This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/18/2018 at 21:23:31 (UTC).

KIMBERLY KOERBER VS CENGAGE LEARNING INC ET AL

Case Summary

On 02/08/2017 KIMBERLY KOERBER filed a Labor - Wrongful Termination lawsuit against CENGAGE LEARNING INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is ELIZABETH R. FEFFER. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****9878

  • Filing Date:

    02/08/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Labor - Wrongful Termination

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

ELIZABETH R. FEFFER

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

KOERBER KIMBERLY

Defendants and Respondents

ROYAL DON

BREDENBERG ERIC

MCDANIEL KRISTEN

PROJECT VERITAS

PROJECT VERITAS LLC

CENGAGE LEARNING HOLDINGS II INC

PROJECT VERITAS ACTION FUND

CENGAGE LEARNING INC

O'KEEFE III JAMES

MAASS ALLISON

DOE 3 MALE USING THE PSEUDONYM

DOE 1 FEMALE USING THE PSEUDONYM

BREAKTHROUGH DEV GROUP

DOE 2 FNU

HARTSOCK CHRISTIAN

DOE 4 MNU

DOES 5 THROUGH 100

GROSSO VINCENT

MILLER MIRIAM

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

RAND-LEWIS SUZANNE E. ESQ.

RAND-LEWIS SUZANNE ELIZABETH

RAND-LEWIS TIMOTHY DANN

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

GOODMAN JAMES A. ESQ.

RUBIN G. DAVID ESQ.

MESSIGIAN AMY BETH

GOODMAN JAMES ALLEN

 

Court Documents

PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS; ETC.

9/11/2018: PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS; ETC.

DEFENDANTS' MOTION IN LIMINE NO.3 ETC.

9/19/2018: DEFENDANTS' MOTION IN LIMINE NO.3 ETC.

Unknown

10/15/2018: Unknown

PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE AND/OR TAX DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS' MEMORANDUM OF COSTS; ETC.

2/15/2018: PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE AND/OR TAX DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS' MEMORANDUM OF COSTS; ETC.

MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION

3/26/2018: MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION

DECLARATION

3/26/2018: DECLARATION

PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS" MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS PURSUANT TO CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 425.16; ETC

4/17/2018: PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS" MOTION FOR ATTORNEYS' FEES AND COSTS PURSUANT TO CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 425.16; ETC

SUPPLEMENTAL 1)ECLARATION OF G. DAVID RUBIN FILED IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS' SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM REGARJ)ING THE CATEGORIZATION OF FEES FILED IN SUPPORT OF 1TS MOTJON FOR ATTORNEYS? F

6/7/2018: SUPPLEMENTAL 1)ECLARATION OF G. DAVID RUBIN FILED IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS' SUPPLEMENTAL MEMORANDUM REGARJ)ING THE CATEGORIZATION OF FEES FILED IN SUPPORT OF 1TS MOTJON FOR ATTORNEYS? F

Minute Order

6/18/2018: Minute Order

DECLARATION OF MIRIAM MILLER IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

6/25/2018: DECLARATION OF MIRIAM MILLER IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

PLAINTIFF'S MEMORANDUM OF ITEMS REMAINING IN DISPUTE RE: PLAINTIFF?S MOTION FOR ORDERS (1) COMPFLLING DEPOSITIONS OF DEFENDANTS AND DEFENSE WITNESSES; ETC.

8/2/2018: PLAINTIFF'S MEMORANDUM OF ITEMS REMAINING IN DISPUTE RE: PLAINTIFF?S MOTION FOR ORDERS (1) COMPFLLING DEPOSITIONS OF DEFENDANTS AND DEFENSE WITNESSES; ETC.

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

2/16/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

Minute Order

5/2/2017: Minute Order

ORDER GRANTING SPECIALLY APPEARING DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS' MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF PLAINTIFF'S SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT AS TO PROJECT VERITAS, AS WELL AS MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE AS TO PURPORTED DEF

7/14/2017: ORDER GRANTING SPECIALLY APPEARING DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS' MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF PLAINTIFF'S SUMMONS AND COMPLAINT AS TO PROJECT VERITAS, AS WELL AS MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE AS TO PURPORTED DEF

ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE

10/4/2017: ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE

DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS' OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION; DECLARATION OF G. DAVID RUBIN

11/20/2017: DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS' OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S EX PARTE APPLICATION; DECLARATION OF G. DAVID RUBIN

NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS' DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

11/28/2017: NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS' DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS' RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS TO PV'S EVIDENCE PROVIDED IN SUPPORT OF ITS SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT (SLAPP SUIT) PURSUANT TO CODE OF

12/1/2017: DEFENDANT PROJECT VERITAS' RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS TO PV'S EVIDENCE PROVIDED IN SUPPORT OF ITS SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFF'S FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT (SLAPP SUIT) PURSUANT TO CODE OF

304 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 10/16/2018
  • Evidentiary Objections to the Declaration of Suzanne Rand-Lewis Submitted In Opposition to Defendants' Motion ...

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  • 10/15/2018
  • at 09:30 AM in Department 39; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 10/15/2018
  • Appeal - Notice Court Reporter to Prepare Appeal Transcript (NOA 8/2/18); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/12/2018
  • at 09:00 AM in Department 39; Trial Setting Conference - Held

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  • 10/12/2018
  • at 09:00 AM in Department 39; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 10/12/2018
  • Minute Order ( (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE AND TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/10/2018
  • at 09:00 AM in Department 39; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Held - Taken under Submission

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  • 10/10/2018
  • Proof of Personal Service; Filed by Cengage Learning, Inc (Defendant); Cengage Learning Holdings II, Inc (Defendant); Eric Bredenberg (Defendant) et al.

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  • 10/10/2018
  • Declaration (name extension) (OF STORY E. CUNNINGHAM IN SUPPORT)

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  • 10/10/2018
  • Other - (name extension) (DEFENDANTS MOTION IN LIMINE NO 17); Filed by Cengage Learning, Inc (Defendant); Cengage Learning Holdings II, Inc (Defendant); Eric Bredenberg (Defendant) et al.

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601 More Docket Entries
  • 02/15/2017
  • ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

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  • 02/10/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 02/10/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 02/10/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 02/10/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 02/08/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by Kimberly Koerber (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/08/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 02/08/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR 1. BREACH OF EXPRESS CONTRACT; ETC

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  • 02/08/2017
  • Summons; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 01/09/2017
  • Stipulation and Order; Filed by Defendant/Respondent

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC649878    Hearing Date: April 30, 2021    Dept: 39

Kimberly Koerber v. Cengage Learning, Inc., et al.

Case No. BC649878

Motion for Attorney’s Fees

Plaintiff Kimberly Koerber (“Koerber”) worked for Cengage Learning, Inc. and Cengage Learning Holdings II, Inc. (collectively, “Cengage”) selling educational materials. Plaintiff was fired in January 2016 after Project Veritas published footage of a secretly recorded interview in which Koerber made disparaging comments about opponents of the Common Core curriculum, Republicans, Texas school administrators, and the Second Amendment. In February 2017, Koerber sued Project Veritas, Cengage, and other defendants relating to the secret recording, as well as her termination. The Court (Feffer, J.) granted an anti-SLAPP motion, finding that Project Veritas’s challenged conduct was protected journalistic and reporting activity under the anti-SLAPP statute and that, in any event, Koerber failed to demonstrate a probability of prevailing on the merits. In March 2018, Project Veritas field a motion for attorney’s fees and costs under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16, which was granted.

Koerber filed three separate appeals. First, Koerber appealed Judge Feffer’s grant of the anti-SLAPP motion, which was affirmed. Second, Koerber appealed Judge Feffer’s orders granting motions to quash service of the summons and complaint, which were dismissed as moot. Third, Koerber appealed Judge Feffer’s decision to award Project Veritas attorney’s fees in the amount of $63,970 plus $1,680.13 in costs.

Now, Project Veritas seeks attorney’s fees in the amount of $29,010 relating to the latest appeal and this motion. Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (a)(10)(B), attorney fees when authorized by statute are allowable as costs and may be awarded upon a noticed motion pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1033.5, subdivision (c)(5). In determining what fees are reasonable, California courts apply the “lodestar” approach. (See, e.g., Holguin v. DISH Network LLC (2014) 229 Cal.App.4th 1310, 1332.) This inquiry “begins with the ‘lodestar,’ i.e., the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate.” (See PLCM Group v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095.) From there, the “[t]he lodestar figure may then be adjusted, based on consideration of factors specific to the case, in order to fix the fee at the fair market value for the legal services provided.” (Ibid.) Relevant factors include: “(1) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, (2) the skill displayed in presenting them, (3) the extent to which the nature of the litigation precluded other employment by the attorneys, [and] (4) the contingent nature of the fee award.” (Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th 1122, 1132 (Ketchum).)

Project Veritas seeks judicial notice of certain Court filings. The Court does so pursuant to, and within the parameters of, Evidence Code section 452(d). The Court overrules the parties’ evidentiary objections but gives no evidentiary weight to materials that are argumentative or draw improper legal conclusions.

Koerber does not challenge the Court’s authority to award attorney’s fees, and Project Veritas is entitled to recover its costs on appeal, per the District Court of Appeal’s decision. G. David Rubin, Esq. spent 24.4 hours on the appeal, and Elizabeth M. Sanguinetti spent 89 hours on the appeal. These hours are reasonable and supported by the record. The case did not appear to be overstaffed, as Ms. Sanguinetti did approximately 80% of the work, and Mr. Rubin did 20% of the work. Therefore, the Court finds no basis to write-down the hours. The billing rates in the case are (imminently) reasonable. Mr. Rubin charged $250 per hour, and Ms. Sanguinetti charged $200 per hour. The Court finds it inconceivable that Project Veritas could have found qualified attorneys to handle an appeal at lower rates. Therefore, the Court finds no basis to write-down the rates.

Based upon the foregoing, Project Veritas is entitled to $23,900 in attorney’s fees, based upon: (1) 24.4 hours at $250 per hour, or $6,100, and (2) 89 hours at $200 per hour, or $17,800. The only remaining issue is determining how much to award for the pending motion. Counsel requests $5,110 based upon 4.2 hours by Mr. Rubin and 20 hours by Ms. Sanguinetti. While Counsel’s billing rates are reasonable, the Court authorizes only 15 hours by Ms. Sanguinetti. Therefore, the Court awards an additional $4,050 in attorney’s fees, based upon (1) 4.2 hours by Mr. Rubin at $250 per hour, and (2) 15 hours by Ms. Sanguinetti at $200 per hour. The Court orders payment of $60 as a filing fee for the instant motion, and $390 for costs on appeal.

The Court has considered Koerber arguments and finds them to be without merit. Therefore, the Court orders Koerber to pay attorney’s fees to Project Veritas, by and through counsel, in the total amount of $28,400.

CONCLUSION AND ORDER

The Court orders Plaintiff Kimberly Koerber to pay Project Veritas, by and through counsel, attorney’s fees and costs in the total amount of $28,400, to be paid within thirty (30) days. Since Plaintiff dismissed the case against all other defendants on March 2, 2020, and because no party objected, the Court dismisses this case with prejudice though the Court retains jurisdiction to enforce this order and, if necessary, issue a judgment against Kimberly Koerber. Counsel for Project Veritas shall provide notice and file proof of such with the Court.

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