On 12/10/2015 SUSAN BITTAN filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against AQ SKIN SOLUTIONS, INC , . This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Santa Monica Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are LISA HART COLE and BOBBI TILLMON. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Santa Monica Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
LISA HART COLE
AQ SKIN SOLUTIONS INC.
LEAF M.D. NORMAN
RUSHER R.N. RAND (DOE 1)
LEAF & RUSHER
ROES 1 THROUGH 25
WOLLMAN RUSSELL S.
KABATECK BROWN KELLNER LLP
KARNIKIAN SHANT A.
KABATECK BRIAN S.
PACKER ROBERT B. ESQ.
BRADLEY & GMELICH
PACKER ROBERT B.
FRANZEN MARK V.
GMELICH THOMAS P.
KLIMKOWSKI MATTHEW C.
HABER BROOKE WEISS
BOHM WIDISH & MATSEN LLP
MURCHISON & CUMMING LLP
BUXTON MICHELLE L.
CARROLL KELLY TROTTER FRANZEN MCBRIDE ETC
FLAGG DARIN W.
12/10/2015: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: 1. VIOLATION OF CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE ? 3344; ETC
12/21/2015: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS
12/21/2015: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS
2/16/2016: DEFENDANTS, AQ SKIN SOLUTIONS, INC. AND AHMED AL-QAHTANI'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFF'S PRAYER FOR PREJUDGMENT INTEREST; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES
2/16/2016: DEFENDANTS AQ SKIN SOLUTIONS, INC. AND AHMED AL-QAHTANI'S DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT; ETC.
3/28/2016: Minute Order
3/28/2016: ORDER RE: DEFENDANT'S DEMURRER AND MOTION TO STRIKE
4/5/2016: CROSS-COMPLAINT OF DEFENDANTS, AQ SKIN SOLUTIONS, INC. AND AHMED AL-QAHTANI. FOR: 1. COMPARATIVE INDEMNITY AND APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT; 2. TOTAL EQUITABLE INDEMNITY; AND 3. DECLARATORY RELIEF
4/5/2016: SUMMONS CROSS-COMPLAINT
4/5/2016: DEFENDANTS, AQ SKIN SOLUTIONS, INC., AND AHMED AL-QAHTANIS' ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF, SUSAN BITTAN'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR: 1) VIOLATION OF CALLFORNIA CIVIL CODE SECTION 3344; 2) NEGLIGENCE; 3) CMIA
7/26/2016: AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT
9/26/2016: SUMMONS CROSS-COMPLAINT
9/26/2016: ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT
10/4/2016: SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY
10/24/2016: CROSS-DEFENDANTS AQ SKIN SOLUTIONS, INC. AND AHMED ALQAIITANI'S ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT OF CROSS-COMPLAINANT, RAND RUSHER, R.N.
12/2/2016: Minute Order
at 08:30 AM in Department O; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by M.D., NORMAN LEAF (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
at 09:15 AM in Department O; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 09:30 AM in Department O; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 10:30 AM in Department O; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - HeldRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Informal Discovery Conference (IDC))); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Notice of Ruling; Filed by Ahmed Al-Qahtani (Cross-Defendant); Aq Skin Solutions Inc. (Cross-Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department O; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (FOR A STIPULATED TRIAL CONTINUANCE OF DEFENDANTS AQ SKIN SOLUTIONS, INC. AND AHMED AL QAHTANI) - Held - Motion GrantedRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR A STIPULATED TRIAL CONTIN...)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Ex Parte Application (FOR A STIPULATED TRIAL CONTINUANCE OF DEFENDANTS AQ SKIN SOLUTIONS, INC. AND AHMED AL QAHTANI;); Filed by Aq Skin Solutions Inc. (Legacy Party); Ahmed Al-Qahtani (Legacy Party)Read MoreRead Less
Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)Read MoreRead Less
Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Plaintiff/PetitionerRead MoreRead Less
PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by Susan Bittan (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Complaint FiledRead MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: 1. VIOLATION OF CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE 3344; ETCRead MoreRead Less
CIVIL DEPOSITRead MoreRead Less
SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Receipt; Filed by Plaintiff/PetitionerRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC603972 Hearing Date: August 27, 2020 Dept: O
Case Name: Bittan v. AQ Skin Solutions Inc., et al.
Case No.: BC603972
Complaint Filed: 12-10-15
Hearing Date: 8-27-20
Discovery C/O: N/A
Calendar No.: 4
Discover Motion C/O: N/A
Trial Date: N/A
SUBJECT: MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES AND COSTS
MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Susan Bittan
RESP. PARTY: Defendants AQ Skin Solutions, Inc. and Ahmed Al-Qahtani
Plaintiff Susan Bittan’s Motion for Attorney Fees and Costs is GRANTED. Plaintiff is awarded $416,931.50 in attorney’s fees and $15,119.11 in costs.
Plaintiff moves for attorney’s fees in the amount of $431,646.50. It is undisputed that Plaintiff is entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees pursuant to the parties’ settlement agreement. Generally, in challenging attorney fees as excessive because too many hours of work are claimed, it is the burden of the challenging party to point to the specific items challenged, with a sufficient argument and citations to the evidence. Premier Medical Management Systems, Inc. v. California Ins. Guarantee Assn. (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 550, 564.
Defendants argue the requested fees are unreasonable. Specifically, Defendants argue (1) Plaintiff’s counsel’s hourly rates are unreasonable, (2) Plaintiff has failed to provide a breakdown between attorney fees and costs incurred to prosecute claims against Defendants as opposed to co-Defendant Leaf, (3) Plaintiff overstaffed this case, and (4) the timesheets are filled with vague and inflated entries.
The Court finds Plaintiff’s counsel’s hourly rates are reasonable given their experience, skills, and the locality of the services provided. (Kabateck Decl., ¶¶ 14-17; Kabateck Suppl. Decl., ¶¶ 29-32.)
The Court finds apportionment of fees incurred to prosecute claims against Defendants from those to prosecute co-Defendant Leaf is not appropriate. “‘Attorney’s fees need not be apportioned when incurred for representation on an issue common to both a cause of action in which fees are proper and one in which they are not allowed.’” (Dane-Elec Corp., USA v. Bodokh (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 761, 771 (quoting Reynolds Metals Co. v. Alperson (1979) 25 Cal.3d 124, 129-30).) “Thus, ‘[a]pportionment is not required when the claims for relief are so intertwined that it would be impracticable, if not impossible, to separate the attorney’s time into compensable and noncompensable units.’” (Id. at 771-72 (quoting Reynolds Metals Co., supra, 25 Cal.3d at 129-30) (alteration in original).) Here, although not all claims are asserted against Defendants, the Court finds the claims are intertwined regarding the issue of consent to publish the photographs of Plaintiff. The Court finds apportionment would be impracticable.
With respect to the contention that the timesheets are filled with vague and inflated entries, Defendants specifically oppose entries by CN for “conf with SK” on January 11, 2016; “read email from BK/respond” on January 12, 2016; “read emails” on March 21, 2016; and “emails” on April 6, 2016 and entries by SK with respect to the July 11, 2017 deposition of Ahmed Al-Qahtani. While vague, the Court finds CN’s entries are not so vague as to warrant a reduction of the requested fees As for SK’s entries, Plaintiff’s counsel has acknowledged that there was an inadvertent error regarding double billing for the July 11, 2017 deposition such that 9 hours or $5,400 should be removed. (Karnikian Decl., ¶ 4.) The Court thus reduces the requested fees by an additional $5,400.
Accordingly, Plaintiff is awarded $416,931.50 in attorney’s fees.
Plaintiff moves for an award of costs in the amount of $30,468.03.
Defendant objects to Plaintiff’s claim for recovery of expert costs, specifically (1) $3,150 for Athleo Cambre, (2) $4,668.92 for Dr. Anthony Reading, and (3) $7,530 for Dante Puccinelli as Civil Code section 3344 does not allow for recovery of such costs.
In reply, Plaintiff argues that expert costs are allowed pursuant to the parties’ agreement. The parties settlement provided for “payment of all attorney fees and costs in an amount to be determined by the Court pursuant to a fee motion wherein Plaintiff is deemed the prevailing party under Civil Code Section 3344 for purposes of the fee motion.” (Kabateck Decl., ¶ 9) The parties did not specify or define what “costs” would be recoverable under their agreement. Nor did they define the discretion the Court could exercise to determine what costs to award. Based on the terms of the parties’ agreement, and its reference to Plaintiff as the “prevailing party” under Civil Code Section 3344, and the context under which the agreement was made, the Court construes the parties’ agreement to allow Plaintiff to recover those costs that are statutorily awardable to a prevailing party. See e.g. Ripley v. Pappadopoulos (1994), 23 Cal.App.4th 1616 (because Cal.Civ.Proc.Code § 1033.5(b)(1) specifically excludes expert witness fees from the list of recoverable costs, such costs are not recoverable as fees)
Accordingly, Plaintiff is awarded costs in the amount of $15,119.11.
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