This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/19/2020 at 09:53:17 (UTC).

CITY OF DUARTE VS LEVON H. BARDAKJIAN, ET AL

Case Summary

On 12/08/2017 CITY OF DUARTE filed an Other lawsuit against LEVON H BARDAKJIAN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Glendale Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are RALPH C. HOFER and FREDERICK ROTENBERG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7418

  • Filing Date:

    12/08/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Other

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Glendale Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

RALPH C. HOFER

FREDERICK ROTENBERG

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

CITY OF DUARTE

Defendants

GRANDPOINT BANK

BARDAKJIAN SYLVIA R.

BARDAKJIAN LEVON H.

JPMORGAN CHASE BANK N.A. DOE 1

Others and Not Classified By Court

ADAMS MARK

ADAMS MARK RECEIVER

JPMORGAN CHASE BANK N.A. SPECIALLY APPEARING FOR RESPONSE TO EX PARTE

BEATTY ERIC RECEIVER

ADAMS MARK S.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

SILVER & WRIGHT LP

SILVER MATTHEW RAYMOND

FARJEAT RENE L.

Defendant and Not Classified By Court Attorneys

AROUSTAMIAN & ASSOCIATES

AROUSTAMIAN ARA

SORICH JOHN MICHAEL

GERLT-FERRARO MARIEL

ADAMS MARK S.

Other Attorney

CALIFORNIA RECEIVERSHIP GROUP

 

Court Documents

Opposition - OPPOSITION DEFENDANTS OPPOSITION TO RECEIVERS MOTION FOR DISCHARGE AND EXONERATION OF SURETY; FIRST RECEIVERS REPORT OF ADMINISTRATION; FINAL ACCOUNT AND REPORT

10/9/2020: Opposition - OPPOSITION DEFENDANTS OPPOSITION TO RECEIVERS MOTION FOR DISCHARGE AND EXONERATION OF SURETY; FIRST RECEIVERS REPORT OF ADMINISTRATION; FINAL ACCOUNT AND REPORT

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF ARA AROUSTAMIAN IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT;S MOTION TO SURCHARGE THE FORMER RECEIVER

9/28/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF ARA AROUSTAMIAN IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT;S MOTION TO SURCHARGE THE FORMER RECEIVER

Motion for Attorney Fees

9/16/2020: Motion for Attorney Fees

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: RECEIVER MARK S. ADAMS'S DECLARATION ...)

8/13/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: RECEIVER MARK S. ADAMS'S DECLARATION ...)

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER OF INSTRUCTIONS TO RECEIVER

7/8/2020: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER OF INSTRUCTIONS TO RECEIVER

Declaration - DECLARATION OF RENE L. FARJEAT

12/2/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF RENE L. FARJEAT

Notice - APPENDIX OF EXHIBITS IN SUPPORT OF CITY'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO TERMINATE OR LIMIT RECEIVERSHIP

12/2/2019: Notice - APPENDIX OF EXHIBITS IN SUPPORT OF CITY'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO TERMINATE OR LIMIT RECEIVERSHIP

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE AND NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER

9/9/2019: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE AND NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE RE INTERIM REPORT FROM RECEIVER)

8/27/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE RE INTERIM REPORT FROM RECEIVER)

Objection - OBJECTION DEFENDANTS OBJECTION TO THE JANUARY 2019 MONTHLY ACCOUNTING OF RECEIVERSHIP INCOME, EXPENSES AND INTERIM FEES

3/12/2019: Objection - OBJECTION DEFENDANTS OBJECTION TO THE JANUARY 2019 MONTHLY ACCOUNTING OF RECEIVERSHIP INCOME, EXPENSES AND INTERIM FEES

Notice of Case Management Conference

12/8/2017: Notice of Case Management Conference

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Request for Dismissal-Partial

12/20/2017: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Request for Dismissal-Partial

Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-02-21 00:00:00

2/21/2018: Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-02-21 00:00:00

Case Management Statement

4/20/2018: Case Management Statement

Undertaking

5/2/2018: Undertaking

Request for Judicial Notice

8/3/2018: Request for Judicial Notice

Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-10-05 00:00:00

10/5/2018: Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-10-05 00:00:00

Stipulation - No Order -

9/18/2018: Stipulation - No Order -

297 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 10/23/2020
  • Hearing10/23/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department D at 600 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91206; Hearing on Motion for Order for Discharge and Exoneration of Surety; First Receiver's Report of Administration filed on behalf of Court-Appointed Receiver Mark S. Adams

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  • 10/23/2020
  • Hearing10/23/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department D at 600 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91206; Hearing on Motion - Other of Former Receiver for Payment of Fees, Costs and Advances

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/23/2020
  • Hearing10/23/2020 at 09:00 AM in Department D at 600 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91206; Hearing on Motion - Other to Surcharge the Former Receiver Mark Adams and California Receivership Group for Unauthorized Attorney's Fees and Any Improper, Excessive and Unaccounted Expenses of $326,712.30 filed on behalf of Defendants Levon H. Bardakjian, et al.

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  • 10/23/2020
  • Hearing10/23/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department D at 600 East Broadway, Glendale, CA 91206; Hearing on Motion - Other to Challenge Lien Property Determination and to Confirm Senior Priority of Its Lien filed on behalf of Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.

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  • 10/16/2020
  • DocketReply (Reply to Response and Objection of Chase Bank to Motion to Award Fees & Costs); Filed by Mark S. Adams (Non-Party)

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  • 10/16/2020
  • DocketReply (Reply to Opposition to Motion to Approve & Confirm Fees and Costs); Filed by Mark S. Adams (Non-Party)

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  • 10/16/2020
  • DocketReply (Reply to Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.?s Response to Motion for Payment of Fees, Costs, and Advances of Receiver Mark Adams and California Receivership Group); Filed by Mark S. Adams (Non-Party)

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  • 10/16/2020
  • DocketDeclaration (Declaration of Mariel Gerlt-Ferraro in support of Reply of Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., in support of Motion to Challenge Lien Priority Determination and to Confirm Senior Priority of Lien); Filed by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (Doe 1) (Defendant)

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  • 10/16/2020
  • DocketDeclaration (DECLARATION OF ARA AROUSTAMIAN IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS? MOTION TO SURCHARGE THE FORMER RECEIVER MARK ADAMS AND CALIFORNIA RECEIVERSHIP GROUP FOR UNAUTHORIZED ATTORNEY?S FEES AND ANY IMPROPER, EXCESSIVE AND UNACCOUNTED FOR EXPENSES); Filed by LEVON H. BARDAKJIAN (Defendant); SYLVIA R. BARDAKJIAN (Defendant)

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  • 10/16/2020
  • DocketReply (Reply of Defendant JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., in support of Motion to Challenge Lien Priority Determination and to Confirm Senior Priority of its Lien); Filed by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (Doe 1) (Defendant)

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440 More Docket Entries
  • 12/08/2017
  • DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued

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  • 12/08/2017
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Plaintiff

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  • 12/08/2017
  • DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Court

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  • 12/08/2017
  • DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Court

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  • 12/08/2017
  • DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 12/08/2017
  • DocketSummons Filed; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

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  • 12/08/2017
  • DocketNotice-Case Management Conference; Filed by Court

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  • 12/08/2017
  • DocketNotice (of Assignment); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/08/2017
  • DocketNotice (of Order to Show Cause Re Failure to Comply with Trial Court Delay Reduction Act); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 12/08/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Court

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: EC067418    Hearing Date: December 13, 2019    Dept: NCD

TENTATIVE RULING

Calendar: 13

Date: 12/13/19

Case No: EC 067418 Trial Date: None Set

Case Name: City of Duarte v. Bardakjian, et al.

MOTION FOR INSTRUCTION AND INCREASE IN RECEIVER’s CERTIFICATE

MOTION TO TERMINATE RECEIVERSHIP

Moving Party: Receiver California Receivership Group (Instructions)

Defendants Levon H. Bardakjian and Sylvia R. Bardakjian,

as co-trustees (Terminate)

Responding Party: Defendants Levon H. Bardakjian and Sylvia R. Bardakjian,

as co-trustees Receiver and Plaintiff City of Duarte (Terminate)

RELIEF REQUESTED:

Instructions

Revise and increase scope of work for receiver to include work required to abate nuisance conditions

Order increasing the Receiver’s Certificate by $1,993,000

Terminate

Terminate or Limit Scope of Receivership

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Plaintiff City of Duarte brings this action for Nuisance Abatement and Receivership with respect to a parcel of property in Duarte, owned by defendants Levon H. Bardakjian and Sylvia R. Bardakjian, as Trustees of their family trust. The City alleges that the subject property consists of a multi-unit apartment complex with approximately 28 individual residential units that are rented to tenants, with various structures, including two carport structures which have been severely damaged by a recent fire, and are at risk of total collapse. The City alleges that the subject property has been the focus of City code enforcement efforts since at least August of 2014 and contains dangerous and substandard building code and property maintenance violations, such that tenants are living on the property in dangerous and uninhabitable conditions. Plaintiff also alleges that the subject property poses a serious fire hazard and is an attractive nuisance for criminal activity.

The City has issued various notices of violation, conducted inspections, issued red tags and orders to repair, but the subject property continues to pose a threat to the health and safety of any occupants, neighbors and the public. On October 9, 2017, the City issued a Notice and Order to Abate citing 354 violations of law on the subject property, but the compliance deadline passed without compliance, and further inspection confirmed that most violations remained unabated. The City as provided a three-day notice of the filing of the complaint.

The complaint was filed on December 8, 2017. On December 15, 2018, the City filed a Stipulation Between City of Duarte and Levon H. Bardakjian and Sylvia R. Bardakjian for Order Appointing a Receiver with Stayed Powers, which was signed by the court on December 15, 2018.

The Order provides for appointment of a Receiver immediately, but the powers of the Receiver are to be stayed while owners attempt to bring the subject property into full compliance in accordance with an express Compliance Schedule. The Order provides:

“This Order shall be stayed as long as the rehabilitation work on the Subject Property is conducted in full compliance with the Compliance Schedule. In the event any provision of the Compliance Schedule is not complied with, as determined by the City, then the stay shall immediately and automatically terminate.”

The file shows that California Receivership Group has filed its Oath of Receiver and an undertaking in the sum of $10,000. On May 7, 2018, the court heard an ex parte request of defendants for an order for stay of the receivership order, which was granted, and the court’s minute order orders a 60 day stay on the Receivership order, ordering, “However, the Receiver may have access to the subject property to continue his inspection and estimate of work.” The signed order states that the powers of the Receiver shall be stayed for 60 days, “except as to the efforts regarding estimates and budgets.” [Ex. 1].

The parties appear to agree that this stay was extended and ultimately expired on September 17, 2018.

The Receiver has been submitting reports, and the court has made orders approving interim fees and costs.

The motion by the Receiver for Instructions was originally heard on September 27, 2019, and the court issued a detailed tentative posing various questions to the parties. The matter was then continued to this date. The motion to terminate the Receivership was filed the day before the previous hearing.

ANALYSIS:

The Receiver argues that it is necessary to increase the current Certificate of $634,000 by $1,993,000 to a total of $2,627,000.00.

The Receiver argues that this is necessary to address not only the original N&O issues, but to address citations and problems arising since the N&O was issued, including asbestos and hot water issues. The Receiver also indicates that defendants are no longer doing any of the work themselves, as originally agreed, and there is evidently a need for an on-site manager, as the current on-site manager, defendant’s daughter, who was evidently absent during a rash of gas leaks, will again be leaving for six to eight weeks.

The Receiver would like instructions on 1) whether to do the full amount of work necessary to abate all nuisance conditions, or to continue on a limited scope of work, 2) whether to vacate the property and remediate or do a two unit by two unit construction, whereby two currently vacant units are rehabilitated first, and current tenants moved to those units while their units are addressed.

The Receiver has filed a Supplemental Report proposing that the Receiver take over rent collections, which will allow the Receiver to reduce the requested increase in funding by $700,000, and also proposing that a new resident manager be chosen. The opposition does not address the rent collection issue, as it was only proposed after opposition was filed.

Plaintiff the City has filed a Response to the Receiver’s motion arguing that the parties’ stipulations, the court’s orders and this case requires all violations of law on the subject property be repaired and the property completely rehabilitated, so urges the court to adopt the Receiver’s recommendations concerning the expanded scope of work at the property.

Defendants have filed an opposition, and an opposition to the City’s response, arguing that this proposal to increase the Certificate by over 300% cannot be appropriately evaluated without defendants knowing what violations beyond the original N&O the City intends to cite or pursue, and what the status is in terms of violations which have been corrected, violations from the original N&O which remain to be addressed, and the purported new issues. Defendants seem to propose that the Receiver then puts these items to a competitive bid, and that once this information is provided to defendants, they can decide whether to continue to fund the Receiver or simply demolish the property. Defendants argue that the Receivership has accomplished very little so far, at great cost, and the City has still failed to issue the necessary permits to allow the property to be rehabilitated. Defendants also argue that the urgency the Receiver now urges for the rehabilitation, such as the need to address asbestos, has long been a known problem, addressed in the original N&O. Defendants further object that having their daughter removed as resident manager will needlessly increase the costs of ongoing management.

Defendants propose that the original work be done as proposed, and further work and expense authorized only after that progress has been made, and that if the Receiver is allowed to proceed, the court set a firm cap on expenses, based on a full and complete estimate to address the remaining items in the N&O. The opposition also requests that if the court is inclined to grant the motion, that the court’s order be stayed for at least 90 days to allow defendants time to consider the financial viability of further remediation expenses, or pursuing other options, including possible demolition.

It would appear that it would make more sense to base a determination to continue on this path on more specific information concerning the scope of work, including a better picture of what has been done, what remains to be done under the original scope of work, what will be subject to further requirement of the City, and how much that would likely cost in a competitive bidding environment. The court will inquire concerning any consequences from a delay while the options are weighed by the parties, particularly if there are any safety issues of immediate concern.

The motion to terminate the receivership argues that now that the contractor, Miken Construction, has the permits and plans, the last phase of the project can be completed without the oversight of the receiver, which is charging fees approaching half of the remaining amended bid to complete the work. Defendants argue that the unnecessary fees, and monthly accountings are wasteful and unnecessary and jeopardizes defendants’ financial ability to complete the necessary repairs. Defendants request that at the very least, an order should be issued limiting the scope of the receivership and capping monthly fees.

The Receiver argues in opposition that its motion should be granted and set the receivership on the right path to addressing the health and safety violations and completing the abatement work, and to terminate the receivership would leave the job undone. That opposition also calls into question the ability of defendants to financially continue to own and operate the property, their good faith in offering to self-fund the receiver’s Certificate, which is evidently still underfunded by $100,000, and argues that no suitable alternative plan has been provided by defendants.

The City argues that the Stipulated Appointment Order governs this matter and provides that “Receiver shall rehabilitate the Subject Property…and shall bring the Subject Property into compliance with all applicable State and local laws.” [Ex. G, p. 4:7-9]. The City argues that defendants should not be continuing to collect hundreds and thousands of dollars in rent, instead of using those funds to rehabilitate the property.

The City relies on Health & Safety Code § 17980.7 (c)(9), which provides, in connection with the appointment of a receiver for a substandard building under that subdivision:

“(9) The receiver shall be discharged when the conditions cited in the notice of violation have been remedied in accordance with the court order or judgment and a complete accounting of all costs and repairs has been delivered to the court. Upon removal of the condition, the owner, the mortgagee, or any lienor of record may apply for the discharge of all moneys not used by the receiver for removal of the condition and all other costs authorized by this section.”

The receiver here was not appointed pursuant to this procedure, however, but by stipulated order, and the court retains some flexibility with respect to the receivership.

This matter continues to be in a posture where no one is providing a straightforward picture of what conditions constitute continuing violations, what they violate, by code or regulation, why the City has not promptly approved permits, and why the receiver and defendants working together have been unable to complete the abatement repairs over the lengthy period of time the receivership has been in place, and with the funds that were approved for accomplishing the task. The City’s opposition includes a declaration of Public Safety Manager Breceda, which focuses on outdated information, but also indicates that an inspection was conducted on November 4, 2019 and describes continuing problems and hazards (without reference to code sections or regulations), and identifies new problems, of which defendants have evidently not been formally notified. [Breceda Decl. ¶¶ 20-30]. Recent photographs are submitted, which suggest the problems may continue to be pervasive or to be increasing in scope to the point where it appears this receivership solution is no longer viable, and the receivership may never accomplish its goals, certainly not in a financially responsible manner. [Ex. F].

This will all be discussed at the hearing.

RULING:

The defendant’s Motion to Terminate the Receivership is DENIED.

The Receiver’s motion to increase the Certificate and for Instruction is GRANTED subject to the instructions set forth below in this court’s ruling.

The court orders the following:

  1. Court grants Receiver’s request to collect rents and become on site manager.
  2. The court grants the Receiver’s request to increase the current Certificate of $634,000.00 by $1,993,000.00 to a total of $2,627,000.00, with the Certificate increased immediately to $676,825.00 for N & O Required Scope with the remainder stayed subject to an OSC as to why building should not be demolished, red tagged or sold by the defendants.
  3. That the court schedules such hearing for February 26, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. and, the issuance of the remainder of the Certificate is stayed until this hearing date.
  4. The court sets an OSC for February 26, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. as to why the building should not be demolished, condemned or sold “as is” to a third party buyer.
  5. The court sets an OSC re the status of the tenants in the event of a demolition, condemning of the building, or a sale of the building.

The court has the following questions:

Were the permits issued in late August?

Is there a listing of new violations noted by the City, other than in the Breceda Declaration; specifically, a list of conditions, what they violate, by code or regulation, and the estimated cost to abate?

Is there any information in the newly filed papers from which the Receiver may obtain competitive bids for necessary work, and the parties permitted a period of time to determine if the Receiver should continue to be funded or if the property should be demolished?

What is defendants’ reaction to the proposal that rent collection be taken over by the Receiver, and rents directed to the proposed rehabilitation?

What are the outstanding safety issues; are tenants in danger, facing health and safety risks; should tenants be relocated?

Should the building be condemned?

Should the building be demolished?

Should the defendant sell the empty building “as is” to a new buyer, and let the new buyer bring the building up to code?