This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 11/08/2022 at 08:38:59 (UTC).

BILLIE JEAN WHITTENBERG VS APARTMENT MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 08/16/2021 BILLIE JEAN WHITTENBERG filed a Property - Other Real Property lawsuit against APARTMENT MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC,. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are MICHAEL P. LINFIELD and MONICA BACHNER. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******0154

  • Filing Date:

    08/16/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Real Property

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

MICHAEL P. LINFIELD

MONICA BACHNER

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

WHITTENBERG BILLIE JEAN

Defendants

APARTMENTT MANAGEMENT GROUP LLC

CHLOES APARTMENTS LLC

MALIN ADRIAN

WILLIAMS ELOISE

WILLIAMS GAYLORD

ZUCKERMAN DAN

CRYSTAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT INC.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

LAVI DANIEL J.

Defendant Attorneys

WEBB LANE ELLIS

OBERRECHT KIMBERLY SUZANNE

SCHILLER MATTHEW AARON

CARPENTER GREGORY J.

LAU ALERIES

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (POST-MEDIATION STATUS CONFERENCE)

10/26/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (POST-MEDIATION STATUS CONFERENCE)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (POST-MEDIATION STATUS CONFERENCE NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW ...)

7/29/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (POST-MEDIATION STATUS CONFERENCE NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW ...)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: NOTICE OF RELATED CASE) OF 08/02/2022

8/2/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: NOTICE OF RELATED CASE) OF 08/02/2022

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: NOTICE OF RELATED CASE) OF 08/02/2022

8/2/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: NOTICE OF RELATED CASE) OF 08/02/2022

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STRIKE; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF

8/19/2022: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO STRIKE; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF

Declaration - DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

8/25/2022: Declaration - DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

8/25/2022: Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

8/25/2022: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore - ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE (DINA CURRADO, CSR #10908)

9/1/2022: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore - ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE (DINA CURRADO, CSR #10908)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AME...)

9/1/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AME...)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER)

9/2/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER) OF 09/02/2022

9/2/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER) OF 09/02/2022

Order - ORDER ON MOTION TO STRIKE

9/2/2022: Order - ORDER ON MOTION TO STRIKE

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

7/15/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 07/15/2022

7/15/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 07/15/2022

Notice of Related Case

7/15/2022: Notice of Related Case

Notice - NOTICE OF ASSOCIATION OF COUNSEL

7/28/2022: Notice - NOTICE OF ASSOCIATION OF COUNSEL

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

4/26/2022: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

40 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/27/2023
  • Hearing03/27/2023 at 10:00 AM in Department 71 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 03/17/2023
  • Hearing03/17/2023 at 10:00 AM in Department 71 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 01/19/2023
  • Hearing01/19/2023 at 08:30 AM in Department 71 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Post-Mediation Status Conference

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  • 10/26/2022
  • DocketPost-Mediation Status Conference scheduled for 01/19/2023 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 71

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  • 10/26/2022
  • DocketMinute Order (Post-Mediation Status Conference)

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  • 10/26/2022
  • DocketPost-Mediation Status Conference scheduled for 10/26/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 71 Held - Continued was rescheduled to 01/19/2023 08:30 AM

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  • 09/23/2022
  • DocketPursuant to the request of moving party, Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike scheduled for 12/16/2022 at 09:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 71 Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party on 09/23/2022

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  • 09/02/2022
  • DocketORDER ON MOTION TO STRIKE; Filed by: Clerk; As to: Billie Jean Whittenberg (Plaintiff); Apartmentt Management Group, LLC (Defendant); Chloes Apartments LLC (Defendant) et al.

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  • 09/02/2022
  • DocketMinute Order (Ruling on Submitted Matter)

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  • 09/02/2022
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Ruling on Submitted Matter) of 09/02/2022; Filed by: Clerk

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69 More Docket Entries
  • 08/17/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Dan Zuckerman (Defendant): First Name changed from DAN to Dan; Last Name changed from ZUCKERMAN to Zuckerman

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  • 08/17/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Adrian Malin (Defendant): First Name changed from ADRIAN to Adrian; Last Name changed from MALIN to Malin

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  • 08/16/2021
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Billie Jean Whittenberg (Plaintiff); As to: APARTMENT MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC (Defendant); CHLOES APARTMENTS LLC (Defendant); Eloise Williams (Defendant) et al.

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  • 08/16/2021
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Billie Jean Whittenberg (Plaintiff); As to: APARTMENT MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC (Defendant); CHLOES APARTMENTS LLC (Defendant); Eloise Williams (Defendant) et al.

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  • 08/16/2021
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Billie Jean Whittenberg (Plaintiff); As to: APARTMENT MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC (Defendant); CHLOES APARTMENTS LLC (Defendant); Eloise Williams (Defendant) et al.

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  • 08/16/2021
  • DocketDemand for Jury Trial; Filed by: Billie Jean Whittenberg (Plaintiff); As to: APARTMENT MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC (Defendant); CHLOES APARTMENTS LLC (Defendant); Eloise Williams (Defendant) et al.

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  • 08/16/2021
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by: Billie Jean Whittenberg (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/16/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 08/16/2021
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Signed and Filed by: Clerk; As to: Billie Jean Whittenberg (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/16/2021
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Monica Bachner in Department 71 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: *******0154 Hearing Date: September 1, 2022 Dept: 71

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

DEPARTMENT 71

TENTATIVE RULING

BILLIE JEAN WHITTENBERG,

vs.

ELOISE WILLIAMS; GAYLORD WILLIAMS; CHLOES APARTMENTS LLC; APARTMENT MANAGEMENT GROUP, LLC; and DOES 2 through 60, inclusive.

Case No.: *******0154

Hearing Date: September 1, 2022

Defendants Eloise Williams’s and Gaylord Williams’s motion to strike portions of the First Amended Complaint pertaining to allegations that are outside of the statute of limitations as well as portions of the prayer seeking attorney fees and punitive damages is DENIED.

Defendants Eloise Williams and Gaylord Williams move to strike portions of the first amended complaint (FAC) pertaining to allegations that are outside of the statute of limitations as well as portions of the prayer seeking attorney fees and punitive damages. (Defs.’ Notice. of Mot. pp. 1–2.)

Background

Plaintiff filed their original complaint on August 26, 2021, against Defendants Eloise Williams; Gaylord Williams; Chloes Apartments LLC; Apartment Management Group, LLC; and Does 2 through 60, inclusive. On February 28, 2022, Plaintiff filed their FAC with causes of action for (1) Breach of Contract, (2) Breach of Warrant of Habitability, (3) Breach of Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment, and (4) Violation of Unfair Business Practices. On April 27, 2022, Defendants Eloise Williams and Gaylord Williams filed this motion to strike portions of the FAC pertaining to allegations in paragraphs 20, 21, 22, and 23 that are allegedly outside of the statute of limitations as well as portions of the prayer seeking attorney fees and punitive damages. Plaintiff filed their opposition on August 19, 2022. Defendants Eloise and Gaylord filed a reply on August 25, 2022.

Motion to Strike

Code of Civil Procedure section 436 provides that the Court may, upon a motion made pursuant to CCP 435, or at any time within its discretion and upon terms it deems proper, “strike out any irrelevant, false, or improper matter inserted in any pleading” and/or “strike out all or part of any pleading not drawn or filed in conformity with the laws of this state, a court rule, or an order of the court.” (Code Civ. Proc. 436(a)). In passing on the correctness of a ruling on a motion to strike, judges read allegations of a pleading subject to a motion to strike, all parts in their context, and assume their truth. (Clauson v. Superior Court (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 1253, 1255.)

Defendants Eloise and Gaylord state the FAC contains allegations of wrongdoing against Eloise and Gaylord prior to August 16, 2017, more than four years prior to the initiation of Plaintiff’s suit and beyond the applicable statute of limitations. (Defs.’ Mem. P. & A. Supp. Mot. Strike Portions Pl.’s First Am. Compl., pg. 2.) Defendants argue that allegations in FAC paragraphs 20, 21, 22, and 23 predate August 16, 2017, and are irrelevant, improper, and not drawn in conformity with the laws of California and should be stricken. (Defs.’ Mem. P. & A., pg. 3.) Defendants also argue that the FAC’s provisions for attorney fees and punitive damages should be stricken because the allegations in the FAC are insufficient for Plaintiff to recover. (Defs.’ Mem. P. & A., pg. 3.)

    1. Paragraphs 20, 21, 22, and 23 should not be stricken pursuant to the continuing violation doctrine.

“The continuing violation doctrine aggregates a series of wrongs or injuries for purposes of the statute of limitations period as accruing for all of them upon commission or sufferance of the last of them.” (Aryeh v. Canon Bus. Solutions (2013) 55 Cal.4th 1185, 1192, citing Richards v. CH2M Hill, Inc. (2001) 26 Cal.4th 798, 811–818.) Application of the continuing violation doctrine is not proper when a complaint identifies a series of discrete, independently actionable alleged wrongs, or when a plaintiff knew of the asserted harms. (Aryeh, 26 Cal.4th at pp. 1197–1198, citing Yanowitz v. L’Oreal USA, Inc. (2005) 36 Cal.4th 1028, 1058; Richards, 26 Cal.4th at pp. 820–821.)

Here, the allegations in FAC paragraphs 20, 21, 22, and 23 describe citations issued from the Housing and Community Investment Department of Los Angeles on January 1, 2016; March 11, 2016; and July 10, 2017, relevant to an improperly installed smoke detector, an improperly weatherproofed roof, unsanitary stairways and walkways, and water damaged exterior areas and overhangs. (First Am. Compl. 20, 21, 22, 23.) Plaintiff pleaded in the FAC that she continues to suffer from uninhabitable conditions at the subject property that began from the onset of her tenancy in 2016 to the present, including exposure to bedbugs that caused bedbug bites, vermin that infested personal belongings later discarded, black mold that caused sinus infections, contaminated water that caused recurring yeast infections, uneven floor coverings that caused back pain, and chronic mental and emotional anguish. (See First Am. Compl. 31, 32, 33, 37, 41, 42, 43.) Therefore, Plaintiff’s complaint does not allege a series of discrete, independently actionable alleged wrongs, but rather continuing violations that remain within the actionable statute of limitations.

Accordingly, Defendants’ motion to strike FAC paragraphs 20, 21, 22, and 23 is denied.

  1. The allegations in the FAC are sufficient to support Plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages.

To succeed on a motion to strike punitive damages allegations, it must be said as a matter of law that the alleged behavior was not so vile, base, or contemptible that it would not be looked down upon and despised by ordinary decent people. (Angie M. v. Superior Court (1995) 37 Cal.App.4th 1217, 1228–1229.) “In order to survive a motion to strike an allegation of punitive damages, the ultimate facts showing an entitlement to such relief must be pled by a plaintiff.” (Clauson v. Superior Court (1998) 67 Cal. App. 4th 1253, 1255.) Conclusory allegations, devoid of any factual assertions, are insufficient to support a conclusion that parties acted with oppression, fraud, or malice. (Smith v. Superior Court (1992) 10 Cal. App. 4th 1033, 1042.)

“‘Malice’ means conduct which is intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff or despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.” (Code Civ. Proc. 3294(c)(1).) “Oppression” means despicable conduct that subjects a person to cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of that person’s rights. (Id. 3294(c)(2).) “Fraud” means an intentional misrepresentation, deceit, or concealment of a material fact known to defendant with the intention on the part of defendant of thereby depriving a person of property or legal rights or otherwise causing injury. (Id. 3294(c)(3).)

Punitive damages thus require more than the mere commission of a tort. (See Taylor v. Superior Court (1979) 24 Cal.3d 890, 894–95.) Specific facts must be pleaded in support of punitive damages. (See Hillard v. A.H. Robins Co. (1983) 148 Cal.App.3d 374, 391–392.)

Here, Plaintiff has pleaded facts sufficient to overcome a motion to strike her claim for punitive damages against Defendants. Plaintiff alleges habitability issues that Defendants were aware of but failed to cure, including weatherproofing, illegal construction, water damage, vermin infestations, inadequate/leaking plumbing systems, mold, damaged cabinetry, broken doors, and water leaks. (FAC 20–41.) Further, Plaintiff alleges that she notified Defendants on multiple occasions about the habitability concerns via various forms of communication, and Defendants did not or inadequately remedied her situation. (FAC 39.) Read as a whole, Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint alleges sufficient facts to support a claim for punitive damages because Defendants knew about the habitability issues at the subject property, had the ability to take necessary steps to remedy Plaintiff’s issues, misrepresented that construction at the site was proper and permitted, and repeatedly failed to remedy know defects.

Accordingly, Defendants’ motion to strike Plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages is denied.

  1. Plaintiff has not pled that she is statutorily entitled to claim attorney’s fees should Plaintiff prevail at trial, but later discovery may reveal a basis for recovery.

Code of Civil Procedure section 1021 provides for attorney’s fees specifically provided by statute or by agreement between the parties. (Code Civ. Proc., 1021.) Unsupported attorney’s fees allegations need not be stricken pursuant to a motion to strike because later discovery may reveal a basis for their recovery. (See Camenisch v. Superior Court (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 1689, 1699.)

Here, Plaintiff has not alleged in the FAC that she is entitled to statutory attorney’s fees under CCP 1942.4(b)(2) against Defendants Eloise and Gaylord. However, later discovery may reveal a basis for Plaintiff’s recovery against Defendants Eloise and Gaylord.

Accordingly, Defendants’ motion to strike Plaintiff’s claim for attorney’s fees is denied.

Based on the foregoing, Defendants’ motion to strike portions of the first amended complaint (FAC) pertaining to allegations that are outside of the statute of limitations as well as portions of the prayer seeking attorney fees and punitive damages is denied.

Dated: September , 2022

Hon. Monica Bachner

Judge of the Superior Court



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