On 03/24/2016 NORA MENDOZA filed a Property - Other Eviction lawsuit against KAREN BACA, AN INDIVIDUAL. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Burbank Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is RALPH C. HOFER. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Los Angeles, California
RALPH C. HOFER
MICHAEL D. KWASIGROCH LAW OFFICES OF
MICHAEL D. KWASIGROCH LAW OFFICES OF
R. GRACE RODRIGUEZ THE LAW OFFICES OF
RODRIGUEZ RENAY GRACE
HESS HESS & HERRERA P.C.
HERRERA ALEJANDRO H.
3/24/2016: Civil Case Cover Sheet
3/24/2016: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)
6/7/2016: Substitution of Attorney
6/7/2016: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)
6/7/2016: Minute Order
6/7/2016: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)
6/16/2016: Notice of Related Case
8/25/2016: Minute Order
8/25/2016: Legacy Document
8/10/2017: Legacy Document
8/23/2017: Minute Order
9/5/2017: General Denial
9/21/2017: Minute Order
10/30/2018: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order
1/9/2019: Certificate of Mailing for
4/18/2019: Minute Order
at 09:00 AM in Department D; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 09:00 AM in Department D; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 09:00 AM in Department D; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department D; Status Conference (ReMediation and Discovery) - HeldRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Status Conference Re: Mediation and Discovery)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department D; Order to Show Cause Re: (Mandatory Settlement Conference) - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 09:00 AM in Department D; Status Conference (ReMediation and Discovery) - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 09:00 AM in Department D; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Continued - Court's MotionRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Status Conference Re: Mediation and Discovery)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department D; Status Conference (ReMediation and Discovery) - Not Held - Continued - Court's MotionRead MoreRead Less
Request-Waive Court Fees (REQUEST FOR FEE WAIVER OF Raul Mendoza, ); Filed by Petitioner in Pro PerRead MoreRead Less
Summons FiledRead MoreRead Less
Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Complaint filed-Summons IssuedRead MoreRead Less
Notice (of OSC)Read MoreRead Less
Notice of Case Management ConferenceRead MoreRead Less
Request to Waive Court Fees; Filed by PetitionerRead MoreRead Less
Complaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by nullRead MoreRead Less
Summons; Filed by nullRead MoreRead Less
Notice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil CaseRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: EC065134 Hearing Date: December 04, 2020 Dept: D
Case No: EC 065134 Trial Date: None Set
Case Name: Mendoza, et al. v. Baca, et al.
MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO INTERROGATORIES
Moving Party: Defendant Karen Baca
Responding Party: Plaintiff Nora Mendoza (No Opposition)
Responses to Form Interrogatories, Set No. One
Date Discovery served: June 25, 2018
Date Responses served: NO RESPONSES SERVED
Date Motion served: October 27, 2020 Timely
Under CCP § 2030.290, “If a party to whom interrogatories are directed fails to serve a timely response,” that party “waives any legal right to exercise the option to produce writings...as well as any objection to the interrogatories, including one based on privilege or on the protection for work product...” Under subdivision (b), “The party propounding the interrogatories may move for an order compelling response to the interrogatories.”
In this case, interrogatories have been directed to plaintiff and plaintiff has failed to serve timely responses. The court grants the motion and order plaintiff to serve verified responses, without objection.
With respect to interrogatories, under CCP § 2030.290(c), “The court shall impose a monetary sanction… against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel a response to interrogatories, unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.”
CCP § 2023.010 provides that misuse of the discovery process includes “(d) Failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery.” Where there has been such conduct, under CCP § 2023.030(a), “The court may impose a monetary sanction ordering that one engaging in the misuse of the discovery process, or any attorney advising that conduct, or both pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct....If a monetary sanction is authorized” by the statute, “ the court shall impose that sanction unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that the other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.” CCP § 2023.030(a).
Under CRC Rule 3.1348(a): “The court may award sanctions under the Discovery Act in favor of a party who files a motion to compel discovery, even though no opposition to the motion was filed, or opposition to the motion was withdrawn, or the requested discovery was provided to the moving party after the motion was filed.”
The burden is on the party subject to sanctions to show substantial justification or injustice. Mattco Forge, Inc. v. Arthur Young & Co. (1990, 2nd Dist.) 223 Cal.App.3d 1429, 1436.
In this case, plaintiff has failed to respond to an authorized method of discovery and made the motion necessary. Propounding party has submitted evidence showing that propounding party has incurred expenses as a result of the conduct. Since the motion is unopposed, there is no evidence that the imposition of sanctions would be unjust. Sanctions will be awarded. The sanctions requested are $2,776.65, which appear very high for a motion of this nature. One hour at $450 per hour is sought to prepare a reply, when there is no opposition, so that time will not be necessary and will not be awarded in the amount requested. The court reduces the preparation time to 3 hours and the time for the hearing to one-half hour for a total of 3.5 hours at $450.00 per hour for total sanctions of $1,575.00.
UNOPPOSED Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Answers, Without Objection, to Defendant’s Form Interrogatories, Set No. 1 is GRANTED.
Plaintiff Nora Mendoza is ordered to serve verified responses Form Interrogatories (Set No. One), without objection, within 10 days.
Monetary sanctions requested by moving party: Utilizing a lodestar approach, and in view of the totality of the circumstances, the Court finds that the total and reasonable amount of attorney’s fees and costs incurred for the work performed in connection with the pending motion is $1,575.00 (3.5 hours @ $450/hour) plus $61.65 filing fee and $15 CourtConnect fee [Amount Requested $2,776.65], which sum is to be awarded in favor of defendant Karen Baca, and against plaintiff Nora Mendoza, payable within 30 days. CCP sections 2030.290(c), 2023.010(d), 2023.030(a).
The court notes that since the preparation of the tentative ruling, plaintiff has filed and served an untimely “Objection,” which refers to a “Full Opposition” to be filed in the future. This Objection, filed and served on November 30, 2020, is five court days late, filed only four court days prior to the hearing, after the date upon which any reply to such a response would have been required to be filed and served. The court, in its discretion has not considered this document as it is clearly untimely, with no advance permission obtained based on good cause to file untimely papers, and the filing and service did not afford the moving party a full opportunity to prepare reply papers, to moving party’s prejudice. See CCP Section 1005(b) (“All papers opposing a motion…shall be filed in the court and a copy served on each party at least nine court days…before the hearing.”); CRC Rule 3.1300(d) (“If the court, in its discretion, refused to consider a late filed paper, the minutes or order must so indicate.”)
GIVEN THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS, AND TO PROMOTE APPROPRIATE SOCIAL DISTANCING, UNTIL FURTHER ORDERED, DEPARTMENT D IS ENCOURAGING AUDIO OR VIDEO APPEARANCES
Please make arrangements in advance if you wish to appear via LACourtConnect by visiting www.lacourt.org, and scheduling a remote appearance. Please note that LACourtConnect offers an audio-only appearance option at a current cost of $15.00 and a video appearance option at a cost of $23.00. Counsel and parties (including self-represented litigants) are encouraged not to personally appear, unless they have obtained advance permission of the Court. Anyone who appears in person for the hearing will be required to comply with strict social distancing measures, including, but not limited to, assigned seating, capacity limitations in the courtroom, designated waiting areas, and strictly enforced spacing in line to communicate with court staff. If no appearance is set up through LACourtConnect, or otherwise, then the Court will assume the parties are submitting on the tentative.
Case Number: EC065134 Hearing Date: July 31, 2020 Dept: NCD
Case No: EC 064876 and related case EC 065134 Mendoza v. Baca
Trial Date: July 31, 2020 (to be reset)
Case Name: Leyva v. Baca
JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
[CCP § 438]
Moving Party: Defendants Karen Baca, Ana Moreno, and Co-Op Management
Responding Party: Plaintiffs Micaela Leyva and Rafael Duran
Plaintiffs Nora Mendoza and Raul Mendoza
Entry of Judgment on the Pleadings as to each cause of action of the complaint in this matter and in the related case, Mendoza, et al. v. Baca, et al. LASC Case No. EC 065134
Causes of Action: From Complaint
1) Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability
2) Demand for Rent for Uninhabitable Dwelling
3) Negligent Maintenance of Premises
4) Violation of Unfair Competition Law
5) Breach of the Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
Causes of Action: From (Mendoza) Complaint
1) Wrongful Eviction
2) Retaliatory Eviction
4) Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability
5) Demand for Rent for Uninhabitable Dwelling
6) Negligent Maintenance of Premises
7) Violation of Unfair Competition Law
8) Breach of the Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment
SUMMARY OF FACTS:
Plaintiffs Miceala Leyva and Rafael Duran allege that they have resided in an illegally built structure located at 12223 Wick Street in Sun Valley, Unit B, since April 2012 to the present, pursuant to a written lease agreement with the former landlord. Plaintiffs allege that defendant Karen Baca is the true owner of the subject property and unit, and that defendant Ana Moreno has acted as property manager since September of 2015. Plaintiffs allege that during their tenancies at the unit and defendants’ ownership and operation of it, the unit has been unsafe, unsanitary, unhealthy, uninhabitable and in a serious state of disrepair, including that the unit was constructed and remodeled without required permits, and is substandard due to illegal occupancy.
The complaint alleges that on February 19, 2015, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety issued a Notice of Violation directing defendants to make repairs to the subject property and unit, but defendants did not make the required repairs within the 30 days, or at any time after receiving notice. Plaintiffs allege that at all relevant times, and through January 4, 2015, plaintiffs and defendants have been in a landlord-tenant relationship and that plaintiffs have paid rent to defendants until November 2015.
The complaint filed by Nora Mendoza and Raul Mendoza in the related case alleges that plaintiffs at all relevant times have resided in an illegally built structure located at 12223 Wick Street in Sun Valley, Unit A, since February 2009 to the present, pursuant to a written lease agreement with the former landlord. Plaintiffs allege that defendant Karen Baca is the true owner of the subject property and unit, and that defendant Ana Moreno has acted as property manager since September of 2015. Plaintiffs allege that during their tenancies at the unit and defendants’ ownership and operation of it, the unit has been unsafe, unsanitary, unhealthy, uninhabitable and in a serious state of disrepair, including that the unit was constructed and remodeled without required permits, and is substandard due to illegal occupancy.
The complaint alleges that on February 19, 2015, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety issued a Notice of Violation directing defendants to make repairs to the subject property and unit, but defendants did not make the required repairs within the 30 days, or at any time after receiving notice. Plaintiffs allege that at all relevant times, and through December 17, 2015, plaintiffs and defendants have been in a landlord-tenant relationship and that plaintiffs have paid rent to defendants until November 2015. The Mendozas also allege that they made complaints to the City of Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Unit regarding untenantable conditions of the premises in February through August of 2015, and that defendants in retaliation filed an Unlawful Detainer action against all named and unnamed occupants of the premises, resulting in the plaintiffs being locked out of their home, and in removal from the unit of personal property and items.
This motion was originally heard on July 10, 2020. There had been no timely opposition filed to the motion. The Court’s tentative ruling was to grant motion, as follows:
“The motion here is accordingly GRANTED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND as to the Mendoza case only. Defendant to prepare appropriate request for dismissal for Mendoza case.
However, the Court notes the receipt of UNTIMELY opposition filed by plaintiffs Micaela Leyva and Duran only, filed and served three court days late, only two court days before reply papers would be due. The Court in its discretion has considered the untimely papers only for the purpose of determining whether leave to amend will be permitted, and only with respect to the complaint brought by plaintiffs Micaela Leyva and Rafael Duran in the lease case, EC 064876. The court denies the motion as to the Leyva case and grants leave to amend. The amended complaint needs to allege the proper facts to address the res judicata issue as it related to the stipulated judgment in the unlawful detainer case and compliance or non-compliance by defendants to the government agency code violation notices.
There has been no opposition filed by plaintiffs Nora Mendoza and Raul Mendoza in the related case, EC 065134, and the untimely opposition filed by Leyva and Duran does not rely on any matter from that pleading or request judicial notice of any matter related to that action. Accordingly, the Court will not, based on the opposition in the Leyva case, consider modifying its tentative ruling on Case No. EC 065134. The motion remains unopposed to that pleading, with no leave to amend requested.
The motion was argued in both cases and the haring was continued to this date for opposition, with a briefing schedule set.
The Court has considered the Supplemental pleadings filed in each related case.
The Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as directed to the complaint in this action, Case No. EC 064876:
CCP § 438 establishes the procedures for moving for judgment on the pleadings, and provides, in pertinent part:
“(c)(1) The motion provided for in this section may only be made on one of the following grounds:...
(B) If the moving party is a defendant, that either of the following conditions exist:
(i) The court has no jurisdiction of the subject of the cause of action alleged in the complaint.
(ii) The complaint does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action against that defendant.”
Subdivision (d) provides that “The grounds for the motion provided for in this section shall appear on the face of the challenged pleading or from any matter of which the court is required to take judicial notice.”
First Cause of Action—Breach of Implied Warranty of Habitability, Second Cause of Action-- Demand for Rent for Uninhabitable Dwelling, Third Cause of Action-- Negligent Maintenance of Premises, Fourth Cause of Action-- Violation of Unfair Competition Law, Fifth Cause of Action-- Breach of the Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment, and Sixth Cause of Action—Nuisance
The motion argues that the causes of action, which are based on habitability issues arising from alleged failure by the landlords to correct substandard conditions, as well as retaliatory eviction claims, are barred by the doctines of res judicata or collateral estoppel.
To establish claim preclusion under a theory of collateral estoppel or res judicata, it must be established that the actions arose from the same primary right, that a prior judgment was obtained, and that the matters were actually litigated in the prior action;
“First, the issue sought to be precluded from relitigation must be identical to that decided in the former proceeding. Second, this issue must have been actually litigated in the former proceeding. Third, it must have been necessarily decided in the former proceeding. Fourth, the decision in the former proceeding must be final and on the merits. Finally, the party against whom preclusion is sought must be the same as, or in privity with, the party to the former proceeding.”
Lucido v. Superior Court (1990) 51 Cal.3d 335, 341, citations omitted.
The party asserting collateral estoppel bears the burden of establishing the requirements. Lucido, at 341, citing Vella v. Hudgins (1977) 20 Cal.3d 251, 257.
The moving papers here, to establish that the claims in this action are barred by the outcome of a previous UD action, rely on a purported Judgment in favor of the landlord. [See Request for Judicial Notice, Ex. 11, 2016 UD Judgment]. The opposition argues, and the reply concedes, that the Judgment upon which the moving papers rely, was not the final judgment in that matter, but that the Judgment relied upon was subsequently set aside by the court in the unlawful detainer matter on April 12, 2016, when the court granted an ex parte motion to vacate default judgment, with the matter ultimately being resolved through an order dismissing the case with prejudice on June 24, 2016. [Opposition, Rodriguez Decl., paras. 1, 2; Request for Judicial Notice re Plaintiff’s Opposition, Ex. 1, Case Information; Supplemental Rodriguez Decl., para. 4]. Specifically, the UD court on 04/12/2016 ordered:
“AFTER SUBMISSION, THE COURT RENDERS THE FOLLOWING RULING ON MOTION RE: EX PARTE MOTION TO VACATE DEFAULT JUDGMENT. MOTION GRANTED.”
The matter was then set for trial. [RFJN, Court Information]
The June 24, 2016 minute order states, in pertinent part:
“COUNSEL STIPULATE THAT ALL THE WORK HAS BEEN COMPLETED AND ALL TERMS ARE IN COMPLIANCE… [sic] THE COURT ORDERS CASE DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE… [sic]. “
The Judgment relied upon is accordingly not a final judgment, or a judgment with any effect whatsoever, and if appears that the UD action was not resolved in favor of moving parties. Accordingly, defendants have not on this motion met any burden of establishing that the Complaint in this matter is barred by the doctrines of collateral estoppel or res judicata. The motion for judgment on the pleadings on this ground will be denied.
Seventh Cause of Action—IIED and Eighth Cause of Action—NIED
Again, defendants argue that these causes of action are barred due to the UD Judgment, which argument the Court rejects, as set forth above.
Defendants also argue that these causes of action are barred for failure of the pleading to sufficiently allege severe emotional distress.
To state a cause of action for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, plaintiff must plead the following essential elements: Extreme and outrageous conduct with the intention of causing, or reckless disregard of the probability of causing, emotional distress; plaintiff suffered severe or extreme emotional distress; defendant’s outrageous conduct actually and proximately caused emotional distress; the conduct was directed to plaintiff. Christensen v. Superior Court (1991) 54 Cal.3d 868, 903; KOVR-TV, Inc. v. Superior Court (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 1023, 1028.
Negligent infliction of emotional distress requires negligence and severe emotional disturbance. Marlene F. v. Psychiatric Medical Clinic, Inc. (1989) 48 Cal.3d 583, 588.
To sufficiently state severe emotional distress, plaintiff must set forth facts indicating the nature and extent of any alleged mental suffering. Bogard v. Employers Casualty Co. (1985, 2nd Dist.) 164 Cal.App.3d 602, 617.
The motion argues that claims of being tense, nervous and emotionally hurt are insufficient, in reliance of a federal district court case.
In any case, the pleading here alleges that plaintiffs were subject to conduct by their landlords in harassing and threatening to evict plaintiffs without cause, retaliating agains them and ignoring orders to address serious habitability problems, and that as a result of that conduct, each plaintiff has suffered or continues to suffer “severe mental and emotional distress, anxiety, annoyance, discomfort…, as well as “feelings of frustration, anger, helplessness, disgust, apprehension, and fear.” [Comp., paras. 65, 69]. The complaint alleges sufficient facts to support allegations that plaintiffs suffered the appropriate level of emotional distress. The motion will also be denied on this ground.
The motion for judgment on the pleadings as to the complaint in this action is accordingly DENIED.
The Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as directed to the complaint in the related action, Case No. EC 065134:
The Court notes that the notice of motion and motion was filed only in this action, and not in the related case, with two memoranda of points and authorities filed, again, only in this matter, not in the related case. The Court also notes that moving parties did not make a separate reservation for the hearing of a motion in Case No. EC 065134, improperly moving ahead of other litigants with respect to court reservation system hearing dates, and also did not pay a separate filing fee, to which the Court is entitled when hearing this entirely separate motion.
The Court will accordingly DENY the motion on this ground, or consider it only on condition that moving defendants pay the $60 filing fee prior to the hearing on the motion
If the Court were to consider the Motion on its merits:
Defendants argue that each of the eleven causes of action in the complaint brought by the Mendoza plaintiffs is barred by the doctrine of res judicata and collateral estoppel. Defendants argue that an Unlawful Detainer Stipulation and Judgment was entered in an Unlawful Detainer matter on October 28, 2015, pertaining to the tenancy at 12223 Wicks Street, Sun Valley, in which the causes of action now sought to be pursued were or could have been litigated. . [RFJN, Ex. 4].
As argued in the supplemental opposition, filed on July 22, 2020, which asserts arguments for the first time on behalf of the Mendoza plaintiffs, and actually conceded in the moving papers, the complaint in this matter alleges in some detail that plaintiffs were not included in the eviction against Javier Gonzalez and Orfil Gonzalez, and had no notice of the eviction proceedings against those parties in connection with the subject property. [Complaint, paras. 19-22]. This suggests that defendants cannot meet their burden of establishing that the judgment in the previous matter was one against plaintiffs or parties in which they were in privity who represented plaintiffs’ interests in the previous action.
The supplemental opposition further argues that the Mendoza complaint could be further amended to more specifically show that when the judgment and lock-out was entered, the living quarters occupied by the Mendoza family were not part of the unit described and covered by that judgment. Plaintiffs indicate that they can further allege they were never parties to the lawsuit, which involved the main house, from which the Mendoza apartment was separate, and that the Mendozas sought to be heard in the UD action after the lock-out but the UD court had lost jurisdiction. Plaintiffs offer to explain that defendant Baca had broken into the Mendoza apartment by having her workers cut a doorway into that space from the main house during the lock out of that space, disposing of plaintiffs’ possessions which were not subject to the UD order, and that the complaint is based on legal and equitable claims not covered by the UD action which limited to the main house. [See Supplemental Rodriguez Decl., paras. 7, 20] Overall, the Court is satisfied from the current allegations of the pleading that plaintiffs have alleged sufficient facts to overcome the collateral estoppel and res judicata arguments as framed, and no further amendment will be required at this time.
The motion as to the complaint in the related action is accordingly DENIED.
UNOPPOSED Requests for Judicial Notice are GRANTED.
GIVEN THE RECENT CORONAVIRUS CRISIS, UNTIL FURTHER ORDERED, DEPARTMENT D WILL ALLOW APPEARANCES ONLY BY COURTCALL.
Please make such arrangements in advance if you wish to appear via CourtCall at (888) 882-6878 (or www.courtcall.com). Counsel and parties (including self-represented litigants) are not to personally appear, absent a compelling emergency reason. If none of the litigants on a matter set up a CourtCall appearance, then the Court will assume the parties are submitting on the tentative.
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