This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 09/23/2019 at 19:14:24 (UTC).

ASSOCIATES SHOWER DOOR CO INC ET AL VS PARALLEL ACQUISITIONS

Case Summary

On 02/21/2018 ASSOCIATES SHOWER DOOR CO INC filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against PARALLEL ACQUISITIONS. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are HOLLY J. FUJIE and JAMES C. CHALFANT. The case status is Disposed - Dismissed.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****4771

  • Filing Date:

    02/21/2018

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Dismissed

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

HOLLY J. FUJIE

JAMES C. CHALFANT

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs, Petitioners and Appellants

SEIFERT LUCIAN

ASSOCIATES SHOWER DOOR COMPANY INC.

ASSOCIATED SHOWER DOOR COMPANY INC.

Respondents and Defendants

ABDI POUYA

DOES 1 TO 100

PARALLEL ACQUISITIONS AND HOLINGS LLC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

ORLAND LAW GROUP A PROFESSIONAL CORP.

ORLAND JAMES JOHN

Respondent and Defendant Attorneys

MASHIAN BRYAN ESQ.

MASHIAN BRYAN

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES)

8/26/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES)

Appeal - Notice of Appeal/Cross Appeal Filed

7/8/2019: Appeal - Notice of Appeal/Cross Appeal Filed

Appeal - Ntc Designating Record of Appeal APP-003/010/103

7/18/2019: Appeal - Ntc Designating Record of Appeal APP-003/010/103

Notice of Ruling - NOTICE OF RULING ON DEFENDANTS DEMURRER TO AND MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF THIRD-AMENDED COMPLAINT

5/9/2019: Notice of Ruling - NOTICE OF RULING ON DEFENDANTS DEMURRER TO AND MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF THIRD-AMENDED COMPLAINT

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITH MOTION TO STRIKE (CCP 430.10))

5/9/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITH MOTION TO STRIKE (CCP 430.10))

Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

3/15/2019: Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

Request for Judicial Notice

3/15/2019: Request for Judicial Notice

Amended Complaint - Amended Complaint THIRD AMENDED

2/15/2019: Amended Complaint - Amended Complaint THIRD AMENDED

Case Management Statement

2/6/2019: Case Management Statement

Minute Order -

5/10/2018: Minute Order -

VERIFIED FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR BREACH OF LEASE/CONTRACT, DAMAGES, AND/OR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

4/3/2018: VERIFIED FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR BREACH OF LEASE/CONTRACT, DAMAGES, AND/OR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

Minute Order -

3/8/2018: Minute Order -

PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

3/15/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY INJUNCTION

3/8/2018: EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY INJUNCTION

DEFENDANTS' EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS TO THE DECLARATION OF LOUIS P. PILATO IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS' EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY INJUNI1ON

3/8/2018: DEFENDANTS' EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS TO THE DECLARATION OF LOUIS P. PILATO IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS' EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY INJUNI1ON

EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY INJUNCTION

3/2/2018: EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY INJUNCTION

EX PARTE OPPOSITION

3/2/2018: EX PARTE OPPOSITION

COMPLAINT FOR BREACH OF LEASE/CONTRACT, DAMAGES, AND/OR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

2/21/2018: COMPLAINT FOR BREACH OF LEASE/CONTRACT, DAMAGES, AND/OR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

62 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/20/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 56; Post-Mediation Status Conference

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  • 08/28/2019
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Pouya Abdi (Defendant); Parallel Acquisitions and Holings, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 08/26/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 56; Hearing on Motion for Attorney Fees - Held

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/26/2019
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Hearing on Motion for Attorney Fees) of 08/26/2019); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/26/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion for Attorney Fees)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/19/2019
  • DocketReply ( OF DEFENDANTS PARALLEL ACQUISITIONS AND HOLDINGS, LLC AND POUYA ABDI?S IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR AWARD OF ATTORNEYS? FEES AND COSTS; SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF BRYAN MASHIAN, ESQ.); Filed by Pouya Abdi (Defendant); Parallel Acquisitions and Holings, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 08/13/2019
  • DocketOpposition (to Motion to Award Attorney's Fees); Filed by Associated Shower Door Company, Inc. (Plaintiff); Lucian Seifert (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/08/2019
  • DocketAppendix CRC 8.124 Transcript Certified (NOA:7/8/19 B299111); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/22/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 56; Hearing on Motion for Attorney Fees - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/18/2019
  • DocketAppeal - Ntc Designating Record of Appeal APP-003/010/103; Filed by Associated Shower Door Company, Inc. (Appellant); Lucian Seifert (Appellant)

    Read MoreRead Less
110 More Docket Entries
  • 03/02/2018
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 56; Ex-Parte Proceedings (Ex Parte Motion; Denied without prejudice) -

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/02/2018
  • DocketEx-Parte Application; Filed by Associates Shower Door Company, Inc. (Plaintiff); Lucian Seifert (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/02/2018
  • DocketMinute order entered: 2018-03-02 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/02/2018
  • DocketEX PARTE OPPOSITION

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/02/2018
  • DocketMinute Order

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/02/2018
  • DocketOpposition Document; Filed by Defendant/Respondent

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/02/2018
  • DocketEX PARTE APPLICATION FOR TEMPORARY INJUNCTION

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/21/2018
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR BREACH OF LEASE/CONTRACT, DAMAGES, AND/OR INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/21/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Associates Shower Door Company, Inc. (Plaintiff); Lucian Seifert (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/21/2018
  • DocketSUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC694771    Hearing Date: May 7, 2021    Dept: 56

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

ASSOCIATED SHOWER DOOR COMPANY, INC., etc., et al.,

Plaintiffs,

vs.

PARALLEL ACQUISITIONS AND HOLDINGS, LLC, etc., et al.,

Defendants.

CASE NO.: BC694771

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE:

MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS’ FEES

Date: May 7, 2021

Time: 8:30 a.m.

Dept. 56

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Associated Shower Door Company, Inc.

RESPONDING PARTY: Defendant Parallel Acquisitions and Holdings, LLC (“PAH”)

The Court has considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs filed the operative Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”) alleging a sole cause of action for breach of contract. This is an action arising from Defendants’ alleged breach of a commercial lease by making alterations to the premises.

On May 9, 2019, after hearing oral argument, the Court sustained the demurrer filed by PAH and Defendant Pouya Abdi (“Abdi”) to the TAC without leave to amend and dismissed this action without prejudice. The Court also granted the motion to strike portions of the TAC filed by PAH and Abdi without leave to amend. Notice of Entry of Judgment as to the Court’s ruling on the demurrer to the TAC was filed on May 17, 2019.

Plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal stating that it was appealing the judgment of dismissal after the Court’s order sustaining the demurrer to the TAC. On August 20, 2020, the Second District Court of Appeal (the “2d DCA”) issued remittitur. The 2d DCA reversed the Court’s order of dismissal as to PAH but affirmed such order as to Abdi. The 2d DCA opinion stated that appellants were entitled to recover their costs on appeal.

Plaintiff filed a motion (the “Motion”) for an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees it incurred on appeal. Plaintiff seeks attorneys’ fees in the amount of $23,750.00.

The Motion advances the following arguments: (1) the parties agreed via contract that the prevailing party be fully reimbursed all its reasonable attorneys’ fees on appeal; (2) as the prevailing party, Plaintiff is entitled to its attorneys’ fees as a matter of law; and (3) the attorneys’ fees requested are reasonable and well documented.

In opposition to the Motion, PAH contends that: (1) the Motion is groundless and premature because there is no “prevailing party” yet under Civ. Code § 1717; (2) the hours estimated purporting to support the Motion are inadequately detailed; and (3) as a corporation that was dissolved prior to the filing of this action, Plaintiff lacks the capacity to pay its own attorneys’ fees.

JUDICIAL NOTICE

The Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s request for judicial notice.

EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS

The Court SUSTAINS Plaintiff’s sole evidentiary objection to the declaration of Bryan Mashian (“Mashian”) in support of the opposition to the Motion.

DISCUSSION

A party seeking attorney’s fees has the burden of showing that such sought fees are reasonable. (Gorman v. Tassajara Development Corp. (2009) 178 Cal.App.4th 44, 98.) In determining what constitutes a reasonable compensation for an attorney who has rendered services in connection with a legal proceeding, the court may and should consider the nature of the litigation, its difficulty, the amount involved, the skill required and the skill employed in handling the litigation, the attention given, the success of the attorney’s efforts, his learning, his age, and his experience in the particular type of work demanded. (Church of Scientology v. Wollersheim (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 628, 659.) An award of attorney fees may be based on counsel’s declarations, without production of detailed time records. (Raining Data Corp. v. Barrenechea (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 1363, 1375.) The verified time statements of attorneys, as officers of the court, are entitled to credence in the absence of a clear indication the records are erroneous. (Horsford v. Board of Trustees of California State University (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 359, 396.)

Issue No.1: The Premature Nature of the Motion

A motion for attorneys’ fees is not premature despite the filing of a notice of appeal. (Bankes v. Lucas (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 365, 368.) An award of attorneys’ fees as costs is a collateral matter which is embraced in the action but is not affected by the order from which an appeal is taken. (Id.) Civ. Code § 1717(a) states that in any 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 to either one of the parties or to the prevailing party, then the party who is determined to be the prevailing party 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. Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 8.278(a)(1) provides that the prevailing party in the Court of Appeal in a civil case other than a juvenile case is entitled to costs on appeal. The prevailing party is the appellant if the court reverses the judgment in its entirety. (Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 8.278(a)(2).) Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 3.1702 allows a prevailing party on appeal to request attorneys’ fees incurred on appeal. It is established that fees are available for services at trial and on appeal. (Morcos v. Board of Retirement (1990) 51 Cal.3d 924, 927.) A trial court has discretion to award attorneys’ fees as part of costs on appeal notwithstanding a lack of direction in the remittitur. (Harbour Landing-Dolfann, Ltd. v. Anderson (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 260, 264.)

Here, the lease agreement that gives rise to the TAC provides for the recovery of attorneys’ fees to a party that prevails on appeal. (Baker Decl., Exhibit E at p.12.) Paragraph 31 of the lease agreement specifically allows for a prevailing party to be awarded reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred on appeal. (Id.) While PAH argues that the Motion is premature under Civ. Code § 1717, PAH fails to address Plaintiff’s right to recover attorneys’ fees under Cal. Rules of Court, Rules 3.1702 and 8.278. Under Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 8.278, Plaintiff is clearly the prevailing party and, under the lease agreement, is entitled to an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees that it incurred on appeal. There is no dispute that Plaintiff succeeded on appeal. The Court therefore can award Plaintiff attorneys’ fees under Harbour Landing for fees incurred on appeal. The Court finds that the Motion is not premature.

Issue No.2: Lack of Capacity to Pay Fees

PAH contends that Plaintiff lacks the capacity to pay attorneys’ fees because it is a dissolved corporation that has finished winding up and, therefore, the Court should deny the Motion. The Court rejects such contention[1] because PAH provides no admissible evidence to support such argument. Also, the Court finds that PAH’s citation to Super 7 Motel Associates v. Wang (1993) 16 Cal.App.4th 541 is inapposite. The Court therefore finds that—due to the lack of admissible evidence to the contrary—Plaintiff possesses the capacity to pay the attorneys’ fees it incurred on appeal.

Issue No.3: Reasonableness

Where a party is challenging the reasonableness of attorney’s fees as excessive that party must attack itemized billing with evidence that the fees claimed were not appropriate or obtain the declaration of an attorney with expertise in the procedural and substantive law to demonstrate that the fees claimed were unreasonable. (Premier Medical Management Systems, Inc. v. California Ins. Guarantee Assn. (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 550, 563-564.) It is the burden of the challenging party to point to the specific items challenged, with a sufficient argument and citations to the evidence and arguments that fees claimed are excessive, duplicative, or unrelated do not suffice. (Id. at 564.) It is well established that the determination of what constitutes reasonable attorney fees is committed to the discretion of the trial court. (PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1096.) A court awards attorneys’ fees based on the “lodestar” method which is the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate. (Id. at 1095.) The burden is on the party seeking attorney fees to prove that the fees it seeks are reasonable. (Center for Biological Diversity v. County of San Bernardino (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 603, 615.)

In support of the Motion, Plaintiff presents a declaration from its counsel, Sheila A. Baker (“Baker”), who declares the hourly rates of counsel who worked on the appeal and the hours worked on the appeal. Baker declares that 90 hours were billed for work on the appeal, representing a total of $22,500.00 in attorneys’ fees. A supplemental declaration of Barefield was filed which attached invoices as to the work done on the appeal[2]. The Court finds that Plaintiff has provided sufficient evidence of the reasonableness of Plaintiff’s requested fees. The burden now shifts to PAH to show any evidence of unreasonableness.

Issue No.4: Reducing the Requested Attorneys’ Fees Award

A losing party cannot litigate tenaciously then be heard to complain about the time spent or tasks performed by the prevailing party in response. (City of Riverside v. Rivera (1986) 477 U.S. 561, 580, fn.11.) Where a defendant does not produce evidence contradicting the reasonableness of counsel’s hourly rates, the Court will deem an attorney’s hourly rate as reasonable. (Goglin v. BMW of North America, LLC (2016) 4 Cal.App.5th 462, 473.) If the time expended or monetary charge being made for the time expended are not reasonable under all the circumstances, then the court must take this into account and award attorney fees in a lesser amount. (Nightingale v. Hyundai Motor America (1994) 31 Cal.App.4th 99, 104.)

The Court finds that PAH has set forth a sufficient basis in the opposition declaration of Mashian to reduce Plaintiff’s requested attorneys’ fees. Based on a review of the billing records and Mashian’s challenges thereto, the Court finds that $7,750.00 in attorneys’ fees do not appear to be related to the prosecution of the appeal. (Mashian Decl. at 5:24-14:21 and Exhibit 1.) Such challenged activities do not appear to bear any relation at all to the appeal. Under Nightingale, the Court will therefore reduce Plaintiff’s attorneys’ fee award by $7,750.00.

The Court therefore exercises its discretion under PLCM Group and GRANTS the Motion and awards Plaintiff reasonable attorneys’ fees in the amount of $16,000.00.

Moving party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

In consideration of the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Court strongly encourages that appearances on all proceedings, including this one, be made by LACourtConnect if the parties do not submit on the tentative.  If you instead intend to make an appearance in person at Court on this matter, you must send an email by 2 p.m. on the last Court day before the scheduled date of the hearing to SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.

Dated this 7th day of May 2021

Hon. Holly J. Fujie

Judge of the Superior Court


[1] The Court also rejects the contention raised in the declaration Mashian submitted in opposition to the supplemental declaration of Helen E. Barefield (“Barefield”) in support of the Motion that Plaintiff should not be awarded attorneys’ fees because parties other than Plaintiff paid attorneys’ fees on appeal. (Mashian Decl. at ¶¶ 10-13.) While the invoices are directed to “Seifert, Lucien,” such invoices are as to the appeal at issue in this matter and clearly reference Plaintiff. (Mashian Decl. at Exhibit 1.) The invoices as to the fees incurred on appeal are attached to the supplemental declaration of Barefield as Exhibit B.

[2] The supplemental declaration of Barefield states that 115.7 hours were billed as to the appeal, which is an increase of 25.7 hours from the time claimed to have been spent in the moving and reply papers. Plaintiff also seeks fees for work done by paralegals. Plaintiff should have set forth such additional hours and persons for which compensation was sought in the moving papers if Plaintiff sought fees for such additional work. The Court will limit any award of attorneys’ fees to the lodestar amount requested in the Motion.

Case Number: BC694771    Hearing Date: April 9, 2021    Dept: 56

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

ASSOCIATED SHOWER DOOR COMPANY, INC., etc., et al.,

Plaintiffs,

vs.

PARALLEL ACQUISITIONS AND HOLDINGS, LLC, etc., et al.,

Defendants.

CASE NO.: BC694771

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE:

MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS’ FEES

Date: April 9, 2021

Time: 8:30 a.m.

Dept. 56

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Associated Shower Door Company, Inc.

RESPONDING PARTY: Defendant Parallel Acquisitions and Holdings, LLC (“PAH”)

The Court has considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs filed the operative Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”) alleging a sole cause of action for breach of contract. This is an action arising from Defendants’ alleged breach of a commercial lease by making alterations to the premises.

On May 9, 2019, after hearing oral argument, the Court sustained the demurrer filed by PAH and Defendant Pouya Abdi (“Abdi”) to the TAC without leave to amend and dismissed this action without prejudice. The Court also granted the motion to strike portions of the TAC filed by PAH and Abdi without leave to amend. Notice of Entry of Judgment as to the Court’s ruling on the demurrer to the TAC was filed on May 17, 2019.

Plaintiff filed a Notice of Appeal stating that it was appealing the judgment of dismissal after the Court’s order sustaining the demurrer to the TAC. On August 20, 2020, the Second District Court of Appeal (the “2d DCA”) issued remittitur. The 2d DCA reversed the Court’s order of dismissal as to PAH but affirmed such order as to Abdi. The 2d DCA opinion stated that appellants were entitled to recover their costs on appeal.

Plaintiff filed a motion (the “Motion”) for an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees it incurred on appeal. Plaintiff seeks attorneys’ fees in the amount of $23,750.00.

The Motion advances the following arguments: (1) the parties agreed via contract that the prevailing party be fully reimbursed all its reasonable attorneys’ fees on appeal; (2) as the prevailing party, Plaintiff is entitled to its attorneys’ fees as a matter of law; and (3) the attorneys’ fees requested are reasonable and well documented.

In opposition to the Motion, PAH contends that: (1) the Motion is groundless and premature because there is no “prevailing party” yet under Civ. Code § 1717; (2) the hours estimated purporting to support the Motion are inadequately detailed; and (3) as a corporation that was dissolved prior to the filing of this action, Plaintiff lacks the capacity to pay its own attorneys’ fees.

JUDICIAL NOTICE

The Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s request for judicial notice.

EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS

The Court SUSTAINS Plaintiff’s sole evidentiary objection to the declaration of Bryan Mashian in support of the opposition to the Motion.

DISCUSSION

A party seeking attorney’s fees has the burden of showing that such sought fees are reasonable. (Gorman v. Tassajara Development Corp. (2009) 178 Cal.App.4th 44, 98.) In determining what constitutes a reasonable compensation for an attorney who has rendered services in connection with a legal proceeding, the court may and should consider the nature of the litigation, its difficulty, the amount involved, the skill required and the skill employed in handling the litigation, the attention given, the success of the attorney’s efforts, his learning, his age, and his experience in the particular type of work demanded. (Church of Scientology v. Wollersheim (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 628, 659.) An award of attorney fees may be based on counsel’s declarations, without production of detailed time records. (Raining Data Corp. v. Barrenechea (2009) 175 Cal.App.4th 1363, 1375.) The verified time statements of attorneys, as officers of the court, are entitled to credence in the absence of a clear indication the records are erroneous. (Horsford v. Board of Trustees of California State University (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 359, 396.)

Issue No.1: The Premature Nature of the Motion

A motion for attorneys’ fees is not premature despite the filing of a notice of appeal. (Bankes v. Lucas (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 365, 368.) An award of attorneys’ fees as costs is a collateral matter which is embraced in the action but is not affected by the order from which an appeal is taken. (Id.) Civ. Code § 1717(a) states that in any 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 to either one of the parties or to the prevailing party, then the party who is determined to be the prevailing party 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. Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 8.278(a)(1) provides that the prevailing party in the Court of Appeal in a civil case other than a juvenile case is entitled to costs on appeal. The prevailing party is the appellant is the court reverses the judgment in its entirety. (Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 8.278(a)(2).) Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 3.1702 allows a prevailing party on appeal to request attorneys’ fees incurred on appeal. It is established that fees are available for services at trial and on appeal. (Morcos v. Board of Retirement (1990) 51 Cal.3d 924, 927.) A trial court has discretion to award attorneys’ fees as part of costs on appeal notwithstanding a lack of direction in the remittitur. (Harbour Landing-Dolfann, Ltd. v. Anderson (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 260, 264.)

Here, the lease agreement that gives rise to the TAC provides for the recovery of attorneys’ fees to a party that prevails on appeal. (Baker Decl., Exhibit E at p.12.) Paragraph 31 of the lease agreement specifically allows for a prevailing party to be awarded reasonable attorneys’ fees incurred on appeal. (Id.) While PAH argues that the motion is premature under Civ. Code § 1717, PAH fails to address Plaintiff’s right to recover attorneys’ fees under Cal. Rules of Court, Rules 3.1702 and 8.278. Under Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 8.278, Plaintiff is clearly the prevailing party and, under the lease agreement, is entitled to an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees that it incurred on appeal. There is no dispute that Plaintiff succeeded on appeal. The Court therefore can award Plaintiff attorneys’ fees under Harbour Landing for fees incurred on appeal. The Court finds that the Motion is not premature.

Issue No.2: Lack of Capacity to Pay Fees

PAH contends that Plaintiff lacks the capacity to pay attorneys’ fees because it is a dissolved corporation that has finished winding up and, therefore, the Court should deny the Motion. The Court rejects such contention because PAH provides no admissible evidence to support such argument. Also, the Court finds that PAH’s citation to Super 7 Motel Associates v. Wang (1993) 16 Cal.App.4th 541 is inapposite. The Court therefore finds that—due to the lack of admissible evidence to the contrary—Plaintiff possesses capacity to have paid the attorneys’ fees it incurred on appeal.

Issue No.3: Reasonableness

Where a party is challenging the reasonableness of attorney’s fees as excessive that party must attack itemized billing with evidence that the fees claimed were not appropriate or obtain the declaration of an attorney with expertise in the procedural and substantive law to demonstrate that the fees claimed were unreasonable. (Premier Medical Management Systems, Inc. v. California Ins. Guarantee Assn. (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 550, 563-564.) It is the burden of the challenging party to point to the specific items challenged, with a sufficient argument and citations to the evidence and arguments that fees claimed are excessive, duplicative, or unrelated do not suffice. (Id. at 564.) It is well established that the determination of what constitutes reasonable attorney fees is committed to the discretion of the trial court. (PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1096.) A court awards attorneys’ fees based on the “lodestar” method which is the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate. (Id. at 1095.) The burden is on the party seeking attorney fees to prove that the fees it seeks are reasonable. (Center for Biological Diversity v. County of San Bernardino (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 603, 615.)

In support of the Motion, Plaintiff presents a declaration from its counsel, Sheila A. Baker (“Baker”), who declares the hourly rates of counsel who worked on the appeal and the hours worked on the appeal. Baker declares that 90 hours were billed for work on the appeal, representing a total of $22,500.00 in attorneys’ fees. Baker does not attach any invoices or billing records to her declaration. Thus, the Court cannot ascertain what specific tasks were performed and who performed such tasks. Plaintiff has failed to present sufficient evidence of reasonableness. Plaintiff asserts that the invoices: (1) are privileged; and (2) can be produced for an in-camera review.

The Court, however, would like to give Plaintiff an opportunity to provide the invoices relevant to the Motion so that the Court can determine the reasonableness of the claimed fees. The Court CONTINUES the hearing on the Motion to Friday, May 7, 2021 at 8:30 a.m. in this department. The Court orders Plaintiff to file and serve a supplemental declaration with the attached invoices relevant to the Motion by the close of business on Friday, April 16, 2021. Plaintiff can redact privileged information while still apprising the Court of the specific work done and the hours spent on work related to the appeal.

PAH may file and serve a declaration in opposition to the invoices by the close of business on Friday, April 23, 2021.

Moving party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

In consideration of the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Court strongly encourages that appearances on all proceedings, including this one, be made by LACourtConnect if the parties do not submit on the tentative.  If you instead intend to make an appearance in person at Court on this matter, you must send an email by 2 p.m. on the last Court day before the scheduled date of the hearing to SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.

Dated this 9th day of April 2021

Hon. Holly J. Fujie

Judge of the Superior Court

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