This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/31/2019 at 06:17:20 (UTC).

JANE DOE VS JABARI SHELTON ET AL

Case Summary

On 11/30/2017 JANE DOE filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against JABARI SHELTON. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are GEORGINA T. RIZK and ELAINE LU. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****5310

  • Filing Date:

    11/30/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

GEORGINA T. RIZK

ELAINE LU

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

DOE JANE

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1-10

SHELTON JABARI

BARI A$AP

SHELTON JABARI AKA ASAP BARI

Cross Defendant

BARRESI PAUL

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

LAVELY & SINGER PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION

SINGER MARTIN D.

EAGAN TODD STANFORD

Defendant Attorney

GENGA JOHN MICHAEL ESQ.

 

Court Documents

DECLARATION OF MARTIN D. SINGER

8/27/2018: DECLARATION OF MARTIN D. SINGER

CROSS-DEFENDANT PAUL BARRESI'S NOTICE OF JOINDER AND JOINDER IN PLAINTIFF AND CROSS-DEFENDANT JANE DOE'S SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO CODE CIV. PROC. 425.16

8/28/2018: CROSS-DEFENDANT PAUL BARRESI'S NOTICE OF JOINDER AND JOINDER IN PLAINTIFF AND CROSS-DEFENDANT JANE DOE'S SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO CODE CIV. PROC. 425.16

Declaration

10/23/2018: Declaration

Proof of Service by Mail

10/23/2018: Proof of Service by Mail

Objection

10/26/2018: Objection

Notice

1/31/2019: Notice

Minute Order

1/31/2019: Minute Order

Notice

2/8/2019: Notice

Notice

3/1/2019: Notice

Supplemental Declaration

5/29/2019: Supplemental Declaration

APPLICATION FOR PUBLICATION

3/6/2018: APPLICATION FOR PUBLICATION

NOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR PUBLICATION

3/12/2018: NOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR PUBLICATION

APPLICATI0N FOR PUBLICATION

4/2/2018: APPLICATI0N FOR PUBLICATION

PROOF OF PUBLICATION

7/6/2018: PROOF OF PUBLICATION

SUMMONS

7/13/2018: SUMMONS

CROSS-COMPLAINT FOR DEFAMATION, CIVIL EXTORTION AND INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

7/13/2018: CROSS-COMPLAINT FOR DEFAMATION, CIVIL EXTORTION AND INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

SUMMONS

11/30/2017: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT FOR: (1) SEXUAL ASSAULT AND BATTERY; ETC

11/30/2017: COMPLAINT FOR: (1) SEXUAL ASSAULT AND BATTERY; ETC

33 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/29/2019
  • Supplemental Declaration (OF TODD S. EAGAN IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF AND CROSS-DEFENDANT JANE DOE SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE CROSS-COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO CCP SECTION 425.16); Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/16/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 2, Georgina T. Rizk, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 03/01/2019
  • Notice ( OF HEARING OF PLAINTIFF JANE DOE?S SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE UNDER CCP SECTION 425.16); Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/08/2019
  • Notice ( of Case Management Conference); Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/31/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 26, Elaine Lu, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held - Continued

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  • 01/31/2019
  • Notice ( of Hearing on Plaintiff Jane Doe's Special Motion to Strike Under CCP section 425.16); Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/31/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Case Management Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/30/2019
  • Case Management Statement; Filed by Jabari Shelton (Defendant)

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  • 01/30/2019
  • Proof of Service by Posting; Filed by Jabari Shelton (Defendant)

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  • 01/29/2019
  • Case Management Statement; Filed by Paul Barresi (Cross-Defendant)

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55 More Docket Entries
  • 04/02/2018
  • APPLICATI0N FOR PUBLICATION

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  • 04/02/2018
  • DECLARATION OF TODD S. EAGAN IN SUPPORT OF EXPARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER FOR PUBLICATION OF SUMMONS

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  • 03/12/2018
  • NOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR PUBLICATION

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  • 03/06/2018
  • APPLICATION FOR PUBLICATION

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  • 03/06/2018
  • Application for Order to Publish; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 01/30/2018
  • EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR EXTENSION OF TIME TO SERVE PLEADING AND ORDERS

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  • 01/30/2018
  • ExParte Application & Order; Filed by Jane Doe (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/30/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 11/30/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by null

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  • 11/30/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR: (1) SEXUAL ASSAULT AND BATTERY; ETC

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC685310    Hearing Date: November 21, 2019    Dept: 26

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 26

JANE DOE,

Plaintiff,

v.

JABARI SHELTON p/k/a A$AP BARI, et al

Defendants.

Case No.: BC685310

Hearing Date: November 21, 2019

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

PLAINTIFF/CROSS-DEFENDANT jane doe’s motion for attorney fees

BACKGROUND

On November 30, 2017, Plaintiff Jane Doe (“Doe”) filed a complaint against Defendants Jabari Shelton p/k/a A$AP BARI (“Shelton”) and Does 1-10 for (1) sexual assault and battery; (2) invasion of privacy – intrusion on seclusion; and (3) invasion of privacy – public disclosure of private facts. Doe asserts that Jabari entered her hotel room on July 9, 2017, demanded she have sexual intercourse with him, and sexually assaulted and battered her after she refused and fled to the bathroom. Doe asserts that Doe 1 videotaped the attack and that Jabari and Doe 1 published the video online to further harass and humiliate her. Doe asserts Jabari and his counsel subsequently demanded that Doe lie to the media by releasing a joint statement that there was no misconduct by Jabari and that the parties had resolved their dispute amicably and implied that they would release her identity if she did not agree to make such a statement.

On July 13, 2018, Defendant/Cross-Complainant Shelton filed a cross-complaint against Plaintiff/Cross-Defendant Doe and Cross-Defendants Paul Barresi (“Barresi”) and Roes 1 through 10 for: (1) slander; (2) civil extortion; and (3) intentional infliction of emotional distress. Shelton alleges he did not commit misconduct. Shelton alleged that his and Doe’s representatives communicated about releasing a public statement to ease the impact the video of Doe might have on either of them, and there was no accusation of sexual assault during any of these interactions. Shelton alleged that only after Doe retained counsel did she begin to make the sexual assault claims. Shelton alleged that Doe’s counsel retained Barresi to effect service of the summons and complaint in this action and that Barresi employed deceptive, false, harassing, and extortionate techniques as part of the “shakedown operation” orchestrated by Doe and her counsel, such as repeatedly calling Shelton’s mother to harass her, making false statements to Shelton’s mother that Shelton had committed multiple crimes, and threatening Shelton with the possibility of criminal prosecution unless Shelton settled.

On August 27, 2018, Doe filed a special motion to strike Shelton’s cross-complaint (the “anti-SLAPP motion”). Barresi filed a notice of joinder. Shelton opposed.

On July 31, 2019, the Court granted Doe’s motion and Barresi’s motion by way of joinder in their entirety.

On September 27, 2019, Doe filed this motion for attorney fees and costs in the total amount of $147,755.15 incurred in connection with Doe’s anti-SLAPP motion and this motion for attorney fees. Specifically, Doe seeks $138,865.00 for the anti-SLAPP motion, $2,870.15 for costs, and $6,020.00 for this motion for attorney fees.

On October 7, 2019, Shelton opposed. Shelton argues that the fees are unreasonably inflated without proper documentation.

On October 14, 2019, Doe filed her reply.

Doe’s motion is currently before the Court.

Although not currently before the Court, the Court notes that Barresi also filed a motion for attorney fees. That motion is set for a hearing on June 3, 2020.

LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (a)(10)(A), attorney fees when authorized by contract are allowable as costs and may be awarded upon a noticed motion pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (c)(5).

In determining what fees are reasonable, California courts apply the “lodestar” approach. (See, e.g., Holguin v. DISH Network LLC (2014) 229 Cal.App.4th 1310, 1332.) This inquiry “begins with the ‘lodestar,’ i.e., the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate.” (See PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095.) From there, the “[t]he lodestar figure may then be adjusted, based on consideration of factors specific to the case, in order to fix the fee at the fair market value for the legal services provided.” (Ibid.) Relevant factors include: “(1) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, (2) the skill displayed in presenting them, (3) the extent to which the nature of the litigation precluded other employment by the attorneys, [and] (4) the contingent nature of the fee award.” (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1132.)

EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS

Doe has submitted evidentiary objections to the declaration submitted by John M. Genga (Shelton’s counsel). The Court rules as follows.

Declaration of John M. Genga

The above evidentiary rulings have not had a meaningful impact on the Court’s determination of Doe’s motion for attorney’s fees.

Discussion

Right to Recover

Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, subdivision (c)(1), provides that “a prevailing defendant on a special motion to strike shall be entitled to recover his or her attorney’s fees and costs.” As the prevailing cross-defendant, Doe is entitled to seek her attorney fees in connection with her anti-SLAPP motion.

The parties do not dispute that Doe is entitled to attorney fees and costs. The only dispute is as to the reasonableness of the amounts sought.

Reasonableness of Fees – Anti-SLAPP Motion

Doe seeks attorney fees in the amount of $138,865.00 in connection with her anti-SLAPP motion.

Doe argues that her attorneys performed numerous tasks in connection with her anti-SLAPP motion, which involved complex issues of fact and law. (Motion 4:16-23.) Specifically, Doe notes that the complex legal issues included whether effectuation of process qualified as protected activity, the application of litigation privilege, and whether Shelton could meet his burden on his claims and damages. (Id. 4:24-5:6.) In connection with her request for attorney fees, Doe submits the declaration of Todd S. Eagan that states four attorneys worked on Doe’s anti-SLAPP motion in different amounts and at different rates:

Name (title, experience)

Hours Worked

Hourly rate

Total Amount

Todd S. Eagan (member, “nearly 20 years”)

110.2

$675

$74,385

Todd S. Eagan (attorney, “nearly 20 years”)

16.2

$725[1]

$11,745.00

Martin D. Singer (partner, “over 40 years”)

13.4

$1,100

$14,740.00

Martin D. Singer (partner, “over 40 years”)

1.5

$1,200[2]

$1,800.00

Melissa Y. Lerner (associate, 7 years)

23.8

$475

$11,305.00

Melissa Y. Lerner (associate, 7 years)

3.4

$500[3]

$1,700.00

Jake A. Camara (associate, 4 years)

70.5

$275

$19,387.50

Jake A. Camara (associate, 4 years)

11.7

$325[4]

$3,802.50

Total Fees:

$138,865.00

(Eagan Decl. ¶¶ 5-10.[5]) Doe argues that her attorneys’ rates are reasonable in comparison to comparable attorneys.

Shelton contends that Doe’s fee request is unreasonable. Specifically, Shelton argues that Doe used an excessive number of attorneys for an excessive amount of time. Shelton identifies that Eagan’s time amounted to three times the hours spent by Shelton’s counsel. Asserting that the fee request appears unreasonably inflated, Shelton requests the Court to deny the fee request altogether.

The trial court has broad authority to determine the amount of a reasonable fee. (PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095.) The party bears the burden of proof as to “reasonableness” of any fee claim. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1033.5, subd. (c)(5).) The party seeking fees has the burden of documenting the appropriate hours expended and hourly rates. (City of Colton v. Singletary (2012) 206 Cal.App.4th 751, 784.) This burden requires competent evidence as to the nature and value of the services rendered. (Martino v. Denevi (1986) 182 Cal.App.3d 553, 559.)

An attorney's testimony as to the number of hours worked is sufficient evidence to support an award of attorney fees, even in the absence of detailed time records or billing statements, and there is no requirement that such records or statements be offered in evidence. (Steiny & Co., Inc. v. California Electric Supply Co. (2000) 79 Cal.App.4th 285, 293.)

Ascertaining the fee amount is left to the trial court’s sound discretion. (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1132.)

As a preliminary matter, Shelton does not oppose the hourly rates of any of Doe’s attorneys. The Court finds the rates reasonable based on the attorneys’ rates and experience. (569 East County Boulevard LLC v. Backcountry Against the Dump, Inc. (2016) 6 Cal.App.5th 426, 436-437.)

The Court is unconvinced by Shelton’s argument about Doe’s lack of evidence that her attorneys’ time spent on working on this case should not be compensated.

However, upon a review of the Eagan Declaration, the Court concurs that the number of hours sought by Doe is unreasonable. The Court acknowledges that anti-SLAPP motions are complex motions that require skill, time, and extensive research in an ever-evolving area of the law. However, Doe’s anti-SLAPP motion involved three causes of action and only two notably difficult issues, one involving whether service of process is protected activity and the other whether the litigation privilege applies. A combined 250.7 hours by 4 different attorneys appears to be excessive, especially when considering Shelton’s sole counsel spent 41.9 hours to prepare the opposition, notwithstanding the opposition did not succeed. Accordingly, the Court finds that Doe does not meet her burden to support the reasonableness of the specific amount sought. The Court finds that $100,395.00 adequately and reasonably compensates Cross-Defendant for the total amount of attorney fees for her anti-SLAPP motion.

Reasonableness of Fees – Motion for Attorney Fees

Doe seeks attorney fees in the amount of $6,020.00 in connection with this motion for attorney fees broken down as follows:

Name (title, experience)

Hours Worked

Hourly rate

Total Amount

Jake A. Camara (associate, 4 years)

9.6 (prepare motion)

$325

$3,120

Todd S. Eagan (attorney, “nearly 20 years”)

2.0 (review opposition and prepare reply)

$725

$1,450

Todd S. Eagan (attorney, “nearly 20 years”)

2.0 (prepare for and attend hearing)

$725

$1,450

Total Fees:

$6,020

(Eagan Decl. ¶¶ 5, 10, 13.)

The Court finds the amount of time to prepare this motion to be unreasonable. Doe’s motion for attorney fees is 13 pages long (8 pages for points and authorities and 5 pages for the declaration excluding exhibits) and not complex. The Court finds five hours to prepare the motion to be reasonable.

Therefore, the Court awards $4,525.00 in attorney fees in connection with the motion for attorney fees.

Costs

Doe seeks costs in the amount of $2,870.15. Shelton does not oppose that amount. Therefore, the Court grants Doe’s request for costs in that amount.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

Accordingly, Doe’s motion for attorney fees and costs is GRANTED in the total amount of $107,790.15 ($100,395.00 fees for the anti-SLAPP motion, $4,525.00 fees for this attorney fees motion, and $2,870.15 costs.)

Doe is ordered to provide notice of this order and file proof of service of such.

DATED: November 21, 2019 ___________________________

Elaine Lu

Judge of the Superior Court


[1] Eagan’s hourly rate increased on May 1, 2019 for unspecified reasons. (Eagan Decl. ¶ 5.)

[2] Singer’s hourly rate increased on May 1, 2019 for unspecified reasons. (Eagan Decl. ¶ 5.)

[3] Lerner’s hourly rate increased on May 1, 2019 for unspecified reasons. (Eagan Decl. ¶ 5.)

[4] Camara’s hourly rate increased on May 1, 2019 for unspecified reasons. (Eagan Decl. ¶ 5.)

[5] There is no Paragraph “6.”