pourmorady’s motions to be relieved as counsel are granted. Pourmorady is reminded that this order is not effective until both clients are served with a copy of the order and a proof of service filed with the court.

Date: March 16, 2021

Honorable Stuart M. Rice

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: BC609271    Hearing Date: March 15, 2021    Dept: 49

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Chang Kok Ahn, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

Case No.

BC609271

v.

[Tentative] Ruling

Hollywood Enterprises, et al.

Defendants.

Hearing Date: March 15, 2021

Department 49, Judge Stuart M. Rice

Defendant’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

Moving Party: Defendants Alex Cha

Responding Party: Plaintiffs Chang Kok Ahn, Jeong Kang, Brandon Jeong, and Olive Rhee

Ruling: Defendant’s motion for judgment on the pleadings is continued to April 23, 2021, at 8:30AM.

Defendant Alex Cha (“Defendant”) moves for judgment on the pleadings on the first through seventh causes of action of Plaintiffs Chang Kok Ahn, Jeong Kang, Brandon Jeong and Olive Rhee’s (“Plaintiffs”) Complaint.

Plaintiffs raise several arguments in opposition which the court shall discuss first. First, Plaintiffs contend that this motion is untimely. Second, Plaintiffs contend that the motion is barred because Defendant’s counsel failed to meet and confer prior to filing the motion.

Pursuant to Code Civ. Proc. § 438(e), “[n]o motion may be made pursuant to this section if a pretrial conference order has been entered pursuant to Section 575, or within 30 days of the date the action is initially set for trial, whichever is later, unless the court otherwise permits.” Plaintiff argues that “[t]his is a very old case, and was initially set for trial on or about April 20, 2017.” (Opp. 3:9-10.) While this case is old, “[a] motion for judgment on the pleadings may be made at any time either prior to the trial or at the trial itself.” (Stoops v. Abbassi (2002) 100 Cal. App. 4th 644, 650.) In addition to the fact that a “motion for judgment on the pleadings can be filed at any time,” “[t]he statute does not impose a ‘good cause’ requirement.” (Beames v. City of Visalia (2019) 43 Cal. App. 5th 741, 785; Burnett v. Chimney Sweep (2004) 123 Cal. App. 4th 1057, 1063.) This argument does not require a denial of this motion.

However, Pursuant to Code Civ. Proc. § 439(a), “[b]efore filing a motion for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to this chapter, the moving party shall meet and confer in person or by telephone with the party who filed the pleading that is subject to the motion for judgment on the pleadings for the purpose of determining if an agreement can be reached that resolves the claims to be raised in the motion for judgment on the pleadings.” Additionally, “[t]he moving party shall file and serve with the motion for judgment on the pleadings a declaration stating either of the following: (A) The means by which the moving party met and conferred with the party who filed the pleading subject to the motion for judgment on the pleadings, and that the parties did not reach an agreement resolving the claims raised by the motion for judgment on the pleadings, [or] (B) That the party who filed the pleading subject to the motion for judgment on the pleadings failed to respond to the meet and confer request of the moving party or otherwise failed to meet and confer in good faith.”

There is no declaration attached to this motion. In opposition, Plaintiffs assert that “[t]here was no meet and confer at all.” (Opp. 4:11-12.) Plaintiffs further asserts that “[h]ad a meet and confer occurred, Defense counsel would have been aware that her position is not supported by the law, as shown by the lack of legal authorities in the Motion, and some of the pleadings had incorrect dates which can be easily amended.” (Id. 4:13-16.)

“A determination by the court that the meet and confer process was insufficient shall not be grounds to grant or deny the motion for judgment on the pleadings.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 439(a)(4).) However, the meet and confer requirements of Code Civ. Proc. § 439(a) are not permissive. The moving party is required by statute to meet and confer and submit to the court evidence of their efforts. Defendant’s failure to do so is not fatal to the motion, but shall result in a continuance of this matter until Defendant can demonstrate that met and conferred in good faith with Plaintiffs to discuss their respective positions.

This case has been before the court for almost five years. Defendant now moves for judgment on the pleadings following the denial of his motion for summary judgment on August 6, 2020, and prior attacks to the pleadings including an Anti-SLAPP motion to strike filed in 2016. It is troubling that Defendant would now file an attack on the pleadings without fulfilling his statutory obligation to meet and confer. While the relevant standards differ between a motion for judgment on the pleadings and a motion for summary judgment, Defendant appears to be rehashing arguments previously raised in several motions already heard in this matter. Finally, Defendant offers no explanation as to why he made no attempt to meet and confer, and merely requests that the motion not be denied on this ground.

Defendant is ordered to meet and confer in good faith with Plaintiffs regarding the parties’ respective arguments on this motion for judgment on the pleadings. The court expects that the parties will be able to resolve several issues raised in this motion, especially considering the repetition and duplication of issues which were previously discussed by this court in denying Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. If stipulation is reached, the parties shall submit the same with a proposed order and if so, the motion will be taken off calendar.

The hearing is continued to April 23, 2021 at 8:30AM. Defendant shall submit evidence of his good faith meet and confer efforts no later than nine (9) court days before the continued hearing. This ruling does NOT relieve counsel of their responsibility to appear either remotely or in person at the March 15th court appearance.

Defendant is ordered to provide notice of this ruling.

Date: March 15, 2021

Honorable Stuart M. Rice

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: BC609271    Hearing Date: January 22, 2021    Dept: 49

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Chang Kok Ahn, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

Case No.

BC609271

v.

[Tentative] Ruling

Hollywood Enterprises Inc., et al.,

Defendants.

Hearing Date: January 22, 2021

Department 49, Judge Stuart M. Rice

Motions to be Relieved as Counsel

Moving Party: Counsel Kourosh Pourmorady

Responding Party: none

Ruling: Counsel’s motion to be relieved as counsel is continued to February 23, 2021 at 8:30am.

Counsel Kourosh Pourmorady (“Counsel”) moves to be relieved as counsel of record for Defendants Mina Lim and Hollywood Enterprises, Inc.

Three issues arise with this motion. First, Counsel moves in one motion to be relieved as counsel for two separate entities. The court recognizes that Mina Lim is asserted as the sole owner of the entity defendant in Counsel’s motion. However, one motion is required for each party. Second, Counsel has failed to attach a mandatory proposed order on form MC-053. Third, Counsel has not made reasonable efforts to locate client Mina Lim. Counsel declares as follows: “THE LAST I HEARD IS THAT SHE HAS LEFT THE COUNTRY FOR MEDICAL REASONS,” and despite asserting that Counsel has confirmed the client’s address within the past 30 days, then declares that “I HAVE NO OTHER ADDRESS. I ALSO HAVE EMAILED THE DOCUMENTS TO HER LAST KNOWN EMAIL AT MINAKWON814@GMAIL.COM.” This is insufficient to demonstrate reasonable efforts in confirming the last known address. An example of a declaration demonstrating reasonable efforts may consist of an attempt to contact the last known phone number as well as the known email address, and a public records search.

The court is inclined to grant this motion. However, Counsel must resolve the issues discussed above. The motion to be relieved as counsel is continued to February 23, 2021 at 8:30am.

Date: January 22, 2021

Honorable Stuart M. Rice

Judge of the Superior Court

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Chang Kok Ahn, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

Case No.

BC609271

v.

[Tentative] Ruling

Hollywood Enterprises Inc., et al.,

Defendant.

Hearing Date: January 22, 2021

Department 49, Judge Stuart M. Rice

(1) Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Responses to Deposition Questions and Reponses to Requests for Production

Moving Party: Plaintiffs Chang Kok Ahn, Jeong Kang, Brandon Jeong, Olive Rhee

Responding Party: Defendant Alex Cha

Ruling: Plaintiffs’ motion is denied without prejudice.

Plaintiffs Chang Kok Ahn, Jeong Kang, Brandon Jeong, and Olive Rhee (“Plaintiffs”) move for an order compelling Defendant Alex Cha (“Defendant”) to provide answers to deposition questions and to produce documents which he refused to produce at his initial deposition.

Several issues arise with respect to this motion which inhibit the court from addressing its merits. 

First, Plaintiffs submit two separate statements with this motion. The first, which consists of 57 pages, intertwines legal argument, deposition questions and responses, and lengthy citations to the Labor Code. However, it fails to provide any citations to the relevant deposition transcript. The second, which consists of 156 pages, asserts identical language in support of the requests for production served alongside the deposition notice. Plaintiffs make no mention of the objections served by Defendant in response to the deposition notice, nor does Plaintiff attach any relevant portions of the deposition transcript.

Second, only Defendant filed a status report pertaining to this motion prior to the hearing. On September 18, 2020, the court ordered that “[a] Joint Report is to be submitted, after the MSC occurs, if case is not settled and is due 5 Court Days prior to next date. Said report shall advise Court whether the Court will need to rule on anything concerning the Cha Depositions. Said report is due by 1/15/21.” Plaintiff has made no filing since the September 18, 2020 order. In Defendant’s report, he notes that “the parties met and conferred but were unable to achieve a joint status report.” (1/15/21 Cha Report, ft. 1.) A joint status report does not require the parties to reach an agreement, but requires the parties to confirm their meet and confer efforts, and to articulate which disputes remain, if any, for determination by the court. Plaintiffs’ failure to do so ignores the instructions of the prior order.

Another issue critical to this motion is that neither party provides a full transcript of the deposition, or at the least portions containing relevant responses in full. Plaintiffs’ motion fails to include any transcript whatsoever, and Defendant’s opposition includes only portions which it deems relevant. However, several questions raised in the moving papers are not included within the portions provided by Defendant, therefore impeding the court’s ability to review the relevant evidence.

For example, Plaintiffs’ separate statement reads: “Q. And so do you know if there are any DE-6 quarterly tax reports for any of the plaintiffs in this case? MR. OHN: Objection. May call for attorney-client privileged information. May call for attorney work product. I'm going to instruct the witness not to answer. Privacy and confidentiality as well.” (Sep. Statement 8:20-23.) However, a review of Defendant’s submitted transcript reveals the following interaction: “Q. So the question was: Do you know if there are any such DE-6 quarterly payroll documents for any of the plaintiffs in this case? A. No, I don't know.” (Ohn Decl. Exh. D, 3:12-15.) The court cannot verify any of Plaintiff’s assertions without the transcript and citations thereto. However, from this example, it appears that Defendant has provided a substantive response to the question. From the moving papers alone, it would not have so appeared.

The motion is denied without prejudice. The parties are ordered to further meet and confer, in good faith, regarding the issues raised in this motion. The parties are ordered to submit a joint status report on the remaining issues by February 23, 2021. Should issues remain, Plaintiffs may refile an adequately briefed motion, including a transcript of the relevant responses in full, and a separate statement in compliance with California Rules of Court, Rule § 3.1345(c).

Date: January 22, 2021

Honorable Stuart M. Rice

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: BC609271    Hearing Date: August 06, 2020    Dept: 49

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Chang Kok Ahn, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

Case No.

BC609271

v.

[Tentative] Ruling

Hollywood Enterprises, et al.

Defendants.

Hearing Date: August 6, 2020

Department 49, Judge Stuart M. Rice

(1) Defendant Alex Cha’s Motion for Summary Judgment and Adjudication.

Moving Party:   Defendant Alex Cha

Responding Party:       Plaintiffs Chang Kok Ahn, Jeong Kang, Brandon Jeong, and Olive Rhee

Ruling: Cha’s motion for summary judgment is denied. Cha’s motion for summary adjudication is granted as to plaintiffs’ eighth, ninth, and tenth causes of action for “harassment/retaliation/age discrimination in violation of FEHA,” failure to prevent the same, and wrongful termination in violation of FEHA. The motion for summary adjudication is denied as to plaintiff’s first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh causes of action.

Requests for Judicial Notice

Both parties’ requests for judicial notice are granted as to the existence of the documents, but not as to the truth of any matters asserted therein.

Cha’s Evidentiary Objections

Alex Cha’s Deposition Testimony

Isaac Jung’s Declaraiton

Olive Rhee’s Declaration

Chang Kok Ahn’s Declaration

Brandon Jeong’s Declaration

Jeong Kang’s Declaration

Plaintiffs’ Evidentiary Objections to the Declaration of Alex Cha

“Objections to specific evidence must be referenced by the objection number in the right column of a separate statement in opposition or reply to a motion, but the objections must not be restated or reargued in the separate statement. Each written objection must be numbered consecutively and must: . . . [¶] (2) State the exhibit, title, page, and line number of the material objected to; [¶] (3) Quote or set forth the objectionable statement or material.” (Rule 3.1354, subd. (b).)

Legal Standard

The function of a motion for summary judgment or adjudication is to allow a determination as to whether an opposing party cannot show evidentiary support for a pleading or claim and to enable an order of summary dismissal without the need for trial. (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 843.)

Trial judges are required “to grant summary judgment if all the evidence submitted, and ‘all inferences reasonably deducible from the evidence’ and uncontradicted by other inferences or evidence, show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” (Adler v. Manor Healthcare Corp. (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1110, 1119.)

As to each claim as framed by the complaint, the defendant moving for summary judgment bears an initial burden of production to make a prima facie showing of the nonexistence of any triable issue of material fact. (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 850.) Once the defendant has met that initial burden, the burden of production shifts, and the opposing party must make a prima facie showing of the existence of a triable issue of material fact. (Id.)

There are two means by which a moving defendant can shift the burden of proof under the summary judgment statute. (Levya v. Garcia (2018) 20 Cal.App.5th 1095, 1103.) The first is to negate or disprove an essential element of a plaintiff’s cause of action. (Id.) The second is to show that the plaintiff does not possess, and cannot reasonably obtain, needed evidence to establish an essential element of the cause of action. (Id.)

To establish a triable issue of material fact, the party opposing the motion must produce substantial responsive evidence. (Sangster v. Paetkau (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 151, 166.) Courts “liberally construe the evidence in support of the party opposing summary judgment and resolve doubts concerning the evidence in favor of that party.” (Dore v. Arnold Worldwide, Inc. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 384, 389.)

Motion for Summary Judgment or Adjudication

(1) unlawful business practices, (2) failure to pay minimum wage, (3) failure to provide meal breaks, (4) failure to provide rest periods, (5) Labor Code section 203 wages; (6) Labor Code section 226 damages, (7) conversion of unpaid wages and tips, (8) harassment/retaliation/age discrimination in violation of FEHA, (9) failure to prevent harassment/discrimination/retaliation in violation of FEHA, and (10) wrongful termination in violation of FEHA. Each cause of action is asserted against “all defendants,” which includes moving defendant Alex Cha who was substituted in as a Doe defendant on October 7, 2016.

Cha’s motion for summary judgment, or, in the alternative, for summary adjudication is made on the following grounds: Plaintiffs failed to exhaust administrative remedies against Cha. There is no triable issue of material fact as to whether Cha was plaintiffs’ employer. Cha was defendant Karnak’s attorney during the relevant periods such that he cannot defend himself without breaching the attorney-client privilege owed to Karnak. Plaintiff’s causes of action with respect to Cha are barred by the litigation privilege. Plaintiffs’ causes of action are barred under the Noerr-Pennington doctrine. Finally, with respect to plaintiff’s cause of action for unlawful business practices, there is no disputed issue of material fact as to whether Cha engaged in any unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business act.

Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies with Respect to FEHA Claims

(Causes of Action 8-10)

Existence of Employment Relationship—Labor Code Violations

Control Over Wages, Hours, or Working Conditions

One definition of employment is “control over the wages, hours, or working conditions.” (Martinez v. Combs (2010) 49 Cal.4th 35, 64.) This definition “is broad enough to reach through straw men and other sham arrangements to impose liability for wages on the actual employer.” (Id. at 71.)

Phrased in the alternative (i.e., with the use of “or”), “the language of the IWC’s ‘employer’ definition has the obvious utility of reaching situations in which multiple entities control different aspects of the employment relationship, as when one entity, which hires and pays workers, places them with other entities that supervise the work.” (Martinez, 49 Cal.4th at p. 59.)

“[C]ontrol over wages” means that a person or entity has the power or authority to negotiate and set an employee’s rate of pay, and not that a person or entity is physically involved in the preparation of an employee’s paycheck.” (Futrell v. Payday California, Inc. (2010) 190 Cal.App.4th 1419, 1432.)

“Supervision of the work, in the specific sense of exercising control over how services are performed, is properly viewed as one of the ‘working conditions’ mentioned in the wage order. To read the wage order in this way makes it consistent with other areas of the law, in which control over how services are performed is an important, perhaps even the principal, test for the existence of an employment relationship.” (Martinez v. Combs (2010) 49 Cal.4th 35, 76.)

Pertinent to the issue of whether Cha controlled plaintiffs’ wages, hours, or working conditions, Cha sets forth the following facts: Cha neither directly nor indirectly controlled plaintiffs’ working conditions. (Separate Statement of Undisputed Material Facts (UMF) 12; Cha Decl. ¶ 10.) He never paid plaintiffs wages or took, received, or kept any part of the wages or tips plaintiffs earned during their employment. (UMF 28-31; Cha Decl. ¶¶ 15, 16.) Cha was never plaintiffs’ supervisor. (UMF 20, Cha Decl. ¶ 20.) Cha further states that he was never in charge plaintiffs’ work schedules or spoke to plaintiffs about when they should come or leave their work, or clock-in or -out. (UMF 21-22, Cha Decl. ¶ 13.) Nor did he ever tell him he could not take rest or meal breaks (UMF 23-25; Cha Decl. ¶ 14.) This is sufficient for Cha to meet his initial burden with respect to whether he controlled plaintiffs’ hours, wages, or working conditions.

Thus, the burden shifts to plaintiffs to raise a triable issue of material fact as to whether Cha was plaintiffs’ employer by virtue of controlling their wages, hours, and working conditions. To meet their burden, plaintiffs have submitted the declarations of plaintiffs Chang Kok Ahn, Kang, Jeong, Olive Rhee, in addition to Cha’s deposition testimony, and the declaration of nonparty Isaac Jung, which was submitted in opposition to Cha’s 2017 anti-SLAPP motion.

Plaintiffs’ declarations state that Cha did assert control over their working conditions. Specifically, their statements support the following facts:  Rhee personally observed Alex Cha at Karnak club on a regular basis, and observed him speaking to the bar manager, Young Nam, on a regular basis. (Rhee Decl. ¶ 3.) On numerous occasions, Nam would say to the Karnak Club staff, which included Rhee, that “Alex says…” followed by an instruction concerning clocking in and out. (Id.) When Rhee would complain to Nam about pay being late or not being paid for all hours worked, Nam would say, “Alex says” we have to delay a little bit, pay cash, or work particular hours. (Rhee Decl. ¶ 4.) Brandon Jeong’s declaration corroborates the facts set forth in Rhee’s declaration concerning Cha’s involvement in controlling form and time of wage payment and hours worked.

Ahn’s declaration states that Anh saw Mina Lim at the Karnak Club, who he thought was the club owner, on rare occasions. (Ahn Decl. ¶ 3.) However, Anh observed Cha at the club on a regular basis, and also saw him talking with Lim on a few occasions. (Id.)

Additionally, nonparty Jung’s declaration states that he was employed with the Karnak Club from February 1, 2016 to July 1, 2016, during which he held the title of “President of Karnak Club.” (Junt Decl. ¶ 2.) He states that Lim introduced herself as the “owner” of Karnak Club and specifically instructed Jung that Cha had authority to make decisions on behalf of Karnak Club and to contact him when she could not be reached. (Jung Decl. ¶ 4.) Jung states that he communicated with and was instructed by Cha about day-to-day operations, including matters about employee wages, payroll, and operational problems. (Jung Decl. ¶¶ 6,7.)

Although Cha objected to Jung’s declaration because Jung’s employment did not overlap with any of plaintiffs’, this concern goes to the weight of the evidence, not to its admissibility. It is still relevant because it tends to show that at some point (the first half of 2016), which is not particularly far from the end of the relevant period (September 2015), Cha in fact controlled the hours and wages of Karnak Club employees. This evidence lends itself to a finding by a fact finder that Cha also controlled the hours and wages of the employees during the relevant period. Because this declaration has already been submitted in this action, Cha was on notice that this evidence existed prior to when he filed the instant motion. However, nothing in his declaration refutes the facts set forth in Jung’s declaration. The only way Cha has opposed this testimony is by objecting to it on various grounds, which the court overruled.

In any case, even if the objections to Jung’s declarations had been sustained, the declarations of plaintiffs themselves are sufficient for plaintiffs to raise a triable issue of material fact as to whether Cha controlled plaintiffs’ wages, hours, or working conditions. Thus, there remains a triable issue of material fact as to whether Cha was plaintiffs’ employer within the meaning of the relevant Labor Code sections. The court finds it unnecessary to conduct a full analysis concerning the alternative common law or “suffer or permit to work” definitions of employer, but notes that even under those definitions, plaintiffs have raised a triable issue of material fact with the same evidence cited above.

Attorney-Client Privilege

Under section 953 of the Evidence Code, the client (not the attorney) is the holder of the attorney-client privilege. “The privilege ‘is to be strictly construed’ in the interest of bringing to light relevant facts,” particularly “where the relationship is not clearly established.” (Uber Technologies, Inc. v. Google LLC (2018) 27 Cal.App.5th 953, 967.)

The only supporting fact in his separate statement is that defendants have not waived their attorney-client privilege in connection with this action. (See UMF 7.) The only evidence cited in support of this fact is the fourth paragraph of Cha’s own declaration, which states that defendants have not waived any attorney-client privilege they have in connection with this action. No declaration of the other defendants was submitted. Further, no fact or evidence is set forth clearly establishing the attorney-client relationship between Cha and the other defendants or the scope of such a relationship. Cha’s evidence falls far short of establishing that no triable issue of material fact exists as to whether Cha may defend himself without breaching an attorney-client privilege.

The mere fact that Cha previously represented defendants in this action does not in and of itself establish that he cannot defend himself against plaintiffs’ claims of Labor Code violations. For example, there is no indication that the type of testimony required by him, such as that concerning whether or not he instructed employees to tell other employees to work overtime after clocking out, would qualify as a confidential communication protected by the attorney-client privilege. “Absent actual disclosure, or a demand for disclosure, the statute is simply not implicated.” (People v. Delgado (2017) 2 Cal.5th 544, 560.) Further, it would be against public policy for individuals to be able to shelter themselves from Labor Code violations by representing other defendants who are also violating the Labor Code with respect to the same individuals.

Cha cites Reilly v. Greenwald & Hoffman, LLP (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 891for the rule that claims must be dismissed against an attorney where he or she cannot adequately defend him- or herself without breaching the privilege owed to a client. However, for the reasons set forth above, Cha has not made an adequate showing that a privilege exists, let alone that he would not be able to adequately defend himself without breaching such a privilege.

Because Cha has failed to meet his initial burden on this issue, attorney-client privilege is rejected as a ground for granting this motion for summary judgment or adjudication.

Litigation Privilege

An additional ground for Cha’s motion for summary judgment or adjudication is that all of plaintiffs’ causes of action against him are based on allegations regarding his litigation activities.

The litigation privilege, defined in Civil Code section 47, subdivision (b), precludes liability arising from a publication or broadcast made in a judicial proceeding or other official proceeding. (Id.) The privilege established by this subdivision is an absolute privilege, and bars all tort causes of action except a claim for malicious prosecution. (Id.) The absolute privilege applies to all publications, irrespective of their maliciousness. (Optional Capital, Inc. v. Akin. Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld LLP (2017) 18 Cal.App.5th 95, 116.)

To determine the merit of this argument, it is appropriate to look to the allegations set forth in the complaint. A review of the complaint shows that there is not a single allegation concerning litigation activities or publications made in judicial or other official proceedings. Rather, the complaint is premised on allegations that defendants, who were all agents of one another, took various actions against plaintiffs in violation of the Labor Code, including requiring them to work overtime without pay. None of plaintiffs’ claims arise from a publication or broadcast made in a judicial or other official proceeding and Cha has offered nothing to support his contention that the litigation privilege applies other than the conclusory sentence that plaintiffs’ causes of action “are barred by the litigation privilege because they are squarely based on allegations of attorney Defendant Cha’s communications with his client defendants or others in connection with potential litigation.” (Motion 12:6-12.)

Noerr-Pennington Doctrine

Cha argues briefly that the Noerr-Pennington doctrine bars plaintiffs’ claims. Cha states that the doctrine “generally provides that those who petition government for redress through the courts or otherwise are immune from liability under virtually any theory.” (Motion at 12:15-18.)

The Noerr-Pennington doctrine was announced in Eastern R. R. Presidents Conference v. Noerr Motor Freight, Inc. (1961) 365 U.S. 127, holding that efforts to influence legislation do not violate the Sherman Act. Cha’s argument does not provide any credible explanation of what the Noerr-Pennington doctrine is or how it applies here, which, upon independently researching the doctrine, it appears not to. The doctrine is therefore rejected as a basis for Cha’s motion for summary judgment or adjudication.

Unfair Business Practice

Conclusion

Cha is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Date: August 6, 2020

Honorable Stuart M. Rice

Judge of the Superior Court

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Chang Kok Ahn, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

Case No.

BC609271

v.

[Tentative] Ruling

Hollywood Enterprises, et al.

Defendants.

Hearing Date: August 6, 2020

Department 49, Judge Stuart M. Rice

(1) Plaintiffs’ motion to compel Alex Cha’s deposition testimony.

Moving Party:  Plaintiffs Chang Kok Ahn, Jeong Kang, Brandon Jeong, and Olive Rhee

Responding Party:      Defendant Alex Cha

Ruling: The hearing on this motion is vacated, along with the hearings on all other pending discovery motions, currently scheduled for September 2, 3, 9, and October 1, 2020.

The parties are reminded that this court requires an IDC prior to the filing of any discovery motions. (See Code Civ. Proc., § 2016.080.) Because no IDC has been held on the issues raised in this or any other discovery motion, an IDC is hereby scheduled for September 18, 2020 at 3:00 pm. The parties are ordered to meet and confer in good faith on all issues presented by all pending discovery motions prior to the date of the IDC. If any issues remain unresolved after said meet and confer, the parties shall file a joint report, not to exceed five pages, setting forth the issues in dispute. The joint report is due five court days prior to the September 18, 2020 IDC.  The hearings on all pending discovery motions, including the instant one, are hereby vacated. The court will schedule a date for the motions, if necessary, on September 18, 2020. If any issues remain unresolved even after the court’s guidance in an IDC, the parties are ordered to file another joint status report on remaining issues which require a ruling by the court five days before the hearing date. Plaintiffs are ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Date: August 6, 2020

Honorable Stuart M. Rice

Judge of the Superior Court

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Chang Kok Ahn, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

Case No.

BC609271

v.

[Tentative] Ruling

Hollywood Enterprises, et al.

Defendants.

Hearing Date: August 6, 2020

Department 49, Judge Stuart M. Rice

(1) Defendant Alex Cha’s Motion for an OSC re Contempt

Moving Party:   Defendant Alex Cha

Responding Party:      none

Ruling: The motion is denied as moot.

On August 8, 2019, the court granted plaintiffs’ motion to vacate the court’s May 30, 2019 dismissal of this action under Code of Civil Procedure section 473, subdivision (b), and awarded defendant Alex Cha $2,250 against plaintiffs’ counsel Henry Lee for attorney fees incurred. The court did not state a deadline for Lee to pay the sanctions award. In lieu of filing an opposition to this motion, Lee filed a document entitled “notice of payment of sanctions,” which includes a photocopy of a check in the amount of $2,250 paid by him to Alex Cha and the Law Offices of Gerald Ohn. This payment has rendered Cha’s motion for an OSC re contempt moot. Because the order imposed no deadline for Lee’s payment, the court finds it inappropriate to impose further sanctions for his delay in paying. Therefore, Cha’s motion for an OSC re contempt is denied as moot.

Date: August 6, 2020

Honorable Stuart M. Rice

Judge of the Superior Court

related-case-search

Dig Deeper

Get Deeper Insights on Court Cases


Latest cases where HOLLYWOOD ENTERPRISES INCORPORATION is a litigant