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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/29/2019 at 18:43:23 (UTC).

SEPULVEDA INVESTMENT SERVICES VS. SUZANNE E. BUTLER

Case Summary

On 12/06/2016 SEPULVEDA INVESTMENT SERVICES filed a Property - Other Real Property lawsuit against SUZANNE E BUTLER. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Torrance Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****1728

  • Filing Date:

    12/06/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Real Property

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Torrance Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

SEPULVEDA INVESTMENT SERVICES LLC

Defendants

DOES 1-20 INCLUSIVE

BUTLER SUZANNE E. AS TRUSTEE OF

HEMINGWAY REALTY

HEMINGWAY STEPHEN DBA HEMINGWAY REALTY

BUTLER BUTLER E.

Cross Defendant

KHAN MAC UMER

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

M. CANDICE BRYNER

Defendant Attorneys

CARLSON MARK CHRISTOPHER

VOSS DAVID CRAIN JR

Cross Defendant Attorney

BRYNER MARY CANDICE

 

Court Documents

Complaint

12/6/2016: Complaint

Notice

4/13/2017: Notice

Notice

4/27/2017: Notice

Case Management Statement

6/12/2017: Case Management Statement

Unknown

6/12/2017: Unknown

Other -

6/28/2017: Other -

Minute Order

8/31/2017: Minute Order

Unknown

9/28/2017: Unknown

Unknown

12/20/2017: Unknown

Unknown

12/29/2017: Unknown

Unknown

12/29/2017: Unknown

Cross-Complaint

1/3/2018: Cross-Complaint

Answer

9/20/2018: Answer

Opposition

3/27/2019: Opposition

Exhibit List

3/29/2019: Exhibit List

Minute Order

4/3/2019: Minute Order

Request for Dismissal

5/10/2019: Request for Dismissal

Notice

5/13/2019: Notice

122 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/28/2019
  • Notice ( of Entry of Judgment or Order); Filed by Mac Umer Khan (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 05/24/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department M; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (for an Order Continuing Trial) - Held

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  • 05/24/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application of Defendant, Suzanne E. Butl...) of 05/24/2019); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/24/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application of Defendant, Suzanne E. Butl...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/23/2019
  • Ex Parte Application ( for an Order Continuing Trial and Reopening Discovery); Filed by Butler E. Butler (Defendant)

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  • 05/23/2019
  • Opposition ( to Ex Parte Application to Continue Trial); Filed by Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/14/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department M; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (For Order Compelling Inspection of Property and Permitting Inspection to Occur) - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 05/14/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application For Order Compelling Inspecti...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/13/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department M; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Held

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  • 05/13/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department M; Hearing on Motion - Other (for Sanctions is advanced to this day on the Court's motion and continued to/) - Held

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159 More Docket Entries
  • 01/24/2017
  • Default Entered; Filed by Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/24/2017
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/24/2017
  • Proof of Service by Mail; Filed by Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/24/2017
  • Affidavit (of Due Diligence)

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  • 12/15/2016
  • OSC-RE Other (Miscellaneous); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/06/2016
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/06/2016
  • Summons; Filed by Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/06/2016
  • Complaint; Filed by Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/06/2016
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/06/2016
  • Notice of Lis Pendens; Filed by Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: YC071728    Hearing Date: January 13, 2021    Dept: B

LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT – SOUTHWEST DISTRICT

Honorable Gary Y. Tanaka Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021

Department B Calendar No. 8

PROCEEDINGS

Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC v. Suzanne E. Butler, et al.

YC071728

  1. Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC’s Motion to Amend or Augment Expert Witness Designation

    TENTATIVE RULING

    Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC’s Motion to Amend or Augment Expert Witness Designation is granted.

    Plaintiff Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC moves, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure §§ 2034.610 and 2034.620, to amend and/or augment its expert witness disclosure. The motion is made on the grounds that: (1) Plaintiff’s previously designated expert witness, Brian Wine, relocated to Washington D.C. and he is not available to testify at the time of trial or to conduct the inspection of the property; (2) Plaintiff’s amended complaint, filed in 2019, alleges new causes of action against new parties, including fraud and interference with contractual relations, which necessitate expert testimony on the issue of damages; (3) Defendants will not suffer any prejudice as a result of Plaintiff’s new expert witness designation and Plaintiff’s expert is immediately available for deposition.

    Code Civ. Proc., § 2034.610 states:

    “(a) On motion of any party who has engaged in a timely exchange of expert witness information, the court may grant leave to do either or both of the following:

    (1) Augment that party's expert witness list and declaration by adding the name and address of any expert witness whom that party has subsequently retained.

    (2) Amend that party's expert witness declaration with respect to the general substance of the testimony that an expert previously designated is expected to give.

    (b) A motion under subdivision (a) shall be made at a sufficient time in advance of the time limit for the completion of discovery under Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 2024.010) to permit the deposition of any expert to whom the motion relates to be taken within that time limit. Under exceptional circumstances, the court may permit the motion to be made at a later time.

    (c) The motion shall be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration under Section 2016.040.”

    Code Civ. Proc., § 2034.620 states:

    “The court shall grant leave to augment or amend an expert witness list or declaration only if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

    (a) The court has taken into account the extent to which the opposing party has relied on the list of expert witnesses.

    (b) The court has determined that any party opposing the motion will not be prejudiced in maintaining that party's action or defense on the merits.

    (c) The court has determined either of the following:

    (1) The moving party would not in the exercise of reasonable diligence have determined to call that expert witness or have decided to offer the different or additional testimony of that expert witness.

    (2) The moving party failed to determine to call that expert witness, or to offer the different or additional testimony of that expert witness as a result of mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect, and the moving party has done both of the following:

    (A) Sought leave to augment or amend promptly after deciding to call the expert witness or to offer the different or additional testimony.

    (B) Promptly thereafter served a copy of the proposed expert witness information concerning the expert or the testimony described in Section 2034.260 on all other parties who have appeared in the action.

    (d) Leave to augment or amend is conditioned on the moving party making the expert available immediately for a deposition under Article 3 (commencing with Section 2034.410), and on any other terms as may be just, including, but not limited to, leave to any party opposing the motion to designate additional expert witnesses or to elicit additional opinions from those previously designated, a continuance of the trial for a reasonable period of time, and the awarding of costs and litigation expenses to any party opposing the motion.”

    Meet and Confer

    Plaintiff set forth a meet and confer declaration in sufficient compliance with CCP § 2034.610 and CCP § 2016.040. (Decl., Candice Bryner, ¶¶ 20-22.)

    Motion to Augment

    Plaintiff adequately establishes that it would not in the exercise of reasonable diligence have determined to call that (former) expert witness and that it failed to designate the proposed newly designated expert due to mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect. Here, Plaintiff’s previously designated expert witness, Brian Wine, relocated to Washington D.C. and he is not available to testify at the time of trial or to conduct the inspection of the property. In addition, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint including new claims and parties which necessitate expert testimony on new issues of damages. In addition, Plaintiff acted promptly in seeking leave to amend and acted promptly in serving the proposed expert witness designation upon the opposing party. (Decl., Bryner, ¶¶ 13-22.) Thus, Plaintiff has adequately satisfied the statutory requirements to amend and/or augment its expert witness designation.

    Defendants have not demonstrated any prejudice from the request. Defendants argue that it expended funds in deposing Mr. Wine. Monetary prejudice is not the type of prejudice which would support a denial of this motion. The opposing party has sufficient ability to respond to the new expert and new testimony. Dickison v. Howen (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 1471, 1479-1480. Defendants also argue that Plaintiff is merely dissatisfied with Mr. Wine and the motion is simply a ruse to replace him with a different expert. However, this argument is made upon mere speculation.

    Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 2034.620(a), the court must also “take into account” the extent to which the opposing party has relied on the expert list furnished by the moving party. While Defendants may have relied, to some extent, upon the prior designation of Mr. Wine, there is no prejudice to Defendants by the amendment. Defendants have sufficient time to conduct the deposition of the newly added expert and to prepare for trial.

    Pursuant to CCP § 2034.620(d), the Court does find that the interest of justice supports allowing the amendment conditioned upon the payment of the witness fee and deposition costs related to the taking of the deposition of Mr. Wine in the total sum of $3,307.00. However, this sum will act as a credit to any sanctions which are owed to moving party by Defendants. Plaintiff contends that nearly $20,000 of sanctions and attorneys’ fees are currently owed to them.

    Therefore, the motion to amend and/or augment expert designation is granted.

    Plaintiff is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Case Number: YC071728    Hearing Date: June 30, 2020    Dept: B

LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT – SOUTHWEST DISTRICT

Honorable Gary Y. Tanaka Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Department B Calendar No. 3

PROCEEDINGS

Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC v. Suzanne E. Butler, et al.

YC071728

1. Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC’s Motion to Compel Defendant with Supplemental Demand for Inspection of Property

TENTATIVE RULING

Plaintiff Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC’s Motion to Compel Defendant with Supplemental Demand for Inspection of Property is granted. Plaintiff’s request for monetary sanctions is denied.

Meet and Confer

Plaintiff set forth a meet and confer declaration in substantial compliance with CCP § 2031.310(b)(2). (Decl., Candice Bryner, ¶¶ 12-25.)

Motion to Compel Inspection of Property

Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.010(d) states: “A party may demand that any other party allow the party making the demand, or someone acting on the demanding party's behalf, to enter on any land or other property that is in the possession, custody, or control of the party on whom the demand is made, and to inspect and to measure, survey, photograph, test, or sample the land or other property, or any designated object or operation on it.” Code of Civil Procedure § 2031.050(b) also states that a party may propound a supplemental demand for inspection once after the initial setting of a trial date.

A party responding to an inspection demand shall respond to each demand with one of the following: a statement the party will comply with the demand, a representation the party lacks the ability to comply with the demand, or an objection. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.210, subd. (a).) A response to an inspection demand may be inadequate because it is evasive or incomplete; contains an incomplete statement of compliance; an inadequate, incomplete, or evasive representation of inability to comply; or meritless or overly general objections to a demand. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.310, subd. (a).)

If a demanding party believes the responding party responded inadequately, the demanding party may move for an order compelling further response. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.310, subd. (a).) “Unless notice of this motion is given within 45 days of the service of the verified response, or any supplemental verified response, or on or before any specific later date to which the demanding party and the responding party have agreed in writing, the demanding party waives any right to compel a further response to the demand.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.310, subd. (c).)

On January 29, 2020, Plaintiff served a supplemental demand for inspection of the subject property. (Decl., Bryner, ¶ 11.) The inspection demand may lead to the discovery of admissible evidence in this action because it may assist in Plaintiff’s expert’s completion of their damages analysis. The inspection may be helpful to ascertain the current condition of the property as well as to assess any potential damages based on waste, diminution of value, and costs of repair. Defendant objected and has not allowed the inspection.

Defendant filed and served an opposition to this motion. However, the opposition did not set forth any substantive grounds to support the refusal to allow inspection. Instead, the opposition simply requested a continuance based on the Covid-19 crisis. However, the Court finds that the circumstances presented in this specific case do not warrant a continuance. There is no showing that proper social distancing measures could not be undertaken during the subject inspection. A continuance would simply act to cause further delay to the inspection.

Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion to compel the inspection of real property located at 2235 Sepulveda Blvd., Torrance, California is granted. Plaintiff may proceed with an inspection of the subject real property at a date and time to be agreed upon by the parties, but the inspection shall proceed no later than 30 days from this date, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. All proper social distancing measures pursuant to the State ordered guidelines are to be followed.

Plaintiff’s request for monetary sanctions is hereby denied. The Court finds that considering the Covid-19 crisis, the reluctance and hesitancy to proceed with the inspection of the property without a Court order may be sufficient circumstances to warrant declining to impose sanctions upon Defendant.

Plaintiff is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

LOS ANGELES SUPERIOR COURT – SOUTHWEST DISTRICT

Honorable Gary Y. Tanaka Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Department B Calendar No. 3

PROCEEDINGS

Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC v. Suzanne E. Butler, et al.

YC071728

2. Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC’s Motion to Compel Further Responses to Request for Production of Documents

TENTATIVE RULING

Plaintiff Sepulveda Investment Services, LLC’s Motion to Compel Further Responses to Request for Production of Documents is granted, in part. Plaintiff and Defendant’s respective request for sanctions are denied.

Meet and Confer

Plaintiff set forth a meet and confer declaration in substantial compliance with CCP § 2031.310(b)(2). (Decl., Candice Bryner, ¶ 14-17.)

Motion to Compel

Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.010(d) states: “A party may demand that any other party allow the party making the demand, or someone acting on the demanding party's behalf, to enter on any land or other property that is in the possession, custody, or control of the party on whom the demand is made, and to inspect and to measure, survey, photograph, test, or sample the land or other property, or any designated object or operation on it.” Code of Civil Procedure § 2031.050(b) also states that a party may propound a supplemental demand for inspection once after the initial setting of a trial date.

A party responding to an inspection demand shall respond to each demand with one of the following: a statement the party will comply with the demand, a representation the party lacks the ability to comply with the demand, or an objection. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.210, subd. (a).) A response to an inspection demand may be inadequate because it is evasive or incomplete; contains an incomplete statement of compliance; an inadequate, incomplete, or evasive representation of inability to comply; or meritless or overly general objections to a demand. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.310, subd. (a).

As to Requests for Production of Documents numbers 19, 20, 23, and 25, Plaintiff’s motion to compel further responses is granted, in part. Requests 19, 20, 23, and 25 are designed to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence regarding a relevant issue in this case: Suzanne Butler’s (who is the trustee of Defendant/Cross-Complainant Suzanne E. Butler Trust) relationship with the purported tenant on the subject real property.

Recently, discovery gleaned information that the real property at the heart of this dispute is allegedly subject to a lease. Thereafter, Plaintiff propounded additional discovery to obtain facts and documents regarding Ms. Butler’s relationship with the tenant CPM. Butler testified at her deposition that Zoltan Katinszky probably owns 100% of CPM. (Plaintiff’s Ex. 6, p. 22:16-19). However, former Defendant Steve Hemingway, who is also a tenant on the property, testified that Butler and Katinszky are 50/50 partners. (Bryner Dec., ¶ 11, Ex. 7, lines 8-14).

Requests 19-20, 23, and 25 seek documents relating to the agreements between Butler and CPM and/or Katinszky relating to the sale of her ownership interest in CPM, as well as documents evidencing the consideration Katinszky provided in exchange for Butler’s interest in CPM. The Court finds that the documents requested by Plaintiff may lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. Namely, the documents may be relevant to uncover the relationship between Butler, Katinszky, and CPM. This relationship is relevant because the tenancy status of CPM has now placed a major hurdle into any sale of the subject property. The Court finds that the documents requested are not overly broad or vague, and are reasonably particularized.

Defendant also objected on the ground of financial privacy. “The state Constitution expressly grants Californians a right of privacy. (Cal. Const., art. I, §1.) Protection of informational privacy is the provision’s central concern.” Williams v. Superior Court (2017) 3 Cal.5th 531, 552. “[W]hen a discovery request seeks information implicating the constitutional right of privacy, to order discovery simply upon a showing that the Code of Civil Procedure Section 2017.010 test for relevance has been met is an abuse of discretion.” Williams v. Superior Court, supra, 3 Cal.5th at 556 (citations omitted). The confidential financial affairs of third persons are entitled to privacy. This may limit but does not necessarily preclude discovery. See, Valley Bank of Nevada v. Superior Court (1975) 15 Cal.3d 652, 658; See also Hecht, Solberg, Robinson, Goldberg & Bagley v. Superior Court (2006) 137 Cal.App.4th 579, 595-96.

In Hill v. National Collegiate Athletic Assn. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1, 35-37, the California Supreme Court “established a framework for evaluating potential invasions of privacy. The party asserting a privacy right must establish a legally protected privacy interest, an objectively reasonable expectation of privacy in the given circumstances, and a threatened intrusion that is serious. . . . . The party seeking information may raise in response whatever legitimate and important countervailing interests disclosure serves, while the party seeking protection may identify feasible alternatives that serve the same interests or protective measures that would diminish the loss of privacy. A court must then balance these competing considerations.” Williams v. Superior Court, supra, 3 Cal.5th at 552 (citations omitted). In Hill, the Court “explained that not ‘every assertion of a privacy interest under article I, section 1 must be overcome by a “compelling interest.” . . . . A ‘“compelling interest”’ is still required to justify ‘an obvious invasion of an interest fundamental to personal autonomy.’” Id. at 556.

Disclosure depends upon balancing the need for discovery against the need for confidentiality. “Courts must instead place the burden on the party asserting a privacy interest to establish its extent and the seriousness of the prospective invasion, and against that showing must weigh the countervailing interests the opposing party identifies, as Hill requires.” Williams v. Superior Court (2017) 3 Cal.5th 531, 557.

In balancing Plaintiff’s asserted need for all the information and documents at issue in the subject document requests related to the relationship between Butler, Katinszky, and CPM, against the need for confidentiality, the Court finds that moving party has established that the need for the information outweighs the privacy interest at issue. In addition, any release of sensitive confidential information can be protected by the parties entering into a protective order to allow for the redaction of any such information.

Thus, Plaintiff’s motion is granted, in part. Defendant is ordered to serve further responses to Requests 19, 20, 23, and 25. However, any such further responses are to be governed by the terms of a protective order which is to be agreed upon by the parties. The terms of the protective order are to set forth that Suzanne E. Butler is entitled to redact information related to specific bank account numbers and other similar sensitive information from the further production. Defendant is ordered to serve further responses governed by a protective order within 30 days of this date.

Plaintiff and Defendant’s respective requests for sanctions are denied.

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