This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/09/2020 at 06:43:47 (UTC).

JESSE BAGET VS EXPRESSION ENTERTAINMENT, LLC

Case Summary

On 10/31/2018 JESSE BAGET filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against EXPRESSION ENTERTAINMENT, LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is RAFAEL A. ONGKEKO. The case status is Disposed - Dismissed.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******3012

  • Filing Date:

    10/31/2018

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Dismissed

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

RAFAEL A. ONGKEKO

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

BAGET JESSE DBA RUTHLESS PICTURES

Defendants

EXPRESSION ENTERTAINMENT LLC

HARRINGTON NEIL

CONTINTENTAL MEDIA LLC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

BIGGINS DOUGLAS CHADWICK

BIGGINS DOUGLAS

BIGGINS CHAD

Defendant Attorneys

KAHANA AMIR MOSHE

SHAHAM YARON

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: STIPULATION & [PROPOSED] ORDER TO DISMISS WI...)

10/6/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: STIPULATION & [PROPOSED] ORDER TO DISMISS WI...)

Notice - NOTICE OF ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

9/15/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE: PROOF OF SERVICE OF THE ORDER...) OF 07/31/2020

7/31/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW RE: PROOF OF SERVICE OF THE ORDER...) OF 07/31/2020

Proof of Service by Mail

8/14/2020: Proof of Service by Mail

Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

7/9/2020: Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

3/18/2020: Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

Notice - NOTICE OF TAKING HEARING OFF CALENDAR

3/2/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF TAKING HEARING OFF CALENDAR

Notice - NOTICE OF RULING

1/21/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF RULING

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: VACATING OF HEARING DATES) OF 02/03/2020

2/3/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: VACATING OF HEARING DATES) OF 02/03/2020

Case Management Order

1/10/2020: Case Management Order

Substitution of Attorney

11/15/2019: Substitution of Attorney

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT...)

8/30/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT JUDGMENT...)

Proof of Personal Service

6/25/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Proof of Personal Service

6/24/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

4/19/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

4/19/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Notice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case

10/31/2018: Notice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case

76 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 10/06/2020
  • Docketat 4:30 PM in Department 73; Court Order

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  • 10/06/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order Re: Stipulation & [Proposed] Order to Dismiss wi...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/06/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order Re: Stipulation & [Proposed] Order to Dismiss wi...) of 10/06/2020); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/06/2020
  • DocketStipulation and Order (Stip and order to dismiss retaining jurisdiction under 664.6); Filed by Jesse Baget (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/15/2020
  • DocketNotice (of Order to Show Cause Hearing); Filed by Expression Entertainment, LLC (Defendant); Contintental Media, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 09/14/2020
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department 73; Order to Show Cause Re: (Proof of Service of the Orders Relieving Counsel and Status of Representation of Corporate Entities) - Held

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  • 09/14/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Order to Show Cause Re: Proof of Service of the Orders Reliev...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/14/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Mail; Filed by Contintental Media, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 08/14/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Mail; Filed by Neil Harrington (Defendant)

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  • 08/14/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Mail; Filed by Expression Entertainment, LLC (Defendant)

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95 More Docket Entries
  • 02/26/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Case Management Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/05/2019
  • DocketRequest for Entry of Default / Judgment; Filed by Jesse Baget (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/05/2019
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Jesse Baget (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/13/2018
  • DocketNotice (of CMC); Filed by Jesse Baget (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/30/2018
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Jesse Baget (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/15/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/31/2018
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/31/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Jesse Baget (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/31/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Jesse Baget (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/31/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 18STCV03012    Hearing Date: July 09, 2020    Dept: 73

07/9/2020

Dept. 73

Rafael Ongkeko, Judge presiding

JESSE BAGET dba RUTHLESS PICTURES v. EXPRESSION ENTERTAINMENT, LLC (18STCV03012)

Counsel for Plaintiff: Chad Biggins

Counsel for Defendants: Amir Kahana; Yaron Shaham (Kahana & Feld, LLP) (Moving counsel)

Defendants’ counsel’s motions to be relieved as counsel (3, all filed 03/18/2020)

TENTATIVE RULING

The unopposed motions of Kahana & Feld LLP to be relieved as defendants’ counsel are granted. Moving counsel is relieved effective upon filing of the proof of service of the order upon the clients. A mandatory Judicial Council form order (MC-053) has been submitted but should be updated as required to reflect all required information and dates pending. Moving counsel to give notice.

Case Number: 18STCV03012    Hearing Date: January 10, 2020    Dept: 73

1/10/2020

Dept. 73

Rafael Ongkeko, Judge presiding

JESSE BAGET dba RUTHLESS PICTURES v. EXPRESSION ENTERTAINMENT, LLC, et al. (18STCV03012)

Counsel for Plaintiff/opposing party: Chad Biggins

Counsel for Defendants/moving parties: Kahana & Feld (Yaron Shaham; Davis Yu)

DEFENDANTS’ MOTION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT

TENTATIVE RULING

The court finds excusable neglect pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 473, subdivision (b). Defendants’ motion to set aside default and default judgment is GRANTED, conditionally. Defendants shall pay Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s counsel $3,500 in attorney fees for Plaintiff’s counsel’s work that could have been avoided were it not for Defendants’ neglect. The payment must be received by Plaintiff’s counsel no later than 15 days from the hearing date.

The answer attached to the moving papers is deemed served on Plaintiff as of the hearing date. However, moving parties shall file the stand-alone Answer within 5 days.

The court intends to set the matter for trial at the hearing.

Discussion:

On February 5, 2019, default was entered against Expression Entertainment.

On June 25, 2019, default was entered against the remaining Defendants Neil Harrington and Continental Media.

On September 11, 2019, default judgment was entered against Defendants.

On November 4, 2019, Defendants filed this motion to set aside default and default judgment.

On November 26, 2019, Defendants’ new counsel filed a declaration with the proposed answer attached. (See Yaron Shaham Decl., ¶ 5, Ex. A.) On December 27, 2019, Plaintiff filed an opposition. On January 3, 2020, Defendants filed a reply.

Issues presented:

Whether default and default judgment: (1) resulted from Defendant Harrington’s inadvertence, surprise, mistake, or excusable neglect under subdivision (b) of Code of Civil Procedure section 473; and/or (2) whether default judgment is void as a matter of law per subdivision (d) of section 473?

ANALYSIS

A. Code of Civil Procedure Section 473, Subdivision (b)

Code of Civil Procedure section 473, subdivision (b) provides, in pertinent part:

The court may, upon any terms as may be just, relieve a party or his or her legal representative from a judgment, dismissal, order, or other proceeding taken against him or her through his or her mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect. Application for this relief shall be accompanied by a copy of the answer or other pleading proposed to be filed therein, otherwise the application shall not be granted, and shall be made within a reasonable time, in no case exceeding six months, after the judgment, dismissal, order, or proceeding was taken.

It is well established that trial courts should be liberal in granting relief under Code of Civil Procedure section 473, subdivision (b), because the law favors resolution on the merits. (Kisling v. Otani (1962) 201 Cal.App.2d 62, 66.) Because the law strongly favors trial and disposition on the merits, any doubts in applying section 473 are resolved in favor of the party seeking relief from default. (Minick v. City of Petaluma (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 15, 24; Maynard v. Brandon (2005) 36 Cal.4th 364, 371.) Unless it is clear that the neglect is inexcusable, the policy favoring trial on the merits prevails. (Minick, supra, 3 Cal.App.5th at 24.)

A party seeking relief under section 473 on basis of mistake, inadvertence, or excusable neglect has the burden of showing a satisfactory excuse for the occurrence of that mistake, inadvertence, or neglect. (See Austin v. Los Angeles Unified School District (2016) 244 Cal.App.4th 918, 929; Eigner v. Worthington (1997) 57 Cal.App.4th 188, 196.) Neglect is excusable if a reasonably prudent person under similar circumstances might have made the same error. (See Austin, supra, 244 Cal.App.4th at 929.)

Whenever the court grants relief from a default judgment based on any provision of section 473, the court may do any of the following: (1) impose a penalty of no more than $1,000 on an offending attorney or party; (2) direct that an offending attorney pay an amount no more than $1,000 to the State Bar Client Security Fund; or (3) grant other relief as is appropriate. (Code Civ. Proc., § 473(c)(1).)

Here, Defendant Harrington declares default and default judgment resulted from excusable neglect because he had been distracted by cancer-related medical issues at approximately the same time he was trying to settle with Plaintiff. He states he did not have the money to hire an attorney. Harrington declares:

Due to vagueness, Plaintiff questions Harrington’s reliance placed on his cancer condition. Plaintiff also provides emails to question the credibility of Harrington’s purported reasons for neglecting the lawsuit. (See Opp., pp. 2-3.) While the question of excusable neglect is close, the court resolves the issue of Harrington’s neglect in favor of Harrington and the resolution of the matter on its merits.

Defendants’ motion to set aside Defendants’ default/default judgment is GRANTED.

B. Code of Civil Procedure Section 473, Subdivision (d)

“The court may, upon motion of the injured party, or its own motion, correct clerical mistakes in its judgment or orders as entered, so as to conform to the judgment or order directed, and may, on motion of either party after notice to the other party, set aside any void judgment or order.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 473, subd. (d).)

Here, Defendants alternatively argue that the judgment is void because there is no contract, defendants are not parties to the contract, and the damages are excessive. Because relief is warranted under section 473, subdivision (b), the court need not determine whether relief is also available under subdivision (d).

Further, the proper means of challenging a judgment awarding excessive damages is by a motion for a new trial under Code of Civil Procedure section 657(5). (See Don v. Cruz (1982) 131 Cal.App.3d 695 [motion for relief from default that conformed to all requirements for motion for new trial was properly treated as motion for new trial].)

C. Monetary relief for Plaintiff

If relief from default is based on evidence other than an “attorney affidavit of fault,” the court has discretion to order the defendant to pay plaintiff the costs incurred in obtaining the default judgment, including reasonable attorney fees. (Rogalski v. Nabers Cadillac (1992) 11 Cal.App.4th 816, 822.)

Here, Plaintiff’s counsel declares he incurred at least $10,000 worth of time and expense in relation to obtaining the defaults and default judgment. (See Biggins Decl., ¶ 2.) Specifically, counsel declares his hourly rate is $550 and estimates he spent: (a) 6 hours traveling to and attending multiple hearings [$3,300]; (b) 8 hours drafting defaults and default judgment application [$4,400]; (c) 2 hours drafting the opposition [$1,100]; and (d) 2 hours attending the hearing on this motion [$1,100]. (See ibid.)

Many of the hearings were not attributable to Defendants’ neglect, but required due to Plaintiff’s ordinary prosecution of the case and the court’s ongoing case management. The hours and amounts requested are not reasonably related to the 473 motion given the circumstances. Defendants shall pay Plaintiff and his counsel $3,500 in attorney fees as a reasonable award in light of the unnecessary default work attributable to Defendants’ neglect.

Unless waived by all parties, notice of ruling by Defendants.

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