This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/13/2019 at 00:06:18 (UTC).

HTL AUTOMOTIVE INC VS 1351 ORIZABA AVENUE LLC

Case Summary

On 02/22/2017 HTL AUTOMOTIVE INC filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against 1351 ORIZABA AVENUE LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****1307

  • Filing Date:

    02/22/2017

  • 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

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

HTL AUTOMOTIVE INCORPORATION

HTL AUTOMOTIVE INCORPORATION DBA

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1 TO 10

1351 ORIZABA AVENUE LLC

Cross Defendant

NISSANI HOOMAN MICHAEL

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

MCCREARY DUNCAN ESQ.

MCCREARY DUNCAN JAMES

Defendant Attorney

COLE MONTGOMERY

Cross Defendant Attorney

MCCREARY DUNCAN JAMES ESQ.

 

Court Documents

Minute Order

2/22/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

4/3/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

6/18/2018: Minute Order

Order

8/21/2018: Order

Opposition

8/21/2018: Opposition

Minute Order

8/21/2018: Minute Order

CROSS-DEFENDANT HOOMAN NISSANI'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL PRODUCTION OF DOCUMFNTS, AND FOR SANCTIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,060.00 AGAINST 1351 ORIZABA AVENUE, LLC AND ITS ATTORNEYS OF RECOR

9/27/2018: CROSS-DEFENDANT HOOMAN NISSANI'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL PRODUCTION OF DOCUMFNTS, AND FOR SANCTIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,060.00 AGAINST 1351 ORIZABA AVENUE, LLC AND ITS ATTORNEYS OF RECOR

HTL AUTOMOTIVE, INC'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES?GENERAL, SET ONE, AND FOR SANCTIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,060.00 AGAINST 1351 ORIZABA AVENUE, LLC AND ITS AT

9/27/2018: HTL AUTOMOTIVE, INC'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES?GENERAL, SET ONE, AND FOR SANCTIONS IN THE AMOUNT OF $2,060.00 AGAINST 1351 ORIZABA AVENUE, LLC AND ITS AT

Opposition

10/10/2018: Opposition

Ex Parte Application

3/8/2019: Ex Parte Application

Minute Order

5/21/2019: Minute Order

Minute Order

5/23/2019: Minute Order

Minute Order

5/28/2019: Minute Order

Unknown

4/10/2017: Unknown

Minute Order

4/24/2017: Minute Order

CROSS-DEFENDANT HOOMAN NISSANI'S ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

8/1/2017: CROSS-DEFENDANT HOOMAN NISSANI'S ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

NOTICE OF HEARING

10/13/2017: NOTICE OF HEARING

Minute Order

10/17/2017: Minute Order

64 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/28/2019
  • at 09:30 AM in Department 40; Non-Jury Trial - Held - Continued

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  • 05/28/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Non-Jury Trial)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/24/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 40; Non-Jury Trial - Held - Continued

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  • 05/24/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Non-Jury Trial)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/24/2019
  • Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore; Filed by HTL Automotive Incorporation DBA (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/23/2019
  • at 09:30 AM in Department 40; Non-Jury Trial - Held - Continued

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  • 05/23/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Non-Jury Trial)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/22/2019
  • at 09:30 AM in Department 40; Non-Jury Trial - Held

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/22/2019
  • Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore (A.M only); Filed by HTL Automotive Incorporation DBA (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/22/2019
  • Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore (P.M. only); Filed by HTL Automotive Incorporation DBA (Plaintiff)

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149 More Docket Entries
  • 04/10/2017
  • ANSWER OF DEFENDANT 1351 ORIZABA AVENUE, LLC, A CALIFORNIA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY TO COMPLAINT OF PLAINTIFF HTL AUTOMOTIVE, INC.

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  • 03/14/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 03/14/2017
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by HTL Automotive Incorporation DBA (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/28/2017
  • NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 02/28/2017
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/28/2017
  • OSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/28/2017
  • ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

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  • 02/22/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by null

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  • 02/22/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 02/22/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR: (1) BREACH OF WRITTEN CONTRACT; ETC

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC651307    Hearing Date: November 06, 2020    Dept: 40

MOVING PARTY: Defendant and Cross-Complainant 1351 Orizaba Avenue, LLC

OPPOSITION: Plaintiffs and Cross-Defendants HTL Automotive, Inc., and Hooman Nissani

Plaintiff and Cross-Defendant HTL Automotive, Inc. (“HTL”) sued Defendant and Cross-Complainant 1351 Orizaba Avenue, LLC (“Defendant’’) for damages arising from allegations that Defendant breached a commercial lease; Defendant filed a cross-complaint against HTL and its president Hooman Nissani (“Nissani”). On March 6, 2020, the Court issued a Judgment in Defendant’s favor.

On March 20, 2020, Defendant filed the instant motion requesting an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees in the amount of $190,923.75. On September 21, 2020, Plaintiffs filed an opposition. On September 24, 2020, Defendant filed a reply.

On October 15, 2020, Defendant filed a supplemental declaration breaking down the hourly rates and hours spent by their attorneys and office staff.

Standard: Civil Code § 1717(a) allows for the recovery of attorneys’ fees on a contract where there is a provision specifically awarded fees to a prevailing party. Reasonable fees shall be fixed by the Court. (Civ. Code, § 1717(a).) Upon notice and motion, the Court determines who is the prevailing party, or, if so determined, the Court may declare there is no prevailing party on the contract. (Civ. Code, § 1717(b)(1).)

Analysis: It is undisputed that Defendant was the prevailing party as a Judgment was granted in their favor as to Plaintiff’s complaint and in their cross-complaint they were awarded $746,803.34 in damages against HTL and Nissani. (Judgment, pg. 2.) It is also undisputed that section 31 of the Lease Agreement provides for reasonable attorneys’ fees. The determination of what constitutes a reasonable fee begins with the lodestar which is the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate. PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095-1097.

Per the October 15 supplemental declaration the breakdown of hourly rates is as follows:

Partner Montgomery Cole (lead counsel):

2017: $550 x 1.50 hr

2018: $575 x 108.60

2019: $600 x 134.35

2020: $625 x 7.75

Associate Cole Morgan (lead counsel):

2017: $260 x 52.35 hr

2018: $300 x 48.25

Partner Steven Jones:

2017: $575 x 10.75 hr

2018: $600 x 0.45

2020: $630 x 4.35

Associate Tim Sullivan:

2018: $260 x 30.40 hr

Associate Lewis Stevenson :

2020: $315 x 31 hr

Assistant Nicole Garthwait:

2017: $145 x 0.30 hr

2018: $150 x 6.70

2019: $158 x 14.45

2020: $167 x 1.20

Assistant Amanda Despujol :

2018: $160 x 4.10 hr

Assistant Ellen Young:

2018: $150 x 0.15 hr

Assistant Tina Carey:

2020: $178 x 19.40

Defendant also states that they will incur a total of $4,043.50 in fees for the hearing on this motion (4.9 hours of associate time at $315 per hour and 4 hours of partner time at $625 per hour).

Plaintiffs object to the request for fees on the grounds of (1) the time records submitted are incomplete because they fail to include any billing rates for any of the billers on the matter; (2) no information related to the amounts for each individual task has been provided; and (3) the identities of the billers are not produced. (Opp’n, 1:6-10.) Plaintiffs cite to Martino v. Denevi (1986) 182 Cal.App.3d 553, 558, which found that “in the absence of such crucial information as the number of hours worked, billing rates, types of issues dealt with and appearances made on the client’s behalf, the trial court is placed in the position of simply guessing at the actual value of the attorney's services. That practice is unacceptable and cannot be the basis for an award of fees.” Plaintiffs state that the hourly rate should be reduced to $350 and that the maximum amount of fees that should be awarded is $70,000. Plaintiffs state that their own counsel charged them a $350 hourly rate because of the simplicity of the matter. (Decl. McCreary, ¶ 3.)

The Court finds that the requested hourly rates are reasonable and supported by evidence. Partner Cole’s hourly rate of $550-$625 is reasonable considering his forty years of experience. Associate Morgan’s $260-$300 hourly rate is also reasonable considering his six years of experience. There is no evidence, aside from opposing counsel’s declaration, that $350 is the appropriate hourly rate. The Court finds that the time records support the requested number of attorney hours.

Accordingly, the motion for attorneys’ fees is GRANTED in the sum of $190,923.75

Conclusion: Defendant’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees is GRANTED in the sum of $190,923.75.

Case Number: BC651307    Hearing Date: October 02, 2020    Dept: 40

MOVING PARTY: Defendant and Cross-Complainant 1351 Orizaba Avenue, LLC

OPPOSITION: Plaintiffs and Cross-Defendants HTL Automotive, Inc., and Hooman Nissani

Plaintiff and Cross-Defendant HTL Automotive, Inc. (“HTL”) sued Defendant and Cross-Complainant 1351 Orizaba Avenue, LLC (“Defendant’’) for damages arising from allegations that Defendant breached a commercial lease; Defendant filed a cross-complaint against HTL and its president Hooman Nissani (“Nissani”). On March 6, 2020, the Court issued a Judgment in Defendant’s favor. On March 20, 2020, Defendant filed the instant motion requesting an award of reasonable attorneys’ fees in the amount of $ 190,923.75.

Standard: Civil Code § 1717(a) allows for the recovery of attorneys’ fees on a contract where there is a provision specifically awarded fees to a prevailing party. Reasonable fees shall be fixed by the Court. (Civ. Code, § 1717(a).) Upon notice and motion, the Court determines who is the prevailing party, or, if so determined, the Court may declare there is no prevailing party on the contract. (Civ. Code, § 1717(b)(1).)

Analysis: It is undisputed that Defendant was the prevailing party as a Judgment was granted in their favor as to Plaintiff’s complaint and in their cross-complaint they were awarded $746,803.34 in damages against HTL and Nissani. (Judgment, pg. 2.) It is also undisputed that section 31 of the Lease Agreement provides for reasonable attorneys’ fees.

The determination of what constitutes a reasonable fee begins with the lodestar which is the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate. PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095-1097.

Defendant’s counsel declares that the partners of the law firm have approximately 40 years of experience and that they billed $550 to $630 per hour for 265 hours of work. (Decl. Cole, ¶ 5.) Meanwhile the firm’s associates, who have one to nine years of experience, billed $260 and $315 per hour for 148.2 hours, while the paralegals billed $150 and $160 per hour for 25.6 hours. (Ibid.)

Summary:

Partners: $550 to $630 x 265.0 hr

Associates: $260 to $315 x 148.2 hr

Paralegals: $150 to $160 x 25.6 hr

Defendant also states that they will incur a total of $4,043.50 in fees for the hearing on this motion (4.9 hours of associate time at $315 per hour and 4 hours of partner time at $625 per hour).

Plaintiffs object to the request for fees on the grounds of (1) the time records submitted are incomplete because they fail to include any billing rates for any of the billers on the matter; (2) no information related to the amounts for each individual task has been provided; and (3) the identities of the billers are not produced. (Opp’n, 1:6-10.) Plaintiffs cite to Martino v. Denevi (1986) 182 Cal.App.3d 553, 558, which found that “in the absence of such crucial information as the number of hours worked, billing rates, types of issues dealt with and appearances made on the client’s behalf, the trial court is placed in the position of simply guessing at the actual value of the attorney's services. That practice is unacceptable and cannot be the basis for an award of fees.”

Plaintiffs state that the hourly rate should be reduced to $350 and that the maximum amount of fees that should be awarded is $70,000. Plaintiffs state that their own counsel charged them a $350 hourly rate because of the simplicity of the matter. (Decl. McCreary, ¶ 3.)

The Court will request that Defendant provide a supplemental declaration to clarify certain questions the court has. Defendant correctly notes that Martino states that “an attorney need not submit contemporaneous time records in order to recover attorney fees….Testimony of an attorney as to the number of hours worked on a particular case is sufficient evidence to support an award of attorney fees, even in the absence of detailed time records.” (Id. at p. 559.)

However, the Court does not have a sufficient basis to determine if the fees are reasonable because Defendant only provides categories of groups (partners, associates, and paralegals) and hourly rate ranges rather than the specific hourly rates and hours worked by individual billers.

Accordingly, the motion for attorneys’ fees is continued to allow Defendant to provide a supplemental declaration.

Conclusion: Defendant’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees will be CONTINUED. 

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