This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/24/2019 at 09:08:36 (UTC).

JESSE DANIELS VS NORTHSTAR SOURCING GROUP LLC ET AL

Case Summary

On 01/22/2018 JESSE DANIELS filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against NORTHSTAR SOURCING GROUP 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 RICHARD E. RICO. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****1043

  • Filing Date:

    01/22/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

RICHARD E. RICO

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

DANIELS JESSE

Defendants and Respondents

NORTHSTAR SOURCING GROUP LLC

NORTHSTAR SOURCING LLC

DOES 1 TO 100

PERKINS ROBERT

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

STEELE ROBERT M.

MILLER & STEELE

Defendant Attorney

PERKINS COIE LLP

 

Court Documents

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

1/22/2018: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE)

9/12/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE)

Minute Order -

7/31/2018: Minute Order -

PLAINTIFF JESSE DANIEL'S STATUS CONFERENCE STATEMENT

8/24/2018: PLAINTIFF JESSE DANIEL'S STATUS CONFERENCE STATEMENT

Minute Order -

8/29/2018: Minute Order -

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

10/30/2018: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

10/30/2018: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Declaration - Declaration of Daniels in Support of Motion

10/30/2018: Declaration - Declaration of Daniels in Support of Motion

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Leave To File First Amended Complaint)

11/28/2018: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Leave To File First Amended Complaint)

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service

11/29/2018: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service

Memorandum of Points & Authorities - Plaintiff Jesse Daniel's Memorandum of Points & Authorities in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Compel Arbitration

11/29/2018: Memorandum of Points & Authorities - Plaintiff Jesse Daniel's Memorandum of Points & Authorities in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Compel Arbitration

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service

11/29/2018: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service

Minute Order - Minute Order (Status Conference; Status Conference)

12/12/2018: Minute Order - Minute Order (Status Conference; Status Conference)

Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

12/18/2018: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (POST-ARBITRATION STATUS CONFERENCE)

5/10/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (POST-ARBITRATION STATUS CONFERENCE)

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

6/11/2019: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Minute Order -

3/7/2018: Minute Order -

SUMMONS -

1/22/2018: SUMMONS -

36 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/18/2019
  • Hearing11/18/2019 at 08:30 AM in Department 17 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Status Conference

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  • 10/04/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 17, Richard E. Rico, Presiding; Hearing on Motion - Other (Motion to Lift Stay) - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

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  • 09/12/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 17, Richard E. Rico, Presiding; Status Conference - Held - Continued

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  • 09/12/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/22/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 17, Richard E. Rico, Presiding; Hearing on Motion - Other (Motion to Lift Stay) - Not Held - Rescheduled by Party

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  • 06/19/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 17, Richard E. Rico, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: (sanctions for failure to appear, may include dismissal) - Held - Continued

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  • 06/19/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Order to Show Cause Re: sanctions for failure to appear, may ...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/17/2019
  • DocketNotice (Defendants' Status Conference Statement); Filed by Northstar Sourcing Group, LLC (Defendant); Northstar Sourcing, LLC (Defendant); Robert Perkins (Defendant)

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  • 06/11/2019
  • DocketPLAINTIFF JESSE DANIEL'S STATUS CONFERENCE STATEMENT IN ADVANCEOF JUNE 19, 2019 OSC HEARINGAND PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR THE COURT TO LIFT STAY OF THESE PROCEEDINGS; Filed by Jesse Daniels (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/11/2019
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Jesse Daniels (Plaintiff)

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58 More Docket Entries
  • 03/07/2018
  • DocketSTIPULATION AND PROTECTIVE ORDER - CONFIDENTIAL AND HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL DESIGNATIONS

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  • 03/07/2018
  • DocketMinute order entered: 2018-03-07 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/02/2018
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 17; Court Order (Court Order; Matter continued) -

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  • 03/02/2018
  • DocketMinute order entered: 2018-03-02 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/02/2018
  • DocketSTIPULATION AND ORDER STAYING CASE PENDING MEDIATION

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  • 03/02/2018
  • DocketStipulation; Filed by Judge

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  • 03/02/2018
  • DocketMinute Order

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  • 01/22/2018
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

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  • 01/22/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Jesse Daniels (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/22/2018
  • DocketSUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC691043    Hearing Date: January 15, 2021    Dept: 17

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

DEPARTMENT 17

TENTATIVE RULING

JESSE DANIELS

vs.

NORTHSTAR SOURCING GROUP, LLC; NORTHSTAR SOURCING, LLC; and ROBERT PERKINS

Case No.: BC691043

Hearing Date: January 15, 2021

Defendants’ motion for a judgment on the pleadings is GRANTED, WITH 20 DAYS LEAVE TO AMEND in part, DENIED in part. Defendants’ motion is granted, with 20 days leave to amend, as to Plaintiff’s two fraud causes of action. Defendants’ motion is denied as to the alter ego liability allegations against Defendant Robert Perkins.

On November 28, 2018, Plaintiff Jesse Daniels filed a first amended complaint (FAC) against NorthStar Sourcing Group, LLC, NorthStar Sourcing LLC, and Robert Perkins, alleging: (1) breach of contract; (2) fraud; (3) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; (4) concealment/fraud in the inducement; (5) violation of Labor Code sections 201, 208; and (6) an accounting.

Defendants now move for a judgment on pleadings.

Legal Standard

A motion for judgment on the pleadings has the same function as a general demurrer but is made after the time for demurrer has expired.  Except as provided by Code of Civil Procedure section 438, the rules governing demurrers apply.  Thus, a motion by defendant can be made on the ground that the court “lacks jurisdiction of the subject of one or more of the causes of action alleged”, or the complaint (or any cause of action therein) “does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action against that defendant.”  (Code Civ Proc., §¿438, subd. (c).)

Discussion

Defendants argue that Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts to state an alter ego claim against Defendant Jesse Daniels, and has failed to state a claim for his fraud causes of action.

I. Alter Ego

“To recover on an alter ego theory, a plaintiff need not use the words ‘alter ego,’ but must allege sufficient facts to show a unity of interest and ownership, and an unjust result if the corporation is treated as the sole actor.” (Leek v. Cooper (2011) 194 Cal.App.4th 399, 415.)

Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s alter ego allegations are conclusory, and that Plaintiff has failed to allege facts which could show that a unity of interest and ownership existed or that a failure to pierce the vail would cause an unjust result.

The Court disagrees.

First, Plaintiff’s FAC includes ample facts to support his alter ego allegations. (See FAC ¶ ¶ 7-13.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Perkins exercised complete control and domination of Defendant Northstar Sourcing LLC and was its sole manager, member, and owner. (Id .at ¶ 8.) Similarly, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Perkins exercised complete control and domination over Defendant NorthStar Sourcing LLC and was its sole manager, member, and owner. (Id .at ¶ 9.) While the burden to establish alter ego is indeed heavy as Defendants contend, Plaintiff possesses no such burden at the pleading stage. While Plaintiff may ultimately be unable to establish alter ego liability, his only burden at this stage is allege sufficient facts which, accepted as true, could establish alter-ego liability. (Popescu v. Apple, Inc. (2016) 1 Cal.App.5th 39,46.) Plaintiff has done so.

Second, Plaintiff has alleged sufficient facts which could show an unjust result if the corporation is treated as the sole actor. (Leek, supra, 194 Cal.App.4th at p. 415.) In his FAC, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Perkins transferred assets between his corporate entities for no consideration and for the express purpose of avoiding liability. ((Id .at ¶ 10.) To allow Defendant Perkins to evade liability through an intentional abuse of the corporate structure would result in injustice.

II. Fraud

Defendants argue that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for his fraud causes of action because the claims are barred by the economic loss rule, and because Plaintiff has failed to state a claim with the requisite specificity.

I. Economic Loss Rule

The economic loss rule provides that where a purchaser’s expectations in a sale are frustrated because the product he bought is not working properly, his remedy is said to be in contract alone, for he has suffered only ‘economic’ losses. (Robinson Helicopter, Inc. v. Dana Corp. (2004) 34 Cal.4th 979, 988 (Robinson Helicopter).) The economic loss rule requires a purchaser to recover in contract for purely economic loss due to disappointed expectations, unless he can demonstrate harm above and beyond a contractual promise. (Ibid.)

In Robinson Helicopter, the Court held that the economic loss rule did not bar alleged fraud against a manufacturer because the manufacturer made affirmative intentional misrepresentations of fact in the form of false certificates of conformance. (Id. at p. 991.) In NuCal Foods Inc. v. Quality Egg LLC (2013) 918 F.Supp.2d 1023, 1032 (NuCal), the Court found that the plaintiff’s fraud by concealment claim was not barred by the economic loss rule because plaintiff had alleged personal damages in addition to economic loss. There, plaintiff, an egg buyer, alleged not only economic loss from defendant’s breach of their contract to provide conforming eggs, but also personal damages given that defendants’ conduct “exposed plaintiff to liability for personal damages for some of the 62,000 people who were sickened as a result of” the contaminated eggs provided by defendant. (NuCal, supra, 918 F.Supp.2d at p. 1032.) In other words, because defendant’s conduct had exposed plaintiff to economic loss through the breach of their contract, but also third-party liability as result of defendant’s concealment, plaintiff’s claim was not barred by the economic loss rule.

Here, the Court finds that the economic loss rule is not applicable. The economic loss rule applies to contracts for the sale of goods, rather than for the provision of services. (See Robinson, supra, 34 Cal.4th at p. 388.)

II. Failure to State a Claim

I. Intentional Misrepresentation

To allege a cause of action for fraud, the requisite elements are: (1) a representation, usually of fact, which is false; (2) knowledge of its falsity; (3) intent to defraud; (4) justifiable reliance upon the misrepresentation; and (5) damage resulting from that justifiable reliance. (Stansfield v. Starkey (1990) 220 Cal. App. 3d 59, 72-73 (Stansfield).)

“In California, fraud must be pled specifically; general and conclusory allegations do not suffice.” (Lazar v. Superior Court (1996) 12 Cal.4th at p. 645.) “Causes of action for intentional and negligent misrepresentation sound in fraud and, therefore, each element must be pleaded with specificity. [Citations.]” (Daniels v. Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. (2016) 246 Cal.App.4th 1150, 1166.) The specificity requirement extends to each and every element. (Moncada v. West Coast Quartz Corp. (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 768, 776). Consequently, “a plaintiff must allege facts showing how, when, where, to whom, and by what means the representations were made, and, in the case of a corporate defendant … the names of the persons who made the representations, [and] their authority to speak on behalf of the corporation….” (West v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 780, 793.)

Here, Plaintiff alleges:

· Defendants promised Plaintiff that if he agreed to accept a position with Defendant Perkins as Senior Vice-President of Design, Mr. Perkins would pay Plaintiff a compensation package which included salary and profit sharing. (FAC ¶ 22.)

· Defendants did not intend to perform this promise. (Id. at ¶ 23.)

· Plaintiff reasonably relied on this promise, and was harmed as a result. (Id. at ¶ 23.)

The Court agrees that that these allegations, as alleged, are insufficient to state a claim for fraud. First, it is unclear based on the allegations how these promises were made. (West v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 780, 793.) Second, it is unclear what act of reliance was taken, given that Plaintiff merely alleges that he “reasonably relied” on the promise. Third, because of these uncertainties, it is similarly uncertain whether Plaintiff’s reliance was reasonable. If Defendants made an oral promise, which Plaintiff then relied on in signing the employment contract, why didn’t Plaintiff discover that the terms of the contract did not contain the promised compensation package? If the promise was made in writing, was it included as part of the employment contract, and then reneged on by Defendants? Given these unanswered questions, the Court concludes that Plaintiff has failed to allege his fraud cause of action with the requisite specificity.

II. Fraud in the Inducement

Fraud in the inducement occurs when the promisor knows what he is signing, but his consent is induced by fraud, mutual assent is present, and a contract is formed, which by reason of fraud, is voidable. (Hinesley v. Oakshade Town Center (2005) 135 Cal.App.4th 289, 294-295.)

Here, Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts to state a claim. Plaintiff’s fraud in the inducement cause of action is based on allegations that Defendants intentionally concealed material facts. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that while entering into a new employment agreement, Defendants failed to inform him that “had already earned and was owed monies under the original employment agreement,” or that he was waiving substantial rights in signing the new employment agreement. (FAC ¶ 40.) However, Plaintiff fails to allege any facts which could show that Defendants had a duty to disclose these facts. (Hambrick v. Healthcare Partners Medical Group, Inc. (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 124, 162, noting that one of the requisite elements of a fraudulent concealment cause of action is defendant’s duty to disclose the material facts to plaintiff. ) Accordingly, his fraud in the inducement cause of action fails.

It is so ordered.

Dated: January , 2021

Hon. Jon R. Takasugi Judge of the Superior Court

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at smcdept17@lacourt.org by 4 p.m. the day prior as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative. If all parties to a motion submit, the court will adopt this tentative as the final order. If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar.

Due to Covid-19, the court is strongly discouraging in-person appearances. Parties, counsel, and court reporters present are subject to temperature checks and health inquiries, and will be denied entry if admission could create a public health risk. The court encourages the parties wishing to argue to appear via L.A. Court Connect. For more information, please contact the court clerk at (213) 633-0517. Your understanding during these difficult times is appreciated.

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

DEPARTMENT 17

TENTATIVE RULING

JESSE DANIELS

NORTHSTAR SOURCING GROUP, LLC; NORTHSTAR SOURCING, LLC; and ROBERT PERKINS

The Court’s ruling as to Plaintiff’s motion to compel further discovery responses is consistent with this order.

On November 28, 2018, Plaintiff Jesse Daniels filed a first amended complaint (FAC) against NorthStar Sourcing Group, LLC, NorthStar Sourcing LLC, and Robert Perkins, alleging: (1) breach of contract; (2) fraud; (3) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing; (4) concealment/fraud in the inducement; (5) violation of Labor Code sections 201, 208; and (6) an accounting.

· Category One: Requests Regarding Northstar’s Private Financial and Formation Information

Following the parties’ IDC, this Court issued the following minute order:

Court suggests defendants turn over (1) the accounting and financial records of all accounts plaintiff managed design on per his contract, and (2) a list of names (only) of all accounts defendant maintained from January 1, 2012, to December 31, 2015. From that list, plaintiff will go through and under penalty of (perjury)[1] and declare the “other nonenumerated” accounts he managed with a description of the work he performed if possible. Assuming the declaration is reasonable, the court will likely order discovery on those accounts for the specified dates assuming the accounts show a positive increase.

Per the Court’s order, Defendant produced a list of names to Plaintiff on July 30, 2020. Thereafter, Plaintiff produced a declaration stating that he had performed work on all the accounts listed. In response, Defendant sent Plaintiff three signed declarations from third-party businesses that stated that these companies, rather than Plaintiff, had been responsible for the designs of NEXT, Dunnes, Primark, Pennys UK, Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Matalan, Roxy, Quicksilver, DC Billabong, Rocket Dog, Taos. (See Bard Decl., Goldberg Decl., Struthers Decl.) In other words, Defendants have submitted evidence that Plaintiff did not work on these accounts as he contends, that Plaintiff’s declaration is unreasonable as a result, and that this information should not be discoverable.

In opposition, Plaintiff argues that, “Defendants do not grasp the fact that disputed issues of material fact exist as to the work performed by plaintiff on certain accounts while he was employed.” (Motion, 8: 27-28.) As this Court’s IDC made clear, the Court is, and was, open to the idea that Plaintiff may have worked on more accounts than Defendants contend. However, the Court is unpersuaded by Plaintiff’s opposition which makes no effort to respond to Defendants’ evidence, or to explain Plaintiff’s connection to these additional accounts in spite of third-party declarants’ contention that their firms, alone, worked on these accounts. While Plaintiff complied with the Court’s order in so far as he produced a declaration, the Court’s order clearly stated that a reasonableness assessment would be made before ordering discovery of further accounts.

· Category Two: Requests Asking Robert Perkins to Provide Documents

Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s requests to Robert Perkins are improper because the questions should be properly addressed to NorthStar, not Robert Perkins. However, to the extent that this is true, the appropriate remedy for Mr. Perkins is to respond to the discovery request that he is not in possession, custody, or control of the information. (See §§2033.220; 2030.310.)

· Category Three: Requests Seeking Mr. Perkin’s Private Information

Defendants argue that the following Form Interrogatories are improper: Form Interrogatories (Set One) No. 2.2-2.3, 2.5-2.7; and Form Interrogatories (Set Two) No. 1.1. Specifically, Defendants argue that these interrogatories are irrelevant and improper because “Mr. Perkins has already been served in this action and may be contacted through counsel.” (Motion, 17: 4-11.) The Court finds Defendants’ argument unpersuasive. First, Defendants devote no time to explaining why the information sought in these form interrogatories is irrelevant, but rather rely on a conclusory assertion that that it is. Second, Defendants seem to be arguing that Mr. Perkins should be exempted from providing discovery responses because his counsel could be contacted for the same information. Defendants have not produced any case law or statutory support to suggest that the information sought of Mr. Perkins is best obtained from his counsel, rather than through the traditional discovery process.

· Category Four: Requests Regarding Other Employees’ Communications, Compensation, Contracts, and Contract Information

Defendants argue that Plaintiff improperly seeks private information about various employees at NorthStar who are unconnected to this action.

In opposition, Plaintiff argues that the form interrogatories identified by Defendants as objectionable either do not seek information about other employees or are directly related to the instant dispute. However, Plaintiff’s argument is based on his fraud causes of action, for which this Court already granted judgment on the pleadings, with leave to amend. As such, Plaintiff has no operative fraud cause of action at this time.

Accordingly, the Court declines to take up this issue at this time.

It is so ordered.

Dated:  January , 2021

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at smcdept17@lacourt.org by 4 p.m. the day prior as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative.  If all parties to a motion submit, the court will adopt this tentative as the final order.  If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar


[1] Court erred in the Minute Order dated June 30, 2020, when it wrote “…under penalty of punishment…”.  It should have written “…under penalty of perjury…”.  This will be corrected nunc pro tunc.

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