This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/26/2020 at 02:24:26 (UTC).

ARTHUR AMBARACHYAN VS GEORGE PLAVJIAN, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 05/17/2018 ARTHUR AMBARACHYAN filed a Property - Other Property Fraud lawsuit against GEORGE PLAVJIAN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Burbank Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is WILLIAM D. STEWART. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8660

  • Filing Date:

    05/17/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Property Fraud

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Burbank Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

WILLIAM D. STEWART

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Cross Defendant

AMBARACHYAN ARTHUR

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

KAKOIAN MARIAM

BADEER RUZANA

SHABAZIAN KIANE

NARKAZ RETA

PLAVJIAN GEORGE

CHUKHYAN SONA

KSR REALTY INC.

PETROSIAN DOE 2 VARSIK

LAWYERS TITLE COMPANY A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

BABURYAN DOE 3 HAKOP H.

BABURYAN HAKOB H.

PETROSIAN VARSIK

LAWYERS TITLE COMPANY

Defendants and Cross Defendants

BADEER RUZANA

SHABAZIAN KIANE

NARKAZ RETA

PLAVJIAN GEORGE

CHUKHYAN SONA

AMBARACHYAN ARTHUR

NAZARIAN ARPI

ESCROW ON BRAND A CALIFORNIA CORP.

PENWAY LLC A CALIFORNIA CORP.

NATIONAL PROPERTIES A CALIFORNIA CORP.

AGAKANYAN SEVAK

KSR REALTY

4 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Cross Defendant and Plaintiff Attorneys

AVANESIAN MICHAEL

JT LEGAL GROUP APC

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

TAHMAZIAN LAW FIRM P.C.

HAKOB JACK KAKOIAN ESQ.

TAHMAZIAN JILBERT

KAKOIAN HAKOB JACK

GILLER RON K.

KAKOIAN H. JACK

DIAS THOMAS ERIC

KADIN DAVID SCOTT

 

Court Documents

Request for Judicial Notice

5/20/2020: Request for Judicial Notice

Declaration - DECLARATION OF THOMAS E DIAS

4/23/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION OF THOMAS E DIAS

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITHOUT MOTION TO STRIKE TO THE THIRD A...)

2/28/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITHOUT MOTION TO STRIKE TO THE THIRD A...)

Notice - NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF DEMURRER OF DEFENDANTS VARSIK PETROSIAN AND HAKOB H. BABURYAN TO THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT

1/23/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF DEMURRER OF DEFENDANTS VARSIK PETROSIAN AND HAKOB H. BABURYAN TO THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT

Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

12/6/2019: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

12/9/2019: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

Case Management Statement

11/27/2019: Case Management Statement

Notice of Ruling

10/11/2019: Notice of Ruling

Reply - REPLY MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES OF DEFENDANTS VARSIK PETROSIAN AND HAKOB H. BABURYAN IN SUPPORT OF DEMURRER TO SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

10/4/2019: Reply - REPLY MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES OF DEFENDANTS VARSIK PETROSIAN AND HAKOB H. BABURYAN IN SUPPORT OF DEMURRER TO SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

Case Management Statement

6/27/2019: Case Management Statement

Notice of Related Case

6/27/2019: Notice of Related Case

Amended Complaint - AMENDED COMPLAINT -SECOND

5/20/2019: Amended Complaint - AMENDED COMPLAINT -SECOND

Notice of Ruling

4/30/2019: Notice of Ruling

Reply - REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO DEMURRER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF JILBERT TAHMAZIAN

4/22/2019: Reply - REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO DEMURRER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF JILBERT TAHMAZIAN

Notice - Notice DEFENDANT KSR REALTY, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF DEMURRER SOLELY ON BEHALF OF DEFENDANT KSR REALTY, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

2/13/2019: Notice - Notice DEFENDANT KSR REALTY, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF DEMURRER SOLELY ON BEHALF OF DEFENDANT KSR REALTY, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Case Management Statement

1/28/2019: Case Management Statement

Proof of Service by Substituted Service

12/20/2018: Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Substitution of Attorney -

9/7/2018: Substitution of Attorney -

162 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/09/2020
  • Hearing11/09/2020 at 09:30 AM in Department B at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Jury Trial

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  • 10/30/2020
  • Hearing10/30/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department B at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Hearing on Motion to Quash Deposition Subpoena for Production of Business Records to Custodian of Records Subpoena for Production of Records of Custodian of Records for U.S. Bancorp filed by Defendant/Cross-Defendant George Plavjian on 6/25/2020

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  • 10/29/2020
  • Hearing10/29/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department B at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Final Status Conference

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  • 10/23/2020
  • Hearing10/23/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department B at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery")

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  • 10/09/2020
  • Hearing10/09/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department B at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Hearing on Motion to Disqualify Counsel

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  • 10/02/2020
  • Hearing10/02/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department B at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

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  • 07/16/2020
  • DocketNotice (OF HEARING ON MOTION TO QUASH DEPOSITION SUBPOENA FOR PRODUCTION OF BUSINESS RECORDS FOR US BANCORP); Filed by George Plavjian (Defendant)

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  • 07/10/2020
  • Docketat 11:31 AM in Department B; Court Order

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  • 07/10/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/10/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order) of 07/10/2020); Filed by Clerk

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207 More Docket Entries
  • 08/02/2018
  • DocketAnswer

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  • 08/02/2018
  • DocketMinute order entered: 2018-08-02 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/16/2018
  • DocketNotice and Acknowledgment of Receipt of Summons and Complaint

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  • 07/16/2018
  • DocketNotice and Acknowledgment of Receipt; Filed by Arthur Ambarachyan (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/27/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Arthur Ambarachyan (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/17/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Court

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  • 05/17/2018
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Arthur Ambarachyan (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/17/2018
  • DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by Arthur Ambarachyan (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/17/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Arthur Ambarachyan (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/17/2018
  • DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Court

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: EC068660    Hearing Date: February 28, 2020    Dept: NCB

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

arthur ambarachyan,

Plaintiff,

v.

George plavjian, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: EC068660

Hearing Date: February 14, 2020

Continued Date: February 28, 2020

NOTICE OF CONTINUED HEARING

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

Demurrers

BACKGROUND

A. Allegations of the TAC

Plaintiff Arthur Ambarachyan (“Ambarachyan”) alleges that he is an investor who was defrauded by Defendants Sona Chukhyan (“Chukhyan”) and George Plavjian (“Plavjian”), as well as their co-conspirators KSR Realty, Inc. (“KSR”), Reta Narkaz, Ruzana Badeer (“Badeer”), Kiane Shabazian (“Shabazian”), and Mariam Kakoian (“Kakoian”). Ambarachyan alleges that Kakoian was the owner of property located at 1737 Bel Aire Dr. in Glendale and that Chukhyan and Kakoian took out loans on the property to pay off other investors that Chukhyan scammed or defrauded. In February 2015, Chukhyan and Kakoian approached Plaintiff for a loan in the amount of $355,000.00. Plaintiff lent the money and Kakoian signed a promissory note agreeing to pay the money back with interest, and the note was secured by a deed of trust against the property. However, the property was sold for $935,300.00 in 2017 and Plaintiff was not paid from the proceeds of the sale.

The third amended complaint (“TAC”), filed January 24, 2020, alleges causes of action for: (1) fraud and conspiracy against Kakoian; (2) negligent misrepresentation against Kakoian; (3) breach of contract against Kakoian; (4) equitable lien against Kakoian; (5) negligence against Lawyers Title; (6) equitable indemnity against Chukhyan, Plavjian, KSR, Badeer, Shabazian, and Narkaz; (7) comparative indemnity against Chukhyan, Plavjian, KSR, Badeer, Shabazian, and Narkaz; (8) declaratory relief against Chukhyan, Plavjian, KSR, Badeer, Shabazian, and Narkaz; and (9) declaratory relief against Petrosian, Baburyan, and Lawyers Title.

B. Demurrers

On December 6 and 9, 2019, Kakoian filed demurrers to the TAC. The Court will consider the arguments in the December 9, 2019 filed demurrer papers. The Court is not in receipt of an opposition brief to this demurrer.

On December 31, 2019, Defendants Varsik Petrosian and Hakob H. Baburyan filed a demurrer to the TAC. On January 10, 2020, Plaintiff filed an opposition brief. On January 15, 2020, Defendants filed a reply brief.

The Court held a hearing on February 14, 2020 and heard oral arguments on the demurrers. The Court took the matter under submission.

DISCUSSION RE DEMURRER OF PETROSIAN AND BABURYAN

Petrosian and Baburyan demur to the SAC on the 9th cause of action for declaratory relief.

A. Request for Judicial notice

Petrosian and Baburyan requests judicial notice of documents of: (A) the Deed of Trust recorded on April 29, 2015; and (B) the Substitution of Trustee and Full Reconveyance recorded on July 7, 2015. The requests are granted. (See Fontenot v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 256, 264-67, disapproved on other grounds.)

B. 9th cause of action for Declaratory Relief

By way of background, Kakoian was the owner of 1737 Bel Aire Dr. in 2002. (TAC, ¶¶ 34-35.) Kakoian signed a promissory note in the amount of $355,000 on February 6, 2015, which was entered between Kakoian (borrower) and Penway LLC (lender). (Id., ¶43, Ex. A.) The note was secured by a deed of trust against the property (“Mariam Trust Deed”), identifying “547 Arden Ave Glendale, CA 91203” as the beneficiary. (Id., Ex. B.) The deed of trust was re-recorded on April 29, 2015 to include the name of the beneficiary, Penway (which was located at 547 Arden Ave). (Def.’s RJN, Ex. A.) A substitution of trustee and full reconveyance was recorded on July 7, 2015, which substitutes Penway as the trustee in lieu of Stewart Title Company (the original trustee in the deed of trust). (Def.’s RJN, Ex. B.) Kakoian sold the property to Petrosian and Baburyan on June 20, 2017 for $935,000, but Plaintiff was not paid from the proceeds of the sale despite the February 6, 2015 promissory note. (Id., ¶¶44-45.)

In the 9th cause of action for declaratory relief asserted against Petrosian, Baburyan, and Lawyers Title, Plaintiff Ambarachyan claims to have a valid perfected security interest in the property (legally and equitably) that is adverse to the interest claimed by the buyers Petrosian and Baburyan by virtue of the recordation of the Mariam Trust Deed. (TAC, ¶¶92-93.) Thus, he alleges there is an actual and justiciable controversy that has arisen and now exists between Plaintiff and the named Defendants with respect to the existence, priority, amount, and enforceability of Plaintiff’s security interest in the property because: (a) Plaintiff’s contends that by virtue of recording the Mariam Trust Deed he holds a valid, perfected, and enforceable security interest in the property; and (b) there is a dispute about the existence, priority, amount, and enforceability of his lien claim against the property. (Id., ¶95.)

Petrosian and Baburyan demur to the 9th cause of action, arguing that Plaintiff has not shown that he is the beneficiary of the deed of trust. In the Court’s prior ruling on the demurrer to the SAC, the Court found that Plaintiff had not alleged facts or provided documentary exhibits showing when the purported assignment from Penway to Plaintiff took place, the terms of the assignment, and whether Penway assigned its interest in the property to Plaintiff. The SAC previously alleged that Plaintiff received an assignment from Penway of the claims and causes of action stated in the SAC (¶1).

In the TAC, Plaintiff alleges in a section entitled “The Assignment” (TAC at pp.4-5) that on April 6, 2017, prior to the commencement of the action, Plaintiff for valuable consideration received an assignment from Penway of the claims and causes of action which are subject to this action. (TAC, ¶23.) He alleges that Penway executed a written Assignment of Deed of Trust assigning and transferring all of its beneficial interest to Plaintiff in the 1737 Bel Aire Dr. property, which it held under the deed of trust and promissory note dated February 4, 2015 and executed by Kakoian, as well as the note(s) and money due and under the deed of trust. (Id., ¶¶24-25.) Plaintiff alleges that there was a period when the original document would not be readily located, persons may have attempted to remove it from his possession, and that it is available. (Id., ¶26.)

The purported assignment document is not attached to the TAC, which Defendants argue make Plaintiff’s claim against them defective. The assignment is attached to Defendant’s reply brief as an exhibit, which they state Plaintiff produced almost 2 months after the TAC was served. (Reply at p.2.)

According to the Substitution of Trustee and Full Reconveyance document (RJN, Ex. B), Penway accepted its appointment as trustee under the deed of trust and reconveyed without warranty to the person(s) legally entitled thereto all estate now held by it under the deed of trust. Based on this judicially noticeable document, Penway reconveyed the deed of trust, such that it no longer has an interest in the deed of trust. The fact that Penway may have (allegedly) assigned any interests it may have had in this action to Plaintiff in April 2017 does not appear to have significance because it appears of record that Penway did not have any interest to assign to Plaintiff in the first place. (See TAC, ¶23.)

After the Substitution of Trustee and Full Reconveyance, Petrosian and Baburyan purchased the property in June 20, 2017. Thus, Petrosian and Baburyan purchased the property after Penway reconveyed its interest in the property and before Penway assigned whatever rights it had remaining to Plaintiff. Based on the allegations of the complaint and the judicially noticeable documents, Penway had no remaining interest in the property at the time of the sale. In opposition and at the February 14, 2020 hearing, Plaintiff did not present any further evidence or judicially noticeable documents to show that Penway had an interest at the time it made a purported assignment to Plaintiff.

As such, the Court finds that while Plaintiff may have alleged and/or shown (by way of Defendants’ reply documents) that he had an assignment from Penway, this does not cure the issue that Penway lacked any interest to assign to Plaintiff. Thus, Plaintiff lacks standing to bring this cause of action against Petrosian and Baburyan.

Further, Petrosian and Baburyan argue that they had no knowledge that the deed of trust was a valid encumbrance of Plaintiff against the property or that he claimed an interest in the property, thereby making them bona fide purchasers of the property. In the Court’s prior ruling to the demurrer on the SAC, the Court commented in a parenthetical that it appeared that Petrosian and Baburyan were bona fide purchasers of the property who had no knowledge of Plaintiff’s purported interest in the property. In the TAC, Plaintiff alleges that he perfected his security interest in the property and that “[a]ny potential purchasers of an interest in the property took that interest subject to Plaintiff’s prior, publicly-available and widely-known prior encumbrance.” (TAC, ¶93.) However, for the reasons stated above, the judicially noticeable documents show that Plaintiff’s potential interest in the property had been released.

Accordingly, Petrosian and Baburyan’s demurrer to the 9th cause of action in the TAC directed against them is sustained without leave to amend.

DISCUSSION RE DEMURRER OF KAKOIAN

Kakoian demurs to the 1st, 3rd, and 4th causes of action alleged in the TAC.

A. Request for Judicial Notice

Kakoian requests judicial notice of documents of: (A) grant deed recorded May 16, 2002; (B) deed of trust for $210,000 recorded January 10, 2014; (C) substitution of trustee and full reconveyance recorded April 2, 2014; (D) deed of trust for $280,000 recorded April 2, 2014; (E) substitution of trustee and full reconveyance recorded February 27, 2015; (F) deed of trust for $355,000 recorded February 6, 2015; (G) substitution of trustee and full reconveyance recorded July 7, 2015; (H) grant deed June 20, 2017; and (I) the Court’s ruling regarding the demurrer to the SAC filed October 11, 2019. The request for judicial notice is granted. (See Evid. Code, §452(d); Fontenot v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 256, 264-67, disapproved on other grounds.)

B. Assignment Allegations

Kakoian demurs to the TAC on the ground that allegations fail to allege a proper assignment from Penway to Ambarachyan for Ambarachyan to pursue the claims asserted against her.

For the same reasons discussed above by the Court regarding the demurrer of Petrosian and Baburyan, the Court finds merits to Kakoian’s arguments that any cause of action that Plaintiff may have against Kakoian based on any purported assignment of claims from Penway to Plaintiff are not viable. The Court will discuss the merits of the demurrer to determine whether the causes of action are based on claims that Plaintiff was purportedly assigned.

C. 1st cause of action for Fraud

To allege a cause of action for fraud, the requisite elements are: (1) a representation, usually of fact, which is false; (2) knowledge of its falsity; (3) intent to defraud; (4) justifiable reliance upon the misrepresentation; and (5) damage resulting from that justifiable reliance. (Stansfield v. Starkey (1990) 220 Cal. App. 3d 59, 72-73.) This cause of action is a tort of deceit and the facts constituting each element must be alleged with particularity; the claim cannot be saved by referring to the policy favoring liberal construction of pleadings.  (Committee on Children's Television, Inc. v. General Foods Corp. (1983) 35 Cal.3d 197, 216.)  Since the claim must be pleaded with particularity, the cause of action based on misrepresentations must allege facts showing how, when, where, to whom, and by what means the misrepresentations were tendered.  (Stansfield v. Starkey (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 59, 73.)

Under California law, conspiracy is not a cause of action, but a legal doctrine that imposes liability on persons who, although not actually committing a tort themselves, share with the immediate tortfeasors a common plan or design in its perpetration.  (Wyatt v. Union Mortgage Co. (1979) 24 Cal.3d 773, 784.)  A claim for conspiracy must be based on a wrongful act and the claim must allege: (1) the formation and operation of the conspiracy; (2) the wrongful act or acts done pursuant thereto; and (3) the damage resulting.  (Unruh v. Truck Insurance Exchange (1972) 7 Cal. 3d 616, 631.) There must be allegations that the purported conspirators had actual knowledge of the planned tort and had the intent to aid in the commission of the tort.  (Kidron v. Movie Acquisition Corp. (1995) 40 Cal.App.4th 1571, 1580.)

In the 1st cause of action, Plaintiff alleges that in February 2015, Kakoian approached him in furtherance of a conspiracy and verbally asked for a loan in the amount of $355,000 because the 1737 Bel Aire Dr. property was in foreclosure and she sought to prevent the loss of her property and pay-off the lender. (TAC, ¶47.) He alleges that Kakoian verbally told him that she intended to repay the loan with interest and that the indebtedness would be secured by a first position security interest in the property. (Id., ¶48.) Plaintiff alleges he relied on Defendants’ verbal representations and made the loan, and Defendants executed and delivered a note and the Mariam Trust Deed. (Id., ¶49.) He alleges their representations were false and in furtherance of a conspiracy to deprive him of money, and that he justifiably relied on their representations. (Id., ¶¶50-54.) Plaintiff alleges that when the property was sold for $935,300 in June 2017, he was not paid from the proceeds from the sale. (Id., ¶¶51, 56.)

In the Court’s prior ruling on Kakoian’s demurrer to the fraud cause of action in the SAC, the Court held that Plaintiff failed to allege facts showing that his reliance on Kakoian’s verbal statements were justifiable. The Court also ruled that the facts alleging a conspiracy theory of liability were lacking, failed to show the formation of a conspiracy involving Kakoian with the other Defendants, and the allegations were conclusory at best.

In the TAC, Plaintiff alleges that Chuckhyan began hatching a scheme with the other Defendants to defraud investors in real estate. (TAC, ¶28.) He alleges that Chukhyan and Narkaz used other individuals and escrow companies to facilitate the use of short-sales. (Id., ¶29.) Plaintiff alleges that he is one of the investors defrauded by Chukhyan and Plavjian, as well as their co-conspirators Kakoian, KSR, Narkaz, Badeer, and Shabazian. (Id., ¶33.) Plaintiff alleges that Kakoian was the owner of the subject property, Chukyhan caused Kakoian to obtain a series of loans, and that Plaintiff was induced into lending $355,000. (Id., ¶¶35-40.)

However, these allegations fail to allege that Kakoian was involved in the formation and operation of the conspiracy. There are no allegations that Kakoian had actual knowledge of the planned fraud and had intent to aid in the commission of the fraud, nor is there any agreement on Kakoian’s part alleged.

Further, to the extent that a fraud claim is being alleged against Kakoian directly, the allegations again are lacking. As stated in the Court’s prior ruling, Plaintiff has not alleged facts showing that his reliance on any misrepresentation by Kakoian was reasonable. Though the Court previously raised this issue, Plaintiff has not provided additional facts showing that he can allege a direct fraud claim against Kakoian.

In the demurrer, Kakoian also argues that this cause of action fails because Plaintiff lacks a valid assignment from Penway. However, the cause of action does not appear to be framed in manner that misrepresentations were made to Penway, and that the cause of action is based on a cause of action asserted by Penway. Rather, it appears to be brought by Plaintiff in his own individual capacity (without need of the assignment from Penway). Regardless, the defects stated above have not been cured or addressed.

Finally, the Court notes that Kakoian’s demurrer is not opposed by Plaintiff. At the February 14, 2020 hearing, Plaintiff did not object to or make arguments about the Court’s prior tentative ruling to sustain the demurrer to the 1st cause of action. As such, the Court sustains the demurrer to the 1st cause of action without leave to amend.

D. 3rd cause of action for Breach of Contract

“The standard elements of a claim for breach of contract are: “(1) the contract, (2) plaintiff's performance or excuse for nonperformance, (3) defendant's breach, and (4) damage to plaintiff therefrom. [Citation.]” (Wall Street Network, Ltd. v. New York Times Co. (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 1171, 1178.) The plaintiff must attach the contract at issue to the complaint or plead the material terms to assert a breach of contract claim. (Construction Protective Servs., Inc. v. TIG Specialty Ins. Co. (2002) 29 Cal.4th 189, 198–99; San Diego Housing Comm’n v. Indust. Indem. Co. (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 526, 536.)

In the 3rd cause of action, Ambarachyan alleges that he entered into a written agreement with Kakoian to give her a loan in return for her promise to pay back the loan with certain interest and to provide collateral for the loan. (TAC, ¶65.) He alleges Kakoian breached the contract by failing to perform pursuant to the terms of the agreement, such as by not paying back the money he was owed when the property was sold in 2017. (Id., ¶66.)

Kakoian demurs to this cause of action, arguing that the only contract subject to this cause of action is Penway’s note and deed of trust. Thus, Kakoian argues that Plaintiff has not sufficiently alleged an assignment by Penway to Plaintiff, such that Plaintiff lacks standing to assert a breach of contract claim. As currently alleged, the TAC is vague as to what “written agreement” he entered into with Kakoian and whether, in fact, the written agreement was entered between Kakoian and Penway. If entered between Kakoian and Penway, then there would be issues with regard to the purported assignment of claims from Penway to Plaintiff, as discussed above. Moreover, although the deed of trust was reconveyed, it is not clear that there was a payoff of the loan, at least as contained in the pleadings.

As currently worded, the demurrer to the 3rd cause of action is sustained. The Court will hear oral arguments on this cause of action to determine whether Plaintiff has the ability to amend the cause of action.

E. 4th cause of action for Equitable Lien

An equitable lien is a right to subject property not in the possession of the lienor to the payment of a debt as a charge against that property.” (Farmers Ins. Exchange v. Zerin (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 445, 454.) Such a lien may arise from a contract or out of “general considerations of right and justice as applied to the relations of the parties and the circumstances of their dealings.” (Id.) The basis of equitable liens is placed on the doctrines of estoppel, or unjust enrichment, or on the principle that a person having obtained an estate of another ought not in conscience to keep it as between them; and frequently it is based on the equitable maxim that equity will deem as done that which ought to be done, or that he who seeks the aid of equity must himself do equity. (Id.) However, “[a] promise to pay a debt out of a particular fund, without more, will not create an equitable lien on that fund.” (Id.)

In the 4th cause of action for equitable lien, Plaintiff alleges that by virtue of Defendants’ fraudulent actions, he was induced to and conferred a benefit upon Defendants by giving them a $355,000 loan. (TAC, ¶69.) He alleges that Defendants converted monies belonging to Plaintiff under false pretenses and each had knowledge of the benefit they received because they accepted and retained the benefits knowingly in furtherance of the conspiracy. (Id., ¶¶70-71.) He seeks an equitable lien on the rents, issues, and profits from Defendants’ actions regarding the property. (Id., ¶71.)

Kakoian demurs to this cause of action arguing that the Grant Deed (RJN, Ex. H) shows that she transferred title in the property to Petrosian and Baburyan on June 20, 2017, and thus she no longer has property that can be subject to an equitable lien. The Court previously sustained the demurrer to this cause of action in the SAC on the same basis.

Plaintiff again has not alleged any additional facts, nor has he opposed the demurrer to show that he can amend this cause of action. The Court stated in its tentative ruling for the February 14, 2020 hearing date that it would be inclined to sustain the demurrer without leave to amend, unless Plaintiff was able to make a showing that he could amend the complaint. At the February 14, 2020 hearing, Plaintiff’s counsel failed to do so. As such, the Court sustains the demurrer to the 4th cause of action without leave to amend.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

The demurrer of Defendants Varsik Petrosian and Hakob B. Baburyan to the 9th cause of action alleged in the TAC is sustained without leave to amend.

The Court sustains without leave to amend the unopposed demurrer of Defendant/Cross-Complainant Mariam Kakoian to the 1st and 4th causes of action alleged in the TAC. The demurrer to the 3rd cause of action is sustained. The demurrer to the 3rd cause of action is sustained, but the Court will hear argument as to what whether Plaintiff has the ability to amend the cause of action.

The forgoing is the Court’s tentative ruling. Because it differs substantially from the Court’s original tentative ruling, the Court will set a hearing on February 28, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. to hear supplemental oral arguments from the parties on this tentative order.

Defendants shall provide notice of this order.

Case Number: EC068660    Hearing Date: February 14, 2020    Dept: NCB

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

ARTHUR AMBARACHYAN,

GEORGE PLAVJIAN, et al.,

Hearing Date:  February 14, 2020

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE:

DEMURRERS

BACKGROUND

A. Allegations of the TAC

Plaintiff Arthur Ambarachyan (“Ambarachyan”) alleges that he is an investor who was defrauded by Defendants Sona Chukhyan (“Chukhyan”) and George Plavjian (“Plavjian”), as well as their co-conspirators KSR Realty, Inc. (“KSR”), Reta Narkaz, Ruzana Badeer (“Badeer”), Kiane Shabazian (“Shabazian”), and Mariam Kakoian (“Kakoian”).  Ambarachyan alleges that Kakoian was the owner of property located at 1737 Bel Aire Dr. in Glendale and that Chukhyan and Kakoian took out loans on the property to pay off other investors that Chukhyan scammed or defrauded.  In February 2015, Chukhyan and Kakoian approached Plaintiff for a loan in the amount of $355,000.00.  Plaintiff lent the money and Kakoian signed a promissory note agreeing to pay the money back with interest, and the note was secured by a deed of trust against the property.  However, the property was sold for $935,300.00 in 2017 and Plaintiff was not paid from the proceeds of the sale.

The third amended complaint (“TAC”), filed January 24, 2020, alleges causes of action for: (1) fraud and conspiracy against Kakoian; (2) negligent misrepresentation against Kakoian; (3) breach of contract against Kakoian; (4) equitable lien against Kakoian; (5) negligence against Lawyers Title; (6) equitable indemnity against Chukhyan, Plavjian, KSR, Badeer, Shabazian, and Narkaz; (7) comparative indemnity against Chukhyan, Plavjian, KSR, Badeer, Shabazian, and Narkaz; (8) declaratory relief against Chukhyan, Plavjian, KSR, Badeer, Shabazian, and Narkaz; and (9) declaratory relief against Petrosian, Baburyan, and Lawyers Title. 

B. Demurrers on Calendar

On December 6 and 9, 2019, Kakoian filed demurrers to the TAC.  The Court will consider the arguments in the December 9, 2019 filed demurrer papers.  The Court is not in receipt of an opposition brief to this demurrer. 

On December 31, 2019, Defendants Varsik Petrosian and Hakob H. Baburyan filed a demurrer to the TAC.  On January 10, 2020, Plaintiff filed an opposition brief.  On January 15, 2020, Defendants filed a reply brief.

DISCUSSION RE DEMURRER OF PETROSIAN AND BABURYAN

Petrosian and Baburyan demur to the SAC on the 9th cause of action for declaratory relief. 

A. Request for Judicial notice

Petrosian and Baburyan requests judicial notice of documents of: (A) the Deed of Trust recorded on April 29, 2015; and (B) the Substitution of Trustee and Full Reconveyance recorded on July 7, 2015.  The requests are granted.  (See Fontenot v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 256, 264-67, disapproved on other grounds.)

B. 9th cause of action for Declaratory Relief

By way of background, Kakoian was the owner of 1737 Bel Aire Dr. in 2002.  (TAC, ¶¶ 34-35.)  Kakoian signed a promissory note in the amount of $355,000 on February 6, 2015, which was entered between Kakoian (borrower) and Penway LLC (lender).  (Id., ¶43, Ex. A.)  The note was secured by a deed of trust against the property (“Mariam Trust Deed”), identifying “547 Arden Ave Glendale, CA 91203” as the beneficiary.  (Id., Ex. B.)  The deed of trust was re-recorded on April 29, 2015 to include the name of the beneficiary, Penway (which was located at 547 Arden Ave).  (Def.’s RJN, Ex. A.)  A substitution of trustee and full reconveyance was recorded on July 7, 2015, which substitutes Penway as the trustee in lieu of Stewart Title Company (the original trustee in the deed of trust).  (Def.’s RJN, Ex. B.)  Kakoian sold the property to Petrosian and Baburyan on June 20, 2017 for $935,000, but Plaintiff was not paid from the proceeds of the sale despite the February 6, 2015 promissory note.  (Id., ¶¶44-45.)  

In the 9th cause of action for declaratory relief asserted against Petrosian, Baburyan, and Lawyers Title, Plaintiff Ambarachyan claims to have a valid perfected security interest in the property (legally and equitably) that is adverse to the interest claimed by the buyers Petrosian and Baburyan by virtue of the recordation of the Mariam Trust Deed.  (TAC, ¶¶92-93.)  Thus, he alleges there is an actual and justiciable controversy that has arisen and now exists between Plaintiff and the named Defendants with respect to the existence, priority, amount, and enforceability of Plaintiff’s security interest in the property because: (a) Plaintiff’s contends that by virtue of recording the Mariam Trust Deed he holds a valid, perfected, and enforceable security interest in the property; and (b) there is a dispute about the existence, priority, amount, and enforceability of his lien claim against the property.  (Id., ¶95.)

Petrosian and Baburyan demur to the 9th cause of action, arguing that Plaintiff has not shown that he is the beneficiary of the deed of trust.  In the Court’s prior ruling on the demurrer to the SAC, the Court found that Plaintiff had not alleged facts or provided documentary exhibits showing when the purported assignment from Penway to Plaintiff took place, the terms of the assignment, and whether Penway assigned its interest in the property to Plaintiff.  The SAC previously alleged that Plaintiff received an assignment from Penway of the claims and causes of action stated in the SAC (¶1).  In the TAC, Plaintiff alleges that in a section entitled “The Assignment” (TAC at pp.4-5) that on April 6, 2017, prior to the commencement of the action, Plaintiff for valuable consideration received an assignment from Penway of the claims and causes of action which are subject to this action.  (TAC, ¶23.)  He alleges that Penway executed a written Assignment of Deed of Trust assigning and transferring all of its beneficial interest to Plaintiff in the 1737 Bel Aire Dr. property, which it held under the deed of trust and promissory note dated February 4, 2015 and executed by Kakoian, as well as the note(s) and money due and under the deed of trust.  (Id., ¶¶24-25.)  Plaintiff alleges that there was a period when the original document would not be readily located, persons may have attempted to remove it from his possession, and that it is available.  (Id., ¶26.)

The purported assignment document is not attached to the TAC, which Defendants argue make Plaintiff’s claim against them defective.  Nevertheless, the TAC alleges facts supporting Plaintiff’s allegations that a written assignment document from Penway to Plaintiff exists.  At the demurrer stage, the Court takes the allegations of the TAC as true.   Thus, the demurrer will be overruled on the basis that the TAC adequately alleges the assignment and Plaintiff’s standing.  (The Court notes that in reply, Defendants state that Plaintiff produced the assignment almost 2 months after the TAC was served. Reply at p. 2.) 

Next, Petrosian and Baburyan argues that they had no knowledge that the deed of trust was a valid encumbrance of Plaintiff against the property or that he claimed an interest in the property, thereby making them bona fide purchasers of the property.  In the Court’s prior ruling to the demurrer on the SAC, the Court commented in a parenthetical that it appeared that Petrosian and Baburyan were bona fide purchasers of the property who had no knowledge of Plaintiff’s purported interest in the property.  In the TAC, Plaintiff now alleges that he perfected his security interest in the property and that “[a]ny potential purchasers of an interest in the property took that interest subject to Plaintiff’s prior, publicly-available and widely-known prior encumbrance.”  (TAC, ¶93.)  In opposition, Plaintiff argues that this allegation sufficiently alleges that Defendants were on notice of the assignment and thus they are not bona fide purchasers. 

Again, at the demurrer stage, the Court accepts the allegations as true.  Whether the allegations turn out to be true will be decided when the Court may consider the parties’ evidence. Further, a demurrer is a procedurally inappropriate method for disposing of a complaint for declaratory relief.  (Lockheed Martin Corp. v. Continental Ins. Co. (2005) 134 Cal. App. 4th 187, 221.)  This is based on the reasoning that an order sustaining the demurrer would leave the parties where they were, with no binding determination of their rights, to await an actual breach and ensuing litigation.  (Id.)  This would defeat a fundamental purpose of declaratory relief, which is to remove uncertainties as to legal rights and duties before breach and without the risks and delays that it involves.  (Id.)  The object of declaratory relief is not necessarily a beneficial judgment; instead, it is a determination, favorable or unfavorable, that enables the plaintiff to act with safety.  (Id.)  This reasoning has established the rule that the defendant cannot, on demurrer, attack the merits of the plaintiff's claim (italics added for emphasis). (Id.)  Accordingly, a complaint is sufficient if it shows an actual controversy; it need not show that plaintiff is in the right.  (Id.) 

Accordingly, Petrosian and Baburyan’s demurrer to the 9th cause of action in the TAC directed against them is overruled. 

DISCUSSION RE DEMURRER OF KAKOIAN

Kakoian demurs to the 1st, 3rd, and 4th causes of action alleged in the TAC.

A. Request for Judicial Notice

Kakoian requests judicial notice of documents of: (A) grant deed recorded May 16, 2002; (B) deed of trust for $210,000 recorded January 10, 2014; (C) substitution of trustee and full reconveyance recorded April 2, 2014; (D) deed of trust for $280,000 recorded April 2, 2014; (E) substitution of trustee and full reconveyance recorded February 27, 2015; (F) deed of trust for $355,000 recorded February 6, 2015; (G) substitution of trustee and full reconveyance recorded July 7, 2015; (H) grant deed June 20, 2017; and (I) the Court’s ruling regarding the demurrer to the SAC filed October 11, 2019.   The request for judicial notice is granted.  (See Evid. Code, §452(d); Fontenot v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 256, 264-67, disapproved on other grounds.)

B. Assignment Allegations

Kakoian demurs to the TAC on the ground that allegations fail to allege a proper assignment from Penway to Ambarachyan for Ambarachyan to pursue the claims asserted against her.   

For the same reasons discussed above by the Court regarding the demurrer of Petrosian and Baburyan, the Court overrules the demurrer of Kakoian on this basis. 

C. 1st cause of action for Fraud

To allege a cause of action for fraud, the requisite elements are: (1) a representation, usually of fact, which is false; (2) knowledge of its falsity; (3) intent to defraud; (4) justifiable reliance upon the misrepresentation; and (5) damage resulting from that justifiable reliance.  (Stansfield v. Starkey (1990) 220 Cal. App. 3d 59, 72-73.)  This cause of action is a tort of deceit and the facts constituting each element must be alleged with particularity; the claim cannot be saved by referring to the policy favoring liberal construction of pleadings.  (Committee on Children's Television, Inc. v. General Foods Corp. (1983) 35 Cal.3d 197, 216.)  Since the claim must be pleaded with particularity, the cause of action based on misrepresentations must allege facts showing how, when, where, to whom, and by what means the misrepresentations were tendered.  (Stansfield v. Starkey (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 59, 73.)

Under California law, conspiracy is not a cause of action, but a legal doctrine that imposes liability on persons who, although not actually committing a tort themselves, share with the immediate tortfeasors a common plan or design in its perpetration.  (Wyatt v. Union Mortgage Co. (1979) 24 Cal.3d 773, 784.)  A claim for conspiracy must be based on a wrongful act and the claim must allege: (1) the formation and operation of the conspiracy; (2) the wrongful act or acts done pursuant thereto; and (3) the damage resulting.  (Unruh v. Truck Insurance Exchange (1972) 7 Cal. 3d 616, 631.)  There must be allegations that the purported conspirators had actual knowledge of the planned tort and had the intent to aid in the commission of the tort.  (Kidron v. Movie Acquisition Corp. (1995) 40 Cal.App.4th 1571, 1580.)

In the 1st cause of action, Plaintiff alleges that in February 2015, Kakoian approached him in furtherance of a conspiracy and verbally asked for a loan in the amount of $355,000 because the 1737 Bel Aire Dr. property was in foreclosure and she sought to prevent the loss of her property and pay-off the lender.  (TAC, ¶47.)  He alleges that Kakoian verbally told him that she intended to repay the loan with interest and that the indebtedness would be secured by a first position security interest in the property.  (Id., ¶48.)  Plaintiff alleges he relied on Defendants’ verbal representations and made the loan, and Defendants executed and delivered a note and the Mariam Trust Deed.  (Id., ¶49.)  He alleges their representations were false and in furtherance of a conspiracy to deprive him of money, and that he justifiably relied on their representations.  (Id., ¶¶50-54.)  Plaintiff alleges that when the property was sold for $935,300 in June 2017, he was not paid from the proceeds from the sale.  (Id., ¶¶51, 56.) 

In the Court’s prior ruling on Kakoian’s demurrer to the fraud cause of action in the SAC, the Court held that Plaintiff failed to allege facts showing that his reliance on Kakoian’s verbal statements were justifiable.   The Court also ruled that the facts alleging a conspiracy theory of liability were lacking, failed to show the formation of a conspiracy involving Kakoian with the other Defendants, and the allegations were conclusory at best. 

In the TAC, Plaintiff alleges that Chuckhyan began hatching a scheme with the other Defendants to defraud investors in real estate.  (TAC, ¶28.)  He alleges that Chukhyan and Narkaz used other individuals and escrow companies to facilitate the use of short-sales.  (Id., ¶29.)  Plaintiff alleges that he is one of the investors defrauded by Chukhyan and Plavjian, as well as their co-conspirators Kakoian, KSR, Narkaz, Badeer, and Shabazian.  (Id., ¶33.)  Plaintiff alleges that Kakoian was the owner of the subject property, Chukyhan caused Kakoian to obtain a series of loans, and that Plaintiff was induced into lending $355,000.  (Id., ¶¶35-40.) 

However, these allegations fail to allege that Kakoian was involved in the formation and operation of the conspiracy.  There are no allegations that Kakoian had actual knowledge of the planned fraud and had intent to aid in the commission of the fraud, nor is there any agreement on Kakoian’s part alleged. 

Further, to the extent that a direct fraud claim is being alleged against Kakoian, the allegations again are lacking.  As stated in the Court’s prior ruling, Plaintiff has not alleged facts showing that his reliance on any misrepresentation was reasonable.  Though the Court previously raised this issue, Plaintiff has not provided additional facts showing that he can allege a direct fraud claim against Kakoian.

Finally, the Court notes that Kakoian’s demurrer is not opposed by Plaintiff.  As such, Plaintiff has not shown how, upon amendment, he is able to add facts to make this a viable claim for fraud and conspiracy against Kakoian.  Thus, the Court is inclined to sustain the demurrer to the 1st cause of action without leave to amend.

D. 3rd cause of action for Breach of Contract

“The standard elements of a claim for breach of contract are: “(1) the contract, (2) plaintiff's performance or excuse for nonperformance, (3) defendant's breach, and (4) damage to plaintiff therefrom. [Citation.]”  (Wall Street Network, Ltd. v. New York Times Co. (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 1171, 1178.)  The plaintiff must attach the contract at issue to the complaint or plead the material terms to assert a breach of contract claim.  (Construction Protective Servs., Inc. v. TIG Specialty Ins. Co. (2002) 29 Cal.4th 189, 198–99; San Diego Housing Comm’n v. Indust. Indem. Co. (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 526, 536.) 

In the 3rd cause of action, Ambarachyan alleges that he entered into a written agreement with Kakoian to give her a loan in return for her promise to pay back the loan with certain interest and to provide collateral for the loan.  (TAC, ¶65.)  He alleges Kakoian breached the contract by failing to perform pursuant to the terms of the agreement, such as by not paying back the money he was owed when the property was sold in 2017.  (Id., ¶66.)

Kakoian demurs to this cause of action, arguing that Plaintiff has not sufficiently alleged an assignment by Penway to Plaintiff, such that Plaintiff lacks standing to assert a breach of contract claim.  However, for the reasons discussed above, the Court will find the allegations sufficient to allege an assignment. 

As such, the demurrer to the 3rd cause of action is overruled.

E. 4th cause of action for Equitable Lien

An equitable lien is a right to subject property not in the possession of the lienor to the payment of a debt as a charge against that property.”  (Farmers Ins. Exchange v. Zerin (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 445, 454.)  Such a lien may arise from a contract or out of “general considerations of right and justice as applied to the relations of the parties and the circumstances of their dealings.”  (Id.)  The basis of equitable liens is placed on the doctrines of estoppel, or unjust enrichment, or on the principle that a person having obtained an estate of another ought not in conscience to keep it as between them; and frequently it is based on the equitable maxim that equity will deem as done that which ought to be done, or that he who seeks the aid of equity must himself do equity.  (Id.)  However, “[a] promise to pay a debt out of a particular fund, without more, will not create an equitable lien on that fund.”  (Id.)

In the 4th cause of action for equitable lien, Plaintiff alleges that by virtue of Defendants’ fraudulent actions, he was induced to and conferred a benefit upon Defendants by giving them a $355,000 loan.  (TAC, ¶69.)  He alleges that Defendants converted monies belonging to Plaintiff under false pretenses and each had knowledge of the benefit they received because they accepted and retained the benefits knowingly in furtherance of the conspiracy.  (Id., ¶¶70-71.)  He seeks an equitable lien on the rents, issues, and profits from Defendants’ actions regarding the property.  (Id., ¶71.)

Kakoian demurs to this cause of action arguing that the Grant Deed (RJN, Ex. H) shows that she transferred title in the property to Petrosian and Haburyan on June 20, 2017, and thus she no longer has property that can be subject to an equitable lien.  The Court previously sustained the demurrer to this cause of action in the SAC on the same basis. 

Plaintiff again has not alleged any additional facts, nor has he opposed the demurrer to show that he can amend this cause of action.  Thus, the Court is inclined to sustain the demurrer to the 4th cause of action without leave to amend.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

The Court is inclined to sustain without leave to amend the unopposed demurrer of Defendant/Cross-Complainant Mariam Kakoian to the 1st and 4th causes of action alleged in the TAC.  However, the Court will entertain oral arguments at the hearing to determine whether leave to amend is possible as to the 1st and 4th causes of action.  The demurrer to the 3rd cause of action is overruled.

Defendants shall provide notice of this order.  

Case Number: EC068660    Hearing Date: January 24, 2020    Dept: NCB

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

arthur ambarachyan,

Plaintiff,

v.

George plavjian, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: EC068660

Hearing Date: January 24, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

Demurrer

On December 31, 2019, Defendants Varsik Petrosian and Hakob H. Baburyan filed a demurrer to the Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”). On January 10, 2020, Plaintiff filed an opposition brief. On January 15, 2020, Defendants filed a reply brief.

However, at the time of filing the demurrer, opposition, and reply briefs, the Court notes that no TAC had been filed with the Court.

On January 2, 2020, Plaintiff filed the Stipulation and [Proposed] Order Regarding Filing of Plaintiff’s Third Amended Complaint. The parties acknowledged that on October 11, 2019, the Court sustained in part and overruled in part the demurrers to the Second Amended Complaint and allowed Plaintiff 20 days leave to file a TAC. The parties also acknowledged that Plaintiff’s TAC had been served, but had not been electronically filed with the Court.

On January 14, 2020, the Court signed the Order, giving Plaintiff 48 hours (from filing and receipt of the Order) to file and serve the TAC. Defendants were given 7 court days from the date of the filing and service of the TAC to file their responsive pleading.

In order for the Court to have sufficient time to consider the TAC and the Petrosian/Baburyan demurrer papers, the Court will continue the hearing on the demurrer to February 14, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. to be concurrently heard with the demurrer of Defendant Mariam Kakoian (filed December 9, 2019).

To the extent the TAC has not been filed with the Court by January 24, 2020, Plaintiff should do so immediately.

Defendants shall provide notice of this order.

Case Number: EC068660    Hearing Date: December 20, 2019    Dept: NCB

 

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

arthur ambarachyan,

Plaintiff,

v.

George plavjian, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: EC068660

Hearing Date: December 20, 2019

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

motions to compel further responses

BACKGROUND

  1. Allegations of the SAC

    Plaintiff Arthur Ambarachyan (“Ambarachyan”) alleges that he is an investor who was defrauded by Defendants Sona Chukhyan (“Chukhyan”) and George Plavjian (“Plavjian”), as well as their co-conspirators KSR Realty, Inc. (“KSR”), Reta Narkaz, Ruzana Badeer (“Badeer”), Kiane Shabazian (“Shabazian”), and Mariam Kakoian (“Kakoian”). Ambarachyan alleges that Kakoian was the owner of property located at 1737 Bel Aire Dr. in Glendale and that Chukhyan and Kakoian took out loans on the property to pay off other investors that Chukhyan scammed or defrauded. In February 2015, Chukhyan and Kakoian approached Plaintiff for a loan in the amount of $355,000.00. Plaintiff lent the money and Kakoian signed a promissory note agreeing to pay the money back with interest, and the note was secured by a deed of trust against the property. However, the property was sold for $935,300.00 in 2017 and Plaintiff was not paid from the proceeds of the sale.

    The second amended complaint (“SAC”), filed May 20, 2019, alleges causes of action for: (1) fraud against Kakoian; (2) negligent misrepresentation against Kakoian; (3) breach of contract against Kakoian; (4) equitable lien against Kakoian; (5) negligence against Lawyers Title; (6) equitable indemnity against Chukhyan, Plavjian, KSR, Badeer, Shabazian, and Narkaz; (7) comparative indemnity against Chukhyan, Plavjian, KSR, Badeer, Shabazian, and Narkaz; (8) declaratory relief against Chukhyan, Plavjian, KSR, Badeer, Shabazian, and Narkaz; and (9) declaratory relief against Petrosian, Baburyan, and Lawyers Title.

  2. Allegations of the Cross-Complaint

    On October 31, 2019, Kakoian filed the first amended cross-complaint (“FACC”) against Ambarachyan, Escrow on Brand, Inc. (“EOB”), National Properties, Inc. (“National”), Reta Narkaz, Chukhyan, KSR, Plavjian, Badeer, Shabazian, Arpi Nazarian (“Nazarian”), Sevak Agakanyan (“Agakanyan”), and Penway LLC (“Penway”) for: (1) fraud – misrepresentation against Chukhyan, Plavjian, and Narkaz; (2) fraud – concealment against Ambarachyan, Narkaz, EOB, and National; (3) breach of contract against Agakanyan and Penway; (4) intentional interference with contractual relations against Chukhyan, Plavjian, Badeer, Shabazian, Ambarachyan, Narkaz, EOB, and KSR; (5) breach of fiduciary duty against Chukhyan, Ambarachyan, Narkaz, Nazarian, EOB, and National; (6) constructive fraud against Chukhyan, Ambarachyan, Narkaz, EOB, and National; (7) breach of statutory duty (Bus. & Profs. Code, §10177(h)) against Ambarachyan and Narkaz; (8) conversion against Chukhyan, Plavjian, Badeer, Shabazian, Ambarachyan, and Narkaz; and (9) IIED against Chukhyan, Plavjian, Badeer, Shabazian, Ambarachyan, Narkaz, and Nazarian.

    Kakoian alleges that in 2000 she purchased a market called CK Food Store (“CK”), which she operated with her brother Sarkis. On March 13, 2002, she purchased property located at 1737 Bel Aire Dr. in Glendale. In 2009 to 2013, CK was in financial trouble. Kakoian was introduced to Chukhyan in June 2013, who promised to save her through a short sale—which indeed was completed and successful. Loan One was for $210,000 (recorded January 10, 2014), but Chukhyan told Kakoian that she would get her a “conventional real loan”. Chukhyan then had Kakoian sign for Loan Two in the amount of $280,000 on March 26, 2014 (recorded April 2, 2014), but the funds from the loan were not paid to Kakoian and were instead diverted to Cross-Defendants. Chukhyan then had Kakoian sign for Loan Three for $355,000, of which the funds were again not disbursed to Kakoian. Thus, Chukhyan entered into a series of loans on Kakoian’s behalf and impersonated Kakoian to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, all the while Kakoian believed Chukhyan was working for her best interest as her “guardian angel”. Kakoian then called the FBI on June 20, 2015, to learn that Chukhyan had an extensive file for mortgage fraud. Kakoian alleges she then realized that the loans had been funded but re-directed so that she did not benefit from them, the short sale was not down for her benefit, and that she has been a victim of theft.

  3. Discovery Motions on Calendar

    On November 1, 2019, Kakoian filed 2 motions to compel further responses to: (1) requests for production of documents, set one (“RPD”) from EOB; and (2) RPD from Ambarachyan. The Court will hereinafter refer to the RPDs propounded on EOB and Ambarachyan by Kakoian as “EOB RPD” and “Ambarachyan RPD”, respectfully.

    The Court is not in receipt of an opposition brief for either motion.

    DISCUSSION

    Kakoian moves to compel EOB and Ambarachyan to provide further responses to the respective RPDs propounded on them. The RPDs sought the following documents:

Ambarachyan and EOB objected to the RPDs on the grounds that the RPDs were compound, unintelligible, burdensome and oppressive, and indefinite as to time and scope; sought irrelevant documents; and the term “any discoverable value” was argumentative and vague/ambiguous. Without waiving objections, they stated that they would produce relevant documents.

Kakoian moves to compel further responses, arguing that the term “any discoverable value” is not vague because it has been defined as any and all non-privileged documents for Case No. EC068660. However, this defined term is still broad and fails to specify what documents are at issue. The RPDs seek the potential disclosure by Ambarachyan and EOB of any and all documents from any time period without specificity. For example, for RPD No. 1, all notes, memoranda, and written statements by EOB/Ambarachyan or their agents that have “any discoverable value” is not specific as to what documents are actually being sought and thus is impermissibly overbroad, unclear and vague, and compound. Are the documents sought regarding the subject property only, fraudulent statements by certain individuals, documents regarding the complaint or Kakoian’s cross-complaint or both, documents supporting contentions or affirmative defenses, other matters, or a combination of everything?

CCP §2031.030(c) states that each demand in an RPD set shall: “(1) Designate the documents, tangible things, land or other property, or electronically stored information to be inspected, copied, tested, or sampled either by specifically describing each individual item or by reasonably particularizing each category of item.” (CCP §2031.030(c)(1).) Here, as currently worded, Kakoian has not specifically described each individual item or category of items for Ambarachyan and EOB to produce.

Accordingly, the motions to compel further responses to EOB RPD Nos. 1-4 and Ambarachyan RPD Nos. 1-3 is denied. Kakoian should propound more specifically worded RPD requests that seek particular documents or items/category of documents.

With regard to Ambarachyan RPD Nos. 7-9, the RPDs seek a more specific category of documents—i.e., communications, emails, etc.—with Narkaz, Agakanyan, and Nazarian regarding the Subject Property in Ambarachyan’s possession. The Court will allow the production of these communications and documents.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Kakoian’s motion to compel EOB’s further responses to EOB RPD Nos. 1-4 is denied. As discussed above, Kakoian should narrowly tailor the requests to seek specific items/documents or category of documents. No sanctions will be awarded to Kakoian in connection with the motion.

Kakoian’s motion to compel Ambarachyan’s further responses to Ambarachyan RPD Nos. 1-3 is denied. The motion is granted as to RPD Nos. 7-9. Ambarachyan shall provide further responses to nos. 7-9 within 20 days of notice of this order. The Court will award a reasonable amount of $660.00 in favor of Kakoian and against Ambarachyan.

Kakoian shall provide notice of their respective order.