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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 04/14/2019 at 23:47:17 (UTC).

CLEAN ENERGY OF AMERICA GROUP INC VS SOUTHLAND ELECTRICAL CO

Case Summary

On 12/30/2014 CLEAN ENERGY OF AMERICA GROUP INC filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against SOUTHLAND ELECTRICAL CO. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are RAFAEL A. ONGKEKO and EDWARD B. MORETON. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8285

  • Filing Date:

    12/30/2014

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

RAFAEL A. ONGKEKO

EDWARD B. MORETON

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

CLEAN ENERGY OF AMERICA GROUP INC.

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1 TO 40

SOUTHLAND ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS INC.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

LAW OFFICES OF PETER C. BRONSTEIN

BRONSTEIN PETER C. ESQ.

BRYAN CAVE LLP

ROTHMAN LARRY ESQ.

 

Court Documents

Minute Order

9/28/2018: Minute Order

REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

4/29/2015: REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

7/24/2015: REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

Minute Order

7/28/2015: Minute Order

REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

8/25/2015: REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

AMENDED JUDGMENT BY COURT BY DEFAULT

3/22/2016: AMENDED JUDGMENT BY COURT BY DEFAULT

APPL. 7 ORDER FOR APPEARANCE AND EXAM. (ATT.-ENF OF JUDGEMENT)

7/26/2016: APPL. 7 ORDER FOR APPEARANCE AND EXAM. (ATT.-ENF OF JUDGEMENT)

Minute Order

10/3/2016: Minute Order

DEFENDANT SOUTHLAND ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS, INC.'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF THE SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT AND SET ASIDE THE ENTRY OF JUDGMENTS; ETC.

10/11/2016: DEFENDANT SOUTHLAND ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS, INC.'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF THE SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT AND SET ASIDE THE ENTRY OF JUDGMENTS; ETC.

DECLARATION OF DEBBY BERKOVICH

11/22/2016: DECLARATION OF DEBBY BERKOVICH

OBJECTION TO PLAINTIFF CLEAN ENERGY OF AMERECA GROUP, INC'S SUPPLEMENTAL REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE IN SUPPORT OF ITS OPPOSITION TO SOUTHLAND ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF SUMMONS

11/23/2016: OBJECTION TO PLAINTIFF CLEAN ENERGY OF AMERECA GROUP, INC'S SUPPLEMENTAL REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE IN SUPPORT OF ITS OPPOSITION TO SOUTHLAND ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF SUMMONS

NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

12/8/2016: NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

Unknown

12/8/2016: Unknown

SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY

2/15/2017: SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY

STIPULATION TO CONTINUE FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE AND TRIAL AND ORDER

6/22/2017: STIPULATION TO CONTINUE FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE AND TRIAL AND ORDER

Minute Order

6/22/2017: Minute Order

Minute Order

11/7/2017: Minute Order

Minute Order

11/27/2017: Minute Order

50 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 12/17/2018
  • at 09:30 AM in Department 44, Edward B. Moreton, Presiding; Hearing on Motion - Other (name extension) (To Amend Judgment) - Held - Motion Denied

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  • 12/17/2018
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Motion - Other)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/28/2018
  • at 09:30 AM in Department 44; (Motion; Denied) -

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  • 09/28/2018
  • Minute Order

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  • 09/28/2018
  • Minute order entered: 2018-09-28 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/05/2018
  • NOTICE OF MOTION; MOTION TO AMEND JUDGMENT; ETC.

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  • 09/05/2018
  • DECLARATION OF LARRY ROTHMAN

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  • 09/05/2018
  • Request for Judicial Notice; Filed by Clean Energy of America Group, Inc. (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/05/2018
  • Declaration; Filed by Clean Energy of America Group, Inc. (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/05/2018
  • Notice of Motion; Filed by Clean Energy of America Group, Inc. (Plaintiff)

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128 More Docket Entries
  • 04/29/2015
  • REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

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  • 04/29/2015
  • Request for Entry of Default / Judgment; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 04/29/2015
  • Minute order entered: 2015-04-29 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/29/2015
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Clean Energy of America Group, Inc. (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/29/2015
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 01/22/2015
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/22/2015
  • NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 12/30/2014
  • Complaint; Filed by Clean Energy of America Group, Inc. (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/30/2014
  • SUMMONS

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  • 12/30/2014
  • COMPLAINT FOR: (1) MONEY HAD AND RECEIVED; ETC

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC568285    Hearing Date: January 11, 2021    Dept: 73

1/11/2021

Dept. 73

Rafael Ongkeko, Judge presiding

CLEAN ENERGY OF AMERICA GROUP, INC. v. SOUTHLAND ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS, INC. (BC568285)

Counsel for Plaintiff/judgment creditor: Larry Rothman

MOTION TO AMEND JUDGMENT (filed 10/13/2020; continued from 11/5/2020 for further briefing)

TENTATIVE RULING

The court has read and considered Plaintiff’s supplemental papers filed on 12/28/2020.

Judgment Creditor’s request for judicial notice is granted.

GRANT motion to amend judgment adding Samuel Amit on alter ego theory. The court further finds that the original judgment was not procured “after trial,” but only as a default prove-up after the entity defendant’s answer was stricken. Moving party shall give notice and serve and lodge a proposed amended judgment that reflects the court’s findings. The court sets a non-appearance date for entry of the amended judgment on _______________ at 8:30 a.m.

Plaintiff’s Supplemental Briefing

In the supplemental brief, Judgment Creditor provides the following new arguments/evidence:

First, given Judgment Creditor’s experience as a licensed private investigator, Judgment Creditor argues that the court should deem Judgment Creditor’s counsel an expert capable of rendering an expert opinion “as to the ultimate fact and conclusion as to alter ego.” However, the alter ego doctrine is not a “fact,” but a legal conclusion—i.e., requiring evidentiary facts that show the factors of alter ego are facts that may lead a court to legally conclude that a corporate entity really is an individual’s alter ego justifying the individual’s being added to the judgment.

Counsel’s supplemental declaration is still lacking under Sargon, the seminal case the court cited in its earlier tentative for the 11/5/2020 hearing.

Notwithstanding the above issues, the court finds there is enough evidence to grant the motion. Judgment Creditor has argued that Amit participated and controlled every stage of the underlying litigation. As earlier indicated, Amit has always been the sole owner, officer and director of Defendant. It is reasonable to infer that he, and no one else, controlled the defense after learning of the default judgment. At all times, Amit was “virtually represented,” a factor that the alter ego cases cite as a key element in the analysis, not to mention a unity of interest among the two. In fact, Defendant appeared through counsel at all times until 8/15/17. But the court finds that because Amit substituted himself on the entity’s behalf on 8/15/17, he DID, in fact, undertake sole responsibility for the litigation, and by deciding not to retain counsel for the entity, as the sole owner/director/officer, it is equitable for him to bear those consequences as the only individual with any responsibility for Defendant’s obligations.

The motion is granted.

Case Number: BC568285    Hearing Date: November 05, 2020    Dept: 73

11/5/2020

Dept. 73

Rafael Ongkeko, Judge presiding

CLEAN ENERGY OF AMERICA GROUP, INC. v. SOUTHLAND ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS, INC. (BC568285)

Counsel for Plaintiff/judgment creditor: Larry Rothman

MOTION TO AMEND JUDGMENT (filed 10/13/2020)

TENTATIVE RULING

Judgment Creditor’s request for judicial notice is granted.

The motion is denied without prejudice to judgment creditor’s refiling motion after judgment creditor has availed itself of post-judgment remedies/additional post-judgment discovery and obtains actual, additional, admissible evidence.

Discussion

On November 27, 2017, judgment was entered in favor of plaintiff and judgment creditor Clean Energy of America Group, Inc., and against defendant and judgment debtor Southland Electrical Contractors, Inc., in the total amount of $98, 407.50.

On September 8, 2020 Judgment Creditor filed a motion to amend the judgment to add Samuel Amit, the sole officer, director, and agent for service of process for Judgment Debtor, under California Code of Civil Procedure § 187, as the alter ego of the Judgment Debtor. That motion was denied.

On October 13, 2020, Judgment Creditor filed another motion to amend the judgment to add Samuel Amit, the sole officer, director, and agent for service of process for Judgment Debtor, under California Code of Civil Procedure § 187, as the alter ego of the Judgment Debtor.

ANALYSIS

When jurisdiction is, by the Constitution or this Code, or by any other statute, conferred on a Court or judicial officer, all the means necessary to carry it into effect are also given; and in the exercise of this jurisdiction, if the course of proceeding be not specifically pointed out by this Code or the statute, any suitable process or mode of proceeding may be adopted which may appear most conformable to the spirit of this Code.

(Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 187.) This section empowers the court to “use all the means necessary” to carry its jurisdiction into effect. (Id.) The court, therefore, has authority in certain circumstances to amend a judgment against a corporation (or other entity) to add as a judgment debtor the entity's nonparty “alter ego” who controlled the underlying litigation. (Misik v. D’Arco (2011) 197 Cal.App.4th 1065, 1072-1073). In effect, “amending a judgment to add an alter ego does not add a new defendant but instead inserts the correct name of the real defendant.” (Id. [complaint only named LLC, which was totally controlled by individual].) It is not necessary that alter ego doctrine be alleged or proved in the underlying lawsuit. (Id. at 1074-1075; Danko v. O’Reilly (2014) 232 Cal.App.4th 732, 741.)

There are two general requirements for piercing the corporate veil: (1) that there be such unity of interest and ownership that the separate personalities of the corporation and the individual no longer exist and (2) that, if the acts are treated as those of the corporation alone, an inequitable result will follow. (Greenspan v. LADT, LLC (2010) 191 Cal.App.4th 486, 511.) Whether the evidence has established that the corporate veil should be ignored is primarily a question of fact which should not be disturbed when supported by substantial evidence.” (Id. at 512; quoting Las Palmas Associates v. Las Palmas Center Associates (1991) 235 Cal.App.3d 1220, 1248.)

“The first requirement for disregarding the corporate entity under the alter ego doctrine—whether there is sufficient unity of interest and ownership that the separate personalities of the individual and the corporation no longer exist—encompasses a series of factors. Among the many factors to be considered in applying the doctrine are one individual’s ownership of all stock in a corporation; use of the same office or business location; commingling of funds and other assets of the individual and the corporation; an individual holding out that he is personally liable for debts of the corporation; identical directors and officers; failure to maintain minutes or adequate corporate records; disregard of corporate formalities; absence of corporate assets and inadequate capitalization; and the use of a corporation as a mere shell, instrumentality or conduit for the business of an individual. (Zoran Corp. v. Chen (2010) 185 Cal. App. 4th 799, 811-12.) This list of factors is not exhaustive, and these enumerated factors may be considered with others under the particular circumstances of each case. “‘No single factor is determinative, and instead a court must examine all the circumstances to determine whether to apply the doctrine.’” (Id. at 812.).” (Misik, supra, 197 Cal.App.4th at 1072-1073.)

“[T]he second requirement for application of the alter ego doctrine is a finding that the facts are such that adherence to the fiction of the separate existence of the corporation would sanction a fraud or promote injustice. (Wood v. Elling Corp. (1977) 20 Cal.3d 353, 365, fn. 9.) The test for this requirement is that if the acts are treated as those of the corporation alone, it will produce an unjust or inequitable result. (Mesler v. Bragg Management Co. (1985) 39 Cal.3d 290, 300.” (Ibid.)

Finally, before an alter ego may be added to a judgment, the judgment creditor must show that the alter ego controlled the underlying litigation. (Minton v. Cavaney (1961) 56 Cal. 2d 576, 581) Where an officer was not a party to the action, where the officer filed an answer, but withdrew from the participation before trial, while officer supplies the funds for the defense, and/or appears as a witness, does not establish sufficient “control.”)

Here, Judgment Creditor has not met its burden to amend the judgment. The only evidence offered to the court is counsel’s declaration consisting of:

· A copy of the judgment

· A secretary of state business search that only shows that Samuel Amit is the agent for service of process of Judgment Debtor and that the Judgment Debtor was suspended (as of September 2, 2018)

· Post-judgment discovery that Judgment Creditor propounded on Judgment Debtor, to which Judgment Debtor did not respond (a copy of which is not attached to the motion)

· Plaintiff’s attorney’s declaration, attesting he is also a licensed private investigator, and includes a LexisNexis report dated October 22, 2018. From that report, Plaintiff’s attorney opines:

o The business was insolvent with 6 unpaid judgments and liens against Southland Electrical Contractors and Samuel Amit

o “From an amount of annual sales of just under $480,000 in 2017 and 2018, there were no remaining funds in the corporation as no apparent assets existed. With only one officer of the corporation, it can be likely presumed that the money was comingled and was transferred to Shmuel Amit aka Samuel Amit.”

o “As a suspended corporation prior to the time that the judgment was entered through to this date, there was no validly formed separate entity and assets probably comingled.”

Plaintiff’s counsel’s declaration improperly relies on hearsay—a “LexisNexis report dated October 22, 2018” and not any actual corporate documents of Judgment Debtor. Further, Plaintiff’s counsel’s testimony is pure speculation, conclusion, and conjecture and does not meet basic foundational requirements. See e.g., Sargon Enterprises v. University of Southern California (2012) 55 Cal. 4th 747, 771-72.

There is no admissible evidence to establish that there was a unity of interest between Judgment Debtor and Amit (e.g., similar addresses, commingling of assets/liabilities, disregard of the corporate form), that Amit controlled the underlying litigation in any way (no party appeared at trial), and/or an inequitable result. Other post-judgment remedies are available for Judgment Debtor to obtain the information Judgment Debtor needs to provide sufficient evidence for a renewed motion to amend the judgment. As the evidence currently stands, however, the motion is denied without prejudice to Judgment Creditor’s refiling, but only after Judgment Creditor actually avails itself of other post-judgment remedies, e.g., discovery, and actually obtains admissible evidence to support this motion.

The court notes one discrepancy. In the court’s November 27, 2017 minute order, the court states “after hearing the evidence and the declaration submitted, the default judgment is signed and filed as submitted.” However, the November 27, 2017 judgment states that the judgment was entered “after court trial.” Plaintiff should be prepared to address whether or not a court trial actually occurred or merely a default prove-up hearing, such that the November 28, 2017 judgment should be amended to conform with the true events under Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §473(d).

Case Number: BC568285    Hearing Date: October 01, 2020    Dept: 73

10/1/2020

Dept. 73

Rafael Ongkeko, Judge presiding

CLEAN ENERGY OF AMERICA GROUP, INC. v. SOUTHLAND ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS, INC. (BC568285)

Counsel for Plaintiff/judgment creditor: Larry Rothman

MOTION TO AMEND JUDGMENT (filed 9/8/2020)

TENTATIVE RULING

Judgment Creditor’s request for judicial notice is granted. The motion is denied without prejudice to judgment creditor’s refiling motion with additional evidence and for proper notice. Notice of the court location was given as Department 73 of the Los Angeles Superior Court located at 111 North Main Street, Los Angeles, California 90012, which is incorrect. Further, Judgment Creditor has not me its burden to amend the judgment. The only evidence offered to the court consists of:

· A copy of the judgment

· A secretary of state business search that only shows that Samuel Amit is the agent for service of process of Judgment Debtor and that the Judgment Debtor was suspended

· Post-judgment discovery that Judgment Creditor propounded on Judgment Debtor, to which Judgment Debtor did not respond.

There is no evidence to show any of the usual factors warranting a finding that Samuel Amit is an alter ego of the original judgment debtor. (See, e.g., Zoran Corp. v. Chen (2010) 185 Cal. App. 4th 799, 811-12.)

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