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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/12/2020 at 19:53:19 (UTC).

MICHAEL KHABUSHANI VS NAJILA K. BRENT

Case Summary

On 07/29/2019 MICHAEL KHABUSHANI filed an Other lawsuit against NAJILA K BRENT. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Van Nuys Courthouse East located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is VIRGINIA KEENY. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******1068

  • Filing Date:

    07/29/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Other

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Van Nuys Courthouse East

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

VIRGINIA KEENY

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

KHABUSHANI MICHAEL

Defendants

BRENT NAJILA K. AKA NAJILA KORDROSTAM BRENT

GAYNOR LINDA

AAA CORPORATE SERVICES

NAJILA K BRENT A PROFESSIONAL LAW CORPORATION

BRENT DBA WAYNE BRENT NAJILA K. DBA

ROSTAMI AKA FARANAK KORDROSTAM FARANAK AKA

BRENT AKA NAJILA ROSTAMI NAJILA KORDROSTAM AKA

ROSTAMI AKA SHAHIN KORDROSTAM SHAHIN AKA SHAHIN KORDROSTAM

ZUMA CORPORATION

BRENT DBA ZUMA CORPORATION NAJILA K. DBA

BRENT DBA FARANK ROSTAMI NAJILA K. DBA

BRENT DBA SHAHIN ROSTAMI NAJILA K. DBA

BRENT AKA NAJILA KORDROSTAM BRENT NAJILA K. AKA NAJILA KORDROSTAM BRENT

GONZALES LETICIA

BRENT DBA LETICIA GONZALES NAJILA K. DBA LETICIA GONZALES

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Defendant Attorneys

BRENT NAJILA K.

RUSSO JOHN SCOTT

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO SET ASIDE/VACATE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUD...)

1/9/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO SET ASIDE/VACATE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUD...)

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF HEARINGS RE : 1) MOTION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULTS AND/OR DEFAULT JUDGEMENT TO FEBRUARY 21, 2020 AT 8:30 A.M. DEPT. W; 2) DEFENDANTS MOTION TO STRIKE UNDER

1/29/2020: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF HEARINGS RE : 1) MOTION TO SET ASIDE DEFAULTS AND/OR DEFAULT JUDGEMENT TO FEBRUARY 21, 2020 AT 8:30 A.M. DEPT. W; 2) DEFENDANTS MOTION TO STRIKE UNDER

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

2/13/2020: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

2/13/2020: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

2/13/2020: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

2/18/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

3/26/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF HEARINGS RE : 1) CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE 2) DEFENDANTS MOTION TO STRIKE UNDER CCP SECTION 425.16 (ANTI-SLAPP MOTION) 3) DEFENDANTS DEMU

4/15/2020: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF HEARINGS RE : 1) CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE 2) DEFENDANTS MOTION TO STRIKE UNDER CCP SECTION 425.16 (ANTI-SLAPP MOTION) 3) DEFENDANTS DEMU

Notice of Joinder - NOTICE OF JOINDER (NAME EXTENSION) NOTICE OF JOINDER AND JOINDER BY DEFENDANT NAJILA K. BRENT, A PROFESSIONAL LAW CORPORATION IN NAJILA K. BRENTS DEMURRER WITH MOTION TO STRIK

10/30/2019: Notice of Joinder - NOTICE OF JOINDER (NAME EXTENSION) NOTICE OF JOINDER AND JOINDER BY DEFENDANT NAJILA K. BRENT, A PROFESSIONAL LAW CORPORATION IN NAJILA K. BRENTS DEMURRER WITH MOTION TO STRIK

Proof of Service by Mail

10/21/2019: Proof of Service by Mail

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

10/24/2019: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

10/24/2019: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

Special Motion to Strike under CCP Section 425.16 (Anti-SLAPP motion)

10/25/2019: Special Motion to Strike under CCP Section 425.16 (Anti-SLAPP motion)

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

10/28/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF DEMURRING PARTY OR MOVING PARTY IN SUPPORT OF AUTOMATIC EXTENSION PER CCP SECTIONS 430.41, 435.5, OR 439

9/23/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF DEMURRING PARTY OR MOVING PARTY IN SUPPORT OF AUTOMATIC EXTENSION PER CCP SECTIONS 430.41, 435.5, OR 439

Request for Judicial Notice

9/9/2019: Request for Judicial Notice

Civil Case Cover Sheet

7/29/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet

Civil Case Cover Sheet

7/29/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet

73 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/25/2020
  • Hearing06/25/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department W at 6230 Sylmar Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91401; Hearing on Special Motion to Strike under CCP Section 425.16 (Anti-SLAPP motion)

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  • 06/25/2020
  • Hearing06/25/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department W at 6230 Sylmar Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91401; Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

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  • 06/25/2020
  • Hearing06/25/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department W at 6230 Sylmar Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91401; Case Management Conference

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  • 04/17/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department W, Virginia Keeny, Presiding; Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) - Not Held - Rescheduled by Court

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  • 04/17/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department W, Virginia Keeny, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Not Held - Rescheduled by Court

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  • 04/17/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department W, Virginia Keeny, Presiding; Hearing on Special Motion to Strike under CCP Section 425.16 (Anti-SLAPP motion) - Not Held - Rescheduled by Court

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  • 04/15/2020
  • DocketNotice ( NOTICE OF CONTINUANCE OF HEARINGS RE : 1) CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE 2) DEFENDANTS? MOTION TO STRIKE UNDER CCP SECTION 425.16 (ANTI-SLAPP MOTION) 3) DEFENDANTS? DEMURRER AND MOTION TO STRIKE); Filed by NAJILA K. BRENT aka Najila Kordrostam Brent (Defendant)

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  • 03/26/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/26/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/26/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by Clerk

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87 More Docket Entries
  • 08/26/2019
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by MICHAEL KHABUSHANI (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/26/2019
  • DocketAmendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name); Filed by MICHAEL KHABUSHANI (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/31/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/29/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by MICHAEL KHABUSHANI (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/29/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by MICHAEL KHABUSHANI (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/29/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by MICHAEL KHABUSHANI (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/29/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by MICHAEL KHABUSHANI (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/29/2019
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by MICHAEL KHABUSHANI (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/29/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by MICHAEL KHABUSHANI (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/29/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19VECV01068    Hearing Date: June 25, 2020    Dept: W

KHABUSHANI V. BRENT, ET AL.

motion to strike under ccp section 425.16 AND demurrer with motion to strike

Date of Hearing: June 25, 2020 Trial Date: None set.

Department: W Case No.: 19VECV01068

Moving Party: Defendants Najila K. Brent aka Najila Kordrostam Brent and Najila K. Brent, a Professional Law Corporation

Responding Party: Plaintiff Michael Khabushani

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Michael Khabushani commenced this action against Najila K. Brent aka Najila Kordrostam Brent and Najila K. Brent, a Professional Law Corporation alleging a single cause of action for abuse of process. Plaintiff alleges Najila K. Brent and the law firm falsely and fraudulently filed several proofs of service and requests for entry of default in a separate action (the “underlying action”) in which Plaintiff had defaulted and Najila K. Brent and the law firm were a judgment creditor.

On August 26, 2019, Plaintiff named Linda Gaynor and AAA Corporate Services, Inc. as Doe defendants. However, Plaintiff later filed a Request for Dismissal as to Linda Gaynor and AAA Corporate Services, Inc.

On October 24, 2019, default was entered against Defendant Najila K. Brent, a professional law corporation and Najila K. Brent aka Najila Kordrostam Brent (“Brent Defendants”). This court granted the Brent Defendants’ Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment on February 21, 2020.

The Brent Defendants now file a Motion to Strike under CCP section 425.16 on the grounds Plaintiff is suing the Brent Defendants based on conduct in a prior proceeding. The Brent Defendants also file a Demurrer with a Motion to Strike on several grounds including that the complaint is barred by the litigation privilege, the Plaintiff lacks standing, the complaint is barred by Civil Code section 1714.10, res judicata, and collateral estoppel, and the complaint fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action.

[Tentative] Ruling

Najila K. Brent aka Najila Kordrostam Brent and Najila K. Brent, a Professional Law Corporation Motion to Strike under CCP section 425.16 is GRANTED.

Najila K. Brent aka Najila Kordrostam Brent and Najila K. Brent, a Professional Law Corporation Demurrer with Motion to Strike is MOOT.

DISCUSSION

Motion to Strike under CCP 425.16

Brent Defendants move to strike Plaintiff’s complaint pursuant to CCP §425.16 on the grounds Plaintiff is suing the Brent Defendants based on conduct in a prior proceeding.

Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16 provides that “[a] cause of action against a person arising from any act of that person in furtherance of the person's right of petition or free speech under the United States Constitution or California Constitution in connection with a public issue shall be subject to a special motion to strike unless the court determines that the plaintiff has established that there is a probability that the plaintiff will prevail on the claim.” (CCP § 425.16(b).) Such a motion involves a two-step analysis, in which the court must first determine whether a movant “has made a threshold showing that the challenged cause of action is one arising from protected activity ...” (Taus v. Loftus (2007) 40 Cal.4th 683, 712, quoting Equilon Enterprises v. Consumer Cause, Inc. (2002) 29 Cal.4th 53, 67.) If the court so finds, it must then examine whether the respondent has demonstrated a probability of prevailing on the claim. (Taus, supra, 40 Cal.4th at p. 712.) In determining whether the plaintiff has carried this burden, the trial court considers “the pleadings, and supporting and opposing affidavits stating the facts upon which the liability or defense is based.” (CCP § 425.16(b)(2); see Soukup v. Law Offices of Herbert Hafif (2006) 39 Cal.4th 260, 291.)

Request for Judicial Notice

Brent Defendants request this court take judicial notice of the following:

(1) April 10, 2017 Court Order and Notice of Ruling denying Michael Khabushani’s Motion to Quash Service of Summons in LASC Case No. LC103757 (Exh. I); (2) June 20, 2015 Court Order re: Ramin Zarrin-Ehteram’s Motion for Charging Order in LASC Case No. PC003379 (Exh. J); (3) Notice of Renewal of Judgment entered December 7, 2015 in LASC Case No. PC00379 (Exh. K); (4) Quitclaim Deed transferring TRIUNFO property from Michael Khabushani to his wife, Zohreh Khabushani filed with the Ventura County Clerk and Recorder’s Office (Exh. L); (5) August 2, 2016 Bankruptcy Court Order denying Michael Khabushani’s Motion to Avoid Lien in case 1:09-bk-18679-MB (Exh. M); (6) December 6, 2010 Bankruptcy Court Order denying Michael Khabushani’s Motion to Avoid Lien in case SV:09-bk-18679-KT (Exh. N); (7) August 2, 2017 Court Order granting Brent Defendant’s SLAPP Motion and Judgment of Dismissal of Plaintiff’s suit in Ventura County Case No. 56-2016-00483639-CU-BC-VTA (Exh. O); and (8) Court Order imposing prior sanctions on Michael Khabushani in Ventura County Case No. 56-2016-00483639-CU-BC-VTA (Exh. P).

Defendants’ Request is GRANTED pursuant to Evid. Code §452(d),(h).

Protected Conduct

An act in furtherance of a person's right to petition or free speech under the United States Constitution or California Constitution includes “(1) any written or oral statement or writing made before a legislative, executive, or judicial proceeding, or any other official proceeding authorized by law, (2) any written or oral statement or writing made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive, or judicial body, or any other official proceeding authorized by law, (3) any written or oral statement or writing made in a place open to the public or a public forum in connection with an issue of public interest, or (4) any other conduct in furtherance of the exercise of the constitutional right of petition or the constitutional right of free speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest.” (CCP § 425.16(e).)

In this case, the conduct about which Plaintiff complains is Brent Defendants allegedly filed several proof of services falsely and fraudulently in an underlying action where the Brent Defendants were the Plaintiff/Judgment Creditor. Plaintiff claims the Brent Defendants improperly acted as the agent for service of process when Brent was actually a party to the underlying action. Moreover, Plaintiff claims the Brent Defendants served Doe Defendants at false addresses. As a result, Plaintiff alleges the Brent Defendants were able to obtain defaults against at least seventeen Doe Defendants.

Brent Defendants argue this conduct alleged in the complaint is protected under CCP § 425.16(e)(1) and (2). The court finds the Brent Defendants have made a threshold showing that the challenged causes of action arise from protected activity. (See ComputerXpress, Inc. v. Jackson (2001) 93 Cal.App.4th 993, 1014 holding “[b]ecause the purpose of the tort [of abuse of process] is ‘to preserve the integrity of the court,’ it ‘requires a misuse of a judicial process....' [Citations.]”.) Brent Defendants have shown that Plaintiff is suing them for allegedly misusing the judicial process to obtain defaults against Doe Defendants by filing falsified and improper proof of services with the court in an underlying action.

Therefore, the burden shifts to Plaintiff to show a probability of success on the merits.

Probability of Prevailing on the Merits

On the second component of the analysis, courts employ a “summary-judgment-like” procedure, “accepting as true the evidence favorable to the plaintiff and evaluating the defendant’s evidence only to determine whether the defendant has defeated the plaintiff’s evidence as a matter of law.” (Gerbosi v. Gaims, Weil, West & Epstein, LLP (2011) 193 Cal.App.4th 435, 444.) In other words, the Court does not assess credibility, and the plaintiff is not required to meet the preponderance of the evidence standard. The Court accepts as true the evidence favorable to the plaintiff, who need only establish that his or her claim has “minimal merit” to avoid being stricken as a SLAPP. (Soukup, supra, 39 Cal.4th at p. 291.)

Brent Defendants claim Plaintiff cannot meet the second prong of the anti-SLAPP analysis because the claims are barred by the litigation privilege and Civil Code section 1714.10, and that Plaintiff lacks the standing to bring this suit. Moreover, Brent Defendants claim Plaintiff’s claims are barred by collateral estoppel and res judicata.

First, the court finds the litigation privilege bars Plaintiff’s claim for abuse of process. “The [litigation] privilege has been applied specifically in the context of abuse of process claims alleging the filing of false or perjurious testimony or declarations.” (Rusheen v. Cohen (2006) 37 Cal.4th 1048, 1058.) This includes the communicative act of filing an allegedly false declaration of service of process. (Id.) In Rusheen, a defendant in an underlying action filed a cross-complaint against the plaintiff’s attorney, alleging abuse of process. The defendant claimed the attorney enforced a default judgment against him through the filing of allegedly false proofs of service. The Supreme Court of California found the “gravamen of the action was not the levying act, but the procurement of the judgment based on the use of allegedly perjured declarations of service. Because these declarations were communications ‘(1) made in judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings; (2) by litigants or other participants authorized by law; (3) to achieve the objects of the litigation; and (4) that have some connection or logical relation to the action’ [Citation], the litigation privilege applies to the declarations and protects against torts arising from the privileged declarations.” (Rusheen v. Cohen (2006) 37 Cal.4th 1048, 1062.)

In the instant matter, the gravamen of Plaintiff’s allegations is the falsified and fraudulent proof of services filed with the court, which the court notes also extend to the non-communicative conduct of defaults being obtained against Doe Defendants. As such, the litigation privilege protects the communicative act of filing the purported falsified and fraudulent proof of services upon the court.

Moreover, the court finds Plaintiff lacks standing to bring the instant lawsuit. Code of Civil Procedure section 367 provides that “[e]very action must be prosecuted in the name of the real party in interest, except as otherwise provided by statute.” (CCP § 367.) The real party in interest must have an actual and substantial interest in the case subject matter and stand to be benefited or injured by a judgment. (Fladeboe v. American Isuzu Motors Inc. (2007) 150 Cal.App.4th 42, 54-55 (citations omitted).)

In the instant matter, Plaintiff is suing Brent Defendants for allegedly filing false and fraudulent proof of services served against Doe Defendants. Although Plaintiff alleges the proof of services provide his address, Plaintiff has not shown how he has an actual interest in this matter. As such, Plaintiff has no standing to challenge Brent Defendants’ alleged false proof of services and therefore, his cause of action for abuse of process is not legally sufficient.

The court declines to rule on Brent Defendants’ other arguments as Plaintiff cannot establish he will prevail on his claims due to the litigation privilege and lack of standing.

As such, the court finds Plaintiff has not shown a probability of success on the merits.

Limited Discovery

In the alternative, Plaintiff requests that the hearing be continued and he be allowed to conduct limited discovery into the matter.

Discovery is generally stayed from the date of filing the anti-SLAPP until the motion is decided, except on a noticed motion for “good cause” shown, and then only such “specified discovery” as may be allowed by the court limited to the issues raised by the anti-SLAPP motion. (CCP §425.16(g); see Mattel, Inc. v. Luce Forward Hamilton & Scripps (2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 1179, 1190-1191.)

In the instant matter, Plaintiff has failed to describe to this court what exactly “specified discovery” he will need and why he needs it to demonstrate a prima facie case. Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s request for a stay to conduct limited discovery into the matter is denied.

Attorney Fees

Brent Defendants seek an order awarding attorney fees in the amount of $11,686.25 pursuant to CCP §425.16(c)(1).

The court will hear a separate motion for attorney fees regarding the matter upon the resolution of the Special Motion to Strike under Code of Civil Procedure section 425.16.

Demurrer with Motion to Strike

Brent Defendants demur to the entire complaint on several grounds including that the complaint is barred by the litigation privilege, the Plaintiff lacks standing, the complaint is barred by Civil Code section 1714.10, res judicata, and collateral estoppel, and the complaint fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action.

Because the court grants the Brent Defendants’ Motion to Strike Pursuant to CCP § 425.16, Defendants’ demurrer with motion to strike is moot.

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