This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/27/2021 at 19:53:12 (UTC).

JULIE ANN GOLDBERG VS AUDI FINANCIAL SERVICES, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 10/20/2020 JULIE ANN GOLDBERG filed a Contract - Business lawsuit against AUDI FINANCIAL SERVICES. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Van Nuys Courthouse East located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is VIRGINIA KEENY. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******1210

  • Filing Date:

    10/20/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Business

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

VIRGINIA KEENY

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

GOLDBERG JULIE ANN

Defendants

VW CREDIT INC.

DOES 1 THROUGH 50 INCLUSIVE

STERLING ASSET RECOVERY INC.

TRANS UNION LLC

EXPERIAN INFORMATION SOLUTUIONS INC.

GORDON STEVE DIRECTOR OF THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES

EQUIFAX INFORMATION

AUDI FINANCIAL SERVICES

RAMIREZ ERIC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

KELETI S MARTIN

GOLDBERG JULIE ANN

Defendant Attorneys

CHENIER MAURICE L.

KAMAL SALWA

LO PHILIP H

 

Court Documents

Proof of Service by Mail

6/4/2021: Proof of Service by Mail

Notice - NOTICE DEFENDANT STERLING ASSET RECOVERY, INC.'S NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

6/4/2021: Notice - NOTICE DEFENDANT STERLING ASSET RECOVERY, INC.'S NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

Request - REQUEST FOR STAY OF CIVIL PROCEEDINGS PURSUANT TO APPELLATE COURT REVIEW (CCP 404.5)

6/9/2021: Request - REQUEST FOR STAY OF CIVIL PROCEEDINGS PURSUANT TO APPELLATE COURT REVIEW (CCP 404.5)

Association of Attorney

6/9/2021: Association of Attorney

Case Management Statement

6/21/2021: Case Management Statement

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

6/21/2021: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Case Management Statement

6/22/2021: Case Management Statement

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

7/6/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

7/6/2021: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

7/6/2021: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Amended Complaint - AMENDED COMPLAINT (1ST)

5/28/2021: Amended Complaint - AMENDED COMPLAINT (1ST)

Notice - NOTICE DEFENDANT STERLING ASSET RECOVERY, INC.'S NOTICE OF PLAINTIFF'S NON-OPPOSITION TO DEMURRER TO THE COMPLAINT OF JULIE ANN GOLDBERG

6/1/2021: Notice - NOTICE DEFENDANT STERLING ASSET RECOVERY, INC.'S NOTICE OF PLAINTIFF'S NON-OPPOSITION TO DEMURRER TO THE COMPLAINT OF JULIE ANN GOLDBERG

Association of Attorney

5/19/2021: Association of Attorney

Association of Attorney

5/19/2021: Association of Attorney

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

5/11/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 05/11/2021

5/11/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 05/11/2021

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

5/5/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 05/05/2021

5/5/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 05/05/2021

93 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 10/19/2021
  • Hearing10/19/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department W at 6230 Sylmar Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91401; Case Management Conference

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  • 07/06/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department W, Virginia Keeny, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held - Continued

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  • 07/06/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Case Management Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/06/2021
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Julie Ann Goldberg (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/06/2021
  • DocketNotice of Posting of Jury Fees; Filed by Julie Ann Goldberg (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/22/2021
  • DocketCase Management Statement; Filed by STERLING ASSET RECOVERY, INC. (Defendant)

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  • 06/21/2021
  • DocketCase Management Statement; Filed by Julie Ann Goldberg (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/21/2021
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Julie Ann Goldberg (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/09/2021
  • DocketAssociation of Attorney; Filed by Julie Ann Goldberg (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/09/2021
  • DocketRequest (for Stay of Civil Proceedings Pursuant to Appellate Court Review (CCP 404.5)); Filed by Julie Ann Goldberg (Plaintiff)

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110 More Docket Entries
  • 10/22/2020
  • DocketRequest for Dismissal; Filed by Julie Ann Goldberg (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/22/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for Temporary Restraining Ord...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/21/2020
  • DocketEx Parte Application (for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction); Filed by Julie Ann Goldberg (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/21/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/20/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Julie Ann Goldberg (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/20/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/20/2020
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Julie Ann Goldberg (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/20/2020
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Julie Ann Goldberg (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/20/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Julie Ann Goldberg (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/20/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Julie Ann Goldberg (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20VECV01210    Hearing Date: April 2, 2021    Dept: W

JULIE ANN GOLDBERG V. AUDI FINANCIAL SERVICES, ET AL.

MOTION TO SET ASIDE ENTRY OF DEFAULT AND MOTION FOR SANCTIONS

Date of Hearing: April 2, 2021 Trial Date: N/A

Department: W Case No.: 20VECV01210

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff purchased a new 2016 Audi A3 on June 18, 2020. Plaintiff alleges although she continually made payments on the vehicle, the defendant VW Credit Inc. wrongfully repossessed her car and acknowledged the repossession was done in error as a result of a Defendant’s mistake in instituting automatic bill pay. Plaintiff further alleges despite paying off the entire loan balance in full, defendant sold the car to a third party without giving plaintiff notice of the sale. Moreover, defendant continues to report erroneous negative and derogatory reports to plaintiff’s credit report plaintiff seeks damages and other relief for defendant's wrongful conduct.

On October 20, 2020, plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Audi Financial Services; VW Credit, Inc.; Eric Ramirez; Sterling Asset Recovery, Inc.; Steve Gordon Director of The California Department of Motor Vehicles; Experian Information Solutions Inc.; Trans Union LLC; and Equifax Information for 1. Violation of Cal. Civ. Code 3071; 2. Violation of Uniform Commercial Code Statue § 9-610(A); (B); 3. Negligence; 4. Consumer Fraud Act Violation – 1 Deceptive Conduct; 5. Consumer Fraud Act Violation – Unfair Conduct; 6. Conversion; 7. Defamation; 8. Violation Of The Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1681, Et Seq; 9. Violation Of California Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies Act, Cal. Civ. Code § 1785.1, Et Seq.

Plaintiff dismissed defendants Steve Gordon, Eric Ramirez, VW Credit, Inc., and Audi Financial Services.

Default was entered against defendant Sterling Asset Recovery, Inc. on February 22, 2021. Defendant Sterling now moves to set aside the default judgment.

Plaintiff filed a motion for sanctions.

TENTATIVE RULING

1. Defendant Sterling Asset Recovery, Inc.’s Motion to Set Aside Entry of Default is DENIED.

2. Plaintiff’s Motion for Sanctions is DENIED.

DISCUSSION

1. MOTION TO SET ASIDE ENTRY OF DEFAULT

Defendant Sterling Asset Recovery, Inc. moves to set aside the request for entry of default judgment filed by plaintiff Julie Ann Goldberg. Defendant brings the instant motion pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section §§473 and 473.5 on the grounds that default is void as a matter of law as service of process was not properly affected on Sterling and that plaintiff’s request was premature as a matter of law.

Defendant Sterling Asset first argues it did not receive personal service of the summons and complaint on October 23, 2020. To support this contention, Sterling submits the declaration of Saltzman, the CEO and owner of Sterling Asset Recovery, Inc. Saltzman attests “To date, Sterling has not received service of the summons and Complaint.” (Saltzman Decl. ¶13.) Although there is no presumption of valid service in this case because the proof of service was returned by an individual who is not a registered process server, the court is not persuaded by the self-serving declaration of Mr. Saltzman. Mr. Ruano attests he personally served Mr. Saltzman on October 23, 2020 in front of the plaintiff and Marco Zeferino. (Ruano Decl. ¶17.) Marco Zeferino also submits a declaration stating Julie Goldberg asked Robert Ruano to serve Adam Saltzman the summons and complaint with the exhibits, and Mr. Ruano took the papers in his presence. (Zeferino Decl. ¶¶9, 10.)

Even if the court were to accept Mr. Saltzman’s attestation that he was not served on October 23, 2020, plaintiff has provided proof of service by e-mail previously on October 21, 2020. Both parties agree a conversation took place October 21, 2020. Mr. Saltzman attests he received a phone call from plaintiff’s counsel, Mr. Ruano, indicating plaintiff filed a lawsuit against Sterling and advised him plaintiff would seek an ex parte order against Sterling and several other defendants to enjoin credit reporting and transfer of title of the subject vehicle to plaintiff. (Saltzman Decl. ¶4.) Based on Mr. Ruano’s phone call, Mr. Saltzman personally attended the ex parte hearing held in this matter. (Saltzman Decl. ¶5.) Mr. Ruano attests during the phone conversation Mr. Saltzman asked Mr. Ruano serve him a copy of the complaint via email. (Ruano Decl. ¶5.) Mr. Ruano e-mailed the copy of the complaint. (Ruano Decl. ¶9, Exh. D.) Moreover, Saltzman was served again with the complaint and summons at the ex parte.

Defendants have not submitted a reply to the opposition. While initial filing and summons must be personally served according to Code of Civil Procedure sections 415.10 to 415.95, it appears defendant accepted service via electronic service. Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 416.10(b), “[a] summons may be served on a corporation by delivering a copy of the summons and the complaint: (b) to the president, chief executive officer, or other head of the corporation, a vice president, a secretary or assistant secretary, a treasurer or assistant treasurer, a controller or chief financial officer, a general manager, or a person authorized by the corporation to receive service of process.” As stated above, Mr. Saltzman is the CEO and owner of Asset Recovery.

Defendant Sterling Asset next argues the service for agent of process did not receive service on November 13, 2020. Defendant Sterling Asset contends plaintiff’s proof of service as to Sterling sent on November 13, 2020 was sent to Sterling’s agent for service of process at an address at which he no longer received mail. Defendant Sterling Asset also contends because Sterling’s agent for service of process failed to update the address, the default should be set aside pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 473(b).

The court finds discretionary relief inappropriate. Here, the agent of service of process changed his address. (Jannoll Decl. ¶2.) However, he failed to update his address with the Secretary of State. (Jannoll Decl. ¶3.) Because of the corporation’s mistake, default was taken against the corporation. However, the court notes mandatory relief is not available here. Defendant has not submitted a declaration of attorney fault nor have they attested what, if any, was the attorney’s mistake.

Moreover, because the court finds defendant was properly served on October 23, 2020 and October 21, 2020, the court denies the motion. In addition, the court notes defendant has not attached a copy of the answer or other responsive pleading pursuant to Section 473(b).

Accordingly, defendant Sterling Asset Recovery, Inc.’s motion to set aside entry of default is DENIED.

2. MOTION FOR SANCTIONS

Plaintiff moves this court for sanctions in the amount $13,7000 on the ground attorneys for defendant improperly and frivolously removed the case to federal court despite being aware that the only federal cause of action plead in the complaint was resolved at the ex parte hearing before this court over 2 months prior to removal.

Code of Civil Procedure section 128.5 provides that “[a] trial court may order a party, the party’s attorney, or both, to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by another party as a result of actions or tactics, made in bad faith, that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay.” (CCP §128.5(a).) “‘Actions or tactics’ include, but are not limited to, the making or opposing of motions or the filing and service of a complaint, cross-complaint, answer, or other responsive pleading.” (CCP §128.5(b)(1).) “‘Frivolous’ means totally and completely without merit or for the sole purpose of harassing an opposing party.” (CCP §128.5(b)(2).)

Plaintiff contends there is no justifiable reason why defendants removed the case to federal court over two months after the federal cause of action had already been resolved in open court pursuant to settlement and all defendants related to the federal cause of action had been voluntarily dismissed. Specifically, plaintiff contends defendant was in default when he removed the case to federal court, and by removing the case to federal court, defendant Sterling and its attorneys engaged in bad faith tactics, unsupported by law, for the sole purpose of causing delay and attorney fees and costs to be incurred by plaintiff.

In opposition, defendant argues plaintiff failed to comply with the safe harbor provisions. Code of Civil Procedure section 128.5 states that the requesting party must provide notice of the motion pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 1010 and shall not file “unless 21 days after service of the motion… the challenged action or tactic is not withdrawn or appropriately corrected.” The safe harbor provision does not apply neatly in this case, as plaintiff is complaining of an alleged action (removal) which could not be withdrawn or appropriately corrected.

Nonetheless, the court finds sanctions are not warranted here. Although plaintiff had dismissed the federal claims against the other defendants, the complaint alleged the violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act cause of action against all defendants – including defendant Sterling. Because Plaintiff’s FCRA claim remained pending against Sterling, there is nothing to suggest that defendant Sterling acted in bad faith. Defendant was not obligated to inform plaintiff of its intention to file a notice of removal. The court also notes plaintiff’s claims that defendant failed to inform them or the court that they were being investigated by the DMV is not grounds for sanctions under section 128.5.

In opposition, defendant also seeks an award of $18,410 commensurate with its reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees incurred in opposing Plaintiff’s motion.

However, the court finds the sanctions are not warranted at this time.

Accordingly, plaintiff’s motion for sanctions DENIED.

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