This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/21/2021 at 02:29:01 (UTC).

BASTA, INC. VS AMYGDALA, INC.

Case Summary

On 01/10/2020 BASTA, INC filed an Other lawsuit against AMYGDALA, INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is GREGORY KEOSIAN. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******0145

  • Filing Date:

    01/10/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Other

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

GREGORY KEOSIAN

 

Party Details

Petitioner

BASTA INC.

Respondent

AMYGDALA INC.

Not Classified By Court

WESSEL ALLEN DBA REAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT WESSEL

BEGINI JOHN

WESSEL ALLEN

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Petitioner Attorneys

RAMM BENJAMIN GREGORY

RAMM BENJAMIN G.

Respondent Attorney

CLARK ATYRIA S. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

Notice of Lien

1/15/2021: Notice of Lien

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

1/25/2021: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

2/1/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR ADMISSIONS OR DEEM THEM ADMITTED AND DECLARATION OF BENJAMIN RAMM

2/1/2021: Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR ADMISSIONS OR DEEM THEM ADMITTED AND DECLARATION OF BENJAMIN RAMM

Declaration - DECLARATION OF BENJAMIN RAMM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION

2/22/2021: Declaration - DECLARATION OF BENJAMIN RAMM IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION

Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

2/22/2021: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF DEMURRER TO THE COMPLAINT

12/30/2020: Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF DEMURRER TO THE COMPLAINT

Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

12/7/2020: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

Declaration - DECLARATION OF KEITH WILLIAMS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION

11/12/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION OF KEITH WILLIAMS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION

Declaration - DECLARATION OF KEITH WILLIAMS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES

11/12/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION OF KEITH WILLIAMS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES

Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

11/16/2020: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

Declaration - DECLARATION OF BENJAMIN RAMM REGARDING ATTEMPT TO MEET AND CONFER REQUIRED BY CODE CIV. PROC., SECTION 430.41

9/24/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION OF BENJAMIN RAMM REGARDING ATTEMPT TO MEET AND CONFER REQUIRED BY CODE CIV. PROC., SECTION 430.41

Answer

9/14/2020: Answer

Motion for Protective Order

9/22/2020: Motion for Protective Order

Notice - NOTICE OF PROPOSED ORDER RE: OBJECTION TO REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

8/21/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF PROPOSED ORDER RE: OBJECTION TO REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

Objection - OBJECTION TO REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

8/21/2020: Objection - OBJECTION TO REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITHOUT MOTION TO STRIKE; CASE MANAGEME...) OF 08/24/2020

8/24/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITHOUT MOTION TO STRIKE; CASE MANAGEME...) OF 08/24/2020

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

5/28/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

84 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/20/2022
  • Hearing09/20/2022 at 09:00 AM in Department 61 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 09/12/2022
  • Hearing09/12/2022 at 09:00 AM in Department 61 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/14/2021
  • Hearing07/14/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 61 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Leave to file the cross-complaint

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/01/2021
  • Hearing06/01/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 61 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/01/2021
  • Hearing06/01/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 61 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/01/2021
  • Hearing06/01/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 61 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/24/2021
  • Hearing05/24/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 61 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel responses to form rogs

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/24/2021
  • Hearing05/24/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 61 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel responses to Special Rogs

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/11/2021
  • DocketOpposition (OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES); Filed by Basta, Inc. (Petitioner)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/11/2021
  • DocketOpposition (to Motion to Compel Responses to Form Interrogatories); Filed by Basta, Inc. (Petitioner)

    Read MoreRead Less
110 More Docket Entries
  • 05/28/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order) of 05/28/2020); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/28/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/13/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/05/2020
  • DocketDemurrer - without Motion to Strike; Filed by Amygdala, Inc. (Respondent)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/29/2020
  • DocketNotice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/27/2020
  • DocketRequest for Entry of Default / Judgment; Filed by Basta, Inc. (Petitioner)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/12/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Basta, Inc. (Petitioner)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/10/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Basta, Inc. (Petitioner)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/10/2020
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Basta, Inc. (Petitioner)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/10/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STCP00145    Hearing Date: June 1, 2021    Dept: 61

Plaintiff Basta Inc.’s Demurrer to Amygdala, Inc.’s Amended Answer is SUSTAINED to the first and second affirmative defenses, without leave to amend. Plaintiff to provide notice.

I. DEMURRER

A demurrer should be sustained only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed. (Code Civ. Pro., §§ 430.30, et seq.) In particular, as is relevant here, a court should sustain a demurrer if a complaint does not allege facts that are legally sufficient to constitute a cause of action. (See id. § 430.10, subd. (e).) As the Supreme Court held in Blank v. Kirwan (1985) Cal.3d 311: “We treat the demurrer as admitting all material facts properly pleaded, but not contentions, deductions or conclusions of fact or law. . . . Further, we give the complaint a reasonable interpretation, reading it as a whole and its parts in their context.” (Id. at p. 318; see also Hahn. v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 740, 747 [“A demurrer tests the pleadings alone and not the evidence or other extrinsic matters. Therefore, it lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed. [Citation.]”)

“In determining whether the complaint is sufficient as against the demurrer … if on consideration of all the facts stated it appears the plaintiff is entitled to any relief at the hands of the court against the defendants the complaint will be held good although the facts may not be clearly stated.” (Gressley v. Williams (1961) 193 Cal.App.2d 636, 639.)

A demurrer for uncertainty is strictly construed, even where a complaint is in some respects uncertain, because ambiguities can be clarified under modern discovery procedures.” (Khoury v. Maly’s of Cal., Inc. (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 612, 616.) Such demurrers “are disfavored, and are granted only if the pleading is so incomprehensible that a defendant cannot reasonably respond.” (Mahan v. Charles W. Chan Insurance Agency, Inc. (2017) 14 Cal.App.5th 841, 848.)

A demurrer should not be sustained without leave to amend if the complaint, liberally construed, can state a cause of action under any theory or if there is a reasonable possibility the defect can be cured by amendment. (Schifando v. City of Los Angeles, supra, 31 Cal.4th at p. 1081.) The demurrer also may be sustained without leave to amend where the nature of the defects and previous unsuccessful attempts to plead render it probable plaintiff cannot state a cause of action. (Krawitz v. Rusch (1989) 209 Cal.App.3d 957, 967.)

Basta demurrers to the first and second affirmative defenses contained in Amygdala’s amended answer on the grounds that they either do not constitute affirmative defenses as a matter of law, or are pleaded in conclusory fashion. (Demurrer at pp. 5–6.)

The first and second affirmative defenses state as follows:

As a first, separate, and affirmative defense to the unverified Complaint on file herein, this answering Defendant alleges that the unverified Complaint, in its entirety, nor any purported cause of action set forth therein, allege facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action against this answering Defendant.

As a second, separate, and affirmative defense to the unverified Complaint on file herein this answering Defendant is informed and believes, and on such information and belief, allege that by reason of Complainant's conduct which constitutes a breach of contract, tortious conduct, waiver, unclean hands, and laches, Complainant is estopped from asserting any right of relief.

An answer’s affirmative defenses must “be separately stated, and the several defenses shall refer to the causes of action which they are intended to answer, in a manner by which they may be intelligibly distinguished.” (CCP § 431.30, subd. (g).) “Affirmative relief may not be claimed in the answer.” (CCP § 431.30, subd. (c).)

Affirmative defenses which are bare legal conclusions will not survive a demurrer. (FPI Development, Inc. v. Nakashima (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 367, 383–384.) However, “[t]here is no need to require specificity in the pleadings because modern discovery procedures necessarily affect the amount of detail that should be required in a pleading.” (Doheny Park Terrace Homeowners Ass’n, Inc. v. Truck ins. Exchange (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 1076, 1099, internal quotation marks omitted.) An affirmative defense is pleaded with “‘sufficient particularity’” if the pleadings, read in light of the case at hand, give notice to the plaintiff “of a potentially meritorious defense.” (Hata v. Los Angeles County Harbor/UCLA Medical Center (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 1791, 1804.)

The affirmative defenses pleaded here are stated only in conclusory fashion and do not provide notice of a potentially meritorious defense. The demurrer is SUSTAINED as to the first and second causes of action, without leave to amend.

Case Number: 20STCP00145    Hearing Date: May 24, 2021    Dept: 61

Defendant Amygdala, Inc.’s Motions to Compel Responses to Form and Special Interrogatories, Set One, from Plaintiff Basta, Inc. are DENIED.

I. MOTIONS TO COMPEL & DEEM ADMITTED

A propounding party may demand a responding party to produce documents that are in their possession, custody or control. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.010.) A party may likewise conduct discovery by propounding interrogatories to another party to be answered under oath. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.010, subd. (a).) The responding party must respond to the production demand either by complying, by representing that the party lacks the ability to comply, or by objecting to the demand. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.210.) The responding party must respond to the interrogatories by answering or objecting. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.210, subd. (a).) If the responding party fails to serve timely responses, the propounding party may move for an order compelling responses to the production demand and interrogatories. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2030.290, 2031.300.)

Amygdala contends that it served form and special interrogatories upon Basta on August 22, 2020, and that responses were due on September 27, 2020. (Clark Decl. ¶¶ 4–5.) But Basta has failed to serve ay responses. (Clark Decl. ¶ 6.)

Basta in opposition argues that responses to the interrogatories were indeed served, even before the motion was filed, as of March 3, 2021. (Ramm Decl. ¶ 1, Exhs. 1, 2.)

Since responses were served before the motion was filed, this motion was brought in error, and is DENIED.

Case Number: 20STCP00145    Hearing Date: April 26, 2021    Dept: 61

Plaintiff Basta, Inc.’s Motions to Compel Responses to Form Interrogatories and Requests for Production and to Deem Requests for Admission Admitted against Defendant Amygdala Inc. are GRANTED. Sanctions are awarded against Defendant Amygdala, Inc. in the amount of $590.

I. MOTIONS TO COMPEL & DEEM ADMITTED

A propounding party may demand a responding party to produce documents that are in their possession, custody or control. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.010.) A party may likewise conduct discovery by propounding interrogatories to another party to be answered under oath. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.010, subd. (a).) The responding party must respond to the production demand either by complying, by representing that the party lacks the ability to comply, or by objecting to the demand. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.210.) The responding party must respond to the interrogatories by answering or objecting. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.210, subd. (a).) If the responding party fails to serve timely responses, the propounding party may move for an order compelling responses to the production demand and interrogatories. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2030.290, 2031.300.)

A party who fails to serve a timely response to interrogatories or a demand for inspection waives any objection to the demand. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2030.290, 2031.300.)

Likewise, “[a]ny party may obtain discovery . . . by a written request that any other party to the action admit the genuineness of specified documents, or the truth of specified matters of fact, opinion relating to fact, or application of law to fact. A request for admission may relate to a matter that is in controversy between the parties.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.010.) If a party fails to serve a timely response to requests for admissions, “[t]he requesting party may move for an order that the genuineness of any documents and the truth of any matters specified in the requests be deemed admitted, as well as for a monetary sanction” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280 subd. (b).)

Basta contends that form interrogatories, requests for admission, and requests for production were served on Amygdala on November 12 and December 9, 2020, but that no responses have been provided. (Ramm Decl. ¶¶ 2–3.)

No response is required as to the form interrogatories, as those that accompany the motion are blank, and do not call for any response from Amygdala. The motion is therefore DENIED as to the form interrogatories motion.

Amygdala in opposition contends that responses to the requests for production and requests for admission were served on December 22, 2020, although Amygdala’s counsel is presently unable to provide any proof that service was accomplished. (Clark Decl. ¶ 10.) Basta’s counsel testifies that no responses have in fact been served. (Reply Ramm Decl. ¶ 2.)

Despite Amygdala’s contentions in opposition, there is no evidence that responses have in fact been served to the requests for production or requests for admission. If responses are not served by the date of hearing these motions to compel and deem admitted, the motions will be GRANTED.

II. SANCTIONS

The prevailing party on a motion to compel is generally entitled to monetary sanctions, unless the court “finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.” (Code Civ. Proc. §§ 2030.290, 2031.300.) Sanctions are also mandatory against a party whose failure to serve responses to requests for admission makes the motion necessary. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2033.280, subd. (c).)

Basta asks for $270 in connection with the motion to deem admitted, and $320 for the motion to produce documents. (Ramm Decl. ¶¶ 3–4.) The court awards sanctions against Amygdala in the amount of $590.

Plaintiff to provide notice.

Case Number: 20STCP00145    Hearing Date: February 17, 2021    Dept: 61

Plaintiff Basta, Inc.’s Motions to Compel Further Responses to Requests for Production are GRANTED. Sanctions are awarded against Defendant Amygdala, Inc. and its counsel in the amount of $250 as well as sanctions of $70.

Plaintiff to provide notice.

  1. MOTION TO COMPEL

A propounding party may demand a responding party to produce documents that are in their possession, custody or control. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.010.) The responding party must respond to the production demand either by complying, by representing that the party lacks the ability to comply, or by objecting to the demand. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.210.) If the responding party fails to serve timely responses, the propounding party may move for an order compelling responses to the production demand. (Code Civ. Proc., §2031.300.)

A party who fails to serve a timely response to a demand for inspection waives any objection to the demand. (Code Civ. Proc., §2031.300.)

Basta claims that it served requests for production on Amygdala on September 29, 2020, and no responses have been received. (Ramm Decl. ¶¶ 3–4.)

If responses are not provided by the date of hearing on this motion, the motion will be GRANTED.

  1. SANCTIONS

The prevailing party on a motion to compel is generally entitled to monetary sanctions, unless the court “finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.” (Code Civ. Proc. §§ 2030.290, 2031.300.) Sanctions are also mandatory against a party whose failure to serve responses to requests for admission makes the motion necessary. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2033.280, subd. (c).)

Basta asks for $250 in sanctions for fees and $70 in costs to be imposed specifically against Amygdala. (Motion at p. 5.) This represents a portion of the hour spent preparing the motion and the filing fee. (Ramm Decl. ¶¶ 5–6.) The court awards $250 in sanctions against Amygdala as well as $70 in fees.

Case Number: 20STCP00145    Hearing Date: February 09, 2021    Dept: 61

Plaintiff Basta, Inc.’s Motion for Protective Order is DENIED.

Plaintiff Basta, Inc.’s Motions to Compel Further Responses to Form Interrogatories and Requests for Admission from Defendant Amygdala, Inc. are GRANTED. Sanctions are awarded against Defendant Amygdala, Inc. and its counsel in the amount of $305.

  1. MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER

“The court, for good cause shown, may make any order that justice requires to protect any party or other person from unwarranted annoyance, embarrassment, or oppression, or undue burden and expense.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 2031.060, subd. (b).)

The state has two substantial interests in regulating pretrial discovery. The first is to facilitate the search for truth and promote justice. The second is to protect the legitimate privacy interests of the litigants and third parties. The interest in truth and justice is promoted by allowing liberal discovery of information in the possession of the opposing party. The interest in privacy is promoted by restricting the procurement or dissemination of information from the opposing party upon a showing of “good cause. The trial court is in the best position to weigh fairly the competing needs and interests of parties affected by discovery. A trial court must balance the various interests in deciding whether dissemination of the documents should be restricted. Further, even where a motion for a protective order is denied in whole or in part, the trial court may still impose terms and conditions that are just.

(Nativi v. Deutsche Bank National Trust Company (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 261, 317.)

Basta asks for a protective order to prevent it from responding to Form Interrogatories No. 2.7, 2.9, 2.10, 8.1, 8.5, and 15.1, Special Interrogatories No. 12 and 16, and Requests for Production No. 1, 4, and 18. The reason for seeking a protective order is that these discovery requests concern off-topic matters — such as Interrogatory 2.9’s inquiry into whether Basta, a corporation, speaks English — or objectionable, privileged material, such as Request No. 1, which asks for communications between Basta and John Ware, the person who assigned the judgment to Basta. (Separate Statement.)

No protective order is proper here. Basta presents a handful of discovery requests that it finds objectionable and asks this court to enter an order to alleviate it of the obligation of responding to them. But the proper means of registering objections to particular discovery requests is to serve objections to particular discovery requests. (See Code Civ. Proc. §§ 2030.210, subd. (a)(3) [interrogatories]; 2031.210, subd. (a)(3) [requests for production].) The burden of objecting to the requests presented here is not so great as to require the court’s intervention.

The motion for protective order is DENIED.

  1. MOTIONS TO COMPEL FURTHER

“Any party may obtain discovery . . . by propounding to any other party to the action written interrogatories to be answered under oath.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.010, subd. (a).) A propounding party may move for an order compelling further responses if the party believes the answers are incomplete, evasive, or the objections are without merit. (See Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.300, subd. (d).)

A motion to compel further responses to requests for admissions may be made on the grounds that an answer is incomplete or evasive, or an objection is without merit. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2033.290, subd. (a)(1)–(2).)

Basta moves to compel further responses to Form Interrogatories No. 1.1, 3.1, 3.6, 3.7, 4.1, 12.1, and 17.1, and Requests for Admission No. 1–40.

The Requests for Admission were as follows. No. 1 sought the admission of the genuineness of a document, to which Amygdala admitted. (Separate Statement.) Request No. 2 asked for an admission that Amygdala did not give any consideration to BAG Fund for the property, to which Amygdala objected that the request was unintelligible. Request No. 3, conversely, asked Amygdala to admit that it provided $250,000 in consideration for the grant deed, to which Amygdala responded that it did not give the consideration “in exchange for” the grant deed. (Separate Statement.) The remaining requests, No. 4–40, stated that Amygdala lacked information to respond. Basta claims that these responses were, moreover, unverified. (Ramm Decl. Exhs. 3, 4.)

Further responses must be given to all of the requests. Request No. 2 is intelligible, contra Amygdala’s objection. Request No. 3 is evasive, as it denies one portion of the request without admitting “so much of the matter involved in the request as is true.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 2033.220, subd. (b)(1).) The “lack of knowledge” responses to Requests No. 4–40 are not compliant with Code of Civil Procedure § 2033.220, subd. (c), since they contain no assurance “that a reasonable inquiry concerning the matter in the particular request has been made, and that the information known or readily obtainable is insufficient to enable that party to admit the matter.” And while Request No. 1 contained an admission, the responses have not been verified as required. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2033.210, subd. (a).) Thus the motion is GRANTED as to Requests for Admission No. 1–40.

The Form Interrogatories are as follows:

Further responses are required. First, the responses are unverified when they should be offered under oath. (See Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.250, subd. (a).) Second, all responses — save for Interrogatory No. 3.1 — are defective in substance. When asked who helped respond to discovery, Amygdala cannot merely refer to itself without referring to the individual officers who acted on its behalf. And Amygdala’s conclusory averments that it cannot recall pertinent information are bereft of any assurance that Amygdala made “a reasonable and good faith effort to obtain the information by inquiry to other natural persons or organizations” before offering its response. (Code Civ. Proc. § 2030.220, subd. (c).) Finally, further responses must be provided to No. 17.1, since further responses must be provided for the requests for admissions to which 17.1 pertains.

The motion is therefore GRANTED as to Form Interrogatories No.1.1, 3.1, 3.6, 3.7, 4.1, 12.1, and 17.1.

Basta asks for $270 in sanctions for each motion, $540 in total, representing a discounted $200 amount for the “hours” spent preparing these motions and $70 for costs. (Ramm Decl. ¶ 13.) The court awards $305 in sanctions against Amygdala and its counsel.

Case Number: 20STCP00145    Hearing Date: January 13, 2021    Dept: 61

Plaintiff Basta Inc.’s Demurrer to the Answer of Defendant Amygdala, Inc. is SUSTAINED with 30 days leave to amend.

Plaintiff to provide notice.

  1. DEMURRER

A demurrer should be sustained only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed. (Code Civ. Pro., §§ 430.30, et seq.) In particular, as is relevant here, a court should sustain a demurrer if a complaint does not allege facts that are legally sufficient to constitute a cause of action. (See id. § 430.10, subd. (e).) As the Supreme Court held in Blank v. Kirwan (1985) Cal.3d 311: “We treat the demurrer as admitting all material facts properly pleaded, but not contentions, deductions or conclusions of fact or law. . . . Further, we give the complaint a reasonable interpretation, reading it as a whole and its parts in their context.” (Id. at p. 318; see also Hahn. v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 740, 747 [“A demurrer tests the pleadings alone and not the evidence or other extrinsic matters. Therefore, it lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed. [Citation.]”)

“In determining whether the complaint is sufficient as against the demurrer … if on consideration of all the facts stated it appears the plaintiff is entitled to any relief at the hands of the court against the defendants the complaint will be held good although the facts may not be clearly stated.” (Gressley v. Williams (1961) 193 Cal.App.2d 636, 639.)

A demurrer for uncertainty is strictly construed, even where a complaint is in some respects uncertain, because ambiguities can be clarified under modern discovery procedures.” (Khoury v. Maly’s of Cal., Inc. (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 612, 616.) Such demurrers “are disfavored, and are granted only if the pleading is so incomprehensible that a defendant cannot reasonably respond.” (Mahan v. Charles W. Chan Insurance Agency, Inc. (2017) 14 Cal.App.5th 841, 848.)

A demurrer should not be sustained without leave to amend if the complaint, liberally construed, can state a cause of action under any theory or if there is a reasonable possibility the defect can be cured by amendment. (Schifando v. City of Los Angeles, supra, 31 Cal.4th at p. 1081.) The demurrer also may be sustained without leave to amend where the nature of the defects and previous unsuccessful attempts to plead render it probable plaintiff cannot state a cause of action. (Krawitz v. Rusch (1989) 209 Cal.App.3d 957, 967.)

Basta demurrers to the first through eighth affirmative defenses in Amygdala’s answer on the grounds that the defenses fail to include sufficient supporting facts. (Demurrer at pp. 6–9.)

An answer’s affirmative defenses must “be separately stated, and the several defenses shall refer to the causes of action which they are intended to answer, in a manner by which they may be intelligibly distinguished.” (CCP § 431.30, subd. (g).) “Affirmative relief may not be claimed in the answer.” (CCP § 431.30, subd. (c).)

Affirmative defenses which are bare legal conclusions will not survive a demurrer. (FPI Development, Inc. v. Nakashima (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 367, 383–384.) However, “[t]here is no need to require specificity in the pleadings because modern discovery procedures necessarily affect the amount of detail that should be required in a pleading.” (Doheny Park Terrace Homeowners Ass’n, Inc. v. Truck ins. Exchange (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 1076, 1099, internal quotation marks omitted.) An affirmative defense is pleaded with “‘sufficient particularity’” if the pleadings, read in light of the case at hand, give notice to the plaintiff “of a potentially meritorious defense.” (Hata v. Los Angeles County Harbor/UCLA Medical Center (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 1791, 1804.)

In opposition, Amygdala does not contest that its answer contains only bare-bones contentions, but argues that it is still early in the proceeding and that Basta has prevented effectual discovery. (Opposition at p. 10.) Amgydala seeks leave to amend to add such facts. (Opposition at p. 10.) Basta in reply argues that Amygdala could have filed an amended answer within the time for filing an opposition to the demurrer, and should not be granted leave to amend. (Reply at pp. 3-5.)

The demurrer is SUSTAINED as to each of the affirmative defenses, with leave to amend. The nature of the defects identified is that of insufficient factual pleading, a defect readily curable by amendment. Nor have the defects previously been adjudicated against Basta. Accordingly, 30 days leave to amend to plead sufficient facts is appropriate.

Plaintiff to provide notice.

Case Number: 20STCP00145    Hearing Date: August 24, 2020    Dept: 61

Defendant Amygdala, Inc.’s Demurrer to the Complaint is OVERRULED. Defendant to answer within 20 days.

Defendants to provide notice.

DEMURRER

A demurrer should be sustained only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed. (Code Civ. Pro., §§ 430.30, et seq.) In particular, as is relevant here, a court should sustain a demurrer if a complaint does not allege facts that are legally sufficient to constitute a cause of action. (See id. § 430.10, subd. (e).) As the Supreme Court held in Blank v. Kirwan (1985) Cal.3d 311: “We treat the demurrer as admitting all material facts properly pleaded, but not contentions, deductions or conclusions of fact or law. . . . Further, we give the complaint a reasonable interpretation, reading it as a whole and its parts in their context.” (Id. at p. 318; see also Hahn. v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 740, 747 [“A demurrer tests the pleadings alone and not the evidence or other extrinsic matters. Therefore, it lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed. [Citation.]”)

“In determining whether the complaint is sufficient as against the demurrer … if on consideration of all the facts stated it appears the plaintiff is entitled to any relief at the hands of the court against the defendants the complaint will be held good although the facts may not be clearly stated.” (Gressley v. Williams (1961) 193 Cal.App.2d 636, 639.)

A demurrer for uncertainty is strictly construed, even where a complaint is in some respects uncertain, because ambiguities can be clarified under modern discovery procedures.” (Khoury v. Maly’s of Cal., Inc. (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 612, 616.) Such demurrers “are disfavored, and are granted only if the pleading is so incomprehensible that a defendant cannot reasonably respond.” (Mahan v. Charles W. Chan Insurance Agency, Inc. (2017) 14 Cal.App.5th 841, 848.)

A demurrer should not be sustained without leave to amend if the complaint, liberally construed, can state a cause of action under any theory or if there is a reasonable possibility the defect can be cured by amendment. (Schifando v. City of Los Angeles, supra, 31 Cal.4th at p. 1081.) The demurrer also may be sustained without leave to amend where the nature of the defects and previous unsuccessful attempts to plead render it probable plaintiff cannot state a cause of action. (Krawitz v. Rusch (1989) 209 Cal.App.3d 957, 967.)

Amygdala argues that the fraudulent transfer claim fails because the Complaint does not plead facts showing the value of the property, the insolvency of BAG, Amygdala’s knowledge that the property was undervalued, that Basta has been damaged, or that other assets do not exist from which the judgment may be satisfied. (Demurrer at p. 9.)

Amygdala’s argument is without merit. The applicable statute describes a fraudulent transfer claim as follows:

(a) A transfer made or obligation incurred by a debtor is voidable as to a creditor, whether the creditor's claim arose before or after the transfer was made or the obligation was incurred, if the debtor made the transfer or incurred the obligation as follows:

(1) With actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud any creditor of the debtor.

(2) Without receiving a reasonably equivalent value in exchange for the transfer or obligation, and the debtor either:

(A) Was engaged or was about to engage in a business or a transaction for which the remaining assets of the debtor were unreasonably small in relation to the business or transaction.

(B) Intended to incur, or believed or reasonably should have believed that the debtor would incur, debts beyond the debtor's ability to pay as they became due.

(Civ. Code § 3439.04, subd. (a).)

Here, the Complaint alleges that BAG made the transfer while it was insolvent, without receiving a reasonably equivalent value, with the intent to avoid debt, and to Basta’s injury. (Complaint ¶¶ 4–8.) Amygdala does not explain how any of the above elements are missing.

Rather, Amgydala argues that no claim exists because the Complaint does not state sufficient facts to imply the existence of actual intent, as laid out in Civil Code § 3439.04, subd. (b). (Demurrer at pp. 7–8.) But the factors provided in that statute exist to provide guidance to the court as to a finding of intent., not as elements to be pleaded in a complaint. (See Filip v. Bucurenciu (2005) 129 Cal.App.4th 825, 834 [“There is no minimum number of factors that must be present before the scales tip in favor of finding of actual intent to defraud. This list of factors is meant to provide guidance to the trial court, not compel a finding one way or the other.”].) Basta’s allegations are enough to survive demurrer. Whether evidence of the factors exists to support or dispute them is a matter for further litigation.

The demurrer is therefore OVERRULED.

related-case-search

Dig Deeper

Get Deeper Insights on Court Cases


Latest cases where BASTA INC. & BASTA UNIVERSAL is a litigant

Latest cases represented by Lawyer RAMM BENJAMIN G.