This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 11/03/2021 at 00:07:17 (UTC).

BROWN-UNITED, INC., A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION, ET AL. VS MILLER, VALLES, GARDNER CPAS INC., ET AL.

Case Summary

On 10/15/2019 BROWN-UNITED, INC , A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION filed a Contract - Business lawsuit against MILLER, VALLES, GARDNER CPAS 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 GLORIA WHITE-BROWN. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******0931

  • Filing Date:

    10/15/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Business

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

GLORIA WHITE-BROWN

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

BROWN-UNITED INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

BROWN TAMARA

Defendants

MILLER MARK

GARDNER JARED

MILLER VALLES GARDNER CPAS INC. FKA MILLER HOOKER VALLES GARDNER CPAS INC. A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

CARLE NATHANIEL MICHAEL

Defendant Attorney

WRIGHT ANDREW

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE (ALL-PURPOSE))

4/23/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE (ALL-PURPOSE))

Separate Statement

6/8/2021: Separate Statement

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

6/8/2021: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Separate Statement

6/8/2021: Separate Statement

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

6/8/2021: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Separate Statement

6/8/2021: Separate Statement

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

6/8/2021: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Separate Statement

6/8/2021: Separate Statement

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

6/8/2021: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Separate Statement

6/8/2021: Separate Statement

Separate Statement

6/8/2021: Separate Statement

Separate Statement

6/8/2021: Separate Statement

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

6/8/2021: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

6/8/2021: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

6/8/2021: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE (ALL-PURPOSE; VOLUNTARY SETTLEMENT CONFEREN...)

6/9/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE (ALL-PURPOSE; VOLUNTARY SETTLEMENT CONFEREN...)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE (ALL-PURPOSE; MOTION HEARING SETTING CONFER...)

7/14/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE (ALL-PURPOSE; MOTION HEARING SETTING CONFER...)

Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER RE STATEMENT OF POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR VOLUNTARY SETTLEMENT CONFERENCES

7/19/2021: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER RE STATEMENT OF POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR VOLUNTARY SETTLEMENT CONFERENCES

58 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/28/2022
  • Hearing03/28/2022 at 09:00 AM in Department 58 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 03/23/2022
  • Hearing03/23/2022 at 09:00 AM in Department 58 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 02/16/2022
  • Hearing02/16/2022 at 09:30 AM in Department 58 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Status Conference

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  • 12/13/2021
  • Hearing12/13/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 58 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Mediation

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  • 10/28/2021
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 58; Status Conference ((All-Purpose; Motion Hearing Setting Conference; OSC Re Identification of Experts; Independent Discovery Conference; Conference Re Long Cause Assignment)) - Held

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  • 10/28/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Status Conference (All-Purpose; Motion Hearing Setting Confer...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/25/2021
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department 58; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 10/20/2021
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department 58; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 09/10/2021
  • DocketNotice of Ruling (ON MOTIONS TO COMPEL); Filed by Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAS Inc. (Defendant); Mark Miller (Defendant); Jared Gardner (Defendant)

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  • 09/07/2021
  • Docketat 09:30 AM in Department 58; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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97 More Docket Entries
  • 12/20/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department J; Non-Appearance Case Review (p.o.s) - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 12/06/2019
  • DocketNotice and Acknowledgment of Receipt; Filed by Brown-United, Inc., a California Corporation (Plaintiff); Tamara Brown (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/06/2019
  • DocketNotice and Acknowledgment of Receipt; Filed by Brown-United, Inc., a California Corporation (Plaintiff); Tamara Brown (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/06/2019
  • DocketNotice and Acknowledgment of Receipt; Filed by Brown-United, Inc., a California Corporation (Plaintiff); Tamara Brown (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/12/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Failure to File Proof of Service; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/16/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/15/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/15/2019
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Brown-United, Inc., a California Corporation (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/15/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Brown-United, Inc., a California Corporation (Plaintiff); Tamara Brown (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/15/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Brown-United, Inc., a California Corporation (Plaintiff); Tamara Brown (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

b'

Case Number: 19PSCV00931 Hearing Date: August 25, 2021 Dept: 58

Judge John P. Doyle

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Department\r\n58

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Hearing\r\nDate: August 25, 2021

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Case\r\nName: Brown-United, Inc.,\r\net al. v. Defendants Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs,

\r\n\r\n

Inc., et al.

\r\n\r\n

Case\r\nNo.: 19PSCV00931

\r\n\r\n

Matter: Motions to Compel\r\nFurther Responses (3x)

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Moving\r\nParty: Defendant Mark Miller

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Responding\r\nParty: Plaintiff Brown-United, Inc.

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Tentative Ruling: The Motions to Compel are granted.

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On\r\nOctober 15, 2019, Plaintiffs Brown-United,\r\nInc. (“BUI”) and Tamara Brown (“Tamara”) filed the operative Complaint for\r\nbreach of fiduciary duty. The\r\nallegations of the Complaint are as follows. \r\nBUI is in the business of stage and special event construction; Tamara\r\nis the owner of 51% stock in BUI and is its Chief Financial Officer. Beginning in or around July 2016, Plaintiffs\r\nengaged the services of Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc., Mark Miller, and\r\nJared Gardner as business consultants, advisors, and accountants. On or around August 2016, Mike Brown (“Mike”)\r\nand American Grandstands loaned BUI over $2.9 million; the loan was secured\r\nwith BUI’s assets and a pledge of BUI stock from BUI stockholders, including\r\nTamara, to Mike. Defendants provided substantial accounting and advisory\r\nservices to Mike and American Grandstands for many years before Defendants\r\nrendered services to Plaintiffs, and continued to provide such services while\r\nperforming services for Plaintiffs. Defendants took steps to secure Plaintiffs’\r\nassets for Mike and American Grandstands, including recording UCC financing\r\nstatements concerning Plaintiffs’ assets pledged as collateral to Mike and\r\nAmerican Grandstands. Defendants’ work for Mike and American Grandstands while\r\nalso working for Plaintiffs posed a significant conflict of interest that\r\nsubstantially harmed Plaintiff.

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  1. Motion\r\n to Compel—Requests for Admissions
  2. \r\n
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Defendant\r\nMark Miller seeks to compel Plaintiff Brown-United, Inc. to provide a further\r\nresponse to his requests for admissions, set one, no. 2.

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Request\r\nno. 2 states, “Admit that all engagement agreements YOU entered into were\r\nsolely with [Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc.]”

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Defendant\r\nresponded, “Responding Party objects to this request on the ground that\r\n‘engagement agreements’ is not a defined term, is vague and ambiguous, and\r\nuncertain what agreements, written or otherwise, to which it refers.”

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The\r\nobjection lacks merit. “[W]here the\r\nquestion is somewhat ambiguous, but the nature of the information sought is\r\napparent, the proper solution is to provide an appropriate response.” (Deyo\r\nv. Kilbourne (1978) 84 Cal.App.3d 771, 783.)

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The\r\nMotion is granted. A further response is\r\nto be provided within 45 days. The Court\r\nrespectfully declines to award sanctions.

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  1. Motion\r\n to Compel—Special Interrogatories
  2. \r\n
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Defendant\r\nMark Miller seeks to compel Plaintiff Brown-United, Inc. to provide further\r\nresponses to his special interrogatories (“SI”), set one, nos. 3, 6, 9, 13-28,\r\n30, 33, 36, 38-43.

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The\r\nMotion is granted as to SI nos. 3, 6, 9, 30, 33, 36, 39, 41 and 43 because a\r\nspecific reference to documents was not provided.

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The\r\nMotion is also granted as to SI nos. 38, 40, and 42 because the responses do\r\nnot provide sufficient detail.

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With\r\nrespect to SI nos. 13-28, these interrogatories seek for Plaintiff indicate the\r\ntotal amount of damages caused by each Defendant, how that amount was\r\ncalculated, the identity of those with knowledge of such damages, and the\r\ndocuments that support such damages. \r\nPlaintiff responded, “Responding Party has not yet calculated the total\r\namount of damages sustained and reserves all rights to retain an expert to\r\ncalculate the amount of damages sustained.”

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The\r\nCourt will require further responses as to SI nos. 13-28. Although Plaintiff may not have had all of\r\nthe information it needed to previously respond to these requests, the Court\r\nexpects something to be provided in the next 45 days so as to facilitate\r\nsettlement discussions.

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In\r\nsum, the Motion is granted. Further\r\nresponses are to be provided within 45 days. \r\nThe Court respectfully declines to award sanctions.

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    \r\n
  1. Motion\r\n to Compel—Requests for Production
  2. \r\n
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Defendant\r\nMark Miller seeks to compel Plaintiff Brown-United, Inc. to provide further\r\nresponses to his requests for production, set one, nos. 1-18.

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The\r\nMotion is granted as to requests nos. 1-3 and 16-18 because a privilege log was\r\nnot provided.

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The\r\nMotion is granted as to requests nos. 4-12 and 14-15 because Plaintiff should\r\nclarify that “all” responsive documents will be provided.

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The\r\nMotion is granted as to request no. 13 because Plaintiff failed to comply with\r\nCode Civ. Proc. § 2031.230 which provides, “A representation of inability to comply with the\r\nparticular demand for inspection, copying, testing, or sampling shall affirm\r\nthat a diligent search and a reasonable inquiry has been made in an effort to\r\ncomply with that demand. This statement shall also specify whether the\r\ninability to comply is because the particular item or category has never\r\nexisted, has been destroyed, has been lost, misplaced, or stolen, or has never\r\nbeen, or is no longer, in the possession, custody, or control of the responding\r\nparty. The statement shall set forth the name and address of any natural person\r\nor organization known or believed by that party to have possession, custody, or\r\ncontrol of that item or category of item.”

\r\n\r\n

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In sum, the Motion is granted. Further responses are to be provided within\r\n45 days. The Court respectfully declines\r\nto award sanctions.

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'

Case Number: 19PSCV00931    Hearing Date: January 07, 2021    Dept: 58

Judge John P. Doyle

Department 58


Hearing Date: January 7, 2021

Case Name: Brown-United, Inc., et al. v. Defendants Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs,

Inc., et al.

Case No.: 19PSCV00931

Matter: Demurrer; Motion to Strike

Moving Party: Defendants Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc., Mark Miller, and Jared

Gardner

Responding Party: Plaintiffs Brown-United, Inc. and Tamara Brown


Tentative Ruling: The Demurrer is overruled. The Motion to Strike is denied.


On October 15, 2019, Plaintiffs Brown-United, Inc. (“BUI”) and Tamara Brown (“Tamara”) filed the operative Complaint for breach of fiduciary duty. The allegations of the Complaint are as follows. BUI is in the business of stage and special event construction; Tamara is the owner of 51% stock in BUI and is its Chief Financial Officer. Beginning in or around July 2016, Plaintiffs engaged the services of Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc., Mark Miller, and Jared Gardner as business consultants, advisors, and accountants. On or around August 2016, Mike Brown (“Mike”) and American Grandstands loaned BUI over $2.9 million; the loan was secured with BUI’s assets and a pledge of BUI stock from BUI stockholders, including Tamara, to Mike. Defendants provided substantial accounting and advisory services to Mike and American Grandstands for many years before Defendants rendered services to Plaintiffs, and continued to provide such services while performing services for Plaintiffs. Defendants took steps to secure Plaintiffs’ assets for Mike and American Grandstands, including recording UCC financing statements concerning Plaintiffs’ assets pledged as collateral to Mike and American Grandstands. Defendants’ work for Mike and American Grandstands while also working for Plaintiffs posed a significant conflict of interest that substantially harmed Plaintiff.

  1. Demurrer

Defendants Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc., Mark Miller, and Jared Gardner demur to the first cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty for uncertainty and failure to state sufficient facts. Defendants also argue that “[t]he person who filed the pleading does not have the legal capacity to sue” and that “there is a defect or misjoinder of parties.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 430.10(b), (d).) Specifically, Defendants argue, “The Complaint is unintelligible as pled as the Plaintiffs incoherently jumble themselves and the Accountants together, making it impossible to determine the Complaint viability as to each individual party. Regardless, however, there is not a fiduciary relationship between the Accountants and the Plaintiffs. And, at a minimum, there cannot be a fiduciary relationship between the Plaintiffs and the individual Accountants nor can Ms. Brown prosecute a breach of fiduciary claim given that she is merely a shareholder in Brown-United, Inc.”

While factually sparse, the Complaint pleads that both Plaintiffs engaged the services of all Defendants. Further facts can be determined about this in discovery. The Court notes that nothing has been cited to preclude tort liability against the individual accountants. The Demurrer is overruled to the extent premised on Code Civ. Proc. § 430.10(b), (d).

Further, the Complaint indicates that Defendants owed Plaintiffs fiduciary duties as accountants and business consultants. “Accountants, like lawyers, owe a fiduciary duty to their clients.” (Wolf v. Superior Court (2003) 107 Cal.App.4th 25, 40 (concurrence).) Although there are few reported cases addressing the nature of the relationship between an accountant and his client, courts that have addressed the issue have assumed that a fiduciary relationship exists. (Electronic Equipment Express, Inc. v. Donald H. Seiler & Co. (1981) 122 Cal.App.3d 834, 855-856 [discussing fiduciary relationship between accountant and client in context of diligence required to investigate professional negligence claim]; Bedolla v. Logan & Frazer (1975) 52 Cal.App.3d 118, 130-131 & fn. 12 [discussing jury instruction regarding fiduciary relationship between accountant and client].)

The Complaint pleads that Defendants breached their fiduciary duties due to a conflict of interest when providing services for both Mike/American Grandstands and the Plaintiffs.

Thus, the Demurrer is overruled.

  1. Motion to Strike

Defendants seek to strike the Complaint’s request for punitive damages because malicious, oppressive, or fraudulent conduct is not pled.

The Motion to Strike is denied because the Complaint pleads that Defendants intended to injure Plaintiffs. (Civ. Code § 3294.)

Case Number: 19PSCV00931    Hearing Date: June 30, 2020    Dept: J

HEARING DATE: Tuesday, June 30, 2020

NOTICE: OK[1]

RE: Brown-United, Inc., et al. v. Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs Inc., et al. (19PSCV00931)

______________________________________________________________________________

1. Defendants Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc, fka Miller, Hooker, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc.’s, Mark Miller’s and Jared Gardner’s MOTION TO CHANGE VENUE

Responding Party: None (unopposed)

2. Defendants Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc, fka Miller, Hooker, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc.’s, Mark Miller’s and Jared Gardner’s DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS’ COMPLAINT

Responding Party: Plaintiffs, Brown0United, Inc. and Tamara Brown

3. Defendants Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc, fka Miller, Hooker, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc.’s, Mark Miller’s and Jared Gardner’s MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFFS’ COMPLAINT

Responding Party: None (unopposed)

Tentative Ruling

1. The hearing on Defendants Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc, fka Miller, Hooker, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc.’s, Mark Miller’s and Jared Gardner’s Motion to Change Venue is CONTINUED to _____________________________.

2. The hearing on Defendants Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc, fka Miller, Hooker, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc.’s, Mark Miller’s and Jared Gardner’s Demurrer to Plaintiffs’ Complaint is CONTINUED to ______________________________.

3. The hearing on Defendants Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc, fka Miller, Hooker, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc.’s, Mark Miller’s and Jared Gardner’s Motion to Strike Portions of Plaintiffs’ Complaint is CONTINUED to _____________________________.

 

Background

Plaintiffs Brown-United, Inc. (“BUI”) and Tamara Brown (“Tamara”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) allege as follows: BUI is in the business of stage and special event construction; Tamara is the owner of 51% stock in BUI and is its Chief Financial Officer. Beginning in or around July 2016, Plaintiffs engaged Miller, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc, fka Miller, Hooker, Valles, Gardner CPAs, Inc.’s, Mark Miller’s (“Miller”) and Jared Gardner’s (collectively, “Defendants”) services as business consultants, advisors, and accountants. On or around August 2016, Mike Brown (“Mike”) and American Grandstands loaned BUI over $2.9 million; the loan was secured with BUI’s assets and a pledge of BUI stock from BUI stockholders, including Tamara, to Mike. Mike and American Grandstands also named Miller as a Pledgeholder of the BUI stock pledged to Mike to secure BUI’s loan. Defendants provided substantial accounting and advisory services to Mike and American Grandstands for many years before Defendants rendered services to Plaintiffs, and continued to provide such services while performing services for Plaintiff. Defendants took steps to secure Plaintiffs’ assets for Mike and American Grandstands, including recording UCC financing statements concerning Plaintiffs’ assets pledged as collateral to Brown and American Grandstands. Defendants’ work for Mike and American Grandstands while also working for Plaintiffs posed a significant conflict of interest that substantially harmed Plaintiff.

On October 15, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a complaint, asserting a cause of action against Defendants and Does 1-20 for:

  1. Breach of Fiduciary Duty

A Case Management Conference is set for June 30, 2020.

1. Motion for Change of Venue

Defendants move the court, per CCP § 389, for an order changing the venue of this action. Defendants represent that Plaintiffs have filed two other cases pending in the Los Angeles County Superior Court—Central District (i.e., Case Nos. BC659602 and 19STCV06045) and that, “[b]ecause of the intertwined nature of the two (2) separate actions with regard to fact pattern and witnesses, this matter should be transferred to the same venue for the convenience of the witnesses involved who are parties to the other two (2) actions and to have consistency of rulings.” (Motion, 1:9-12.)

The hearing is CONTINUED to __________________________________________. Counsel for Defendants is instructed to file a California Rules of Court (“CRC”) Rule 3.300 Notice of Related Case in Case Nos. BC659602, 19STCV06045 and the instant case within 5 court days of the date of the June 30, 2020 hearing. Case No. BC659602 was filed on April 28, 2017. Case No. 19STCV06045 was filed on February 21, 2019. The instant case was filed on October 15, 2019. Case Nos. BC659602 and 19STCV06045 were ordered consolidated on February 18, 2020. The related case issue must be ruled upon by Department 58.

2-3. Demurrer and Motion to Strike

The hearing on Defendants’ demurrer and motion to strike is likewise CONTINUED to ________________________________, for the reasons set forth above.


[1] Motions #1-#3 were filed and mail-served on January 3, 2020 and originally set for hearing on April 21, 2020. On March 19, 2020, the court continued the April 21, 2020 hearing, on its own motion, to June 30, 2020; both counsel were provided notice. On March 30, 2020, Defendants filed and email-served a “Notice of Continuance of (1) Demurrer with Motion to Strike Portions of Plaintiffs’ and Motion [sic] Complaint and (2) Motion for Change of Venue,” advising of the new June 30, 2020 hearing date. On May 4, 2020, the court continued the time of the June 20, 2020 hearing on these motions (i.e., to 10:00 a.m.); notice was provided to both counsel. On May 7, 2020, moving parties filed and email-served a “Notice of Continuance of (1) Demurrer with Motion to Strike Portions of Plaintiff’s and Motion Complaint [sic] and (2) Motion for Change of Venue,” advising of the new time for the June 30, 2020 hearing date.

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