This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 04/04/2019 at 20:23:57 (UTC).

MILLENNIUM-DIAMOND ROAD PARTNERS VS DIAMOND BAR COUNTRY

Case Summary

On 03/11/2014 MILLENNIUM-DIAMOND ROAD PARTNERS filed a Property - Other Real Property lawsuit against DIAMOND BAR COUNTRY. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Pomona Courthouse South located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are DUKES, ROBERT A. and PETER A. HERNANDEZ. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6717

  • Filing Date:

    03/11/2014

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Real Property

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Pomona Courthouse South

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

DUKES, ROBERT A.

PETER A. HERNANDEZ

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Cross Defendants

HUA QING ENTERPRISES LLC

MILLENNIUM-DIAMOND ROAD PARTNERS LLC

CITY OF DIAMOND BAR

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

BLUM WALLY

DIAMOND BAR COUNTRY ESTATE ASSOCIATION

LIU MAE

MACINNIS CASSANDRA

MAO LEE

YI MICHELLE

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

GENISH JONATHAN M. ESQ.

MARKARIAN CHRISTOPHER

DO ANDREW

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

ECOFF LAWRENCE C. ESQ.

KLIER ERLICH RINAT B.

Other Attorneys

TAITELMAN MICHAEL A. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

Request for Judicial Notice

12/24/2014: Request for Judicial Notice

Unknown

4/8/2015: Unknown

Stipulation and Order to use Certified Shorthand Reporter

4/15/2015: Stipulation and Order to use Certified Shorthand Reporter

Minute Order

3/29/2016: Minute Order

Association of Attorney

4/14/2016: Association of Attorney

Substitution of Attorney

6/15/2016: Substitution of Attorney

Other -

8/15/2016: Other -

Unknown

8/24/2016: Unknown

Unknown

9/9/2016: Unknown

Unknown

9/13/2016: Unknown

Unknown

2/9/2017: Unknown

Brief

5/1/2017: Brief

Minute Order

7/6/2017: Minute Order

Unknown

3/6/2018: Unknown

Unknown

3/7/2018: Unknown

Writ of Execution

7/24/2018: Writ of Execution

Writ of Execution

7/30/2018: Writ of Execution

Other -

2/28/2019: Other -

232 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/04/2019
  • Writ - Return

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  • 02/28/2019
  • at 08:31 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Order (name extension) (Determining Claim of Exemption) - Held - Taken under Submission

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  • 02/28/2019
  • at 4:00 PM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Ruling on Submitted Matter

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  • 02/28/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (Ruling on Submitted Matter Re: Judgment Debtor Diamond Bar Co...) of 02/28/2019); Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/28/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Ruling on Submitted Matter Re: Judgment Debtor Diamond Bar Co...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/28/2019
  • Other - (Court's Ruling on Tentative); Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/28/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Judgment Debtor, Diamond Bar Country Estates Association's He...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/21/2019
  • Reply (REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR ORDER DETERMINING CLAIM OF EXEMPTION CONCERNING NOTICE OF LEVY SERVED ON SEABREEZE MANAGEMENT COMPANY); Filed by DIAMOND BAR COUNTRY ESTATE ASSOCIATION (Legacy Party)

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  • 02/14/2019
  • Opposition (Opposition to Judgment Debtor Diamond Bar Country Estates Association's Motion for Order Determining Claim of Exemption Concerning Notice of Levy Served on Seabreeze Management Company); Filed by HUA QING ENTERPRISES, LLC (Legacy Party); MILLENNIUM-DIAMOND ROAD PARTNERS, LLC (Legacy Party)

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  • 02/01/2019
  • at 3:29 PM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Ruling on Submitted Matter

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314 More Docket Entries
  • 03/25/2014
  • Proof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by HUA QING ENTERPRISES, LLC (Legacy Party); MILLENNIUM-DIAMOND ROAD PARTNERS, LLC (Legacy Party)

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  • 03/25/2014
  • Proof of Personal Service; Filed by HUA QING ENTERPRISES, LLC (Legacy Party); MILLENNIUM-DIAMOND ROAD PARTNERS, LLC (Legacy Party)

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  • 03/25/2014
  • Proof of Personal Service; Filed by HUA QING ENTERPRISES, LLC (Legacy Party); MILLENNIUM-DIAMOND ROAD PARTNERS, LLC (Legacy Party)

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  • 03/13/2014
  • Summons Issued

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  • 03/13/2014
  • First Amended Complaint; Filed by MILLENNIUM-DIAMOND ROAD PARTNERS, LLC (Legacy Party)

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  • 03/13/2014
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/11/2014
  • Complaint; Filed by null

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  • 03/11/2014
  • Summons (on Complaint); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/11/2014
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by HUA QING ENTERPRISES, LLC (Legacy Party); MILLENNIUM-DIAMOND ROAD PARTNERS, LLC (Legacy Party)

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  • 01/11/1991
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by DIAMOND BAR COUNTRY ESTATE ASSOCIATION (Legacy Party)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: KC066717    Hearing Date: June 18, 2020    Dept: O

Plaintiffs Millennium-Diamond Road Partners LLC and Hua Qing Enterprises, LLC’s motion for award of attorneys’ fees on appeal is GRANTED but reduced to a reasonable amount.

Plaintiffs Millennium-Diamond Road Partners LLC and Hua Qing Enterprises, LLC (collectively, the “Plaintiffs”) move for attorneys’ fees related to the appeal of this case pursuant to Civil Code section 5975 in the sum of $286,215 plus an additional $16,890 to litigate the instant motion for a total of $303,105. Under Civil Code section 5975(c), in an action to enforce the governing documents, the prevailing party shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. (Civ. Code § 5975(c).) The analysis of who is a prevailing party under the fee-shifting provisions of section 5975 focuses on who prevailed “on a practical level” by achieving its main litigation objectives. (Rancho Mirage Country Club Homeowners Assn. v. Hazelbaker (2016) 2 Cal. App. 5th 252, 260.) The limitations applicable to contractual fee-shifting clauses, codified at section 1717, do not apply. (Ibid.; see also Almanor Lakeside Villas Owners Assn. v. Carson (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 761 (holding that the homeowners association was the prevailing party in action against unit owners regarding ability to impose fines and fees for illegal short-term vacation rentals and thus was entitled to attorney’s fees under CCP § 5675, even though the homeowners association recovered only a fraction of the damages sought).) Fees, if recoverable at all either by statute or the parties’ agreement, are available for services by an attorney at trial and on appeal. (Zagami, Inc. v. James A. Crone, Inc. (2008) 160 Cal.App.4th 1083, 1097.)

Defendant Diamond Bar Country Estates Association (“Defendant”) does not seem to contest that Plaintiffs were the prevailing party on appeal and at trial. Rather, Defendant contends that the requested attorney fees are unreasonable and should be reduced. Particularly, Defendant argues that unnecessary items, such as the Writ of Supersedeas and that the time entries show duplication of work.

To enable the trial court to determine whether attorney fees should be awarded and in what amount, an attorney should present: (1) evidence, documentary and oral, of the services actually performed; and (2) expert opinion, by the applicant and other lawyers, as to what would be a reasonable fee for such services. (Martino v. Denevi (1986) 182 Cal. App. 3d 553, 558-59.) In many cases, however, the trial court will be aware of the nature and extent of the attorney's services from its observation of the trial proceedings and the pretrial and discovery proceedings reflected in the file. (Id. at 559.)

In California, 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. (Id.) If the items appear to be proper charges, the verified memorandum is prima facie evidence that the costs, expenses, and services therein listed were necessarily incurred by the prevailing party, then the burden shifts to the opposing party to show that the items are unreasonable. (Decoto Sch. Dist. of Alameda County v. M & S Tile Co. (1964) 225 Cal. App. 2d 310, 316-17.)

The Court previously granted two separate motion for attorney fees by Plaintiffs sometime after trial around December 6, 2017 and more recently on October 22, 2019. This particular motion relates to Plaintiffs being the prevailing party after an appeal where the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s judgment.

Plaintiffs were represented by two separate counsels during trial and appeal. Attorney Michael Taitelman submitted a declaration on behalf of Freedman + Taitelman, LLP, the firm representing Plaintiffs for the trial phase. The declaration states that the firm charges $450 per hour for partners, $350 per hour for associates, and $150 per hour for a paralegal. (See Declaration of Michael Taitelman ¶¶ 2-4.) These hourly rates are reasonable. Mr. Taitelman also attached invoices for all legal services provided in connection with the action. (Id. at ¶ 15, Ex. 2.) Mr. Taitelman asserts that his firm’s role post trial was aimed at providing assistance to the Plaintiffs’ appellate law firm. (Id. at ¶ 16.)

Attorney Robin Meadow submitted a declaration on behalf of Greines, Martin, Stein & Richland LLP, the firm representing Plaintiffs for the appeal phase. Mr. Meadow contends that his firm is only one of two in the United States that devotes is practice entirely to appellate law, and its accolades. (See Declaration of Robin Meadow ¶¶ 2-3.) This shows Mr. Meadow’s firm specialty and experience in a nuanced area of the law. The firm charged Plaintiffs $850 for senior partners, $450 for associates, and $100 for law clerks. (Id. at ¶ 10.) These hourly rates are reasonable. Mr. Meadow also attests that the firm spent 451.2 hours on Plaintiffs’ case, which he contends was reasonable in light of the size and complexity of the case record and issues raised. (Id. at ¶ 27.)

Based on the above facts in the declarations of Plaintiffs’ counsels, the time records indicate that the hours spent were generally reasonable. As Defendant suggests, however, there are some overlap between the two firms and even among attorneys of the firms themselves. This duplication is sufficient to reduce the attorney fees to a more reasonable amount. As a result, the Court will reduce the attorney’s fess by $25,000. Additionally, the amount billed of $16,870 for the instant motion is not reasonable in this instance. The legal analysis on this section 5975 motion is straight forward and the bulk of the work, it seems, was the labor in calculating the amount of legal work completed. The Court will reduce the amount by $10,000 for a total amount of $6,870.

Nonetheless, the Court disagrees with Defendant’s assessment that the smaller issues Plaintiffs ultimately did not prevail on should be prorated. First, there is no such rule under section 5975, as the statute utilizes a general definition of prevailing party in a case (i.e., whomever achieved their main litigation objectives). Here, there is no dispute by either the Plaintiffs or Defendant that Plaintiffs were the prevailing party in achieving their litigation objectives despite a few minor losses.

Thus, the Court will adjust the award for attorney fees to a more reasonable total of $268,105.00.

Motion is GRANTED.

Case Number: KC066717    Hearing Date: February 24, 2020    Dept: O

Defendant Diamond Bar Country Estates Association’s MOTION TO TAX COSTS ON APPEAL

Defendant Diamond Bar Country Estates Association (“Defendant”) moves to strike and tax costs pursuant to California Rule of Court (“CRC”) Rule 3.1700(b) after Plaintiffs Millennium-Diamond Road Partners, LLC and Hua Qing Enterprises, LLC (collectively “Plaintiffs”) filed a memorandum of costs on appeal.

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(b).)

The losing party may dispute any or all of the items in the prevailing party’s memorandum of costs by a motion to strike or tax costs. (CRC 3.1700(b).) 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.)

Defendant objected to Plaintiffs’ memorandum of cost in that the e-brief that Plaintiffs filed with the Appellate Court was not necessary nor reasonable. Defendant seeks to tax this cost in the full amount of $8,024.30 because the Court of Appeal never requested or used the e-brief. The Court notes that Defendant does not dispute that the cost was actually incurred by Plaintiffs.

The Court finds that the cost of the e-brief is proper and necessary to the conduct of litigation. While the Appellate Court may not have specifically requested the e-brief, the Court of Appeal does invite parties to file e-briefs and offers guidelines to submit such e-filings.[1] Furthermore, CRC Rule 8.278 expressly allows a prevailing party to recover the amount paid for any portion of the record and the cost to print and reproduce any brief. (See CRC Rule 8.278(d)(1), subds. (B) and (E).) Finally, there is no basis for Defendant to claim that the Court of Appeal did not use the e-brief, nor should such a consideration be the determining factor in deciding whether the cost of an item is necessary to the conduct of litigation.

Thus, the motion is DENIED.


[1] http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/DCA-Guide-To-Electronic-Appellate-Documents.pdf