On 01/05/2018 GABINO LEAL filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against MERCEDES-BENZ USA 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 RICHARD FRUIN, GAIL FEUER and RICHARD L. FRUIN. The case status is Other.
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
RICHARD L. FRUIN
MERCEDES-BENZ USA LLC
MERCEDES-BENZ OF PALM SPRINGS
DOES 1 THROUGH 10
VIP MOTOR CARS ACQUISITION INC.
VIP MOTOR CARS ACQUISITION INC. DBA MERCEDES-BENZ OF PALM SPRINGS
KNIGHT LAW GROUP LLP
MIKHOV STEVE BORISLAV
MIKHOV STEVE B.
UNIVERSAL & SHANNON LLP
UNIVERSAL JON DAVID
UNIVERSAL JON D.
3/20/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order
1/2/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW)
1/2/2020: Judgment - JUDGMENT RE MOTION FOR ATTORNEY FEES & MOTION TO TAX COSTS
10/15/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF MARK O'CONNOR IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S REPLY MEMORANDUM RE: MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS FEES
10/8/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION DEFENDANTS OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS FEES
9/27/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF ERIK WHITMAN IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS FEES PURSUANT TO CIVIL CODE 1794(D)
9/23/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities
8/5/2019: Reply - REPLY MEMORANDUM RE MOTION TO ENFORCE SETTEMENT
7/16/2019: Notice - NOTICE ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE DISMISSAL (SETTLEMENT)
6/5/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE) OF 06/05/2019
5/14/2019: Notice of Ruling - NOTICE OF RULING ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL PRODUCTION OF A COMPETENT PERSON MOST KNOWLEDGEABLE AND CUSTODIAN OF RECORDS BY DEFENDANT MBUSA US LLC; AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS IN
5/1/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL MOTION TO COMPEL PRODUCTION OF A ...)
2/5/2019: Motion to Compel - Motion to Compel Plaintiff's Notice of Motion to Compel Production of a Competent Person Most Knowledgeable and Custodian of Records By Defendant MBUSA
1/15/2019: Notice - Notice NOTICE OF TAKING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION ATTENDANCE AND PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS BY MERCEDES-BENZ OF PALM SPRINGS' AND PENSKE MERCEDES-BENZ'S PERSON(S) MOST KNOWLEDGEABL
10/17/2018: Separate Statement
12/26/2018: Notice - Notice of Post Mediation Status Conference
11/20/2018: Stipulation and Order to use Certified Shorthand Reporter
5/1/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT -
DocketRequest for Dismissal; Filed by Gabino Leal (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 10:57 AM in Department 78; Court OrderRead MoreRead Less
DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order) of 04/22/2020); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 78; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement) (, previously set on 11/14/19,) - Not Held - Continued - Court's MotionRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketAbstract of Judgment - Civil and Small Claims; Filed by Gabino Leal (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketWrit of Execution (( Los Angeles)); Filed by Gabino Leal (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketAbstract of Judgment - Civil and Small Claims; Filed by Gabino Leal (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketWrit of Execution ((Los Angeles)); Filed by Gabino Leal (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketMinute order entered: 2018-01-16 00:00:00; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute OrderRead MoreRead Less
DocketAFFIDAVIT OF PREJUDICE PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE TO JUDICIAL OFFICERRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof-Service/SummonsRead MoreRead Less
DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketChallenge To Judicial Officer - Cause (170.1/170.3); Filed by Gabino Leal (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketDEMAND FOR JURY TRIALRead MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Gabino Leal (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAINT 1. VIOLATION OF SONG-BEVERLY ACT - BREACH OF EXPRESS WARRANTY ;ETCRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC689308 Hearing Date: November 14, 2019 Dept: 78
MERCEDES-BENZ USA, LLC, et al.;
November 14, 2019
[TENTATIVE] RULING RE:
DEFENDANTS MOTION TO TAX COSTS
Defendants’ Motion to Tax Costs is GRANTED in the amount of $1,566.62 to be taxed, Leal to receive the remaining requested costs in the amount of $11,357.12.
This is a Lemon Law action. Plaintiff Gambino Leal (“Leal”) purchased a new 2015 Mercedes-Benz C300W in April 2015, with an express written warranty. (Complaint ¶ 9.) The vehicle contained various defects. (Complaint ¶ 10.). The causes of action arise out of the warranty obligations of Mercedes-Benz (“Mercedes”) and VIP Motor Cars Acquisition, Inc., dba Mercedes-Benz of Palm Spring (“Mercedes PS”). (Complaint ¶¶ 4-5.)
Leal filed the Complaint on January 5, 2018, alleging four causes of action:
1. Violation of Song-Beverly Act — Breach of Express Warranty
Violation of Song-Beverly Act — Breach of Implied Warranty
Violation of the Song-Beverly Act Section 1793.2
On June 4, 2019, Leal filed a conditional Notice of Settlement.
Leal filed a Motion to Enforce Settlement on July 17, 2019, which was granted on August 12, 2019.
On September 23, 2019, Defendants Mercedes and Mercedes PS filed a Motion to Tax Costs.
On October 22, 2019, this Court granted Plaintiff’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees in the amount of $100,457.50.
On October 31, 2019, Plaintiff filed an Opposition to Defendants’ Motion to Tax Costs.
On November 6, 2019, Defendants filed a Reply.
MOTION TO TAX COSTS
The right to recovery costs of suit is determined by statute. (California Code of Civil Procedure § 1032.)
“If the items on a verified cost bill appear proper charges, they are prima facie evidence that the costs, expenses and services therein listed were necessarily incurred.” (Rappenecker v. Sea-Land Service, Inc. (1979) 93 Cal.app.3d 256, 266.) Although individual cost items are ordinarily challenged by a motion to tax costs, no cost-item is effectively put in issue by “mere statements” claiming them to be unreasonable. (Ibid.)
Here, Leal asks for $3,054.58 in costs for the O’Connor Law Group, and $10,669.16 in costs for Knight Law Group.
Defendants ask that the following costs requested by The O’Connor Law Group be taxed for the following reasons:
1. $555 in filing and motion fees, on the grounds that Leal provides no corroboration for such fees, and the $435 filing fee for a stipulation to continue trial is excessive and appears to be an error. (Motion at pp. 4-5.)
2. $528.24 in deposition fees for the deposition of Lucia Ayala, on the grounds that Leal has provided no corroboration for the claimed costs. (Motion at p. 5.)
3. $169.50 in service of process fees for Jon D. Universal, on the grounds that it is counsel of record for Defendants and no such service was required for anything. (Motion at p. 5.)
4. $525 in court reporter fees, on the grounds that no corroboration is provided, and it was not reasonably incurred because the hearing on this date (Plaintiff’s Motion to Enforce Settlement) was denied. (Motion at p. 5.)
Defendants ask that the following costs requested by The O’Connor Law Group be stricken for the following reasons:
$564.74 in “Other” Costs on the grounds that Leal has provided no corroboration for the costs, and further because the costs were incurred due to “lack of diligence in getting things done timely.” These costs include messenger services, document delivery, research, and unspecified costs associated with Motion for Attorneys’ Fees. (Motion at p. 5.)
Defendants ask that the following costs requested by Knight Law Group be taxed for the following reasons:
1. $872.12 for court reporter fees on the grounds of no corroboration.
2. $747.74 for “other” costs, including attorney services and messengers, overnight, and travel, on the grounds of no corroboration.
In Opposition, Leal points out that Defendants object to $4,022.34 of Leal’s claimed costs but have not raised any objections to the remaining $9,701.40. The Court agrees, the remaining $9,701.40 requested in Costs shall not be taxed.
Regarding the at-issue $435 filing fee for the stipulation, Defendants have provided evidence that the filing fee should have been $20. (Castruita Decl. Exh. C.) Accordingly, the amount will be adjusted from $435 to $20 for a total filing amount of $120. The remaining filing fees have been sufficiently corroborated and will not be taxed. (Castruita Decl., Exh. C.) The fact that Leal’s motion was denied does not, in and of itself, mean that the motion was unreasonable. Defendants have also provided sufficient evidence for the deposition fees. (Castruita Decl., Exh. E.)
As for the service of process fees for Jon D. Universal, the document served appears to be interrogatory requests. (Castruita Declr. Exh. F.) Leal has not provided an explanation for why “Urgent” personal service was required for discovery requests, rather than merely serving by priority mail. The Court finds that Defendants have properly objected to this charge, and now the “burden of proof is on the party claiming them as costs.” (Ladas v. California State Auto. Assn. (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 761, 774.) The $169 service of process fee shall be taxed.
As for the court reporter fees, recovery of court reporter fees is allowable. (Heppler v. J.M. Peters Co. (1999) 73 Cal.App.4th 1265, 1298.) However, Leal has not demonstrated that the court reporter was reasonably necessary. In Opposition, Leal simply cites to a case where court reporter fees were recoverable on the grounds that the plaintiff would have been unable to defend the jury award without trial transcripts. (Opposition at p. 7.) However, in this case, the court reporter was used during a Motion to Enforce Settlement hearing, which is different from a trial, and Leal does not provide a single reason for why the court reporter was reasonable and necessary, beyond citing this case. (Opposition at p. 7.) Accordingly, the $525 court reporter fee shall be taxed.
Regarding the “Other” costs, messenger fees “are not expressly authorized by statute, but may be allowed in the discretion of the court.” (Benach v. County of Los Angeles (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 836, 857.) “Generally, items of cost consigned to the court's discretion are allowable only if they are “reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation rather than merely convenient or beneficial to its preparation.” (Id.) Here, Leal’s Motion argues against Defendant’s Motion, but neglects to inform the Court as to why any of the “Other” costs were incurred, for what purpose, and whether they were reasonably necessary. The Court finds no support for the $11.85 for “Research,” which shall be stricken. (Ladas v. California State Auto. Assn., supra, 19 Cal.App.4th at 776.) Further, expenses such as postage are not recoverable, such that the requests for FedEx fees shall be stricken. (Id. at 775.) The remaining costs have been appropriately corroborated.
Regarding the court reporter fee requested by Knight Law Group, as with the corresponding fee for The O’Connor Law Group, Leal has failed to present why the court reporter was reasonable and necessary. (Opposition at p. 9.) Accordingly, this shall be taxed.
With regards to Knight Law Group’s “Other expenses:” as with O’Connor’s postage fees are not recoverable, thus, the overnight mail charge of $109.82 shall be stricken. The messenger fees/attorney services fees are recoverable and have been sufficiently corroborated. However, Leal has not provided evidence or explanation for the travel charge, which accordingly shall be stricken.
The Motion to Tax Costs is GRANTED in the amount of $1,566.62 to be taxed. Leal to receive costs in the amount of $11,357.12.
DATED: November 15, 2019
Hon. Robert S. Draper
Judge of the Superior Court