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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 12/15/2020 at 08:10:30 (UTC).

USS CAL BUILDERS INC VS AUTOMATION SYSTEMS NETWORK INC ET AL

Case Summary

On 03/19/2010 USS CAL BUILDERS INC filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against AUTOMATION SYSTEMS NETWORK INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is TERESA SANCHEZ-GORDON. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****4235

  • Filing Date:

    03/19/2010

  • 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 Judge

TERESA SANCHEZ-GORDON

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Cross Defendants

USS CAL BUILDERS INC.

ELAHAGE RAFI

FERNANDEZ SERSIN

HARRIS AND ASSOCIATES INC.

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

AMERICAN CONTRACTORS INDEMNITY COMPANY-

DOES 1 THROUGH 50

AUTOMATION SYSTEMS NETWORK INC.

Respondent, Defendant and Cross Plaintiff

AUTOMATION SYSTEMS NETWORK INC.

Cross Plaintiffs and Cross Defendants

FERNANDEZ SERSIN

HARRIS AND ASSOCIATES INC.

AUTOMATION SYSTEMS NETWORK INC.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

FELDMAN MARK A. ESQ.

Defendant Attorneys

LAW OFFICES OF ALLEN HYMAN

STROJ ROBERT J. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

ASN?S OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

11/23/2011: ASN?S OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

AUTOMATION SYSTEMS INC.?S RESPONSES TO HARRIS AND ASSOCIATES AND SERAFIN FERNANDEZ? SEPARATE STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS

11/23/2011: AUTOMATION SYSTEMS INC.?S RESPONSES TO HARRIS AND ASSOCIATES AND SERAFIN FERNANDEZ? SEPARATE STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS

I)FFIR%I)ANI? AM [RICAN CONTRACTORS INDEMNITY COMPANY?S NOTICE OF MOTION AN!) MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A CROSS-COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AN!) AUTI IORITIKS IN SUPPORT THEREOF; DECLARATION OF ROB

12/13/2011: I)FFIR%I)ANI? AM [RICAN CONTRACTORS INDEMNITY COMPANY?S NOTICE OF MOTION AN!) MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A CROSS-COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AN!) AUTI IORITIKS IN SUPPORT THEREOF; DECLARATION OF ROB

Minute Order -

4/27/2012: Minute Order -

ORDER OF DISMISSAL OF AUTOMATION SYSTEMS NETWORK,INC.'S FIRST AMENDED CROSS-COMPLAINT

6/7/2012: ORDER OF DISMISSAL OF AUTOMATION SYSTEMS NETWORK,INC.'S FIRST AMENDED CROSS-COMPLAINT

SUMMONS ON FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

3/29/2013: SUMMONS ON FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

NOTICE OF RULING

3/29/2013: NOTICE OF RULING

REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT -

8/8/2013: REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT -

REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL -

9/26/2014: REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL -

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/16/2021
  • Hearing03/16/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 74 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Amend Judgment

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  • 11/12/2020
  • DocketMotion to Amend Judgment; Filed by USS Cal Builders, Inc. (Legacy Party)

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  • 03/30/2016
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department 74; Unknown Event Type

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  • 03/30/2016
  • DocketMinute order entered: 2016-03-30 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/08/2014
  • DocketAbstract of Judgment - Civil and Small Claims; Filed by Creditor

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  • 09/29/2014
  • DocketNotice of Entry of Judgment; Filed by USS Cal Builders, Inc. (Legacy Party)

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  • 09/29/2014
  • DocketNOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR ORDER

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  • 09/26/2014
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department 74; (OSC-Failure to File Default Judg; OSC Discharged) -

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  • 09/26/2014
  • DocketJUDGMENT

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  • 09/26/2014
  • DocketMinute order entered: 2014-09-26 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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252 More Docket Entries
  • 05/25/2010
  • DocketREQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

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  • 04/29/2010
  • DocketNotice; Filed by USS Cal Builders, Inc. (Legacy Party)

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  • 04/20/2010
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 04/13/2010
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 04/13/2010
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/08/2010
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 04/08/2010
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 03/29/2010
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 03/19/2010
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR: 1. BREACH OF CONTRACT; ETC.

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  • 03/19/2010
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by null

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC434235    Hearing Date: March 16, 2021    Dept: 74

BC434235 USS CAL BUILDERS INC VS AUTOMATION SYSTEMS NETWORK INC ET AL

Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend Judgment

TENTATIVE RULING: The motion is DENIED.

On March 19, 2010, Plaintiff USS Cal Builders, Inc. filed its complaint against Automation Systems Network, Inc., and American Contractors Indemnity Company. On May 27, 2010, Automation Systems Network filed a cross-complaint against USS Cal Builders, Inc., Rafi Elahage, Harris and Associates, Inc., and Sersin Fernandez. On November 2, 2010, Automation Systems Network filed an amended cross-complaint. On March 2, 2012, the Court dismissed Automation Systems Network’s first amended cross-complaint.

On March 29, 2013, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint. On September 26, 2014, the Court entered default judgment against Automation Systems Network in the amount of $1,415,774.60.

On November 12, 2020, Plaintiff filed a motion to amend the September 26, 2014 judgment to add Ryan Koda, as an alter ego, and Environet, Inc. dba SolarElectric, as a successor corporation, to the judgment. On March 10, 2021, the Court denied the Ex Parte Application for permission to add Non-Parties Ryan Koda and Environet, Inc., to the case so they may file their Opposition to Motion to Amend Judgment. Accordingly, the motion is unopposed.

Standard

“Section 187 of the Code of Civil Procedure grants to every court the power to use all means to carry its jurisdiction into effect, even if those means are not set out in the code. [Citation] Under section 187, the court has the authority to amend a judgment to add additional judgment debtors. . . . This is an equitable procedure based on the theory that the court is not amending the judgment to add a new defendant but is merely inserting the correct name of the real defendant.” (NEC Electronics Inc. v. Hurt (1989) 208 Cal.App.3d 772, 778.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 187 may also be used to add a successor corporation to a judgment. (McClellan v. Northridge Park Townhome Owners Ass'n, Inc. (2001) 89 Cal.App.4th 746, 754 (“a motion pursuant to the procedural mechanism of section 187 enables the court to consider disregarding the corporate entity on any of several theories in order to add an additional judgment debtor.”).)

The ordinary “preponderance of the evidence” standard applies in determining whether to grant a post-trial motion to add an alleged alter ego as a judgment debtor. (Wollersheim v. Church of Scientology (1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 1012, 1014.)

“To prevail on the motion, the judgment creditor must show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that: (1) the parties to be added as judgment debtors had control of the underlying litigation and were virtually represented in that proceeding; (2) there is such a unity of interest and ownership that the separate personalities of the entity and the owners no longer exist; and (3) an inequitable result will follow if the acts are treated as those of the entity alone.” (Highland Springs Conference & Training Center v. City of Banning (2016) 244 Cal.App.4th 267, 280.)

Discussion

Plaintiff contends Ryan Koda should be added to the judgment as an alter ego and Environet, Inc. dba SolarElectric should be added to the judgment as a successor corporation. The sole evidence in support of this claim is the following paragraph from Plaintiff’s counsel’s declaration:

Collection attempts were futile as the principals of the ASN allowed the contractors license to lapse during the litigation and Ryan Koda, RMO of ASN opened a new successor company Environet Inc. dba Solarelectric ("Environet") under a new State Contractors License Number 975787, performing the same or substantially the same construction trades. Attached as Exhibit "B" is a true and correct copy of the CSLB web page showing the ASN license as lapsed and Ryan Koda as an Officer. Attached as Exhibit "C" is a true and correct copy of the CSLB web page showing the successor company with Ryan Koda as an Officer. (Meyers Decl. ¶ 5.)

Alter-Ego

As to Ryan Koda, there is a long list of factors to consider when applying the alter-ego doctrine, including capitalization of the company, adherence to corporate formalities, and commingling of funds, among others. (See Greenspan v. LADT, LLC (2010) 191 Cal.App.4th 486, 513 quoting Zoran Corp. v. Chen (2010) 185 Cal.App.4th 799, 811-812.) Plaintiff does not address the factors in its motion and only notes the CSLB website lists Ryan Koda was the “RMO” for judgment debtor Automation Systems Network, Inc. (Meyers Decl. ¶ 5, Exh. B.) Notably, the document indicates Ryan Koda was not the company’s CEO or President. (Ibid.)

Koda’s participation in the management or ownership of Automation Systems Network, standing alone, is insufficient as a matter of law to establish an alter-ego relationship. (See Leek v. Cooper (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 399, 415 (“An allegation that a person owns all of the corporate stock and makes all of the management decisions is insufficient to cause the court to disregard the corporate entity.”); Meadows v. Emett & Chandler (1950) 99 Cal.App.2d 496, 499 (“Mere ownership of all the stock and control and management of a corporation by one or two individuals is not of itself sufficient to cause the courts to disregard the corporate entity.”).) Accordingly, Plaintiff has not met its burden and the motion is DENIED as to Ryan Koda.

Successor Corporation

As to Environet, Inc. dba SolarElectric, Plaintiff notes the CSLB website indicates Ryan Koda is the RMO, CEO, and President of Environet, Inc. (Meyers Decl. ¶ 5, Exh. C.) “[I]t is not dispositive that some of the same persons may serve as officers or directors of the two corporations.” (CenterPoint Energy, Inc. v. Superior Court (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 1101, 1121; Cleveland v. Johnson (2012) 209 Cal.App.4th 1315, 1334 (“no single factual element, standing alone, would establish or negate successor liability. [Ctiation] The significant principle is that “ ‘if a corporation organizes another corporation with practically the same shareholders and directors, transfers all the assets but does not pay all the first corporation's debts, and continues to carry on the same business, the separate entities may be disregarded and the new corporation held liable for the obligations of the old.” (Cleveland v. Johnson (2012) 209 Cal.App.4th 1315, 1334.)

Plaintiff’s evidence falls far short of that presented in McClellan v. Northridge Park Townhome Owners Ass'n, Inc. (2001) 89 Cal.App.4th 746, the case Plaintiff relies upon. In McClellan, the court found one homeowner’s association was the successor of another when the second homeowner’s association was not created in compliance with the CC&R’s, managed the same property with the same unit owners, had the same board, used the same management company, and derived their income from the same homeowner dues. (Id. at 755-756.)

Here, the two companies have different addresses and different officers. (Meyers Decl. ¶ 5, Exh. C.) Plaintiff has not provided any evidence regarding whether Environet, Inc. holds any of Automation Systems Network, Inc. assets or whether the two businesses perform the same services for the same clients. Plaintiff has not met its burden to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that Environet, Inc. dba SolarElectric is the successor corporation to Automation Systems Network.

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