This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 11/26/2021 at 23:19:14 (UTC).

LONG Z LIU VS WLW, LLC, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 02/01/2021 LONG Z LIU filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against WLW, LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Alhambra Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are JOEL L. LOFTON, CURTIS A. KIN and DAVID A. ROSEN. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******0152

  • Filing Date:

    02/01/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

JOEL L. LOFTON

CURTIS A. KIN

DAVID A. ROSEN

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Cross Defendant

LIU LONG Z

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

LEY MI NOR CHAN

WONG ANTHONY

CONCORD REALTY INC.

WLW LLC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

LOPEZ DAVID

NI YUNFEI

SHYN CASIO

Defendant Attorney

PRINCE DAVID LOUIS

 

Court Documents

Cross-Complaint

10/29/2021: Cross-Complaint

Notice - NOTICE OF NON-RECEIPT OF OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO AMEND

10/22/2021: Notice - NOTICE OF NON-RECEIPT OF OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO AMEND

Demand for Jury Trial

10/29/2021: Demand for Jury Trial

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A CROSS-COMPLAINT; CASE M...)

10/29/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE A CROSS-COMPLAINT; CASE M...)

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT

9/20/2021: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF CASE REASSIGNMENT

Substitution of Attorney

9/21/2021: Substitution of Attorney

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

9/14/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

9/16/2021: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER CONTINUING CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

9/9/2021: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER CONTINUING CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

Substitution of Attorney

9/13/2021: Substitution of Attorney

Case Management Statement

9/7/2021: Case Management Statement

Case Management Statement

8/30/2021: Case Management Statement

Motion for Leave to File a Cross-Complaint

8/17/2021: Motion for Leave to File a Cross-Complaint

Substitution of Attorney

7/21/2021: Substitution of Attorney

Substitution of Attorney

7/30/2021: Substitution of Attorney

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW)

6/17/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW) OF 06/17/2021

6/17/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (NON-APPEARANCE CASE REVIEW) OF 06/17/2021

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

6/7/2021: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

36 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/07/2022
  • Hearing06/07/2022 at 09:00 AM in Department X at 150 West Commonwealth, Alhambra, CA 91801; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 05/26/2022
  • Hearing05/26/2022 at 10:00 AM in Department X at 150 West Commonwealth, Alhambra, CA 91801; Final Status Conference

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  • 05/03/2022
  • Hearing05/03/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department X at 150 West Commonwealth, Alhambra, CA 91801; Order to Show Cause Re: status of the mediation

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  • 10/29/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department X, Joel L. Lofton, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Leave to File a Cross-Complaint - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 10/29/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department X, Joel L. Lofton, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held

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  • 10/29/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion for Leave to File a Cross-Complaint; Case M...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/29/2021
  • DocketCross-Complaint; Filed by WLW, LLC (Cross-Complainant)

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  • 10/29/2021
  • DocketDemand for Jury Trial; Filed by Long Z Liu (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/22/2021
  • DocketNotice (of Non-Receipt of Opposition to Motion to Amend); Filed by WLW, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 09/21/2021
  • DocketSubstitution of Attorney; Filed by Long Z Liu (Plaintiff)

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36 More Docket Entries
  • 02/16/2021
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Long Z Liu (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/16/2021
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Long Z Liu (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/04/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/01/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/01/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/01/2021
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Long Z Liu (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/01/2021
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Long Z Liu (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/01/2021
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Long Z Liu (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/01/2021
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Failure to File Proof of Service; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/01/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: *******0152    Hearing Date: May 7, 2021    Dept: E

DEMURRER AND MOTION TO STRIKE

[CCP ;430.10 et. seq.; CCP ; 436]

Date: 5/7/21 (10:00 AM)

Case: Long Z. Liu v. WLW, LLC et al. (*******0152)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendants WLW, LLC; Concord Realty, Inc.; Anthony Wong; and Mi Nor Chan Ley’s Demurrer is SUSTAINED IN PART.

Defendants WLW, LLC; Concord Realty, Inc.; Anthony Wong; and Mi Nor Chan Ley’s Motion to Strike Portions of Complaint is GRANTED IN PART.

I. ALTER EGO LIABILITY

Defendants contend that plaintiff Long Z. Liu failed to plead sufficient facts for alter ego liability against Anthony Wong, the alleged agent of Concord Realty, Inc. (“Concord”), and Mi Nor Chan Ley, the manager of WLW, LLC (“WLW”). (Compl. ¶¶ 8-10.) With respect to defendant Wong, plaintiff effectively alleges that Wong misrepresented verbally and in writing that WLW would install a restroom in the subject premises and that there was no issue in obtaining approval from the City of San Gabriel, despite knowing that the City of San Gabriel had not approved the installation of the restroom. (Compl. ¶¶ 34, 36, 52, 53, 73, 75-77.) Accordingly, Wong’s liability does not depend on the allegation that Wong is the alter ego of Concord.

With respect to defendant Ley, disregarding a corporate entity has two requirements: (1) there must be such unity of interest and ownership that the separate personalities of the corporation and the individual no longer exist; and (2) it must be demonstrated that “the facts are such that an adherence to the separate existence of the corporation would, under the particular circumstances, sanction a fraud or promote injustice.” (Minifie v. Rowley (1921) 187 Cal. 481, 487.)

Here, plaintiff sufficiently alleges a unity of interest because Ley dominated and controlled WLW; used WLW to conduct personal business, property, and affairs; diverted WLW’s income, revenue, and profits to himself; and inadequately capitalized WLW. (Compl. ¶¶ 23, 25-28; Associated Vendors, Inc. v. Oakland Meat Co. (1962) 210 Cal.App.2d 825, 838-40 [factors to be considered in making alter ego determination].) Plaintiff also alleges that adhering to the separate existence of WLW would promote injustice. (Compl. ¶ 29.) These are ultimate facts which, if true, are sufficient to hold Ley liable on a theory of alter ego liability. (Rutherford Holdings, LLC v. Plaza Del Rey (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 221, 236.)

For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff may proceed with the claims of liability against defendants Wong and Ley.

II. LIABILITY OF BROKER DEFENDANTS

Defendants also contend that the broker defendants, Concord and Wong, cannot be held liable for landlord WLW’s nonperformance, an argument that, while not specifically directed by defendants toward any particular cause of action, could only pertain to the third cause of action for Breach of Contract and fourth cause of action for breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

The lease provides that WLW, not Concord or Wong, has the contractual obligation to install a restroom in Unit 207. (Compl. Ex. B ¶ 52.) Plaintiff has not filed any opposition indicating how Concord or Wong may be held contractually liable for the alleged failure to install a restroom in the leased premises or for otherwise breaching any implied covenant with respect to an agreement to which Concord and Wong are not parties.

The demurrer to the third and fourth causes of action is SUSTAINED as to defendants Concord and Wong.

III. BREACH OF CONTRACT RE: TIME TO INSTALL RESTROOM

Defendants argue that the third cause of action for Breach of Contract fails because the contract does not provide a time by which the restroom was to be installed. The lack of a time to install the restroom is not fatal to this cause of action. “If no time is specified for the performance of an act required to be performed, a reasonable time is allowed.” (Civ. Code ; 1657.) “What constitutes a ‘reasonable time’ for performance is a question of fact. [Citation.] What is reasonable depends, of course, on the circumstances of each case.” (Consolidated World Investments, Inc. v. Lido Preferred Ltd. (1992) 9 Cal.App.4th 373, 381.)

Plaintiff provided notice of WLW’s alleged failure to install the restroom on March 30, 2020. (Compl. Ex. F.) Accordingly, under section 13.6(a) of the Lease, WLW had until April 29, 2020 to start constructing the restroom. WLW has yet to start construction of the restroom. (Compl. ¶¶ 78, 122, 124, 127, 129.)

For the foregoing reasons, plaintiff sufficiently alleged that WLW failed to install the restroom within a reasonable time.

IV. PURPORTED DUPLICATIVE TORT CAUSES OF ACTION

Defendants maintain that the tort causes of action, including the first cause of action for Fraud and Deceit and the second cause of action for Negligent Misrepresentation, are duplicative of the causes of action based on contract.

First, defendants misidentify the fourth cause of action for Breach of the Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing as a tort. (See Demurrer at 12:12.) “[A] breach of the implied covenant of good faith is a breach of the contract . . . .” (Carson v. Mercury Ins. Co. (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 409, 429.)

Second, “[A]n omission to perform a contract obligation is never a tort, unless that omission is also an omission of a legal duty.” (Applied Equipment Corp. v. Litton Saudi Arabia Ltd. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 503, 515.) Here, plaintiff’s allegations go beyond a contractual breach. Plaintiff alleges that to induce him to enter into the Lease, defendants intended plaintiff to rely on Wong’s knowing misrepresentation that the restroom would be installed by WLW at its own cost and that the installation was approved by the City of San Gabriel. (Compl. ¶¶ 84, 89, 90, 93, 94.) Plaintiff’s allegations of promissory fraud are sufficient for plaintiff to proceed with the tort causes of action.

Accordingly, defendants’ assertion that the tort causes of action are duplicative of the contract-based causes of action is without merit.

V. FRAUD-BASED CAUSES OF ACTION PLED WITH PARTICULARITY

Defendants contend that plaintiff did not plead the first cause of action for Fraud and Deceit and the second cause of action for Negligent Misrepresentation with the required particularity. The allegations discussed in the immediately preceding paragraph are sufficient to apprise defendants of the basis for the first and second causes of action. (Charpentier v. Los Angeles Rams Football Co. (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 301, 312 [Defendant cannot persuasively complain it misunderstands the fraud claim made here. If, as it complains, it is confused as to who made the representations and by what means, a little discovery should clear that up”].)

Defendants make no other arguments as to the first and second causes of action. Accordingly, the demurrers to the first and second causes of action are OVERRULED as to all defendants.

VI. FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOR CONVERSION

Plaintiff’s claim of conversion is based on an overcharge, specifically that defendants’ alleged failure to install a restroom warrants a 50% reduction in rent, which defendants did not provide. (Compl. ¶¶ 148-150.) An overcharge cannot serve as the basis for a conversion cause of action. (McKell v. Washington Mutual, Inc. (2006) 142 Cal.App.4th 1457, 1492.) Plaintiff has not filed any opposition stating how an overcharge can serve as the basis for a conversion cause of action.

Defendants also argue that plaintiff fails to allege how WLW is wrongfully retaining the rental payments because WLW is entitled to these payments as lessor. (Farmers Ins. Exchange v. Zerin (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 445, 451-52 [element of conversion includes “wrongful act or disposition of property rights”].) Plaintiff did not file any opposition stating any authority that allows him to seek an abatement for failure to comply with a contractual obligation.

The demurrer to the fifth cause of action is SUSTAINED as to all defendants.

VII. SIXTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOR FALSE ADVERTISING AND SEVENTH CAUSE OF ACTION FOR UNFAIR COMPETITION

Defendants contend that plaintiff improperly prays for damages in the sixth and seventh causes of action, as these causes of action only allow for restitution or injunctive relief. (Compl. ¶¶ 165, 173.) A demurrer only lies as to an entire cause of action. (Poizner v. Fremont Gen. Corp. (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 97, 119.) “[A] demurrer tests the sufficiency of the factual allegations of the complaint rather than the relief suggested in the prayer of the complaint.” (Venice Town Council, Inc. v. City of Los Angeles (1996) 47 Cal.App.4th 1547, 1562.) Accordingly, a demurrer cannot be based on the improper seeking of a remedy.

The demurrers to the sixth and seventh causes of action are OVERRULED as to all defendants.

VIII. CAUSATION AS TO CONTRACT AND PROMISSORY ESTOPPEL CAUSES OF ACTION

Defendants contend that plaintiff fails to sufficiently allege a connection between the lack of a restroom and damage to plaintiff’s law practice. (Compl. ¶¶ 129, 185.) Here, for pleading purposes, plaintiff sufficiently alleges that defendants’ failure to install a restroom inside the subject premises, which forced plaintiff to refer potential clients to the restroom in the neighboring unit, has resulted in a loss of clients. (Compl. ¶ 78.) Defendants ignore plaintiff’s allegation that the neighboring unit lacks electricity. (Compl. ¶¶ 78, 127, 185.) Taken as true, plaintiff sufficiently alleged a connection between the lack of a restroom and plaintiff’s damages. (Del E. Webb Corp. v. Structural Materials Co. (1981) 123 Cal.App.3d 593, 604 [“As a general rule in testing a pleading against a demurrer the facts alleged in the pleading are deemed to be true, however improbable they may be”].)

The demurrer to the third cause of action is OVERRULED as to defendants WLW and Ley. The demurrers to the fourth and eighth causes of action are OVERRULED as to all defendants.

IX. SUMMARY OF DEMURRER

For the foregoing reasons, the demurrers to the first, second, sixth, seventh, and eighth causes of action are OVERRULED as to all defendants. The demurrer to the third and fourth causes of action is OVERRULED as to defendants WLW, LLC and Mi Nor Chan Ley and SUSTAINED as to defendants Concord Realty, Inc. and Anthony Wong. The demurrer to the fifth cause of action is SUSTAINED as to all defendants.

Because plaintiff does not request leave to amend or proffer how there is any reasonable possibility to cure the defects discussed herein, no leave to amend is given.

X. MOTION TO STRIKE

Defendants seek to strike allegations concerning punitive damages, as well as the prayer for such damages.

With respect to paragraph 156, this allegation is contained in the fifth cause of action for Conversion. Based on the ruling on the demurrer, the motion as to paragraph 156 is DENIED as MOOT.

For the reasons stated in Section IV and V above, plaintiff may proceed with his claim for fraud, which is sufficient to support plaintiff’s request for punitive damages. (Civ. Code ; 3294(c)(3).) Accordingly, the motion is DENIED as to paragraph 98.

However, with respect to the second cause of action for Negligent Misrepresentation, “[p]unitive damages are recoverable in those fraud actions involving intentional, but not negligent, misrepresentations.” (Alliance Mortgage Co. v. Rothwell (1995) 10 Cal.4th 1226, 1241.) Accordingly, the motion as to paragraph 117 of the Complaint is GRANTED.

With respect to paragraphs 96, 114, 129, and 142, in which plaintiff alleges he suffered damages in an amount according to proof, defendants assert that plaintiff’s claim for damages exceeds the amount allowed under section 13.6(b) of the Lease. Section 13.6(b) of the Lease only speaks to the extent to which plaintiff can offset his rental payments based on the cost to cure a breach of the Lease. This provision does not contain any waiver by plaintiff to file an action seeking to recover all damages resulting from defendants’ alleged failure to install a restroom in the subject premises. The motion is DENIED as to paragraphs 96, 114, 129, and 142.

In summary, the motion as to paragraph 156 is DENIED as MOOT. The motion as to paragraphs 96, 98, 114, 129, and 142 is DENIED. The motion as to paragraph 117 is GRANTED WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

Ten (10) Days to Answer


Case Number: *******0152 Hearing Date: October 29, 2021 Dept: X

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles – NORTHEAST District

Department X

LONG Z. LIU ,

Plaintiff,

vs.

WLW, LLC , et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.:

*******0152

Hearing Date:

October 29, 2021

Time:

8:30 a.m.

[Tentative] Order RE:

DEFENDANT WLW, LLC, MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE CROSS-COMPLAINT

MOVING PARTIES: Defendant WLW, LLC

RESPONDING PARTY:

MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE CROSS-COMPLAINT

The court considered the moving papers. No opposing papers were filed.

TENTATIVE RULING

Court grants Defendant’s motion to request

Defendant’s Cross-Complaint Existed At the Time it Served its Answer

Defendant’s Counsel states he was aware that Plaintiff had not paid rent since 2020 but did not file the cross-complaint for unpaid rent when the answer was filed on or about May 13, 2021. (Prince Decl. ¶ 3-4.) Defendant’s cross-complaint therefore existed at the time of Defendant’s service of its answer.

Because Defendant’s cross-complaint is a related cause of action and existed at the time Defendant served its answer, Defendant’s cross-complaint is compulsory.

Defendant Acted in Good Faith

Leave must be granted to file a compulsory cross-complaint when the defendant is acting in good faith. (See Code Civ. Proc. ; 426.50.) This leave is almost completely mandatory; the Court has only a “modicum of discretion” to deny the motion, and only when the amending party has not acted in good faith. (Sidney v. Superior Court (1998) 198 Cal.App.3d 710, 718; see also Silver Organizations Ltd. v. Frank (1990) 217 Cal.App.3d 94, 98-99 [section 426.50 leave granted when requested only five days before trial and no bad faith found].)

Here, Defendant’s counsel states that he did not file the cross-complaint at the time of the answer “because of the turbulent nature of the proceedings in the U.D. Action, which included various post-judgement motions filed by Plaintiff, and because the various eviction moratoriums in effect at the time Defendants filed their answer.” (Prince Decl. ¶ 4.) Defendant has demonstrated it acted in good faith in not filing the cross-complaint at the time of the answer. This Court grants Defendant’s motion to request

CONCLUSION

The court GRANTS Defendant’s motion for leave to file a cross-complaint.

Defendant WLW, LLC is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court indicating their intention to submit. Parties intending to appear are strongly encouraged to appear remotely.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

DATED: October 29, 2021

_____________________________

Joel L. Lofton

Judge of the Superior Court


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