This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/26/2020 at 19:39:11 (UTC).

MARJAN GARMESTANI, D.D.S VS MICHAEL E. WASSERMAN,, ESQ.,, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 10/02/2019 MARJAN GARMESTANI, D D S filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against MICHAEL E WASSERMAN,, ESQ . This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is ANTHONY MOHR. The case status is Disposed - Dismissed.

Case Details Parties Documents

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******5142

  • Filing Date:

    10/02/2019

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Dismissed

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

ANTHONY MOHR

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs, Respondents and Appellants

MARJAN GARMESTANI D.D.S.

GARMESTANI MARJAN D.D.S.

ONE LEGAL

Defendants and Respondents

ZARGAR FARAMARZ

MICHAEL E. WASSERMAN ESQ.

WASSERMAN MICHAEL E.

WASSERMAN MICHAEL E. ESQ.

LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL E. WASSERMAN

Defendants, Respondents and Appellants

ZARGAR FARAMARZ

GARMESTANI MARJAN D.D.S.

WASSERMAN MICHAEL E.

LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL E. WASSERMAN

Not Classified By Court and Plaintiffs

FOREMAN SONIA RENEE

ONE LEGAL

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

NEJADPOUR FARI BARI

NEJADPOUR F. BARI

Appellant Attorney

BARTSCH DUANE

Defendant Attorneys

TASHNIZI PAUL P.

BODENSTEIN JANETTE SHARON

 

Court Documents

Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE

12/19/2019: Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE

Declaration - DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE

12/19/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION IN SUPPORT OF REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE

Substitution of Attorney

3/12/2020: Substitution of Attorney

Motion for Attorney Fees

3/12/2020: Motion for Attorney Fees

Appeal - Notice of Appeal/Cross Appeal Filed

3/13/2020: Appeal - Notice of Appeal/Cross Appeal Filed

Notice of Filing of Notice of Appeal (Unlimited Civil) - NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL (UNLIMITED CIVIL) NOA:3/13/20

3/16/2020: Notice of Filing of Notice of Appeal (Unlimited Civil) - NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL (UNLIMITED CIVIL) NOA:3/13/20

Proof of Service by Mail

3/18/2020: Proof of Service by Mail

Substitution of Attorney

4/7/2020: Substitution of Attorney

Appeal - Ntc Designating Record of Appeal APP-003/010/103

4/7/2020: Appeal - Ntc Designating Record of Appeal APP-003/010/103

Appeal - Notice of Appeal/Cross Appeal Filed - APPEAL - NOTICE OF APPEAL/CROSS APPEAL FILED "R"

4/7/2020: Appeal - Notice of Appeal/Cross Appeal Filed - APPEAL - NOTICE OF APPEAL/CROSS APPEAL FILED "R"

Motion for Attorney Fees

4/13/2020: Motion for Attorney Fees

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

4/14/2020: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 04/14/2020

4/14/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 04/14/2020

Objection - OBJECTION OBJECTIONS TO DECLARATION OF TO JANETTE BODENSTEIN (RE: DEFENDANT MICHAEL E. WASSERMANS MOTION FOR ANTI-SLAPP ATTORNEY FEES)

4/14/2020: Objection - OBJECTION OBJECTIONS TO DECLARATION OF TO JANETTE BODENSTEIN (RE: DEFENDANT MICHAEL E. WASSERMANS MOTION FOR ANTI-SLAPP ATTORNEY FEES)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

4/14/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

Appeal - Ntc Designating Record of Appeal APP-003/010/103

4/16/2020: Appeal - Ntc Designating Record of Appeal APP-003/010/103

Notice - NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF HEARINGS ON THE MOTIONS FOR ANTI-SLAPP ATTORNEY'S FEES OF DEFENDANTS

4/17/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF HEARINGS ON THE MOTIONS FOR ANTI-SLAPP ATTORNEY'S FEES OF DEFENDANTS

Reply - REPLY REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT MICHAEL E. WASSERMANS MOTION FOR MANDATORY ATTORNEYS FEES PURSUANT TO CCP 425.16; SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF JANETTE S. BODENSTEIN IN SUPPORT THEREO

4/20/2020: Reply - REPLY REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT MICHAEL E. WASSERMANS MOTION FOR MANDATORY ATTORNEYS FEES PURSUANT TO CCP 425.16; SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF JANETTE S. BODENSTEIN IN SUPPORT THEREO

97 More Documents Available

Tentative Rulings

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Case Number: 19STCV35142 Hearing Date: July 7, 2021 Dept: 54

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Superior Court\r\n of California

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County of Los\r\n Angeles

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MARJAN GARMESTANIS, D.D.S.,

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Plaintiff,

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Case No.:

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19STCV35142

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vs.

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Tentative Ruling

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MICHAEL E. WASSERMAN, et al.,

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Defendants.

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Hearing Date: July 7,\r\n2021

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Department 54, Judge Maurice Leiter

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Motion for Appellate Anti-SLAPP Attorney Fees

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Moving Party:\r\nDefendant Michael Wasserman

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Responding Party:\r\nUnopposed

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T/R: The Court GRANTS the motion as to 122.40\r\nhours at a $649 hourly rate for a total award of $79,437.60.

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DEFENDANT\r\nWASSERMAN TO NOTICE.

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The Court\r\nconsiders the moving papers. Plaintiff\r\ndid not file an opposition.

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BACKGROUND

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Plaintiff Marjan Garmestani, D.D.S. alleged causes of action for (1)\r\nmalicious prosecution, (2) negligence, (3) intentional infliction of emotional\r\ndistress, and (4) negligent infliction of emotional distress against Defendants\r\nMichael E. Wasserman, Law Offices of Michael E. Wasserman, and Faramarz Zargar.\r\n

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Law Offices of Michael E. Wasserman was dismissed without prejudice on\r\nDecember 17, 2019.

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Defendant Zargar and Defendant Wasserman filed special motions to strike\r\n(Anti-SLAPP) under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16. On February 7, 2020,\r\nboth Anti-SLAPP Motions were granted. \r\nJudgment was entered in favor of Defendants Wasserman and Zargar on\r\nFebruary 25, 2020. The Court granted Defendant Wasserman’s motion for trial\r\ncourt attorney fees on June 24, 2020, in the amount of $76,056.22.

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Plaintiff filed two appeals; the Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment\r\nand award of attorney’s fees on March 12, 2021.

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Defendant Wasserman now moves for appellate attorney fees.

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ANALYSIS

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Under Civil Procedure section 425.16, “a prevailing defendant on a\r\nspecial motion to strike shall be entitled to recover his or her attorney’s\r\nfees and costs.” (C.C.P. §\r\n425.16(c)(1).) “Where a contract or a\r\nstatute creates a right for the prevailing party to recover attorney’s fees,\r\nthe prevailing party is also entitled to attorney fees on appeal.” (Villinger/Nicholls Development Co. v.\r\nMeleyco (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 321, 329.) \r\nFurther, “appellate courts have construed section 425.16 subdivision (c)\r\nto include an attorney fees award on appeal.” \r\n(Rosenaur v. Scherer (2001) 88 Cal.App.4th 260, 288.)

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A. Request for Attorney Fees on\r\nAppeal

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  1. Authority to Award Attorney\r\nFees and Costs

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Defendant Wasserman is entitled to appellate attorney fees under section\r\n425.16 subdivision (c). Defendant is a\r\nprevailing party under California Rules of Court, rule 8.278 subdivision\r\n(a)(2), which provides that “[t]he prevailing party is the respondent if the\r\nCourt of Appeals affirms [] judgment without modification.”

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  1. Requested Attorney’s Fees

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Defendant requests $85,927.60 in attorney’s fees.

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In determining the reasonableness of attorney’s fees, California courts\r\nemploy the lodestar method. “A trial\r\ncourt ‘assessing attorney fees begins with a touchstone or lodestar figure,\r\nbased on the ‘careful compilation of the time spent and reasonable hourly\r\ncompensation of each attorney…involved in the presentation of the case.’” (Christian Research Institute v. Alnor (2008)\r\n165 Cal.App.4th 1315, 1321.) Although\r\nsection 425.16 subdivision (c) mandates attorney fees, the legislature “did not\r\nintend recovery of fees and costs as a windfall…The prevailing party is\r\nentitled to a reasonable award.” (Id.\r\nat 1321-1322, internal citations omitted.)

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“The reasonableness of attorney fees is within the discretion of the\r\ntrial court, to be determined from a consideration of such factors as the\r\nnature of litigation, the complexity of the issues, the experience and\r\nexpertise of counsel, and the amount of time involved.” (Wilkerson v. Sullivan (2002) 99\r\nCal.App.4th 443, 448.)

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  1. Hours Spent

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Defendant cites Ketchum v. Moses (2001) 24 Cal.4th, 1122 for the\r\nproposition that Anti-SLAPP motions “may be complex and time consuming.” (Ketchum at 1139.)

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Wasserman’s billing entries the following work: reviewing the anti-SLAPP\r\nmotion, evidence, opposition and reply and scope of appeal filed; speaking to\r\nrelevant parties about the appeal; determining documents to be of record in\r\nappeal; the preparation and completion of summary of evidence in superior court\r\nto handle the appeal defense; reviewing briefs to ascertain the merits of the\r\nappeal; researching Plaintiff’s cases; drafting the respondent brief; reviewing\r\nreply brief; preparing for the argument; conducting research to ensure cases\r\nare still valid; and the time spent communicating to client about the appellate\r\ndecision, and preparing the instant motion for fees and all attachments\r\nthereto.

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Wasserman seeks 10 hours of estimated time spent reviewing any opposition\r\nto this motion, preparing a reply, objections, and all associated\r\ncommunications regarding the opposition and reply to this Motion for Attorney\r\nFees.

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All told, this amounts to 132.40 hours.

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The Court finds this amount of time is reasonable, but the Court reduces\r\nthe number of hours by 10 hours, because Plaintiff did not oppose this motion.

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  1. Hourly Rate

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Defense counsel asserts that his hourly rate of $649 is reasonable. Defense counsel has been admitted to the\r\nCalifornia Bar since 1986 and has 34 years of experience in litigating cases in\r\nLos Angeles County. (Schaeffer Decl., ¶\r\n3.)

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Defense counsel points to the Laffey Matrix as adopted by the Civil\r\nDivision of the United States Attorneys’ Office for the District of Columbia,\r\nin which an hourly rate for a comparable attorney is $637 per hour. (Schaeffer Decl., ¶ 6; Ex. 4.) This matrix also provides that the wage rate in\r\nLos Angeles is 32.41 percent, which is higher than Washington D.C.’s wage rate\r\nof 30.48 percent. (Id.) Multiplying $637 by 1.0193 to account for the\r\ndifference in wage rates yields a reasonable wage in Los Angeles of $649. (Id.) \r\nThe Court finds that the hourly rate\r\nof $649 is reasonable.

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The Court GRANTS the motion as to 122.40 hours at a $649\r\nhourly rate, for a total award of $79,437.60.

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