This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/16/2019 at 02:01:26 (UTC).

JOSE ARREOLA ET AL VS SNS INVESTMENT LLC

Case Summary

On 04/11/2018 JOSE ARREOLA filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against SNS INVESTMENT 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:

    ****1560

  • Filing Date:

    04/11/2018

  • 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, Petitioners and Guardian Ad Litems

VEGA ARYAM GUTIERREZ

ROMAN DAMIAN

MARTIN CHEROKEE

ARREOLA JOSE

RICHARDSON ANGELA

GARCIA AARON M.

GUTIERREZ TRACEY

LOPEZ ISABEL CASTILLO

NARACHI NICHOLAS A.

VEGA MAYRA PAZ

MARTIN AARON AND INDIVIDUALLY

ROMAN MARIA AND INDIVIDUALLY

Defendant and Respondent

SNS INVESTMENT LLC

Minors

MARTIN ARIANA

MOTES GIZELL

PEREZ ETHAN

LOPEZ MARISOL

SCOTT KADA

LOPEZ CHRISTIAN

SCOTT KAYLEE

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff, Petitioner and Minor Attorney

CHAPMAN CHRISTOFER R. ESQ.

Defendant Attorney

ANGSTADT TODD A. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

4/19/2018: APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

NOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

4/19/2018: NOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

4/19/2018: APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM-C1VIL

4/19/2018: APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM-C1VIL

APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

4/19/2018: APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

4/19/2018: APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

DECLARATION OF CHRISTOFER R. CHAPMAN RE APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM FOR KAYLEE SCOTT AND KADA SCOTT

6/7/2018: DECLARATION OF CHRISTOFER R. CHAPMAN RE APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM FOR KAYLEE SCOTT AND KADA SCOTT

APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM?CIVIL

6/7/2018: APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM?CIVIL

CIVIL DEPOSIT

6/27/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT

CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT

6/27/2018: CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT

ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

7/11/2018: ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

7/11/2018: NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

7/25/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

NOTICE OF HEARING

7/27/2018: NOTICE OF HEARING

DEFENDANT SNS IN VESTMENT, LLC S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF S UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

9/6/2018: DEFENDANT SNS IN VESTMENT, LLC S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF S UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT

10/1/2018: CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT

Case Management Order

10/15/2018: Case Management Order

NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

4/12/2018: NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

16 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 01/22/2019
  • Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/19/2018
  • Notice of Ruling (at Case Management Conference); Filed by SNS Investment, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 10/15/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 37; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service

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  • 10/15/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 37; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service - Held

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  • 10/15/2018
  • Minute Order ((Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service; Cas...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/15/2018
  • Minute order entered: 2018-10-15 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/15/2018
  • Case Management Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/01/2018
  • CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT

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  • 10/01/2018
  • Case Management Statement

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  • 09/06/2018
  • DEFENDANT SNS IN VESTMENT, LLC S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF S UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

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34 More Docket Entries
  • 04/19/2018
  • APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

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  • 04/19/2018
  • Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 04/19/2018
  • APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

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  • 04/19/2018
  • APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

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  • 04/19/2018
  • Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 04/19/2018
  • Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 04/12/2018
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/12/2018
  • NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 04/11/2018
  • COMPLAINT FOR: 1) BREACH OF IMPLIED WARRANTY OF HABITABILITY ;ETC

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  • 04/11/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by Jose Arreola (Plaintiff); Damian Roman (Plaintiff); Cherokee Martin (Plaintiff) et al.

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC701560    Hearing Date: February 20, 2020    Dept: 37

HEARING DATE: February 20, 2020

CASE NUMBER: BC701560

CASE NAME: Jose Arreola, et al. v. SNS Investment LLC

MOVING PARTY: Defendant, Real Estate Specialists (Doe 2)

OPPOSING PARTY: All Plaintiffs

TRIAL DATE: June 9, 2020

PROOF OF SERVICE: OK

MOTION: Defendant’s Demurrer to the Complaint

OPPOSITION: February 4, 2020

REPLY: February 13, 2020

TENTATIVE: RES’s demurrer to the fourth and sixth causes of action are OVERRULED. In opposition, Plaintiffs stated they “do not oppose dismissal without prejudice” and thereafter state they “request dismissal without prejudice because” to the first, second, third and fifth causes of action. (Opposition, 5:6-11.) In order to dismiss without prejudice, Plaintiffs need to file a request for dismissal. Unless such a request is filed prior to the ruling on this demurrer, the demurrer to those causes of action will be SUSTAINED with leave to amend. Plaintiffs are to provide notice.

BACKGROUND

This action arises out of Plaintiffs, Jose Arreola, Maria Roman, Damian Roman, Gizell Motes, by and through her guardian ad litem Maria Roman, Ethan Perez, a minor by and through his guardian ad litem Maria Roman, Aaron Martin, Cherokee Martin, Ariana Martin, a minor by and through her guardian ad litem Aaron Martin, Aryam Gutierrez Vega, Mayra Paz Vega, Aaron M. Garcia, Leyland Lopez Vega, a minor by and through her guardian ad litem Aryam Gutierrez Vega, Isabel Castillo Lopez, Marisol Lopez, a minor by and through her guardian ad litem Isabel Castillo Lopez, Christian Lopez, a minor by and through his guardian ad litem Isabel Castillo Lopez, Nicholas A. Narachi, Tracey Gutierrez, Angela Richardson, Kada Scott, a minor by and through her guardian ad litem Angela Richardson and Kaylee Scott, a minor by and through her guardian ad litem Angela Richardson (hereinafter “Plaintiffs”)’s tenancies at an apartment building located at 450 W. 20th Street, Long Beach, California (the “Apartment”).

Plaintiffs allege that Defendant SNS Investment, LLC (“SNS”) owned the Apartment and breached duties to all Plaintiffs by failing to maintain the building in accordance with applicable fire, health and safety codes and ordinances. Plaintiffs allege that the Apartment had issues with all of the following during their various tenancies: electrical deficiencies, plumbing deficiencies, lack of hot water, water leaks, mold and mildew, insect infestations, pest infestations, security and safety deficiencies, storage deficiencies and other deficiencies causing loss of use.

Plaintiffs allege six causes of action against all Defendants: (1) breach of the implied warranty of habitability, (2) breach of statutory warranty of habitability, (3) breach of the covenant of quiet enjoyment, (4) negligence, (5) violation of Civil Code § 1942.4 and (6) private nuisance.

On September 4, 2019, Plaintiff filed an amendment to the Complaint naming Defendant, Real Estate Specialists (“RES”) as doe number 2.

RES now demurrers to each cause of action of the Complaint on the grounds that each fails to allege facts sufficient to state a cause of action and is uncertain. Plaintiffs do not oppose the demurrer as to the first, second, third and fifth causes of action. Instead, Plaintiffs contend that the demurrer is well taken as to those causes of action and that they would dismiss those causes of action against RES without prejudice. (see Opposition, 5.) Accordingly, the court will only analyze the demurrer with regard to the fourth and sixth causes of action.

DEMURRER

  1. Meet and Confer Efforts

As a preliminary matter, the court expresses concern with the sufficiency of RES’ meet and confer efforts.

RES submits the declaration of its attorney, Chad C. Wilcox (“Wilcox”) to demonstrate that it has met its statutory meet and confer obligations under Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41 prior to bringing the instant demurrer. Wilcox attests that on December 23, 2019, he called Plaintiffs’ counsel in an attempt to meet and confer regarding the issues raised in the instant demurrer but that he left a voice message. (Wilcox Decl. ¶ 4.) Wilcox further attests that on January 17, 2020, he sent an email meet and confer letter to Plaintiff’s counsel regarding the deficiencies with the Complaint, but that he did not receive a response “in opposition.” (Wilcox Decl. ¶ 5.) No email was attached to the Wilcox declaration demonstrating what meet and confer took place, and the instant motion was filed five days later on January 23, 2020.

Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41 requires that the parties meet and confer in person or by telephone prior to bringing a demurrer. It appears from the Wilcox Declaration that no meet and confer may have ever taken place, whether by telephone or by email, primarily due to Plaintiffs’ counsel’s failure to respond. The meet and confer requirement is an obligation of both parties, not just the demurring party. The purpose is to avoid demurrers that are not opposed, such as this one. Counsel must do better.

  1. Legal Standard

A demurrer is an objection to a pleading, the grounds for which are apparent from either the face of the complaint or a matter of which the court may take judicial notice. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.30, subd. (a); see also Blank v. Kirwan (1985) 39 Cal.3d 311, 318.) The purpose of a demurrer is to challenge the sufficiency of a pleading “by raising questions of law.” (Postley v. Harvey (1984) 153 Cal.App.3d 280, 286.) The court “treat[s] the demurrer as admitting all material facts properly pleaded, but not contentions, deductions or conclusions of fact or law. . . .” (Berkley v. Dowds (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 518, 525 (Berkley).) “In the construction of a pleading, for the purpose of determining its effect, its allegations must be liberally construed, with a view to substantial justice between the parties.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 452; see also Stevens v. Sup. Ct. (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 594, 601.) “When a court evaluates a complaint, the plaintiff is entitled to reasonable inferences from the facts pled.” (Duval v. Board of Trustees (2001) 93 Cal.App.4th 902, 906.)

The general rule is that the plaintiff need only allege ultimate facts, not evidentiary facts. (Doe v. City of Los Angeles (2007) 42 Cal.4th 531, 550.) “All that is required of a plaintiff, as a matter of pleading, even as against a special demurrer, is that his complaint set forth the essential facts of the case with reasonable precision and with sufficient particularity to acquaint the defendant with the nature, source and extent of his cause of action.” (Rannard v. Lockheed Aircraft Corp. (1945) 26 Cal.2d 149, 156-157.) “[D]emurrers for uncertainty are disfavored and are granted only if the pleading is so incomprehensible that a defendant cannot reasonably respond.” (Mahan v. Charles W. Chan Ins. Agency, Inc. (2017) 14 Cal.App.5th 841, 848, fn. 3 (Mahan), citing Lickiss v. Fin. Indus. Regulatory Auth. (2012) 208 Cal.App.4th 1125, 1135.) In addition, even where a complaint is in some respects uncertain, courts strictly construe a demurrer for uncertainty “because ambiguities can be clarified under modern discovery procedures.” (Khoury v. Maly’s of California, Inc. (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 612, 616.)

Demurrers do not lie as to only parts of causes of action where some valid claim is alleged but “must dispose of an entire cause of action to be sustained.” (Poizner v. Fremont General Corp. (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 97, 119.) “Generally it is an abuse of discretion to sustain a demurrer without leave to amend if there is any reasonable possibility that the defect can be cured by amendment.” (Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal.3d 335, 349.)

  1. Analysis

  1. Fourth Cause of Action: Negligence

The elements of a negligence cause of action are the existence of a legal duty of care, breach of that duty, and proximate cause resulting in injury. (McIntyre v. The Colonies-Pacific, LLC (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 664.)

RES contends that Plaintiffs’ fourth cause of action for negligence is insufficiently pled because the Complaint does not allege that RES was the owner or manager of the Apartment. (Motion, 9.) RES cites to Civil Code section 1714 for the proposition that Plaintiffs were required to allege that it was an owner or manager of the Apartment in order to bring a cause of action for negligence against RES. Civil Code section 1714 provides:

“(a) Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.”

In opposition, Plaintiffs contend that the Complaint sufficiently pleads a cause of action for negligence against RES because the Complaint alleges that RES was a manager of the property. (Opposition, 1-3.) Plaintiffs also submit the declaration of their attorney, Paul Christensen, who attests that RES was revealed in discovery to be the property manager of Defendant SNS. (Christensen Decl. ¶ 2, Exhibit A.)

Here, the Complaint alleges that “defendants, and each of them” have been the owner and manager of the Apartment. (Complaint ¶ 3.) Further, the Complaint alleges that defendants, as “landowners and/or manager of land” owed a duty of care under “common law and Civil Code section 1714” to “exercise due care in management of the [Apartment].” (Complaint ¶ 26.) Defendants, including RES, allegedly breached this duty by failing to maintain the Apartment, which proximately caused Plaintiffs damages. (Complaint ¶¶ 27-29.)

Liberally construing the Complaint in favor of Plaintiff, the court finds that the Complaint sufficiently alleges a cause of action for negligence against RES. Here, Plaintiffs have submitted evidence that they discovered RES’ role as a property manager through discovery and then named RES to the Complaint through a proper doe amendment. Further, the Complaint otherwise sufficiently alleges a cause of action for negligence because it alleges that all defendants were owners or managers of the Apartment.

As such, RES’ demurrer to the fourth cause of action is overruled.

  1. Sixth Cause of action: Private Nuisance

“ “ A private nuisance cause of action requires the plaintiff to prove an injury specifically referable to the use and enjoyment of his or her land.”” (Mendez v. Rancho Valencia Resort Partners, LLC (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 248, 262 [quoting Adams v. MHC Colony Park, L.P. (2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 601, 610.]) Plaintiff is required to prove both of the following in order to recover for an allegation of private nuisance: (1) “the invasion of plaintiff’s interest in the use and enjoyment of land was substantial, and (2) “the interference with the protected interest must …be unreasonable.” (emphasis original) (San Diego Gas & Electric Co. v. Superior Court (1996) 13 Cal.4th 893, 938.) Both elements of a private nuisance claim are to be judged by an objective standard, based on the effect that any alleged nuisance would have on the ordinary person. (Id. at 938-939.)

RES contends that Plaintiff’s cause of action for private nuisance is insufficiently pled because the Complain fails to allege that RES was an owner or landlord of the Apartment. (Motion, 10.) In opposition, Plaintiffs contend that the sixth cause of action is sufficiently pled because a defendant can be liable for private nuisance if it “creates or assists in the creation” of the nuisance. (Opposition, 3.) Plaintiffs cite Redevelopment Agency v. BNSF Ry. (9th Cir. 2011) 643 F.3d 668 (Redevelopment) for this proposition.

Plaintiffs’ contention is correct. The court in Redevelopment found that under California law, nuisance liability does not “hinge on whether the defendant owns, possesses or controls the property, nor on whether he is in a position to abate the nuisance; the critical question is whether the defendant created or assisted in the creation of the nuisance.” (Id. at 673 [quoting County of Santa Clara v. Atl. Richfield Co. (2006) 137 Cal.App.4th 292, 306.])

Here, as described above, the Complaint alleges that each defendant, including doe defendants, were the owners or managers of the Apartment. (see Complaint, ¶ 3.) The Complaint also alleges at paragraph 3 that each defendant, as an owner or manager, have each “exercised real or apparent authority regarding it.” Further, the conditions of the Apartment are alleged to be a private nuisance because they constituted “substantial and unreasonable interference” with Plaintiffs’ private use and enjoyment of the Apartment. (Complaint, ¶ 36.)

Given the foregoing, the court finds that Plaintiffs’ sixth cause of action for private nuisance is sufficiently pled. RES’ only argument in support of its demurrer appears to be that Plaintiffs were required to affirmatively allege that RES specifically was an owner or manager of the Apartment. However, Redevelopment and related California cases have held that Plaintiffs may bring a cause of action for private nuisance against any defendant they allege “created or assisted in the creation of the nuisance.” Accordingly, RES’ argument must fail.

As such, RES’ demurrer to the sixth cause of action is overruled.

Conclusion

RES’s demurrer to the fourth and sixth causes of action are overruled. In opposition, Plaintiffs stated they “do not oppose dismissal without prejudice” and thereafter state they “request dismissal without prejudice because” to the first, second, third and fifth causes of action. (Opposition, 5:6-11.) In order to dismiss without prejudice, Plaintiffs need to file a request for dismissal. Unless such a request is filed prior to the ruling on this demurrer, the demurrer to those causes of action will be SUSTAINED with leave to amend. Plaintiffs are to provide notice.