This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/03/2019 at 05:06:58 (UTC).

GUL JAISINGHANI VS ARMEN R. TER-OGANESIAN

Case Summary

On 02/05/2015 GUL JAISINGHANI filed a Property - Other Property Fraud lawsuit against ARMEN R TER-OGANESIAN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Santa Monica Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is NANCY L. NEWMAN. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****3736

  • Filing Date:

    02/05/2015

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Property Fraud

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Santa Monica Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

NANCY L. NEWMAN

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

JAISINGHANI GUL

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

TER-OHANESIAN ARMEN R.

ARMEN R. TER-OGANESIAN

MALIBU KNOLL LLC

ESCALANTS EMILIO

MALIBU KNOJJ GREEN DEVELOPMENT LLC

ENCISO RODOLFO LAZARO

GEOSYSTEMS INC.

SOUTHWEST GEOTECHNICAL INC.

UNITED REFRRIGERATION INC.

SAGHERIAN JONATHAN

YACOUB SHINO

ARROYO BUILDING MATERIALS INC.

J. KARAM & ASSOCIATES INC.

SHINO YACOUB

PA UNITED REFRIGERATION INC.

TER-OGANESIAN ARMEN R.

Cross Defendants

ABKARIAN RAFFI

SHARMA JILL

RAFFI ABKARIAN

16 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

DAVID T. AZRIN

HALIMI GEORGE M.

AZRIN DAVID T.

GALLET DREYER & BERKEY

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

GA LAW GROUP

JOHNSON MATTHEW WILLIAM

ENRIGHT MADELYN A.

GALLET DRUYER & BERKEY

BARMASSE MICHAEL EDWARD

KARAM JOHNSON

MURTAUGH TREGLIA STERN & DEILY LLP

ALAN FASSONAKI

SHINMOTO LYNN ASAYO

NEVILLE DAVE LENNART

HYNICK GEORGE R. LAW OFFICES OF

KIRK & MYERS

SHINMOTO LYNN A.

AKWO GEORGE E.

COLLINS COLLINS MUIR & STEWART LLP

Cross Defendant Attorney

SONA ABKARIAN

3 More Attorneys Available

Court Documents

Court documents are not available for this case.

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/01/2019
  • Declaration (BY AKWO IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO INSTRUCT JURY RE SC123486 PRIOR JUDGMENT); Filed by Armen R. Ter-Ohanesian (Defendant); Armen R. Ter-Oganesian (Legacy Party); Anil Sharma (Defendant)

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  • 07/01/2019
  • Motion re: (TO INSTRUCT JURY RE SC123486 PRIOR JUDGMENT); Filed by Malibu Knoll, LLC (Defendant); Malibu Knojj Green Development, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 06/28/2019
  • Declaration in Support of Ex Parte Application; Filed by RAFFI ABKARIAN (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 06/28/2019
  • Statement of the Case; Filed by Advanced Engineering & Consulting (Defendant)

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  • 06/28/2019
  • Jury Instructions; Filed by Advanced Engineering & Consulting (Defendant)

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  • 06/28/2019
  • Witness List; Filed by Advanced Engineering & Consulting (Defendant)

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  • 06/28/2019
  • Exhibit List; Filed by Advanced Engineering & Consulting (Defendant)

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  • 06/28/2019
  • Ex Parte Application (to Continue Trial Date); Filed by RAFFI ABKARIAN (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 06/27/2019
  • Exhibit List; Filed by Armen R. Ter-Ohanesian (Defendant); Armen R. Ter-Oganesian (Legacy Party); Anil Sharma (Defendant)

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  • 06/27/2019
  • Statement of the Case; Filed by Armen R. Ter-Ohanesian (Defendant); Armen R. Ter-Oganesian (Legacy Party); Anil Sharma (Defendant)

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635 More Docket Entries
  • 03/23/2015
  • Answer; Filed by Armen R. Ter-Ohanesian (Defendant); Armen R. Ter-Oganesian (Legacy Party)

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  • 03/23/2015
  • Answer to Complaint Filed (* DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL ); Filed by Attorney for Defendant

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  • 03/20/2015
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Gul Jaisinghani (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2015
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Gul Jaisinghani (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2015
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 02/05/2015
  • Summons Filed; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 02/05/2015
  • Complaint Filed

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  • 02/05/2015
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet

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  • 02/05/2015
  • Summons; Filed by Plaintiff

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  • 02/05/2015
  • Complaint; Filed by Gul Jaisinghani (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: SC123736    Hearing Date: August 21, 2020    Dept: U

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - NORTHWEST DISTRICT

GUL JAISINGHANI

Plaintiff,

vs.

ARMEN R. TER-OGANESIAN, an individual d/b/a ARMEN R. TER-OGANESIAN, G.C., et al.,

Defendants.

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CASE NO: SC123736

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO TAX COSTS OF DEFENDANT AEC

Dept. U

8:30 a.m.

August 21, 2020

I. BACKGROUND

This matter was tried before a jury on February 3, 2020 through February 25, 2020. The jury deliberated before returning a special verdict in favor of Defendants, thereby, Gul Jaisinghani (Plaintiff) took nothing from his complaint.

Defendant Advanced Engineering and Consulting, Inc. (AEC) submitted its Memorandum of Costs on March 6, 2020. Plaintiff challenged AEC’s costs by filing this motion to tax costs on March 23, 2020.

II. LEGAL STANDARD & DISCUSSION

a. Timeliness

Any notice of motion to strike or to tax costs must be served and filed 15 days after service of the cost memorandum. However, the parties can agree to extend the time for serving and filing the cost memorandum and a motion to strike or tax costs. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1700(b)(3).)

Here, review of AEC’s Memorandum of Costs shows that it was served electronically on all parties on March 6, 2020. Fifteen court days from this date, plus two for electronic service, made Plaintiff’s deadline to file this motion March 23, 2020. As Plaintiff filed this motion on March 23, 2020, the motion is timely.

b. Allowable Expenses

Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5 sets forth the costs recoverable by the prevailing party. To recover a cost, it must be reasonably necessary to the litigation and reasonable in amount. (Perko’s Enterprises, Inc. v. RRNS Enterprises (l992) 4 Cal.App.4th 238, 244.) If the items appearing in a cost bill appear to be proper charges, the burden is on the party seeking to tax costs to show that they were not reasonable or necessary. (Ladas v. California State Automotive Assoc. (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 761, 773-774.) On the other hand, if the items are properly objected to, they are put in issue and the burden of proof is on the party claiming them as costs. (Ibid.)

A verified memorandum of costs is prima facie evidence that the costs, expenses, and services therein listed were necessarily incurred.¿(Rappenecker v. Sea-Land Serv., Inc. (1979) 93 Cal.App.3d 256, 266.)¿A party seeking to tax costs must provide evidence to rebut this prima facie showing.¿(Jones v. Dumrichob (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 1258, 1266.)¿Mere statements unsupported by facts are insufficient to rebut the prima facie showing that costs were necessarily incurred.¿(Ibid.)¿

Initially, a review of Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Costs demonstrates that the expenses claimed are allowable items under Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5.

Plaintiff argues that AEC’s Memorandum of Costs is premature because the Court has not yet entered a judgment and the time period for Plaintiff to file post-trials motions has not expired. Additionally, there are multiple default judgments pending where Plaintiff could be the prevailing party. Plaintiff may also be subject to additional expenses once other Defendants submit their Memorandum of Costs and, not until then, will Plaintiff be able to completely ascertain which of AEC’s costs are duplicative.

These arguments are not well-taken. A prevailing party includes “a defendant as against those plaintiffs who do not recover any relief against that defendant.” (Code Civ. Proc., §1032(a)(4).) Thus, AEC is the prevailing party against Plaintiff and the result of any pending default judgments will not alter this judgment.

The premature filing of a memorandum of costs is treated as “a mere irregularity at best” that does not constitute reversible error absent a showing of prejudice. (Haley v. Casa Del Rey Homeowners Assn. (2007) 153 Cal.App.4th 863, 880.)¿Further, Courts treat prematurely filed cost bills as being timely filed. (Ibid.) The Plaintiff offers no evidence that the filing of the memorandum of costs before the entry of judgment caused any prejudice.

Next, Plaintiff challenges AEC’s request for $2,125 in filing and motion fees on the grounds that they are not substantiated with evidence that they were actually incurred and are unreasonable and unnecessary because AEC did not prevail on any of its motions. Plaintiff also argues that AEC’s request for electronic filing or service are unsubstantiated because AEC fails to identify which motions or filings incurred these fees. These arguments are unpersuasive.

In Naser v. Lakeridge Atheltic Club (2014) 227 Cal.App.4th 517, 576, an athletic club was allowed to recover jury fees as a reasonable litigation expense even though a jury trial never occurred because the athletic club was required to pay the fees in order to preserve its right to a jury trial. Similarly, here, even though AEC was unsuccessful on its motions, it still incurred filing and motion fees because it was required to pay these costs in order to reserve its motions on the Court’s calendar. Therefore, Plaintiff’s challenge to AEC’s $2,125 in filing and motion fees is rejected.

Plaintiff contends that it is likely that AEC shared the jury and court reporter fees with the other Defendants and Plaintiff should not have to pay these fees to multiple parties. AEC counters that it only paid for, and only requests recovery for, the portion of the fees it paid. AEC claims Plaintiff’s counsel was present at the discussion with the Court’s clerk apportioning the jury fees among the parties. Despite these arguments, the Court finds that the costs actually incurred by AEC are recoverable.

Likewise, Plaintiff argues that AEC’s request for deposition fees is unreasonable because it was not the only party questioning deponents at each deposition. Further, it is likely that other Defendants who also attended the same depositions contributed to the cost of each transcript. Plaintiff also contends that AEC’s depositions of Plaintiff and his two experts were unnecessary because AEC did not call them as trial witnesses.

AEC counters by pointing out that Plaintiff provides no evidence that any other Defendant contributed to the deposition costs requested. Further, AEC argues that deposing Plaintiff and his experts was reasonable and necessary because they were the only witnesses who could implicate any potential liability by AEC. While AEC did not call these witnesses during trial, AEC did use their deposition testimony to prepare for trial and impeach both Plaintiff and one of the experts at trial. Based on this argument by AEC, the Court finds the deposition costs to be reasonably incurred and in reasonable amounts.

Plaintiff asserts AEC cannot recover costs for serving Ms. Arvayo because she was not called as a witness and it is unclear what AEC served her. AEC counters that service fees incurred in trying to serve Ms. Arvayo with a deposition subpoena were necessary to the litigation because she was identified by Plaintiff as the person who might have been responsible for depositing a check into AEC’s account. Ms. Aryayo falsely declared that she did not deposit this check, while Plaintiff maintained that she did, therefore, creating the disputed material fact preventing AEC’s motion for summary judgment from resolving this suit. Plaintiff’s challenge to this cost is unpersuasive.

Plaintiff asserts that AEC has not proven that its witness fees were actually incurred after its section 998 offer was rejected and that this offer was made in bad faith. Plaintiff characterizes it as a “token” offer for far less than the amount of damages suffered by Plaintiff.

AEC maintains that its section 998 offer was made in good faith because, when it was made, there was only a $2,500 check connecting AEC to this litigation. Therefore, the Court does not agree with Plaintiff’s argument that he should be absolved of the consequences of his rejections of AEC’s section 998 offer of $25,000 because of his view that the total damages were $4,000,000.

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, expert witness fees are allowable as costs if the expert witnesses were ordered by the court. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1033.5(a)(8).) Expert witness fees are not allowable as costs when not ordered by the court. (Id., § 1033.5(b)(1).) However, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 998, the court may require a plaintiff to pay a reasonable sum to cover a defendant’s expert witness expenses actually incurred and reasonably necessary if the defendant makes an offer to compromise that is not accepted by plaintiff who fails to obtain a more favorable judgment or award. (Id., § 998(c)(1).)

Here, AEC made its section 998 offer on April 5, 2019. The expert fees invoices are dated May 4, 2019, June 8, 2019, August 3, 2019, and February 8, 2020. Given AEC’s estimated potential liability at the time of its section 998 offer and the invoices reflecting that the expert witness fees were, in fact, incurred after the section 998 offer was made, the Court finds AEC’s deposition costs to be properly paid by Plaintiff.

III. CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s motion to tax costs is DENIED. AEC is entitled to recover a total of $37,674.41 in costs as one of the prevailing parties in this case.

AEC is ordered to give notice of the Court’s ruling.

DATED: August 21, 2020

_____________________

Hon. Theresa M. Traber

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: SC123736    Hearing Date: January 24, 2020    Dept: P

 

TENTATIVE RULING

Gul Jaisinghani v. Armen Ter-Oganesian, et al. Case No. SC123736

Hearing Date: January 24, 2020

Defendants’ Motion to Instruct Jury on the Findings of Prior Judgment Case SC123486

In 2016 plaintiff Jaisinghani and the Sharma defendants went to trial in case no. SC123486, where the jury found Jaisinghani and defendant Sharma’s company, Malibu Knoll Green Development, LLC, built a house in Malibu as a joint venture (“the Malibu project”). The jury awarded Jaisinghani title to the house and Malibu Green Development damages for Jaisinghani’s negligent misrepresentation during the building. The jury also determined defendant Sharma owed no fiduciary duty to Jaisinghani.

Here, Jaisinghani sues for construction defects. Defendants moved for summary judgment on res judicata grounds; the court denied, finding issues related to construction defects had not been litigated in SC123486. Defendants now move to instruct the jury on the prior judgment in SC123486 and associated findings.

“A purported writing in the custody of a public entity, or of an entry in such a writing, is prima facie evidence of the existence and content of such writing[.]” Cal. Evid. Code §1530(a). A court’s prior rulings are judicially noticeable if they have a res judicata or collateral estoppel effect in a subsequent action. Kilroy v. State of California (2004) 119 Cal.App.4th 140, 148. A finding in a previous action cannot be used in a subsequent action unless an identical issue is involved in the subsequent action. Diocese of San Joaquin v. Gunner (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 254, 266.

Defendants request a jury instruction regarding the verdict in SC123486, arguing the verdict is res judicata as to title and ownership. Motion at pgs. 6-8. Plaintiff argues the prior judgment is irrelevant since the instant case relates to construction defects, which were not litigated in the prior matter, and the proposed instruction would confuse the jury.

To the extent identical issues are raised in this case and SC123486, the prior verdict is admissible. However, to the extent the issues are not identical or not relevant, the verdict is inadmissible. Certain issues, such as ownership, were litigated and are res judicata here. Certain other issues, such as alleged misrepresentations made by the parties, do not seem to be relevant in this construction defect matter. It is proper to give instructions about findings that are: (1) identical to those in the prior case, (2) actually litigated in the prior case, and (3) material to the issues raised in this case.

The parties should be prepared to discuss these issues at oral argument.