This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/31/2019 at 02:38:45 (UTC).

MARK T GOMEZ VS FCA US LLC

Case Summary

On 11/22/2016 MARK T GOMEZ filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against FCA US LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is DANIEL S. MURPHY. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****1665

  • Filing Date:

    11/22/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

DANIEL S. MURPHY

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

GOMEZ MARK T

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1-10

FCA US LLC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

O'CONNOR & MIKHOV LLP

DAGHIGHIAN SEPEHR

Defendant Attorneys

LEVITAN LYNN RENE

KUENSTER JENNIFER A. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

DECLARATION OF DANIEL KALINOWSKI IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION ATTENDANCE AND PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS BY FCA US LLC'S DEALERSHIP PERSONNEL AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS IN THE AMOU

1/19/2018: DECLARATION OF DANIEL KALINOWSKI IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION ATTENDANCE AND PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS BY FCA US LLC'S DEALERSHIP PERSONNEL AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS IN THE AMOU

PLAINTIFF'S SEPARATE STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION ATTENDANCE AND PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS BY DEFENDANT FCA US LLC'S DEALERSHIP PERSONNEL AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

1/19/2018: PLAINTIFF'S SEPARATE STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION ATTENDANCE AND PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS BY DEFENDANT FCA US LLC'S DEALERSHIP PERSONNEL AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 15 NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION TO PROHIBIT TESTIMONY OR ARGUMENT THAT DEFENDANT CONFORMED THE VEHICLE TO WARRANTY WITHIN A REASONABLE NUMBER OF REPAIR

2/13/2018: PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 15 NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION TO PROHIBIT TESTIMONY OR ARGUMENT THAT DEFENDANT CONFORMED THE VEHICLE TO WARRANTY WITHIN A REASONABLE NUMBER OF REPAIR

PLAINTIFFS' MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 9 NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OR TESTIMONY REGARDING ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENTS

2/13/2018: PLAINTIFFS' MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 9 NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION IN LIMINE TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OR TESTIMONY REGARDING ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENTS

PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 11 NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION IN LIMINE TO PROHIBIT ANY EVIDENCE IN THE FORM OF AN EXPERT OPINION BY A WITNESS WHO HAS NOT BEEN DESIGNATED

2/13/2018: PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 11 NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION IN LIMINE TO PROHIBIT ANY EVIDENCE IN THE FORM OF AN EXPERT OPINION BY A WITNESS WHO HAS NOT BEEN DESIGNATED

DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO.4 TO PROHIBIT EVIDENCE RELATING TO PLAINTIFF'S FINANCIAL CONDITION

2/23/2018: DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO.4 TO PROHIBIT EVIDENCE RELATING TO PLAINTIFF'S FINANCIAL CONDITION

DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO.10 TO EXCLUDE OPINIONS AS TO APPLICABILITY OF WARRANTY COVERAGE

2/23/2018: DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO.10 TO EXCLUDE OPINIONS AS TO APPLICABILITY OF WARRANTY COVERAGE

DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMI?W NO. 12 TO PROHIBIT TESTIMONY OR REFERENCE TO INCREASED COSTS OF VEHICLES

2/23/2018: DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMI?W NO. 12 TO PROHIBIT TESTIMONY OR REFERENCE TO INCREASED COSTS OF VEHICLES

PROOF OF SERVICE OF DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITIONS TO PLAINTIFF?S MOTIONS JNLIMINENOS. 2 THROUGH 15

2/23/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITIONS TO PLAINTIFF?S MOTIONS JNLIMINENOS. 2 THROUGH 15

Minute Order

3/2/2018: Minute Order

DEFENDANT FCA US LLC'S EX NOTICE OF EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND ALL PRETRIAL DATES; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; AND DECLARATION OF SYLVIA J. QUACH IN SUPPORT THEREOF

3/2/2018: DEFENDANT FCA US LLC'S EX NOTICE OF EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND ALL PRETRIAL DATES; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; AND DECLARATION OF SYLVIA J. QUACH IN SUPPORT THEREOF

Unknown

6/8/2018: Unknown

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS

6/27/2018: NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS

PLAINTIFF'S REPLY TO DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO MOTION IN LIMINE NO.11 TO PROHIBIT ANY EVIDENCE IN THE FORM OF AN EXPERT OPINION BY A WITNESS WHO HAS NOT BEEN DESIGNATED

9/21/2018: PLAINTIFF'S REPLY TO DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO MOTION IN LIMINE NO.11 TO PROHIBIT ANY EVIDENCE IN THE FORM OF AN EXPERT OPINION BY A WITNESS WHO HAS NOT BEEN DESIGNATED

PLAINTIFF'S REPLY TO DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO MOTION IN LIMINE NO.12 TO PROHIBIT TESTIMONY OR REFERENCE TO INCREASED COSTS OF VEHICLES

9/21/2018: PLAINTIFF'S REPLY TO DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO MOTION IN LIMINE NO.12 TO PROHIBIT TESTIMONY OR REFERENCE TO INCREASED COSTS OF VEHICLES

PLAINTIFF'S REPLY TO DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO MOTION IN LIMINE NO.6 TO PROHIBIT REFERENCE TO ANY PREVIOUS SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS

9/21/2018: PLAINTIFF'S REPLY TO DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO MOTION IN LIMINE NO.6 TO PROHIBIT REFERENCE TO ANY PREVIOUS SETTLEMENT NEGOTIATIONS

Association of Attorney

3/22/2019: Association of Attorney

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

12/30/2016: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

104 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/30/2019
  • at 10:30 AM in Department 37; Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC) - Held

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  • 04/30/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 32, Daniel S. Murphy, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 04/30/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Jury Trial)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/30/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC))); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/30/2019
  • Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

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  • 04/30/2019
  • Order (Plaintiff's Proposed Order Granting Ex Parte App to Continue Trial); Filed by Mark T Gomez (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/29/2019
  • Notice (DESIGNATION OF JAMES BIELENDAS PAGE/LINE DEPOSITION OF TESTIMONY); Filed by FCA US, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 04/12/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 32, Daniel S. Murphy, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Trailed

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  • 04/12/2019
  • Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

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  • 04/12/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Jury Trial)); Filed by Clerk

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171 More Docket Entries
  • 12/22/2016
  • DEFENDANT FCA US LLC'S ANSWER T0 C0MPLAINT

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  • 12/09/2016
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/09/2016
  • NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 11/30/2016
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Mark T Gomez (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/30/2016
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 11/22/2016
  • Complaint; Filed by Mark T Gomez (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/22/2016
  • SUMMONS

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  • 11/22/2016
  • AFFIDAVIT OF VENUE FOR CONSUMERS LEGAL REMEDIES ACT CLAIM

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  • 11/22/2016
  • COMPLAINT 1. BREACH OF IMPLIED WARRANTY - VIOLATION OF SONG-BEVERLY ACT ;ETC

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  • 11/22/2016
  • DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC641665    Hearing Date: January 06, 2020    Dept: 32

Mark t. gomez,

Plaintiff,

v.

FCA US LLC, et al.

Defendants.

Case No.: BC641665

Hearing Date: January 6, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

MOTION for attorney’s fees

BACKGROUND

This is a lemon law case brought by Plaintiff Mark T. Gomez (“Plaintiff”) against Defendant FCA US LLC (“Defendant”). Plaintiff asserted causes of action for (1) breach of implied warranty – violation of Song-Beverly Act, (2) fraudulent inducement – concealment, and (3) violation of the Consumer Legal Remedies Act.

On April 30, 2018, parties’ counsel represented to the Court that the parties reached a settlement and recited the terms of the settlement agreement in open court. The parties requested that the Court retain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the settlement.

LEGAL STANDARD

A prevailing buyer in a lawsuit under the Song-Beverly Act is entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees: “If the buyer prevails in an action under this section, the buyer shall be allowed by the court to recover as part of the judgment a sum equal to the aggregate amount of costs and expenses, including attorney’s fees based on actual time expended, determined by the court to have been reasonably incurred by the buyer in connection with the commencement and prosecution of such action.” (Civ. Code § 1794(d).)

In determining a reasonable amount of attorney fees, the trial court begins with the lodestar, i.e., the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate. (Warren v. Kia Motors America, Inc. (2018) 30 Cal.App.5th 24, 36.) The lodestar may then be adjusted based on factors specific to the case in order to fix the fee at the fair market value of the legal services provided. (Ibid.) These factors include (1) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, (2) the skill displayed in presenting them, (3) the extent to which the nature of the litigation precluded other employment by the attorneys, and (4) the contingent nature of the fee award. (Ibid.)

OBJECTIONS

Plaintiff’s objections to the Enenmoh Declaration are SUSTAINED as to No. 3 and OVERRULED as to the remainder.

ANALYSIS

Plaintiff attorneys, Knight Law Group, move for an award of attorney fees and costs in the total amount of $55,159.79, which consists of (1) a lodestar of $25,435, (2) a 0.5 lodestar enhancement of $12,717.50, and (3) costs and expenses of $17,007.29.

Plaintiff attorneys, Law Offices of Michael H. Rosenstein, move for an award of attorney fees and costs in the total amount of $52,230.00, which consists of (1) a lodestar of $$34,820.00, and (2) a lodestar enhancement of $17,410.00.

A. Entitlement to Fees

Pursuant to the terms of their settlement, the parties agreed that Plaintiff is the prevailing party in this action entitled to reasonable attorney fees and costs. (See Mikhov Decl. ¶ 30.) Plaintiff is therefore a prevailing party in this action.

B. Reasonableness of Fees Knight Law

Plaintiff retained Knight Law Group, LLP (“Knight Law”) and Law Offices of Michael H. Rosenstein (”Rosenstein”) to represent him in this matter. According to Knight Law’s billing records, six Knight Law attorneys billed a cumulative 74.7 hours on this matter. The hourly billing rates claimed by the Knight Law Group attorneys are $550 for Steve Mikhov, $375 for Kristina Stephenson-Cheang, $350 for Amy Morse and Matthew Hartman, $250 for Daniel Kalinowski, and $225 for Marisa Melero.

The Court finds that the hourly billing rates claimed by Knight Law are too high and thus unreasonable. The Court reduces Knight Law’s hourly billing rates as follows: $450 for Mikhov, $350 for Stephenson-Cheang, $300 for Morse and Hartman, $225 for Kalinowski, and $200 for Melero.

Defendant asserts two grounds for reducing the number of hours that Knight Law claims to have billed in this matter.

First, Defendant requests a reduction of fees sought by Knight Law with respect to client communications. Defendant notes that the billing records reflect 11 different billing entries for client contact totaling 4.9 hours of client communication and $1,760 in fees. Defendant states that these entries fail to indicate what, generally, was being communicated and whether those communications were reasonably necessary to the litigation. The Court disagrees. Clearly, attorney-client communications are protected by the attorney-client privilege, and, as a result, the details of such communications cannot be disclosed in billing entries. Where, as here, Knight Law billed only 4.9 hours on such communications over two and a half years of litigation, the Court finds such a low number of hours reasonable notwithstanding the billing entries’ lack of specificity.

Second, Defendant requests a reduction of fees with respect to Knight Law’s preparation of written discovery. Defendant claims that this written discovery is virtually identical to requests that Knight Law has used in numerous other lemon law cases. (Enenmoh Decl. ¶ 6.) The Court again disagrees. Knight Law billed a total of 4.7 hours to prepare 55 requests for admission, 89 requests for production of documents, 84 special interrogatories, and 21 form interrogatories. (Mikhov Decl. ¶ 11.) Knight Law admits that it uses templates to conserve time and litigate efficiently. (Ibid.) Knight Law’s billing records reasonably reflect these efficiencies.

C. Multiplier for Knight Law

Plaintiff requests a lodestar multiplier of 0.5 based on (1) the risk and delay that Knight Law assumed by taking this case on contingency and (2) the results achieved by Knight Law. Defendant claims that no lodestar enhancement is proper because (1) this was a routine lemon law action and (2) there is no evidence that this action precluded Knight Law from other employment. Defendant requests application of a negative multiplier on the ground that Knight Law overlitigated the case.

The Court finds that neither a positive nor a negative multiplier is warranted. As to the former, this is a straight-forward lemon law case that did not present any novel or difficult issues, and Plaintiff has offered no evidence showing that Knight Law was precluded from accepting other cases. As to the latter, Plaintiff took this case on contingency and obtained successful results.

D. Reasonableness of Costs for Knight Law

Defendant moves to tax the following costs claimed in Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Costs: (1) jury fees of $150, (2) expert fees of $1,790, (3) deposition costs of $3,295.24, and (4) “[a]ny other costs the Court in its discretion finds unreasonable.”

Defendant’s primary basis for this motion appears to be that these costs are not recoverable because they are not mentioned in CCP section 1033.5. However, as Plaintiff notes in his moving papers, the “costs and expenses” recoverable by a prevailing party under the Song-Beverly Act are more inclusive than “costs” recoverable by a prevailing party under section 1033.5. “Costs and expenses” covers outlays not included in the statutory definition of “costs” so long as they are “reasonably incurred by the buyer in connection with the commencement and prosecution of the action.” (Jensen v. BMW of North America, Inc. (1995) 35 Cal.App.4th 112, 137.) The Court finds that the costs challenged by Defendant fall within the broad reach of this statutory language.

Defendant specifically challenges the expert fees sought by Plaintiff on the basis that Defendant has already paid Plaintiff’s experts. (Enenmoh Decl. ¶ 7, Ex. D.) In reply, Plaintiff has not protested this assertion. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Memorandum of Costs is taxed by $1,790.

E. Reasonableness of Fees Rosenstein.

Plaintiff retained Knight Law Group, LLP (“Knight Law”) and Law Offices of Michael H. Rosenstein (”Rosenstein”) to represent him in this matter. According to Rosenstein billing records, five Rosenstein attorneys billed a cumulative 91.1 hours on this matter. The hourly billing rates claimed by Rosenstein attorneys are $600 for Michael Rosenstein, $400 for Brian Shippen-Murray, $300 for Raymond Arsehnko, and $275 for James Martinez.

The Court finds that the hourly billing rates claimed by Rosenstein are too high and thus unreasonable. The Court reduces Rosenstein’s hourly billing rates as follows: $475 for Rosenstein, $380 for Brian Shippen-Murray, $300 for Jamie Adler, $300 for Raymond Arsehnko, and $275 for James Martinez.

The court finds Rosenstein’s billable hours to be reasonable. .

F. Multiplier for Rosenstein

Plaintiff requests a lodestar multiplier of 0.5 based on (1) the risk and delay that Rosenstein assumed by taking this case on contingency and (2) the results achieved by Rosenstein.

The Court finds that neither a positive nor a negative multiplier is warranted. As to the former, this is a straight-forward lemon law case that did not present any novel or difficult issues, and Plaintiff has offered no evidence showing that Rosenstein was precluded from accepting other cases.

G. Conclusion

Plaintiff’s motion for attorney fees and costs is GRANTED. Plaintiff is awarded attorney fees, expenses, and costs in the total amount of $38,419.79 to the Knight Law Firm. (Lodestar: Morse (14.5 x $300) + Kalinowski (17.9 x $225) + Stephenson-Cheang (19.8 x $350) + Hartman (14.7 x $350) + Melero (3 x $200) + Mikhov (4.8 x $450) = $23,212.50. Total Costs / Expenses: $17,007.29 – $1,790 = $15,217.29

Plaintiff is awarded attorney fees in the total amount of $30,095.50 to Rosenstein. (Lodestar: Rosenstein ($500 x 16.4), Brian Shippen-Murray ($380 x 28.1), Jamie Adler ($300 x 29.6), Raymond Arsehnko ($300 x 8.5), and James Martinez ($275 x 8.5) = $30,095.50.)