This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 12/02/2021 at 09:53:54 (UTC).

JASON SUTTON VS 1217 NORTH BERENDO STREET ASSOCIATES, LP, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 08/31/2020 JASON SUTTON filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against 1217 NORTH BERENDO STREET ASSOCIATES, LP. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is MICHELLE WILLIAMS COURT. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******3040

  • Filing Date:

    08/31/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

MICHELLE WILLIAMS COURT

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

SUTTON JASON

Defendants

THE MOSSER COMPANIES INC.

1217 NORTH BERENDO STREET ASSOCIATES LP

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

NIELSEN JONATHAN LOWRY

Defendant Attorneys

WILCOXSON JOHN G.

WILCOXSON JOHN GILMER

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE DISMISSAL OF UNSERVED/UNNAMED DOES)

9/15/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE DISMISSAL OF UNSERVED/UNNAMED DOES)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE DISMISSAL OF UNSERVED/UNNAMED DOES) OF 09/15/2021

9/15/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE DISMISSAL OF UNSERVED/UNNAMED DOES) OF 09/15/2021

Answer

4/5/2021: Answer

Notice - NOTICE OF NON OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MOTION TO STRIKE

3/1/2021: Notice - NOTICE OF NON OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MOTION TO STRIKE

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO STRIKE (NOT ANTI-SLAPP) - WITHOUT DEMURR...)

3/5/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO STRIKE (NOT ANTI-SLAPP) - WITHOUT DEMURR...)

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

3/18/2021: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE; HEARING ON MOTION TO STRIKE (NOT ...)

3/18/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE; HEARING ON MOTION TO STRIKE (NOT ...)

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

3/22/2021: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Case Management Statement

2/17/2021: Case Management Statement

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO STRIKE

2/22/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO STRIKE

Case Management Statement

2/22/2021: Case Management Statement

Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer

11/12/2020: Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: FAILURE TO FILE PROOF OF SERVICE AS T...)

11/17/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: FAILURE TO FILE PROOF OF SERVICE AS T...)

Proof of Service by Substituted Service

9/25/2020: Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Proof of Service by Substituted Service

9/25/2020: Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Order to Show Cause Failure to File Proof of Service

9/9/2020: Order to Show Cause Failure to File Proof of Service

Notice of Case Management Conference

9/9/2020: Notice of Case Management Conference

Summons - SUMMONS ON COMPLAINT

8/31/2020: Summons - SUMMONS ON COMPLAINT

9 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/02/2022
  • Hearing05/02/2022 at 10:00 AM in Department 74 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 04/22/2022
  • Hearing04/22/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 74 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 09/15/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 74, Michelle Williams Court, Presiding; Non-Appearance Case Review (re dismissal of unserved/unnamed Does) - Held

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  • 09/15/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Non-Appearance Case Review re dismissal of unserved/unnamed Does)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/15/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Non-Appearance Case Review re dismissal of unserved/unnamed Does) of 09/15/2021); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/02/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 74, Michelle Williams Court, Presiding; Non-Appearance Case Review (re dismissal of unserved/unnamed Does) - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 04/05/2021
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by 1217 North Berendo Street Associates, LP (Defendant); The Mosser Companies, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 03/22/2021
  • DocketNotice of Posting of Jury Fees; Filed by Jason Sutton (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/18/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 74, Michelle Williams Court, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held

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  • 03/18/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 74, Michelle Williams Court, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer - Held - Motion Denied

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11 More Docket Entries
  • 11/17/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service As T...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/12/2020
  • DocketMotion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer; Filed by 1217 North Berendo Street Associates, LP (Defendant); The Mosser Companies, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 09/25/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Jason Sutton (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/25/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Jason Sutton (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/09/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/09/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Failure to File Proof of Service; Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/31/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/31/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Jason Sutton (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/31/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Jason Sutton (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/31/2020
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Jason Sutton (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STCV33040    Hearing Date: March 18, 2021    Dept: 74

20STCV33040 JASON SUTTON vs 1217 NORTH BERENDO STREET

Defendants’ Motion to Strike

TENTATIVE RULING: The motion is DENIED. Defendants shall file an answer within 15 days.

Any party, within the time allowed to respond to a pleading may serve and file a notice of motion to strike the whole or any part thereof. (Code of Civ. Proc. § 435, subd. (b)(1); Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1322, subd. (b).) The court may, upon a motion or at any time in its discretion and upon terms it deems proper: (1) strike out any irrelevant, false, or improper matter inserted in any pleading; or (2) strike out all or any part of any pleading not drawn or filed in conformity with the laws of California, a court rule, or an order of the court. (Code Civ. Proc. § 436, subd. (a)-(b); Stafford v. Shultz (1954) 42 Cal.2d 767, 782.)

In order to state a prima facie claim for punitive damages, a complaint must set forth the elements as stated in the general punitive damage statute, Civil Code section 3294. (College Hospital, Inc. v. Superior Court (1994) 8 Cal.4th 704, 721.) These statutory elements include allegations that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud or malice. (Civ. Code § 3294, subd. (a).)

“Malice is defined in the statute as conduct intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff or despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.” (College Hospital, Inc., supra, 8 Cal.4th at 725 [examining Civ. Code § 3294, subd. (c)(1)].) “A conscious disregard of the safety of others may constitute malice within the meaning of section 3294 of the Civil Code. In order to justify an award of punitive damages on this basis, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant was aware of the probable dangerous consequences of his conduct, and that he willfully and deliberately failed to avoid those consequences.” (Taylor v. Superior Court (1979) 24 Cal.3d 890, 895-896.)

“As amended to include [despicable], the statute plainly indicates that absent an intent to injure the plaintiff, ‘malice’ requires more than a ‘willful and conscious’ disregard of the plaintiffs’ interests. The additional component of ‘despicable conduct’ must be found.” (College Hospital, Inc., supra, 8 Cal.4th at 725.) The statute’s reference to despicable conduct represents a “new substantive limitation on punitive damage awards.” (Ibid.) Despicable conduct is “conduct which is so vile, base, contemptible, miserable, wretched or loathsome that it would be looked down upon and despised by ordinary decent people. Such conduct has been described as ‘having the character of outrage frequently associated with crime.’” (Tomaselli v. Transamerica Ins. Co. (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 1269, 1287.)

“In order to survive a motion to strike an allegation of punitive damages, the ultimate facts showing an entitlement to such relief must be pled by a plaintiff. [Citations.] In passing on the correctness of a ruling on a motion to strike, judges read allegations of a pleading subject to a motion to strike as a whole, all parts in their context, and assume their truth. [Citations.] In ruling on a motion to strike, courts do not read allegations in isolation. [Citation.]” (Clauson v. Superior Court (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 1253, 1255.) “The mere allegation an intentional tort was committed is not sufficient to warrant an award of punitive damages. [Citation.] Not only must there be circumstances of oppression, fraud or malice, but facts must be alleged in the pleading to support such a claim. [Citation.]” (Grieves v. Superior Court (1984) 157 Cal.App.3d 159, 166 (footnote omitted).)

California Code of Civil Procedure section 435.5 requires that, before filing a motion to strike, the moving party shall meet and confer¿in person or by telephone¿with the party who filed the pleading that is subject of the motion for the purpose of determining whether an agreement can be reached that would resolve the issues to be raised in the motion. The parties are to meet and confer at least five days before the date the responsive pleading is due. (Code Civ. Proc. § 435.5, subd. (a)(2).) The party must also file and serve a declaration detailing the meet and confer efforts. (Code Civ. Proc. § 435.5, subd. (a)(3).)

Meet and Confer Requirement

The Court finds Defendants failed to satisfy the meet and confer requirement under California Code of Civil Procedure section 435.5, subdivision (a)(3). Defendants’ declaration does not indicate whether they met and conferred telephonically with Plaintiff regarding this instant motion at least five days prior to filing. The Court admonishes Defendants for their blatant failure to abide by the procedural rules. While the Court will reach the merits of this motion, the Court may continue or deny future motions should Defendants fail to meet any procedural requirements in the future.

Punitive Damages

Following are the allegations that Plaintiff sets forth in support of punitive damages against Defendants. Defendants are, or were, the owners or managers of the subject property located at 1217 North Berendo Street, Unit #5, Los Angeles, CA (“Property”), which is an apartment complex. (Compl., ¶¶ 1, 6.) On May 1, 2019, Plaintiff and Defendants entered into a written lease agreement for the Property. (Id., ¶ 7.) During Plaintiff’s brief tenancy, Defendants were aware of the following conditions at the Property: broken windows, cockroach infestations, visible toxic mold, dampness, water leaks, and defective flooring. (Id., ¶¶ 11, 22.) Specifically, Plaintiff notified Defendants of broken windows in the living room in the Property but they refused to repair them. (Id., ¶ 14.) Plaintiff notified Defendant The Mosser Companies, Inc. (“Mosser”) both orally and in writing, of the cockroach infestations and requested pest control; but Mosser refused to hire a pest control company. (Id., ¶¶ 15-16.) In August 2019, Plaintiff notified Defendant Mosser of mold growing between the walls and windows in the bathroom of the Property, both orally and in writing; but Defendants refused to treat the Property for mold. (Id., ¶ 17.) In October 2019, Plaintiff notified Defendant Mosser of leaks in the bathroom ceiling and walls, both orally and in writing, on few occasions but Defendants refused to address the water leaks. (Id., ¶ 18.) As a result, the Property became flooded. (Id.) Although Plaintiff notified Mosser regarding the flood and the resulting defective flooring as a result of Defendants’ failure to remedy the above problems, Defendants again failed to remedy the defective flooring. (Id., ¶¶ 19-20.) In November 2019, Plaintiff, concerned for his health, contacted a professional mold-testing company to test the airborne levels of mols in the Property. (Id., ¶ 21.) The mold test showed extremely high levels of toxic mold in the Property. (Id., ¶ 22.) Although Plaintiff notified Mosser by providing a copy of the mold test results, Defendants did nothing to remedy any of the conditions mentioned above. (Id., ¶ 23.) As a result of Defendants’ disregard for any of the conditions, Plaintiff moved out of the Property in November 2019. (Id., ¶ 24.)

Here, Plaintiff alleges sufficient facts in the complaint to show that Defendants were made aware of the long list of problems within the Property. Having knowledge of these alleged horrific conditions, Defendants decided to take no action to remedy the risk of Plaintiff’s exposure to illness from toxic mold and cockroaches. Defendant’s alleged omission here shows: (1) despicable conduct by collecting rent when Defendants knew that there were dangerous and/or toxic conditions in the Property where Plaintiff was residing; and (2) Defendants’ conscious disregard of the rights and safety of Plaintiff. Accordingly, Plaintiff alleged facts sufficient to support a claim for punitive damages pursuant to Civil Code section 3294.

Case Number: 20STCV33040    Hearing Date: March 05, 2021    Dept: 74

20STCV33040 JASON SUTTON vs 1217 NORTH BERENDO STREET

Defendant’s Motion to Strike

TENTATIVE RULING: The motion is DENIED.

The complaint alleges Plaintiff repeatedly notified the property manager and other Defendants, both orally and in writing, of the conditions and repeatedly requested repairs and remediations, but Defendants refused to repair and/or abate the conditions. The conditions included broken windows, cockroach infestations, visible mold, dampness, water leaks, and defective flooring. (Complaint, ¶¶ 11-13.)

The court finds the allegations sufficient to support a claim for punitive damages at the pleading stage. (Spinks v. Equity Residential Briarwood Apartments (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 1004, 1055 [the complaint must “allege ultimate facts of the defendant’s oppression, fraud, or malice.”].) The Court in Perkins v. Superior Court noted that “‘the distinction between conclusions of law and ultimate facts is not at all clear and involves at most a matter of degree’ [Citation.] . . . . What is important is that the complaint as a whole contain sufficient facts to apprise the defendant of the basis upon which the plaintiff is seeking relief. [Citations.]” ((1981) 117 Cal.App.3d 1, 6-7.) Taken in context of the complaint, Plaintiff has adequately pled a claim for punitive damages. The final decision of “[w]hether to award punitive damages . . . and the amount of such an award are questions committed to the trier of fact. [Citation.]” (Uzyel v. Kadisha (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 866, 925.)

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