This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 09/08/2021 at 00:58:50 (UTC).

BRITTANY P. ODOMS, ET AL. VS GIDI COHEN ENTERPRISES, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 02/16/2021 BRITTANY P ODOMS filed a Property - Other Real Property lawsuit against GIDI COHEN ENTERPRISES, INC , A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are CHRISTOPHER K. LUI and LAURA A. SEIGLE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******5833

  • Filing Date:

    02/16/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Real Property

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

CHRISTOPHER K. LUI

LAURA A. SEIGLE

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

PHILLIPS MICHAEL

ODOMS BRITTANY P.

Defendants

GIDI COHEN ENTERPRISES INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

CGI STRATEGIES A CALIFORNIA ENTITY

AMC PROPERTY MANAGEMENT LLC A CALIFORNIA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY

COHEN GIDI

LOS FELIZ BLISS LLC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

DERBARSEGHIAN AREN

Defendant Attorney

ATTIA ANDREW S.

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: CONTINUANCE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

7/13/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: CONTINUANCE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: CONTINUANCE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE) OF 07/13/2021

7/13/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: CONTINUANCE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE) OF 07/13/2021

Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

7/6/2021: Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE: NOTICE OF RELATED CASE;)

6/9/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE: NOTICE OF RELATED CASE;)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE: NOTICE OF RELATED CASE;) OF 06/09/2021

6/9/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE: NOTICE OF RELATED CASE;) OF 06/09/2021

Amended Complaint - AMENDED COMPLAINT (1ST)

6/1/2021: Amended Complaint - AMENDED COMPLAINT (1ST)

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

6/2/2021: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service) - PROOF OF MAILING (SUBSTITUTED SERVICE) PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

4/1/2021: Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service) - PROOF OF MAILING (SUBSTITUTED SERVICE) PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service)

4/1/2021: Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service)

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

4/1/2021: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service) - PROOF OF MAILING (SUBSTITUTED SERVICE) PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

4/1/2021: Proof of Mailing (Substituted Service) - PROOF OF MAILING (SUBSTITUTED SERVICE) PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

4/16/2021: Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

Motion to Strike (not initial pleading)

4/16/2021: Motion to Strike (not initial pleading)

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' DEMURRER AND MOTION TO STRIKE

5/3/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' DEMURRER AND MOTION TO STRIKE

Notice of Related Case

5/21/2021: Notice of Related Case

Civil Case Cover Sheet

2/16/2021: Civil Case Cover Sheet

Notice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case

2/16/2021: Notice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case

Complaint

2/16/2021: Complaint

14 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 10/08/2021
  • Hearing10/08/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 48 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

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  • 10/08/2021
  • Hearing10/08/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 48 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Case Management Conference

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  • 07/27/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 48, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 07/13/2021
  • Docketat 3:45 PM in Department 48, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Court Order

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  • 07/13/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order re: Continuance of Case Management Conference) of 07/13/2021); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/13/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order re: Continuance of Case Management Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/12/2021
  • DocketCase Management Statement; Filed by Gidi Cohen Enterprises, Inc., a California corporation (Defendant); Gidi Cohen (Defendant); CGI Strategies, a California entity (Defendant) et al.

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  • 07/06/2021
  • DocketMotion to Strike (not initial pleading); Filed by Gidi Cohen Enterprises, Inc., a California corporation (Defendant); Gidi Cohen (Defendant); CGI Strategies, a California entity (Defendant) et al.

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  • 07/06/2021
  • DocketDemurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10); Filed by Gidi Cohen Enterprises, Inc., a California corporation (Defendant); Gidi Cohen (Defendant); CGI Strategies, a California entity (Defendant) et al.

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  • 06/09/2021
  • Docketat 4:30 PM in Department 76, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Non-Appearance Case Review

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12 More Docket Entries
  • 04/16/2021
  • DocketMotion to Strike (not initial pleading); Filed by Gidi Cohen Enterprises, Inc., a California corporation (Defendant); Gidi Cohen (Defendant); CGI Strategies, a California entity (Defendant) et al.

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  • 04/01/2021
  • DocketProof of Mailing (Substituted Service) (PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS); Filed by Brittany P. Odoms (Plaintiff); Michael Phillips (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/01/2021
  • DocketAmendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name); Filed by Brittany P. Odoms (Plaintiff); Michael Phillips (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/01/2021
  • DocketProof of Mailing (Substituted Service) (PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS); Filed by Brittany P. Odoms (Plaintiff); Michael Phillips (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/01/2021
  • DocketProof of Mailing (Substituted Service); Filed by Brittany P. Odoms (Plaintiff); Michael Phillips (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/18/2021
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Brittany P. Odoms (Plaintiff); Michael Phillips (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/17/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/16/2021
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Brittany P. Odoms (Plaintiff); Michael Phillips (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/16/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/16/2021
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Brittany P. Odoms (Plaintiff); Michael Phillips (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 21STCV05833    Hearing Date: May 14, 2021    Dept: 48

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS’ DEMURRER AND MOTION TO STRIKE

On February 16, 2021, Plaintiffs Brittany P. Odoms and Michael Phillips (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed this action against Defendants Gidi Cohen Enterprises Inc., Gidi Cohen, CGI Strategies, and AMC Property Management LLC. Plaintiffs later substituted Los Feliz Bliss LLC for Doe 1. The Complaint alleges negligence, breach of the implied warranty of habitability, breach of lease, and negligent infliction of emotional distress arising from a fire in Plaintiffs’ apartment complex.

On April 16, 2021, Gidi Cohen Enterprises Inc., Gidi Cohen, CGI Strategies, and Los Feliz Bliss LLC (collectively, “Defendants”) filed a demurrer and a motion to strike.

DEMURRER

A demurrer for sufficiency tests whether the complaint states a cause of action. (Hahn v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 740, 747.) When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations liberally and in context, accepting the alleged facts as true. (Nolte v. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 1401, 1406.)

A special demurrer for uncertainty under Code of Civil Procedure section 430.10, subdivision (f) is disfavored and will only be sustained where the pleading is so bad that defendant or plaintiff cannot reasonably respond—i.e., cannot reasonably determine what issues must be admitted or denied, or what counts or claims are directed against him or her. (Khoury v. Maly’s of Calif., Inc. (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 612, 616.) Even if the pleading is somewhat vague, “ambiguities can be clarified under modern discovery procedures.” (Ibid.)

A. Uncertainty

Defendants demur to the entire complaint on the grounds that it is difficult to discern which allegations are directed at them and which are directed at AMC Property Management LLC. (Demurrer at p. 3.) Defendants contend “[t]he role, conduct, and actions and/or omissions of each defendant must be clarified, and separate allegations must be made against each defendant.” (Id. at p. 4.)

The Court overrules Defendants’ demurrer on the grounds of uncertainty. The Complaint states that “GCE, Gidi Cogen, CGI and AMC shall collectively be referred to as the “Defendants,” and each cause of action is brought “Against All Defendants.” Additionally, the claims are not so uncertain to make the pleading unintelligible, and any uncertainty can be addressed in discovery.

B. First Cause of Action – Negligence

Defendants demur to the first cause of action on the grounds that it fails to plead sufficient facts and is conclusory, particularly as to the duty owed and damages. (Demurrer at p. 5.) A cause of action for negligence requires (1) a legal duty owed to the plaintiff to use due care, (2) breach of that duty, (3) causation, and (4) damage to the plaintiff. (County of Santa Clara v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2006) 137 Cal.App.4th 292, 318.) “A landlord owes a duty of care to a tenant to provide and maintain safe conditions on the leased premises.” (Portillo v. Aiassa (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 1128, 1133.)

Plaintiffs allege that Defendants owed a duty of reasonable care to Plaintiffs as owners and/or managers of the Building. (Complaint ¶ 21.) Defendants knew that the building had a unit with a defective ceiling fan and they were required to repair or replace it, but they ignored the problem for several years. (Id. at ¶ 22.) Defendants breached their duty by failing to replace or repair the fan, which resulted in a fire that harmed Plaintiffs. (Id. at ¶¶ 22-23.) As a result, Plaintiffs sustained financial and physical harm. (Id. at ¶ 24.) The damage included personal items broken or damaged and covered in smoke, ash and asbestos. (Id. at ¶ 5.) These allegations allege the basis of Defendants’ duty to Plaintiffs – as owners or managers of the building. There is no requirement that Plaintiffs specifically allege all of their damages, and this can be clarified in discovery.

The demurrer to the first cause of action is overruled.

C. Second Cause of Action – Breach of the Implied Warranty of Habitability

Defendants argue that Plaintiffs’ claim is based on a fire that broke out in a neighbor’s unit, but they do not allege any defect affecting the habitability of their own unit. (Demurrer at p. 7.) Defendants also argue that the alleged damage caused by the firefighters is not a substandard condition within the scope of the implied warranty. (Ibid.) “Under the implied warranty which we recognize, a residential landlord covenants that premises he leases for living quarters will be maintained in a habitable state for the duration of the lease.¿¿This implied warranty of habitability does not require that a landlord ensure that leased premises are in perfect, aesthetically pleasing condition, but it does mean that ‘bare living requirements’ must be maintained.”¿¿(Green v. Superior Court¿(1974) 10 Cal.3d 616, 637 (Green).) “In most cases substantial compliance with those applicable building and housing code standards which materially affect health and safety will suffice to meet the landlord’s obligations under the common law implied warranty of habitability.” (Ibid.)

Plaintiffs allege that a neighbor had raised concerns about a malfunctioning bathroom ceiling fan on multiple occasions, but Defendants ignored her concerns. (Complaint ¶ 6.) On October 16, 2020, the neighbor’s bathroom ceiling fan set the building on fire. (Id. at ¶ 3.) As Plaintiffs evacuated, firefighters told them that they needed access to Plaintiffs’ unit as an electrical source to fight the fire. (Id. at ¶ 4.) “Because their door was left open and their house was used as a hub for the firefighters,” all of Plaintiffs’ belongings were damaged or broken, everything smelled like plastic and smoke, everything was covered in ash, smoke residue, and asbestos, and Plaintiffs’ home was rendered uninhabitable. (Id. at ¶ 5.)

The malfunctioning ceiling fan was not in Plaintiffs’ unit and did not itself create an uninhabitable condition of Plaintiffs’ unit. Plaintiffs’ allegations that their home was rendered uninhabitable after the fire due to damaged or broken personal belongings caused by the firefighters does not allege any defect of the premises leased to Plaintiffs or any noncompliance with applicable building and housing code standards in Plaintiffs’ unit. (See Green, supra,10 Cal.3d at p. 637.) Accordingly, the demurrer to the second cause of action is sustained with leave to amend.

D. Third Cause of Action – Breach of Lease Agreement

Defendants argue that Plaintiffs do not identify how Defendants breached the lease. (Demurrer at pp. 7-8.) “A written contract may be pleaded by its terms—set out verbatim in the complaint or a copy of the contract attached to the complaint and incorporated therein by reference—or by its legal effect.” (McKell v. Washington Mutual, Inc. (2006) 142 Cal.App.4th 1457, 1489.)

Plaintiffs allege that under the lease, Defendants were required to maintain the building in a habitable condition, and they breached the lease by failing to do so and by failing to make necessary and simple repairs. (Complaint ¶¶ 31, 33.) Although Plaintiffs attach a copy of the lease, they do not identify any specific provision of their lease that Defendants breached or how this cause of action is different from the second cause of action.

The demurrer to the third cause of action is sustained with leave to amend.

E. Fourth Cause of Action – Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

Defendants argue that negligent infliction of emotional distress is not a recognized cause of action, and Plaintiffs do not allege any specific facts related to the type or severity of their harm. (Demurrer at pp. 8-9.) “[T]here is no independent tort of negligent infliction of emotional distress. [Citation.] The tort is negligence, a cause of action in which a duty to the plaintiff is an essential element. [Citations.] That duty may be imposed by law, be assumed by the defendant, or exist by virtue of a special relationship. [Citation.]” (Potter v. Firestone Tire &Rubber Co. (1993) 6 Cal.4th 965, 984-985.) “[U]nless the defendant has assumed a duty to plaintiff in which the emotional condition of the plaintiff is an object, recovery is available only if the emotional distress arises out of the defendant’s breach of some other legal duty and the emotional distress is proximately caused by that breach of duty. (Id. at p. 985.)

As discussed above, a landlord has a duty of care to a tenant to maintain a safe premises. Plaintiffs allege that as a result of Defendants’ negligence and breach of that duty, they suffered serious emotional distress including suffering, anguish, fright, horror, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, shock, humiliation, and shame. (Complaint ¶ 37.) This is sufficient to allege a basis to recover damages for emotional distress, but because this is not a separate cause of action, the emotional distress damages should be alleged as part of the negligence cause of action. The demurrer is sustained with leave to amend.

MOTION TO STRIKE

The Court may, upon a motion or at any time in its discretion: (1) strike out any irrelevant, false, or improper matter inserted in any pleading; or (2) strike out all or any part of any pleading not drawn or filed in conformity with the laws of California, a court rule, or an order of the court. (Code Civ. Proc., § 436, subds. (a)-(b).)

Defendants move to strike Plaintiffs’ prayer for punitive damages because they do not allege facts showing malice, oppression, or fraud. (Motion to Strike at p. 2.) Plaintiffs allege that a neighbor informed the management company “on multiple occasions” of the defective bathroom ceiling fan, but Defendants ignored her concerns. (Complaint ¶ 6.) Maintenance staff inspected the fan and advised Defendants that the fan had serious issues and posed a serious fire risk if not replaced. (Id. at ¶ 7.) Defendants also ignored this warning. (Ibid.) Plaintiffs allege that Defendants ignored the repeated maintenance requests and multiple warning, acting with callous and willful disregard for the health and safety of others. (Id. at ¶ 9.) These allegations, if proven, are sufficient to show malice and support Plaintiffs’ request for punitive damages. The motion to strike is denied on this ground.

Defendants move to strike Plaintiffs’ request for attorney fees because they do not identify any law or contract provision that entitles them to attorney fees. (Motion to Strike at p. 4.) Plaintiffs seek attorney fees “where authorized by law or contract.” (Complaint at p. 7.) Plaintiffs argue that Paragraph 15 of the lease provides that upon default of any obligation, “tenant shall pay landlord reasonable attorney’s fees,” and this is a reciprocal obligation under Civil Code section 1717. (Opposition at p. 11.) Plaintiffs also argue that Civil Code section 1942.4, subdivision (b) authorizes attorney fees in an action based on uninhabitability. (Ibid.) As the Court sustains the demurrer with leave to amend the breach of contract and uninhabitability causes of action, the motion to strike is moot.

Defendants ask the Court to strike the fourth cause of action for negligent infliction of emotional distress. (Motion to Strike at p. 4.) This is not a proper ground for a motion to strike and is duplicative of demurrer. Because the Court overrules the demurrer to the fourth cause of action, the request to strike emotional distress damages is also denied.

CONCLUSION

The demurrer to the second and third causes of action is SUSTAINED with 15 days’ leave to amend, and is otherwise OVERRULED.

The motion to strike is DENIED.

Moving party to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMCDEPT48@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit. Parties intending to appear are STRONGLY encouraged to appear remotely.

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