This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 12/26/2021 at 03:34:41 (UTC).

ARMEN MINASSIAN VS ARTHUR MINASSIAN, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 05/04/2021 ARMEN MINASSIAN filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against ARTHUR MINASSIAN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Van Nuys Courthouse East located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is VIRGINIA KEENY. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******0611

  • Filing Date:

    05/04/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

VIRGINIA KEENY

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

MINASSIAN ARMEN

Defendants

MINASSIAN ARTHUR

MINASSIAN MADLENE

MINASSIAN ALICE

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Defendant Attorney

WOODBURY ROBERT

 

Court Documents

Notice of Case Management Conference

5/5/2021: Notice of Case Management Conference

Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

5/4/2021: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

Civil Case Cover Sheet

5/4/2021: Civil Case Cover Sheet

Notice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case

5/4/2021: Notice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case

Complaint - COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

5/4/2021: Complaint - COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

Summons - SUMMONS ON COMPLAINT

5/4/2021: Summons - SUMMONS ON COMPLAINT

Notice of Lis Pendens

6/25/2021: Notice of Lis Pendens

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

9/17/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER (RE: NOTICE OF RELATED CASES)) OF 11/16/2021

11/16/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER (RE: NOTICE OF RELATED CASES)) OF 11/16/2021

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER (RE: NOTICE OF RELATED CASES)) OF 11/16/2021

11/16/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER (RE: NOTICE OF RELATED CASES)) OF 11/16/2021

Notice of Related Case

11/15/2021: Notice of Related Case

Case Management Statement

12/15/2021: Case Management Statement

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

12/17/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

Request for Judicial Notice

12/23/2021: Request for Judicial Notice

Motion to Expunge Lis Pendens

12/23/2021: Motion to Expunge Lis Pendens

Notice of Lodging - NOTICE OF LODGING DOCUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO EXPUNGE NOTICE OF PENDING ACTION

12/23/2021: Notice of Lodging - NOTICE OF LODGING DOCUMENTS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO EXPUNGE NOTICE OF PENDING ACTION

Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

12/22/2021: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

5 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/18/2022
  • Hearing04/18/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department W at 6230 Sylmar Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91401; Case Management Conference

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  • 01/18/2022
  • Hearing01/18/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department W at 6230 Sylmar Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91401; Hearing on Motion to Expunge Lis Pendens

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  • 12/23/2021
  • DocketNotice of Lodging (Documents in Support of Motion to Expunge Notice of Pending Action); Filed by Madlene Minassian (Defendant)

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  • 12/23/2021
  • DocketMotion to Expunge Lis Pendens; Filed by Madlene Minassian (Defendant)

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  • 12/23/2021
  • DocketRequest for Judicial Notice; Filed by Madlene Minassian (Defendant)

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  • 12/22/2021
  • DocketNotice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by Robert Woodbury (Attorney)

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  • 12/17/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department W, Virginia Keeny, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held - Continued

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  • 12/17/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Case Management Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/15/2021
  • DocketCase Management Statement; Filed by Madlene Minassian (Defendant)

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  • 12/14/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department W, Virginia Keeny, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Expunge Lis Pendens

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5 More Docket Entries
  • 09/17/2021
  • Docketat 11:30 AM in Department W, Virginia Keeny, Presiding; Non-Appearance Case Review - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 09/17/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department W, Virginia Keeny, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held - Continued

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  • 09/17/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Case Management Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/25/2021
  • DocketNotice of Lis Pendens; Filed by Armen Minassian (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/05/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/04/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/04/2021
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/04/2021
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Armen Minassian (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/04/2021
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/04/2021
  • DocketComplaint (for Damages); Filed by Armen Minassian (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: *******0611 Hearing Date: January 18, 2022 Dept: W

ARMEN MINASSIAN v. ARTHUR MINASSIAN, et al.

defendant Madlene minassian’s MOTION to expunge lis pendens

Date of Hearing: January 18, 2022 Trial Date: None set.

Department: W Case No.: *******0611

Moving Party: Defendant Madlene Minassian

Responding Party: No opposition.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Armen Minassian alleges on January 22, 2014, Plaintiff entered into a written agreement with Defendants Arthur Minassian, Alice Minassian, and Madlene Minassian whereby they agreed that the title and ownership of certain real property would be transferred and relinquished to Plaintiff as part of his inheritance from their parents, Shane and Alice Minassian. Pursuant to the agreement, Plaintiff alleges he signed the agreement relinquishing his rights and entitlement to distribution of other assets and properties. These assets and properties were to go to Defendants Arthur and Madlene as their inheritance. Plaintiff alleges Defendants breached the agreement by neither transferring or relinquishing the certain real property. Instead, Defendants filed an unlawful detainer action against Plaintiff (Madlene Minassian v. Armen Minassian, 20VEUD00919).

On May 4, 2021, Plaintiff Armen Minassian filed a complaint against Defendants Arthur Minassian, Alice Minassian, and Madlene Minassian asserting causes of action for (1) Breach of Written Contract; (2) Breach of Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing; (3) Specific Performance; (4) Declaratory Relief; and (5) Quiet Title.

[Tentative] Ruling

Defendant Madlene Minassian’s Motion to Expunge Lis Pendens is GRANTED.

REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

Defendant Madlene Minassian requests this court take judicial notice of the following documents and facts:

(1) Grant Deed pursuant to which Madlene Minassian and Arthur lspirian acquired title to the property located at 5534 Cantaloupe Drive, Sherman Oaks, California (Exh. 1); (2) Madlene Minassian and Arthur lspirian are the owners of the property located at 5534 Cantaloupe Drive, Sherman Oaks, California (Exh. 1); (3) Los Angeles County Assessors Office tax roll, as of August 3, relating to the property located at 5534 Cantaloupe Drive, Sherman Oaks, California (Exh. 2); (4) Madlene Minassian and Arthur lspirian were the listed owners of the property located at 5534 Cantaloupe Drive, Sherman Oaks, California as of August 3, 2021 (Exh 2); (5) Notice of Pending Action, styled as a "Lis Pendens" recorded by Plaintiff Armen Minassian on August 3, 2021 (Exh. 3); (6) the proof of service attached to Armen Minassian's Notice of Pending Action does not show service to Arthur lspirian (Exh. 3); (7) the proof of service accompanying Armen Minassian's Notice of Pending Action does not show service to Madlene Minassian at her address in Armenia (Exh. 3).

Defendant Madlene’s request for judicial notice is GRANTED. (Evid. Code 452(d),(h). (See also Fontenot v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 256, 265; Yvanova v. New Century Mortgage Corp. (2016) 62 Cal. 4th 919, 924, fn. 1.)

DISCUSSION

Defendant Madlene Minassian moves the court to expunge the lis pendens placed on Defendant’s real property and requests an award of $7,622.50 in attorney fees and $535 in costs against Plaintiff Armen Minassian. Defendant Madlene moves to expunge the lis pendens on the grounds Plaintiff failed to follow the rules of mail service and that the real property causes of action supporting the Notice of Pending Action have no probable validity.

In a motion to expunge a notice of lis pendens, the claimant who filed the lis pendens has the burden of proof. (CCP 405.30.) Thus, the court must order the notice expunged if it finds the pleading on which the notice is based does not contain a real property claim (CCP 405.31) or the claimant has not established by a preponderance of the evidence the probable validity of the real property claim (CCP 405.32). A claim has “probable validity” where it is more likely than not that the plaintiff will obtain a judgment against the defendant on that claim. (CCP 481.190; CCP 405.3.)

“In making this determination, the court must engage in a demurrer-like analysis. ‘Rather than analyzing whether the pleading states any claim at all, as on a general demurrer, the court must undertake the more limited analysis of whether the pleading states a real property claim.’ [Citation] Review ‘involves only a review of the adequacy of the pleading and normally should not involve evidence from either side, other than possibly that which may be judicially noticed as on a demurrer.’ [Citation] Therefore, review of an expungement order under section 405.31 is limited to whether a real property claim has been properly pled by the claimant. [Citation]” (Kirkeby v. Superior Court (2004) 33 Cal.4th 642, 647-648.)

Defendant Madlene first argues Plaintiff failed to mail the Notice of Pending Action to Mr. Ispirian, who is co-owner of the property with this wife, Defendant Madlene, and Plaintiff failed to mail the Notice to Defendant Madlene’s residence in Armenia. Defendant Madlene argues Plaintiff is aware Defendant Madlene resides in Armenia as he has visited her there. (Madlene Decl. 11.) Defendant notes the Notice was mailed to the Cantaloupe address, where Plaintiff currently resides.

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 405.23, “[a]ny notice of pendency of action shall be void and invalid as to any adverse party or owner of record unless the requirements of Section 405.22 are met for that party or owner and a proof of service in the form and content specified in Section 1013a has been recorded with the notice of pendency of action.” Code of Civil Procedure section 405.22 provides “the claimant shall, prior to recordation of the notice, cause a copy of the notice to be mailed, by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to all known addresses of the parties to whom the real property claim is adverse and to all owners of record of the real property affected by the real property claim as shown by the latest county assessment roll.”

Here, Defendant Madlene presents evidence that Mr. Ispirian is one of the owners of the Cantaloupe property alongside with his wife. (RJN, Exh. 1, 2.) However, review of the proof of service indicates Mr. Ispirian was not served. Moreover, the proof of service shows Defendant Madlene was served at the Cantaloupe Property and at her unlawful detainer attorney’s office, Mr. Dennis Block. Plaintiff did not send a copy of the notice by certified mail as required under section 405.22. Moreover, Plaintiff failed to comply with section 1013a as the proof of service indicates he is the one who effected Notice. The Notice must be mailed by someone who is not a party to the action. (CCP 1013a(1).)

The court finds granting the motion appropriate under the circumstances.

Defendant Madlene next argues Plaintiff was not a party to the agreement and the agreement was cancelled and as a result, the real property causes of action have no validity. Per the terms of the agreement, the Trust was to purchase the Cantaloupe Property from Defendant Madlene and Mr. Ispirian. (Exh. 1.) Once the Cantaloupe property was acquired, the Cantaloupe property was to be gifted to Plaintiff; the 13821 Cumpston Property was to be gifted to Defendant Arthur; and the 13830 Property was to be gifted to Defendant Madlene. (Exh. 1.) Only Shane Minassian and Defendant Alice Minassian signed the agreement. (Exh. 1.) Defendant Arthur Minassian signed the agreement as a witness. (Exh. 1.) On September 21, 2015, Shane Minassian and Defendant Alice signed a Cancellation Agreement, cancelling the prior Amendment. (Exh. 2.) Defendant Madlene argues the Cantaloupe Property was never purchased by Defendant Alice, Shane, or the Trust.

Here, Plaintiff was not a party to the agreement. However, Plaintiff may allege he was a third-party beneficiary to the agreement. In order for a plaintiff to allege breach of contract as a third-party beneficiary, the plaintiff must plead a contract that was made expressly for his benefit. (See Martin v. Bridgeport Community Association, Inc. (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 1024, 1034.) “‘The test in deciding whether a contract inures to the benefit of a third person is whether an intent to so benefit the third person appears from the terms of the agreement . . . .’” (Id. (quoting Schonfeld v. City of Vellejo (1975) 50 Cal.App.3d 401, 420.) “The fact that a third party is incidentally named in the contract, or that the contract, if carried out according to its terms, would inure to his benefit, is not sufficient to entitle him to enforce it.” (Id.) “Reading the agreement as a whole in light of the circumstances under which it was made, the terms of the agreement must clearly manifest an intent to make the obligation inure to the benefit of the third party.” (Id.)

Regardless, Defendant Madlene has presented evidence the agreement was cancelled, and Plaintiff has failed to establish any reliance on the assertions in the agreement.

Lastly, Defendant Madlene argues the fourth (declaratory relief) and fifth (quiet title) causes of action are barred by the statute of limitations.

“A claim for declaratory relief is subject to the same statute of limitations as the legal or equitable claim on which it is based.” (Bank of New York Mellon v. Citibank, N.A. (2017) 8 Cal.App.5th 935, 943.) The applicable statute of limitations for actions to quiet title depend on the underlying theory of relief. (See Salazar v. Thomas (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 467, 476.) Generally, the time limit for a quiet title action is the four-year limitations period for cancellation of an instrument or the three-year limitations period for fraud. (See id.) The limitations period begins to run when the plaintiff is not in exclusive and undisputed possession of the property. (See id. at 477-78.) “[M]ere notice of an adverse claim is not enough to commence the owner’s statute of limitations.” (Id.) The statute of limitations for breach of a written agreement is four years. (CCP 337.)

Under either accrual date (the date the agreement was entered or the date the agreement was cancelled), the court finds the causes of action would be barred by the statute of limitations. The instant complaint was filed May 4, 2021 – seven years from when the agreement was entered and six years from when the agreement was cancelled.

Accordingly, the fourth and fifth causes of action are barred by the statute of limitations.

Attorney Fees

Code of Civil Procedure section 405.38 provides “[t]he court shall direct that the party prevailing on any motion under this chapter be awarded the reasonable attorney’s fees and costs of making or opposing the motion unless the court finds that the other party acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of attorney’s fees and costs unjust.” (CCP 405.38.) For purposes of attorneys’ fees and costs, a court’s ruling on a motion made pursuant to Sections 405.31 and 405.32 necessarily decides who is the “prevailing party” since such motions place in issue whether the lis pendens was proper. The award of attorney’s fees is only against the losing party, not the losing party’s counsel. (Doyle v. Sup.Ct. (1991) 226 Cal.App.3d 1355, 1359.)

Defendant Madlene requests attorney fees in the amount of $7,087.50 based upon 13.4 hours drafting the motion and communicating with client/Plaintiff and an anticipated 5.5 hours reviewing opposition and attending the hearing at counsel’s hourly rate of $375. (Woodbury Decl. 10.) Defendant also seeks $535 in costs for the $435 filing fee and an anticipated $100 to obtain documents. The court finds only 12 hours for preparing and appearing on the matter necessary. No opposition was filed. The court also finds Defendant has not established costs for the anticipated $100. The court grants defendant’s request for attorney’s fees and filing costs in the reduced amount of $4,935.

Accordingly, Defendant Madlene Minassian’s Motion to Expunge Lis Pendens GRANTED.


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