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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/04/2019 at 00:46:05 (UTC).

DAVID LO VS JSL PLAZA PUENTE HILLS LLC

Case Summary

On 10/02/2017 DAVID LO filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against JSL PLAZA PUENTE HILLS LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are SAMANTHA P. JESSNER, EDWARD B. MORETON and YOLANDA OROZCO. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6149

  • Filing Date:

    10/02/2017

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

SAMANTHA P. JESSNER

EDWARD B. MORETON

YOLANDA OROZCO

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs, Petitioners and Appellants

LO DAVID

LO HYO SUE

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1 THROUGH 20

JSL PLAZA PUENTE HILLS LLC

HAROLD JUNG

Cross Defendant and Appellant

LO HYO SUE

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorney

LK PROFESSIONAL LAW GROUP

Appellant Attorney

KIM RONALD GICHAN

Defendant and Respondent Attorney

JUNG HAROLD ESQ.

 

Court Documents

NOTICE RE: CONTINUANCE OF HEARING

2/27/2018: NOTICE RE: CONTINUANCE OF HEARING

ORDER; ETC.

3/20/2018: ORDER; ETC.

ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

3/27/2018: ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT 1) DECLARATORY RELIEF

4/5/2018: SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT 1) DECLARATORY RELIEF

ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

5/14/2018: ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

PLAINTIFF'S TRIAL BRIEF

8/15/2018: PLAINTIFF'S TRIAL BRIEF

CROSS-DEFENDANTS' OPPOSITION TO CROSS-COMPLAINANT'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS? FEE

9/4/2018: CROSS-DEFENDANTS' OPPOSITION TO CROSS-COMPLAINANT'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS? FEE

NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT

9/20/2018: NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

10/26/2018: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Notice

12/6/2018: Notice

Unknown

12/13/2018: Unknown

Unknown

12/14/2018: Unknown

Unknown

2/13/2019: Unknown

Unknown

1/8/2018: Unknown

Minute Order

1/22/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

11/30/2017: Minute Order

DEFENDANT JSL PLAZA PUENTE HILL'S NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT; ETC.

10/19/2017: DEFENDANT JSL PLAZA PUENTE HILL'S NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT; ETC.

SUMMONS

10/2/2017: SUMMONS

68 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/06/2019
  • Appeal - Notice of Fees Due for Clerk's Transcript on Appeal; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/08/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 44, Edward B. Moreton, Presiding; Hearing on Application for Order for Appearance and Examination

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  • 02/20/2019
  • Respondent's Notice Designating Record on Appeal; Filed by JSL Plaza Puente Hills, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 02/13/2019
  • Ntc Designating Record of Appeal APP-003/010/103 (ALSO LODGE 1REPORTER TRANSCRIPT); Filed by David Lo (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/29/2019
  • Notice of Default (NOA 12/14/18); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/19/2018
  • Civil Bond

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  • 12/18/2018
  • Appeal - Notice of Filing of Notice of Appeal; Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/18/2018
  • Notice (of Court's Ruling Awarding Additional Attorney's Fees After Court Trial); Filed by JSL Plaza Puente Hills, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 12/14/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 31, Yolanda Orozco, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Attorney Fees - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 12/14/2018
  • Order (Re: Ruling); Filed by Clerk

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121 More Docket Entries
  • 12/01/2017
  • NOTICE OF RULING ON THE DEMURRER HEARING

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  • 11/30/2017
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 31; Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike (Hearing on Demurrer; Off Calendar) -

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  • 11/30/2017
  • Minute Order

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  • 10/19/2017
  • DEFENDANT JSL PLAZA PUENTE HILL'S NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT; ETC.

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  • 10/19/2017
  • Demurrer; Filed by Defendant/Respondent

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  • 10/04/2017
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/04/2017
  • NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 10/02/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 10/02/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR: 1) BREACH OF COMMERCIAL LEASE AGREEMENT; ASSIGNMENT AND ASSUMPTION OF LEASE 2) FRAUD; 3) DECLARATORY RELIEF

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  • 10/02/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by null

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC676149    Hearing Date: February 04, 2021    Dept: 31

MOTION FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES ON APPEAL IS GRANTED. 

Relevant Background

On October 2, 2017, Plaintiff David Lo filed the instant action against Defendant JSL Plaza Puente Hills, LLC and Does 1 through 20. On April 5, 2018, Plaintiff filed the operative Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”). The SAC asserts a single cause of action for Declaratory Relief.

On February 13, 2018, JSL Plaza Puente Hills, LLC (hereinafter “JSL”) filed the Cross-Complaint against David Lo, Hyo Sue Lo (collectively the “Los”), and Roes 1 through 5. The Cross-Complaint asserts a single cause of action for Breach of Contract.

On August 17, 2018, following a bench trial, the Court entered judgment in favor of JSL and against the Los. The judgment included an award of $45,380.00 in attorney fees incurred in prosecuting the case.

On December 14, 2018, the Court awarded JSL an additional $9,500.00 in attorney fees incurred in connection with the Los’ unsuccessful motion for new trial and for other post-judgment activities.

The Los appealed the judgment and on January 4, 2021, the Court of Appeal issued a remittitur in favor of JSL. The Court of Appeal also stated that JSL is to be awarded its costs on appeal.

JSL now moves for an award of attorney fees on appeal in the amount of $59,540.51.

Legal Standard

“A trial court assessing attorney fees begins with a touchstone or lodestar figure, based on the ‘careful compilation of the time spent and reasonable hourly compensation of each attorney . . . involved in the presentation of the case.” (Christian Research Institute v. Alnor (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 1315, 1321.) The Court “need not simply award the sum requested. To the contrary, ascertaining the fee amount is left to the trial court's sound discretion.” (Id.) “The reasonableness of attorney fees is within the discretion of the trial court, to be determined from a consideration of such factors as the nature of the litigation, the complexity of the issues, the experience and expertise of counsel and the amount of time involved. The court may also consider whether the amount requested is based upon unnecessary or duplicative work.” (Wilkerson v. Sullivan (2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 443, 448.)

Evidentiary Objections

The Los submit an objection to Exhibit D attached to the moving papers which purports to be an itemization of time spent on the case by attorney Harold Jung. The Court finds that the declaration of Harold Jung inadvertently referred to Exhibit C rather than Exhibit D, as intended. 

The objection is OVERRULED. 

Discussion

JSL moves for an award of attorney fees on appeal in the amount of $59,540.51.

JSL argues that even though the Los had executed a pre-trial stipulation waiving the right to appeal, the Los filed an appeal based on frivolous grounds. JSL asserts that it quickly filed a Motion to Dismiss the appeal and the Los opposed. JSL contends that the Court of Appeal deferred ruling on the Motion to Dismiss. JSL argues that as a result briefing on the appeal was allowed to proceed and JSL was required to file a Respondent’s Brief addressing the issues raised by the Los in support of their appeal. JSL asserts that accordingly, two sets of briefing were required before the Court of Appeal – one for the Motion to Dismiss and a second on the Appeal itself. JSL contends that at oral argument before the Court of Appeal, counsel argued the merits of both the Motion to Dismiss and the Los’ appeal.

Hourly Rate

“The reasonable hourly rate is that prevailing in the community for similar work.” (PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095.) “The experienced trial judge is the best judge of the value of professional services rendered in [her] court.” (Ibid.)

JSL seeks to recover attorney fees for 2 different attorneys who worked on the appeal of this case. The hourly rates are as follows:

Each attorney attests to their legal experience and reasonable of their rates. (Jung Decl. ¶ 3; Kavcioglu Decl. ¶ 2-3.)

The Los do not object to the rates charged by JSL’s counsel.

The Court finds that the hourly rates requested by JSL are reasonable and commensurate with rates charged by attorneys with comparable skill and expertise.

Reasonable Hours Incurred

“A trial court assessing attorney fees begins with a touchstone or lodestar figure, based on the ‘careful compilation of the time spent and reasonable hourly compensation of each attorney . . . involved in the presentation of the case.” (Christian Research Institute v. Alnor (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 1315, 1321.) The Court “need not simply award the sum requested. To the contrary, ascertaining the fee amount is left to the trial court's sound discretion.” (Id.) “The reasonableness of attorney fees is within the discretion of the trial court, to be determined from a consideration of such factors as the nature of the litigation, the complexity of the issues, the experience and expertise of counsel and the amount of time involved. The court may also consider whether the amount requested is based upon unnecessary or duplicative work.” (Wilkerson v. Sullivan (2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 443, 448.)

JSL’s counsel provides detailed billing records for this case on appeal. (Jung Decl., Exh. D; Kavciologu Decl., Exh. C.) JSL argues that it was required to retain assistance from Aren Kavcioglu, an experienced litigator with appellate experience, to defend against the Los’ appeal. JSL asserts that Kavcioglu made his best efforts to minimize the number of hours spent responding to the appeal even though the Los’ attorney tried to make the case difficult at every level with countless extensions for each brief. JSL further contends that Harold Jung had to assist Kavcioglu with the appeal and made his best efforts to minimize the number of hours spent and not duplicate the efforts of Kavciolgu. JSL argues that for all this work, counsel’s billing time was reasonable.

In opposition, the Los argue that the fees sought are entirely duplicative of the fees previously awarded by the Court, in part unsupported by any competent evidence, and should be denied entirely, or at a minimum, substantially reduced. The Los first assert that the motion’s declarations both declare under penalty of perjury that Exhibit “C” is the true and correct written record of the time they purportedly spent on the appeal of this case, as reflected in the Los’ objection to Exhibit D.

The Los contend that, additionally, the motion is attempting to “triple dip” substantially for the same work that JSL’s counsel previously performed and for which they had been previously awarded attorney fees. The Los argue that JSL filed an opposition to the New Trial motion setting forth in detail the facts, evidence, and legal arguments that JSL would repeatedly use in the appeal of this case in its Motion to Dismiss Appeal and Respondent’s Brief. (Kim Decl., Exh. 3, 6.) 

In reply, JSL argues that in asserting that JSL reused facts, evidence, and legal arguments in the appeal, the Los miss the fact that appeals inherently involve the facts, evidence, and arguments presented to the trial court. JSL asserts that the appellate briefs require additional work, in part, because the entire record, including the underlying facts and procedural posture, must be presented and explained to the Court of Appeal. 

JSL contends that, moreover, the briefs filed in the Court of Appeal were different in several material respects than the opposition to the motion for new trial. JSL argues that first, the appellate briefs were more thorough in their factual, procedural, and legal discussion because they were being presented to a court with no knowledge about the case or issues. JSL asserts that the drafting of such briefs is more difficult due to the fact that JSL lacked the benefit of a transcript as there was no court reporter at trial pursuant to the stipulation signed by the parties at the time they waived the right to appeal. JSL contends that the motion to dismiss was also drafted by Kavcioglu, who had not been involved in the proceedings before the trial court, necessitating the time billed to review the record, analyze the fact and law, and present the issues. JSL asserts that second, the issues on the motion to dismiss appeal were different than the issues on the motion for new trial as the issues on the motion to dismiss appeal included (1) whether the appeal should be dismissed under the Stipulation and (2) whether the appeal was being taken to effect a delay, issues that this Court did not decide.

JSL contends that notably, the Los requested and obtained seven separate extensions, totaling 195 days, to file the opposition to the motion to dismiss. JSL argues that the Los also requested 30 minutes for oral argument before the Court of appeal and likely used all of that time. JSL asserts that the fact that the Los’ counsel needed an inordinate amount of time for these tasks is a testament to the fact that the issues briefed to the Court of Appeal were more involved and complicated than the Los now admit.

Having analyzed the motion, declarations, and exhibits attached thereto, the Court finds that the fees sought by JSL are reasonable and do not include excessive time billed or duplicative entries. While the Los argue that the briefs filed in the appeal purportedly “reuse” the same facts, evidence, and legal arguments JSL used in its opposition to the motion for new trial, the Los fail to acknowledge that the legal standards in each brief filed and the procedural posture of the cases differ greatly. Accordingly, the Los’ argument is unavailing. 

The Los also fail to dispute the fact that attorney Kavcioglu drafted the briefs that were filed during the appeal. Because Kavcioglu was in no way involved in the action at the trial level, the time spent reviewing the trial record and drafting the briefs is reasonable. There is also nothing before the Court to indicate that any of the entries by attorney Jung or Kacvioglu are duplicative.

Finally, the Los’ argument that the time billed is excessive and duplicative is likewise unavailing. “Parties who litigate with no holds barred in cases such as this, in which the prevailing party is entitled to a fee award, assume the risk they will have to reimburse the excessive expenses they force upon their adversaries.” (Stokus v. Marsh (1990) 217 Cal.App.3d 647, 653-654.) Here, the Los cannot argue that the time spent by JSL was excessive when the Los were the parties to initiate the appeal and fiercely opposed JSL’s motion to dismiss.

Based on the foregoing, JSL’s motion for attorney fees is GRANTED.

Conclusion

Moving party to give notice.

The parties are strongly encouraged to attend all scheduled hearings virtually or by audio. Effective July 20, 2020, all matters will be scheduled virtually and/or with audio through the Court’s LACourtConnect technology. The parties are strongly encouraged to use LACourtConnect for all their matters. All social distancing protocols will be observed at the Courthouse and in the courtrooms.

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