This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/05/2019 at 09:06:24 (UTC).

MEHDI SAIDANE ET AL VS PATRICK KHALAFIAN ET AL

Case Summary

On 06/30/2017 MEHDI SAIDANE filed a Contract - Business lawsuit against PATRICK KHALAFIAN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is TERESA A. BEAUDET. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7151

  • Filing Date:

    06/30/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Business

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

TERESA A. BEAUDET

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

SAIDANE MIMI

SAIDANE MEHDI

Defendants

DEDJAKIAN DERTAD TEDDY

KHALAFIAN PATRICK

168 ENTERTAINMENT LLC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

PAPAZIAN ARMEN F ESQ.

Defendant Attorney

KOSTOS THOMAS JOHN

 

Court Documents

Minute Order

1/11/2018: Minute Order

NOTICE OF DEFENDANT DERTAD TEDDY BEDJAKIAN'S DEMURRER AND DEMURRER; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF; DECLARATION OF THOMAS J. KOSTOS [CCP ? 430.10]

3/6/2018: NOTICE OF DEFENDANT DERTAD TEDDY BEDJAKIAN'S DEMURRER AND DEMURRER; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF; DECLARATION OF THOMAS J. KOSTOS [CCP ? 430.10]

NOTICE OF DEFENDANT 168 ENTERTAINMENT, LLC'S DEMURRER AND DEMURRER; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF; DECLARATION OF THOMAS J. KOSTOS [CCP ? 430.10]

3/6/2018: NOTICE OF DEFENDANT 168 ENTERTAINMENT, LLC'S DEMURRER AND DEMURRER; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF; DECLARATION OF THOMAS J. KOSTOS [CCP ? 430.10]

Minute Order

4/23/2018: Minute Order

NOTICE OF COURT ORDERS

4/24/2018: NOTICE OF COURT ORDERS

AMENDED NOTICE OF HEARING ON DEFENDANTS' DEMURRERS

4/30/2018: AMENDED NOTICE OF HEARING ON DEFENDANTS' DEMURRERS

Minute Order

5/29/2018: Minute Order

PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO DEMURHER TO FIRST AMENDFI) COMPLAINT BY DERTAD TEDDY BEDIAKIAN

5/30/2018: PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO DEMURHER TO FIRST AMENDFI) COMPLAINT BY DERTAD TEDDY BEDIAKIAN

PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO DEMURRER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT BY 168 ENTERTAINMENT, LLC

5/30/2018: PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO DEMURRER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT BY 168 ENTERTAINMENT, LLC

DEFENDANT 168 ENI?ERTA[NMENT, LLC?S REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS? ORPOSMON TO DEMURRER [CCP ? 430.10]

6/4/2018: DEFENDANT 168 ENI?ERTA[NMENT, LLC?S REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS? ORPOSMON TO DEMURRER [CCP ? 430.10]

DEFENDANT DERTAD TEDDY BEDJAKIAN'S REPLY TO PLAI}U[IFFS' OPPOSITJON TO DEMURRER ICCP ? 430. 10 J

6/4/2018: DEFENDANT DERTAD TEDDY BEDJAKIAN'S REPLY TO PLAI}U[IFFS' OPPOSITJON TO DEMURRER ICCP ? 430. 10 J

Minute Order

6/12/2018: Minute Order

ORDER RE: DEFENDANT DERTAD TEDDY BEDJAKIAN'S DEMURRER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT;...ETC.

6/12/2018: ORDER RE: DEFENDANT DERTAD TEDDY BEDJAKIAN'S DEMURRER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT;...ETC.

NOTICE OF COURT ORDERS

7/3/2018: NOTICE OF COURT ORDERS

SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. FRAUD 2. BREACH OF CONTRACT 3. BREACH OF THE COVENANT OF GOOD FAITH AND FAIR DEALING DEMAND FOR TRIAL BY JURY

7/3/2018: SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. FRAUD 2. BREACH OF CONTRACT 3. BREACH OF THE COVENANT OF GOOD FAITH AND FAIR DEALING DEMAND FOR TRIAL BY JURY

NOTICE OF DEFENDANT 168 ENTERTAINMENT, LLC'S DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS' SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT; ETC.

8/6/2018: NOTICE OF DEFENDANT 168 ENTERTAINMENT, LLC'S DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS' SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT; ETC.

NOTICE OF DEFENDANT DERTAD TEDDY BEDJAKIAN'S DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS' SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT; ETC.

8/6/2018: NOTICE OF DEFENDANT DERTAD TEDDY BEDJAKIAN'S DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS' SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT; ETC.

Minute Order

8/14/2018: Minute Order

62 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/23/2019
  • Docketat 09:30 AM in Department 50, Teresa A. Beaudet, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Held - Continued

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  • 05/23/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Final Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/23/2019
  • DocketStatement of the Case (JOINT LIST OF STIPULATED FACTS FOR TRIAL); Filed by Mehdi Saidane (Plaintiff); Mimi Saidane (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/16/2019
  • DocketWitness List; Filed by Mehdi Saidane (Plaintiff); Mimi Saidane (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/16/2019
  • DocketExhibit List; Filed by Mehdi Saidane (Plaintiff); Mimi Saidane (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/16/2019
  • DocketStatement of the Case; Filed by Mehdi Saidane (Plaintiff); Mimi Saidane (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/30/2019
  • DocketSubstitution of Attorney; Filed by Mehdi Saidane (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/30/2019
  • DocketSubstitution of Attorney; Filed by Mimi Saidane (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/24/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 50, Teresa A. Beaudet, Presiding; Status Conference - Held

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  • 04/24/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Status Conference re service of Defendant Khalafian)); Filed by Clerk

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126 More Docket Entries
  • 09/20/2017
  • DocketNOTICE OF MOTION TO STRIKE; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF; [CCP 436]

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  • 09/20/2017
  • DocketNOTICE OF MOTION TO STR1KE; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF: (CCP 436]

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  • 09/20/2017
  • DocketDemurrer; Filed by Dertad Teddy Dedjakian (Defendant); 168 Entertainment,LLC (Defendant)

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  • 08/08/2017
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Mehdi Saidane (Plaintiff); Mimi Saidane (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/08/2017
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 07/31/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/31/2017
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 06/30/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. FRAUD ;ETC

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  • 06/30/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 06/30/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Mehdi Saidane (Plaintiff); Mimi Saidane (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ****7151 Hearing Date: August 2, 2022 Dept: 50

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 50

mehdi saidane, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

vs.

patrick khalafian, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.:

****7151

Hearing Date:

August 2, 2022

Hearing Time: 10:00 a.m.

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE:

DEFENDANTS DERTAD TEDDY BEDJAKIAN’S AND 168 ENTERTAINMENT, LLC’S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND THEIR ANSWERS

Background

Plaintiffs Mehdi Saidane and Mimi Saidane (jointly, “Plaintiffs”) brought this action on June 30, 2017 against Defendants Patrick Khalafian (“Khalafian”), Dertad Teddy Bedjakian (“Bedjakian”), and 168 Entertainment, LLC (“168 Entertainment”). Plaintiffs filed the operative Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) on July 3, 2018, asserting causes of action for (1) fraud, (2) breach of contract and (3) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

On October 22, 2018, Bedjakian filed an Answer to the SAC, in which he asserts a number of affirmative defenses. On March 22, 2019, 168 Entertainment filed an Answer to the SAC, in which it also asserts a number of affirmative defenses.

The SAC alleges that Plaintiffs entered into a contract (the “Contract”) with Khalafian and 168 Entertainment in November 2009, wherein Plaintiffs agreed to invest $205,000 into a new internet project. (SAC, 7, Ex. 1.) Plaintiffs allege that 168 Entertainment was operated and owned by Khalafian and Bedjakian. (SAC, 8.) Plaintiffs thereafter “patiently waited for a return on their initial investment.” (SAC, 9.) Plaintiffs inquired as to the status of their investment on a yearly basis from 2009 to 2015. (SAC, 10.) Plaintiffs were told by Khalafian and Bedjakian that their investment “was being put to good use” and “profit distributions were ‘right around the corner.’” (SAC, 9.) Finally, in 2016, Mehdi Saidane discovered that the investment was being used to fund the personal lifestyles of Khalafian and Bedjakian. (SAC, 12.) When Plaintiffs demanded a return of their investment, they were rebuffed. (SAC, 13.) Plaintiffs thereafter learned that in March 2017, Bedjakian filed documents with the California Secretary of State to cancel the corporate status of 168 Entertainment, in violation of the Contract. (SAC, 13.)

Bedjakian and 168 Entertainment (jointly, “Defendants”) now move for leave to file amended answers to the SAC. Plaintiffs oppose.

Evidentiary Objections

The Court rules on Plaintiffs’ objection to the Declaration of Thomas Kostos as follows:

Objection 1: sustained

Discussion

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 473(a)(1), “[t]he court may, in furtherance of justice, and on any terms as may be proper, allow a party to amend any pleading.” Amendment may be allowed at any time before or after commencement of trial. ((Id., 576.) “[T]he court’s discretion will usually be exercised liberally to permit amendment of the pleadings. The policy favoring amendment is so strong that it is a rare case in which denial of leave to amend can be justified.” (Howard v. County of San Diego (2010) 184 Cal.App.4th 1422, 1428 (internal citations omitted).) “If the motion to amend is timely made and the granting of the motion will not prejudice the opposing party, it is error to refuse permission to amend….” (Morgan v. Sup. Ct. (1959) 172 Cal.App.2d 527, 530.) Prejudice includes “delay in trial, loss of critical evidence, or added costs of preparation.” (Solit v. Tokai Bank, Ltd. New York Branch (1999) 68 Cal.App.4th 1435, 1448.)

A motion to amend a pleading before trial must include a copy of the proposed amendment or amended pleading, which must be serially numbered to differentiate it from previous pleadings or amendments. ((Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1324(a).) The motion must also state what allegations are proposed to be deleted or added, by page, paragraph, and line number. ((Ibid. .) Finally, a separate supporting declaration specifying the effect of the amendment, why the amendment is necessary and proper, when the facts giving rise to the amended allegations were discovered, and the reason why the request for amendment was not made earlier must also accompany the motion. ((Id. R., rule 3.1324(b).)

Defendants seek to amend their answers to add a tenth affirmative defense – novation. The affirmative defense provides, “As a separate and distinct affirmative defense to the second amended complaint, defendant alleges that the second amended complaint, and each cause of action therein, are completely barred, waived or otherwise unenforceable because of a novation between PATRICK KHALAFIAN and plaintiffs, wherein plaintiffs agreed to substitute an investment in an unrelated business with the intent of extinguishing any obligations any of the defendants allegedly had to plaintiffs under the November 30, 2009, agreement, or any claim arising out of or related to said agreement.” (Kostos Decl., 4, Exs. A-B.)

In support of this proposed amendment, Defendants submit the declaration of their counsel, Thomas J. Kostos, who asserts that he is “informed and believe that to the extent plaintiffs invested money in [168 Entertainment], or the project, [Khalafian] repaid or extinguished any obligation of any of the defendants under the November 30, 2009, agreement by giving them stock in a companion business unrelated to [168 Entertainment], [168 Entertainment’s] project alleged in the November 30, 2009, agreement, or [Bedjakian]. These businesses were Croesus, and/or Empire Entertainment Group. I learned this information from former members and officers of Croesus, and Empire Entertainment Group. I believe plaintiffs have first-hand knowledge of these facts and that they were aware of these facts from the beginning of this litigation, and they should have disclosed these facts to defendants and this Court.” (Kostos Decl., 2.) Mr. Kostos asserts that he learned these facts in recent months. (Kostos Decl., 3.)

As set forth above, the Court sustains Plaintiffs’ objection to paragraph 2 of Mr. Kostos’s declaration. As noted by Plaintiffs, Mr. Kostos lacks foundation to make the claims asserted in the first, second, and fourth sentences of paragraph 2 of his declaration. Plaintiffs also note that Mr. Kostos’s statement in the third sentence that he learned the information from former members and officers of Croesus and Empire Entertainment Group shows that the entirety of paragraph 2 is hearsay.

Plaintiffs note that “courts are much more critical of proposed amendments to answers when offered after long unexplained delay or on the eve of trial [citations], or where there is a lack of diligence, or there is prejudice to the other party.” ((Hulsey v. Koehler (1990) 218 Cal.App.3d 1150, 1159.) Plaintiffs assert that all of these factors are present here. Bedjakian filed his answer to the SAC on October 22, 2018, almost four years ago. 168 Entertainment filed its answer to the SAC on March 22, 2019 over three years ago. In addition, trial in this action is currently set for August 24, 2022. Plaintiffs note that the action is thus on the eve of trial, and discovery is closed. Plaintiffs assert that the proposed amendments will thus cause great prejudice to them, and indicate that they would not have any ability “to delve into this new affirmative defense, and this novel theory that the Plaintiffs accepted something other than money for their investment.” (Opp’n at p. 2:25-26.) Defendants did not file a reply in support of the motion, and thus do not offer any response to the foregoing points.

Conclusion

Based on the foregoing, Defendants’ motion for leave to amend their answers is denied.

Plaintiffs are ordered to provide notice of this ruling.

DATED: August 2, 2022

Hon. Teresa A. Beaudet

Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court



Case Number: ****7151    Hearing Date: September 04, 2020    Dept: 50

 

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 50

mehdi saidane, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

vs.

patrick khalafian, et al.

Defendants.

Case No.:

BC 667151

Hearing Date:

September 4, 2020

Hearing Time:

10:00 a.m.

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE:

DEFENDANTS DERTAD TEDDY BEDJAKIAN AND 168 ENTERTAINMENT, LLC’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND IN THE ALTERNATIVE SUMMARY ADJUDICATION OF ISSUES

Background

Plaintiffs Mehdi Saidane and Mimi Saidane (jointly, “Plaintiffs”) brought this action on June 30, 2017 against Defendants Patrick Khalafian (“Khalafian”),” Dertad Teddy Bedjakian (“Bedjakian”) and 168 Entertainment, LLC (the “LLC”). In the operative Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”), Plaintiffs assert three causes of action: (1) fraud, (2) breach of contract and (3) breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

The operative Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) alleges that Plaintiffs entered into a contract (the “Contract”) with Khalafian and the LLC in November 2009, wherein Plaintiffs agreed to invest $205,000 into a new internet project which Khalafian and the LLC would manage. (SAC, ¶ 7, Exh. 1.) Plaintiffs allege that the LLC was operated and owned by Khalafian and Bedjakian. (SAC, ¶ 8.) Plaintiffs thereafter “patiently waited for a return on their initial investment.” (SAC, ¶ 9.) Plaintiffs inquired as to the status of their investment on a yearly basis from 2009 to 2015. (SAC, ¶ 10.) Plaintiffs were told by Khalafian and Bedjakian that their investment “was being put to good use” and “profit distributions were ‘right around the corner.’” (SAC, ¶ 9.) Finally, in 2016, Mehdi Saidane discovered that the investment was being used to fund the personal lifestyles of Khalafian and Bedjakian. (SAC, ¶ 12.) When Plaintiffs demanded a return of their investment, they were rebuffed. (SAC, ¶ 13.) Plaintiffs thereafter learned that in March 2017, Bedjakian filed documents with the California Secretary of State to cancel the corporate status of the LLC, in violation of the Contract. (SAC, ¶ 13.)

Bedjakian and the LLC (jointly, the “Bedjakian Parties”) now move for summary judgment or, in the alternative, summary adjudication of each of the three causes of action. Plaintiffs oppose.

Evidence

The Bedjakian Parties object to the entirety of the Declaration of Mehdi Saidane and the entirety of the Declaration of Mimi Saidane on the grounds that both declarations “include[]” hearsay statements by PATRICK KHALAFIAN” and that both declarations “contradict[] the plaintiff’s prior verified deposition responses.” The Bedjakian Parties’ objections do not comply with California Rules of Court, rule 3.1354, which requires all written objections to, among other things, “[q]uote or set forth the objectionable statement or material.” Because the declarations of Medhi Saidane and Mimi Saidane include non-objectionable material, the Court is unable to determine to which portions of the declarations that the Bedjakian Parties direct their objections. Therefore, both objections are overruled.

Legal Standard

“[A] motion for summary judgment shall be granted if all the papers submitted show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” ((Code Civ. Proc., ; 437c, subd. (c).) The moving party bears the initial burden of production to make a prima facie showing that there are no triable issues of material fact. ((Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 850.) If the moving party carries this burden, the burden shifts to the opposing party to make a prima facie showing that a triable issue of material fact exists. ((Ibid. .) Courts “liberally construe the evidence in support of the party opposing summary judgment and resolve doubts concerning the evidence in favor of that party.” ((Dore v. Arnold Worldwide, Inc. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 384, 389.)

When a defendant seeks summary judgment, he/she must show either (1) that one or more elements of the cause of action cannot be established; or (2) that there is a complete defense to that cause of action. ((Code Civ. Proc., ; 437c, subd. (p)(2).)

Discussion

The Bedjakian Parties contend that the fraud cause of action is without merit because Plaintiffs cannot establish the first element of a fraud claim: misrepresentation.

The elements of a cause of action for fraud are: (1) misrepresentation, (2) knowledge of falsity, (3) intent to defraud, (4) justifiable reliance, and (5) resulting damage. ((Charnay v. Cobert (2006) 145 Cal.App.4th 170, 184.) “Promissory fraud is a subspecies of the action for fraud and deceit.” ((Lazar v. Superior Court (1996) 12 Cal.4th 631, 638 [internal quotations omitted].) “A promise to do something necessarily implies the intention to perform; hence, where a promise is made without such intention, there is an implied misrepresentation of fact that may be actionable fraud.” (Ibid. .) “An action for promissory fraud may lie where a defendant fraudulently induces the plaintiff to enter into a contract.” (Ibid. .)

In support of the fraud cause of action (which is alleged against Khalafian and Bedjakian), Plaintiffs allege that Khalafian and Bedjakian “agreed to use the capital provided by Plaintiffs to fund a new internet project, 168 Entertainment.” (SAC, ¶ 15.) Plaintiffs allege that they “would never have invested $205,000.00 if they knew that the [sic] Khalafian and Bedjakian had no intention to use the money for the startup of a new business venture.” (SAC, ¶ 20.) As a result, Plaintiffs allege that they have suffered damages in the amount of $205,000. (SAC, ¶ 21.)

The Bedjakian Parties submit evidence that Bedjakian never made a material misrepresentation to either of the Plaintiffs that led them to invest money pursuant to the Contract. (Bedjakian Parties’ Undisputed Material Fact (“UMF”) 2.) First, the Bedjakian Parties cite to the deposition of Mimi Saidane, wherein she testifies that Bedjakian did not say anything to her “to invest in this project.” (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mimi Saidane Depo.), p. 50:2-10.) Plaintiffs dispute this fact and offer as evidence Mimi Saidane’s declaration, wherein she testifies that “Had Defendant Bedjakian not told me that he was involved in the investment project, and that he would be part of the project I would not have invested.” (Mimi Saidane Decl., ¶ 11.) Ms. Saidane goes on to testify that “Bedjakian’s representations caused me to invest, along with Mehdi Saidane, and agree to the Investment Agreement.” (Mimi Saidane Decl., ¶ 11.) The Bedjakian Parties correctly note that Plaintiffs may not use their declarations to contradict judicial admissions, such as those obtained during discovery. ((See Cohen v. Kabbalah Centre Internat., Inc. (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 13, 18-19 [finding that trial court correctly disregarded “new and contradictory version of events” set forth in declaration opposing summary judgment].) Even if the Court did consider Mimi Saidane’s declaration, nothing in the declaration actually creates a triable issue as to the element of misrepresentation. Mimi Saidane attests in her declaration that Bedjakian told her that he was involved in the investment project and that he would be a part of the project. But those representations are not at issue in this case. The operative misrepresentation is that Bedjakian (and Khalafian) “agreed to use the capital provided by Plaintiffs to fund a new internet project, 168 Entertainment.” (SAC, ¶ 15.) Moreover, there is no suggestion that Bedjakian’s representation that he was involved in the project and would be a part of the project was ever false. The alleged fraud, as set forth in the SAC, was about the nature of the project and not about the parties who would be involved.

Next, the Bedjakian Parties submit evidence that Bedjakian never made any misrepresentations about the investment to Mehdi Saidane. (UMF 2.) The Bedjakian Parties cite to the portion of Mehdi Saidane’s deposition testimony where he testifies that he met with Khalafian and Bedjakian to discuss the investment where he was told by Khalafian that Bedjakian would be the owner of the project, that Khalafian would “do the work,” and that he, Mehdi Saidane, would get a percentage as an investor. (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mehdi Saidane Depo.), p. 17: 9-12.) Plaintiffs points out that Mehdi Saidane also testified during his deposition that, at this same meeting, Bedjakian told him that “we’re going to do this business, business – online business.” (Plaintiffs’ Ex. 8 (Mehdi Saidane Depo.), p. 16: 8-15.) They also point out that Mehdi Saidane testified during his deposition as follows: “Q. So at the meeting Teddy [Bedjakian] said he’s going to take the $205,000 you’re going to give him and invest it; is that what he told you? A. Well, at the meeting, yeah . . . .” (Id. At p. 40: 10-13.) The Court finds that this evidence is sufficient to raise a triable issue as to the element of misrepresentation. The gravamen of the fraud claim is that Bedjakian induced Plaintiffs into investing in this internet business by falsely promising that Plaintiffs’ investment would be used for the project, when in reality, Bedjakian (and Khalafian) never intended to start an internet business and only wanted to use Plaintiffs’ money to enrich themselves. Since there is evidence that Bedjakian participated in making this false promise, a triable issue of fact exists.

The Bedjakian Parties argue that, nevertheless, the fraud claim is without merit because Plaintiffs cannot establish that they were damaged. This argument is also advanced in support of the contention that the breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing claims are without merit. The Bedjakian Parties contend that Plaintiffs have no evidence that any of the $205,000 they allegedly invested pursuant to the Contract was invested into the LLC or deposited into the LLC’s bank account. (UMF 3.) Therefore, the Bedjakian Parties contend that Plaintiffs cannot show that they were damaged in the amount of $205,000.

“Summary judgment law in this state . . . continues to require a defendant moving for summary judgment to present evidence, and not simply point out that the plaintiff does not possess, and cannot reasonably obtain, needed evidence.” ((Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co., supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 854.) “The defendant may [] present evidence that the plaintiff does not possess, and cannot reasonably obtain, needed evidence—as through admissions by the plaintiff following extensive discovery to the effect that he has discovered nothing.” ((Id. at p. 855.) “But, … the defendant must indeed present evidence.” (Emphasis in original.) (Ibid.) One way to present such evidence is to submit “factually devoid” discovery responses. (Union Bank v. Superior Court (1995) 31 Cal.App.3th 573, 580.) Here, the evidence presented by the Bedjakian Parties in support of their damages argument is the following: a copy of a Bank of America wire transfer request form for $50,000 naming Mimi Saidane as the requester and the LLC as the beneficiary, dated November 30, 2009 (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 2); a copy of a cashier’s check from Mimi Saidane to the LLC for $50,000, dated March 20, 2010 (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 3); a copy of a cashier’s check from Mimi Saidane to the LLC for $90,000, dated January 14, 2010 (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 4); and a copy of a cashier’s check from Mimi Saidane to Khalafian for $15,000, dated June 2, 2010 (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 5). The Bedjakian Parties argue that, during discovery, Plaintiffs produced these documents to show their investment into the LLC. However, the Bedjakian Parties fail to attach any discovery requests (and corresponding discovery responses) that show why these documents were produced. Without the underlying discovery request, the Court cannot make a determination either way as to whether these documents establish that Plaintiffs do not have and cannot reasonably obtain evidence that the $205,000 investment actually ended up with the LLC.

The Bedjakian Parties also cite to Mimi Saidane’s deposition, wherein she testifies that she gave Khalafian “the money to do everything.” (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mimi Saidane Depo.), pp. 41:13-21.) But the Bedjakian Parties also include testimony from Mimi Saidane that she deposited the money into the LLC’s account. (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mimi Saidane Depo.), p. 69:17 – 70:16.) Mehdi Saidane’s cite deposition testimony also offers no help. For one, portions cited by the Bedjakian Parties in UMF 3 are not included in their Exhibit List, in particular, pages 40-42 of Mehdi Saidane’s deposition. The only potentially relevant question on page 39 of Mehdi Saidane’s deposition is whether he had any documents that support his contention that Bedjakian was required to invest the $205,000 into the new Internet company. (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mehdi Saidane Depo.), p. 39: 14-20.) But documents do not constitute the entire universe of forms of evidence that Plaintiffs could have or could reasonably obtain in order to prove their damages.

The final piece of evidence cited by the Bedjakian Parties in support of their damages argument is Bedjakian’s own declaration, but even that has no evidentiary value. Bedjakian states in his declaration that in May of 2010, he opened a bank account for the LLC at East West Bank, in Pasadena, California, and that was the only bank account he was “aware of” for the LLC. (Bedjakian Decl., ¶ 3.) The fact that Bedjakian was “aware of” only one bank account does not foreclose the possibility that other bank accounts existed for the LLC, but Bedjakian offers no testimony that would support an inference that the LLC did not, in fact, have any other bank account. Accordingly, the Court finds that the Bedjakian Parties have failed to meet their initial burden of showing that the causes of action for fraud, breach of contract, and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing have no merit.

Lastly, the Bedjakian Parties argue that all of Plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. (Code Civ. Proc., ;; 338, subd. (d) [statute of limitations for fraud is three years]; 337, subd. (a) [statute of limitations for contract claim is four years]; 339 [statute of limitations for implied covenant claim is two years].)

The Contract was entered into November 30, 2009. (SAC, Ex. A.) The Bedjakian Parties argue that Plaintiffs’ fraud claim is based on allegedly false promises made when entering into the Contract, and three years elapsed before Plaintiffs filed this lawsuit. Likewise, the Bedjakian Parties argue that Plaintiffs’ contract claims are based on breaches that occurred no later than April 1, 2010. Pursuant to the Contract, an entity known as “the Project LLC” was to be formed by April 1, 2010. (SAC, Ex. 1, p. 2.) The project itself was the creation of an adult content website and tentative URLs were set forth in the Contract. (SAC, Ex. 1, Ex. A.) Therefore, according to the Bedjakian Parties, if the website was not up by 2010, a breach must have occurred.[1]

The Bedjakian Parties next contend that Plaintiffs are not entitled to the benefit of the discovery rule to toll the applicable statutes of limitation. “An exception to the general rule of accrual is the delayed discovery rule, ‘which postpones accrual of a cause of action until the plaintiff discovers, or has reason to discover, the cause of action.’” ((Stella v. Asset Management Consultants, Inc. (2017) 8 Cal.App.5th 181, 191-192, quoting Fox v. Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. (2005) 35 Cal.4th 797, 807.) “[P]laintiffs are required to conduct a reasonable investigation after becoming aware of an injury, and are charged with knowledge of the information that would have been revealed by such an investigation.” ((Fox v. Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Inc. (2005) 35 Cal.4th 797, 808.) To rely on the delayed discovery rule, Plaintiffs “must specifically plead facts to show (1) the time and manner of discovery and (2) the inability to have made earlier discovery despite reasonable diligence.” (Ibid. .)

Plaintiffs allege in the SAC that they did not discover that their investment had not been put into the LLC until 2016. (SAC, ¶ 12.) To satisfy the reasonable diligence requirement, Plaintiffs allege that they inquired about their investment “on a yearly basis,” and that Khalafian and Bedjakian told them that their investment was “being put to good use in setting up the business, and that profit distributions were ‘right around the corner.’” (SAC, ¶ 9.) In particular, Plaintiffs allege that Bedjakian “stated at various times that Khalafian had control of the funds of 168 Entertainment, and that the company was doing very well and that after some reinvestment of the income, there would be a profit distribution.” (SAC, ¶ 10.) Bedjakian “hid from Plaintiffs that he never actually started the internet business.” (SAC, ¶ 10.) Moreover, Plaintiffs allege that “any financial documents which were shown to Plaintiffs by Khalafian and Bedjakian were faked for the purposes of deceiving Plaintiffs.” (SAC, ¶ 18.)

The Bedjakian Parties contend that Plaintiffs cannot establish that the discovery rule applies because there is no evidence that Plaintiffs met with, spoke to, or otherwise communicated with Bedjakian regarding the project or their investment from November 30, 2009 through December 2016, or that Bedjakian had lied to them about the status of the project. (UMF 4-5.) For example, when Mimi Saidane was asked at deposition if Bedjakian had ever told her that “profits from the investment project were right around the corner,” she responded in the negative. Likewise, when she was asked whether Bedjakian had ever given her “any assurance that everything was fine” or if Bedjakian had ever provided her with falsified or fake financial documents related to the project, she answered no. (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mimi Saidane Depo.), p. 52: 2-13; see also pp. 35: 15-20, 45: 4-8, 57: 20-25.) Mehdi Saidane testified at deposition that after his first meeting with Bedjakian in 2009, the “next time” he “talked to” Bedjakian was in 2016. (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mehdi Saidane Depo.), pp. 25:5 – 26:17.) Medhi Saidane also testified that Bedjakian had not given him fake financial documents. (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mehdi Saidane Depo.), pp. 38:24 – 39:13, 54: 21-23.)

Plaintiffs counter with evidence that Mimi Saidane met with Bedjakian a few times over the years at his restaurant, and that at these meetings, Bedjakian told her that “it’ll be a good project.” (Mimi Saidane Decl., ¶ 8.) In addition, in February 2016, Mimi Saidane spoke with Bedjakian on the phone to coordinate returning a leased car, and at that time, Bedjakian confirmed that the project was still operating and things were going well. (Mimi Saidane Decl., ¶ 9.) At her deposition, Mimi Saidane also testified about seeing Bedjakian at his restaurant at some point and asking about Khalafian’s whereabouts. (Plaintiffs’ Ex. 7 (Mimi Saidane Depo.), pp. 35:21 – 36:21.) The Court notes that Mimi Saidane’s declaration is inconsistent with her deposition testimony; at deposition, she testified that she received no assurances from Bedjakian about the project, but in her declaration, she states that he told her things were going well. But she did testify in her deposition that she asked Bedjakian about Khalafian’s whereabouts, and although there are no additional details about when or how often this took place, the Court finds that it is sufficient to raise a triable issue as to whether she ever spoke to Bedjakian about the project between 2009 and 2016. Plaintiffs also note that Bedjakian’s statement in February 2016 that things were going well was untrue because Bedjakian himself testified at deposition that the Project LLC was never created even though the Contract required that it be created by April 2010. (Plaintiffs’ Ex. 6 (Bedjakian Depo.), p. 52: 2-7.)

Even so, the Bedjakian Parties argue that Plaintiffs cannot establish that they were reasonably diligent regarding discovery of their claims. “When a plaintiff reasonably should have discovered facts for purposes of the accrual of a cause of action or application of the delayed discovery rule is generally a question of fact, properly decided as a matter of law only if the evidence . . . can support only one reasonable conclusion.” ((Stella v. Asset Management Consultants, Inc., supra, at p. 193.) The Bedjakian Parties contend that Plaintiffs should have known in 2010 that the Contract had been breached (UMF 6) and that Plaintiffs should have known by 2013, at the latest, that they had fraud claims against Bedjakian and Khalafian (UMF 7).

In particular, the Bedjakian Parties argue that Plaintiffs could easily have checked to see if the adult websites that were the centerpiece of the project had actually been created. The Bedjakian Parties point out that Mimi Saidane never actually went to the websites to see if they had been created because she was uninterested (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mimi Saidane Depo.), pp. 34:13 – 35:10) and that Mehdi Saidane did see in 2009 that the websites were still under construction (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mehdi Saidane Depo.), pp. 27:10 – 28:6.) But there are two problems with this argument. First, the Contract itself does not contain a date by which the websites were supposed to be functional, so it is unclear how the failure to create the websites by April 1, 2010 should have placed Plaintiffs on notice of a breach of contract. Further, there is no evidence that Mehdi Saidane did or did not check on the status of the websites after 2009. Second, the evidence offered by the Bedjakian Parties only tells half the story. While Mimi Saidane did testify that she never looked up the websites, she also explained that she had no interest in looking at websites that contain adult content and was only interested in her investment. (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mimi Saidane Depo.), pp. 34:13 – 35:10.) And she also testified that Mehdi Saidane was still giving Khalafian and/or Bedjakian money in 2013 because the project needed more money, and that she was told that she should expect profits in 2016. (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mimi Saidane Depo.), pp. 42: 2-14.) Along the same lines, Mehdi Saidane testified at deposition that he asked Khalafian beginning in 2013 or 2014 about when he would be getting his promised profits. (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mehdi Saidane Depo.), pp. 75:9 – 76:24.)

As far as the fraud claim, the Bedjakian Parties contend that in 2013, Plaintiffs should have known or had reason to know that their investment had not been used for its stated purpose. Presumably, this is because Mimi Saidane testified that her understanding was that the project “was done by 2013.” (Bedjakian Parties’ Ex. 6 (Mimi Saidane Depo.), pp. 42: 2-14.) But as noted by Plaintiffs, they had a personal relationship with Khalafian, communicated with Khalafian regularly, and trusted him when he assured them about the project. (Response to UMF 6.) Plaintiffs assert that they did not become suspicious about the project until Khalafian stopped returning their phone calls. (Mehdi Saidane Decl., ¶¶ 8-9; Mimi Saidane Decl., ¶ 9.) Based on the evidence presented, the Court does not find that the Bedjakian Parties have demonstrated that, as a matter of law, it was unreasonable for Plaintiffs to first become aware of their fraud claim against the defendants in 2016. Therefore, the Court finds that a triable issue exists as to whether the discovery rule applies to each of Plaintiffs’ claims.

Conclusion

Based on the foregoing, the Bedjakian Parties’ motion for summary judgment is denied in its entirety.

Plaintiffs are ordered to provide notice of this Order.

DATED: September 4, 2020

________________________________

Hon. Teresa A. Beaudet

Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court


[1] The Bedjakian Parties do not argue that a breach actually occurred in 2010, but only that if such a breach occurred, Plaintiffs should have and could have discovered it at least four years before June 30, 2017, when they filed this action.



Case Number: ****7151    Hearing Date: July 07, 2020    Dept: 50

 

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 50

mehdi saidane, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

vs.

patrick khalafian, et al.

Defendants.

Case No.:

BC 667151

Hearing Date:

July 7, 2020

Hearing Time:

2:00 p.m.

ORDER RE:

DEFENDANTS DERTAD TEDDY BEDJAKIAN AND 168 ENTERTAINMENT, LLC’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND IN THE ALTERNATIVE SUMMARY ADJUDICATION OF ISSUES

Defendants Dertad Teddy Bedjakian (“Bedjakian”) and 168 Entertainment, LLC (the “LLC”) (jointly, “Defendants”) move for summary judgment or, in the alternative, summary adjudication of Plaintiffs Mehdi Saidane and Mimi Saidane’s Second Amended Complaint.

The Court did not timely receive the required binder/spiral compilations with courtesy copies of all moving, opposing, and reply papers and all supporting or related documents. Therefore, the hearing on Defendants’ MSJ/MSA will be continued to a date to be scheduled by the Clerk, who will contact the parties regarding the continued hearing date.

The Court orders Defendants to lodge directly in Department 50, at least 5 court days before the new MSJ/MSA hearing date, the fully indexed and tabbed binders or preferably spiral bound compilations of all of the moving, opposing, reply and supporting papers (e.g., declarations, requests for judicial notice, etc., but not proposed orders or proofs of service).

Defendants are ordered to give notice of this Order.

DATED: July 4, 2020

________________________________

Hon. Teresa A. Beaudet

Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court



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