This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/23/2020 at 02:36:46 (UTC).

ESTATE OF GARBIS SARKISSIAN VS PATRICIA SLESINGER BENTSON ET

Case Summary

On 06/05/2018 ESTATE OF GARBIS SARKISSIAN filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against PATRICIA SLESINGER BENTSON ET. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are ELIZABETH ALLEN WHITE, LAURA A. SEIGLE and CHRISTOPHER K. LUI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8214

  • Filing Date:

    06/05/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

ELIZABETH ALLEN WHITE

LAURA A. SEIGLE

CHRISTOPHER K. LUI

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

ESTATE OF GARBIS SARKISSIAN

SARKISSIAN ANOUCHE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE

SARKISSIAN ANNOUCHE

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1-20

CAZES BRETT

HOOP NUTS LLC

BENTSON PATRICIA SLESINGER

BERG DAVID

DCDC HOLDINGS LLC

DCDC HOLDINGS LLC DOE 2

BERG DOE 1 DAVID

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorney

AROUSTAMIAN ARA

Defendant Attorneys

COLLUM R. MICHAEL ESQ.

FORRY CRAIG B.

MCGARRIGLE PATRICK CHRISTOPHER

MCGARRIGLE PATRICK C.

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER DISCOVERY RESPONSES FURTH...)

10/21/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER DISCOVERY RESPONSES FURTH...)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER)

10/21/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER)

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO QUASH SUMMONS

9/23/2020: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO QUASH SUMMONS

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF ARA AROUSTAMIAN IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF;S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO QUASH SUMMONS.

9/23/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF ARA AROUSTAMIAN IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF;S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO QUASH SUMMONS.

Reply - REPLY OF SPECIALLY APPEARING DEFENDANT DCDC HOLDINGS LLC TO QUASH SUMMONS/ IMPROPER C.C.P. 474 DOE AMENDMENT AND FOR DISMISSAL; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES

9/29/2020: Reply - REPLY OF SPECIALLY APPEARING DEFENDANT DCDC HOLDINGS LLC TO QUASH SUMMONS/ IMPROPER C.C.P. 474 DOE AMENDMENT AND FOR DISMISSAL; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF ARA AROUSTAMIAN IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSE TO SECOND SET OF DEMAND FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS AND R

10/6/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF ARA AROUSTAMIAN IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSE TO SECOND SET OF DEMAND FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS AND R

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO QUASH SUMMONS/IMPROPER C.C.P. 474 DOE AM...)

10/6/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO QUASH SUMMONS/IMPROPER C.C.P. 474 DOE AM...)

Separate Statement - SEPARATE STATEMENT SEPARATE STATEMENT OF ITEMS IN DISPUTE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSE TO SECOND PRODUCTION SET OF DEMAND

10/6/2020: Separate Statement - SEPARATE STATEMENT SEPARATE STATEMENT OF ITEMS IN DISPUTE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSE TO SECOND PRODUCTION SET OF DEMAND

Separate Statement

8/24/2020: Separate Statement

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

5/20/2020: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (170.6)

6/25/2020: Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (170.6)

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

5/6/2019: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Notice - NOTICE OF UNAVAILABILITY

6/24/2019: Notice - NOTICE OF UNAVAILABILITY

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL...)

12/30/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL...)

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Defendant Patricia Slesinger Bentson's Demurrer to...)

12/6/2018: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Defendant Patricia Slesinger Bentson's Demurrer to...)

Notice - Notice of Unavailability

12/17/2018: Notice - Notice of Unavailability

Minute Order - Minute Order (Case Management Conference)

11/13/2018: Minute Order - Minute Order (Case Management Conference)

PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

8/30/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

61 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 01/28/2021
  • Hearing01/28/2021 at 09:00 AM in Department 76 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Trial Setting Conference

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  • 10/21/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 76, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses (Further Response to Defendant's Second Set of Demand for Production of Documents and for Monetary Sanctions) - Held - Taken under Submission

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  • 10/21/2020
  • Docketat 4:45 PM in Department 76, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Ruling on Submitted Matter

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  • 10/21/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses Furth...)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/21/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Ruling on Submitted Matter) of 10/21/2020); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/21/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Ruling on Submitted Matter)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 10/13/2020
  • Docketat 09:30 AM in Department 48, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Jury Trial ((estimate5-7 days)) - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 10/07/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 48, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 10/07/2020
  • DocketReply (REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT'S SECOND SET OF DEMAND FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS AND FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS; MEMORANDUMOF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES AND DECLARATION OF CRAIGB. FORRY IN); Filed by Patricia Slesinger Bentson (Defendant)

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  • 10/06/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 76, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Trial Setting Conference - Held - Continued

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83 More Docket Entries
  • 08/30/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Estate Of Garbis Sarkissian (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/30/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 08/16/2018
  • DocketComplaint ((1st)); Filed by Estate Of Garbis Sarkissian (Plaintiff); Annouche Sarkissian (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/16/2018
  • DocketFIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR: 1. DISSOLUTION OF HOOP NUTS, LLC PURSUANT TO CORP. CODE SECTION 17351, ETC

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  • 06/22/2018
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 06/22/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/05/2018
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 06/05/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Estate Of Garbis Sarkissian (Plaintiff); Annouche Sarkissian (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/05/2018
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR: 1. DISSOLUTION OF HOOP NUTS, LLC PURSUANT TO CORP. CODE 17351; ETC

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  • 08/16/2016
  • DocketFirst Amended Complaint; Filed by Estate Of Garbis Sarkissian (Plaintiff); Annouche Sarkissian (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC708214    Hearing Date: October 06, 2020    Dept: 76

This is an action for dissolution of a limited liability company.

Specially appearing Defendant DCDC Holdings, LLC moves to quash service of and striking the summons and First Amended Complaint concerning specially appearing Defendant DCDC (and unserved Doe 1 David Berg, DCDC’s manager) and for a judgment of dismissal in favor of DCDC and David Berg.

TENTATIVE RULING

Specially appearing Defendant DCDC Holdings, LLC’s motion to quash the service of summons is DENIED.

Defendant DCDC Holdings, LLC is ordered to respond to the First Amended Complaint within 30 days.

ANALYSIS:

Motion To Quash Summons/Dismiss Complaint

Specially appearing Defendant DCDC Holdings, LLC moves to quash service of and striking the summons and First Amended Complaint concerning specially appearing Defendant DCDC (and unserved Doe 1 David Berg, DCDC’s manager) and for a judgment of dismissal in favor of DCDC and David Berg.

The Court will only address whether Plaintiff may utilize the Doe amendment procedure to achieve relating back of the claims against the Doe Defendants, and if not, whether Plaintiff’s claims would be time-barred. Defendant’s other claims on the merits must be raised by way of an appropriate motion.

The ground for this motion is that Plaintiff has long known the identity of Doe 2 DCDC, and of its manager, David Berg (Doe 1), precluding the use of the Doe Amendment procedure.

CCP § 474 permits a plaintiff to substitute in a Doe defendant if the requirements of § 474 are met, and the defendant is considered a party to the action from the commencement for statute of limitations purposes. (Fuller v. Tucker (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 1163, 1169.)

The original Complaint alleges at ¶ 10 that DCDC Holdings, LLC owned the property where Hoop Nuts LLC was located, at 7650 Gloria Avenue, Van Nuys CA 91406. (Complaint, ¶ 10.) The original Complaint also alleges that David Berg was the owner of DCDC Holdings, LLC. (Id.)

The original Complaint filed on May 5, 2018 alleges that on December 18, 2015, DCDC, as Hoop Nuts’ landlord, filed an unlawful detainer action, entitled DCDC Holdings, LLC v. Hoop Nuts, LLC, LASC Case No. LC103683. (Complaint, ¶ 17.) Judgment was entered on March 29, 2016 in the UD case, and Hoop Nuts was forced to vacate the Gloria Avenue property in June 2016, but to date, Plaintiff was unable to ascertain the location of Hoop Nuts’ substantial amount of equipment. (Complaint, ¶¶ 18, 19.)

The original Complaint did not contain a conversion cause of action. The First Amended Complaint (“1AC”) added a conversion cause of action against Defendants Slesinger and Cazes and Does 1-20. ¶ 46 of the 1AC alleges in pertinent part:

In the course of the eviction in June 2016, Defendants knowingly and intentionally caused Hoop Nuts' equipment, which was subject to the UCC Financing Agreement (Ex. 2), to be removed from the Gloria Avenue premises. Defendants also knowingly and intentionally converted any and all remaining assets of Hoop Nuts, including its books, records and accounts and converted Decedent Sarkissian's estate's membership interest in Hoop Nuts. To date, Plaintiff has not been able to determine the location of said equipment, or the books, records or assets.

Defendants allegedly continue to interfere in Plaintiff’s efforts to locate, use and/or possess the missing assets and equipment and have refused to return any of the equipment or assets. (1AC, ¶ 47.) Plaintiff seeks to recover Decedent Sarkissian’s estate’s membership interest in Hoop Nuts assets. (Id. at ¶¶ 46, 48.)

Moving Defendants argue that all personal property issues concerning Hoop Nuts were resolved by mid-June 2016. Defendants also argue that there are no allegations in the first through third causes of action in the 1AC that link DCDC or Berg to Hoop Nuts and Sarkissian’s business relationships or their LLC operations.

Plaintiff’s ignorance of the identity of the person named as Doe defendant is measured as of the time of the filing of the complaint, and such ignorance must only be real, even if due to misinformation or negligence; there is no duty of reasonable inquiry to discover the defendant’s identity. (Balon v. Drost (1993) 20 Cal.App.4th 483, 487-90.) Although moving Defendants focus on Plaintiff’s actual knowledge of the identity of DCDC and its manager, Berg, and the property disposition (removal following eviction) as early as 2016, this is not a dispositive inquiry. Rather, even if plaintiff knew the defendant’s identity but did not know the facts gave rise to a cause of action against that defendant, plaintiff may properly utilize the fictitious name statute. (Motor City Sales v. Superior Court (1973) 31 Cal.App.3d 342, 345-46.) Thus, Defendant’s insistence in the Reply that Plaintiff’s knowledge of the Doe Defendants’ identity precludes resort to the Doe amendment procedure is not persuasive. Whether or not Plaintiff has evidence that DCDC/Berg is actually liable for conversion of Hoop Nuts’ business property is a matter to be determined at trial or summary judgment.

Under the circumstances of this case, then, the relevant inquiry is when Plaintiff actually knew of DCDC and Berg’s actions which give rise to a cause of action against those Defendants.

The purpose of the fictitious name statute is to enable the plaintiff to commence an action before it has become barred by the statute of limitations due to plaintiff's ignorance of the identity of the defendant ( Austin v. . (1961) 56 Cal.2d 596, 602 [15 Cal.Rptr. 817, 364 P.2d 681]), and the statute should be liberally construed to accomplish that purpose (Code Civ. Proc., § 452; Austin v. Massachusetts Bonding & Insurance Co., supra; 1 Chadbourn, Cal. Pleading, § 504, p. 478).

Exemplifying a liberal construction of the language of the statute are such cases as Johnson v. . (1963) 216 Cal.App.2d 133 [30 Cal.Rptr. 650] and Breceda v. Stephens v. Lipman v. Johnson, supra, that the plaintiff may know the true name of the defendant and all the facts giving rise to a possible cause of action against him, but if he is not aware at the outset that those facts give rise to a cause of action against the defendant but discovers this by reason of decision and textual writings subsequent to the commencement of the suit, the fictitious name statute is satisfied. (See also Breceda v. , 267 Cal.App.2d at pp. 174-175.)

(Motor City Sales, supra, 31 Cal.App.3d at 345-346.)

Here, Plaintiff has submitted evidence that it was not until Plaintiff’s counsel received copies of subpoenaed documents from Champion Machinery Movers in late March or early April 2020 that Plaintiff’s learned that DCDC (Doe 2) actually hired Champion and paid the moving expense and first month of storage from Hoop Nuts’s security deposit. (Declaration of Ara Aroustamian, ¶ 4.) This was the first instance in which Plaintiff learned that DCDC was actively involved in the removal of the equipment from the Gloria property and had it put in storage. (Id.) After reviewing the documents, Plaintiff’s counsel concluded that DCDC and David Berg were potentially liable for converting[1] the equipment from Hoop Nuts following the eviction, and he prepared and filed the Doe Amendments on May 20, 2020. (Id. at ¶ 5.)

For purposes of CCP § 474, a plaintiff need not have exercised reasonable diligence to discovery the facts pertinent to the cause of action against the Doe defendant, and whether plaintiff had the means to obtain knowledge is irrelevant. (Fuller v. Tucker (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 1163, 1170.) Thus, Defendant’s argument in the Reply that Plaintiff had the means to subpoena DCDC for any documents since the 2016 eviction is not relevant.

"[T]he relevant inquiry when the plaintiff seeks to substitute a real defendant for one sued fictitiously is what facts the plaintiff actually knew at the time the original complaint was filed." ( Id. at p. 588.) "It is when [plaintiff] is actually ignorant of a certain fact, not when [plaintiff] might by the use of reasonable diligence have discovered it. Whether [plaintiff's] ignorance is from misfortune or negligence, [plaintiff] is alike ignorant, and this is all the statute requires." ( Irving v. Carpentier (1886) 70 Cal. 23, 26 [11 P. 391].)

The phrase "ignorant of the name of a defendant" is broadly interpreted to mean not only ignorant of the defendant's identity, but also ignorant of the facts giving rise to a cause of action against that defendant. "[E]ven though the plaintiff knows of the existence of the defendant sued by a fictitious name, and even though the plaintiff knows the defendant's actual identity (that is, his name) the plaintiff is 'ignorant' within the meaning of the statute if [plaintiff] lacks knowledge of that person's connection with the case or with [plaintiff's] injuries. [Citations.] The fact that the plaintiff had the means to obtain knowledge is irrelevant. [Citation.]" (General Motors Corp. v. Superior Court, supra, 48 Cal. App. 4th at pp. 593-594, fn. omitted.)

(Fuller v. Tucker (2000) 84 Cal.App.4th 1163, 1170.)

The Court finds that Plaintiff has satisfied the requirements of CCP § 474. Accordingly, the addition of Berg as Doe 1 and DCDC as Doe 2 as new defendants on May 20, 2020 relate back to the filing of the original Complaint on May 5, 2018, which is before the three-year statute of limitations for conversion[2] (Code. Civ. Proc., § 338(c))—which began to run in June 2016—expired in June 2019.

Defendant’s argument that it would suffer prejudice from delay is not persuasive under the circumstances of the instant case. “Once suit has been filed, unreasonable delay in filing an amended pleading after discovering a Doe defendant's identity may bar a plaintiff from using the fictitious name device. To preclude relation back on this basis, however, the opposing party must show the plaintiff was dilatory and that the defendant was prejudiced by the delay. (Citations omitted.)” (Winding Creek v. McGlashan (1996) 44 Cal.App.4th 933, 942 [bold emphasis added].) As discussed above, Defendant discovered that the Doe Defendants were responsible, in part, for the conversion in March or April 2020, and filed the Doe Amendments on May 20, 2020. This was not unreasonable delay. Nor has there been a showing that the Doe Defendants have lost access to evidence pertinent to their defense. The suspension of Hoops Nuts, LLC by the Franchise Tax Board does not demonstrate a lack of access to witnesses. Any inability to conduct discovery may be raised by way of a discovery motion.

Indeed, the fact that DCDC has a written release of liability regarding personal property against DCDC Holdings (Suppl. Decl. of Patrick C. McGarrigle, Exh. 5) suggests DCDC has the key piece of evidence it needs to defend this lawsuit on the merits.

As such, the motion to quash the service of summons is DENIED.

Defendant DCDC Holdings, LLC is ordered to respond to the First Amended Complaint within 30 days.


[1]

The elements of a conversion claim are: (1) the plaintiff's ownership or right to possession of the property; (2) the defendant's conversion by a wrongful act or disposition of property rights; and (3) damages. Conversion is a strict liability tort. The foundation of the action rests neither in the knowledge nor the intent of the defendant. Instead, the tort consists in the breach of an absolute duty; the act of conversion itself is tortious. Therefore, questions of the defendant's good faith, lack of knowledge, and motive are ordinarily immaterial. (Citations omitted.)

(Burlesci v. Peterson (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 1062, 1066 [bold emphasis added].)

[2] It does not appear that the first cause of action for dissolution of Hoop Nuts, second cause of action for accounting, third cause of action for breach of written contract, or fourth cause of action for declaratory relief apply to DCDC as landlord and Berg as its manager.