This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/07/2019 at 10:52:54 (UTC).

DANONE SIMPSON INSURANCE SERVICES LLC VS EDWIGE LIGONDE ET A

Case Summary

On 12/29/2017 DANONE SIMPSON INSURANCE SERVICES LLC filed a Contract - Business lawsuit against EDWIGE LIGONDE ET A. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is BARBARA A. MEIERS. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8417

  • Filing Date:

    12/29/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Business

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

BARBARA A. MEIERS

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

MONTAGE INSURANCE SOLUTIONS

DANONE SIMPSON INSURANCE SERVICES LLC

DANONE SIMPSON INSURANCE SERVICES LLC DBA MONTAGE INSURANCE SOLUTIONS

Defendants and Respondents

NIELSEN INSURANCE GROUP INC

NIELSEN BENEFITS GROUP

DOES 1 TO 10

LIGONDE EDWIGE

NIELSEN INSURANCE GROUP INC. DBA NIELSEN BENEFITS GROUP

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorney

JOSEFSBERG HENRY J. ESQ.

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

DICKINSON GLENN J.

LIGHT JONATHAN FRASER

Other Attorneys

JOSEFSBERG HENRY JOACHIM

 

Court Documents

Minute Order

1/30/2018: Minute Order

DEFENDANTS' RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ENTRY OF PROTECTIVE ORDER

1/30/2018: DEFENDANTS' RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ENTRY OF PROTECTIVE ORDER

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND TO STAY COURT PROCEEDINGS OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS; ETC

2/8/2018: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND TO STAY COURT PROCEEDINGS OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS; ETC

DECLARATION OF EDWIGE LIGONDE IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND TO STAY COURT PROCEEDINGS OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS

2/8/2018: DECLARATION OF EDWIGE LIGONDE IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND TO STAY COURT PROCEEDINGS OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS

DECLARATION OF GLENN DICKINSON IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY COURT PROCEEDINGS OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS

2/8/2018: DECLARATION OF GLENN DICKINSON IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY COURT PROCEEDINGS OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS

NOTICE OF ERRATA REGARDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY COURT PROCEEDINGS OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS

2/16/2018: NOTICE OF ERRATA REGARDING DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY COURT PROCEEDINGS OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS

STIPULATED PROTECTIVE ORDER RE CONFIDENTIAL AND FOR ATTORNEY'S EYES ONLY- CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION DOCUMENTS

3/5/2018: STIPULATED PROTECTIVE ORDER RE CONFIDENTIAL AND FOR ATTORNEY'S EYES ONLY- CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION DOCUMENTS

NOTICE OF ENTRY OF PROTECTIVE ORDER

3/6/2018: NOTICE OF ENTRY OF PROTECTIVE ORDER

OPPOSITION OF PLAINTIFF TO PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION; ETC.

3/13/2018: OPPOSITION OF PLAINTIFF TO PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION; ETC.

RECENTLY DECIDED CASE AUTHORITY CITED IN OPPOSITION OF PLAINTIFF TO PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION

3/13/2018: RECENTLY DECIDED CASE AUTHORITY CITED IN OPPOSITION OF PLAINTIFF TO PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION

DEFENDANTS' REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND TO STAY COURT PROCEEDINGS OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS

3/20/2018: DEFENDANTS' REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND TO STAY COURT PROCEEDINGS OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIMS

Minute Order

3/27/2018: Minute Order

Stipulation and Order

1/8/2019: Stipulation and Order

Minute Order

4/11/2019: Minute Order

PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE TO JUDICIAL OFFICER (CODE CIV. PROC., 170.6)

1/29/2018: PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE TO JUDICIAL OFFICER (CODE CIV. PROC., 170.6)

Minute Order

1/10/2018: Minute Order

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR ENTRY OF PROTECTIVE ORDER; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF HENRY J. JOSEFSBERG

1/16/2018: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR ENTRY OF PROTECTIVE ORDER; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF HENRY J. JOSEFSBERG

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

1/5/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

18 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/11/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 24; Post-Arbitration Status Conference - Held - Continued

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  • 04/11/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Post-Arbitration Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/10/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 24; Post-Arbitration Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/08/2019
  • Stipulation and Order (Stipulation to continue Post arbitration status conference; [proposed order]); Filed by Nielsen Insurance Group, Inc. (Defendant); Nielsen Benefits Group (Legacy Party)

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  • 11/26/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 24; Post-Arbitration Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/16/2018
  • Stipulation and Order (to continue post-arbitration)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/02/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 24; Unknown Event Type

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/02/2018
  • NOTICE OF REASSIGNMENT OF JUDICIAL OFFICER

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/02/2018
  • Notice; Filed by Danone Simpson Insurance Services, LLC (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/21/2018
  • Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
42 More Docket Entries
  • 01/10/2018
  • NOTICE OF EX PARTE APPLICATION AND APPLICATION FOR ENTRY OF PROTECTIVE ORDER; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF HENRY J. JOSEFSBERG

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/10/2018
  • NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/10/2018
  • Ex-Parte Application; Filed by Danone Simpson Insurance Services, LLC (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/05/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/05/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Danone Simpson Insurance Services, LLC (Plaintiff); Montage Insurance Solutions (Legacy Party)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/05/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Danone Simpson Insurance Services, LLC (Plaintiff); Montage Insurance Solutions (Legacy Party)

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  • 01/05/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 12/29/2017
  • VERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. BREACH OF THE DUTY OF LOYALTY 2. BREACH OF CONTRACT 3. TRADE SECRET MISAPPROPRIATION; ETC

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 12/29/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by Danone Simpson Insurance Services, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/29/2017
  • SUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC688417    Hearing Date: December 03, 2019    Dept: 24

Plaintiff Danone Simpson Insurance Services LLC’s petition to vacate the arbitration award is DENIED. The Final Award is confirmed. (CCP § 1286.) A proposed judgment should be prepared and submitted by Defendants Edwige Ligonde and Nielsen Benefits Group, Inc. (CCP § 1287.4.)

On December 29, 2017, Plaintiff Danone Simpson Insurance Services LLC dba Montage Insurance Solutions (“Plaintiff”) brought this action against Defendants Edwige Ligonde and Nielsen Benefits Group, Inc. dba Nielsen Benefits Group (“Defendants”) for damages arising out Lingonde’s employment as an insurance broker and account executive with Plaintiff.

In the complaint, Plaintiff alleged that Ligonde entered into an employment agreement with Plaintiff that prohibited him from using or disclosing confidential knowledge concerning Plaintiff’s clients, business procedures, and methods of operation, and it prohibited Ligonde from soliciting clients for five years after the termination of his employment. Ligonde voluntarily resigned from his employment with Plaintiff on December 20, 2017, and the next day, he started work with Nielsen Benefits Group. Plaintiff alleges that Ligonde misused and took Plaintiff’s confidential information and files for his own use and benefit, used his company credit card with Plaintiff to renew his broker’s license, portrayed Plaintiff in a bad light to pave the way for his solicitation of Plaintiff’s clients, and downloaded information to secure Plaintiff’s prospects as his own clients.

On March 27, 2018, the Court granted Defendants’ request to compel arbitration of Plaintiff’s claims. Plaintiff’s claims went to arbitration, and the arbitrator found in Defendants’ favor.

On September 6, 2019, Plaintiff moved to partially vacate the arbitration award. On November 15, 2019, Defendants filed an opposition. On November 22, 2019, Plaintiff filed a reply.

Legal Standard

When an arbitrator has issued an award, the decision is ordinarily final and not reviewable for error by the trial court. (Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP v. J-M Manufacturing Co., Inc. (2018) 6 Cal.5th 59, 72.) The exceptions to this rule of finality are specified by statute. (Ibid.) Grounds for vacating an award include: (1) the award was procured by corruption, fraud or other undue means; (2) there was corruption in any of the arbitrators; (3) the rights of the party were substantially prejudiced by misconduct of a neutral arbitrator; (4) the arbitrators exceeded their powers and the award cannot be corrected without affecting the merits of the decision upon the controversy submitted; (5) the rights of the party were substantially prejudiced by the refusal of the arbitrators to postpone the hearing upon sufficient cause being shown therefor or by the refusal of the arbitrators to hear evidence material to the controversy or by other conduct of the arbitrators contrary to the provisions of this title; (6) an arbitrator making the award either: (A) failed to disclose within the time required for disclosure a ground for disqualification of which the arbitrator was then aware, or (B) was subject to disqualification upon grounds specified in section 1281.91 but failed upon receipt of timely demand to disqualify himself or herself as required by that provision. (CCP § 1286.2(a).) “On its face, the statute leaves no room for discretion. If a statutory ground for vacating the award exists, the trial court must vacate the award.” (Ovitz v. Schulman (2005) 133 Cal.App.4th 830, 845.)

Discussion

Plaintiff brings three independent grounds for vacating the award: 1) the arbitrator refused certain evidence (CCP § 1286.2(a)(5)); 2) the arbitrator did not resolve Plaintiff’s statutory causes of action dealing with the breach of the duty of loyalty (CCP § 1286.2(a)(4,5); and 3) JAMS refused to apply the proper Arbitration Rules to this controversy concerning the granting of an emergency TRO (CCP § 1286.2(a)(5)). The Court does not find grounds for partially vacating the award. The Court will address each in turn.

Failure to Allow for Additional Re-Cross-Examination

Plaintiff contends that at the merits hearing that Montage examined Ligonde (who was called by Plaintiff as an adverse party pursuant to Evid. Code § 776). (Josefsberg Decl., Ex. WW 11- 107; 161-233; Ex. XX 367-412.) Plaintiff asserts that he testified to new matter concerning his actions as a Montage employee but Plaintiff was afforded only around 15 minutes for that time. (Josefsberg Decl., Ex. YY at 681-705; 704:11-23; 713:25-714:3.)

Plaintiff submits that he should have been allowed additional time for re-cross-examination, and that he would have presented the following rebuttal evidence and argument:

  1. On Direct Examination, Ligonde testified as to his obtaining and using Free ERISA forms, including the Form 5500 (Trans 688:11-690:18 (Ligonde).) If admitted, Lidgonde’s Deposition would dispatch the notion that he had used these documents and significantly undermine the actual utility of the information in those documents. (Ligonde Depo. 436:4-438:10.)

  1. Exhibit 212 contains Ligonde’s Announcement to CalTech, its response consisting solely of “Congratulations!!! Merry Christmas. [Image of Tree]” followed by Ligonde’s overt solicitation of business. Jonathen Light, Ligonde’s attorney, testified such a solicitation was improper. (Trans. 347:7-19 (Light).) On subsequent Direct Examination, Ligonde modified his story about his announcement to CalTech, and added that he received another “email” from CalTech some time later, but never provided that document. (Trans 690:19-691:22 (Ligonde).)

  1. On Direct Examination, Ligonde testified as to the speed in which he closed specific prospects. (Trans 692:23-695:12 (Ligonde).) But Cross Examination and impeaching documents would reveal the truth about the closing process and that he really did not “close” the accounts he listed.

  2. On Direct Examination, Ligonde testified as to his work on AmeriHome, a client of Montage. (Trans. 695:13-698:3 (Ligonde).) Cross-Examination and appropriate documents would reveal that his testimony is false. Subsequently, Montage has discovered that Ligonde had been in touch with AmeriHome, in violation of the then-in-force preliminary injunctions

  3. On Direct Examination, Ligonde testified how he brought in prospects to be Montage clients. (Trans. 701:20-702.11 (Ligonde).) Impeaching deposition testimony would demonstrate that the clients LIGONDE asserted were “his,” were really others, and the result of being paid by MONTAGE to close them as clients. (Ligonde Depo. 374:10-381:22.)

  4. Defendants improperly withheld information on many documents that contained long redactions. (E.g., Exhibits 210 at pp.42-43; 218 at p. 51; 226 at pp.111-13.) Any privilege should be held to have been waived after Light’s testimony at the Merits Hearing, and ordered produced.

  1. The Interim Award asserts that the “airing of dirty laundry” in Angelica Textile Services v. Park, 220 Cal.App. 495 (2013) is “unlike anything comparable in this record.” (Exhibit MMM at 7, n.10.) To the contrary, significant evidence would demonstrate not only Ligonde badmouthing Montage (Exhibit 41; Ligonde Depo. 243:9-244:24 ), but his false testimony about his misconduct. In a Declaration, Ligonde asserted: “I never portrayed Montage in a bad light up to and including the day I left.” (Ligonde Dec. ¶ 11.) In his deposition, however, he had to retract that assertion repeatedly, admit that he made disparaging comments about Montage (especially Ms. Simpson). (Ligonde Depo. 144:20-22; 245:1-246:9; 138:13-15; 210:13-21; Exhibit 37). In a text dated November 8, Ligonde stated: “I met with a prospective group in Glendale…” Muradyan’s response was: “I pray you get that contract. But hopefully with the new company.” These items would overtly correct the Interim Award’s assertion that Ligonde did not publicly air Montage dirty laundry.

  2. The Interim Award asserts that Montage did not have trade secrets, but intimates that it did have confidential information. Ligonde’s misuse of Montage’s confidential information amounted to breaches of his duty of loyalty. See John F. Matull & Associates, Inc. v. Cloutier, 194 Cal.App. 3 1049 (1987) (abuse of confidential information regarded as unfair competition). Had the evidence been allowed to show that a claim for breach of the duty of loyalty need not rest on trade secrets, this may have changed the outcome.

  3. The Interim Award notes, “[A]s the result of a meeting which turned into a confrontation between Ms. Simpson and Mr. Ligonde, Mr. Ligonde’s departure from Montage was accelerated and advanced to an unplanned date of December 20, 2017.” (Exhibit MMM at 4, n 8.) While Ligonde made oblique reference to that meeting, the actual evidence would demonstrate (1) friendly and professional communications between Ligonde and Ms. Simpson as of December 19 (which additional documents support, for example a text to Ms. Simpson the night of the 19th talking about his Grandmother’s hot chocolate or a light text about a friendly conversation; (2) newly discovered electronic documents docu-signed without authorization by Ligonde; and (3) the only confrontation occurred after Ligonde advised Ms. Simpson he was leaving.

  4. On Direct Examination, per the Interim Award, Jean Halsell testified: “I had the experience with Robert [re workers comp, see infra], it confirmed my concerns” and “That was the final straw.” 12/6/2018 Hrg. Tr., at p. 503:6-16.” (Interim Award at 4.) Blaming Robert in that manner at that point in the Merits Hearing was a surprise to Montage; Robert Romer, a Montage employee would testify if called, to present his testimony and documents concerning the issue with Gold Coast, thereby demonstrating that Ms. Halsell’s testimony blaming him was inappropriate, and by inference, an inappropriate support for Ligonde. Indeed, Ms. Halsell’s client comments laud Montage employees.

Each of these points were brought to the arbitrator’s attention via a response to the Interim Award. (See Ex. NNN.) Per Rule 22(i) of the JAMS Comprehensive Arbitration Rules and Procedures provides that "[a]t any time before the Award is rendered, the Arbitrator may, sua sponte or on application of a Party for good cause shown, reopen the Hearing." (Josefsberg Decl., Ex. H, p. 16.) Plaintiff requested that the arbitrator re-open the hearing on March 20, 2019. (See Josefsberg Decl., Exs. MMM, NNN.) Despite this notice, the arbitrator still chose to issue the Final Award.

Many categories make arguments with no evidentiary support. As to the fourth category, Plaintiff claims prejudice for not being given time to re-cross-examine Ligonde regarding his work with a customer called AmeriHome. He simply states that cross-examination and unspecified documents would have revealed that Ligonde was lying, without any documentary support. Similarly, as to the third, fourth, eighth, ninth and tenth categories, Plaintiff failed to cite any rebuttal evidence that he would have presented. Thus, the Court cannot determine that the Arbitrator refused to examine such evidence. Alluding to generalized statements of evidence is insufficient to show that any evidence even exists, let alone that whether it would have had an impact the Arbitrator’s ultimate decision sufficient to demonstrate prejudice. To put it simply, Plaintiff speculates that additional cross-examination would have revealed Ligonde was lying. Such speculation is insufficient.

The only substantive evidence that Plaintiff cites to that the Arbitrator purportedly did not consider was rebuttal evidence in the form of Ligonde’s inconsistent deposition testimony. These would be embraced by certain categories, including the first, second, fifth and seventh categories.

Based on a complete review of the cited exhibits, there is a fundamental flaw in Plaintiff’s petition: all of the above evidence and arguments assume that the Arbitrator was required to give him more time to present evidence, despite being given the opportunity to present the evidence cited. Plaintiff was given the opportunity to present the rebuttal evidence through re-cross-examination, but Plaintiff simply disagrees with the amount of time given by the arbitrator. (See Josefsberg Decl., YY at 730:2-731:19.) Plaintiff cites no rule that the arbitrator had to give him more time, or that the time allotted was unreasonable. Plaintiff is not entitled to boundless testimony through multiple iterations of re-cross examination, and cites no authority that the Court may vacate an arbitration award for this reason. Plaintiff does not brief whether the Arbitrator was unable to set such a limitation on re-cross-examination. Notably, Plaintiff brought Ligonde as a hostile witness, examined the witness for over five hours total, and was actually given an opportunity for re-cross. (Dickenson Decl., Exs. 1-3.) During this time, Plaintiff should have cross-examined Ligonde on the above issues and submitted the inconsistent deposition transcripts. Plaintiff simply failed to do so.

Defendants credibly highlight that much of the evidence Plaintiff cites to was actually contained in his case-in-chief and initial cross-examination of Ligonde. As to the first category, Plaintiff claims it was prejudiced by not having been given more time during its re-cross-examination of Ligonde to question him about certain documents, known as ERISA Form 5500s. Plaintiff included these documents in his own exhibit list. (Dickinson Decl., Ex. 8 at 4:6, 6:23.) Plaintiff presented direct testimony on these forms. (Dickinson Decl., Ex. 3 at 634-647.) Plaintiff simply chose not to examine Ligonde on these issues. The same holds true for the second, fifth, and seventh categories.

Plaintiff also claims in the sixth category of evidence/argument that Defendants redacted attorney-client privilege communications from documents during discovery, but then waived that privilege when attorney Jonathan Light testified during the evidentiary hearing. Of course, the Arbitrator heard this objection at the hearing and ruled that Plaintiff was not permitted to selectively object to the introduction of some privileged testimony while letting g other testimony in. (Dicknison Decl., Ex. 2 at 334-336.) This legal objection regarding privilege does not show that the arbitrator failed to consider evidence. Plaintiff baldly asserts that he made an error of law, which is not subject to review by this Court. The record also shows that Plaintiff questioned Light on cross-examination and re-cross-examination regarding his communications he had with Ligonde and Nielsen. (Id. Ex. 2 at 346-362; 363-367.) Following that examination, Plaintiff continued its cross-examination of Ligonde and Nielson, including asking about communications with Light. (Id. at 431-435.) Plaintiff was therefore also not prohibited from presenting any evidence regarding the communications.

Based on this record, the Court can only determine that any failure to bring the above cited evidence was Plaintiff’s own failure to properly cross-examine Ligonde during the many hours he was available.

Additionally, in Hall v. Superior Court (1993) 18 Cal.App.4th 427, the appellate court set aside the lower court's order vacating an arbitration award, holding that the arbitrator had received an informal offer of proof, determined that even if presented the evidence would not persuade the arbitrator, and thereafter denied the respondent an opportunity to introduce the actual evidence. (Id. at 439.) The court held that in so doing the arbitrator did not prevent the respondent from fairly presenting his defenses at arbitration. (Ibid.)

The instant case presents an even weaker case than Hall. Plaintiff was given significant time to introduce evidence, including cross-examining and re-cross-examining Ligonde. The opportunity to cross-examine Ligonde on multiple occasions demonstrates that the arbitrator did not refuse any of the evidence cited. Plaintiff simply mismanaged his own time, which is not a basis for vacation of the award. Similarly to Hall, Plaintiff presented the Arbitrator with a detailed twelve-page letter, offering proof as to the above additional evidence and what it would show. (Josefsberg Decl., Ex. NNN.) The arbitrator still issued the Final Award in light of this offer of proof. Thus, Plaintiff was not prevented from fairly presenting his evidence under any reasonable interpretation of the record.

Accordingly, the petition is DENIED on this ground.

Failure to Consider the Breach of Duty of Loyalty Cause of Action

Plaintiff asserts that the Arbitrator failed to consider this cause of action. This is directly belied by the record. The Arbitrator states clearly and unequivocally: "There also was no breach of loyalty by Mr. Ligonde." (Josefsberg Decl., Ex. 000 at 6, fn. 10.) Moreover, the Arbitrator found that “all other tort claims” were preempted by the Trade Secret Act (UTSA or CUTSA). (Josefsberg Decl., Ex. OOO at 3; citing K.C. Multimedia, Inc. v. Bank of America Technology & Operations, Inc. (2009) 171 Cal.App. 939, 954, 958.) The Arbitrator determined that this cause of action was based on the same core allegations or nucleus of facts as the trade secret claims and was thus preempted. The Arbitrator also explicitly notes that the claims for interference with contract, interference with prospective business advantage and unfair business practices were preempted. The Final Award further details that “[t]he preponderance of the evidence adduced at hearing is that - in contrast to [Plaintiff's] story arc and theory of its case against [Defendants] - Mr. Ligonde was not a 'sandbagging' 'secret agent' of or on behalf of [Defendant Nielsen], inside [Plaintiff].” (Josefsberg Decl., Ex. "000" at 7.) Thus, the record confirms that the Arbitrator considered all the causes of action, including the duty of loyalty claim.

Plaintiff otherwise insists that the Arbitrator made an error of law regarding this holding. Such holdings are not subject to review. It is not apparent from the record that the Arbitrator recognized the law and then ignored it. (See Michigan Mut. Ins. Co. v. Unigard Sec. Ins. Co. (9th Cir. 1995) F.3 826, 832.) Plaintiff brings no colorable explanation for this proposition. (Rodrigues v. Keller (1980) 113 Cal.App.3d 838, 842 ["It is presumed that all issues submitted for decision have been passed on and resolved, and the burden of proving otherwise is upon the party challenging the award."].) Plaintiff cites a finding that the breach of loyalty cause of action was independent of the trade secret claim. This is a manifestly unfair characterization of the ruling. Read with context, the Arbitrator held:

Rather, Ms. Muradyan caused LAFCU's brokerage business to move to SMC, another Montage competitor brokerage. That move was precipitated by an unpleasant interchange, which Mr. Kennedy initiated, when he contacted Ms. Muradyan about her company remaining a Montage client, following Mr. Ligonde's departure. The move by LAFCU to SMC was the result of an exercise of business judgment, in the circumstances --- independent of any misappropriation or use of any alleged trade secret information and free of any intentional or any conscious interference with LAFCU's contract with Montage by either Mr. Ligonde or NBG, and was not a subterfuge or cover for an intention to move the business to NBG after this arbitration concludes. In the event, as previously determined, all of Montage's claims sharing a "nucleus of facts" with Montage's trade secret claims have been preempted. K.C. Multimedia.

The Arbitrator is simply noting that LAFCU’s move was based not on Ligonde’s improper breach of loyalty or NBG’s interreference, but simply a business decision of LAFCU’s. The Arbitrator even explicitly says that this still shows that the trade secret claims were preempted.

Plaintiff’s remaining arguments simply dispute the Arbitrator’s factual findings, which, again, is not a basis for vacatur. Plaintiff’s petition is DENIED on this ground as well.

Failure to Provide a TRO

Plaintiff claims that JAMS personnel refused to allow an emergency TRO, despite the fact that such an issuance is allowed. (Josefsberg Decl., Ex. H.) Even assuming that the JAMS personnel should have issued the TRO under the JAMS rules, Plaintiff does not demonstrate how the failure to provide a TRO prejudiced Plaintiff’s Arbitration. Plaintiff does not cite to any of the above ground for vacatur. Plaintiff does not argue any of the grounds for vacatur. (Mot. p. 13-14.) The issuance of a TRO has no connection with the merits of the Arbitration but was a provisional remedy to prevent ongoing harm. Interestingly, a TRO/preliminary injunction was issued. (Josefsberg Decl., Ex. HH.) Plaintiff has made no reasoned argument that the failure to issue a TRO prejudiced them such that the Court should vacate the Final Award.

Plaintiff also asserts that Defendants did not turn over certain evidence until a month before the hearing. Plaintiff does not make any intelligible point about this, and this argument is explicitly disregarded.

Accordingly, Plaintiff’s motion is DENIED.

Further, CCP § 1286 states: “If a petition or response under this chapter is duly served and filed, the court shall confirm the award as made, whether rendered in this state or another state, unless in accordance with this chapter it corrects the award and confirms it as corrected, vacates the award or dismisses the proceedings.”

Here, Plaintiff brought a petition to vacate the award. The award was not vacated or corrected. Therefore, the Court must confirm the award and render judgment in in conformity with the Final Award. (CCP § 1287.4.)

Attorneys’ Fees

Defendant requests that the Court award fees for opposing this motion, per the arbitration agreement. (Dickinson Decl., Ex. 7, ¶ 19.) The Court declines to award attorneys’ fees at this juncture. The Court will require a separately noticed motion for fees.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.