This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/17/2019 at 00:42:04 (UTC).

JUANZI FANG VS FUSHENG LI ET AL

Case Summary

On 04/26/2018 JUANZI FANG filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against FUSHENG LI. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is MARC D. GROSS. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****3916

  • Filing Date:

    04/26/2018

  • 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 Judge

MARC D. GROSS

 

Party Details

Defendants, Respondents, Cross Plaintiffs and Cross Defendants

SUNG KUAN

ZHAO LEI

REMAX PREMIER PROPERTIES

LI FUSHENG

REAL ESTATE ELITE CORP.

DOES 1-50

LAI TINA

FUSHENG LI ROE2

RE/MAX LLC

RE/MAX LLC (DOE 1)

RE/MAX LLC DOE 1

JUANZI FANG ROE1

REAL ESTATE ELITE CORPORATION

LEI ZHAO ROE3

Defendants, Respondents and Cross Defendants

REMAX PREMIER PROPERTIES

LAI TINA

ROES 1 - 20

ZHAO LEI ROE 3

LI FUSHENG (ROE 2)

FANG JUANZI ROE 1

Guardian Ad Litem

FANG JUANZI

Minor

FANG CHARLOTTE

23 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

COLETTI MICHAEL ANTHONY III

ERIC G. ANDERSON LAW OFFICE OF

KELLY & WALKER LLC

MICHAEL A. COLETTI ESQ.

NOBLES LISA NOELLE

HIRSCHBERG MARK L. ESQ.

COLETTI MICHAEL A. ESQ.

MILLER MANUEL H. ESQ.

BAKER PHILLIP A. ESQ.

MANUEL H. MILLER LAW OFFICES OF

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

KELLY & WALKER LLC

HIRSCHBERG MARK L. ESQ.

COLETTI MICHAEL A. ESQ.

MILLER MANUEL H. ESQ.

BAKER PHILLIP A. ESQ.

Cross Defendant Attorney

BELL JEFFREY THOMAS

Minor Attorneys

BELL JEFFREY T

JEFFREY T. BELL LAW OFFICES OF

Other Attorneys

AGEMIAN ANAHID

LEONARD DANIEL PATRICK ESQ.

HIRSCHBERG MARK LAWRENCE

7 More Attorneys Available

 

Court Documents

SUMMONS

5/8/2018: SUMMONS

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

5/16/2018: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Legacy Document

6/6/2018: Legacy Document

Summons on Cross Complaint

6/18/2018: Summons on Cross Complaint

ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

6/18/2018: ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER OF RE/MAX, LLC TO COMPLAINT OF JUANZI FANG

6/25/2018: NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER OF RE/MAX, LLC TO COMPLAINT OF JUANZI FANG

Legacy Document

6/28/2018: Legacy Document

REPLY TO LIMITED OPPOSITION OF DEFENDANT RE/MAX, LLC (IDENTIFIED AS "DOE 1" TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR TRIAL SETTING PREFERENCE

7/10/2018: REPLY TO LIMITED OPPOSITION OF DEFENDANT RE/MAX, LLC (IDENTIFIED AS "DOE 1" TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR TRIAL SETTING PREFERENCE

SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY

7/18/2018: SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY

Notice of Status Conference and Order

10/1/2018: Notice of Status Conference and Order

Notice of Status Conference and Order

10/1/2018: Notice of Status Conference and Order

Minute Order

11/1/2018: Minute Order

Motion to Quash Service of Summons

12/14/2018: Motion to Quash Service of Summons

Minute Order

12/21/2018: Minute Order

Case Management Statement

4/17/2019: Case Management Statement

Motion re:

5/17/2019: Motion re:

Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement (CCP 877.6)

5/22/2019: Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement (CCP 877.6)

Minute Order

6/14/2019: Minute Order

89 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/01/2019
  • Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by REAL ESTATE ELITE CORP. (Legacy Party)

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  • 06/14/2019
  • at 09:00 AM in Department D; Case Management Conference - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 06/14/2019
  • at 09:00 AM in Department D; Hearing on Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement (CCP 877.6) (Filed on behalf of Defendants/Cross-Complainants Real Estate Elite Corporation, et al. Continued from 04/19/19) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 06/14/2019
  • at 09:00 AM in Department D; Hearing on Motion - Other (Joinder in Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement filed on behalf of 1) Defendant Re/Max, LLC; and 2) Defendant/Cross-Complainant/Cross-Defendant Tina Lai;) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 06/14/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department D; Hearing on Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement (CCP 877.6) (filed on behalf of Defendant/Cross-Complainant/Cross-Defendant Tina Lai) - Held - Motion Granted

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/14/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department D; Hearing on Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement (CCP 877.6) (filed on behalf of Defendant Re/Max, LLC) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 06/14/2019
  • Notice (of Ruling re: Motions for Determination of Good Faith Settlement and Continuance of CMC as to Remaining Parties); Filed by TINA LAI (Legacy Party)

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  • 06/14/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement ...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/22/2019
  • Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement (CCP 877.6); Filed by RE/MAX, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 05/17/2019
  • Motion re: (Good Faith Settlement); Filed by TINA LAI (Legacy Party)

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142 More Docket Entries
  • 05/08/2018
  • Summons Issued; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/08/2018
  • Summons Filed; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/08/2018
  • Summons Issued; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/01/2018
  • Application-Miscellaneous (FOR CHARLOTTE FANG GUARDIAN AD LITEM ); Filed by Attorney for Pltf/Petnr

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  • 05/01/2018
  • Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 05/01/2018
  • APPLLCATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

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  • 04/26/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by null

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  • 04/26/2018
  • Complaint

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  • 04/26/2018
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/26/2018
  • COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC703916    Hearing Date: February 28, 2020    Dept: NCD

TENTATIVE RULING

Calendar: 22

Date: 2/28/20

Case No: BC 703916

Case Name: Fang v. Li, et al.

PETITION TO APPROVE COMPROMISE OF

PENDING ACTION

[CCP §372 CRC 3.1384]

Moving Party: Petitioner Juanzi Fang as GAL for plaintiff/claimant Charlotte Fang

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Plaintiff Charlotte Fang, through her GAL Juanzi Fang, alleges that plaintiffs leased a pool house from defendants Fusheng Li and Lei Zhao, (the “Homeowners”) and that defendants Tina Lai, Kuan Sung, Real Estate Elite Corp. and Remax Premier Properties acted as the listing homeowner agents for the lease, which then acted as the property managers for the premises. The complaint alleges that plaintiff’s mother repeatedly requested that a pool safety fence be installed, as plaintiff was a newborn child when the lease was entered, and also notified defendants that the door to the premises did not function properly. In April of 2018, plaintiff, who was then a nine-month-old and able to crawl, exited through the broken door and entered the pool, where she was discovered by her mother floating lifelessly at the top of the pool.

On June 14, 2019, the court granted motions for Determination of Good Faith Settlement brought by defendants and cross-complainants Real Estate Elite Corporation and Kuan Sung, defendant Re/Max, LLC and cross-defendant Tina Lai.

ANALYSIS:

Under CCP § 372, an action of a minor may be compromised by a guardian ad litem “with the approval of the court in which the action or proceeding is pending.”

The Second District has observed that the GAL’s “purpose is to protect the rights of the minor,” but “it is the duty of the court to see that such rights are protected.” Scruton v. Korea Air Lines Co. (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 1596, 1605, (citing Berry v. Chaplin (1946) 74 Cal. App. 2d 652, 657).

 

The petition indicates that claimant as a result of the incident suffered permanent anoxic brain damage, causing claimant to be unable to sustain a normal respiratory rate and requires a feeding tube. Claimant requires around the clock care. [Petition, ¶ 9]. The petition attaches medical records from the hospital stay in April 2018. [Attachment 9]. There are no more recent doctor’s reports. This issue will be discussed at the hearing as to the need for more recent medical records.

Rule 7.950 specifies the required content of a petition for court approval of a compromise of a minor’s disputed claim, stating that the petition “must contain a full disclosure of all information that has any bearing upon the reasonableness of the compromise, covenant, settlement, or disposition.” In addition, “the petition must be prepared on a fully completed Petition to Approve Compromise…(form MC-350)”

The official mandatory form for the petition indicates that:

“An original or a photocopy of all doctor’s reports containing a diagnosis of and prognosis for the claimant’s injuries, and a report of the claimant’s present condition, must be attached to this petition as Attachment 9. A new report is not necessary so long as a previous report accurately describes the claimant’s current condition.”

[Form M-350, para. 9]

The court will inquire if a more recent report is available, or if the condition of the claimant remains unchanged.

The settlement is for $1,000,000, with defendants Lai, Sung, Real Estate Elite Corp., Remax Premiere Properties, and RE/MAX, LLC.

The Proceeds are to be distributed as follows:

Medical Expenses: $245,797.35

Attorney’s Fees and costs: $256,072.06

Balance of Proceeds: $501,869.41 (To be placed in special needs trust).

The petition seeks 25% of the gross settlement in attorneys’ fees, although the retainer agreement provided for 40% gross in fees. [Bell Decl. ¶3].

Under previous LASC Local Rule, fees could not exceed 25% without a showing of good cause.

The California Rules of Court and Judicial Council have since expressly preempted local rules concerning this field, and the current local rules (Rule 4.115) do not address it. See CRC Rule 7.955(d).

Under CRC Rule 7.955, the court must now determine the “reasonable fees,” based on factors which must be addressed by the declaration of the attorney. CRC Rule 7.955(a)(c).

CRC Rule 7.955 provides:

“(a)  (1) In all cases under Code of Civil Procedure section 372 or Probate Code sections 3600-3601, unless the court has approved the fee agreement in advance, the court must use a reasonable fee standard when approving and allowing the amount of attorney's fees payable from money or property paid or to be paid for the benefit of a minor or a person with a disability.  (2) The court must give consideration to the terms of any representation agreement made between the attorney and the representative of the minor or person with a disability and must evaluate the agreement based on the facts and circumstances existing at the time the agreement was made, except where the attorney and the representative of the minor or person with a disability contemplated that the attorney's fee would be affected by later events. (b) Factors the court may consider in determining a reasonable attorney's fee In determining a reasonable attorney's fee, the court may consider the following nonexclusive factors:   (1) The fact that a minor or person with a disability is involved and the circumstances of that minor or person with a disability.   (2) The amount of the fee in proportion to the value of the services performed.   (3) The novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the skill required to perform the legal services properly.   (4) The amount involved and the results obtained.   (5) The time limitations or constraints imposed by the representative of the minor or person with a disability or by the circumstances.   (6) The nature and length of the professional relationship between the attorney and the representative of the minor or person with a disability.  (7) The experience, reputation, and ability of the attorney or attorneys performing the legal services.   (8) The time and labor required.   (9) The informed consent of the representative of the minor or person with a disability to the fee.   (10) The relative sophistication of the attorney and the representative of the minor or person with a disability.   (11) The likelihood, if apparent to the representative of the minor or person with a disability when the representation agreement was made, that the attorney's acceptance of the particular employment would preclude other employment.   (12) Whether the fee is fixed, hourly, or contingent.

(13)  (A) The risk of loss borne by the attorney;     (B) The amount of costs advanced by the attorney; and     (C) The delay in payment of fees and reimbursement of costs paid by the attorney.  (14) Statutory requirements for representation agreements applicable to particular cases or claims. (c) Attorney's declaration A petition requesting court approval and allowance of an attorney's fee under (a) must include a declaration from the attorney that addresses the factors listed in (b) that are applicable to the matter before the court.

The attorney’s declaration is sufficiently complete to establish entitlement to the fees at the rate claimed, and significant work was done in this case to justify the fees. [See Bell Decl. 2-9]. The court finds that the fees are justified.

The petition seeks to have the funds placed in a special needs trust, and attaches a copy of a proposed petition for authority to create such a trust, and the proposed trust instrument. [Attach. 19b4]. The petition for authority to create the special needs trust has not yet been separately filed or served and has not yet been served on the governmental agencies required to be notified.

Probate Code section 3602 provides, in pertinent part:

“(d) Upon petition of the guardian, conservator, or any person interested in the guardianship or conservatorship estate, the court making the order or giving the judgment referred to in Section 3600 may order that all or part of the remaining balance of money not become a part of the guardianship or conservatorship estate and instead be paid to a special needs trust established under Section 3604 for the benefit of the minor or person with a disability….

(f) Notice of the time and place of hearing on a petition under subdivision (d), and a copy of the petition, shall be delivered pursuant to Section 1215 to the State Director of Health Care Services, the Director of State Hospitals, and the Director of Developmental Services at the office of each director in Sacramento at least 15 days before the hearing.”

In determining whether a special needs trust is appropriate, the court must find all three prongs of the test under Probate Code section 3604(b) are satisfied. The court must find:

(1) That the minor or incompetent has a disability that substantially impairs that individual’s ability to provide for the individual’s own care or custody and constitutes a substantial handicap. Section 3604(b)(1).

(2) That the minor or incompetent person is likely to have special needs that will not be met without the trust. Section 3604(b)(2).

(3) That money to be paid to the trust does not exceed the amount that appears reasonably necessary to meet the special needs of the minor or incompetent person. Section 3604(b)(3).

As noted above, the attached petition has not been separately filed or served, and the proof of service does not show service on the required entities. In establishing the trust, this court has the authority to determine the extent of court supervision, such as periodic accounts that must be filed with the court. Probate Code section 3604(a).

The terms of the proposed trust “must be reviewed by the Probate Department.” LASC Rule 4.115(c).

The Probate Department reviews the terms of the trust for compliance with LASC Local Rules 4.116, including that the trust, identify the person responsible for disbursement, requires reports and accounts, and requires that the compensation of the trustee and attorney be in reasonable amounts as fixed by court order. The Probate review also confirms that the trust complies with CRC Rule 7.903.

Once this review is conducted, the court may approve or disapprove the trust. The trust is then subject to continuing jurisdiction of the court and is subject to court supervision to the extent determined by the court. Probate Code section 3604(a).

The procedure followed here is that once the trust is established, it is subject to the jurisdiction of the Probate Court. The petitioner is accordingly ordered to take a certified copy of the order establishing the trust and open a probate case file, but only after the probate court has approved the form and content of the special needs trust.

According to guidelines of September 2019, a request to review a special needs trust is to be forwarded by email to designated probate attorneys, using an updated form, and requests are to be submitted 30 days prior to the hearing date, or any hearing date scheduled at least thirty days after sending the notification of the hearing. The procedure is for the court to approve the petition, but the petition must be accompanied by the special needs trust. The court’s order approving the petition will attach the special needs trust for the approval of the probate court. Thereafter, the plaintiff will file a petition with the probate court with a follow up hearing to confirm the filing of the special needs trust with the probate court.

RULING:

The court will hear argument concerning the current condition of claimant has been sufficiently shown in the records attached, the most recent of which is from April 2018.

Petition to Approve Compromise of Pending Action (Person with a Disability) is CONTINUED to be heard together with a Petition for Authority to Create Special Needs Trust. The court notes that such a Petition is attached to the moving papers, but does not appear to have been separately served, and there is no proof of service showing service of the petition on the parties and agencies entitled to notice pursuant to Probate Code §3602. This Petition for Authority must be separately filed and served with appropriate notice, for a continued hearing date for both petitions no earlier than thirty days from this date, on March 27, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.

The court notes that the trust instrument "must be reviewed by the Probate Department" for compliance with LASC Rules 4.116 and 7.903. (LASC Rule 4.115(c).) This review takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks. The Petition will accordingly be forwarded to the Probate Department for the required review, and proof of service of the petitions and all supporting documents on all interested parties must be served and filed pursuant to applicable statutes in connection with the continued hearing date.

Counsel for petitioner to prepare and submit proposed order. The proposed order should attach the special needs trust, which will require two follow up hearings, one hearing to receive approval by the special needs trust by the probate court, and a second hearing to verify plaintiffs have filed a trust petition in the probate court for the administration of the special needs trust.

Case Number: BC703916    Hearing Date: October 25, 2019    Dept: NCD

TENTATIVE RULING

Calendar: 22

Date: 10/25/19

Case No: BC 703916 Trial Date: None Set

Case Name: Fang v. Li, et al.

MOTION FOR PREFERENCE

[CCP § 36(b)]

Moving Party: Plaintiff Charlotte Fang, through her GAL

Responding Party: Defendants Fusheng Li and Lei Zhao

RELIEF REQUESTED:

Order for trial setting preference

RULING:

Motion for Trial Preference Setting is GRANTED.

The court finds the following:

1) Plaintiff has presented evidence, including the declaration of plaintiff’s mother and medical records showing that her date of birth is 7/12/17. This would make plaintiff currently over 2 years old, under the age of fourteen years; and

2) Plaintiff is the sole plaintiff in this case, suing for damages for personal injuries, and so has a substantial interest in this action.

The motion for preference is therefore GRANTED pursuant to CCP section 36(b) and the matter is set for trial on January 29, 2020 (within 120 days) with a FSC set for January 18, 2020, both set for 9:00 a.m. The court sets an OSC Re MSC for December 18, 2019 at 8:30 a.m.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND:

Plaintiff Charlotte Fang, through her GAL Juanzi Fang, alleges that plaintiffs leased a pool house from defendants Fusheng Li and Lei Zhao, (the “Homeowners”) and that defendants Tina Lai, Kuan Sung, Real Estate Elite Corp. and Remax Premier Properties acted as the listing homeowner agents for the lease, which then acted as the property managers for the premises. The complaint alleges that plaintiff’s mother repeatedly requested that a pool safety fence be installed, as plaintiff was a newborn child when the lease was entered, and also notified defendants that the door to the premises did not function properly. In April of 2018, plaintiff, who was then a nine-month-old and able to crawl, exited through the broken door and entered the pool, where she was discovered by her mother floating lifelessly at the top of the pool.

On June 14, 2019, the court granted motions for Determination of Good Faith Settlement brought by defendants and cross-complainants Real Estate Elite Corporation and Kuan Sung, defendant Re/Max, LLC and cross-defendant Tina Lai.

This motion for preference was originally heard on September 6, 2019. The court published its detailed tentative ruling, which became the order of the court, noting that admissible evidence of the minor’s age had not been submitted, and stating, “Since the statutory requirements have been met here, the preference order will accordingly be granted, assuming proof of the plaintiff’s birth date pursuant to admissible evidence.”

The court’s order states:

“An order will be made according to this timeline once there is admissible evidence of plaintiff’s birth date. Plaintiff needs a certified copy of plaintiff’s birth certificate. A declaration of counsel without more is insufficient.”

ANALYSIS:

Plaintiff Charlotte Fang, through her GAL, brings this motion pursuant to CCP § 36(b), which provides:

“A civil action to recover for wrongful death or personal injury shall be entitled to preference upon the motion of any party to the action who is under the age of 14 years unless the court finds that the party does not have a substantial interest in the case as a whole.”

The file shows that since the previous hearing, plaintiff has not submitted a certified copy of plaintiff’s birth certificate, but has submitted a declaration of Juanzi Fang, the GAL and mother of plaintiff who states, “Charlotte Fang was born on July 12, 2017 and is under the age of 14 years old.” [Fang Decl. ¶ 4]. The court finds this showing sufficient and grants the motion.

The trial should be set pursuant to CCP section 36(f), which provides:

“Upon the granting of such a motion for preference, the court shall set the matter for trial not more than 120 days from that date and there shall be no continuance beyond 120 days from the granting of the motion for preference except for physical disability of a party or a party’s attorney, or upon a showing of good cause stated in the record. Any continuance shall be for no more than 15 days and no more than one continuance for physical disability may be granted to any party.”

An order is entered according to this timeline as part of the court’s ruling granting the motion.