This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/13/2020 at 15:30:11 (UTC).

GEORGE HARRIS VS. ABEL ROJAS

Case Summary

On 08/09/2017 GEORGE HARRIS filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against ABEL ROJAS. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Burbank Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is WILLIAM D. STEWART. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7088

  • Filing Date:

    08/09/2017

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Burbank Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

WILLIAM D. STEWART

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs, Cross Defendants and Appellants

HARRIS GEORGE AN INDIVIDUALLY

HARRIS GEORGE

TAP'D OUT INC.

CHRISTOPHER J. PERRY

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

ROJAS ABEL AN INDIVIDUAL

ROJAS ABEL

Defendant, Respondent and Cross Plaintiff

ROJAS ABEL

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Cross Defendant Attorneys

CHRISTOPHER J. PERRY

PERRY CHRISTOPHER J.

PERRY CHRISTOPHER JOHN

JACKSON IVERSON MATTHEW

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

KEITH A. ROBINSON ESQ.

ROBINSON KEITH ALLYN

 

Court Documents

Appeal - Notice of Default Issued

7/13/2020: Appeal - Notice of Default Issued

Appeal - Notice of Appeal/Cross Appeal Filed

4/27/2020: Appeal - Notice of Appeal/Cross Appeal Filed

Reply - REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF PREVAILING PARTY AND AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS

2/18/2020: Reply - REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF PREVAILING PARTY AND AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: ENTRY OF JUDGMENT AND DETERMINATION O...)

2/14/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: ENTRY OF JUDGMENT AND DETERMINATION O...)

Declaration re: Attorney's Fees

2/4/2020: Declaration re: Attorney's Fees

Proof of Service by Mail

2/4/2020: Proof of Service by Mail

Jury Question - (RE: PERCENTAGE RESPONSIBLE)

1/17/2020: Jury Question - (RE: PERCENTAGE RESPONSIBLE)

Stipulation, Receipt and Order re: Release of Civil Exhibits

1/17/2020: Stipulation, Receipt and Order re: Release of Civil Exhibits

Stipulation - No Order - STIPULATION - NO ORDER RE MARKING EXHIBITS FOR IDENTIFICATION ONLY

1/9/2020: Stipulation - No Order - STIPULATION - NO ORDER RE MARKING EXHIBITS FOR IDENTIFICATION ONLY

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE; JURY TRIAL)

1/6/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE; JURY TRIAL)

Summons

8/9/2017: Summons

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Answer to First Amended Cross-Comp

12/18/2017: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Answer to First Amended Cross-Comp

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

1/24/2018: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Declaration

1/31/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Declaration

Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-10-03 00:00:00

10/3/2018: Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-10-03 00:00:00

Notice - Civil Deposit

12/15/2017: Notice - Civil Deposit

Ex Parte Application -

8/15/2018: Ex Parte Application -

113 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 10/22/2020
  • Hearing10/22/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department A at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Order to Show Cause Re: re Payment of Jury Fees

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  • 10/02/2020
  • DocketAppeal Record Delivered; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/01/2020
  • DocketAppeal - Original Clerk's Transcript 1 Volume Certified (for Notice of Appeal, filed 4/27/20); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/17/2020
  • Docketat 08:37 AM in Department A, William D. Stewart, Presiding; Nunc Pro Tunc Order

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  • 09/17/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Nunc Pro Tunc Order)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/17/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Nunc Pro Tunc Order) of 09/17/2020); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/04/2020
  • DocketAppeal - Clerk's Transcript Fee Paid (APPELLANT PAID $104.23)

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  • 09/01/2020
  • DocketAppeal - Notice of Fees Due for Clerk's Transcript on Appeal (4/27/20 B305848 AMENDED); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/17/2020
  • DocketAppeal - Notice of Fees Due for Clerk's Transcript on Appeal (4/27/20 B305848); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/23/2020
  • Docketat 11:22 AM in Department A, William D. Stewart, Presiding; Court Order

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140 More Docket Entries
  • 10/25/2017
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department A; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service (OSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; OSC Discharged) -

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  • 10/25/2017
  • DocketMinute order entered: 2017-10-25 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/19/2017
  • DocketCross-Complaint; Filed by Abel, Rojas (Cross-Complainant)

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  • 09/19/2017
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Abel, Rojas (Defendant)

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  • 09/14/2017
  • DocketProof of Service of Summons and Complaint; Filed by George, Harris (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/09/2017
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by George, Harris (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/09/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Court

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  • 08/09/2017
  • DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Court

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  • 08/09/2017
  • DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by null

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  • 08/09/2017
  • DocketSummons; Filed by null

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: EC067088    Hearing Date: February 28, 2020    Dept: A

Harris v Rojas

Motion for Determination of Prevailing Party and Attorney Fees

Calendar:

16

Case No.:

EC067088

Hearing Date:

February 28, 2020

Action Filed:

August 09, 2017

Jury Verdict:

January 17, 2020

MP:

Plaintiffs George Harris; Tap’d Out, Inc.

RP:

Defendant Abel Rojas

ALLEGATIONS:

This action involves property located at 7240 Coldwater Canyon, Unit B/C, North Hollywood, CA 91605. Plaintiff George Harris alleges that he entered into a commercial lease agreement with Defendant Abel Rojas for the term of November 10, 2013 to November 10, 2018. Plaintiff alleges that he was operating a dance studio, Tap’d Out Dance Studio, with his business partner, Angela Carter. He alleges, however, that Defendant breached the lease agreement by failing to keep the space habitable and suitable for the leased purposes, taken proactive steps to interfere with Plaintiff’s business, and preventing Plaintiff from subleasing the space. Namely, he alleges that Defendant’s actions amounted to a nuisance because the smell of marijuana emanated from neighboring units such that the odor was offensive, Plaintiff’s patrons were badgered over parking spaces, and there was unwarranted noise complaints. Despite making complaints to Defendant, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant failed to resolve any issues and Defendant’s acts were an unlawful attempt at a constructive eviction.

The SAC, filed November 27, 2018, alleges causes of action for: (1) breach of contract; (2) breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing; (3) tortious interference; (4) declaratory relief; and (5) negligence – premises liability.

Defendant filed a first amended cross-complaint against Plaintiff on November 14, 2017, alleging causes of action for: (1) ejectment, injunctive remedy – specific performance; (2) breach of contract; and (3) nuisance.

PRESENTATION:

The action was brought to trial before a Jury beginning on January 06, 2020, which continued until the Jury returned the Special Verdict on January 17, 2020. The instant motion followed, with Plaintiffs filing the motion on February 04, 2020, Defendant opposing the motion on February 13, 2020, and a reply brief filed on February 18, 2020.

RELIEF REQUESTED:

Plaintiffs move for a determination of Plaintiffs as the prevailing parties to the action, and an order granting attorney’s fees as prevailing parties.

DISCUSSION:

Standard of Review – Code of Civ. Proc. §1032 is the fundamental authority for awarding costs in civil actions. Scott Co. v. Blount, Inc. (1999) 20 Cal. 4th 1103, 1108. It establishes the general rule that except as otherwise expressly provided by statute, a prevailing party is entitled as a matter of right to recover costs in any action or proceeding. Code of Civ. Proc. §1032(b); Scott, supra, 20 Cal. 4th at 1108. For purposes of Code of Civ. Proc. §1032, a party with a net monetary recovery is a “prevailing party.” Code of Civ. Proc. §1032(a)(4); Scott, supra, 20 Cal. 4th at 1108. Items allowable as costs under Code of Civ. Proc. §1032 are specified by Code of Civ. Proc. §1033.5, which lists as one category of costs attorney fees, when authorized by contract. Code of Civ. Proc. §1033.5(a)(10)(A); Scott, supra, 20 Cal. 4th at 1108.

Attorney fees contract provisions that are unilateral are rendered mutual by Civ. Code §1717, which provides that “[i]n any action on a contract, where the contract specifically provides that attorney’s fees and costs, which are incurred to enforce that contract, shall be awarded either to one of the parties or to the prevailing party, then the party who is determined to be the party prevailing on the contract, whether he or she is the party specified in the contract or not, shall be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees in addition to other costs.” Civ. Code §1717(a); Scott, supra, 20 Cal. 4th at 1109. The party claiming attorney fees must then establish (1) not only entitlement to such fees but (2) the reasonableness of the fees claimed. Civic Western Corporation v Zila Industries, Inc. (1977) 66 Cal. App. 3d 1, 16 (emphasis added). So, reasonable attorney’s fees must be an element of the costs of suit and must be fixed by the court. Civ. Code §1717(a); Scott, supra, 20 Cal .4th at 1109.

In such a suit, when a party obtains a simple, unqualified victory by completely prevailing on or defeating all contract claims in the action and the contract contains a provision for attorney fees, Civ. Code §1717 entitles the successful party to recover reasonable attorney fees incurred in prosecution or defense of those claims. Scott, supra, 20 Cal. 4th at 1109; Hsu v. Abbara (1995) 9 Cal. 4th 863, 877. But, if neither party achieves a complete victory on all the contract claims, it is within the discretion of the trial court to determine which party prevailed on the contract or whether on balance neither party prevailed sufficiently to justify an award of attorney fees. Scott, supra, 20 Cal. 4th at 1109; Hsu, supra, 9 Cal. 4th at 876; see also Hilltop Investment Associates v. Leon (1994) 28 Cal. App. 4th 462, 466 (The court may also determine that there is no party prevailing on the contract for purposes of Civ. Code §1717).

In deciding whether there is a “party prevailing on the contract,” the trial court is to compare the relief awarded on the contract claim or claims with the parties’ demands on those same claims and their litigation objectives as disclosed by the pleadings, trial briefs, opening statements, and similar sources. Scott, supra, 20 Cal. 4th at 1109; Hsu, supra, 9 Cal. 4th at 876. Typically, a determination of no prevailing party results when both parties seek relief, but neither prevails, or when the ostensibly prevailing party receives only a part of the relief sought. Deane Gardenhome Assn. v. Denktas (1993) 13 Cal. App. 4th 1394, 1398; Hsu, supra, 9 Cal. 4th at 875. By contrast, when the results of the litigation on the contract claims are not mixed – that is, when the decision on the litigated contract claims is purely good news for one party and bad news for the other – the Courts of Appeal have recognized that a trial court has no discretion to deny attorney fees to the successful litigant. Hsu, supra, 9 Cal. 4th at 875-76.

Here, Plaintiff sought relief in excess of $25,000 on the claims alleged in their SAC. SAC ¶2. In the Jury award: (1) Harris obtained relief in the amount of $6,450.00; (2) Tap’d Out, Inc. received $0; (3) Defendant obtained relief in the amount of $500; (4) the Jury apportioned 15% fault to Harris, 85% fault to Rojas, and 0% fault to Tap’d Out, Inc.; and (5) the Jury determined that there was only a single harm recoverable in the action. Minute Order, January 17, 2020, pp. 1-6. Under these circumstances, the Court cannot conclude that Plaintiffs received an “unqualified victory”, as (1) they received less than half the monetary relief sought, (2) Tap’d Out, Inc., one of the plaintiffs to the action, received no recovery whatsoever, (3) Defendant partially recovered money against Plaintiffs, and (4) Harris was determined to be 15% responsible.

Under these circumstances, the Court determines that there is no prevailing party on this action, as the result was not “purely good news” for either of the Plaintiffs. Additionally, in the competing contract claims between the parties, arguably Mr. Rojas is the prevailing party, since he has a judgment against Mr. Harris of more than $13,000.00 in the UD case, 18PDUD0931, more than twice what Mr. Harris recovered.

Accordingly, the motion is denied. The court will find that there was no prevailing party herein, in light of the totality of results in this series of unhappy litigations. See, Strickland v Becks (1979) 95 Cal.App.3d Supp. 18. Neither party shall have further costs of fees herein.

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RULING: below,

In the event the parties submit on this tentative ruling, or a party requests a signed order or the court in its discretion elects to sign a formal order, the following form will be either electronically signed or signed in hard copy and entered into the court’s records.

ORDER

Plaintiffs George Harris; and Tap’d Out, Inc.’s Motion for Determination of Prevailing Party and Attorneys’ Fees came on regularly for hearing on February 28, 2020, with appearances/submissions as noted in the minute order for said hearing, and the court, being fully advised in the premises, did then and there rule as follows:

THE MOTION IS DENIED. THE COURT FIND NO PREVAILING PARTY AND DENIES BOTH SIDES COSTS AND FEES.

DATE: _______________ _______________________________

JUDGE