This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/28/2019 at 10:24:20 (UTC).

KEITH OLDHAM, ET AL VS JAY PRESS, ET AL

Case Summary

On 07/17/2017 KEITH OLDHAM filed a Property - Other Real Property lawsuit against JAY PRESS. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Torrance Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are RAMONA G. SEE and DEIRDRE HILL. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****2192

  • Filing Date:

    07/17/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Real Property

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Torrance Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

RAMONA G. SEE

DEIRDRE HILL

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

OLDHAM KEITH

OLDHAM MICHEALANN

Defendants

QUALITY LOAN SERVICE CORP.

DOES 1 THROUGH 50 INCLUSIVE

ANY PERSON CLAIMING AN INTEREST IN ...

SELECT PORTFOLIO SERVICES

PRESS JAY

PRESS ROCIO A.

... ANY PERSON CLAIMING AN INTEREST IN

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

LARRY D. LEWELLYN ESQ.

LEWELLYN LARRY DARRYL

Defendant Attorneys

WRIGHT FINLAY & ZAK

GIFFORD KAELEE MICHELLE

 

Court Documents

Certificate of Mailing for

6/5/2019: Certificate of Mailing for

Minute Order

6/5/2019: Minute Order

Notice of Case Management Conference

7/17/2017: Notice of Case Management Conference

Summons

7/17/2017: Summons

Legacy Document

7/27/2017: Legacy Document

Request for Judicial Notice

10/13/2017: Request for Judicial Notice

Legacy Document

11/8/2017: Legacy Document

Request for Judicial Notice

11/8/2017: Request for Judicial Notice

Case Management Statement

12/5/2017: Case Management Statement

Legacy Document

1/4/2018: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

4/13/2018: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

5/22/2018: Legacy Document

Case Management Statement

9/7/2018: Case Management Statement

Case Management Statement

9/26/2018: Case Management Statement

Notice of Case Management Conference

11/9/2018: Notice of Case Management Conference

Order

11/14/2018: Order

Declaration

11/14/2018: Declaration

Reply

12/3/2018: Reply

54 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/05/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Post-Mediation Status Conference - Held

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  • 06/05/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (as to unserved/undefaulted defendants) - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 06/05/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Post-Mediation Status Conference; Order to Show Cause Re: Dis...)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/05/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (Post-Mediation Status Conference; Order to Show Cause Re: Dis...) of 06/05/2019); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/29/2019
  • Case Management Statement; Filed by KEITH OLDHAM (Plaintiff); MICHEALANN OLDHAM (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/15/2019
  • Case Management Statement; Filed by SELECT PORTFOLIO SERVICES (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/04/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Post-Mediation Status Conference (and/or Trial Setting Conference) - Held

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/04/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (Post-Mediation Status Conference and/or Trial Setting Conference) of 03/04/2019); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/04/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Post-Mediation Status Conference and/or Trial Setting Conference)); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/11/2019
  • Answer; Filed by SELECT PORTFOLIO SERVICES (Defendant)

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76 More Docket Entries
  • 10/04/2017
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by JAY PRESS (Defendant)

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  • 09/11/2017
  • at 00:00 AM in Department 11; Unknown Event Type

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/29/2017
  • Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/29/2017
  • Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 08/09/2017
  • Notice of Related Case; Filed by SELECT PORTFOLIO SERVICES (Defendant)

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  • 07/27/2017
  • OSC-RE Other (Miscellaneous); Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/17/2017
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/17/2017
  • Summons; Filed by KEITH OLDHAM (Plaintiff); MICHEALANN OLDHAM (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/17/2017
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by KEITH OLDHAM (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/17/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by KEITH OLDHAM (Plaintiff); MICHEALANN OLDHAM (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: YC072192    Hearing Date: September 10, 2020    Dept: M

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Southwest District

Torrance Dept. M

KEITH OLDHAM, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

Case No.:

YC072192

vs.

RULING

JAY PRESS, et al.,

Defendants.

Hearing Date: September 10, 2020

Moving Parties: Plaintiffs Keith Oldham, et al.

Responding Party: Defendant Select Portfolio Services

Motion for Reconsideration of Order Denying Continuance and Order Granting Motion for Summary Judgment

The court considered the moving and opposition papers.

RULING

The motion is DENIED as it is untimely. As the court finds the motion untimely, the court declines to hear any argument on the merits.

BACKGROUND

On July 17, 2017, plaintiffs Keith Oldham and Michealann Oldham filed a complaint against Jay Press, Rocio A. Press, Select Portfolio Services, Quality Loan Services Corp., and any person claiming an interest in 28633 Mount Rose Road, Rancho Palos Verdes for (1) quiet title, (2) declaratory relief, (3) specific performance, (4) injunctive relief, (5) breach of contract, (6) inducing breach of contract, (7) intentional interference with contract, (8) intentional interference with prospective business advantage, (9) fraud, and (10) negligence.

On November 8, 2017, plaintiffs filed a FAC.

On March 26, 2018, the court overruled defendant Select Portfolio’s demurrer to the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th causes of action and sustained the demurrer as to the 3rd, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On April 13, 2018, plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint.

On June 5, 2018, the court sustained the demurrer with leave to amend as to the 4th, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On June 25, 2018, plaintiffs filed a Third Amended Complaint.

On December 10, 2018, the court sustained defendant’s demurrer without leave to amend as to the 4th, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On October 18, 2019, Select Portfolio filed its motion for summary judgment, set for hearing on January 7, 2020.

On January 3, 2020, at an ex parte hearing, at the request of plaintiffs, the hearing on the MSJ was continued to May 12, 2020.

On April 6, 2020, the court continued the hearing on the MSJ for May 12, 2020 to June 25, 2020.

On June 25, 2020, the court denied plaintiffs’ ex parte application (filed on June 23, 2020) to continue the hearing on the motion for summary judgment.

On June 25, 2020, the court granted Select Portfolio’s motion for summary judgment.

On July 15, 2020, judgment was entered in favor of Select Portfolio.

On July 16, 2020, plaintiff filed a motion for reconsideration.

LEGAL AUTHORITY

Under CCP §1008(a), “When an application for an order has been made to a judge, or to a court, and refused in whole or in part, or granted, or granted conditionally, or on terms, any party affected by the order may, within 10 days after service upon the party of written notice of entry of the order and based upon new or different facts, circumstances, or law, make application to the same judge or court that made the order, to reconsider the matter and modify, amend, or revoke the prior order. The party making the application shall state by affidavit what application was made before, when and to what judge, what order or decisions were made, and what new or different facts, circumstances, or law are claimed to be shown.”

As stated by the court in Gilberd v. AC Transit (1995) 32 Cal. App. 4th 1494, CCP §1008 governs reconsideration of court orders whether initiated by a party or the court itself. “It is the exclusive means for modifying, amending or revoking an order. That limitation is expressly jurisdictional.” Id. at 1499.

CCP §128(a) states, “Every court shall have the power to do all of the following: . . . (8) To amend and control its process and orders so as to make them conform to law and justice. . . .

DISCUSSION

Plaintiffs request that the court reconsider its order dated June 25, 2020 denying plaintiffs’ request for a continuance of the hearing on the motion for summary judgment and granting defendant Select Portfolio’s motion for summary judgment.

The court finds that the motion was filed untimely under CCP §1008(a).

The clerk served notice by mail of the court’s ruling on June 25, 2020. The deadline for filing a motion for reconsideration was July 10, 2020. The motion was filed on July 16, 2020, six days past the deadline.

The motion is thus DENIED.

Defendant Select Portfolio is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

The court considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers.

Case Number: YC072192    Hearing Date: July 23, 2020    Dept: M

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Southwest District

Torrance Dept. M

KEITH OLDHAM, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

Case No.:

YC072192

vs.

[Tentative] RULING

JAY PRESS, et al.,

Defendants.

Hearing Date: July 23, 2020 (continued from July 21, 2020)

Moving Parties: Defendant Jay Press

Responding Party: Plaintiffs Keith and Michealann Oldham

Demurrer to Third Amended Complaint (filed on April 3, 2020)

The court considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers. The court also considered oral argument and the joinder.

RULING

The demurrer is OVERRULED as to the 3rd cause of action for breach of contract and SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND as to the 6th cause of action for intentional interference with contract in the TAC as to Jay Press and Rocio Press.

BACKGROUND

On July 17, 2017, plaintiffs Keith Oldham and Michealann Oldham filed a complaint against Jay Press, Rocio A. Press, Select Portfolio Services, Quality Loan Services Corp., and any person claiming an interest in 28633 Mount Rose Road, Rancho Palos Verdes for (1) quiet title, (2) declaratory relief, (3) specific performance, (4) injunctive relief, (5) breach of contract, (6) inducing breach of contract, (7) intentional interference with contract, (8) intentional interference with prospective business advantage, (9) fraud, and (10) negligence.

On November 8, 2017, plaintiffs filed a FAC.

On March 26, 2018, the court overruled defendant Select Portfolio’s demurrer to the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th causes of action and sustained the demurrer as to the 3rd, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On April 13, 2018, plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint for (1) quiet title, (2) declaratory relief, (3) breach of contract, (4) fraud and deceit, (5) inducing breach of contract, (6) intentional interference with contract, (7) intentional interference with prospective business advantage, (8) negligence, and (9) negligent interference with contract.

On June 5, 2018, the court sustained SPS’s demurrer with leave to amend as to the 4th, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On June 25, 2018, plaintiffs filed a Third Amended Complaint.

On December 10, 2018, the court sustained defendant SPS’s demurrer without leave to amend as to the 4th, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On April 23, 2020, defendants Jay Press and Rocio Press filed a cross-complaint for (1) quiet title, (2) declaratory relief, (3) conversion, and (4) IIED.

LEGAL AUTHORITY

When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations liberally and in context. Taylor v. City of Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power (2006) 144 Cal. App. 4th 1216, 1228. “A demurrer tests the pleadings alone and not the evidence or other extrinsic matters. Therefore, it lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed.” SKF Farms v. Superior Court (1984) 153 Cal. App. 3d 902, 905. “The only issue involved in a demurrer hearing is whether the complaint, as it stands, unconnected with extraneous matters, states a cause of action.” Hahn v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal. App. 4th 740, 747.

The court may, upon a motion, or at any time in its discretion, and upon terms it deems proper, strike any irrelevant, false, or improper matter inserted in any pleading. CCP § 436(a). The court may also strike all or any part of any pleading not drawn or filed in conformity with the laws of this state, a court rule, or an order of the court. CCP § 436(b). The grounds for a motion to strike are that the pleading has irrelevant, false or improper matter, or has not been drawn or filed in conformity with laws. CCP § 436. The grounds for moving to strike must appear on the face of the pleading or by way of judicial notice. CCP § 437.

The court may, upon a motion, or at any time in its discretion, and upon terms it deems proper, strike any irrelevant, false, or improper matter inserted in any pleading. CCP § 436(a). The court may also strike all or any part of any pleading not drawn or filed in conformity with the laws of this state, a court rule, or an order of the court. CCP § 436(b). The grounds for a motion to strike are that the pleading has irrelevant, false or improper matter, or has not been drawn or filed in conformity with laws. CCP § 436. The grounds for moving to strike must appear on the face of the pleading or by way of judicial notice. CCP § 437.

DISCUSSION

Defendant Jay Press demurs to the 3rd cause of action for breach of contract and 6th cause of action for intentional interference with contract in the TAC on the ground that they fail to state sufficient facts to constitute a cause of action against defendant. Defendant Rocio Press joined in the demurrer.

In the TAC, plaintiffs allege that the Presses are the former owners of the real property located at 28633 Mount Rose Roade, Rancho Palos Verdes. TAC, ¶9. On December 31, 2012, while the Presses were severely behind in their mortgage they received notice of trustee’s sale of the property. Shortly thereafter, the Presses benefitted from several postponements of the sale so that no foreclosure occurred. Id., ¶10. On August 1, 2013, plaintiffs and the Presses executed a written purchase agreement where the Presses agreed to sell the property to plaintiffs as a short sale. The terms of the sale called for plaintiffs to pay a purchase price of $650,000. The short sale was agreed to by defendant Select Portfolio via faxed letter, which was adopted by the parties and thereby became part of the contract. Id., ¶11. Plaintiffs have performed all conditions precedent to their purchase of the property, including having loan approval. Plaintiffs deposited $20,000 into escrow on May 12, 2014. Id., ¶13.

The TAC further alleges that defendants are in breach of the express and implied terms and conditions of the purchase agreement in that (1) Mrs. Press refused to allow final entry into the property for an updated appraisal; (2) Mrs. Press refused to execute the deed of transfer and other final escrow documents needed for the sale; (3) defendants refused to communicate with plaintiffs, the agents, escrow, or anyone else who is a part of the transaction; (4) defendant SPS refused to permit a short sale to go forward in that (i) SPS failed or refused to acknowledge that the Presses had executed a grant deed transferring all of their ownership interest in the property to plaintiffs, (ii) even through SPS knew of the foregoing transfer from the Presses to plaintiffs and had already agreed to the short sale, SPS began to thwart plaintiffs’ efforts to close escrow, (iii) even though SPS knew of the foregoing facts, they made a formal offer of a loan modification as to the property to the Presses at a time when SPS knew the property was legally owned by plaintiffs. Id., ¶15.

The TAC further alleges that the Presses maintained occupation of the property without paying their mortgage for approximately two years resulting in prior default notices and a notice of trustee’s sale to be recorded. Id., ¶16. Escrow was scheduled to close on June 27, 2014. Exigent circumstances existed since the lender had indicated no further extensions would be granted and that the property would be foreclosed upon without the need for any additional notice. Id., ¶17. Despite agreeing to the short sale, SPS refused to communicate with plaintiffs or otherwise cooperate in the sale process. Defendants SPS and Quality Loan Service scheduled a foreclosure sale for July 19, 2017 and plaintiffs are seeking judicial assistance to compel defendants to complete the pending sale of the property. Id., ¶18.

3rd cause of action for breach of contract

“To state a cause of action for breach of contract, [plaintiff] must plead the contract, his performance of the contract or excuse for nonperformance, [defendant’s] breach and the resulting damage. (Lortz v. Connell (1969) 273 Cal. App. 2d 286, 290). Further, the complaint must indicate on its face whether the contract is written, oral, or implied by conduct. If the action is based on an alleged breach of a written contract, the terms must be set out verbatim in the body of the complaint or a copy of the written instrument must be attached and incorporated by reference. (Wise v. Southern Pacific Co. (1963) 223 Cal. App. 2d 50, 59.)” Otworth v. Southern Pacific Transportation Co. (1985) 166 Cal. App. 3d 452, 458-59. “To state a cause of action for breach of contract, it is absolutely essential to plead the terms of the contract either in haec verba or according to legal effect.” Twaite v. Allstate Ins. Co. (1989) 216 Cal. App. 3d 239, 252.

Defendant J. Press argues that the short sale agreement contained multiple conditions precedent, which were required to be satisfied before any contractual rights or contractual duties against the Presses or SPS were triggered. Specifically, defendant contends, the agreement required the approval of the short sale by all parties involved in the transaction. Defendant argues that the Presses and SPS did not agree to the short sale prior to the June 27, 2014 closing date or thereafter.

In its ruling on March 26, 2018, on SPS’s demurrer to the FAC, the court found that the allegations were sufficient to state a claim for breach of contract. In any event, the allegations are sufficient to state a claim against J. Press and R. Press.

The demurrer is OVERRULED.

6th cause of action for intentional interference with contract

“The elements which a plaintiff must plead to state the cause of action for intentional interference with contractual relations are (1) a valid contract between plaintiff and a third party; (2) defendant’s knowledge of this contract; (3) defendant’s intentional acts designed to induce a breach or disruption of the contractual relationship; (4) actual breach or disruption of the contractual relationship; and (5) resulting damages.” Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Bear Stearns & Co. (1990) 50 Cal. 3d 1118, 1126.

“California recognizes a cause of action against noncontracting parties who interfere with the performance of a contract. ‘It has long been held that a stranger to a contract may be liable in tort for intentionally interfering with the performance of the contract.’ However, consistent with its underlying policy of protecting the expectations of contracting parties against frustration by outsiders who have no legitimate social or economic interest in the contractual relationship, the tort cause of action for interference with contract does not lie against a party to the contract.” Applied Equip. Corp. v. Litton Saudi Arabia, Ltd. (1994) 7 Cal. 4th 503, 514 (citations omitted).

Defendant argues that there was no underlying contract or duty under the short sale agreement. Further, defendant argues, there was no third party interference. As defendant argues, the TAC alleges that defendants were a party to the agreement and thus the cause of action cannot lie against a party to the contract.

In opposition, plaintiffs’ sole argument is that this ground could have been raised to an earlier version of the complaint.

The court finds that plaintiffs have not sufficiently alleged a valid contract between plaintiffs and a third party of which the Presses interfered; rather, plaintiffs allege a contract with the Presses.

The demurrer is thus SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

Defendant Jay Press is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

**********************************

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Southwest District

Torrance Dept. M

KEITH OLDHAM, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

Case No.:

YC072192

vs.

[Tentative] RULING

JAY PRESS, et al.,

Defendants.

Hearing Date: July 23, 2020 (continued from July 21, 2020)

Moving Parties: Defendant Rocio Press

Responding Party: None

Demurrer to Third Amended Complaint

The court considered the moving papers, oral argument, and the joinder.

RULING

The demurrer is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND as to the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th causes of action in the TAC as to Rocio Press and Jay Press.

BACKGROUND

On July 17, 2017, plaintiffs Keith Oldham and Michealann Oldham filed a complaint against Jay Press, Rocio A. Press, Select Portfolio Services, Quality Loan Services Corp., and any person claiming an interest in 28633 Mount Rose Road, Rancho Palos Verdes for (1) quiet title, (2) declaratory relief, (3) specific performance, (4) injunctive relief, (5) breach of contract, (6) inducing breach of contract, (7) intentional interference with contract, (8) intentional interference with prospective business advantage, (9) fraud, and (10) negligence.

On November 8, 2017, plaintiffs filed a FAC.

On March 26, 2018, the court overruled defendant Select Portfolio’s demurrer to the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th causes of action and sustained the demurrer as to the 3rd, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On April 13, 2018, plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint for (1) quiet title, (2) declaratory relief, (3) breach of contract, (4) fraud and deceit, (5) inducing breach of contract, (6) intentional interference with contract, (7) intentional interference with prospective business advantage, (8) negligence, and (9) negligent interference with contract.

On June 5, 2018, the court sustained SPS’s demurrer with leave to amend as to the 4th, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On June 25, 2018, plaintiffs filed a Third Amended Complaint.

On December 10, 2018, the court sustained defendant SPS’s demurrer without leave to amend as to the 4th, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On April 23, 2020, defendants Jay Press and Rocio Press filed a cross-complaint for (1) quiet title, (2) declaratory relief, (3) conversion, and (4) IIED.

LEGAL AUTHORITY

When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations liberally and in context. Taylor v. City of Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power (2006) 144 Cal. App. 4th 1216, 1228. “A demurrer tests the pleadings alone and not the evidence or other extrinsic matters. Therefore, it lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed.” SKF Farms v. Superior Court (1984) 153 Cal. App. 3d 902, 905. “The only issue involved in a demurrer hearing is whether the complaint, as it stands, unconnected with extraneous matters, states a cause of action.” Hahn v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal. App. 4th 740, 747.

The court may, upon a motion, or at any time in its discretion, and upon terms it deems proper, strike any irrelevant, false, or improper matter inserted in any pleading. CCP § 436(a). The court may also strike all or any part of any pleading not drawn or filed in conformity with the laws of this state, a court rule, or an order of the court. CCP § 436(b). The grounds for a motion to strike are that the pleading has irrelevant, false or improper matter, or has not been drawn or filed in conformity with laws. CCP § 436. The grounds for moving to strike must appear on the face of the pleading or by way of judicial notice. CCP § 437.

The court may, upon a motion, or at any time in its discretion, and upon terms it deems proper, strike any irrelevant, false, or improper matter inserted in any pleading. CCP § 436(a). The court may also strike all or any part of any pleading not drawn or filed in conformity with the laws of this state, a court rule, or an order of the court. CCP § 436(b). The grounds for a motion to strike are that the pleading has irrelevant, false or improper matter, or has not been drawn or filed in conformity with laws. CCP § 436. The grounds for moving to strike must appear on the face of the pleading or by way of judicial notice. CCP § 437.

DISCUSSION

Defendant Rocio Press demurs to the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th causes of action in the TAC on the ground that they fail to state sufficient facts to constitute a cause of action against defendant. Jay Press joins in the demurrer.

In the TAC, plaintiffs allege that the Presses are the former owners of the real property located at 28633 Mount Rose Roade, Rancho Palos Verdes. TAC, ¶9. On December 31, 2012, while the Presses were severely behind in their mortgage they received notice of trustee’s sale of the property. Shortly thereafter, the Presses benefitted from several postponements of the sale so that no foreclosure occurred. Id., ¶10. On August 1, 2013, plaintiffs and the Presses executed a written purchase agreement where the Presses agreed to sell the property to plaintiffs as a short sale. The terms of the sale called for plaintiffs to pay a purchase price of $650,000. The short sale was agreed to by defendant Select Portfolio via faxed letter, which was adopted by the parties and thereby became part of the contract. Id., ¶11. Plaintiffs have performed all conditions precedent to their purchase of the property, including having loan approval. Plaintiffs deposited $20,000 into escrow on May 12, 2014. Id., ¶13.

The TAC further alleges that defendants are in breach of the express and implied terms and conditions of the purchase agreement in that (1) Mrs. Press refused to allow final entry into the property for an updated appraisal; (2) Mrs. Press refused to execute the deed of transfer and other final escrow documents needed for the sale; (3) defendants refused to communicate with plaintiffs, the agents, escrow, or anyone else who is a part of the transaction; (4) defendant SPS refused to permit a short sale to go forward in that (i) SPS failed or refused to acknowledge that the Presses had executed a grant deed transferring all of their ownership interest in the property to plaintiffs, (ii) even through SPS knew of the foregoing transfer from the Presses to plaintiffs and had already agreed to the short sale, SPS began to thwart plaintiffs’ efforts to close escrow, (iii) even though SPS knew of the foregoing facts, they made a formal offer of a loan modification as to the property to the Presses at a time when SPS knew the property was legally owned by plaintiffs. Id., ¶15.

The TAC further alleges that the Presses maintained occupation of the property without paying their mortgage for approximately two years resulting in prior default notices and a notice of trustee’s sale to be recorded. Id., ¶16. Escrow was scheduled to close on June 27, 2014. Exigent circumstances existed since the lender had indicated no further extensions would be granted and that the property would be foreclosed upon without the need for any additional notice. Id., ¶17. Despite agreeing to the short sale, SPS refused to communicate with plaintiffs or otherwise cooperate in the sale process. Defendants SPS and Quality Loan Service scheduled a foreclosure sale for July 19, 2017 and plaintiffs are seeking judicial assistance to compel defendants to complete the pending sale of the property. Id., ¶18.

In its ruling on March 26, 2018, on SPS’s demurrer to the FAC, the court found that the allegations were sufficient to state a claim for breach of contract. In any event, the allegations are sufficient to state a claim against R. Press.

The demurrer is thus OVERRULED.

4th cause of action for fraud and deceit

The elements of a fraud claim are (1) misrepresentation; (2) knowledge of falsity; (3) intent to deceive; and (4) reliance and resulting damage. Vega v. Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue (2004) 121 Cal. App. 4th 282, 290. “To withstand demurrer, the facts constituting every element of fraud must be alleged with particularity, and the claim cannot be salvaged by references to the general policy favoring the liberal construction of pleadings.” Goldrich v. Natural Y Surgical Specialties, Inc. (1994) 25 Cal. App. 4th 772, 782. The particularity requirement necessitates pleadings facts that “show how, when, where, to whom, and by what means the representations were tendered.” Lazar v. Superior Court (1996) 12 Cal. 4th 631, 645. With regard to fraud claims, pleadings must allege facts as to “how, when, where, to whom, and by what means the representations were tendered.” Stansfield v. Starkey (1990) 220 Cal. App. 3d 59, 73. Additionally, “[t]he requirement of specificity in a fraud action against a corporation requires the plaintiff to allege the names of the persons who made the allegedly fraudulent representations, their authority to speak, to whom they spoke, what they said or wrote, and when it was said or written.” Tarmann v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co. (1991) 2 Cal. App. 4th 153, 157.

Under this claim, plaintiffs allege that on May 6, 2014, Jyothsna Mekala faxed an eight-page letter on SPS’ letterhead to Keller, who are the brokers for the sale as indicated in the Short Sale Contract, promising that if plaintiffs fulfilled their duties pursuant to the contract, namely provide a compromised payout from the proceeds of a refinance of the subject real property, then SPS would arrange for all ownership interest in the property to be transferred from the Presses to plaintiffs by way of short sale. Plaintiffs believed that Mekala had authority to send the fax. The Presses also promised to cooperate with plaintiffs in transferring ownership of the property from the Presses to plaintiffs. TAC, ¶54. At the time the Presses and SPS made the promise to plaintiffs, they had no intention of fulfilling it because no attempt was made by them to abide by that promise and they counteracted that promise by making a formal offer of a loan modification to the Presses when SPS knew the property was legally owned by plaintiffs. Id., ¶55. The promise was made by defendants to induce plaintiffs to provide money by depositing $20,000 into escrow. Id., ¶¶56-57.

Defendant argues that the allegations are insufficient to show false promise or fraud by the Presses because the short sale agreement contained multiple conditions precedent, which were required to be satisfied before any contractual rights or contractual duties against the Presses or SPS were triggered. Specifically, the approval of the short sale by all parties involved in the transaction was required before any contractual rights or contractual duties arose.

On December 10, 2018, the court sustained defendant SPS’s demurrer without leave to amend as to this cause of action. The same rationale applies to defendants R. Press and J. Press.

The demurrer is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

5th cause of action for inducing breach of contract

This cause of action is asserted only against SPS and JPMorgan.

The demurrer is MOOT as to this cause of action.

7th cause of action for intentional interference with prospective business advantage

“Intentional interference with prospective economic advantage has five elements: (1) the existence, between the plaintiff and some third party, of an economic relationship that contains the probability of future economic benefit to the plaintiff; (2) the defendants’ knowledge of the relationship; (3) intentionally wrongful acts designed to disrupt the relationship; and (5) economic harm proximately caused by the defendants’ action.” Roy Allen Slurry Seal, Inc. v. American Asphalt South, Inc. (2017) 2 Cal. 5th 505, 512 (citation omitted). There can be no recovery unless plaintiffs can show that, except for the tortious interference, there was a reasonable probability that the contract or profit would have been obtained. Korea Supply Co. v. Lockheed Martin Corp. (2003) 29 Cal. 4th 1134, 1164.

The TAC alleges that a contract existed between the Presses and plaintiffs. TAC, ¶69. SPS intended to disrupt the Presses’ performance of the contract. Id., ¶71. SPS’ conduct prevented the Presses from performing the contract. Id., ¶72. Plaintiffs were harmed by the breach. Id., ¶73.

On December 10, 2018, the court sustained defendant SPS’s demurrer without leave to amend as to this cause of action. The court ruled that the TAC’s allegations are not sufficient to establish a false representation by defendant SPS because the TAC relies on an exhibit that controverts its allegations. “Thus, Plaintiffs fail to allege a wrongful act that disrupted their alleged economic relationship with the Presses.” Minute Order dated December 10, 2018. Further, the allegations are insufficient as to the Presses because there is no allegation of an agreement between plaintiffs and some third party or of an intentionally wrongful act by the Presses designed to disrupt the relationship.

The demurrer is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

8th cause of action for negligence

On December 10, 2018, the court sustained without leave to amend SPS’ demurrer to this cause of action, determining that “Plaintiffs are not even borrowers on the loan. Plaintiffs and Defendants had not relationship, contractual or otherwise, after the short sale agreement expired on June 27, 2014. Defendant’s alleged wrongdoing appears to have taken place well after that.”

As to the Presses, the allegations are insufficient to show duty or breach as to plaintiffs.

The demurrer is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

Defendant Rocio Press is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Case Number: YC072192    Hearing Date: July 21, 2020    Dept: M

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Southwest District

Torrance Dept. M

KEITH OLDHAM, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

Case No.:

YC072192

vs.

[Tentative] RULING

JAY PRESS, et al.,

Defendants.

Hearing Date: July 21, 2020

Moving Parties: Defendant Jay Press

Responding Party: Plaintiffs Keith and Michealann Oldham

Demurrer to Third Amended Complaint (filed on April 3, 2020)

The court considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers.

RULING

The demurrer is OVERRULED as to the 3rd cause of action for breach of contract and SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND as to the 6th cause of action for intentional interference with contract.

BACKGROUND

On July 17, 2017, plaintiffs Keith Oldham and Michealann Oldham filed a complaint against Jay Press, Rocio A. Press, Select Portfolio Services, Quality Loan Services Corp., and any person claiming an interest in 28633 Mount Rose Road, Rancho Palos Verdes for (1) quiet title, (2) declaratory relief, (3) specific performance, (4) injunctive relief, (5) breach of contract, (6) inducing breach of contract, (7) intentional interference with contract, (8) intentional interference with prospective business advantage, (9) fraud, and (10) negligence.

On November 8, 2017, plaintiffs filed a FAC.

On March 26, 2018, the court overruled defendant Select Portfolio’s demurrer to the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th causes of action and sustained the demurrer as to the 3rd, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On April 13, 2018, plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint for (1) quiet title, (2) declaratory relief, (3) breach of contract, (4) fraud and deceit, (5) inducing breach of contract, (6) intentional interference with contract, (7) intentional interference with prospective business advantage, (8) negligence, and (9) negligent interference with contract.

On June 5, 2018, the court sustained SPS’s demurrer with leave to amend as to the 4th, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On June 25, 2018, plaintiffs filed a Third Amended Complaint.

On December 10, 2018, the court sustained defendant SPS’s demurrer without leave to amend as to the 4th, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On April 23, 2020, defendants Jay Press and Rocio Press filed a cross-complaint for (1) quiet title, (2) declaratory relief, (3) conversion, and (4) IIED.

LEGAL AUTHORITY

When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations liberally and in context. Taylor v. City of Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power (2006) 144 Cal. App. 4th 1216, 1228. “A demurrer tests the pleadings alone and not the evidence or other extrinsic matters. Therefore, it lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed.” SKF Farms v. Superior Court (1984) 153 Cal. App. 3d 902, 905. “The only issue involved in a demurrer hearing is whether the complaint, as it stands, unconnected with extraneous matters, states a cause of action.” Hahn v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal. App. 4th 740, 747.

The court may, upon a motion, or at any time in its discretion, and upon terms it deems proper, strike any irrelevant, false, or improper matter inserted in any pleading. CCP § 436(a). The court may also strike all or any part of any pleading not drawn or filed in conformity with the laws of this state, a court rule, or an order of the court. CCP § 436(b). The grounds for a motion to strike are that the pleading has irrelevant, false or improper matter, or has not been drawn or filed in conformity with laws. CCP § 436. The grounds for moving to strike must appear on the face of the pleading or by way of judicial notice. CCP § 437.

The court may, upon a motion, or at any time in its discretion, and upon terms it deems proper, strike any irrelevant, false, or improper matter inserted in any pleading. CCP § 436(a). The court may also strike all or any part of any pleading not drawn or filed in conformity with the laws of this state, a court rule, or an order of the court. CCP § 436(b). The grounds for a motion to strike are that the pleading has irrelevant, false or improper matter, or has not been drawn or filed in conformity with laws. CCP § 436. The grounds for moving to strike must appear on the face of the pleading or by way of judicial notice. CCP § 437.

DISCUSSION

Defendant Jay Press demurs to the 3rd cause of action for breach of contract and 6th cause of action for intentional interference with contract in the TAC on the ground that they fail to state sufficient facts to constitute a cause of action against defendant.

In the TAC, plaintiffs allege that the Presses are the former owners of the real property located at 28633 Mount Rose Roade, Rancho Palos Verdes. TAC, ¶9. On December 31, 2012, while the Presses were severely behind in their mortgage they received notice of trustee’s sale of the property. Shortly thereafter, the Presses benefitted from several postponements of the sale so that no foreclosure occurred. Id., ¶10. On August 1, 2013, plaintiffs and the Presses executed a written purchase agreement where the Presses agreed to sell the property to plaintiffs as a short sale. The terms of the sale called for plaintiffs to pay a purchase price of $650,000. The short sale was agreed to by defendant Select Portfolio via faxed letter, which was adopted by the parties and thereby became part of the contract. Id., ¶11. Plaintiffs have performed all conditions precedent to their purchase of the property, including having loan approval. Plaintiffs deposited $20,000 into escrow on May 12, 2014. Id., ¶13.

The TAC further alleges that defendants are in breach of the express and implied terms and conditions of the purchase agreement in that (1) Mrs. Press refused to allow final entry into the property for an updated appraisal; (2) Mrs. Press refused to execute the deed of transfer and other final escrow documents needed for the sale; (3) defendants refused to communicate with plaintiffs, the agents, escrow, or anyone else who is a part of the transaction; (4) defendant SPS refused to permit a short sale to go forward in that (i) SPS failed or refused to acknowledge that the Presses had executed a grant deed transferring all of their ownership interest in the property to plaintiffs, (ii) even through SPS knew of the foregoing transfer from the Presses to plaintiffs and had already agreed to the short sale, SPS began to thwart plaintiffs’ efforts to close escrow, (iii) even though SPS knew of the foregoing facts, they made a formal offer of a loan modification as to the property to the Presses at a time when SPS knew the property was legally owned by plaintiffs. Id., ¶15.

The TAC further alleges that the Presses maintained occupation of the property without paying their mortgage for approximately two years resulting in prior default notices and a notice of trustee’s sale to be recorded. Id., ¶16. Escrow was scheduled to close on June 27, 2014. Exigent circumstances existed since the lender had indicated no further extensions would be granted and that the property would be foreclosed upon without the need for any additional notice. Id., ¶17. Despite agreeing to the short sale, SPS refused to communicate with plaintiffs or otherwise cooperate in the sale process. Defendants SPS and Quality Loan Service scheduled a foreclosure sale for July 19, 2017 and plaintiffs are seeking judicial assistance to compel defendants to complete the pending sale of the property. Id., ¶18.

3rd cause of action for breach of contract

“To state a cause of action for breach of contract, [plaintiff] must plead the contract, his performance of the contract or excuse for nonperformance, [defendant’s] breach and the resulting damage. (Lortz v. Connell (1969) 273 Cal. App. 2d 286, 290). Further, the complaint must indicate on its face whether the contract is written, oral, or implied by conduct. If the action is based on an alleged breach of a written contract, the terms must be set out verbatim in the body of the complaint or a copy of the written instrument must be attached and incorporated by reference. (Wise v. Southern Pacific Co. (1963) 223 Cal. App. 2d 50, 59.)” Otworth v. Southern Pacific Transportation Co. (1985) 166 Cal. App. 3d 452, 458-59. “To state a cause of action for breach of contract, it is absolutely essential to plead the terms of the contract either in haec verba or according to legal effect.” Twaite v. Allstate Ins. Co. (1989) 216 Cal. App. 3d 239, 252.

Defendant J. Press argues that the short sale agreement contained multiple conditions precedent, which were required to be satisfied before any contractual rights or contractual duties against the Presses or SPS were triggered. Specifically, defendant contends, the agreement required the approval of the short sale by all parties involved in the transaction. Defendant argues that the Presses and SPS did not agree to the short sale prior to the June 27, 2014 closing date or thereafter.

In its ruling on March 26, 2018, on SPS’s demurrer to the FAC, the court found that the allegations were sufficient to state a claim for breach of contract. In any event, the allegations are sufficient to state a claim against J. Press.

The demurrer is thus OVERRULED.

6th cause of action for intentional interference with contract

“The elements which a plaintiff must plead to state the cause of action for intentional interference with contractual relations are (1) a valid contract between plaintiff and a third party; (2) defendant’s knowledge of this contract; (3) defendant’s intentional acts designed to induce a breach or disruption of the contractual relationship; (4) actual breach or disruption of the contractual relationship; and (5) resulting damages.” Pacific Gas & Electric Co. v. Bear Stearns & Co. (1990) 50 Cal. 3d 1118, 1126.

“California recognizes a cause of action against noncontracting parties who interfere with the performance of a contract. ‘It has long been held that a stranger to a contract may be liable in tort for intentionally interfering with the performance of the contract.’ However, consistent with its underlying policy of protecting the expectations of contracting parties against frustration by outsiders who have no legitimate social or economic interest in the contractual relationship, the tort cause of action for interference with contract does not lie against a party to the contract.” Applied Equip. Corp. v. Litton Saudi Arabia, Ltd. (1994) 7 Cal. 4th 503, 514 (citations omitted).

Defendant argues that there was no underlying contract or duty under the short sale agreement. Further, defendant argues, there was no third party interference. As defendant argues, the TAC alleges that defendant was a party to the agreement and thus the cause of action cannot lie against a party to the contract.

In opposition, plaintiffs’ sole argument is that this ground could have been raised to an earlier version of the complaint.

The court finds that plaintiffs have not sufficiently alleged a valid contract between plaintiffs and a third party of which the Presses interfered; rather, plaintiffs allege a contract with the Presses.

The demurrer is thus SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

Defendant Jay Press is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

*****************************************************************************

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Southwest District

Torrance Dept. M

KEITH OLDHAM, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

Case No.:

YC072192

vs.

[Tentative] RULING

JAY PRESS, et al.,

Defendants.

Hearing Date: July 21, 2020

Moving Parties: Defendant Rocio Press

Responding Party: None

Demurrer to Third Amended Complaint

The court considered the moving papers.

RULING

The demurrer is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND as to the 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th causes of action.

BACKGROUND

On July 17, 2017, plaintiffs Keith Oldham and Michealann Oldham filed a complaint against Jay Press, Rocio A. Press, Select Portfolio Services, Quality Loan Services Corp., and any person claiming an interest in 28633 Mount Rose Road, Rancho Palos Verdes for (1) quiet title, (2) declaratory relief, (3) specific performance, (4) injunctive relief, (5) breach of contract, (6) inducing breach of contract, (7) intentional interference with contract, (8) intentional interference with prospective business advantage, (9) fraud, and (10) negligence.

On November 8, 2017, plaintiffs filed a FAC.

On March 26, 2018, the court overruled defendant Select Portfolio’s demurrer to the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 6th causes of action and sustained the demurrer as to the 3rd, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On April 13, 2018, plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Complaint for (1) quiet title, (2) declaratory relief, (3) breach of contract, (4) fraud and deceit, (5) inducing breach of contract, (6) intentional interference with contract, (7) intentional interference with prospective business advantage, (8) negligence, and (9) negligent interference with contract.

On June 5, 2018, the court sustained SPS’s demurrer with leave to amend as to the 4th, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On June 25, 2018, plaintiffs filed a Third Amended Complaint.

On December 10, 2018, the court sustained defendant SPS’s demurrer without leave to amend as to the 4th, 7th, 8th, and 9th causes of action.

On April 23, 2020, defendants Jay Press and Rocio Press filed a cross-complaint for (1) quiet title, (2) declaratory relief, (3) conversion, and (4) IIED.

LEGAL AUTHORITY

When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations liberally and in context. Taylor v. City of Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power (2006) 144 Cal. App. 4th 1216, 1228. “A demurrer tests the pleadings alone and not the evidence or other extrinsic matters. Therefore, it lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed.” SKF Farms v. Superior Court (1984) 153 Cal. App. 3d 902, 905. “The only issue involved in a demurrer hearing is whether the complaint, as it stands, unconnected with extraneous matters, states a cause of action.” Hahn v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal. App. 4th 740, 747.

The court may, upon a motion, or at any time in its discretion, and upon terms it deems proper, strike any irrelevant, false, or improper matter inserted in any pleading. CCP § 436(a). The court may also strike all or any part of any pleading not drawn or filed in conformity with the laws of this state, a court rule, or an order of the court. CCP § 436(b). The grounds for a motion to strike are that the pleading has irrelevant, false or improper matter, or has not been drawn or filed in conformity with laws. CCP § 436. The grounds for moving to strike must appear on the face of the pleading or by way of judicial notice. CCP § 437.

The court may, upon a motion, or at any time in its discretion, and upon terms it deems proper, strike any irrelevant, false, or improper matter inserted in any pleading. CCP § 436(a). The court may also strike all or any part of any pleading not drawn or filed in conformity with the laws of this state, a court rule, or an order of the court. CCP § 436(b). The grounds for a motion to strike are that the pleading has irrelevant, false or improper matter, or has not been drawn or filed in conformity with laws. CCP § 436. The grounds for moving to strike must appear on the face of the pleading or by way of judicial notice. CCP § 437.

DISCUSSION

Defendant Rocio Press demurs to the 4th, 5th, 7th, and 8th causes of action in the TAC on the ground that they fail to state sufficient facts to constitute a cause of action against defendant.

In the TAC, plaintiffs allege that the Presses are the former owners of the real property located at 28633 Mount Rose Roade, Rancho Palos Verdes. TAC, ¶9. On December 31, 2012, while the Presses were severely behind in their mortgage they received notice of trustee’s sale of the property. Shortly thereafter, the Presses benefitted from several postponements of the sale so that no foreclosure occurred. Id., ¶10. On August 1, 2013, plaintiffs and the Presses executed a written purchase agreement where the Presses agreed to sell the property to plaintiffs as a short sale. The terms of the sale called for plaintiffs to pay a purchase price of $650,000. The short sale was agreed to by defendant Select Portfolio via faxed letter, which was adopted by the parties and thereby became part of the contract. Id., ¶11. Plaintiffs have performed all conditions precedent to their purchase of the property, including having loan approval. Plaintiffs deposited $20,000 into escrow on May 12, 2014. Id., ¶13.

The TAC further alleges that defendants are in breach of the express and implied terms and conditions of the purchase agreement in that (1) Mrs. Press refused to allow final entry into the property for an updated appraisal; (2) Mrs. Press refused to execute the deed of transfer and other final escrow documents needed for the sale; (3) defendants refused to communicate with plaintiffs, the agents, escrow, or anyone else who is a part of the transaction; (4) defendant SPS refused to permit a short sale to go forward in that (i) SPS failed or refused to acknowledge that the Presses had executed a grant deed transferring all of their ownership interest in the property to plaintiffs, (ii) even through SPS knew of the foregoing transfer from the Presses to plaintiffs and had already agreed to the short sale, SPS began to thwart plaintiffs’ efforts to close escrow, (iii) even though SPS knew of the foregoing facts, they made a formal offer of a loan modification as to the property to the Presses at a time when SPS knew the property was legally owned by plaintiffs. Id., ¶15.

The TAC further alleges that the Presses maintained occupation of the property without paying their mortgage for approximately two years resulting in prior default notices and a notice of trustee’s sale to be recorded. Id., ¶16. Escrow was scheduled to close on June 27, 2014. Exigent circumstances existed since the lender had indicated no further extensions would be granted and that the property would be foreclosed upon without the need for any additional notice. Id., ¶17. Despite agreeing to the short sale, SPS refused to communicate with plaintiffs or otherwise cooperate in the sale process. Defendants SPS and Quality Loan Service scheduled a foreclosure sale for July 19, 2017 and plaintiffs are seeking judicial assistance to compel defendants to complete the pending sale of the property. Id., ¶18.

In its ruling on March 26, 2018, on SPS’s demurrer to the FAC, the court found that the allegations were sufficient to state a claim for breach of contract. In any event, the allegations are sufficient to state a claim against R. Press.

The demurrer is thus OVERRULED.

4th cause of action for fraud and deceit

The elements of a fraud claim are (1) misrepresentation; (2) knowledge of falsity; (3) intent to deceive; and (4) reliance and resulting damage. Vega v. Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue (2004) 121 Cal. App. 4th 282, 290. “To withstand demurrer, the facts constituting every element of fraud must be alleged with particularity, and the claim cannot be salvaged by references to the general policy favoring the liberal construction of pleadings.” Goldrich v. Natural Y Surgical Specialties, Inc. (1994) 25 Cal. App. 4th 772, 782. The particularity requirement necessitates pleadings facts that “show how, when, where, to whom, and by what means the representations were tendered.” Lazar v. Superior Court (1996) 12 Cal. 4th 631, 645. With regard to fraud claims, pleadings must allege facts as to “how, when, where, to whom, and by what means the representations were tendered.” Stansfield v. Starkey (1990) 220 Cal. App. 3d 59, 73. Additionally, “[t]he requirement of specificity in a fraud action against a corporation requires the plaintiff to allege the names of the persons who made the allegedly fraudulent representations, their authority to speak, to whom they spoke, what they said or wrote, and when it was said or written.” Tarmann v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co. (1991) 2 Cal. App. 4th 153, 157.

Under this claim, plaintiffs allege that on May 6, 2014, Jyothsna Mekala faxed an eight-page letter on SPS’ letterhead to Keller, who are the brokers for the sale as indicated in the Short Sale Contract, promising that if plaintiffs fulfilled their duties pursuant to the contract, namely provide a compromised payout from the proceeds of a refinance of the subject real property, then SPS would arrange for all ownership interest in the property to be transferred from the Presses to plaintiffs by way of short sale. Plaintiffs believed that Mekala had authority to send the fax. The Presses also promised to cooperate with plaintiffs in transferring ownership of the property from the Presses to plaintiffs. TAC, ¶54. At the time the Presses and SPS made the promise to plaintiffs, they had no intention of fulfilling it because no attempt was made by them to abide by that promise and they counteracted that promise by making a formal offer of a loan modification to the Presses when SPS knew the property was legally owned by plaintiffs. Id., ¶55. The promise was made by defendants to induce plaintiffs to provide money by depositing $20,000 into escrow. Id., ¶¶56-57.

Defendant argues that the allegations are insufficient to show false promise or fraud by the Presses because the short sale agreement contained multiple conditions precedent, which were required to be satisfied before any contractual rights or contractual duties against the Presses or SPS were triggered. Specifically, the approval of the short sale by all parties involved in the transaction was required before any contractual rights or contractual duties arose.

On December 10, 2018, the court sustained defendant SPS’s demurrer without leave to amend as to this cause of action. The same rationale applies to defendant R. Press.

The demurrer is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

5th cause of action for inducing breach of contract

This cause of action is asserted only against SPS and JPMorgan.

The demurrer is MOOT as to this cause of action.

7th cause of action for intentional interference with prospective business advantage

“Intentional interference with prospective economic advantage has five elements: (1) the existence, between the plaintiff and some third party, of an economic relationship that contains the probability of future economic benefit to the plaintiff; (2) the defendants’ knowledge of the relationship; (3) intentionally wrongful acts designed to disrupt the relationship; and (5) economic harm proximately caused by the defendants’ action.” Roy Allen Slurry Seal, Inc. v. American Asphalt South, Inc. (2017) 2 Cal. 5th 505, 512 (citation omitted). There can be no recovery unless plaintiffs can show that, except for the tortious interference, there was a reasonable probability that the contract or profit would have been obtained. Korea Supply Co. v. Lockheed Martin Corp. (2003) 29 Cal. 4th 1134, 1164.

The TAC alleges that a contract existed between the Presses and plaintiffs. TAC, ¶69. SPS intended to disrupt the Presses’ performance of the contract. Id., ¶71. SPS’ conduct prevented the Presses from performing the contract. Id., ¶72. Plaintiffs were harmed by the breach. Id., ¶73.

On December 10, 2018, the court sustained defendant SPS’s demurrer without leave to amend as to this cause of action. The court ruled that the TAC’s allegations are not sufficient to establish a false representation by defendant SPS because the TAC relies on an exhibit that controverts its allegations. “Thus, Plaintiffs fail to allege a wrongful act that disrupted their alleged economic relationship with the Presses.” Minute Order dated December 10, 2018. Further, the allegations are insufficient as to R. Press because there is no allegation of an agreement between plaintiffs and some third party or of an intentionally wrongful act by R. Press designed to disrupt the relationship.

The demurrer is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

8th cause of action for negligence

On December 10, 2018, the court sustained without leave to amend SPS’ demurrer to this cause of action, determining that “Plaintiffs are not even borrowers on the loan. Plaintiffs and Defendants had not relationship, contractual or otherwise, after the short sale agreement expired on June 27, 2014. Defendant’s alleged wrongdoing appears to have taken place well after that.”

As to R. Press, the allegations are insufficient to show duty or breach to plaintiffs.

The demurrer is SUSTAINED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

Defendant Rocio Press is ordered to give notice of this ruling.