This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/16/2019 at 19:39:11 (UTC).

ADAM KROHN VS JILL DAVID; TODD MOZDEN; ET AL

Case Summary

On 09/29/2017 ADAM KROHN filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against JILL DAVID TODD MOZDEN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Torrance Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are ROBERT B. BROADBELT and DEIRDRE HILL. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****2354

  • Filing Date:

    09/29/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Torrance Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

ROBERT B. BROADBELT

DEIRDRE HILL

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Respondents

KROHN ADAM

BAKER JOHN

Defendants and Appellants

MOZDEN TODD

SARAO NORMA MD

CASO VINCE

DAVID JILL

CASO FIDELIZ

CASO LIZA

FIDELIZ CASO

Cross Defendants

KROHN & MOSS LTD

ILLINOIS CORPORATION

ROSE 1 THROUGH 20

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

JOHN BARKER

SEVERINO CEDRIC

NONG JULIE NGOC

Defendant Attorneys

JDAVID LAW PRACTICE

DAVID JILL S

 

Court Documents

Unknown

10/2/2017: Unknown

Unknown

10/2/2017: Unknown

Unknown

10/30/2017: Unknown

Unknown

11/28/2017: Unknown

Unknown

12/1/2017: Unknown

Unknown

12/5/2017: Unknown

Unknown

12/7/2017: Unknown

Notice of Ruling

2/26/2018: Notice of Ruling

Unknown

3/2/2018: Unknown

Minute Order

3/23/2018: Minute Order

Declaration

10/26/2018: Declaration

Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

11/2/2018: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

Opposition

1/7/2019: Opposition

Proof of Personal Service

1/10/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Trial Brief

3/1/2019: Trial Brief

Opposition

4/3/2019: Opposition

Answer

4/16/2019: Answer

Case Management Statement

5/30/2019: Case Management Statement

163 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/03/2019
  • Appeal - Notice of Fees Due for Clerk's Transcript on Appeal (3/14/19 B296391/B294816); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/30/2019
  • Case Management Statement; Filed by Adam Krohn (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/10/2019
  • Appeal Record Delivered; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/09/2019
  • Appeal - Original Clerk's Transcript 1 - 5 Volumes Certified; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/08/2019
  • Substitution of Attorney; Filed by Adam Krohn (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/19/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by FIDELIZ CASO (Defendant); NORMA, MD SARAO (Defendant)

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  • 04/18/2019
  • Appeal - Notice of Default Issued; Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/16/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default (CCP 473.5) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 04/16/2019
  • Order (Granting motion to vacate default); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/16/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default (CCP 473.5))); Filed by Clerk

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189 More Docket Entries
  • 10/30/2017
  • Declaration; Filed by Defendant

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  • 10/30/2017
  • Notice of Motion; Filed by LIZA CASO (Defendant); VINCE CASO (Defendant); Jill David (Defendant) et al.

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  • 10/02/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Adam Krohn (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/02/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Adam Krohn (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/02/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Adam Krohn (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/02/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Adam Krohn (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/02/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Adam Krohn (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/29/2017
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/29/2017
  • Summons; Filed by Adam Krohn (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/29/2017
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Adam Krohn (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: YC072354    Hearing Date: November 13, 2020    Dept: M

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Southwest District

Torrance Dept. M

ADAM KROHN,

Plaintiff,

Case No.:

YC072354

vs.

[Tentative] RULING

JILL DAVID, et al.,

Defendants.

Hearing Date: November 13, 2020

Moving Parties: Cross-defendants John Barker and Krohn & Moss, Ltd.

Responding Party: Cross-complainants Fideliz Caso and Norma Sarao, M.D.

Hearing on Attorney’s Fees after Remand

The court considered cross-defendants’ memorandum and opposition.

RULING

The hearing is CONTINUED to January 20, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. to allow cross-defendants’ counsel Julie Nong to submit a declaration, time sheets, and brief in support of reasonable attorney’s fees with respect to the anti-SLAPP portions that cross-defendants prevailed. The declaration and brief are due by January 6, 2021. The opposition is due by January 13, 2021.

BACKGROUND

On September 29, 2017, Adam Krohn filed a complaint.

On February 23, 2018, Fideliz Caso and Norma Sarao, M.D. filed a cross-complaint for (1) breach of lease, (2) intentional interference with contractual obligations, (3) conversion, (4) violation of Penal Code §496, and (5) IIED.

On March 2, 2018, plaintiff Krohn filed a FAC for (1) breach of written contract – lease, (2) conversion, (3) violation of Penal Code §496, and (4) violation of Civil Code §1950.5.

On November 2, 2018, the court granted John Barker and Krohn & Moss, Ltd.’s anti-SLAPP motion, striking the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th causes of action in the cross-complaint.

On December 18, 2018, cross-defendants filed a motion for attorney’s fees.

On January 18, 2019, the court granted the motion and awarded cross-defendants $31,990 in attorney’s fees and costs.

On April 16, 2019, the court granted plaintiff and cross-defendant Adam Krohn’s motion for mandatory relief to set aside default pursuant to CCP §473(b).

On July 11, 2019, cross-complainants filed a motion for attorney’s fees to recover fees related to plaintiff’s motion to vacate the default.

On September 5, 2019, the court granted cross-complainants’ motion for attorney’s fees and awarded cross-complainants $9,533.90 to be paid by cross-defendant’s attorney Julie Nong.

On February 6, 2020, the court denied Julie Nong’s motion to vacate and set aside the court’s order against her.

On July 8, 2020, a remittitur issued. In the opinion, the court reversed the trial court’s order and instructed the court to enter a revised order that only partially grants the anti-SLAPP motion and strikes the portions of the cross-complaint as to only the intentional interference with contract claim and protected conduct allegations supporting Caso’s emotional distress claim. The appellate court determined that the claims for IIED, conversion, and Penal Code §489 arise from unprotected activity.

The appellate court also reversed the trial court’s award of fees and instructed the trial court on remand to hold further proceedings it deems necessary to assess the reasonable amount of attorney’s fees cross-complainants must pay as a result of cross-defendants’ partially successful anti-SLAPP.

LEGAL AUTHORITY

Under CCP §425.16(c)(1), “in any action subject to subdivision (b), a prevailing defendant on a special motion to strike shall be entitled to recover his or her attorney’s fees and costs.” “If section 425.16 were interpreted to prevent a trial court from awarding attorney fees to a prevailing defendant in an amount the court deems reasonable and simply requires the trial court to award the amount requested, the statute would mandate the court to make what might be an unreasonable award. We cannot ascribe such an intention to the Legislature. Further, if a trial court were bound by the amount of attorney fees sought by a prevailing defendant under section 425.16 and had no discretion to award a lesser amount, the potential for abuse would be extraordinary. The trial court cannot be placed in the position of having to acquiesce in any amount sought by a prevailing defendant, no matter how outrageous. The trial court’s role is not merely to rubber stamp the defendant’s request, but to ascertain whether the amount sought is reasonable.” Robertson v. Rodriguez (1995) 36 Cal. App. 4th 347, 361.

[B]y its terms, CCP section 425.16 permits the use of the so-called lodestar adjustment method.” Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal. 4th 1122, 1131. “We approved the calculation of attorney fees beginning with a lodestar figure based on the reasonable hours spent, multiplied by the hourly prevailing rate for private attorneys in the community conducting noncontingent ligation of the same type.” Id. at 1133 (citation omitted).

DISCUSSION

As stated above, on remand, the court is to assess the amount of attorney’s fees in light of the ruling by the appellate court affirming striking the 2nd cause of action for intentional interference with contract and protected conduct allegations supporting Caso’s emotional distress claim and reversing as to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th causes of action.

In cross-defendants John Barker and Krohn & Moss, Ltd.’s motion for attorney’s fees they requested $36,980.78 pursuant to CCP §425.16(c)(1). According to the supporting attorney declaration, Julie Nong’s hourly rate was $300/hr. She stated that she spent 100 hours related to the anti-SLAPP motion and 20 hours related to the motion for attorney’s fees. See Nong decl., Exh. 2 (billing records).

In determining a reasonable amount, the court carefully reviewed cross-defendants’ counsel’s detailed billing records, using the numbered version provided by cross-complainants in their opposition, for ease of reference. The court noted that some of the items (19, 26, 27, 38, 42, 44-46, 57, and half of 92) referred to work on the demurrer or other tasks and were thus not recoverable, totaling $960. The court found that $29,310 was a reasonable amount, based on $300/hr., in attorney’s fees related to the anti-SLAPP motion, $3,600 for motion for attorney’s fees (12 hrs.), and $300 (items 101 and 112 and filing fee) in costs for a total amount of $33,210.

In cross-defendants’ memorandum filed on October 6, 2020, cross-defendants request $31,990. Cross-defendants argue that the attorney’s fees incurred cannot be apportioned in a manner to disassociate the 3rd, 4th, and 5th causes of action from the 2nd cause of action because they are so inextricably intertwined that it is nearly impossible to separate the time worked on one cause of action as opposed to the time spent on another cause of action. The bulk of the hours expended was not spent on drafting the 3rd, 4th, and 5th causes of action but rather spent on researching, preparing, reviewing, and presenting the complexity of facts in a logical and property. Further, the landlord-tenant issue giving rise to this litigation is common to all four causes of action. Cross-defendants argue that the research initiated and the arguments presented to support each cause of action are very similar to one another such that one cannot reasonably begin to differentiate the amount of time spent researching and drafting one cause of action as opposed to the other. Cross-defendants argue that the time and effort expended on researching, drafting, and attending the hearing, in whole, amounted to $36,980, although the court had reduced the amount to $31,990.

In opposition, cross-complainants argue that the attorneys filing the memorandum in support of the attorney’s fees represent plaintiff and not cross-defendants, noting that cross-defendants’ counsel Julie Nong did not file a motion or declaration. Cross-complainants argue that attorney’s fees are not warranted because cross-defendants were unsuccessful in achieving the desired result. If the court is inclined to award any attorney’s fees, then it should be a minimal $1,000.

As there is no current declaration from cross-defendants’ counsel Julie Nong, the attorney who drafted the anti-SLAPP motion, the court reviewed her prior declaration and time sheets filed on December 18, 2018, in an attempt to assess the reasonable fees incurred on the 2nd cause of action and the motion as a whole. The court, however, is unable to assess the amount of time spent on each of the causes of action because the time sheets are redacted. For example, several of the entries state, “Study cases dealing with” and then it is redacted. Other entries state, “Draft section of the anti-Slapp dealing with” and “Research issue that” and then redacted. The court notes though that several of the entries would apply to the motion as a whole, and thus be applicable to the 2nd cause of action that was stricken but the information is insufficient to assess reasonable attorney’s fees.

Thus, the court CONTINUES the hearing to allow cross-defendants’ counsel Julie Nong to submit a declaration, time sheets, and brief in support of attorney’s fees.

Cross-defendants are ordered to give notice of the court’s ruling.

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