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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/20/2020 at 23:36:11 (UTC).

CHIKE COLLINS OBI VS EL DORADO ENTERPRISES, INC.; ET AL

Case Summary

On 12/13/2017 CHIKE COLLINS OBI filed a Contract - Business lawsuit against EL DORADO ENTERPRISES, INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Torrance Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****2536

  • Filing Date:

    12/13/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Business

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Torrance Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

OBI CHIKE COLLINS

Defendants

DOES 1-25 INCLUSIVE

LARRY FLYNT'S HUSTLER CASINO

EL DORADO ENTERPRISES INC.

CASINO LARRY FLYNT'S HUSTLER

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

KENECHI R. AGU

AGU KENECHI R.

Defendant Attorney

CHERMELA JASON R.

Other Attorneys

MARK S. HOFFMAN ESQ.

 

Court Documents

Unknown - NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE DUE TO COVID-19 STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARATIONS

5/4/2020: Unknown - NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE DUE TO COVID-19 STATE OF EMERGENCY DECLARATIONS

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

5/4/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Informal Discovery Conference

3/6/2020: Informal Discovery Conference

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC))

3/17/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC))

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC)) OF 03/17/2020

3/17/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC)) OF 03/17/2020

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

1/23/2020: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Separate Statement

11/27/2019: Separate Statement

Declaration - DECLARATION OF DONALD G. FORGEY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

11/27/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF DONALD G. FORGEY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Declaration - DECLARATION OF PATEE MCGUIRE IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

11/27/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF PATEE MCGUIRE IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER SPECIALLY SETTING THE HEARING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

1/9/2020: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER SPECIALLY SETTING THE HEARING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Opposition - PLAINTIFF CHIKE COLLINS OBI'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT EL DORADO ENTERPRISES, INC. D/B/A LARRY FLYNT'S HUSTLER CASINO'S EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER SPECIALLY SETTING ITS MOTION FOR S

1/9/2020: Opposition - PLAINTIFF CHIKE COLLINS OBI'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT EL DORADO ENTERPRISES, INC. D/B/A LARRY FLYNT'S HUSTLER CASINO'S EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER SPECIALLY SETTING ITS MOTION FOR S

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER SPECIALLY SETTI...)

1/10/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER SPECIALLY SETTI...)

Summons

12/13/2017: Summons

Case Management Statement

5/7/2018: Case Management Statement

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: PROOF-SERVICE/SUMMONS

5/21/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: PROOF-SERVICE/SUMMONS

Case Management Statement -

7/25/2018: Case Management Statement -

Case Management Statement -

7/27/2018: Case Management Statement -

Answer -

8/7/2018: Answer -

25 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/04/2020
  • Hearing09/04/2020 at 11:00 AM in Department B at 825 Maple Ave., Torrance, CA 90503; Hearing on Motion for Summary Adjudication

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  • 09/04/2020
  • Hearing09/04/2020 at 11:00 AM in Department B at 825 Maple Ave., Torrance, CA 90503; Trial Setting Conference

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  • 05/14/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 05/14/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B; Hearing on Motion for Summary Adjudication - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 05/04/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/04/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/04/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/04/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/04/2020
  • DocketNotice of Continuance Due to COVID-19 State of Emergency Declarations; Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/24/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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40 More Docket Entries
  • 07/25/2018
  • DocketCase Management Statement; Filed by CHIKE COLLINS OBI (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/05/2018
  • DocketFirst Amended Complaint; Filed by CHIKE COLLINS OBI (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/21/2018
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B; Case Management Conference (Conference-Case Management; Matter continued) -

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  • 05/21/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by CHIKE COLLINS OBI (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/21/2018
  • DocketMinute order entered: 2018-05-21 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/07/2018
  • DocketCase Management Statement; Filed by CHIKE COLLINS OBI (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/13/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/13/2017
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by CHIKE COLLINS OBI (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/13/2017
  • DocketSummons; Filed by CHIKE COLLINS OBI (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/13/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by CHIKE COLLINS OBI (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: YC072536    Hearing Date: October 08, 2020    Dept: M

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Southwest District

Torrance Dept. M

CHIKE COLLINS OBI,

Plaintiff,

Case No.:

YC072536

vs.

[Tentative] RULING

EL DORADO ENTERPRISES, INC. DBA LARRY FLYNT’S HUSTLER CASINO,

Defendant.

Hearing Date: October 8, 2020

Moving Parties: Defendant El Dorado Enterprises, Inc.

Responding Party: Plaintiff Chike Collins Obi

Motion for Summary Adjudication

The court considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers.

RULING

The motion for summary adjudication is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

On December 13, 2017, plaintiff Chike Collins Obi filed a complaint against defendant El Dorado Enterprises, Inc. dba Larry Flynt’s Hustler Casino for (1) malicious prosecution, (2) abuse of process, and (3) violation of Bus. and Prof. Code §17200.

LEGAL AUTHORITY

The purpose of a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication “is to provide courts with a mechanism to cut through the parties’ pleadings in order to determine whether, despite their allegations, trial is in fact necessary to resolve their dispute.” Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal. 4th 826, 843. “Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (c), requires the trial judge to grant summary judgment if all the evidence submitted, and ‘all inferences reasonably deducible from the evidence’ and uncontradicted by other inferences or evidence, show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Adler v. Manor Healthcare Corp. (1992) 7 Cal. App. 4th 1110, 1119.

“On a motion for summary judgment, the initial burden is always on the moving party to make a prima facie showing that there are no triable issues of material fact.” Scalf v. D. B. Log Homes, Inc. (2005) 128 Cal. App. 4th 1510, 1519. A defendant moving for summary judgment or summary adjudication “has met his or her burden of showing that a cause of action has no merit if the party has shown that one or more elements of the cause of action . . . cannot be established, or that there is a complete defense to the cause of action.” CCP § 437c(p)(2). “Once the defendant . . . has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff . . . to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto.” CCP § 437c(p)(2). “If the plaintiff cannot do so, summary judgment should be granted.” Avivi v. Centro Medico Urgente Medical Center (2008) 159 Cal. App. 4th 463, 467.

“When deciding whether to grant summary judgment, the court must consider all of the evidence set forth in the papers (except evidence to which the court has sustained an objection), as well as all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from that evidence, in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment.” Avivi, 159 Cal. App. 4th at 467; CCP §437c(c). “’An issue of fact can only be created by a conflict in the evidence. It is not created by speculation, conjecture, imagination or guesswork.’” Lyons v. Security Pacific National Bank (1995) 40 Cal. App. 4th 1001, 1014 (citation omitted).

DISCUSSION

Defendant El Dorado Enterprises, Inc. requests summary adjudication as to plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages on the ground that there is no triable issue of fact and as a matter of law, defendant prevails.

In the complaint, plaintiff alleges that on February 10, 2014, at approximately 10:00 a.m., plaintiff arrived at defendant’s casino to play poker. Complaint, ¶5. Plaintiff proceeded to meet “Peter,” a manager at the casino who invited plaintiff into a private room to play poker. Entrance to the private room of the casino is only granted upon personal invitation by a manager, like in plaintiff’s case. When plaintiff arrived at the private room, only he and the dealer were present. Per the casino’s rules, only one card dealer and one player are allowed in the private room, but the player may obtain a manager’s permission to invite another guest into the room. Id., ¶6.

Plaintiff further alleges that while in the private room, plaintiff started gambling with an initial amount of $15,000. Over a period of eleven hours, plaintiff’s money dwindled to $1,000. By approximately 11:55 p.m. on February 10, 2014 (about 12 hours after his arrival), plaintiff started winning against the dealer. His money grew from $1,000 to $3,000. At this point, approximately eight security guards stormed into the private room, and without warning, threw him to the ground, put his hands behind his back, handcuffed him, picked him up, and took him to a back office in the casino. Id., ¶7. While in the back office, defendants called the police and falsely stated plaintiff was trespassing on their property. Police eventually arrived at the casino, took plaintiff into custody, and charged him with one count of “trespass and refusing to leave private property,” in violation of Penal Code 602(a), a misdemeanor. Plaintiff stayed in jail overnight. Id., ¶8. Plaintiff was arraigned, and a criminal case proceeded against plaintiff. Plaintiff pled not guilty to the charge and elected for a trial by jury. Id., ¶9. On December 14, 2016, a jury found plaintiff not guilty of the only count against him, Id., ¶10.

Civil Code §3294(a) authorizes the recovery of punitive damages in non-contract cases “where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice . . . .” “’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.” Civil Code §3294(c)(1). “’Oppression’ means despicable conduct that subjects a person to cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of that person’s rights.” Civil Code §3294(c)(2). “’Despicable conduct’ is defined . . . as ‘conduct which is so vile, base, contemptible, miserable, wretched or loathsome that it would be looked down up and despised by ordinary decent people.’” Tomaselli v. Transamerica Ins. Co. (1994) 25 Cal. App. 4th 1269, 1287 (citation omitted).

“Something more than the mere commission of a tort is always required for punitive damages. There must be circumstances of aggravation or outrage, such as spite or ‘malice,’ or a fraudulent or evil motive on the part of the defendant, or such a conscious and deliberate disregard of the interests of others that his conduct may be called willful or wanton.” Taylor v. Superior Court (1979) 24 Cal.3d 890, 894-95. “’[S]ome evidence should be required that is inconsistent with the hypothesis that the tortious conduct was the result of a mistake of law or fact, honest error of judgment, over-zealousness, mere negligence or such noniniquitous human failing.’” Tomaselli, supra, at 1288 n.14 (citation omitted).

To support a claim for punitive damages, “evidence should be required that is inconsistent with the hypotheses that the tortious conduct was the result of a mistake of law or fact, honest error of judgment, over-zealousness, mere negligence or other noniniquitous human failing.” Tomaselli v. Transamerica Ins. Co. (1994) 25 Cal. App. 4th 1269, 1288 n.14 (citation omitted).

The clear and convincing standard “requires a finding of high probability, . . . so clear as to leave no substantial doubt; sufficiently strong to command the unhesitating assent of every reasonable mind.” Lackner v. North (2006) 135 Cal. App. 4th 1188, 1211-12 (citations omitted) (internal quotations omitted).

Evidentiary objections

Plaintiff’s objections are OVERRULED.

Defendant’s objections are OVERRULED as to Nos. 1, 3[b] and SUSTAINED as to Nos. 2, 3[a], 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

Defendant argues that plaintiff cannot present clear and convincing evidence of oppression, fraud, or malice, including despicable conduct by defendant. Defendant contends that the casino justifiably believed plaintiff was barred from the casino and was still barred at the time of the incident and was illegally trespassing.

Defendant presents evidence that plaintiff had been barred from the casino on February 26, 2006 because of the casino’s assessment that plaintiff was throwing casino chips at a casino employee. Plaintiff submitted a reinstatement application regarding his bar. Plaintiff’s access to the premises was reinstated by the casino manager on July 23, 2010. On April 22, 2011, plaintiff was barred from the casino because of the casino’s assessment that plaintiff was making verbal threats to a floor manager. On April 23, 2011, plaintiff was recognized on the floor of the casino as a barred patron. Plaintiff stated that he did not know he had been barred. Security explained to plaintiff the process for reinstatement and provided him with a reinstatement application. Plaintiff subsequently submitted a reinstatement application, which was denied by the casino general manager. On October 12, 2011, he was recognized on the floor of the casino as a barred patron. Security advised him again that he was barred from the premises and was in violation of Penal Code §602.1 and that he would be arrested for trespassing if he returned to the property.

Defendant further presents evidence that on April 12, 2012, plaintiff was recognized in the parking lot of the casino as a barred patron. Security informed him that he was barred from the premises and that he would be arrested if he returned. On October 6, 2012, plaintiff was recognized on the casino floor as a barred patron. Security again informed him that if he entered the casino again, he would be arrested for trespassing. On September 17, 2013, casino security was notified that a casino patron stole a casino chip from another patron. Upon review of surveillance footage, the patron who stole the chip was recognized as plaintiff. By the time plaintiff was recognized and security was notified, plaintiff had already left the premises. On December 30, 2013, plaintiff was recognized as a barred patron and was participating in a tournament at a table at the casino. Plaintiff was informed by security that he was barred from the premises.

Defendant also presents evidence that the subject February 10, 2014 incident occurred in an area of the casino that is designated for “high stake” games and is open to all patrons of the casino. At the time of the incident, the area was enclosed by a glass wall separating the “high stake” game area from the main part of the casino floor. The area was accessible by two double doors, and an invitation was not required to access the area. Security was notified that a barred patron who had been advised not to come back to the property was back on the property. A group of officers were assembled to go to the room where plaintiff was located to detain and arrest plaintiff for trespassing. He was subsequently handcuffed and taken to the security office. See declarations of Patee McGuire, Leonard Thomas, and Donald Forgey.

In opposition, plaintiff asserts that on February 10, 2014, he was invited into the Dragon Room by a floor manager and seated at Table 45 by a casino shift manger and played there from several hours before defendant’s security personnel placed him under arrest. He contends that at 12:12 p.m. he had been identified as “regular player.” He argues that he was not barred as it pertained to the February 2014 incident because he was invited and allowed to play and remain at the property “for hours on end.” He also asserts that defendant’s PMK was unable to testify as to whether there were restrictions on who could play in the Dragon Room in February 2014 or whether someone needed permission. Plaintiff also contends that defendant failed to follow its own policies regarding barring and unbarring patrons on the day of the incident. Plaintiff asserts that defendant did not have probable cause to effectuate a citizen’s arrest and that it was conducted after plaintiff began to win some of his money back.

In reply, defendant argues that the standard for punitive damages is “despicable conduct,” and not merely the malice required for a malicious prosecution claim. Defendant contends that, as presented in the evidence above, it had a good faith belief that plaintiff was not reinstated at the time of the incident and was therefore trespassing, and plaintiff has not presented evidence that he had been reinstated. Defendant points out that plaintiff testified that he was not sure whether he was barred in April 2011 and asserts that plaintiff’s inability to recall does not create a triable issue as to whether he was barred. Further, defendant reiterates that at the very minimum, the evidence only establishes that the casino called the police on a patron that was barred from the casino in 2011, was previously asked to leave the casino on six separate occasions prior to the incident, and was not previously reinstated through the casino’s reinstatement process. Even if plaintiff was “invited” to play in the Dragon Room, plaintiff does not argue or present any evidence that defendant recognized plaintiff as a barred patron. It is immaterial as to whether plaintiff was described as a “regular player’ on the day of the incident because the phrase does not indicate that plaintiff was also recognized to be a barred patron.

The court finds that defendant has met its burden of showing that plaintiff cannot provide clear and convincing evidence of oppression, fraud, or malice, including despicable conduct, to support a claim of punitive damages. Plaintiff fails to present substantial evidence to raise a triable issue of material fact.

The motion is therefore GRANTED.

Defendant is ordered to give notice of ruling.

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