This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 12/04/2019 at 22:47:09 (UTC).

INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE ET AL. VS ABEL OROZCO

Case Summary

On 05/18/2015 INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE filed a Property - Other Property Fraud lawsuit against ABEL OROZCO. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Burbank Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are LAURA A. MATZ and OTHER DISTRICT JUDGE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****3851

  • Filing Date:

    05/18/2015

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Property Fraud

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Burbank Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

LAURA A. MATZ

OTHER DISTRICT JUDGE

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs, Cross Defendants and Appellants

INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPA

MONTANA BAIL BONDS INC.

MONTANA BAIL BONDS INC. A CALIF CORP.

INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE CO.

AAE PROPERTIES LLC AAE

INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE

MONTANA BAIL BONDS INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

LIONESS LAW GROUP

Defendants, Cross Plaintiffs and Appellants

OROZCO ABEL

MONTANA BAIL BONDS INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE CO.

OROZCO ATHALA

THEE AGUILA INC.

THEE AGUILA INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Claimants

IPSWICH SHELLFISH CO. INC.

MORTILLARO LOBSTER INC

Defendants, Respondents and Appellants

AGUILA HENRY

OROZCO ABEL

THEE AGUILA INC.

OROZCO ATHALA

THEE AGUILA INC. A CALIFORNIA CORP.

ROBERT HERNANDEZ (DOE 1)

ROBERT HERNANDEZ DOE 1

MONTANA BAIL BONDS INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE CO.

Interpleader

AAE PROPERTIES LLC

Intervenor

AAE PROPERTIES LLC (AAE)

25 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Cross Defendant Attorneys

FAREH FARAMARZI ESQ

RIFAHIE MARWA M.

FARAMARZIPOUR FARANAK

COHEN HARRIS L.

Claimant Attorney

STANTON TROY WILLIAM

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

THE LAW OFFICE OF GUINEVERE M. MALLEY

GUINEVERE M. MALLEY THE LAW OFFICE OF

MALLEY GUINEVERE MARIE

NONG JULIE NGOC

JULIE N. NONG

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

GUINEVERE M. MALLEY THE LAW OFFICE OF

MALLEY GUINEVERDE M. LAW OFFICE OF

Plaintiff and Intervenor Attorney

COHEN HARRIS L.

 

Court Documents

Request for Judicial Notice

8/16/2017: Request for Judicial Notice

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER ENTERED: 2017-09-11 00:00:00

9/11/2017: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER ENTERED: 2017-09-11 00:00:00

Request for Judicial Notice

2/27/2018: Request for Judicial Notice

Response - RESPONSE OF ABEL OROZCO TO INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY AND MONTANA BAIL BONDS, INC.'S STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED FACTS AND REFERENCE TO SUPPORTING EVIDENCE

11/2/2018: Response - RESPONSE OF ABEL OROZCO TO INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY AND MONTANA BAIL BONDS, INC.'S STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED FACTS AND REFERENCE TO SUPPORTING EVIDENCE

Jury Question

2/1/2019: Jury Question

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (JURY TRIAL (ON THE SOLE ISSUE OF DAMAGES AS TO THEE AGUILA, I...) OF 07/29/2019

7/29/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (JURY TRIAL (ON THE SOLE ISSUE OF DAMAGES AS TO THEE AGUILA, I...) OF 07/29/2019

Notice of Ruling

9/23/2019: Notice of Ruling

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: First Amended Complaint

10/9/2015: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: First Amended Complaint

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Answer to Second Amended Complaint

4/1/2016: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Answer to Second Amended Complaint

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Notice

5/9/2016: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Notice

Proof of Service by Mail -

8/30/2018: Proof of Service by Mail -

Objection - Objection in opposition to cross-complainant's objection to motion for summary judgment...

11/8/2018: Objection - Objection in opposition to cross-complainant's objection to motion for summary judgment...

Motion in Limine - Motion in Limine #2 of cross-complainants Thee Aguila, Inc. to exclude evidence of the Federal and State tax liens

12/18/2018: Motion in Limine - Motion in Limine #2 of cross-complainants Thee Aguila, Inc. to exclude evidence of the Federal and State tax liens

Opposition - Opposition to Motion in Limine #1 "to preclude mentioning that Henry Aguila Resigned from the State Bar"

12/21/2018: Opposition - Opposition to Motion in Limine #1 "to preclude mentioning that Henry Aguila Resigned from the State Bar"

Order - Dismissal

1/10/2019: Order - Dismissal

Notice of Intent to Move for New Trial

2/19/2019: Notice of Intent to Move for New Trial

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NUNC PRO TUNC ORDER)

4/3/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NUNC PRO TUNC ORDER)

Order - ORDER ON EX PARTE APPLICATION BY CROSS-DEFENDANTS INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL AND MONTANA BAIL BONDS, INC. FOR THE COURT TO SPECIALLY SET THE HEARING ON THE TWO JNOV MOTIONS TO BE HEARD SIMULTAN

4/3/2019: Order - ORDER ON EX PARTE APPLICATION BY CROSS-DEFENDANTS INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL AND MONTANA BAIL BONDS, INC. FOR THE COURT TO SPECIALLY SET THE HEARING ON THE TWO JNOV MOTIONS TO BE HEARD SIMULTAN

299 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/28/2020
  • Hearing07/28/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department B at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Status Conference

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  • 11/26/2019
  • DocketAppeal - Notice of Default Issued; Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/19/2019
  • DocketAppeal - Clerk's Transcript Fee Paid (THEE CHATEAU RESTAURANT PAID $139.50 FOR APPELLANT)

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  • 11/08/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B; Hearing on Motion for Attorney Fees - Held - Motion Denied

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  • 11/08/2019
  • DocketOrder (Court's Order re: Motion for Attorney's Fees Pursuant to Civil Code 1717); Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/08/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion for Attorney Fees)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/05/2019
  • DocketAppeal - Clerk's Transcript Fee Paid (THEE CHATEAU RESTAURANT PAID $1025.65)

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  • 11/05/2019
  • DocketAppeal - Notice of Fees Due for Clerk's Transcript on Appeal (Amended); Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/04/2019
  • DocketAppeal - Clerk's Transcript Fee Paid (FARAH FARAMARZI PAID FOR INDIANA LUMBERMENS INSURANCE CO. $279 FOR ORIGINAL ONLY)

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  • 10/22/2019
  • DocketAppeal - Notice of Default Issued (ALSO FOR "R" & "R1"); Filed by Clerk

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528 More Docket Entries
  • 06/03/2015
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons (AS TO HENRY AGUILA ); Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 06/03/2015
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE (Plaintiff); MONTANA BAIL BONDS, INC. (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/03/2015
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE (Plaintiff); MONTANA BAIL BONDS, INC. (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/18/2015
  • Docketnotice of order to show cause re failure to comply with trial court delay reduction act

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  • 05/18/2015
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference

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  • 05/18/2015
  • DocketSummons; Filed by INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE (Plaintiff); MONTANA BAIL BONDS, INC. (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/18/2015
  • DocketSummons Filed; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 05/18/2015
  • DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued (COMPLAINT FOR: (1) TO SET ASIDE FRAUDULENT TRANSFER PURSUANT TO UNIFORM FRAUDULENT CONVEYANCE ACT (2) CIVIL CONSPIRACY RECEIPT: GLN538418007 05-18-15); Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 05/18/2015
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Co. (Plaintiff); MONTANA BAIL BONDS, INC. (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/18/2015
  • DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE (Plaintiff); MONTANA BAIL BONDS, INC. (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: EC063851    Hearing Date: November 08, 2019    Dept: NCB

 

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

INDIANA LUMBERMENS MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

v.

abel orozco, et al.,

Defendants.

AND RELATED CROSS-COMPLAINTS

Case No.: EC063851

Hearing Date: November 8, 2019

[Tentative] order RE:

motion for attorney’s fees pursuant to civil code, §1717

BACKGROUND

  1. Allegations of the Cross-Complaint

    In his cross-action, Cross-Complainant Abel Orozco alleges that he and Athala Orozco own real property located at 943 N. Hudson Ave., Pasadena CA 91104. In February 2008, the Orozcos were arrested in connection with tax issues. On February 7, 2008, Cross-Defendants Indiana Lumbermens Mutual Insurance Company, Inc. (“ILMIC”), Montana Bail Bonds, Inc. (“MBB”), and Sal Chasmi posted bail for the Orozcos in the amount of $44,000.00. In exchange, Abel Orozco’s son initially gave a Mercedes SUV and pink slip into the control of Cross-Defendants. Upon release from custody, Abel Orozco alleges that he gave a $5,000.00 payment to defendants and signed a deed of trust secured by the property in exchange for the return of the vehicle, but he did not receive the pink slip. He alleges that he inquired about a payment plan and that Cross-Defendants represented they would get back to him. He alleges no payment plan was worked out and Cross-Defendants did not demand any payments. He alleges that on February 10, 2010, MBB as the assignee of ILMIC filed a lawsuit against the Orzocos in GC042912 for the repayment of $37,500.00.

    On December 28, 2010, Cross-Defendants foreclosed on and purchased the property pursuant to the deed of trust given by Abel Orozco. After the foreclosure, Abel Orozco alleges that Cross-Defendants filed an unlawful detainer complaint against Abel Orozco (case no. 13P06168), even though Athala Orozco was still a partial owner of the property. Cross-Defendants obtained a judgment in the unlawful detainer case against Abel Orozco and a writ of possession issued. Abel Orozco alleges Athala Orozco was evicted despite her 50% interest in the property. He alleges that after the eviction, Cross-Defendants refused to give them their personal property until they paid an exorbitant fee.

    Abel Orozco filed his initial cross-complaint on April 1, 2016. Abel Orozco’s first amended cross-complaint (“FACC”), filed November 8, 2017, alleges causes of action against ILMIC, MBB and Sal Chasmi for: (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; (3) fraud; (4) conversion of personal property; (5) trespass to chattels; and (6) IIED.

  2. Relevant Procedural History

    ILMIC and MBB dismissed their complaint without prejudice against the Orozcos and TAI on January 10, 2019.

    The action proceeded to jury trial on the cross-complaint. On February 20, 2019, the Court signed the Judgment as follows:

  1. Motion for Attorney’s Fees

    On May 28, 2019, MBB and ILMIC moves for attorney’s fees pursuant to Civil Code, §1717. They seek to recover attorney’s fees in the amount of $174,725.75 and costs in the amount of $3,324.30, for a total of $178,050.05.

    On September 11, 2019, Abel Orozco filed an opposition to the motion.

    On September 16, 2019, MBB and ILMIC filed a reply brief.

    LEGAL STANDARD

    Civil Code §1717 states that a party may recover attorney’s fees when the party prevails in an action based on a contract that provides for the prevailing party to recover attorney’s fees. The court, upon notice and motion by a party, shall determine who is the prevailing party on the contract for purposes of section 1717, whether or not the suit proceeds to final judgment. (Civ. Code, §1717(b)(1).)

    The trial court has broad authority to determine the amount of a reasonable fee. (PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal. 4th 1084, 1095.) The award of attorney fees under section 1717 is governed by equitable principles. (Id.) The experienced trial judge is the best judge of the value of professional services rendered and the trial judge’s decision will not be disturbed unless the appellate court is convinced that it is clearly wrong, i.e., that it abused its discretion. (Id.) The fee setting inquiry in California ordinarily begins with the "lodestar," i.e., the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate. (Id.) California courts have consistently held that a computation of time spent on a case and the reasonable value of that time is fundamental to a determination of an appropriate attorneys' fee award. (Id.) The lodestar figure may then be adjusted, based on consideration of factors specific to the case, in order to fix the fee at the fair market value for the legal services provided. (Id.) Such an approach anchors the trial court's analysis to an objective determination of the value of the attorney's services, ensuring that the amount awarded is not arbitrary. (Id.)

    No specific findings reflecting the Court’s calculations are required. (Wershba v. Apple Computer, Inc. (2001) 91 Cal. App. 4th 224, 254-255.) The record need only show that the attorney fees were awarded according to the ‘lodestar' approach. (Id.) In Wershba, the trial court awarded attorney’s fees to the plaintiffs based upon declarations evidencing the reasonable hourly rate for their services and establishing the number of hours spent working on the case. There were no time sheets submitted describing work done, there was no evidence establishing the rate charged as a reasonable hourly rate, and there was no evidence from which the Court could make findings regarding the various factors considered in the lodestar approach. The Court of Appeal found that no specific findings were required and affirmed the trial court’s order.

    DISCUSSION

  1. Attorney’s Fees

    MBB and ILMIC move for attorney’s fees pursuant to the Bail Bond Agreement that Abel Orozco executed to obtain his bail bond from MBB and its surety, ILMIC. (Mot. at Ex. 3 [Bail Agreement].)

    The Bail Agreement states in relevant part:

    FOURTH: To pay the Second Party [Liability Management, Inc.] or Surety [ILMIC] in the event that it is necessary for them to institute suit for Breach of this Agreement, a reasonable attorney’s fee which shall in no event be less than the sum of Twenty-Five Dollars ($25.00).

    (Bail Agreement at §4.)

    As summarized above, the jury awarded Abel Orozco $0 in damages against MBB and ILMIC, and MBB and ILMIC were found to be the prevailing parties against Abel Orozco. The judgment states that the prevailing parties may recover costs by bill of costs or attorney’s fees, if any, by motion.

    In opposition, Abel Orozco argues that he did not sue for breach of contract on MBB/ILMIC’s Exhibit 3 (Bail Agreement), but that his cross-complaint attaches the Deed of Trust (Abel Orozco’s FACC, Ex. 1 [Deed of Trust]) as the basis for his breach of contract claim. Abel Orozco’s cross-complaint frames the issues raised at trial and the breach of contract cause of action indeed is on the Deed of Trust. The Court has also reviewed the Bail Agreement, which MBB/ILMIC rely upon for their entitlement to attorney’s fees, but does not find that this agreement is enforceable. In the Court’s view, the agreement is fatally uncertain regarding the amount of consideration to be paid. It was a corporate form, and was improperly filled out and not explained to Mr. Orozco. As a result, it was unenforceable. MBB and ILMIC probably recognized this, which is why they decided not to proceed on their affirmative claims under the agreement. They cannot now recover attorneys’ fees under an unenforceable agreement.

    In the alternative, MBB and ILMIC argue that they are entitled to attorney’s fees as the prevailing party under CCP §1032(a)(4). This subsection states that the “prevailing party” includes “a defendant as against those plaintiffs who do not recover any relief against that defendant.” Subsection (b) states that “Except as otherwise expressly provided by statute, a prevailing party is entitled as a matter of right to recover costs in any action or proceeding.” (CCP §1032(a)(4) [emphasis added].) This subsection does not specifically state the prevailing party is entitled to attorney’s fees. Section 1033.5(a)(10) states that a recoverable cost includes attorney’s fees when authorized by contract, statute, or law.

    As discussed above, the Bail Agreement is not a basis upon which the Court finds that MBB and ILMIC are entitled to attorney’s fees. They have not shown that they were the prevailing party specifically on the Bail Agreement. Next, MBB and ILMIC have not provided the Court with what “law” they are entitled to attorney’s fees under. Finally, the Court does not find that section 1032(a)(4) provides a statutory basis upon which MBB and ILMIC are entitled to attorney’s fees. Rather, MBB and ILMIC are entitled to costs. To recover attorney’s fees, they must show a separate statutory basis for such recovery. (See McLarand, Vasquez & Partners, Inc. v. Downey Savings & Loan Assn. CCP §1021.5 [stating that upon motion, a court may award attorney’s fees to a successful party in any action which has resulted in the enforcement of an important right affecting the public interest].)

    Although MBB and ILMIC were deemed the prevailing parties against Abel Orozco, the judgment also stated that the prevailing party may recovery costs by bill of costs or attorney’s fees, if any, by motion. Thus, MBB and ILMIC were still required to prove their entitlement to attorney’s fees.

    Accordingly, the Court denies ILMIC and MBB’s request for attorney’s fees.

  2. Costs

    Although the Court denies MBB and ILMIC’s request for attorney’s fees, they are still entitled to recover other costs as the prevailing party.

    MBB and ILMIC also seek $3,324.30 in costs. They argue that they filed a memorandum of costs, which was unopposed. (Faramarzi Decl., ¶23.)

    ILMIC and MBB filed a memorandum of costs on March 6, 2019. In their costs memorandum, they seek:

While TAI filed a motion to tax ILMIC and MBB’s costs, the Court noted in its ruling on that motion that ILMIC and MBB were deemed the prevailing parties as against Abel Orzoco and thus the costs memorandum should be construed as directed against Abel Orozco only. At that time, Abel Orozco did not file his own motion to tax or strike costs pursuant to the time requirements stated in CRC Rule 3.1700.

As Abel Orozco did not timely move to strike or tax costs, the clerk must immediately enter the costs of the judgment. (CRC Rule 3.1700(b)(4).

The Court awards MBB and ILMIC the costs pursuant to the memorandum of costs in the requested amount of $3,324.30.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

The Court denies the motion for attorney’s fees. The Court grants the motion as to costs only, such that MBB and ILMIC shall be awarded $3,324.30 in costs.

MBB and ILMIC shall provide notice of this order.