This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 04/05/2019 at 19:09:08 (UTC).

SEALUTIONS LLC ET AL VS CHARLES ROBERT SCHWAB JR ET AL

Case Summary

On 05/28/2014 SEALUTIONS LLC filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against CHARLES ROBERT SCHWAB JR. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are LUIS A. LAVIN and MICHAEL JOHNSON. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6925

  • Filing Date:

    05/28/2014

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

LUIS A. LAVIN

MICHAEL JOHNSON

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Cross Defendants

BEHUNIN NICHOLAS

GRAIN COLLECTIVE LLC THE

SEALUTIONS LLC

THE GRAIN COLLECTIVE LLC

JENSEN RICK

KEARE BRIAN

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

BIG SKY PARTNERS

BIG SKY REAL ESTATE

BIG SKY VENTURES III LLC

LIVE OAK VENTURES LLC

SCHWAB CHARLES ROBERT JR.

SCHWAB MICHAEL B.

BURWOOD MATTHEW

DOES 1-250

MB REALTY INVESTMENTS INC.

SEACHANGE LLC

ALBINSON TIMOTHY

EMERGENT INDONESIA OPPORTUNITY FUND

SOMERSET ADVANTAGE LLC

Not Classified By Court

HONORABLE MICHAEL A. LATIN

10 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

STEINER & LIBO PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION

STEINER & LIBO PC

LITVAK URI

STEINER LEONARD

Defendant Attorneys

ALLEN MATKINS LECK GAMBLE & MALLORY LLP

SCHWARTZ DAVID H.-LAW OFFICES

STEPANIAN MICHAEL-LAW OFFICES OF

ALLEN MATKINS LECK GAMBLE & MALLORY

DAVID H. SCHWARTZ LAW OFFICES OF

MICHAEL STEPANIAN LAW OFFICES OF

MOORE ROBERT R.

Cross Defendant Attorneys

DONOVAN WILLIAM PATRICK JR

DONOVAN JR. WILLIAM A.

 

Court Documents

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

12/20/2018: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Ex Parte Application

1/8/2019: Ex Parte Application

Request for Dismissal

2/13/2019: Request for Dismissal

PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO THE MOTION OF THE MICHAEL SCHWAB DEFENDANTS TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND TO STAY ACTION MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF LEONARD STEINER; EVIDENTIARY OBJECTI

12/26/2014: PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO THE MOTION OF THE MICHAEL SCHWAB DEFENDANTS TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND TO STAY ACTION MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF LEONARD STEINER; EVIDENTIARY OBJECTI

SEPARATE STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO INSPECTION DEMANDS BY DEFENDANT EMERGENT INDONESIA OPPORTUNITY FUND

6/17/2015: SEPARATE STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO INSPECTION DEMANDS BY DEFENDANT EMERGENT INDONESIA OPPORTUNITY FUND

DECLARATION OF MICHAEL STEPANIAN IN OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO DISQUALIFY COUNSEL

8/5/2015: DECLARATION OF MICHAEL STEPANIAN IN OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO DISQUALIFY COUNSEL

DECLARATION OF DAVID H. SCHWARTZ IN SUPPORT OF MICHAEL SCHWAB DEFENDANTS' EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER RE DISCOVERY

9/4/2015: DECLARATION OF DAVID H. SCHWARTZ IN SUPPORT OF MICHAEL SCHWAB DEFENDANTS' EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER RE DISCOVERY

Minute Order

9/14/2015: Minute Order

Proof of Service

10/5/2015: Proof of Service

REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTIBN BY PLAINTIFFS FOR AN ORDER COMPELLING FURTHER WRITTEN RESPONSES TO INSPECTION DEMANDS TO MICHAEL SCHWAB, BIG SKY VENTURES III, LLC AND BIG SKY REAL. ESTATE, LLC, AND TO C

10/9/2015: REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTIBN BY PLAINTIFFS FOR AN ORDER COMPELLING FURTHER WRITTEN RESPONSES TO INSPECTION DEMANDS TO MICHAEL SCHWAB, BIG SKY VENTURES III, LLC AND BIG SKY REAL. ESTATE, LLC, AND TO C

DECLARATION OF ALEXANDER J. DOHERTY IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS CHARLES R. SCHWAB AND LIVE OAK VENTURES LLC'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

2/10/2017: DECLARATION OF ALEXANDER J. DOHERTY IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS CHARLES R. SCHWAB AND LIVE OAK VENTURES LLC'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Proof of Service

2/10/2017: Proof of Service

DEFENDANTS TIMOTHY ALBINSON AND EMERGENT INDONESIA OPPORTUNITY FUND'S MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO SEAL CERTAIN EVIDENCE CONDITIONALLY LODGED BY PLAINTIFFS IN OPPOSITIO

5/17/2017: DEFENDANTS TIMOTHY ALBINSON AND EMERGENT INDONESIA OPPORTUNITY FUND'S MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO SEAL CERTAIN EVIDENCE CONDITIONALLY LODGED BY PLAINTIFFS IN OPPOSITIO

MICHAEL SCHWAB PARTIES' OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO STAY THE TAKING OF THE DEPOSITIONS IN NEW ZEALAND OF NONPARTY WITNESSES REX POLLOCK, ANDREW CAMPBELL, SHAW MEAD, JOSE BORRERO AND JOHN OLDMA

9/12/2017: MICHAEL SCHWAB PARTIES' OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO STAY THE TAKING OF THE DEPOSITIONS IN NEW ZEALAND OF NONPARTY WITNESSES REX POLLOCK, ANDREW CAMPBELL, SHAW MEAD, JOSE BORRERO AND JOHN OLDMA

DEFENDANT AND CROSS- COMPLAINANT MICHAEL SCHWAB, BIG SKY VENTURE CAPITAL III, LLC, BIG SKY REAL ESTATE, LLC AND BIG SKY VENTURE CAPITAL V, LLC'S REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR ORDER PERMITTING TAKING

10/11/2017: DEFENDANT AND CROSS- COMPLAINANT MICHAEL SCHWAB, BIG SKY VENTURE CAPITAL III, LLC, BIG SKY REAL ESTATE, LLC AND BIG SKY VENTURE CAPITAL V, LLC'S REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR ORDER PERMITTING TAKING

DEFENDANTS MICHAEL SCHWAB, BIG SKY VENTURE CAPITAL III, LLC, BIG SKY REAL ESTATE, LLC, BIG SKY VENTURE CAPITAL V, LLC'S EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS TO PLAINTIFFS' EVIDENCE IN OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMA

10/20/2017: DEFENDANTS MICHAEL SCHWAB, BIG SKY VENTURE CAPITAL III, LLC, BIG SKY REAL ESTATE, LLC, BIG SKY VENTURE CAPITAL V, LLC'S EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS TO PLAINTIFFS' EVIDENCE IN OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMA

DEFENDANT BIG SKY VENTURE CAPITAL V'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR DISCOVERY REFEREE'S CLARIFICATION/RECONSIDERATION OF ORDER DATED SEPTEMBER 22, 2017

10/25/2017: DEFENDANT BIG SKY VENTURE CAPITAL V'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR DISCOVERY REFEREE'S CLARIFICATION/RECONSIDERATION OF ORDER DATED SEPTEMBER 22, 2017

PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT BIG SKY VENTURE CAPITAL V, LLC'S MOTION FOR CLARIFICATION AND/OR RECONSIDERATION OF DISCOVERY REFEREE'S RULING AND ORDER OF SEPTEMBER 22, 2017

11/14/2017: PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT BIG SKY VENTURE CAPITAL V, LLC'S MOTION FOR CLARIFICATION AND/OR RECONSIDERATION OF DISCOVERY REFEREE'S RULING AND ORDER OF SEPTEMBER 22, 2017

819 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/18/2019
  • Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service; Filed by Michael B. Schwab (Defendant); Big Sky Ventures III, LLC (Defendant); Big Sky Real Estate (Defendant)

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  • 03/11/2019
  • at 09:30 AM in Department 56; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 02/25/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 56; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 02/15/2019
  • at 11:23 AM in Department 56; Nunc Pro Tunc Order

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  • 02/15/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 56; Order to Show Cause Re: (name extension) (Striking Answer/Entry of Default as to Nick Behunin) - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 02/15/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 56; Status Conference - Held

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  • 02/15/2019
  • Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/15/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Nunc Pro Tunc Order)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/15/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Status Conference; Order to Show Cause Re: Striking Answer/En...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/13/2019
  • Request for Dismissal; Filed by Michael B. Schwab (Cross-Complainant); Big Sky Ventures III, LLC (Cross-Complainant); Big Sky Real Estate (Cross-Complainant)

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1,533 More Docket Entries
  • 06/04/2014
  • ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

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  • 05/28/2014
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 82; Ex-Parte Proceedings (Exparte proceeding; Denied) -

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  • 05/28/2014
  • EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER DISMISSING OR STAYING PENDING JAMS ARBITRATION PROCEEDING OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER STAYING PENDING ARBITRATION PROCEEDING; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES, DECLARATIONS OF LEONARD STE

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  • 05/28/2014
  • Minute Order

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  • 05/28/2014
  • Ex-parte Request for Order; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 05/28/2014
  • Complaint; Filed by Sealutions, LLC (Plaintiff); The Grain Collective, LLC (Plaintiff); Nicholas Behunin (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/28/2014
  • Minute order entered: 2014-05-28 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/28/2014
  • COMPLAINT 1. FRAUD; ETC

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  • 05/28/2014
  • SUMMONS

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  • 08/12/2013
  • Proof of Service

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC546925    Hearing Date: April 17, 2020    Dept: 56

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

SEALUTIONS, LLC, etc., et al.,

Plaintiffs,

vs.

CHARLES ROBERT SCHWAB, JR., etc., et al.,

Defendants.

AND RELATED CROSS ACTION

CASE NO.: BC546925

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE:

MOTION FOR ATTORNEY’S FEES

Date: April 17, 2020

Time: 8:30 a.m.

Dept. 56

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Emergent Indonesia Logistics Fund (“Moving Defendant”)

RESPONDING PARTIES: Plaintiffs Sealutions, LLC (“Sealutions”) and The Grain Collective, LLC

The Court has considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs filed the operative First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) against Defendants alleging causes of action for: (1) fraud; (2) negligent misrepresentation; (3) breach of fiduciary duty; (4) constructive fraud; and (5) breach of contract. Plaintiffs’ FAC arises from alleged wrongful actions in connection with investments in various businesses.

On May 31, 2017, Moving Defendant filed a motion to quash service of summons on the grounds that: (1) service was improper against it; and (2) the Court lacked personal jurisdiction over Moving Defendant. On August 7, 2017, the Court entered an order granting Moving Defendant’s motion to quash service of summons. The Court found that Plaintiffs failed to establish that service was proper or that personal jurisdiction existed with respect to Moving Defendant.

Plaintiffs appealed this Court’s ruling with respect to the motion to quash service of summons on Moving Defendant. On June 25, 2019, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed this Court’s ruling and indicated that this Court did not err in granting the motion to quash.

On October 7, 2019, Moving Defendant filed a motion for attorney’s fees in the amount of $93,798.50 against Sealutions on the grounds that: (1) it prevailed in this action by obtaining an order granting its motion to quash in its entirety; (2) the order with respect to the motion to quash was affirmed on appeal; and (3) as the prevailing party, Moving Defendant is entitled to an award of attorney’s fees and expenses pursuant to the contractual fees provisions in the SeaChange LLC Operating Agreement and Advisory Services Agreement, as authorized by California Civil Code, Section 1717 and related authorities.

In their opposition, Plaintiffs contend that: (1) the Court previously held that this action was one based on contract; (2) the Court has already determined that the hourly rates are reasonable; and (3) the number of hours spent by Moving Defendant on this action are not reasonable. Plaintiffs do not dispute: (1) Moving Defendant was the prevailing party on the contract; (2) that Moving Defendant’s hourly rates are reasonable; or (3) that Moving Defendant is entitled to attorney’s fees. The Court finds that Plaintiffs have conceded to such arguments advanced by Moving Defendant. (Heglin v. F.C.B.A. Market (1945) 70 Cal.App.2d 803, 806.) Plaintiffs’ only argument is that the number of hours expended by Moving Defendant in this action was not reasonable.

In its reply brief, Moving Defendant requests attorney’s fees in the amount requested in its moving papers, which was $93,798.50, plus additional fees incurred in connection with preparing its motion for attorney’s fees, the accompanying reply brief, and attending the hearing on its motion[1]. In sum, Moving Defendant requests total attorney’s fees in the amount of $125,410.50.

EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS

The Court SUSTAINS Moving Defendant’s evidentiary objections numbers 1 and 2 to the declaration of S. Martin Keleti submitted in opposition to Moving Defendant’s motion for attorney’s fees.

DISCUSSION

A party seeking attorney’s fees has the burden of showing that such sought fees are reasonable. (Gorman v. Tassajara Development Corp. (2009) 178 Cal.App.4th 44, 98.) “In determining what constitutes a reasonable compensation for an attorney who has rendered services in connection with a legal proceeding, the court may and should consider the nature of the litigation, its difficulty, the amount involved, the skill required and the skill employed in handling the litigation, the attention given, the success of the attorney’s efforts, his learning, his age, and his experience in the particular type of work demanded.” (Church of Scientology v. Wollersheim (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 628, 659.) “[A]n award of attorney fees may be based on counsel’s declarations, without production of detailed time records.” (Raining Data Corp. v. Barrenechea (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 1363, 1375.) “[T]he verified time statements of . . . attorneys, as officers of the court, are entitled to credence in the absence of a clear indication the records are erroneous.” (Horsford v. Board of Trustees of California State University (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 359, 396.) Where a party is challenging the reasonableness of attorney’s fees as excessive that party must “attack itemized billing with evidence that the fees claimed were not appropriate or obtain the declaration of an attorney with expertise in the procedural and substantive law to demonstrate that the fees claimed were unreasonable.” (Premier Medical Management Systems, Inc. v. California Ins. Guarantee Assn. (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 550, 563-564.) “[I]t is the burden of the challenging party to point to the specific items challenged, with a sufficient argument and citations to the evidence. General arguments that fees claimed are excessive, duplicative, or unrelated do not suffice.” (Id. at 564.) “It is well established that the determination of what constitutes reasonable attorney fees is committed to the discretion of the trial court.” (PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1096.) With respect to awarding attorney’s fees “California courts do not require detailed time records, and trial courts have discretion to award fees based on declarations of counsel describing the work they have done.” (Syers Properties III, Inc. v. Rankin (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 691, 698.) “Because time records are not required under California law . . . , there is no required level of detail that counsel must achieve.” (Id. at 699.) A court awards attorneys’ fees based on the “lodestar” method which is “the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate.” (PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095.) “The burden is on the party seeking attorney fees to prove that the fees it seeks are reasonable.” (Center for Biological Diversity v. County of San Bernardino (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 603, 615.)

Fees for employees other than attorneys assisting an attorney on a litigation matter may be awarded. (Gorman v. Tassajara Development Corp. (2009) 178 Cal.App.4th 44, 93.) “[A]wards of attorneys’ fees for paralegal time have become commonplace, largely without protest.” (Sundance v. Municipal Court (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 268, 274.) A paralegal’s and other litigation support staff’s fees must “be made on the basis of the reasonable market value of the services rendered.” (Id. at 274-275; see also PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1094.)

Betz’s Declaration Filed with the Moving Papers

Counsel for Moving Defendant, Michael J. Betz (“Betz”), declares that: (1) he is a partner at Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP (“Allen Matkins”) who is the counsel of record for Moving Defendant, and Allen Matkins is highly qualified to handle this matter for Moving Defendant and Allen Matkins has a broad-based litigation practice and is recognized state-wide for its experience in handling complex litigation matters (Betz Decl. at ¶¶ 1-2); (2) as more fully detailed in the concurrently filed declaration of his colleague, Alexander J. Doherty, Esq., Allen Matkins has spent a total of 158.1 hours defending this action over the course of the last three years on Moving Defendant’s behalf, which totaled $93,798.50 in fees incurred through June 2019 (Id. at ¶ 3); (3) the vast majority of that time—154 of the 158.1 hours—was incurred by the three principal attorneys who are himself, Alexander Doherty, and Robert Moore as well as one paralegal, Tim Terry, responsible for defending this action (Id. at ¶ 3); (4) Robert Moore billed 30.9 hours and a total of $26,756.50 in fees and he is the partner in charge of this case and is responsible for developing the overall litigation strategy (Id. at ¶ 4); (5) he billed 19.6 hours for a total of $14,062.50 in fees and he is a litigation partner in Allen Matkins’ San Francisco office and is a leader of the firm’s jury trials practice group (Id.); (6) Alexander J. Doherty billed 91.6 hours for a total of $46,614.50 in fees and he is senior partner at Allen Matkins’ San Francisco office (Id.); (7) Timothy Terry is a paralegal who billed 11.6 hours for a total of $3,515.50 in fees and he is a senior litigation paralegal at Allen Matkins’ San Francisco office (Id.); (8) other Allen Matkins’ attorneys worked on very discrete issues and/or “one off” projects such as Charles Jarrell—a partner with 24 years of experience—whom provided assistance regarding initial strategies for responding to the attempted service of summons on Moving Defendant (Id.); (9) the hourly rates charged by Allen Matkins for attorney and paralegal services are well within the range of market rates for a firm of its size and stature (Id. at ¶ 5); and (10) for this case the blended rate per hour for all attorneys who rendered services was $616.27, which he believes is reasonable in light of market rates in the Los Angeles area for the level of experience and qualifications of the attorneys involved. (Id.)

Betz further declares that: (1) the services provided to Moving Defendant in connection with this action included legal and factual research, challenging the validity of services of process through a motion to quash, and appellate briefing with respect to Moving Defendant’s motion to quash (Id. at ¶ 6); (2) the fees incurred by Moving Defendant of $93,798.50 in successfully defending this action are reasonable and were necessarily incurred to prevail in the case (Id. at ¶ 7); and (3) he respectfully requests that Moving Defendant be awarded the sum of $93,798.50 plus attorney’s fees incurred in connection with the present motion which will be submitted with Moving Defendant’s reply papers. (Id.)

Doherty’s Declaration Filed with the Moving Papers

Counsel for Moving Defendant, Alexander J. Doherty (“Doherty”), relevantly declares that: (1) he is an attorney at Allen Matkins and Allen Matkins maintains computerized time records with daily time entries for each timekeeper performing services on a matter (Doherty Decl. at ¶¶ 7-8 and Exhibit 6); (2) each time entry shows the date, time spent, and tasks performed and the daily time entries are then converted into bills each month (Id.); (3) the time records were exported from the timekeeping system at his direction and he then reviewed and edited the entries so as to eliminate any worked performed by Allen Matkins for defendants other than Moving Defendant (Id. at ¶ 8); (4) where appropriate, the summary has been redacted to exclude descriptions that are protected by applicable privileges including the attorney-client communications privilege and work product privilege (Id.); (5) the summary begins in April 2017 and ends on June 28, 2019 (Id.); (6) the hours subsequently incurred by Moving Defendant’s counsel in 2019—which largely consist of the preparation of the motion for attorney’s fees itself—have not been included here (Id.); (7) Moving Defendant’s request for fees will be updated by supplemental declaration accompanying the reply memorandum for the fees incurred in preparing the motion and reply, responding to any objections made by Plaintiffs, and attending the hearing on this matter (Id.); (8) work performed by Allen Matkins for defendants other than Moving Defendant in this action are not included in this fees request (Id. at ¶ 10); and (9) the billing rates and hours expended by the various attorneys and paralegals who performed work for Moving Defendant have been attached to his declaration. (Id. at ¶ 11 and Exhibit 7.)

A review of Exhibit 7 attached to Doherty’s declaration indicates that: (1) Robert Moore’s hourly rate and hours spent on this action includes $795.00 per hour for 1.2 hours of work, $825.00 per hour for 3.7 hours of work, and $875.00 per hour for 26.0 hours of work which equals 30.9 total hours in the amount of $26,756.50; (2) Michael J. Betz’s hourly rate and hours spent on this action includes $675.00 per hour for 6.4 hours of work, $715.00 per hour for 4.5 hours of work, and $750.00 per hour for 8.7 hours of work, which equals 19.6 total hours of work in the amount of $14,062.50; (3) Timothy Terry’s hourly rate and hours spent on this action includes $290.00 per hour for 1.5 hours of work, $305.00 per hour for 10.7 hours of work, which equals 11.6 total hours of work in the amount of $3,515.50; (4) Charles Jarrell spent 4.1 hours of work at the hourly rate of $695.00 per hour for a total amount of work in this action of $2,849.50; (5) Doherty’s hourly rate and hours spent on this action includes $495.00 per hour for 23.6 hours of work, $505.00 per hour for 53.6 hours of work, and $535.00 per hour for 14.7 hours of work, which equals 91.9 total hours of work in the amount of $46,614.50; and (6) in total, the attorneys and paralegal spent 158.1 hours total for a combined amount of $93,798.50.

Exhibit 8 attached to Doherty’s declaration provides a summary of the historical billing rates for the attorneys and the paralegal that worked on this action.

Doherty’s Supplemental Reply Declaration

In his supplemental declaration provided to the Court in connection with Moving Defendant’s reply brief, Doherty declares that: (1) attached as Exhibit 9 to his supplemental declaration is a true and correct summary from Allen Matkins’ computerized timekeeping system of the legal services performed by Allen Matkins’ attorneys and paralegals in preparing the motion for attorney’s fees and related briefing on behalf of Moving Defendant (Doherty Supp. Decl., ¶ 2 and Exhibit 9); (2) as of July 1, 2019 and through June 30, 2020, the hourly rate of each attorney working on Moving Defendant’s motion for attorney’s fees is as follows—Robert Moore’s hourly rate is $925.00 per hour, Michael Betz’s hourly rate is $795.00 per hour, his hourly rate is $580.00 per hour, Stephanie Mariana’s hourly rate is $450.00 per hour, and paralegal Tim Terry’s hourly rate is $325.00 per hour (Id.); (3) the blended rate per hour for all attorneys who rendered services on Moving Defendant’s motion for attorney’s fees was $481.84 (Id. at ¶ 2); (4) the total number of hours spent by attorneys and paralegals on the motion for attorney’s fees and accompanying briefing was 63.2 hours as of March 11, 2020, for a total cost of $29,762.00 in attorney’s fees (Id.); (5) a vast majority of the work performed on the motion for attorney’s fees was delegated to junior attorneys with lower billing rates (Id.); (6) they included an additional 2 hours as an estimate for Robert Moore to prepare for and attend the hearing on this motion, which amounts to $1,850.00 (Id.); (7) the total amount with respect to the motion for attorney’s fees equals $31,612.00 (Id.); (8) including the $93,798.50 previously requested in Moving Defendant’s moving papers for the work completed prior to August 2019, the total amount of attorney’s fees Moving Defendant seeks for defending this action is $125,410.50 (Id.); and (9) Allen Matkins defended this action on Moving Defendant’s behalf in an efficient manner. (Id. at ¶ 3.)

The Court, however, finds that Moving Defendant’s request for additional attorney’s fees in connection with filing the instant motion is not proper. In its reply brief, Moving Defendant requests an additional $31,612.00 relative to its initial fee request of $93,798.50 advanced in its moving papers. Moving Defendant waited until filing its reply brief to even indicate a numerical amount of fees that may be requested in connection with drafting its motion for attorney’s fees. Thus, Plaintiffs had no opportunity to challenge such fees in connection with the instant motion as Moving Defendant’s moving papers did not set forth the attorney’s fees incurred by Moving Defendant in preparing its motion for attorney’s fees. Moving Defendant waited until its reply brief to request significantly more in attorney’s fees.

Also, the notice of motion only requested $93,798.50 in attorney’s fees and not the $125,410.50 in attorney’s fees that Moving Defendant requested in its reply brief. A notice of motion is required to state “the nature of the order being sought and the grounds for issuance of the order.” (Luri v. Greenwald (2003) 107 Cal.App.4th 1119, 1125.) The purpose of the notice requirement is “to cause the moving party to sufficiently define the information and attention of the adverse party and the court.” (Id.) Thus, Plaintiffs were not informed via the notice in connection with the moving papers that Moving Defendant sought $125,410.50 in attorney’s fees and only were informed that Moving Defendant sought $93,798.50 in attorney’s fees. The notice of Moving Defendant’s motion did not: (1) request $125,410.50 in attorney’s fees; or (2) inform Plaintiff that Moving Defendant reserved the right to seek attorney’s fees in connection with preparing its motion for attorney’s fees. Thus, in any event, the Court will not award Moving Defendant attorney’s fees in excess of the $93,798.50 requested in its notice of motion and accompanying moving papers.

Pursuant to the limitations on Moving Defendant’s attorney’s fees pursuant to the above discussion, the Court finds that Moving Defendant’s evidence with respect to the attorneys and paralegals that worked on this matter establishes the sufficiency of those hourly rates and work performed by such parties.

The burden now shifts to Plaintiffs to establish the unreasonableness of Moving Defendant’s claimed attorney’s fees.

Plaintiff’s Evidence with Respect to Unreasonableness

Plaintiffs present no admissible evidence to contradict the reasonableness of Moving Defendant’s claimed attorney’s fees. Plaintiffs failed to object to the declaration of Doherty filed in connection with Moving Defendant’s reply brief even though the billing statement provided by Doherty via his supplemental declaration is “supplemental to evidence submitted in the moving papers” and is allowed. (Jay v. Mahaffey (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 1522, 1537-1538.) Plaintiffs have presented no evidence to the Court with respect to the unreasonableness of Moving Defendant’s requested attorney’s fees and have failed to meet their burden under Premier to establish unreasonableness.

The Court exercises its discretion under PLCM and GRANTS Moving Defendant’s motion for attorney’s fees against Sealutions. The Court awards Moving Defendant reasonable attorney’s fees in the amount of $93,798.50.00, which represents the amount of work done in this action through June 28, 2019 pursuant to the declaration of Betz, as well as the evidence provided with the declaration of Doherty, in connection with Moving Defendant’s moving papers.

Moving Party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.

Dated this 17th day of April 2020

Hon. Holly J. Fujie

Judge of the Superior Court


[1] In connection with a motion for attorney’s fees “when an amount of attorney’s fees is statutorily authorized, the reasonable expenses of preparing the application for fees should be included in the award.” (Bruckman v. Parliament Escrow Corp. (1987) 190 Cal.App.3d 1051, 1067.)