This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/14/2020 at 16:08:21 (UTC).

ELIAS NAKHLEH VS JOHNNY MEGUERDITCHIAN, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 08/08/2019 ELIAS NAKHLEH filed a Personal Injury - Assault/Battery/Defamation lawsuit against JOHNNY MEGUERDITCHIAN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are RICHARD E. RICO and JON R. TAKASUGI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******7939

  • Filing Date:

    08/08/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Assault/Battery/Defamation

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

RICHARD E. RICO

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Cross Defendants

NAKHLEH ELIAS

DISH RESTAURANT

YALLA MEDITERRANEAN LLC

AMERICAN RESTAURANT GROUP INC

DAPHNE?S CALIFORNIA GREEK

SLATER?S RESTAURANT GROUP INC.

DAPHNE?S MEDITERRANEAN

CAF ROSE

ELITE RESTAURANT GROUP INC

OCEAN VIEW BAR & GRILL

DAPHNE?S GREEK CAF

YALLA MEDITERRANEAN FRANCHISING COMPANY LLC

MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE HOLDING COMPANY LLC

MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE FRANCHISING COMPANY LLC

OV RESTAURANT GROUP INC

MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE OPERATING COMPANY LLC

DAPHNE?S INC

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

GET EM PROCESS SERVERS A CALIFORNIA COMPANY

WATER HEATER MAN INC

MEGUERDITCHIAN JOHNNY

4 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

GRIFFIN DAVID

GRIFFIN DAVID RYAN

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorney

FLANAGAN MICHAEL GERARD

Cross Defendant Attorney

LU ROBERT K

 

Court Documents

Cross-Complaint

9/16/2019: Cross-Complaint

Complaint

8/8/2019: Complaint

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: MANDATORY CONTINUANCE) OF 05/08/2020

5/8/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: MANDATORY CONTINUANCE) OF 05/08/2020

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: MANDATORY CONTINUANCE)

5/8/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: MANDATORY CONTINUANCE)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: MANDATORY CONTINUANCE)

3/23/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: MANDATORY CONTINUANCE)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: MANDATORY CONTINUANCE) OF 03/23/2020

3/23/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: MANDATORY CONTINUANCE) OF 03/23/2020

Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SANCTIONS UNDER CCP SECTION 128.5

3/20/2020: Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SANCTIONS UNDER CCP SECTION 128.5

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR ORDER TO QUASH SERVICE; CASE MANAGEMENT...)

3/16/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR ORDER TO QUASH SERVICE; CASE MANAGEMENT...)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER)

3/16/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER) OF 03/16/2020

3/16/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER) OF 03/16/2020

Case Management Statement

3/10/2020: Case Management Statement

Reply - REPLY BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF CROSSDEFENDANTS MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF SUMMONS

3/9/2020: Reply - REPLY BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF CROSSDEFENDANTS MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF SUMMONS

Notice - NOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT

3/9/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

2/27/2020: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

1/31/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

Case Management Statement

1/27/2020: Case Management Statement

Case Management Statement

1/22/2020: Case Management Statement

Substitution of Attorney

12/13/2019: Substitution of Attorney

28 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 08/27/2020
  • Hearing08/27/2020 at 10:00 AM in Department 17 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Sanctions

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  • 08/27/2020
  • Hearing08/27/2020 at 10:00 AM in Department 17 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/27/2020
  • Hearing08/27/2020 at 10:00 AM in Department 17 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Case Management Conference

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/08/2020
  • Docketat 09:31 AM in Department 17, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Court Order

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  • 05/08/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order re: Mandatory Continuance)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/08/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order re: Mandatory Continuance) of 05/08/2020); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/06/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 17, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Sanctions - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 03/23/2020
  • Docketat 11:50 AM in Department 17, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Court Order

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/23/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order re: Mandatory Continuance)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/23/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order re: Mandatory Continuance) of 03/23/2020); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
33 More Docket Entries
  • 10/11/2019
  • DocketNotice of Motion; Filed by Johnny Meguerditchian (Defendant); Water Heater Man, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 09/30/2019
  • DocketSummons (on Cross Complaint); Filed by Water Heater Man, Inc. (Cross-Complainant); Johnny Meguerditchian (Cross-Complainant)

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  • 09/30/2019
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Johnny Meguerditchian (Defendant); Water Heater Man, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 09/16/2019
  • DocketCross-Complaint; Filed by Johnny Meguerditchian (Defendant); Water Heater Man, Inc. (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 09/06/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/06/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Failure to File Proof of Service; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/12/2019
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Elias Nakhleh (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/08/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Elias Nakhleh (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/08/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/08/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Elias Nakhleh (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STCV27939    Hearing Date: December 17, 2020    Dept: 17

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

DEPARTMENT 17

TENTATIVE RULING

ELIAS NAKHLEH

vs.

GET ‘EM PROCESS SERVERS, et al.

Defendants.

Case No.: 19STCV27939

Hearing Date: December 17, 2020

Cross-Defendants’ motion to quash service of summons is GRANTED in part, DENIED in part. Cross-Defendants’ motion is granted as to the corporate Cross-Defendants, but denied as to the individual Cross-Defendants.

On August 8, 2019, Plaintiff Elias Nakhleh (Plaintiff) filed suit against Get Em Meguerditchian, and Water Heating Man, Inc., alleging: (1) defamation per se; (2) unfair business practices; (3) illegal debt collection practices; (4) intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED); and (5) negligent infliction of emotional distress.

On September 16, 2019, Defendants/Cross-Complainant filed a cross-complaint against Elias Nakhleh, Michael Nakhleh, Mediterranean Cuisine Operating Company, LLC, Mediterranean Cuisine Holding Company, LLC, Mediterranean Cuisine Franchising Company, LLC, Elite Restaurant Group, Inc., OV Restaurant Group, Inc., Slater’s Restaurant Group, Inc., Yalla Yalla

On March 16, 2020, this Court granted Cross-Defendant’s motion to quash service of the summons for improper service.

After a second attempt at service, Cross-Defendants now move, again, to quash service of the summons for improper service.

Legal Standard

A defendant may move to quash service of summons on the ground that service was invalid. (Code Civ. Proc., § 418.10, subd. (a).) A defendant may serve and file such a notice of motion to quash service of summons on or before the last day of his or her time to plead or within any further time that the court may for good cause allow. (Ibid.)

Discussion

When a defendant moves the court to quash service of the summons on the ground of improper service or lack of personal jurisdiction, the burden of proof is on the party who served the summons and complaint to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that service was proper or that the court is entitled to assume personal jurisdiction. (Ziller Berquist

Evidence Code section 647 provides that “the return of a process server … upon process or notice establishes a presumption, affecting the burden of producing evidence, of the facts stated in the return.”

Here, Cross-Defendants submitted evidence to show that service was defective in the following ways:

· Daphne’s Inc: the agent for service is not Darwin Lizaraga

· Mediterranean Cuisine Franchising Company, LLC: Jawed Master is not authorized to accept service and is not an appointed agent for service of process

· Mediterranean Cuisine Operating Company, LLC: Jawed Master is not authorized to accept service and is not an appointed agent for service of process

· OV Restaurant Group, Inc.: Jawed Master is not authorized to accept service and is not an appointed agent for service of process

· Slaters Restaurant Group, Inc: Christian Garcia is not authorized to accept service and is not an appointed agent for service of process

· Elias Nakhleh: Christian Garcia is not authorized to accept service on behalf of Michael Nakhleh

Corporate Cross-Defendants

In opposition, Cross-Plaintiff’s own exhibits identify the registered agents and officers of the corporate Cross-Defendants as follows:

· Daphne’s Inc: No registered agent; Michael Nakhleh (officer)

· Mediterranean Cuisine Franchising Company, LLC: Bridget Smyth and Michael Nakleh (registered agents); Michael Nakhleh (officer)

· Mediterranean Cuisine Operating Company, LLC: No registered agent; Michael Nakhleh (officer)

· OV Restaurant Group, Inc.: LawInc.com; Michael Nakhleh (President; CEO; CFO; Secretary)

· Slaters Restaurant Group, Inc: Bridget Smyth; Michael Nakhleh (President; CEO; CFO; Secretary)

CCP section 416.10 provides:

A summons may be served on a corporation by delivering a copy of the summons and the complaint by any of the following methods:

(a) To the person designated as agent for service of process as provided by any provision in Section 202 1502 2105 , or 2107 of the Corporations Code (or Sections 3301 to 3303, inclusive, or Sections 6500 to 6504, inclusive, of the Corporations Code, as in effect on December 31, 1976, with respect to corporations to which they remain applicable).

(b) To the president, chief executive officer, or other head of the corporation, a vice president, a secretary or assistant secretary, a treasurer or assistant treasurer, a controller or chief financial officer, a general manager, or a person authorized by the corporation to receive service of process.

(c) If the corporation is a bank, to a cashier or assistant cashier or to a person specified in subdivision (a) or (b).

Corporations Code sections 1701 provides:

Delivery by hand of a copy of any process against the corporation (a) to any natural person designated by it as agent or (b), if a corporate agent has been designated, to any person named in the latest certificate of the corporate agent filed pursuant to Section 1505 at the office of such corporate agent shall constitute valid service on the corporation.

Corporations Code section 1702 provides:

(a) If an agent for the purpose of service of process has resigned and has not been replaced or if the agent designated cannot with reasonable diligence be found at the address designated for personally delivering the process, or if no agent has been designated, and it is shown by affidavit to the satisfaction of the court that process against a domestic corporation cannot be served with reasonable diligence upon the designated agent by hand in the manner provided in Section 415.10, subdivision (a) of Section 415.20 or subdivision (a) of Section 415.30 of the Code of Civil Procedure or upon the corporation in the manner provided in subdivision (a) (b) or (c) of Section 416.10 or subdivision (a) of Section 416.20 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the court may make an order that the service be made upon the corporation by delivering by hand to the Secretary of State, or to any person employed in the Secretary of State's office in the capacity of assistant or deputy, one copy of the process for each defendant to be served, together with a copy of the order authorizing such service. Service in this manner is deemed complete on the 10th day after delivery of the process to the Secretary of State.

As CCP section 416.10 makes clear, a summons may be served on a corporation by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to the registered agent, or to the “president, chief executive officer, or other head of the corporation, a vice president, a secretary or assistant secretary, a treasurer or assistant treasurer, a controller or chief financial officer, a general manager, or a person authorized by the corporation to receive service of process.” Accordingly, to properly serve these corporate Cross-Defendants, service must have been attempted on either a corporate officer or a registered agent.

As for serving a corporate officer, Cross-Plaintiff submitted no evidence to rebut Cross-Defendants’ evidence that no service was attempted on an officer or other acceptable corporate representative. Cross-Plaintiff submitted no evidence that could show that it attempted to serve Michael Nakhleh in his capacity as a president, CEO, CFO, or Secretary of any Cross-Defendant. Accordingly, Cross-Plaintiff was limited to service upon a registered agent. (See CCP § 416.10, subd. (a)-(c).)

As for serving a registered agent, Mediterranean Cuisine Franchising Company, LLC and Slaters Restaurant Group, Inc, list Bridget Smyth as a registered agent. Accordingly, pursuant to Corporation Code section 1701, to serve Mediterranean Cuisine Franchising Company, LLC and Slaters Restaurant Group, Inc, Cross-Plaintiff must have attempted service on Bridget Smyth, not Christian Garcia or Jawed Master. Similarly, OV Restaurant Group, Inc. lists LawInc.com as a registered agent. Accordingly, to properly serve OV Restaurant Group, Inc., Plaintiff must have been attempted to serve LawInc.com. Cross-Plaintiff submitted no evidence of an attempt to serve Bridget Smyth or LawInc.com. In fact, Cross-Plaintiffs do not even attempt to argue that Bridget Smyth or LawInc.com were unavailable. Even assuming arguendo that they were, Cross-Plaintiffs would have needed to file an affidavit to show that reasonable efforts were made to serve these registered agents, but those efforts failed. (See Corp. Code § 1702, subd. (a).)

Daphne’s Inc. and Mediterranean Cuisine Operating Company, LLC have no registered agent. Cross-Plaintiffs submitted no evidence that Darwin Lizaraga was authorized to accept service for Daphne’s Inc., or that Jawed Master was authorized to accept service for Mediterranean Cuisine Franchising Company, LCC. As Corporations Code section 1702 makes clear, where no agent has been designated, proper service requires it be shown by affidavit that reasonable efforts were made to serve the corporation via designated agent in a code compliant manner. Cross-Plaintiffs have submitted no such affidavits.

Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendants’ motion to quash service of summons of the corporate Cross-Defendants is GRANTED.

Individual Cross-Defendants

Here, Cross Plaintiff submitted a proof of service stating that Michael Nakhleh was served via substitute service. Specifically, the proof of service states that Christian Garcia, an employee, was served at 466 E. Foothill Bld. #356 La Canada 91011—a UPS Store. This address is listed as the registered business address for Daphnes, Inc., of which Michael Nakhleh is a corporate officer.

CCP § 415.20, subdivisions (b) and (c) provide that:

In lieu of personal delivery of a copy of the summons and complaint to the person to be served as specified in Section 416.10, 416.20, 416.30, 416.40, or 416.50, a summons may be served by leaving a copy of the summons and complaint during usual office hours in his or her office or, if no physical address is known, at his or her usual mailing address, other than a United States Postal Service post office box, with the person who is apparently in charge thereof, and by thereafter mailing a copy of the summons and complaint by first-class mail, postage prepaid to the person to be served at the place where a copy of the summons and complaint were left. When service is effected by leaving a copy of the summons and complaint at a mailing address, it shall be left with a person at least 18 years of age, who shall be informed of the contents thereof. Service of a summons in this manner is deemed complete on the 10th day after the mailing.

(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (b), if the only address reasonably known for the person to be served is a private mailbox obtained through a commercial mail receiving agency, service of process may be effected on the first delivery attempt by leaving a copy of the summons and complaint with the commercial mail receiving agency in the manner described in subdivision (d) of Section 17538.5 of the Business and Professions Code.

The proof of service shows that Mr. Garcia, an employee, was served during regular business hours at 2:58 PM. Cross-Plaintiff filed a due diligence declaration stating that several attempts at personal service of Michael Nakhleh were made, and the proof of service of summons states that a copy of the summons and complaint were sent via first class mail thereafter. Accordingly, Cross-Plaintiff’s evidence is sufficient to show proper service of individual Cross-Defendant Michael Nakhleh via a private mailbox. (See CCP § 415.20, subd. (c).) Cross-Defendants, who hold the burden of proof, did not submit adequate evidence to show that this is not a registered business address and private mailbox address for Michael Nakhleh or that a copy of the summons and complaint were not sent thereafter via first class mail.

Cross-Defendant Elias Nakhleh was served at 734 East Foothill Blvd. Plaintiff submitted a proof of service which establishes a presumption of proper service. (Evid. Code § 647.) Accordingly, the burden was on Cross-Defendant to show that he had no connection to the mailbox at this location, or that no copy of the summons and complaint were mailed thereafter. Notably, Cross-Defendant Elias Nakhleh’s declaration does not state that he does not have access to this mailbox, or operate business using this address, but only states that he does not reside at this location. To rebut the presumption of proper service, Elis Nakhleh would have needed to state that this was not his usual address nor a “private mailbox obtained [by him] through a commercial mail receiving agency.” (Nakhleh Decl., ¶ 2.)

While Elias Nakhleh claims he did not receive a copy of the summons or complaint by mail, Cross-Plaintiff’s proof of service states that copies of the summons and complaint were mailed via first class mail. Cross-Defendant has not submitted any evidence to rebut this.

Based on the foregoing, Cross-Defendants’ motion to quash service of summons of the individual Cross-Defendants Michael and Elias Nakhleh is DENIED.

It is so ordered.

Dated: December , 2020

Hon. Jon R. Takasugi Judge of the Superior Court

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at smcdept17@lacourt.org by 4 p.m. the day prior as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative. If all parties to a motion submit, the court will adopt this tentative as the final order. If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar.

Due to Covid-19, the court is strongly discouraging in-person appearances. Parties, counsel, and court reporters present are subject to temperature checks and health inquiries, and will be denied entry if admission could create a public health risk. The court encourages the parties wishing to argue to appear via L.A. Court Connect. For more information, please contact the court clerk at (213) 633-0517. Your understanding during these difficult times is appreciated.

Case Number: 19STCV27939    Hearing Date: August 27, 2020    Dept: 17

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

DEPARTMENT 17

TENTATIVE RULING

ELIAS NAKHLEH,

vs.

JOHNNY MEGUERDITCHIAN, et al.

Case No.: 19STCV27939

Hearing Date: August 27, 2020

Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions is DENIED. Defendants’ request for sanctions is DENIED.

On August 8, 2019, Plaintiff Elias Nakhleh (“Plaintiff”) filed suit against Get Em Process Servers, Johnny Meguerditchian (“Meguerditchian”), and Water Heating Man, Inc. (“Water Heating Man”) (collectively, “Defendants”), alleging: (1) defamation per se; (2) unfair business practices; (3) illegal debt collection practices; (4) intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED); and (5) negligent infliction of emotional distress.

On October 11, 2019, Defendants filed an Anti-SLAPP motion (“Motion.”) On November 21, 2019, the court denied Defendants’ Motion (“Order.”)

Plaintiff now seeks monetary sanctions against Defendants and their counsel in the amount of $29,000 on grounds that the Motion was entirely frivolous, made in bad faith, and intended to cause unnecessary delay and to harass.

Legal Standard

CCP section 128.5 provides that “[a] trial court may order a party, the party’s attorney, or both, to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by another party as a result of actions or tactics, made in bad faith, that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay.”  (Code Civ. Proc., § 128.5(a).)  “‘Actions or tactics include, but are not limited to, the making or opposing of motions or the filing and service of a complaint, cross-complaint, answer, or other responsive pleading.” 

(Id., § 128.5(b)(1).)  “Frivolous’ means totally and completely without merit or for the sole purpose of harassing an opposing party.”  (Id., § 128.5(b)(2).)

Discussion

The Motion

Plaintiff argues the Motion was frivolous for two reasons. First, the Motion lacked merit. Anti-SLAPP does not protect speech involving intentional threats of harm, like those made to Plaintiff, i.e. “you are a liar and you are going to jail.” (Compl., ¶13d; (D.C. v. R.R. (2010) 182 Cal. App. 4th 1190, 1224-1225 [complaint alleging cyberbullying not subject to anti-SLAPP.].) Second, “any reasonable attorney would agree that such [a] motion is totally devoid of merit.” (Moore v. Shaw (2004) 116 Cal. App. 4th 182, 199.) Plaintiff’s complaint is a defamation action, meaning that the complaint did not touch upon protected activity. Indeed, the Order states, “It is Meguerditchian’s harassive statements, not the underlying lawsuit that allegedly harmed Plaintiff’s reputation and cause emotional distress.” (Order, p. 2.)

The court finds that the Motion was not frivolous.

First, the Motion was not totally and completely without merit. Defendants’ counsel believed the Motion would defeat Plaintiff’s claims against Water Heater Man. (Flannagan Decl., ¶ 3.) Defendants’ counsel explained that the arguments set forth in the Motion were based on Plaintiff’s complaint. (Flanagan Decl., ¶ 5.) Plaintiff alleged that Meguerditchian was as an agent for Water Heater Man. (Compl., ¶¶ 5, 9-10.) Based on that allegation, Defendants argued the action arose from the actual act of serving process. However, the court disagreed. (Flannagan Decl., ¶ 5; Order, p. 2.) Second, the Motion was not intended to cause delay or to harass. Before filing the Motion, counsel for Defendants and Plaintiff discussed the Motion. At no point did Plaintiff’s counsel raise concerns over the contents or merits of the Motion. (Flannagan Decl., ¶ 6.) Further, Defendants scheduled the hearing on the Motion on the same day as a case management conference. (Flannagan Decl., ¶ 4.) Lastly, the Motion was unopposed, meaning that Plaintiff’s counsel presumably spent little to no time in reviewing the Motion. Third, Plaintiff has not explained how Defendants engaged in bad faith, and there is no evidence that Defendants engaged in bad faith tactics in the filing of the Motion.

Sanctions

Defendants request monetary sanctions against Plaintiff for bringing a motion for sanctions.

CCP section 128.5(f)(1)(C) states that “the court may award to the party prevailing on the motion [for sanctions] the reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees incurred in presenting or opposing the motion.” CCP section § 128.5(g) also provides that “a motion for sanctions brought by a party or a party’s attorney primarily for an improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation, shall itself be subject to a motion for sanctions.”

The court does not award sanctions. Defendants have not identified the amount they seek. Therefore, Defendants’ request for sanctions is denied.

It is so ordered.

Dated: August 27, 2020

Hon. Jon R. Takasugi

Judge of the Superior Court

 

 

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at smcdept17@lacourt.org by 4 p.m. the day prior as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative. If all parties to a motion submit, the court will adopt this tentative as the final order. If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar.

Due to Covid-19, the court is strongly discouraging in-person appearances. Parties, counsel, and court reporters present are subject to temperature checks and health inquiries, and will be denied entry if admission could create a public health risk. The court encourages the parties wishing to argue to appear via L.A. Court Connect. For more information, please contact the court clerk at (213) 633-0517. Your understanding during these difficult times is appreciated.

Case Number: 19STCV27939    Hearing Date: March 16, 2020    Dept: 17

SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

DEPARTMENT 72

TENTATIVE RULING

ELIAS NAKHLEH

Plaintiff,

vs.

GET EM PROCESS SERVERS; JOHNNY MEGUERDITCHIAN; WATER HEATING MAN, INC.

Defendants.

Case No.: 19STCV27939

Hearing Date: March 16, 2020

The motion to quash service of summons is GRANTED.

On August 8, 2019, Plaintiff Elias Nakhleh (Plaintiff) filed suit against Get Em Process Servers, Johnny Meguerditchian, and Water Heating Man, Inc., alleging: (1) defamation per se; (2) unfair business practices; (3) illegal debt collection practices; (4) intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED); and (5) negligent infliction of emotional distress.

On September 16, 2019, Defendants/Cross-Complainant filed a cross-complaint against Elias Nakhleh, Michael Nakhleh, Mediterranean Cuisine Operating Company, LLC, Mediterranean Cuisine Holding Company, LLC, Mediterranean Cuisine Franchising Company, LLC, Elite Restaurant Group, Inc., OV Restaurant Group, Inc., Slater’s Restaurant Group, Inc., Yalla Mediterranean Franchising Company, LLC, Yalla Mediterranean, LLC, Daphne’s Inc., Daphne’s California Greek, Daphne’s Mediterranean, Daphne’s Greek Café, Dish Restaurant, Ocean View Bar and Grill, and Café Rose (Cross-Defendants).

Cross-Defendants move to quash service of the summons for improper service.

Legal Standard

A defendant may move to quash service of summons on the ground that service was invalid. (Code Civ. Proc., § 418.10, subd. (a).) A defendant may serve and file such a notice of motion to quash service of summons on or before the last day of his or her time to plead or within any further time that the court may for good cause allow. (Ibid.)

Procedural Deficiencies

Under CCP section 418.10, a motion to quash should be served on or before the last day of his or her time to plead. While Cross-Defendant Elias Nakhleh was served with the service of summons on September 30, 2019, this motion was not filed until November 22, 2019. While this motion is therefore untimely, the Court still finds that good cause exists to allow the motion, given that Cross-Complainants have not filed a proof of service.

Discussion

When a defendant moves the court to quash service of the summons on the ground of improper service or lack of personal jurisdiction, the burden of proof is on the party who served the summons and complaint to establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that service was proper or that the court is entitled to assume personal jurisdiction. (Ziller Electronic Lab GmbH v. Superior Court (1988) 206 Cal.App.3d 1222, 1232; Dill v. Berquist Const. Co., Inc. (1994) 24 Cal.App.4th 1426, 1439-1440.)

Here, Cross-Complainants have not appeared to oppose this motion to quash, nor have they filed a proof of service of the cross-complaint by which the Court could access whether proper service was effectuated on any named Cross-Defendant. Therefore, Cross-Complainants have not met their burden of proof to establish proper service by a preponderance of the evidence.

The motion to quash service of summons is GRANTED.

It is so ordered.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at smcdept17@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar. If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative.

Dated: March ___, 2020

Hon. Jon R. Takasugi

Judge of the Superior Court

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