On 04/11/2017 CITIZENS OF HUMANITY, LLC filed a Contract - Business lawsuit against NICK LACY. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Norwalk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are LORI ANN FOURNIER, MARGARET MILLER BERNAL and HIGA, ROBERT J.. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Los Angeles, California
LORI ANN FOURNIER
MARGARET MILLER BERNAL
HIGA, ROBERT J.
CITIZENS OF HUMANITY LLC A DELAWARE
NEXT MANAGEMENT LLC A NEW YORK LIMITED
JOSEPH H. LOW IV ASSOCIATED COUNSEL
BROWNE GEORGE ROSS LLP
ROSS PETER WAYNE
RANEN JEFFREY SCOTT
LAVELY & SINGER
LOW JOSEPH HAWKINS IV
BRAND JEFFREY ALAN
JEVSEVAR CHRISTOPHER M.
4/11/2017: Notice of Case Management Conference
5/30/2017: Request for Judicial Notice
10/25/2017: Legacy Document
12/13/2017: Legacy Document
4/12/2018: Legacy Document
4/12/2018: Motion for Summary Judgment
6/21/2018: Legacy Document
7/23/2018: Proof of Service by Mail
7/24/2018: Legacy Document
8/30/2018: Minute Order
9/13/2018: Minute Order
4/10/2019: Request for Judicial Notice
5/1/2019: Witness List
5/3/2019: Motion in Limine
NOTICE OF RULING RE: FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE, AND DEFENDANT NEXT MANAGEMENT LLC?S MOTION TO STAY AND MOTION TO BIFURCATE; Filed by NEXT MANAGEMENT, LLC, a New York limited (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
at 09:30 AM in Department F, Margaret Miller Bernal, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Vacated by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 1:30 PM in Department C; Final Status Conference - Held - ContinuedRead MoreRead Less
at 1:30 PM in Department C; Hearing on Motion to Bifurcate - Held - Motion DeniedRead MoreRead Less
at 1:30 PM in Department C; Hearing on Motion for Stay of Proceedings - Held - Motion GrantedRead MoreRead Less
Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore; Filed by CITIZENS OF HUMANITY, LLC a Delaware (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Order (re: hearing of 5/7/18); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Final Status Conference; Hearing on Motion for Stay of Procee...)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department F, Margaret Miller Bernal, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Held - ContinuedRead MoreRead Less
Motion in Limine (Motion in Limine 2); Filed by CITIZENS OF HUMANITY, LLC a Delaware (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Ntc and Acknowledgement of Receipt (AS TO NICK LACY MAILED ON 05/01/17 ); Filed by Attorney for PlaintiffRead MoreRead Less
Rtn of Service of Summons & Compl; Filed by CITIZENS OF HUMANITY, LLC a Delaware (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Rtn of Service of Summons & Compl (BY PERSONAL SERVICE ON 04/17/17 ); Filed by Attorney for PlaintiffRead MoreRead Less
Notice-Case Management Conference; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by CITIZENS OF HUMANITY, LLC a Delaware (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Complaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by CITIZENS OF HUMANITY, LLC a Delaware (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Summons; Filed by CITIZENS OF HUMANITY, LLC a Delaware (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Complaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by Attorney for PlaintiffRead MoreRead Less
Summons Filed; Filed by Attorney for PlaintiffRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: VC066228 Hearing Date: November 05, 2020 Dept: C
CITIZENS OF HUMANITY, LLC v. LACY
CASE NO.: VC066228
JUDGE: JOHN A. TORRIBIO
Defendant NICK LACY’s Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the alternative, Summary Adjudication is DENIED.
Plaintiff to give Notice.
This action was filed by Plaintiff CITIZENS OF HUMANITY, LLC (“COH”) on April 11, 2017. COH seeks a declaration that Defendant NICK LACY (“Lacy”) was never COH’s employee. (FAC ¶22.) COH alleges that Lacy defrauded it by having his agent, NEXT MANAGEMENT, LLC (“Next”), demand that COH pay Next instead of paying Lacy directly. (FAC ¶¶36-38.) On January 31, 2020, the DLSE served its Order awarding Lacy $126,999 in waiting-time penalties. (Lacy SS No. 33.) On February 13, 2020, COH timely appealed from the DLSE Order (Case No. 20LBCP00044) (“Long Beach Case”). On March 9, 2020, this Court deemed the instant case and the Long Beach Case related, designated the instant case as the lead case, and ordered the Long Beach Case transferred to Norwalk. On July 31, 2020, both cases were consolidated for purposes of trial.
The First Amended Complaint is the operative pleading (“FAC”), and asserts the following causes of action: (1) Declaratory Relief (against Lacy); (2) Breach of Contract (against Next); (3) Equitable Indemnity (against Next); (4) Fraud (against Lacy); (5) Fraud (against Next); and (6) Negligent Misrepresentation (against Next).
Defendant Lacy moves for summary judgment, or alternatively summary adjudication of the first cause of action for declaratory relief and the fourth cause of action for fraud.
First Cause of Action – Declaratory Relief
A cause of action for declaratory relief requires an “actual controversy.” (CCP §1060.) “For declaratory relief, the party must show it either has suffered or is about to suffer an injury of ‘sufficient magnitude reasonably to assure that all of the relevant facts and issues will be adequately presented.’[Citation]” (Stonehouse Homes LLC v. City of Sierra Madre (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 531, 542.) There are two essential elements for declaratory relief: “(1) a proper subject of declaratory relief, and (2) an actual controversy involving justiciable questions relating to [plaintiff’s] rights or obligations.” (Brownfield v. Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital (1989) 208 Cal.App.3d 405, 410.) The complaint will be found sufficient if it sets forth facts showing the existence of an actual controversy relating to the parties’ legal rights and duties, and requests the court to adjudge these rights and duties. (Ludgate Ins. Co. v. Lockheed Martin Corp. (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 592, 606.)
COH seeks a judicial declaration “that Lacy has never been an employee of Citizens and that Citizens was not required by law to pay Lacy directly on each day that Lacy modeled for Citizens.” (FAC ¶22.)
Defendant LACY argues that declaratory relief is “unnecessary because Lacy’s wage claim turns on the same issue as to which Citizens seeks declaratory judgment.” (Motion 15:17-19.) Lacy argues that the “‘declaration’ is entirely superfluous, as it is already before the court as a necessary part of Lacy’s wage claim.” (Motion 15:24-26.)
A claim is superfluous If it does nothing more than seek a declaration of rights as to issues which will be resolved within another cause of action. This Court does not find that COH’s declaratory relief claim is superfluous of Lacy’s wage claim where the wage claim does not merely involve a determination of whether Lacy was COH’s employee. Indeed, Labor Code § 203 states that “[i]f an employer willfully fails to pay, without abatement or reduction…any wages of an employee who is discharged or who quits, the wages of the employee shall continue as a penalty from the due date thereof at the same rate until paid or until an action therefor is commenced….” (emphasis added.) As argued by COH in Opposition, Lacy has to prove “not only that [Lacy] was an employee, but also that [COH] ‘willfully’ failed to pay his wages. [Cite.] Thus, the trier of fact, in deciding Lacy’s complaint, may never reach the issue of whether Lacy was an employee; the trier of fact could find that he was not entitled to waiting time penalties because, whether or not he was an employee, Citizens did not willfully fail to pay him.” (COH Opp. 11:10-15.) This argument is well-taken.
Where the declaratory relief claim is not superfluous of Lacy’s wage claim, and where it is undisputed that there exist triable issues of material facts as to whether Lacy was an employee or independent contractor of COH, the Motion for Summary Adjudication of the first cause of action is DENIED.
Fourth Cause of Action – Fraud
“[T]he necessary elements of fraud are: (1) misrepresentation (false representation, concealment, or nondisclosure); (2) knowledge of falsity (scienter); (3) intent to defraud (i.e., to induce reliance); (4) justifiable reliance; and (5) resulting damage. [Citations.]” (Brakke v. Economic Concepts, Inc. (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 761, 767.) Fraud by nondisclosure specifically requires misrepresentation by nondisclosure of material facts. (CCP §1710.) A duty to disclose can arise from the making of affirmative representations with knowledge of undisclosed facts that “materially qualify the facts disclosed, or…render [the disclosed facts] likely to mislead….” (Linear Technology Corp. v. Applied Materials, Inc. (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 115, 132.)
Lacy argues that he is entitled to summary adjudication of this claim where “[t]he only ‘material fact’ that [COH] identifies as the basis of its fraud claim is Lacy’s intention to enforce the law if [COH] violated it.” (Motion 11:12-14.) Lacy maintains that he did not owe COH a duty to disclose his intent to enforce the law.
In Opposition, COH argues that Lacy did have a duty to disclose his intent where Lacy’s agent—Next—instructed COH to pay Next and not Lacy. COH maintains that Lacy committed fraud by instructing COH to pay Next in order to give Lacy the opportunity to recover waiting time penalties.
Lacy’s argument that he is entitled to summary adjudication because he did not owe COH a duty to disclose his intent to enforce the law is not well-founded. It is well-pled that the crux of COH’s fraud claim is based on the fact that Lacy intentionally instructed Next to instruct COH to pay Next directly (not Lacy). COH alleges that “Lacy intended to make a claim against [COH] for Labor Code violations, unless he was paid directly by [COH], at the conclusion of each photo shoot.” (FAC ¶36.) “Lacy intentionally failed to disclose this fact to [COH]. Lacy intended to deceive [COH] by concealing his intent.” (FAC ¶38.) COH is claiming that Lacy committed fraud by inducing COH to take actions that would give Lacy an entitlement to Labor Code violation claims based on COH’s failure to pay him directly and immediately after each shoot. Moreover, the Court finds that there is a triable issue of material fact as to whether COH justifiably relied on Lacy’s own instructions to pay Next, rather than Lacy directly. The motion for summary adjudication of the fourth cause of action is DENIED.
Defendant NEXT MANAGEMENT, LLC’s Evidentiary Objections:
No. 1. Overruled
Case Number: VC066228 Hearing Date: July 30, 2020 Dept: C
CITIZENS OF HUMANITY, LLC v. NICK LACY, et al.
CASE NO.: VC066228
JUDGE: OLIVIA ROSALES
Plaintiff’s Motion to Consolidate Case Nos. VC066228 and 20LBCP00044 is GRANTED.
Moving Party to give Notice.
Plaintiff Citizens of Humanity, LLC. (Plaintiff) moves to consolidate case nos. VC066228 and 20LBCP00044 per CCP § 1048 for purposes of trial only. No opposition was filed.
Pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 1048, subs. (a), “When actions involving a common question of law or fact are pending before the court, it may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the matters in issue in the actions; it may order all the actions consolidated and it may make such orders concerning proceedings therein as may tend to avoid unnecessary costs or delay.”
Consolidation of actions is not a matter of right but rests within sound discretion of the trial judge, and his decision will not be reviewed except upon clear showing of abuse of discretion. (Fisher v. Nash Bldg. Co. (1952) 113 Cal.App.2d 397.)
On April 11, 2017, Plaintiff filed the instant action (VC066228) against Defendants Nick Lacy (Lacy) and Next Management, LLC (Next) (collectively Defendants). On September 1, 2017, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint (FAC). The FAC alleges six causes of action: (1) Declaratory Relief, (2) Breach of Contract, (3) Equitable Indemnity, (4) Fraud (Lacy), (5) Fraud (Next), and (6) Negligent Misrepresentation. The first and fourth causes of action are alleged against Lacy. The second, third, fifth, and sixth causes of action are alleged against Next.
On February 13, 2020, Plaintiff filed case number 20LBCP00044 in which Plaintiff appeals from a California Labor Commissioner, Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) order. The DLSE order finds Lacy was Plaintiff’s employee. The DLSE further finds Plaintiff willfully violated California Labor Code Section 201. Consequently, the DLSE ordered Plaintiff to pay Lacy a total of $126,999.99 as waiting time penalties for work performed on July 11, 16, and September 25, 2013.
On March 9, 2020, the two cases were related. The instant case was deemed the lead case.
The court finds the cases properly consolidated for purposes of trial.
In the instant case, the plaintiff is Citizens of Humanity, LLC. and the defendants are Lacy and Next. Similarly, in the related case (20LBCP00044), the appellant is Plaintiff, and the respondent is Lacy. Plaintiff manufactures apparel. Lacy is a fashion model. Next is a modeling agency. Additionally, the issues involve common question of law and facts to determine whether Lacy is Plaintiff’s employee or independent contractor. Plaintiff alleges that it worked with Lacy throughout the second half 2013. Plaintiff alleges that it entered into a contract with Next for Lacy’s services as an independent modeling contractor. Lacy, however, contends that Lacy is an employee of Plaintiff, and now seeks $126,999.90 in waiting time penalties. The court notes that not all causes of action in both cases involves the same parties, and that not all causes of action are in both cases (i.e., Plaintiff’s claim for fraud against Lacy and Plaintiff’s claim against Next for indemnification and breach of contract.) Nevertheless, in the interest of avoiding unnecessary costs or delay, the court finds good cause to consolidate the cases for purposes of trial.
The Motion is GRANTED.
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