On 02/26/2002 LYDIA HARRIS filed a Contract - Business lawsuit against KEVIN GILLIAM. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are DAVID A. WORKMAN, YVETTE M. PALAZUELOS, HAROLD I. CHERNESS, RONALD M. SOHIGIAN, RICHARD C. HUBBELL, MURRAY GROSS, JAMES C. CHALFANT, CAROLYN B. KUHL, EDWARD B. MORETON, JR. and REX H. MINTER. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
DAVID A. WORKMAN
YVETTE M. PALAZUELOS
HAROLD I. CHERNESS
RONALD M. SOHIGIAN
RICHARD C. HUBBELL
JAMES C. CHALFANT
CAROLYN B. KUHL
EDWARD B. MORETON, JR.
REX H. MINTER
LIFESTYLE RECORDS INC.
NEW IMAGE MEDIA CORP.
ARISTA RECORDS INC
ARISTA RECORDS INC.
BACK ROOM ENTERTAINMENT INC.
BAD BOY ENTERTAINMENT
BC POWDA PRODUCTIONS INC.
BEYOND MUSIC LLC
BEABER REX JULIAN LAW OFFICES OF
CASSELMAN DAVID B. ESQ.
LAW OFFICES OF PATRICK K. MCCLELLAN
GUTMAN ALAN S. ESQ.
THELEN REID & PRIEST LLP
DAVIS JOSEPH A. ESQ.
NAGELBERG LARRY ESQ.
MALLEN BARRY E. ESQ.
STRICK LAURENCE D. ESQ.
ANDERSON PETER J. LAW OFFICES OF
GIVENS DERMOT D. ESQ.
MEGAN M. LA BELLE
MUNGER TOLLES & OLSON LAW O/O
HARITON JOE ESQ.
DAVIES JOHN W.
ERICKSON NEIL C. ESQ.
BAKER ROBERT PECCO ESQ.
PROSKAUER ROSE LLP
CHISVIN CRAIG L. ESQ.
GOLDBERG STEVEN M. ESQ.
4/21/2020: Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and / or Default Judgment
4/28/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW)
9/9/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO SET ASIDE/VACATE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUD...)
9/9/2020: Motion for Sanctions
10/5/2020: Supplemental Declaration - ADDENDUM TO MOTION TO VOID DEFAULT JUDGMENT
10/6/2020: Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default
10/20/2020: Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment
11/24/2020: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)
12/4/2020: Appeal - Ntc Designating Record of Appeal APP-003/010/103 - APPEAL - NTC DESIGNATING RECORD OF APPEAL APP-003/010/103 "U"
5/15/2018: ORDER ON COURT FEE WAIVER -
6/14/2019: Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and / or Default Judgment
9/20/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO SET ASIDE/VACATE JUDGMENT (CCP 473))
12/12/2019: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore
DocketAppellate Order Dismissing Appeal (noa: 10/28/20-U B308872); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) ("U"); Filed by Lydia Harris (Appellant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketAppeal - Ntc Designating Record of Appeal APP-003/010/103 ("U"); Filed by Lydia Harris (Appellant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Lydia Harris (Petitioner)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 40; Hearing on Motion - Other (void judgment) - Held - Motion DeniedRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 40; Hearing on Motion for Sanctions - Held - Motion GrantedRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion - Other void judgment; Hearing on Motion fo...)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketAppeal - Notice of Default Issued ("U"); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Filing of Notice of Appeal (Unlimited Civil) (N.O.A. 10/28/2020 "U"); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Status Conference filedRead MoreRead Less
DocketObjection Document; Filed by Attorney for Pltf/PetnrRead MoreRead Less
DocketReply/Response; Filed by Attorney for Deft/RespntRead MoreRead Less
DocketOpposition Document; Filed by Attorney for Pltf/PetnrRead MoreRead Less
DocketDemurrer (NOTICE OF LODGING ); Filed by Attorney for Deft/RespntRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice (NOTICE OF AUTOMATIC STAY ); Filed by Attorney for Pltf/PetnrRead MoreRead Less
DocketComplaintRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Lydia Harris (Petitioner)Read MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Lydia Harris (Petitioner)Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC268857 Hearing Date: November 30, 2020 Dept: 40
MOVING PARTY: Nonparty Wasserman, Comden, & Casselman, LLP
OPPOSITION: Plaintiff Lydia Harris
Plaintiff Lydia Harris (“Harris”) and her counsel Dermot Givens (“Givens”) have filed three motions attempting to set aside or vacate a $107 million judgment issued in Harris’ favor and against Marion Knight and Death Row Records.
In September 2019, the Court mistakenly granted Harris’ First Motion to Set Aside Default. In December 2019, the Court granted nonparty Wasserman, Comden & Casselman, LLC’s (“WCC”) Motion for Reconsideration. In March 2020, the Court denied Harris’ Motion for Reconsideration of its December 2019 ruling. On September 9, 2020, the Court denied Harris’ Second Motion to Set Aside Default. On October 5, 2020, the Court granted WCC’s Motion for Sanctions in the sum of $4,193.00.
Harris has filed a Third Motion to Set Aside Default. WCC has also filed a Second Motion for Sanctions requesting $10,000 and $2,554 in attorneys’ fees.
Analysis: Counsel Givens attempts to set aside the pre-bankruptcy petition interest in the Judgment arguing that its award to Harris was void because it was part of the bankruptcy estate. Counsel Givens is well aware that the Court previously found that the bankruptcy trustee was aware of Harris’ pre-bankruptcy petition interest in the Judgment and ratified it after the fact. (December 12, 2019 Minute Order; citing WCC’s Reply Ex. C., pp. 6-7.)
Accordingly, the Motion to Set Aside Default is DENIED.
Sanctions: WCC requests $10,000 in sanctions and $2,554 in attorneys’ fees. “[T]he court may order a person, after written notice and an opportunity to be heard, to pay reasonable monetary sanctions to the court or an aggrieved person, or both, for failure without good cause to comply with the applicable rules. For the purposes of this rule, ‘person’ means a party, a party's attorney, a witness…. (California Rule of Court rule 2.30(b).) “In addition to the sanctions awardable under (b), the court may order the person who has violated an applicable rule to pay to the party aggrieved by the violation that party's reasonable expenses, including reasonable attorney's fees and costs, incurred in connection with the motion for sanctions or the order to show cause.” (Cal. Rule of Court rule 2.30(d).)
WCC argues that Givens has violated Cal. Rule of Court rule 1.21, which states that “whenever a document is required to be served on a party, the service must be made on the party’s attorney if the party is represented.” WCC states that Givens is lying about serving his pleadings on them. WCC states that on numerous occasions Givens has filed a proof of service indicating that he mailed his pleadings to WCC, but they have not received a single document in the mail. (Decl. Ezzell, ¶ 4.) WCC states that Givens failed to serve the instant motion at all and that they only became aware of the instant motion by checking the court’s online system. (Ibid.)
The Court finds Counsel Ezzell’s declaration credible. It is inconceivable that all of Given’s pleadings would not arrive at WCC’s address. It is troubling that the instant motion was not sent to WCC either via mail or email as indicated by the proof of service. At minimum, Givens has been careless with serving WCC and therefore the imposition of sanctions is warranted. The Court awards WCC sanctions in the sum of $5,000 and reasonable attorneys’ fees in the sum of $2,554.
Conclusion: Harris’ Motion to Set Aside Default is DENIED.WCC’s motion for sanctions is GRANTED against counsel Dermot Givens in the Sum of $7,254, payable within 30 days.
Case Number: BC268857 Hearing Date: October 05, 2020 Dept: 40
MOVING PARTY: Defendant Wasserman, Comden, & Casselman, LLP
OPPOSITION: Plaintiff Lydia Harris
Plaintiff Lydia Harris, through her current counsel Dermot Givens have filed several motions attempting to set aside or vacate a $107 million judgment issued in Harris’ favor and against Marion Knight and Death Row Records.
In September 2019, the Court erroneously granted Harris’ motion to set aside the default, then in March 2020, the Court denied Harris’ motion for reconsideration of its December 2019 ruling, which had corrected the September ruling.
On September 9, 2020, the Court again denied Givens’ motion to set aside. On the same day, Defendant Wasserman, Comden & Casselman, LLC (“WCC”) filed this motion requesting that Givens be ordered to pay a monetary sanction of $6,593.00.
Standard: Code of Civil Procedure section 128.7(b) states that for every pleading an attorney must certify that a pleading:
“(1) It is not being presented primarily for an improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.
(2) The claims, defenses, and other legal contentions therein are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law.
(3) The allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 128.7(b).)
Section 128.7(c) permits the court to impose sanctions if “after notice and a reasonable opportunity to respond, the court determines that subdivision (b) has been violated.”
Analysis: WCC argues that the latest motion to set aside default is presented for an improper purpose because the legal contentions are frivolous and lack evidentiary support.
Specifically, WCC states that Harris has never explained why she is attempting to set aside the judgment, has not addressed the fact that she no longer has an interest in the judgment because of a 2008 settlement, her recent motion is an improper motion for reconsideration and she and Givens have repeatedly filed frivolous motions attempting to set aside the default.
Harris argues that Givens zealously represented her and that it is improper to impose sanctions on him for his representation. Harris states that the issues raised by the motion to set aside were not frivolous and were carefully considered by the Court.
Harris also argues that the fees requested are excessive.
The motion for sanctions is GRANTED. There are many similarities between Harris’ motion for reconsideration and her motion to set aside default as both discuss the effect of the bankruptcy claims on Harris’ interest in the judgment. The major difference between the motions is that the motion to set aside default was filed “to address the issues of the post-bankruptcy claims and judgment” because Harris argued that the prior ruling only addressed her pre-bankruptcy claims. (Mtn Set Aside, 2:21-22.)
However, the Court’s December 12, 2019 ruling states that “Harris no longer has standing: she settled her interest in the judgment in 2013, when Knight declared bankruptcy. Harris’ sole argument for the set aside was that the judgment belonged to the bankruptcy estate.” (12/9 Minute Order, pg. 3.) Given that ruling, the second motion to set aside appears to be superfluous because the earlier ruling addressed Harris’ pre and post-bankruptcy interests in the judgment.
Accordingly, the motion for sanctions is GRANTED.
WCC states that their counsel spent 6.5 hours on the motion to set aside and 9.5 hours on the instant motion. Counsel’s hourly rate is $400 per hour and they incurred $193 in costs for a total sum of $6,593. The Court will reduce the sanctions requested as the amount is excessive considering the difficulty level of the motions: utilizing a lodestar approach, and in view of the totality of the circumstances, the Court finds that the total and reasonable amount of attorneys’ fees and costs incurred for the work performed in connection with the motions is $4,193. [16 hours x $250/hr.; Filing fees: $193]
Conclusion: WCC’s motion for sanctions is GRANTED against counsel Dermot Givens in the sum of $4,193, payable to the Law Offices of Peter Q. Ezzell, within 10 days.
Case Number: BC268857 Hearing Date: September 09, 2020 Dept: 40
MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Lydia Harris
OPPOSITION: Defendant Wasserman, Comden, & Casselman, LLP
This Action: In February 2002, Plaintiff Lydia Harris sued defendants Marion Knight (“Knight”) and the music label Death Row Records alleging that she owned fifty percent of Death Row Records. In March 2005, the court entered a judgment in favor of Plaintiff Harris in the sum of $107 million against Knight and Death Row Records.
From 2002-2005, Harris was represented by Wasserman, Comden, & Casselman, LLP (“WCC”). WCC was entitled to 40% of the judgment per its retainer agreement. From November 2004 to sometime in 2005, Knight and Death Row Records were represented by attorney Dermot Givens (“Givens”).
Action Two: In September 2005, WCC sued Givens alleging that he conspired with both Plaintiff Harris, WCC’s former client, and Knight, to deprive WCC of their share of the judgment by brokering a secret $1million partial settlement between Harris and Knight.
In April 2008, a judgment was entered against Givens in that action by WCC. In March 2017, the Court of Appeal denied Givens’ motion to set aside the judgment in the WCC action. (The March 29, 2017, Court of Appeal ruling provides a relevant factual background and the procedural history for both of these matters.)
This Action Again: In September 2019, this Court mistakenly granted Harris’ motion to set aside a default judgment: The Court corrected and reversed, pursuant to WCC’s motion for Reconsideration (December 2019).
Harris filed her own motion for reconsideration which was denied in March 2020.
Harris again moves to set aside the judgment on the ground that the Court’s two previous rulings did not address all of her bankruptcy claims.
Standard: “The court may, upon motion of the injured party, or its own motion, correct clerical mistakes in its judgments or orders as entered, so as to conform to the judgment or order directed, and may, on motion of either party after notice to the other party, set aside any void judgment or order.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 473, subd. (d).) However, “[a] trial court has no statutory power under section 473, subdivision (d) to set aside a judgment that is not void.” Cruz v. Fagor America, Inc. (2007) 146 Cal.App.4th 488, 495-496. In addition, “[o]nce six months have elapsed since the entry of a judgment, ‘a trial court may grant a motion to set aside that judgment as void only if the judgment is void on its face.’” (Id. at p. 496.)
Consistent with its prior rulings, the Court finds that Harris lacks standing. Harris’ bankruptcy trustee stated that: “[t]he post-petition claims owned by Lydia Harris and for which she was the only real party in interest appear to have resulted in some $50,000,000 of the $107,000,000 judgment entered herein.” It also appears that in 2007, Harris assigned her entire interest in the judgment to Conquest Media Group. The 2008 agreement, which contains Harris’ notarized signature, in Knight’s bankruptcy case states that:
“M & L HARRIS state that they assigned the JUDGMENT to CONQUEST, and M & L HARRIS each filed notices of the assignment of the HARRIS POCS in both of the Cases to CONQUEST and filed Notice of the Assignment of the JUDGMENT in the Los Angeles Superior Court case.” (December 14, 2019 Reply, Ex. B, p. 0026.)
Accordingly, the Court finds that Harris third-time motion is untimely, that Harris again has provided no legal basis for her request, that Harris assigned any pre-petition and post-petition interest, and that Harris lacks standing to challenge the judgment.
Conclusion: Harris’ motion to set aside the judgment is DENIED.
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