This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 03/11/2019 at 03:34:37 (UTC).

MICHAEL SINGER, ET AL., VS G.H. COOPER PROPERTIES, INC.

Case Summary

On 06/01/2016 MICHAEL SINGER, filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against G H COOPER PROPERTIES, INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Santa Monica Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF and CRAIG D. KARLAN. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****5940

  • Filing Date:

    06/01/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Santa Monica Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF

CRAIG D. KARLAN

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

ARVADA INVESTMENT GROUP LLC

INNOCRATIVE CAPITAL LLC

LAMAR KENDALL INVESTMENT GROUP LLC

SINGER MICHAEL

ZUNI INVESTMENT GROUP LLC

SINGER JEFF

SINGER FAMILY TRUST

INNOCREATIVE CAPITAL LLC

R SINGER TRUST

SINGER 1995 FAMILY TRUST

SINGER CHILDREN'S 2002 IRREVOCABLE

JEFFREY AND KELLIE SINGER CHILDREN'S

Defendants

GRAYSON TODD

G.H. COOPER PROPERTIES INC.

COOPER SHERYL

Interested Parties and Not Classified By Court

DLA PIPER LLP

TORAL TODD C.

TODD C. TORAL

Other

KAUFMAN DOLOWICH VOLUCK LLP

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

DAVIS STEVEN S.

ALMARAZ DAVID MICHAEL

MICHELMAN SANFORD LOUIS

MICHELMAN & ROBINSON

Defendant Attorneys

ROBINS & KAPLAN

BRODSKY BARRY ZITRON

WOLF RIFKIN SHAPIRO SCHULMAN & RABKIN

GEIBELSON MICHAEL AARON

LEVENE NEALE BENDER RANKIN&BRILL

Other Attorneys

ROSING HEATHER L.

 

Court Documents

Complaint

6/1/2016: Complaint

Opposition

7/24/2018: Opposition

Other -

8/10/2018: Other -

Request for Judicial Notice

9/18/2018: Request for Judicial Notice

Motion for Summary Judgment

9/19/2018: Motion for Summary Judgment

Brief

9/24/2018: Brief

Notice of Ruling

11/1/2018: Notice of Ruling

Minute Order

11/2/2018: Minute Order

Unknown

11/13/2018: Unknown

Other -

11/14/2018: Other -

Request

11/15/2018: Request

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

11/30/2018: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

Opposition

12/7/2018: Opposition

Unknown

12/12/2018: Unknown

Unknown

12/14/2018: Unknown

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

12/19/2018: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Memorandum

1/22/2019: Memorandum

Case Management Statement

2/4/2019: Case Management Statement

64 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 02/21/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by Michael Singer (Plaintiff); Jeff Singer (Plaintiff); Innocreative Capital, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/20/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department P; Case Management Conference - Held - Continued

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  • 02/20/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Case Management Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/20/2019
  • Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore (Cheri Bullock CSR 4714); Filed by Michael Singer (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/05/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department M; Case Management Conference - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 02/05/2019
  • Case Management Statement; Filed by Michael Singer (Plaintiff); Jeff Singer (Plaintiff); Innocrative Capital, LLC (Plaintiff) et al.

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  • 02/04/2019
  • Case Management Statement; Filed by Todd Grayson (Defendant)

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  • 02/04/2019
  • Case Management Statement; Filed by Todd Grayson (Defendant)

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  • 01/22/2019
  • Memorandum (name extension) (Memorandum of Costs on Appeal); Filed by Michael Singer (Plaintiff); Jeff Singer (Plaintiff); Innocrative Capital, LLC (Plaintiff) et al.

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  • 01/22/2019
  • Memorandum (name extension) (Memorandum of Costs on Appeal); Filed by Michael Singer (Plaintiff); Jeff Singer (Plaintiff); Innocrative Capital, LLC (Plaintiff) et al.

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640 More Docket Entries
  • 06/03/2016
  • at 09:00 am in Department WEM, Mitchell L. Beckloff, Presiding; Ex-Parte Application - Motion Granted

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  • 06/03/2016
  • Ex-Parte Application; Filed by Michael Singer (Plaintiff); Jeff Singer (Plaintiff); Innocrative Capital, LLC (Plaintiff) et al.

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  • 06/03/2016
  • Opposition; Filed by Attorney for Defendant

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  • 06/03/2016
  • Minute order entered: 2016-06-03 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/03/2016
  • Opposition; Filed by Todd Grayson (Defendant)

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  • 06/03/2016
  • Ex-Parte Application; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 06/01/2016
  • Complaint Filed

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  • 06/01/2016
  • Complaint; Filed by Michael Singer (Plaintiff); Jeff Singer (Plaintiff); Innocrative Capital, LLC (Plaintiff) et al.

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  • 06/01/2016
  • Summons; Filed by Plaintiff

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  • 06/01/2016
  • Summons Filed; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: SC125940    Hearing Date: August 13, 2020    Dept: P

 

Tentative Ruling

Michael Singer v. G.H. Cooper, Case No. SCl25940 (related to Case No. SC125434)

Hearing Date August 13, 2020

Defendant Grayson’s Motion to Bifurcate Issues at Trial

Defendant Cooper’s Motion to Approve Good-Faith Settlement

Plaintiffs allege defendant Grayson, as alter ego of defendant G.H. Cooper Properties (GHCP), breached the operating agreements of three LLCs formed to manage residential properties. Defendant Grayson moves to bifurcate, to try the alter ego issue first by the court before a liability/damages trial. Defendant Sheryl Cooper moves for a determination her settlement with plaintiffs was made in good faith.

Grayson Bifurcation Motion

A court may order certain issues tried before others when “the convenience of witnesses, the ends of justice, or the economy or efficiency of handling the litigation would be promoted thereby.” Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §598. It is appropriate to bifurcate an alter ego issue if doing so will eliminate the need for further trial on liability or damages. E.g. Burkhalter Kessler Cement & George LLP v. Hamilton (2018) 19 Cal.App.5th 38, 45.

Grayson argues bifurcation would promote efficiency; if the court determines Grayson is not GHCP’s alter ego, it would eliminate the need to present evidence regarding Grayson’s liability, and evidence related to the alter ego issue would not be reintroduced at trial if the court finds he is the alter ego. Plaintiffs argue the case against GHCP relies on the same evidence that would be used to prove Grayson’s alter ego status. The court agrees. Plaintiffs’ claims against GHCP are based on Grayson’s alleged conduct, which is the same conduct that allegedly shows he was GHCP’s alter ego. Grayson will testify at trial regardless of how the alter ego issue is decided, and bifurcation will lead to duplicative testimony. DENIED.

Cooper Motion for Determination of Good-Faith Settlement

Defendant Cooper reached a settlement agreement with plaintiffs and cross-defendant. Plaintiffs allege Cooper was GHCP’s alter ego and liable for its alleged wrongful conduct, including misappropriation of assets, as a manager of the Colorado LLCs. The settlement requires Cooper to pay $305,000 to the Singer parties, disclaim all distributions from or interest in GHCP and abandon her $2,876,066 creditor’s claim in GHCP’s bankruptcy.

In evaluating a motion for good faith settlement, the court considers: (1) a rough approximation of plaintiff’s total recovery and the settlor’s proportionate liability, (2) amount paid in settlement, (3) allocation of settlement proceeds among plaintiffs, (4) a recognition that a settlor should pay less in settlement than if found liable after trial, (5) the financial condition and insurance policy limit of settlor, and (6) existence of collusion, fraud, or tortious conduct aimed to injure the interests of nonsettling defendants. Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488, 499. The party arguing a settlement was entered into in good faith has the burden to show the settlement is so far “out of the ballpark” in relation to the factors as to be inconsistent with the equitable objectives of the relevant statute. Id. at 499-500, Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §877.6(d). A party seeking confirmation of a settlement agreement must provide a valuation of the settlement and must set forth “the evidentiary basis for any allocations and valuations made.” Erreca’s v. Superior Court (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 1475, 1495-1496. A defendant opposing a good faith settlement motion is entitled to review the entire settlement agreement. Mediplex of California, Inc. v. Superior Court (1995) 34 Cal.App.4th 748, 749.

Cooper argues her agreement to pay the Singer parties $305,000 and abandon claims in the bankruptcy action is roughly proportionate to the amount she would likely have to pay if found liable at trial, despite being much lower than the amount sought in the complaint. Cooper argues there is no possibility of insurance coverage, and Grayson’s claim for $25 million against Cooper creates uncertainty as to whether any award for the Singer parties after trial could be collected. Finally, Cooper argues there is no evidence of fraud or collusion.

Defendant Grayson argues Cooper failed to provide sufficient evidence to allow the court to determine whether the settlement agreement is commensurate with her potential liability. The court agrees. Cooper’s refusal to provide a non-redacted version of the settlement agreement violates Grayson’s rights under Mediplex. Additionally, Cooper failed to provide a valuation of the non-cash portions of the settlement as required under Erreca’s, so the court cannot determine whether the settlement is “in the ballpark” of Cooper’s actual liability.

DENIED without prejudice or CONTINUED. Cooper may provide additional information to allow the court and the parties to assess the reasonableness of the proposed settlement.

Motions in Sherrel v. G.H. Cooper

As the motions in related case Sherrel Investment Group, LLC v. G.H. Cooper Properties (SC125434) are substantially identical, the court’s above ruling applies in both cases.

DUE TO THE ONGOING COVID-19 PANDEMIC, PARTIES AND COUNSEL ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO AVOID IN-PERSON APPEARANCES AND TO APPEAR REMOTELY. LA COURT CONNECT IS NOW AVAILABLE.

Case Number: SC125940    Hearing Date: January 30, 2020    Dept: P

 

Tentative Ruling

Michael Singer et al. v. G.H. Cooper Properties, et al. Case No. SC125940

Hearing Date: January 30, 2020

Motion to Approve Partial Settlement and Modify Preliminary Injunction

Plaintiff’s members and its former manager disagree over distribution of real estate sale proceeds. In December 2016 a preliminary injunction was granted, and $1,000,000 in sale proceeds held in escrow until resolution of the dispute.

On December 6, 2019 the Singer plaintiffs (LLC Members) settled with the LLCs and former manager, G.H. Cooper Properties, Inc. They move to modify the injunction, so the funds can be released. The court granted a substantively identical motion in November 2019 in related case no. SC125434.

Defendant Grayson opposes, arguing he cannot be bound by the terms of a settlement agreement to which he is not a party, and he has an interest in the escrowed funds.

Under Cal. Code of Civil Procedure §533, “the court may on notice modify or dissolve an injunction or temporary restraining order upon a showing that there has been a material change in the facts upon which the injunction or restraining order was granted[.]”

The settlement only binds the settling parties; it is inapplicable to non-settling parties, such as Grayson. Grayson’s purported economic interest and/or indemnification rights are irrelevant. Grayson may not “piggy back” on a preliminary injunction formed to protect the interests of other parties, especially given that the party that moved to create the injunction now seeks its dissolution. If Grayson wishes the court to exercise its injunctive power to protect his claimed interests, he must follow the established procedure and prove those interests by moving for his own injunction, rather than merely asserting the interests and relying on a separate, already-existing preliminary injunction created at the request of an adverse party. GRANTED.

Case Number: SC125940    Hearing Date: November 15, 2019    Dept: P

 

Michael Singer et al. v. G.H. Cooper Properties, Inc.

Defendant Todd Grayson’s Motion to Sever Claims and Bifurcate Trial

Hearing Date 11/15/2019

Grayson moves to sever his trial from GHCP’s trial and to bifurcate trial for plaintiffs’ alter ego claims from the other issues.

Courts have discretion to separate trials of any cause of action or separate issue “to avoid prejudice or when separate trials will be conducive to expedition and economy.” Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §1048.

Defendant Grayson argues his trial should be severed from GHCP’s trial. He claims that by stipulating to a specific interpretation of the LLCs’ operating agreements, co-defendant GHCP essentially adopted plaintiffs’ position in the action. If the claims against him and GHCP are decided in a single trial, Grayson argues, the stipulation will impermissibly sway the jury and prevent Grayson from adequately disputing plaintiffs’ and GHCP’s interpretation of the operating agreement. Motion to Sever at pgs. 6-8.

Grayson argues plaintiffs and GHCP have stipulated to an incorrect interpretation of the operating agreement. This disagreement regarding the stipulation is not a proper basis for severing Grayson’s trial. Grayson has not adequately explained how the introduction of the agreement would be improper or result in unfair prejudice. Additionally, holding two separate trials would result in redundant expenditure of time and judicial resources on essentially identical issues. The motion to sever is DENIED.

Grayson also asks to bifurcate the alter ego issue from the issue of his liability. It is commonplace for courts to try equitable issues before legal issues, but Grayson has not adequately shown that holding two separate trials in this matter would promote – rather than hinder – efficient and expeditious resolution of the issues. Grayson has failed to provide any evidence or argument indicating he would be unfairly prejudiced by allowing alter ego issues to be determined during his jury trial. The motion to bifurcate is DENIED.