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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/17/2018 at 14:57:02 (UTC).

SAN VICENTE INVESTMENT, LP VS TRAMMELL CROW SANTA MONICA

Case Summary

On 02/11/2013 SAN VICENTE INVESTMENT, LP filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against TRAMMELL CROW SANTA MONICA. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF, LAWRENCE CHO, RICHARD A. STONE and CRAIG D. KARLAN. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.

Case Details Parties Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****0042

  • Filing Date:

    02/11/2013

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF

LAWRENCE CHO

RICHARD A. STONE

CRAIG D. KARLAN

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

SAN VICENTE INVESTMENT LP

Defendants

301 OCEAN DEVELOPMENT LLC

TRAMMEL CROW SANTA MONICA DEVELOPMENT LLC

TRAMMELL CROW COMPANY

TRAMMELL CROW ACQUISITIONS I-II INC.

LAKS HOWARD

Not Classified By Court

MARQUIS PROPERTY COMPANY LTD.

HILL CLARK

TEST PARTY FOR TRUST CONVERSION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

VIVOLI MICHAEL W.

Defendant Attorneys

GLASER PATRICIA L. ESQ.

GLASER WEIL FINK HOWARD AVCHEN & SHAPIRO

Court Documents

Court documents are not available for this case.

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/12/2018
  • Ntc to Reptr/Mon to Prep Transcrpt; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/12/2018
  • Ntc to Reptr/Mon to Prep Transcrpt; Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/07/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department M; Unknown Event Type - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 08/07/2018
  • at 08:30 am in Department WEM, Mitchell L. Beckloff, Presiding; Motion (TO AMEND COURT ORDER FORPRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS;CANCELED BY M/P) - Advanced to this date & Vacated

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  • 08/01/2018
  • Ntc to Atty re Notice of Appeal; Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/01/2018
  • Ntc to Attorney re Notice of Appeal; Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/17/2018
  • Notice of Appeal; Filed by San Vicente Investment, LP (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/17/2018
  • Notice of Appeal (NOTICE OF APPEAL FILED AND BEING FORWARDED TO THE APPEALS DEPT.AT STANLEY MOSK COURT. 111 NORTH HILL STREET LA, CA 90012 (copy only)); Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 07/11/2018
  • Order (AS TO EX PARTE APPLICATION ); Filed by Attorney for Defendant

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  • 07/11/2018
  • Order; Filed by Trammel Crow Santa Monica Development,LLC (Defendant); 301 Ocean Development, LLC (Defendant); Trammell Crow Company (Defendant) et al.

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765 More Docket Entries
  • 04/16/2013
  • Declaration; Filed by Trammel Crow Santa Monica Development,LLC (Defendant); 301 Ocean Development, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 04/16/2013
  • Notice of Motion (AND DEMURRER TO THE COMPLAINT; MEMO OF POINTS & AUTHO IN SUPPORT. ); Filed by Attorney for Defendant

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  • 03/29/2013
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Plaintiff

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  • 03/29/2013
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Plaintiff

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  • 03/29/2013
  • Proof of Service (proof of service of summons; complaint; adr pkg... as to deft trammell crow santa monica development llc. by serving garland a. kelley, agent, by mail & ack of receipt); Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 03/29/2013
  • Proof of Service (proof of service of summons; complaint; adr pkg... as to deft 301 ocean development llc by serving garland a. kelley, agent, by mail & ack of receipt. ); Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 02/11/2013
  • Complaint; Filed by San Vicente Investment, LP (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/11/2013
  • Complaint Filed

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  • 08/12/2011
  • Motion to Compel; Filed by Trammel Crow Santa Monica Development,LLC (Defendant); 301 Ocean Development, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 08/12/2011
  • Motion to Compel (COMPLIANCE WITH DEPOSITION SUBPOENAS ); Filed by Attorney for Defendant

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: SC120042    Hearing Date: March 25, 2021    Dept: M

CASE NAME: San Vicente Investment, LP v. Trammell Crow Santa Monica

CASE NUMBER: SC120042

MOTION: Motion for Attorney’s Fees (unopposed)

HEARING DATE: 03/25/2021

Background

Defendants Trammell Crow Santa Monica Development, LLC, 301 Ocean Development, LLC, Trammell Crow Company, and Trammell Crow Acquisitions I-II, Inc. (“Defendants”) move for an order granting its attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in connection with the main appeal of this matter, in the amount of $493,710.63, plus fees and costs in connection with this motion.

Legal Standard

“In any action on a contract, where the contract specifically provides that attorney’s fees and costs, which are incurred to enforce that contract, shall be awarded either to one of the parties or to the prevailing party, then the party who is determined to be the party prevailing on the contract, whether he or she is the party specified in the contract or not, shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees in addition to other costs.” (Civ. Code, §1717(a).) “The court, upon notice and motion by a party, shall determine who is the party prevailing on the contract for purposes of this section, whether or not the suit proceeds to final judgment. Except as provided in paragraph (2), the party prevailing on the contract shall be the party who recovered a greater relief in the action on the contract. The court may also determine that there is no party prevailing on the contract for purposes of this section.” (Civ. Code, § 1717(b)(1).)

Analysis

Defendants argues that they entitled to reasonable attorney fees under Civil Code section 1717 on the grounds that the parties’ agreement contained an attorney fees provision for the prevailing party, including on appeal. Defendants argue that they prevailed at trial and on the appeal, and that there is a final judgment on the matter.

After granting a request for a rehearing, on May 28, 2020, the Court of Appeal affirmed the Court’s judgment in favor of Defendants following the trial in this case in 2018. On June 8, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Second Petition for Rehearing. The Court of Appeal panel denied that Petition the next day—June 9, 2020. (See Al-Sarraf Decl. ¶ 12 , Ex. F [denial of Second Petition for Rehearing].) Next, Plaintiff filed a Petition for Review with the California Supreme Court. (See Id. ¶ 13.) On August 12, 2020, the Supreme Court denied Plaintiff’s Petition for Review. (See Al-Sarraf Decl. ¶ 13, Ex. G [Appellate Courts Case Information noting “Petition for review denied”].).

Defendants also present the attorney’s fees provision of their agreement, which provides:

Should any party be required to bring legal action to enforce its rights under this Agreement, the prevailing party in such action shall be entitled to recover from the losing party its reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs in addition to any other relief to which it is entitled. Such recovery of attorneys’ fees shall include . . . any attorneys’ fees incurred on appeal. The parties further agree that any attorneys’ fees incurred in enforcing any judgment are recoverable as a separate item, and that this provision is intended to be severable from the other provisions of this Agreement, shall survive the judgment, and is not to be deemed merged into the judgment. Costs shall include, without limitation, expert witness fees and costs, travel time and associated costs, copy costs, deposition costs, costs on appeal, fees and costs associated with execution upon any judgment or order, and transcript costs. “Reasonable attorneys’ fees” includes the fees of partners, associates, paralegals and law clerks, as applicable.¶

(Al-Sarraf Decl., Ex. A p. 50, ¶ 15.19 [Amended and Restated Limited Liability Company Agreement of 301 Ocean Development, LLC].) Here, Defendants have obtained final judgment and are the prevailing parties.

The agreement also contains a choice of law provision. The Agreement provided that it was to “be construed in accordance with and governed by the laws of the State of Delaware without regard to the principles of conflicts of law.” (Al-Sarraf Decl., Ex. A p. 50, ¶ 15.14.). “Having determined the [moving party is] entitle[d] to attorneys' fees, the Court next must determine what is a reasonably appropriate amount. An award of attorneys' fees is limited to the fees reasonably incurred to prosecute this action. [Footnote omitted.]” (Arbitrium (Cayman Islands) Handels AG v. Johnston (Del. Ch. 1997) 705 A.2d 225, 237, aff'd (Del. 1998) 720 A.2d 542.) Under Delaware law, when weighing reasonableness, the Court considers the eight “factors set forth in the Delaware Lawyers' Rules of Professional Conduct” which, include:

(1) the time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal service properly;

(2) the likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the lawyer;

(3) the fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal services;

(4) the amount involved and the results obtained;

(5) the time limitations imposed by the client or by the circumstances;

(6) the nature and length of the professional relationship with the client;

(7) the experience, reputation, and ability of the lawyer or lawyers performing the services; and

(8) whether the fee is fixed or contingent. [Footnote omitted.]

(Mahani v. Edix Media Group, Inc. (Del. 2007) 935 A.2d 242, 245–246.). These factors are similar to the lodestar factors under California law. (See Aetna Life & Cas. Co. v. City of Los Angeles (1985) 170 Cal.App.3d 865.)

Under Delaware law, “determining the reasonableness of amounts sought ‘does not require that this Court examine individually each time entry and disbursement.’ [Citation omitted.]” (Danenberg v. Fitracks, Inc. In addition, “[t]he party seeking fees carries its burden to justify a challenged litigation decision by showing that ‘the services that were rendered [were] thought prudent and appropriate in the good faith professional judgment of competent counsel.’” (Id. [quoting Delphi Easter P'rs Ltd. P'ship v. Spectacular P'rs, Inc., 1993 WL 328079, at *9 (Del.Ch. Aug. 6, 1993)].)

In this matter, Defendants provide evidence in the form of the declaration of Amin Al-Saraf. Defendants present evidence that the lawyers representing Defendants in connection with the Main Appeal are able and experienced attorneys from a reputable firm. (Al-Sarraf Decl., ¶¶ 15-20.) Amin Al-Sarraf is a Partner in the litigation department at Glaser Weil, has been a partner during the entire duration of this appeal, has been with the firm since 2009, and specializes in business litigation at the state and federal levels. (See Al-Sarraf Decl., ¶ 16.) Elizabeth G. Chilton is Of Counsel in Glaser Weil’s business litigation group and specializes in appeals and has handled appeals and writ proceedings in the California courts of appeal, the California Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit, and other federal appellate courts. (See Al-Sarraf Decl., ¶ 17.) Garland A. Kelley is also a Partner in the litigation department at Glaser Weil, admitted to the New York State Bar in 2000, the California State Bar in 2003, and primarily practices complex commercial litigation and securities litigation. (See Al-Sarraf Decl., ¶ 18.) Patricia L. Glaser also worked on this matter and is the Chair of the Litigation Department; she has also been consistently ranked as one of California’s top business trial attorneys. (See Al-Sarraf Decl., ¶ 19.) Finally, Azin Valafar was the only associate on this case. (Al-Sarraf Decl., ¶ 20.)

Defendants provide the hourly rates for 2018 – 2020. At the low end, the 2018 partner rate was $540 and at the high end, the 2018 partner rate was $1,100; for 2019 the rates ranged from $575 to $1,200; and, finally, in 2020 the rate ranged from $725 to $1,275. (Al-Sarraf Decl ¶ 21.) The associate hourly rate was $475. (Ibid.). The hourly rates charged are within the market range for similar firms practicing commercial litigation in the Los Angeles area. (See Al-Sarraf Decl., ¶¶ 27-29, Ex. J.) Over the course of a year and a half, Defendants incurred a total of 492.25 attorney hours, between five attorneys, for a total of $365,708.75. (See Al-Sarraf Decl., ¶ 33, 8:13-27.) In addition, Defendants included paralegal time in the 12.75 hours for a total of $1,912.50

Defendants also provide evidence that they incurred $90,450.00 in attorney’s fees (total of 103 hours for January 2020 – June 2020) related to Defendants’ counsels’ review of Plaintiff’s reply brief, preparation for the remote hearing, review of Plaintiff’s first petition for rehearing, further preparation for the rehearing, review of Plaintiff’s second petition for a rehearing, and review of the Court of Appeal’s subsequent opinion on the second rehearing. (See Al-Sarraf Decl., ¶ 33, 9:8-26.) Defendants present evidence that they incurred $23,981.25 (28 hours and three timekeepers) in connection with Plaintiff’s petition to the California Supreme Court for review. (See Al-Sarraf Decl., ¶ 33, 10:1-15.) Finally, Defendants present evidence that they incurred approximately $19,575.00 in attorneys’ fees for the preparation of the Motion, as of October 2, 2020. (Al-Sarraf Decl., ¶ 35.) Moreover, Al-Sarraf states that Defendants have paid, or are in the process of paying these costs, indicating that this was not a contingency case. (See Al-Sarraf Decl., ¶ 33.). The appeal involved de novo review of the underlying litigation. Plaintiff argued that the Court improperly granted summary adjudication on various claims and also argued that that the Court erred in granting the nonsuit. (See Generally Al-Sarraf Decl., Ex. C.) In addition, Plaintiff had expressed a desire to appeal the entire case, (see Ex. B at p. 14), exhausted all appeals, and Defendants ultimately prevailed on all issues. (See Al-Sarraf Decl. ¶¶ 4 – 16; see also Ex. H.) Based on the above evidence presented to the Court, the Court finds that the requested fees are reasonable. Therefore, Defendants’ motion for attorney’s fees is GRANTED.

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