This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 01/18/2022 at 13:15:09 (UTC).

ATA LOGISTICS, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION VS EMPIRE CONTAINER FREIGHT STATION, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Case Summary

On 02/24/2020 ATA LOGISTICS, INC , A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION filed a Property - Other Property Fraud lawsuit against EMPIRE CONTAINER FREIGHT STATION, INC , A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Compton Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are MAURICE A. LEITER, KRISTIN S. ESCALANTE and THOMAS D. LONG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******0054

  • Filing Date:

    02/24/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Property Fraud

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

MAURICE A. LEITER

KRISTIN S. ESCALANTE

THOMAS D. LONG

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

ATA LOGISTICS INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Defendant

EMPIRE CONTAINER FREIGHT STATION INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

SHIN CHRISTIAN

Defendant Attorney

D'ATTARAY MAINAK

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE SUBMISSION OF PROPOSED ANSWER B...)

10/26/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE SUBMISSION OF PROPOSED ANSWER B...)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE SUBMISSION OF PROPOSED ANSWER B...) OF 10/26/2021

10/26/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE SUBMISSION OF PROPOSED ANSWER B...) OF 10/26/2021

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE: RECEIPT OF JUDGMENT)

2/17/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE: RECEIPT OF JUDGMENT)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT ...)

9/30/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT ...)

Answer

10/1/2021: Answer

Memorandum of Costs After Judgment, Acknowledgment of Credit, and Declaration of Accrued Interest

6/7/2021: Memorandum of Costs After Judgment, Acknowledgment of Credit, and Declaration of Accrued Interest

Declaration - DECLARATION OF COUNSEL IN SUPPORT OF MEMORANDUM OF COSTS AFTER JUDGMENT, ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF CREDIT, AND DECLARATION OF ACCRUED INTEREST

6/7/2021: Declaration - DECLARATION OF COUNSEL IN SUPPORT OF MEMORANDUM OF COSTS AFTER JUDGMENT, ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF CREDIT, AND DECLARATION OF ACCRUED INTEREST

Application for Issuance of Writ of Execution, Possession or Sale

7/13/2021: Application for Issuance of Writ of Execution, Possession or Sale

Writ of Execution

7/14/2021: Writ of Execution

Motion to Vacate - MOTION TO VACATE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT

8/16/2021: Motion to Vacate - MOTION TO VACATE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF

8/26/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF

Notice - NOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT

3/1/2021: Notice - NOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT

Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR ORDER

3/1/2021: Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR ORDER

Abstract of Judgment - Civil and Small Claims

3/5/2021: Abstract of Judgment - Civil and Small Claims

Default Judgment

2/17/2021: Default Judgment

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT / JUDGMENT BY COURT

2/17/2021: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT / JUDGMENT BY COURT

Clerks Certificate of Service By Electronic Service

2/17/2021: Clerks Certificate of Service By Electronic Service

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE: RECEIPT OF JUDGMENT)

2/17/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE: RECEIPT OF JUDGMENT)

33 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/27/2022
  • Hearing04/27/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department A at 200 West Compton Blvd., Compton, CA 90220; Case Management Conference

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  • 10/26/2021
  • Docketat 09:30 AM in Department A, Thomas D. Long, Presiding; Non-Appearance Case Review (re Submission of Proposed Answer by the Defendant) - Held

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  • 10/26/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Non-Appearance Case Review re Submission of Proposed Answer b...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/26/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Non-Appearance Case Review re Submission of Proposed Answer b...) of 10/26/2021); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/01/2021
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by EMPIRE CONTAINER FREIGHT STATION, INC., a California corporation (Defendant)

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  • 09/30/2021
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department A, Thomas D. Long, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and Default Judgment (CCP 473.5) (Based on Attorney Fault) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 09/30/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT ...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/09/2021
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department A, Thomas D. Long, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Vacate (Default and Default Judgment) - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

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  • 08/26/2021
  • DocketOpposition (TO MOTION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF); Filed by ATA LOGISTICS, INC., a California corporation (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/16/2021
  • DocketDEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT BASED ON ATTORNEY FAULT; Filed by EMPIRE CONTAINER FREIGHT STATION, INC., a California corporation (Defendant)

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38 More Docket Entries
  • 08/05/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department A, Thomas D. Long, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held

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  • 08/05/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Case Management Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/17/2020
  • DocketCase Management Statement; Filed by ATA LOGISTICS, INC., a California corporation (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/18/2020
  • DocketRequest for Entry of Default / Judgment; Filed by ATA LOGISTICS, INC., a California corporation (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/16/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by ATA LOGISTICS, INC., a California corporation (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/25/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/24/2020
  • DocketComplaint (w/ Demand for Jury Trial); Filed by ATA LOGISTICS, INC., a California corporation (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/24/2020
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by ATA LOGISTICS, INC., a California corporation (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/24/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/24/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by ATA LOGISTICS, INC., a California corporation (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

b"

Case Number: 20CMCV00054 Hearing Date: September 30, 2021 Dept: A

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

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FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES – SOUTH CENTRAL DISTRICT

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ATA\r\n LOGISTICS, INC.,

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Plaintiff(s),

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vs.

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EMPIRE\r\n CONTAINER FREIGHT STATION, INC,

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Defendant(s).

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CASE NO: 20CMCV00054

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[TENTATIVE]\r\n ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT BASED\r\n ON ATTORNEY FAULT

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Dept.\r\n A

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DATE:\r\n 9/30/21

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TIME: 9:00\r\n A.M.

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I. \r\nBackground

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Plaintiff, ATA LOGISTICS, INC., filed this action on\r\n2/24/20 against Defendant, EMPIRE CONTAINER FREIGHT STATION, INC., alleging 15\r\ncauses of action that included fraud, breach of the covenant of good faith and\r\nfair dealing, negligent misrepresentation, and other business-related torts.\r\nPlaintiff alleges that it retained Defendant and used its warehouse storage and\r\nfreight transportation services in August of 2017. Plaintiff subsequently\r\nterminated its relationship with Defendant and contracted with another party,\r\nTQL, for the same services.

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The complaint alleges that Defendant Empire used\r\nPlaintiff’s credit and account information without Plaintiff’s consent to open\r\nan account with TQL and conduct business with TQL, incurring a debt of $134,220\r\nwhich Defendant did not pay.

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Pursuant to the proof of service of the\r\nsummons and complaint filed on 3/16/20, Plaintiff effected service on Defendant\r\nby substituted service on Defendant’s agent for service of process on 3/5/20.\r\nDefendant did not file an answer, so the court entered Defendant’s default on\r\n5/18/20. The court entered a judgment against Defendant on 2/17/21 in\r\nPlaintiff’s favor for $154,648.72. On 8/16/21, Defendant filed this motion to\r\nset aside the default and the default judgment.

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II. Defendant’s Motion to Vacate Default and\r\nDefault Judgment

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a. Motion filed on 8/16/21.

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Defendant asks for relief based on the discretionary and\r\nmandatory provisions of Code Civ. Proc., § 585(b). Defense counsel, Mainak\r\nD’Attaray, argues that at the time of default entry against Defendant,\r\nDefendant was represented by Douglas Mastroianni, who was inactive at the time\r\nbut still representing Defendant as its general counsel. Mastroianni was\r\ndisbarred on 9/18/20, unbeknownst to the Defendant.

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Mastroianni asked D’Attaray to call Plaintiff’s counsel\r\nto stipulate to vacate the default. Plaintiff’s counsel refused. D’Attaray was\r\nnot asked to do any other assignments. The matter was reassigned from\r\nMastroianni after his disbarment to D’Attaray, who did not follow up on this\r\ncase to determine when default judgment was entered until June 2021. Notice of\r\nentry of judgment was mailed on 3/1/21, but Defendant does not appear on the\r\nproof of service.

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Defense counsel acknowledges his mistake in neglecting to\r\nproperly calendar or check the court’s docket prior to June 2021 to determine\r\nthe status of the request for default judgment. Defense counsel states he contracted\r\nthe Corona virus and was ill for a significant period of time including\r\nintermittent hospitalizations.

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b. Opposition filed 8/26/21.

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Plaintiff argues that Defendant did not mail or email the\r\nmotion to Plaintiff. Defendant did not give Plaintiff sufficient notice of\r\nmotion. The motion is untimely made more than six months after the default was\r\nentered on 5/18/20. Defendant did not show mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or\r\nexcusable neglect.

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Plaintiff contends there is no evidence that Mastroanni\r\nwas Defendant’s general counsel. Current counsel was retained in October 2020.\r\nHis failure to monitor the file or his battle with COVID occurred before he was\r\nretained. Anything he did or neglected to do occurred after judgment had\r\nalready been entered. Defendant has not shown equitable grounds for relief from\r\nthe court’s judgment.

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Plaintiff argues that if the court grants the motion,\r\nPlaintiff requests attorneys fees and costs incurred for prosecuting the\r\naction.

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c. Defendant did not file a reply brief.

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2. Legal Standards for a Motion to Vacate.

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Preliminarily, Plaintiff argues it was never served with the hard copy\r\nof the motion. Plaintiff has not shown any prejudice resulting from the\r\nomission. Plaintiff was able to file an opposition, which the court has\r\nconsidered. Carlton v. Quint, (2000) 77 Cal. App. 4th 690, 697.\r\n[Opposing party filed an opposition, appeared and argued at the hearing, never\r\nrequested a continuance of the hearing and never claimed prejudice by reason of\r\ninsufficient notice or service. The court concluded that under the\r\ncircumstances, the opposing party “waived any claim of inadequate service or\r\nnotice assuming, without deciding, that claim had any merit.” ].

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Defendant seeks\r\ndiscretionary relief under Code Civ. Proc., § 473(b), which is untimely made\r\nmore than six months after the entry of default. Where discretionary relief is\r\nsought, the 6-month limitations period “commences to run from the clerk's entry\r\nof the default and not from the date of entry of judgment.” Castagnoli v.\r\nCastagnoli (1954) 124 Cal.App.2d 39, 41-42. When the time for vacating the\r\ndefault has passed, “any effort to vacate the default judgment is an idle act and\r\nwill be reversed on appeal.” Wyoming Pacific Oil Co. v. Preston (1959)\r\n171 Cal. App. 2d 735, 741.

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The\r\ncourt’s file reflects that the clerk entered default against Defendant on\r\n5/18/20. The 6-month limitations period expired on 11/18/20. Defendant untimely\r\nfiled this motion on 8/16/21.The court has no jurisdiction to grant\r\ndiscretionary relief after the 6-month period has elapsed. An order setting\r\naside the default entry would be void. Castagnoli v. Castagnoli (1954)\r\n124 Cal. App. 2d 39, 41.

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Defendant\r\nalso requests mandatory relief from\r\ndefault judgment based on counsel’s affidavit of fault pursuant to Code Civ.\r\nProc., § 437(b) which provides that “the court shall, whenever an application\r\nfor relief is made no more than six months after entry of judgment, is in\r\nproper form, and is accompanied by an attorney’s sworn affidavit attesting to\r\nhis or her mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or neglect, vacate any (1) resulting\r\ndefault entered by the clerk against his or her client, and which will result\r\nin entry of a default judgment, or (2) resulting default judgment or dismissal\r\nentered against his or her client, unless the court finds that the default or\r\ndismissal was not in fact caused by the attorney’s mistake, inadvertence,\r\nsurprise, or neglect. … .” Code Civ. Proc., § 473(b). Under the mandatory\r\nprovisions, “relief must be granted regardless of whether the attorney's\r\nneglect is excusable.” Cisneros v. Vueve (1995) 37 Cal. App. 4th 906,\r\n909.

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The court entered judgment on 2/17/21. Six months from\r\nthe entry of judgment was 8/17/21. Plaintiff timely filed this motion on\r\n8/16/21. However, as stated previously, the statute provides for mandatory\r\nrelief from a default judgment resulting from counsel’s mistake, inadvertence,\r\nsurprise, or excusable neglect, unless the court finds that the default\r\njudgment was not in fact caused by the attorney neglect. Sugasawara v.\r\nNewland (1994) 27 Cal. App. 4th 294, 297.. Code Civ. Proc., § 473(b).

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Defense\r\ncounsel did not become familiar with this matter until 8/31/20 when he was\r\nassigned to call Plaintiff’s counsel to stipulate to set aside the default.\r\nDeclaration of Mainak D’Attaray, ¶ 4. Default had already been entered three\r\nmonths earlier on 5/18/20. Therefore, the cause for default entry cannot be\r\nattributed to present defense counsel who had not become involved with the\r\nmatter until later. Defense counsel declares that this matter was not assigned\r\nto him until early until October of 2020. Id. ¶¶ 3, 6.

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Defendant counsel admits his mistake in not monitoring\r\nthe case from October of 2020 to 2/17/21 to avoid the court judgment. Defense\r\ncounsel also declares he became ill “at the height of the COVID-19 epidemic.” Id.\r\n¶ 7. Defendant has shown that defense\r\ncounsel admits fault for failing to seek relief from default judgment although\r\nhe had been formally assigned this matter in October of 2020 and knew default\r\nhad already been entered. A requesting party must be granted mandatory relief\r\nregardless of whether the attorney's neglect is excusable. Cisneros v. Vueve\r\n(1995) 37 Cal. App. 4th 906, 909.

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The court has discretion to Impose a penalty of no\r\ngreater than one thousand dollars ($ 1,000) upon an offending attorney or party\r\nupon such terms as may be just, which is construed as “costs and attorney’s fees\r\nfor any losses suffered” because of the Section 473(b) motion. Code Civ. Proc.,\r\n§ 473(c). Hearst v. Ferrante (1987) 189 Cal. App. 3d 201, 204. Plaintiff\r\nis entitled to costs for the motion, not for the entire prosecution of the case.\r\n

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Accordingly, the court imposes a penalty of $1,000 for\r\nthe cost of preparing the opposition and appearing at the hearing, against\r\nDefendant Empire and his counsel, Mainak D’Attara, payable within 20 days.

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II. \r\nConclusion\r\n

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Based\r\non the foregoing, the court GRANTS Defendant’s Motion to Vacate the Default entered\r\non 5/18/20 and default judgment entered against Defendant on 2/17/21 and an\r\naward of $1,000 payable to Plaintiff. The court sets the following dates:

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CMC:

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Trial:

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Defendant is ordered to\r\ngive notice.

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DATED: September 30, 2021

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_______________________________

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Hon.\r\nThomas D. Long

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Judge\r\nof the Superior Court

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