This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/06/2019 at 11:20:30 (UTC).

MELISSA C. CLARK VS. CHERYL REDMOND

Case Summary

On 08/26/2015 MELISSA C CLARK filed an Other lawsuit against CHERYL REDMOND. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Chatsworth Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is MELVIN D. SANDVIG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6928

  • Filing Date:

    08/26/2015

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Other

  • Courthouse:

    Chatsworth Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

MELVIN D. SANDVIG

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

CLARK MELISSA C.

Defendants

REDMOND CHERYL

CATANESE & WELLS A LAW CORPORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

THE GREENFIELD LAW FIRM APC

CLARK RICHARD

Defendant Attorney

YOSHIDA DAVID YUJI

 

Court Documents

Case Management Statement

3/30/2016: Case Management Statement

Legacy Document

9/8/2016: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

9/8/2016: Legacy Document

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

9/16/2016: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Other -

9/30/2016: Other -

Legacy Document

10/19/2016: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

11/23/2016: Legacy Document

Motion for Summary Adjudication

11/23/2016: Motion for Summary Adjudication

Legacy Document

1/19/2017: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

1/19/2017: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

1/26/2017: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

1/26/2017: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

1/27/2017: Legacy Document

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

2/2/2017: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Minute Order

2/3/2017: Minute Order

Legacy Document

2/8/2017: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

3/7/2017: Legacy Document

Witness List

7/2/2019: Witness List

87 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/05/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department F47, Melvin D. Sandvig, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Held

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  • 07/05/2019
  • Minute Order ( (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/02/2019
  • Witness List; Filed by CHERYL REDMOND (Defendant)

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  • 07/02/2019
  • Witness List; Filed by MELISSA C. CLARK (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/02/2019
  • Exhibit List; Filed by MELISSA C. CLARK (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/10/2018
  • at 08:35 AM in Department F47, Melvin D. Sandvig, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

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  • 11/30/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department F47, Melvin D. Sandvig, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

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  • 11/28/2018
  • Stipulation and Order (TO CONTINUE TRIAL (SANDVIG)); Filed by CHERYL REDMOND (Defendant)

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  • 06/28/2018
  • Stipulation; Filed by CHERYL REDMOND (Defendant); CATANESE & WELLS, A LAW CORPORATION (Legacy Party)

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  • 04/27/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department F47; Final Status Conference (Final Status Conference; Continued by Court) -

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90 More Docket Entries
  • 01/08/2016
  • Other - (MINUTE ORDER); Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/08/2016
  • Other - (MINUTE ORDER); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/21/2015
  • DEFENDANT'S REPLY BRIEF RE: MOTION FOR CHANGE OF VENUE; Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/24/2015
  • PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR CHANGE OF VENUE; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS & AUTHORITIES; AND DECLARATION OF MELISSA C. CLARK WITH EXHIBITS; Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/17/2015
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by MELISSA C. CLARK (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/05/2015
  • DEFENDANT'S NOTICE OF MOTION FOR CHANGE OF VENUE, MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES AND DECLARATION OF CHERYL REDMOND IN SUPPORT THEROF.; Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/26/2015
  • Other - (NOTICE OF CASE ASSIGNMENT); Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/26/2015
  • Summons; Filed by null

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  • 08/26/2015
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by MELISSA C. CLARK (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/26/2015
  • Complaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by null

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: PC056928    Hearing Date: October 23, 2020    Dept: F47

Dept. F-47

Date: 10/23/20

Case #PC056928

MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS’ FEES

Motion filed on 3/9/20.

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Cheryl Redmond

RESPONDING PARTY: Plaintiff Melissa C. Clark

NOTICE: ok

RELIEF REQUESTED: An order awarding attorneys’ fees and costs to Defendant pursuant to CC 1717. Specifically, Defendant requests an award of $353,914.50 in attorneys’ fees and $7,401.09 in costs for a total award of $361,315.59.

RULING: The motion is granted as set forth below.

On 8/19/20, the hearing on the instant motion was held. The Court determined that Defendant was entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees. (See 8/19/20 Minute Order). However, due to Defendant’s failure to provide the Court with sufficient information to determine whether the attorneys’ fees sought were reasonable, the hearing was continued to allow Defendant to serve and file an attorney declaration in support of the fees requested. (Id. at p.3). Plaintiff was permitted to serve and file a response to Defendant’s new evidence. (Id. at p.4).

On 9/17/20, Defendant’s attorney filed a declaration along with supporting documentation as ordered by the Court. (See 9/17/20 Catanese Decl.). On 9/23/20, Plaintiff filed a “Further Opposition to Declaration of T. Randolph Catanese, Esq....” and a declaration of her attorney in support of the further opposition. The further opposition of Plaintiff is not limited to responding to Defendant’s new evidence. Rather, Plaintiff also included argument as to why she believes the Court’s 8/18/20 tentative ruling is incorrect. Pursuant to the Court’s 8/19/20 order, Plaintiff was not permitted to submit additional/supplemental argument and/or authority to support her claim that Defendant is not entitled to an award of attorneys’ fees and/or that such an award should be limited to the defense of the contract claims. Further, consideration of such arguments would be improper as Defendant did not have the opportunity to respond to such supplemental arguments.

As previously noted by the Court:

This action arose out of Plaintiff’s purchase of a 13-year old horse (RJ) for $5,000 from Defendant. Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint contained causes of action for: (1) breach of contract, (2) fraud, (3) negligence and (4) breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. On 2/8/17, the court granted summary adjudication in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s first cause of action for breach of contract, third cause of action for negligence and fourth cause of action for breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. On 12/9/19 through 12/12/19, the court tried Plaintiff’s second cause of action for fraud including intentional misrepresentation, concealment, negligent misrepresentation and promise without intent to perform. The court found in favor of Defendant. On 1/8/20, the court entered judgment in favor of Defendant and against Plaintiff on all causes of action asserted in the First Amended Complaint. The court declared Defendant to be the prevailing party and directed her to file a motion for attorneys’ fees and a memorandum of costs. On 1/14/20, Defendant served Plaintiff with Notice of Entry of Judgment. On 1/28/20, Defendant filed a memorandum of costs. On 3/9/20, Defendant filed and served the instant motion for attorneys’ fees pursuant to CC 1717.

Contrary to Plaintiff’s assertion in the opposition, the court finds that the attorney fee provision contained in the Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement provides a basis for an award of attorneys’ fees in this case. In the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleged that the contract breached was attached thereto as Exhibit A. (See FAC, p.3 ¶BC-1). Exhibit A to the First Amended Complaint included the Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement executed on 2/16/15, the Horse Bill of Sale executed on 2/16/15, Amendment No.1 to Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement executed on 3/6/15 and another copy of the Horse Bill of Sale executed on 3/30/15. (See FAC, Ex.A). Additionally, Plaintiff specifically requested an award of attorneys’ fees in relation to the first cause of action for breach of contract presumably pursuant to the attorney fee provision in the Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement. (FAC, p.3 ¶BC-5). Further, the foregoing documents were admitted at trial as evidence of the contractual relationship between the parties. As such, Plaintiff’s claim that she did not sue on the Trial/Option Agreement is without merit. See Torrey Pines Bank (1991) 231 CA3d 308, 320 (the documents should be considered as one contract under CC 1642).

The attorney fee provision provides “[i]n the event either party shall bring any action to enforce or protect any of its rights under this Agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover, in addition to such remedies which may be available to the party, its attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in connection with such action.” (See FAC, Ex.A Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement ¶11).

All of the claims asserted in the First Amended Complaint were intended to enforce or protect Plaintiff’s rights under the Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement, the Bill of Sale, and Amendment No.1 to Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement. For example, Plaintiff alleged, and argued at trial, fraud in the inducement of the underlying contracts. (See FAC, p.5 ¶¶FR-10 - FR-5 and Ex.A and B – specifically, p.17 of Ex.B claims that Defendant acted “with the intent to fraudulently induce Melissa to purchase RJ…”). Additionally, Plaintiff specifically requested attorneys’ fees in relation to the fraud cause of action and generally in relation to the negligence and breach of implied warranty causes of action. (See FAC, p.2 ¶10.c., p.5 ¶FR-6). In relation to the negligence claim, the court found that the only duty owed to Plaintiff by Defendant arose out of their contractual relationship regarding the sale of the horse. (See 2/8/17 Minute Order). Also, the contract specifically provided that Plaintiff waived any implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. (FAC, Ex.A Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement ¶8; 2/8/17 Minute Order). As the prevailing party on all of the causes of action alleged against her in this action, Defendant is entitled to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred in defending against all of the causes of action. See CC 1717; CCP 1032; CCP 1033.5(a)(10)(A).

Plaintiff’s claim that Defendant could have settled this case long before trial and avoided most of her attorneys’ fees is unavailing. If Plaintiff wanted to stop Defendant from incurring additional attorneys’ fees, she could have dismissed her case at any time. Plaintiff does not indicate that she offered to dismiss her case and pay Defendant a reasonable sum for attorneys’ fees incurred by Defendant. Plaintiff’s counsel admits that “[f]rom the inception this has been a relatively simple and small case” and that “Plaintiff filed this case primarily to recover the $5,000 [purchase price] and limited consequential damages.” (See Clark Decl. ¶3). Despite the foregoing, Plaintiff filed this action as an unlimited civil case seeking over $25,000.00 in damages. (See Compl. filed on 8/26/15; FAC filed on 9/8/16). As such, Plaintiff cannot now complain that Defendant refused to settle without being compensated a reasonable sum for the attorneys’ fees she incurred in successfully defending against all of Plaintiff’s claims.

The Court now considers whether the $399,201.00 in attorneys’ fees requested by Defendant are reasonable. (See 9/17/20 Catanese Decl. ¶7). The Court notes that in the motion, Defendant only sought to recover $353,914.50, plus approximately $3,200.00 in relation to the fees motion, in attorneys’ fees. (3/9/20 Catanese Decl. ¶¶8, 11). In California, courts use the “lodestar” method of calculation (the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate) in determining a reasonable fee award. See PLCM Group (2000) 22 C4th 1084, 1095; Martino (1986) 182 CA3d 553, 559 (“Testimony of an attorney as to the number of hours worked on a particular case is sufficient evidence to support an award of attorney fees, even in the absence of detailed time records.”).

Defendant claims 823.9+ attorney hours at rates ranging from $350/hour to $475/hour and 151.8+ paralegal hours at rates ranging from $195/hour to $250/hour were spent in the defense of this action. (See 9/17/20 Catanese Decl. ¶¶3, 5-6). Plaintiff does not challenge the reasonableness of the hourly rates charged by defense counsel or their paralegals and the Court finds such amounts to be reasonable. However, the Court notes that in the declaration of attorney Catanese originally filed in support of the motion, he indicated that paralegal Lisa Nicholson’s hourly rate was $195/hour. (See 3/9/20 Catanese Decl. ¶3(e)). Now, without explanation, attorney Catanese claims Ms. Nicholson’s hourly rate is $250/hour. (9/17/20 Catanese Decl. ¶5). The Court finds the amount of hours claimed to have been spent by each attorney and the paralegals to be excessive and reduces them accordingly.

Based on the lodestar method of calculation, the Court finds that: 150 hours at a rate of $450/hour were reasonably spent by attorney T. Randolph Catanese; 150 hours at a rate of $350/hour were reasonably spent by attorney David Y. Yoshida; 50 hours at rate of $400/hour were reasonably spent by attorney Douglas R. Hume; 65 hours at a rate of $475/hour were reasonably spent by attorney Brad Gould; 30 hours at a rate of $195/hour were reasonably spent by paralegal Megan Blumenthal; 20 hours at a rate of $195/hour were reasonably spent by paralegal Regan Arkelin; 1 hour at a rate of $195/hour was reasonably spent by paralegal Caroline Foudy; and 20 hours at a rate of $195/hour were reasonably spent by paralegal Lisa Nicholson.

Based on the foregoing, Defendant is awarded a total of $184,720.00 in attorneys’ fees.

As previously noted by the Court, it appears that the costs requested by Defendant in the amount of $7,401.09 have already been entered pursuant to the Cost Memorandum filed by Defendant on 1/28/20. Plaintiff did not file a motion to tax such costs and does not dispute Defendant’s entitlement thereto in the opposition to the instant motion. (See 8/19/20 Minute Order, p.4).

Case Number: PC056928    Hearing Date: August 19, 2020    Dept: F47

Dept. F-47

Date: 8/19/20

Case #PC056928

MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS’ FEES

Motion filed on 3/9/20.

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Cheryl Redmond

RESPONDING PARTY: Plaintiff Melissa C. Clark

NOTICE: ok

RELIEF REQUESTED: An order awarding attorneys’ fees and costs to Defendant pursuant to CC 1717. Specifically, Defendant requests an award of $353,914.50 in attorneys’ fees and $7,401.09 in costs for a total award of $361,315.59.

RULING: The hearing will be continued.

This action arose out of Plaintiff’s purchase of a 13-year old horse (RJ) for $5,000 from Defendant. Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint contained causes of action for: (1) breach of contract, (2) fraud, (3) negligence and (4) breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. On 2/8/17, the court granted summary adjudication in favor of Defendant on Plaintiff’s first cause of action for breach of contract, third cause of action for negligence and fourth cause of action for breach of implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. On 12/9/19 through 12/12/19, the court tried Plaintiff’s second cause of action for fraud including intentional misrepresentation, concealment, negligent misrepresentation and promise without intent to perform. The court found in favor of Defendant. On 1/8/20, the court entered judgment in favor of Defendant and against Plaintiff on all causes of action asserted in the First Amended Complaint. The court declared Defendant to be the prevailing party and directed her to file a motion for attorneys’ fees and a memorandum of costs. On 1/14/20, Defendant served Plaintiff with Notice of Entry of Judgment. On 1/28/20, Defendant filed a memorandum of costs. On 3/9/20, Defendant filed and served the instant motion for attorneys’ fees pursuant to CC 1717.

Contrary to Plaintiff’s assertion in the opposition, the court finds that the attorney fee provision contained in the Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement provides a basis for an award of attorneys’ fees in this case. In the First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleged that the contract breached was attached thereto as Exhibit A. (See FAC, p.3 ¶BC-1). Exhibit A to the First Amended Complaint included the Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement executed on 2/16/15, the Horse Bill of Sale executed on 2/16/15, Amendment No.1 to Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement executed on 3/6/15 and another copy of the Horse Bill of Sale executed on 3/30/15. (See FAC, Ex.A). Additionally, Plaintiff specifically requested an award of attorneys’ fees in relation to the first cause of action for breach of contract presumably pursuant to the attorney fee provision in the Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement. (FAC, p.3 ¶BC-5). Further, the foregoing documents were admitted at trial as evidence of the contractual relationship between the parties. As such, Plaintiff’s claim that she did not sue on the Trial/Option Agreement is without merit. See Torrey Pines Bank (1991) 231 CA3d 308, 320 (the documents should be considered as one contract under CC 1642).

The attorney fee provision provides “[i]n the event either party shall bring any action to enforce or protect any of its rights under this Agreement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to recover, in addition to such remedies which may be available to the party, its attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in connection with such action.” (See FAC, Ex.A Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement ¶11).

All of the claims asserted in the First Amended Complaint were intended to enforce or protect Plaintiff’s rights under the Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement, the Bill of Sale, and Amendment No.1 to Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement. For example, Plaintiff alleged, and argued at trial, fraud in the inducement of the underlying contracts. (See FAC, p.5 ¶¶FR-10 - FR-5 and Ex.A and B – specifically, p.17 of Ex.B claims that Defendant acted “with the intent to fraudulently induce Melissa to purchase RJ…”). Additionally, Plaintiff specifically requested attorneys’ fees in relation to the fraud cause of action and generally in relation to the negligence and breach of implied warranty causes of action. (See FAC, p.2 ¶10.c., p.5 ¶FR-6). In relation to the negligence claim, the court found that the only duty owed to Plaintiff by Defendant arose out of their contractual relationship regarding the sale of the horse. (See 2/8/17 Minute Order). Also, the contract specifically provided that Plaintiff waived any implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. (FAC, Ex.A Horse Trial and Purchase Option Agreement ¶8; 2/8/17 Minute Order). As the prevailing party on all of the causes of action alleged against her in this action, Defendant is entitled to recover reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred in defending against all of the causes of action. See CC 1717; CCP 1032; CCP 1033.5(a)(10)(A).

Plaintiff’s claim that Defendant could have settled this case long before trial and avoided most of her attorneys’ fees is unavailing. If Plaintiff wanted to stop Defendant from incurring additional attorneys’ fees, she could have dismissed her case at any time. Plaintiff does not indicate that she offered to dismiss her case and pay Defendant a reasonable sum for attorneys’ fees incurred by Defendant. Plaintiff’s counsel admits that “[f]rom the inception this has been a relatively simple and small case” and that “Plaintiff filed this case primarily to recover the $5,000 [purchase price] and limited consequential damages.” (See Clark Decl. ¶3). Despite the foregoing, Plaintiff filed this action as an unlimited civil case seeking over $25,000.00 in damages. (See Compl. filed on 8/26/15; FAC filed on 9/8/16). As such, Plaintiff cannot now complain that Defendant refused to settle without being compensated a reasonable sum for the attorneys’ fees she incurred in successfully defending against all of Plaintiff’s claims.

However, Defendant has failed to provide the court with sufficient information to determine whether the attorneys’ fees requested are reasonable. In California, courts use the “lodestar” method of calculation (the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate) in determining a reasonable fee award. See PLCM Group (2000) 22 C4th 1084, 1095; Martino (1986) 182 CA3d 553, 559 (“Testimony of an attorney as to the number of hours worked on a particular case is sufficient evidence to support an award of attorney fees, even in the absence of detailed time records.”). Here, the evidence provided by Defendant via the declaration of attorney T. Randolph Catanese regarding the hourly rates charged by the attorneys and paralegal who worked on this case is confusing. (Catanese Decl. ¶¶3-7). First, Mr. Catanese indicates that he is setting forth the “normal hourly rate” charged by each attorney who worked on the case. (Catanese Decl. ¶3(a)-(d)). However, Mr. Catanese then claims that these “normal hourly rates” were actually discounted as to three of the four attorneys who worked on the case. (Catanese Decl. ¶¶4-6). Additionally, no evidence is provided regarding the number of hours spent by each attorney or the paralegal on this case. Rather, Mr. Catanese merely breaks down the fees incurred by Defendant for each year his firm has been working on the case. (Catanese Decl. ¶9). Although Mr. Catanese states that monthly itemized billing statements were sent to Defendant throughout the litigation, copies of such statements are not provided. (Catanese Decl. ¶¶8, 10).

Based on the foregoing, the hearing will be continued to allow Defendant to file an attorney declaration stating the number of hours spent by each attorney and paralegal on this case and the actually hourly fee charged by each attorney and the paralegal pursuant to the attorney’s review of the billing statements. Copies of the billing statements sent to Defendant may also be submitted in support of the declaration. However, the billing statements alone will not suffice or be a substitute for the attorney’s testimony/declaration specifying the number of hours spent by each attorney and paralegal and the hourly rates actually charged by each attorney and paralegal in this case. Such evidence is due to be filed and served at least 10 court days before the continued hearing date.

Plaintiff may serve and file a response to Defendant’s new evidence at least 5 court days before the continued hearing date.

It appears that the costs requested by Defendant in the amount of $7,401.09 have already been entered pursuant to the Cost Memorandum filed by Defendant on 1/28/20. Plaintiff did not file a motion to tax such costs and does not dispute Defendant’s entitlement thereto in the opposition to the instant motion.