Pending - Other Pending
Contract - Other Contract
RALPH C. HOFER
AMERICAN HOME ALARMS INC
AMERICA'S SECURITY A CA. CORP.
KELLER HEIDI J. AN INDIVIDUAL
BARTRON BRANDON KINGSLEY AN INDIVIDUAL
AMERICA'S SECURITY A CA. CORP.
LETTENMAIER ARTHUR JAMES
CHULAK MICHAEL T.
MICHELLWEILER J. DANA
MITCHELLWEILER LAW CORPORATION
2/22/2021: Order - ORDER AFTER HEARING
3/2/2021: Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment
3/3/2021: Acknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment
3/8/2021: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER STIPULATION AND PROPOSED ORDER TO TERMINATE STAY OF JUDGMENT EXECUTION AND TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND RELEASE OF LEVIES
3/16/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE STIPULATION TO TERMINATE STAY OF JUDGMENT)
2/22/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: WHY THE COURT SHOULD NOT MAKE ORDERS ...)
2/23/2021: Proof of Service by Mail
1/8/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES FILED ON BEHALF OF PLAINT...)
12/24/2020: Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES
12/7/2020: Order - ORDER ON PLAINTFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION TO RELATE & CONSOLIDATE CASES
12/16/2020: Appellate Order Dismissing Appeal - APPELLATE ORDER DISMISSING APPEAL NOA: 09/22/20 B308798
12/3/2020: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION TO RELATE AND CONSOLIDATE NEWLY FILED CASE
12/3/2020: Notice of Lien
12/4/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO RELATE AND CONSOLIDATE NEW...)
12/7/2020: Request for Judicial Notice
12/7/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO RELATE AND CONSOLIDATE DEF...)
12/7/2020: Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO EX PARTE APPLICATION
Docketat 09:00 AM in Department D; Hearing on Motion for Preliminary Injunction - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department D; Order to Show Cause Re: (Why the Court should not make Orders re Affairs of America Security) - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Docketat 1:30 PM in Department D; Court Order[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order Re Stipulation To Terminate Stay Of Judgment)); Filed by Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketStipulation and Order (To Terminate Stay of Judgment Execution and Temporary Restraining Order and Release of Levies); Filed by AMERICA'S SECURITY, A CA. CORP. (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketAcknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment; Filed by AMERICAN HOME ALARMS, INC (Plaintiff)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketAcknowledgment of Satisfaction of Judgment; Filed by AMERICA'S SECURITY, A CA. CORP. (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketProof of Service by Mail; Filed by AMERICA'S SECURITY, A CA. CORP. (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department D; Order to Show Cause Re: (Why the Court should not make Orders re Affairs of America Security) - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketOrder (After Hearing); Filed by AMERICA'S SECURITY, A CA. CORP. (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketMinute order entered: 2017-05-02 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketRequest For Copies[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketNotice (of OSC)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketSummons; Filed by null[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketSummons Filed[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by null[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketNotice of Case Management Conference[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Case Number: ****6290 Hearing Date: January 08, 2021 Dept: D
Case No: ****6290
Case Name: American Home Alarms, Inc. v. America’s Security, et al.
MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS FEES
Moving Party: Plaintiff American Home Alarms, Inc.
Responding Party: Defendant America’s Security
Award of attorneys’ fees incurred in proceedings as prevailing party
SUMMARY OF FACTS:
This matter was brought by plaintiff American Home Alarm, Inc. to recover sums allegedly due from defendant America’s Security in connection with a business relationship between the parties with respect to the sale of personal residential alarm systems.
The matter went to a court trial in January of 2020, on plaintiff’s Second Amended Complaint, which alleged causes of action for breach of written contract, breach of oral contract, breach of implied in fact contract, equitable indemnity, express indemnity, negligent misrepresentation and intentional misrepresentation.
At the close of plaintiff’s case, the court granted a motion by the individual defendants for directed verdict as to all causes of action as to the individual defendants in their individual capacities. At that time, the court also granted the corporate defendant America Security’s motion for directed verdict and dismissed the fifth through seventh causes of action for express indemnity, negligent misrepresentation and intentional misrepresentation.
The Statement of Decision states, with respect to the remaining first through fourth causes of action:
“(1) The Defendants AS, Bartron and Keller prevail on the First Cause of Action for breach of written contract. The Court finds that the parties did not enter into any written contract which the Court has described as a “termination agreement.”
(2) The Plaintiff prevails on the Second Cause of Action for Breach of Oral Contract against Defendant AS but not against Defendants Bartron and Keller. Bartron and Keller did not enter into any contract in their individual capacities. The Court finds that the parties entered into an oral termination contract in or about April 6 2015 whereby Plaintiff AHA transferred all of its ADT alarm contract accounts to Defendant AS so AS could become an authorized dealer of ADT in exchange for which Plaintiff AHA terminated its sub dealer contract with Defendant AS and Defendant AS agreed to be responsible financially for any and all chargebacks on the transferred accounts.
(3) Plaintiff prevails on the Third Cause of Action for breach of Implied-in-fact Contract. The contract was that Defendant AS, in exchange for Plaintiff AHA “releasing” Defendant AS as a sub dealer of AHA, Defendant AS agreed to be responsible for all the chargebacks on the transferred accounts. This arrangement is the contract the parties intended by their conduct, words and actions in the circumstances existing in or about April 2015. Plaintiff prevails on this cause of action against Defendant AS but not against Defendants Bartron or Keller because neither Bartron or Keller entered into any contract in their individual capacities.
(4) The Plaintiff prevails on the Fourth Cause of Action for Equitable Indemnity. The Court finds that Plaintiff has satisfied the chargeback obligations of Defendant AS in the amount of $233,241.00 that ADT charged to Plaintiff. Pursuant to the doctrine of Equitable Indemnity, the Plaintiff is entitled to be reimbursed by Defendant for this expense for funds which belonged to Plaintiff but which ADT wrongfully appropriated. The Plaintiff prevails on this cause of action against Defendant AS but not against Defendants Bartron or Keller.”
[Statement of Decision, pp. 13-14].
On July 29, 2020, Judgement After Court Trial was entered, after the Court considered all objections to the Statement of Decision and awarded damages in favor of plaintiff and against defendant America’s Security in the principal amount of $233,421.00, with prejudgment interest from April 12, 2016 at the rate of 10% per annum, for a total through the date of judgment of $100,339.05. The judgment states, “This judgment is without prejudice to an award of attorneys’ fees in favor of Plaintiff and against America’s Security as may be determined as a result of a timely and successful motion for attorneys’ fees.”
Plaintiff American Home Alarm seeks an award of attorneys’ fees.
In general, under CCP ; 1021:
“Except as attorney’s fees are specifically provided for by statute, the measure and mode of compensation of attorneys and counselors at law is left to the agreement, express or implied, of the parties...”
Under CCP section 1032(b), “a prevailing party is entitled as a matter of right to recover costs in any action or proceeding.” Section 1033.5 (a) provides that an allowable cost under ;1032 includes:
“(10) Attorney’s fees, when authorized by any of the following:
Where there is an agreement for attorney’s fees, Civil Code 1717 provides:
“(a) In an action on a contract, where the contract specifically provides that attorney’s fees and costs, which are incurred to enforce that contract, shall be awarded either to one of the parties or to the prevailing party, then the party who is determined to be the party prevailing on the contract, whether he or she is the party specified in the contract or not, shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees in addition to other costs. ...Reasonable attorney’s fees shall be fixed by the court and shall be an element of the costs of suit.”
Here, plaintiff argues that it is entitled to fees under the ADT Contract, under which plaintiff was an authorized dealer of ADT, and under which defendant America’s Security, was an affiliate, as the sub-dealer of an authorized dealer. The motion does not submit a copy of the agreement, and does not explain how this agreement, which was not the oral or implied in fact terminating agreement upon which plaintiff’s prevailed in this action, would apply here. The argument seems to be that the parties operated under the ADT agreement for several years prior to the creation of the oral and implied termination agreement which was enforced here, so that the attorneys’ fees provision was implied into those subsequent agreements. The motion concedes that ADT was not a party to this lawsuit.
The opposition argues that the motion fails because defendant was not a signatory to any contract providing for attorneys’ fees, and that plaintiff prevailed on an oral contract known as the terminating agreement and has failed to establish that the terminating agreement included an agreement concerning attorneys’ fees. The opposition establishes that defendant did not sign the ADT agreement, and plaintiff did not sue defendant on that agreement. Civil Code 1717 provides expressly applies to “an action on a contract, where the contract specifically provides” for an award of attorney’s fees and costs to a prevailing party. There was no action brought on the ADT agreement here. Moreover, there is no sufficient legal or factual analysis presented in the moving papers which would support an argument that defendant was a third-party beneficiary to the ADT agreement. The motion accordingly is denied.
Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees is DENIED. Plaintiff has failed to establish that plaintiff prevailed on an action governed by an agreement of the parties with respect to the allocation of attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.
GIVEN THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS, AND TO PROMOTE APPROPRIATE SOCIAL DISTANCING, UNTIL FURTHER ORDERED, DEPARTMENT D IS ENCOURAGING AUDIO OR VIDEO APPEARANCES
Please make arrangements in advance if you wish to appear via LACourtConnect by visiting www.lacourt.org, and scheduling a remote appearance. Please note that LACourtConnect offers an audio-only appearance option at a current cost of $15.00 and a video appearance option at a cost of $23.00. Counsel and parties (including self-represented litigants) are encouraged not to personally appear, unless they have obtained advance permission of the Court. Anyone who appears in person for the hearing will be required to comply with strict social distancing measures, including, but not limited to, assigned seating, capacity limitations in the courtroom, designated waiting areas, and strictly enforced spacing in line to communicate with court staff. If no appearance is set up through LACourtConnect, or otherwise, then the Court will assume the parties are submitting on the tentative.
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