This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/16/2020 at 03:14:54 (UTC).

MICHAEL WU VS LINDA DIANE VARMA ET. AL.

Case Summary

On 04/18/2018 MICHAEL WU filed a Property - Other Real Property lawsuit against LINDA DIANE VARMA. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Burbank Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is RALPH C. HOFER. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8138

  • Filing Date:

    04/18/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Real Property

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Burbank Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

RALPH C. HOFER

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs, Cross Defendants and Not Classified By Court

WU MICHAEL

R M E G REALTY INCORPORATED

DBA CENTURY 21 REALTY MASTERS

BERNAL MILTON

VARMA LINDA DIANE

Defendants, Cross Plaintiffs, Trustees and Not Classified By Court

LF ASSOC. INC.

NORTON LI ME

VARMA LINDA DIANE

ROBLES DAVE

ME NORTON LI

THE LINDA DIANE VARMA TRUST

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

DAVID FU AND ASSOCIATES ATTORNEYS-AT-LAW

DAVID FU & ASSOCIATES

FU DAVID DAI-WUNG

Attorney at David Fu and Associates

444 E Huntington Dr Ste 205

Arcadia, CA 91006

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

BILAL LAW GROUP

SPILE LEFF & GOOR LLP

BILAL KAMAL ANTOINE

Defendant and Cross Defendant Attorneys

SPILE LEFF & GOOR LLP

DELAPLANE CHRISTOPHER EDWARD

 

Court Documents

Minute Order -

9/28/2018: Minute Order -

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (STATUS CONFERENCE RE: MEDIATION AND DISCOVERY) OF 12/18/2019

12/18/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (STATUS CONFERENCE RE: MEDIATION AND DISCOVERY) OF 12/18/2019

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAI...)

9/27/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAI...)

Separate Statement

9/12/2019: Separate Statement

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO EXPUNGE

6/19/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO EXPUNGE

Objection - OBJECTION TO EXHIBIT 11 ATTACHED TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPEDIUM OF EVIDENCE AND APPENDIX OF EXHIBITS IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO EXPUNGE LIS PENDENS

6/27/2019: Objection - OBJECTION TO EXHIBIT 11 ATTACHED TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPEDIUM OF EVIDENCE AND APPENDIX OF EXHIBITS IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO EXPUNGE LIS PENDENS

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE RE: MEDIATION AND DISCOVERY)

5/28/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE RE: MEDIATION AND DISCOVERY)

Motion to Expunge Lis Pendens

5/10/2019: Motion to Expunge Lis Pendens

Notice - Notice of Unavailability of Counsel

12/7/2018: Notice - Notice of Unavailability of Counsel

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Declaration

8/16/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Declaration

Notice of Case Management Conference

4/18/2018: Notice of Case Management Conference

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Proof-Service/Summons

5/9/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Proof-Service/Summons

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Proof-Service/Summons

6/27/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Proof-Service/Summons

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Proof-Service/Summons

6/27/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Proof-Service/Summons

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Answer to First Amended Complaint

7/30/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Answer to First Amended Complaint

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Declaration

8/6/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Declaration

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees -

10/2/2018: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees -

78 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/17/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department D; Order to Show Cause Re: (Dismissal in Light of Settlement) - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 02/24/2020
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department D; Jury Trial (Five-day Time Estimate) - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 02/13/2020
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department D; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 02/07/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department D; Hearing on Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement (CCP 877.6) - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 02/04/2020
  • DocketRequest for Dismissal; Filed by THE LINDA DIANE VARMA TRUST DATED 7/17/09 (Cross-Complainant)

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  • 01/28/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department D; Order to Show Cause Re: (Mandatory Settlement Conference) - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 01/17/2020
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department D; Status Conference (reMediation and Discovery) - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 01/17/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department D; Hearing on Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement (CCP 877.6) (filed on behalf of Cross-Defendants RMEG Realty Inc.) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 01/17/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department D; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment (or in the alternative, Summary Adjudication filed on behalf of Defendant/Cross-Complainant Linda Diane Varma, Trustee) - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 01/17/2020
  • DocketOrder (RE: Cross-Defendants RMEG Realty Inc. da Centrury7 21 Realty Masters and Milton Bernal's RMEG Realty Inc'. Motion for Good Faith Determination Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 87736(a)(1)); Filed by R M E G REALTY INCORPORATED (Cross-Defendant); DBA CENTURY 21 REALTY MASTERS (Cross-Defendant)

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126 More Docket Entries
  • 04/18/2018
  • DocketNotice-Case Management Conference; Filed by Court

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  • 04/18/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case

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  • 04/18/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet

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  • 04/18/2018
  • DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Court

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  • 04/18/2018
  • DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/18/2018
  • DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/18/2018
  • DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Court

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/18/2018
  • DocketSummons Filed; Filed by Attorney for Plaintiff

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/18/2018
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Plaintiff

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/18/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Court

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: EC068138    Hearing Date: January 17, 2020    Dept: NCD

TENTATIVE RULING

Calendar: 18

Date: 1/17/20

Case No: EC 068138 Trial Date: February 24, 2020

Case Name: Wu v. Varma, et al.

MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT

[CCP §877.6]

Moving Party: Cross-Defendants RMEG Realty Inc. dba Century 21 Realty Masters and Milton Bernal

Responding Party: No Opposition

RELIEF REQUESTED:

Determination that the settlement described below has been entered into in good faith

PROPOSED ORDER LODGED?

Yes

FACTS:

Plaintiff Michael Wu alleges that in 2014, defendant Linda Varma, as Trustee of the Linda Diane Varma Trust, Dated July 17, 2009, entered into a Residential Purchase Agreement with plaintiff to sell to plaintiff real property in Pasadena for a price of $1,015,000.

Plaintiff alleges that pursuant to three addenda, the escrow was to close on or before July 31, 2015, with Varma prohibited from accepting other offers on the property during the extended escrow period. Plaintiff alleges that Varma unilaterally cancelled the escrow and then attempted to relist the property at a higher price. Plaintiff alleges that Varma engaged defendants LF Assoc., Inc., Lin Mei Norton and Dave Robles, as real estate brokers and agents, to sell the property, including holding open houses in April of 2018.

Defendant Varma, as trustee, along with Varma in her individual capacity, have filed a cross-complaint against plaintiff, as well as her former real estate agent, cross-defendant Milton Bernal, and his employing real estate broker, cross-defendant RMEG Realty Incorporated dba Century 21 Realty Masters (“Century 21”), alleging that Varma is presently 66 years old and that her trust is the owner of premises in Pasadena, consisting of a large home situated on approximately one acre which has been Varma’s family residence for many years where she and her deceased husband raised their family. Varma alleges that her husband died in 2009, and that at all relevant times she was in frail mental health, with cataracts, so that she is unable to see or read clearly and has been seriously depressed and distressed since her husband’s death and increased financial responsibilities. Cross-complainant Varma has two young adult sons, one of whom is troubled and causes additional anxiety and stress. She alleges that cross-defendants at all relevant times knew of her frailty.

Varma alleges that on a number of occasions prior to September of 2014, cross-defendant Bernal went to the premises to solicit Varma to list the premises for sale, and that although she expressed no desire to sell the premises, Bernal continued to pressure her, and promised Varma she was under no obligation and could cancel at any time. Varma alleges that under undue pressure from Bernal and without any knowledge of her family, Varma, as trustee, signed a Residential Listing Agreement with cross-defendant Century 21, authorizing the listing of the premises at a sales price of $1,200,000 to be sold in as is condition. Cross-complainant alleges that unbeknownst to her, and without her consent, the sales price on the premises was listed with the MLS listing service at a price drop from $1,200,000 to $999,000. Cross-complainant also alleges that, also unbeknownst to her, her initials were forged on certain legal documents.

Twenty days after the signing of the listing agreement, on September 29, 2014, cross-defendant Wu made an all cash offer to purchase the premises for $1,015,000. Bernal told Varma this was the market value and best price they could get for the premises, and when Varma expressed reluctance to accept the offer, Bernal promised Varma could remain at the premises as long as she wanted and could cancel at any time, and continually badgered Varma to accept the offer, making exaggerated claims about the poor physical condition of the property to convince her to accept the offer. Feeling overwhelmed and intimidated, Varma signed the purchase agreement on November 15, 2014. The escrow instructions were later amended to extend the closing date, with Wu requesting the return of $49,000 of his $50,000 deposit, which was released to him, and Varma agreeing not to accept back-up offers in what Varma alleges was an effort to conceal from her the true value of her property. On July 31, 2015, after Wu failed to complete the purchase of the premises, Varma requested cancellation of the escrow, which she was assured by Bernal would be done.

Varma alleges that between August 1, 2015 and December 22, 2016, she made several improvements and repairs to the premises, and on December 22, 2016 was asked by escrow to sign formal documents cancelling escrow to release Wu’s remaining $1,000 deposit. Nearly three years later, Varma signed a listing agreement with a different realtor, listing the property for $1,400,000, and obtained an offer to purchase the premises for $1,420,000, but was surprised to receive a letter in April of 2018 from Wu demanding that her agents stop the marketing and sale of the premises, and claiming the November 2014 purchase agreement was still valid.

APPLICATION FOR GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT:

1. Settling parties: Cross-complainants Linda Diane Varma, individually and as Trustee of the Linda Varma Trust, and cross-defendants RMEG Realty dba Century 21 Realty Masters and Milton Bernal

2. Basis, Terms, and Amount of the Settlement:

1. Cross-defendants to pay cross-complaints $33,000

2. Cross-complainants to fully release cross-defendants, including a waiver of fees and costs,

and dismissal with prejudice of SACC

3. Conditioned upon finding that good faith settlement

SHOWING OF GOOD CAUSE (Tech-Built, 38 Cal.3d 488)

1. P's total recovery: Not mentioned

2. Settlor's proportionate liability: Argument that moving parties have liability defenses to the cross-complaint, including that Varma has argued she lacked capacity, but did not elect to rescind the contract with Wu, that Varma has no corroborating evidence of any promise by Bernal that she could cancel the transaction, particularly when the purchase agreement did not include such a provision, that Varma failed to mitigate her damages and that Varma would be unable to prove damages.

3. Amount paid in settlement: $33,000

4. Allocation of settlement proceeds among P's: Not stated

5. D's financial condition: Settlement to be paid by insurer

6. Existence of collusion: Settlement reached after moving parties excluded from mediated settlement. [Leff Decl. ¶ 9].

OPPOSITION

No Opposition.

ANALYSIS

Under CCP section 877.6, a court may approve a settlement by determining it was made in good faith, and such a determination shall bar any other joint tortfeasor from further claims against the settling torfeasor. CCP section 877.6(d) provides that “The party asserting the lack of good faith shall have the burden of proof on that issue.”

Under Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488, 499, the factors set forth above should be considered in determining the good faith of a settlement.

The trial court enjoys broad discretion in determining whether a settlement was entered in good faith and in allocating potential liability and exposure among joint tortfeasors. Norco Delivery Services v. Owens Corning Fiberglas (1998) 64 Cal.App.4th 955, 962. A reviewing court will “assess whether the trial court’s food faith determination is buttressed by any substantial evidence.” Id.

In this case, the moving papers do not clearly set forth the total expected recovery and does not submit any showing as to the financial condition of the parties, other than a suggestion that the brokerage is insured. It is also not specified how the funds are to be allocated between the cross-complainants

However, there is no opposition to the motion.

In City of Grand Terrace v. Superior Court (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 1251, the court of appeal upheld the trial court’s determination that an uncontested motion for good faith settlement was entered in good faith when the moving papers had not provided information concerning all of the Tech-Bilt factors, but only stated the amount of the settlement and the policy limits. The court first noted that CCP section 877.6 had not been amended to add procedural requirements since the decision in Tech-Bilt, and approved the following procedure:

“This court notes that of the hundreds of motions for good faith determination presented for trial court approval each year, the overwhelming majority are unopposed and granted summarily by the trial court. At the time of filing in many cases, the moving party does not know if a contest will develop. If each motion required a full recital by declaration or affidavit setting forth a complete factual response to all of the Tech-Bilt factors, literally thousands of attorney hours would be consumed, and inch-thick motions would have to be read and considered by trial courts in an exercise which would waste valuable judicial and legal time and clients' resources. It must also be remembered that

Tech-Bilt was decided on a contested basis. We are unaware of any reported decision which has reversed an uncontested good faith determination and we, therefore, conclude that only when the good faith nature of a settlement is disputed, it is incumbent upon the trial court to consider and weigh the Tech-Bilt factors. That is to say, when no one objects, the barebones motion which sets forth the ground of good faith, accompanied by a declaration which sets forth a brief background of the case is sufficient.

City of Grand Terrace, at 1261 (emphasis added).

Here, the motion meets this standard, as the background of the case is provided, and the grounds of good faith are set forth, including that the settlement was reached after a settlement at mediation was modified to exclude the moving cross-defendants, who negotiated their own settlement with cross-complainants, evidently through counsel and at arms’ length. There is also a discussion of the various reasons cross-defendants dispute liability, the level of damages which would be recoverable in this matter, and defenses to the action.

Again, there is no opposition to the motion. Once evidence of the good faith of a settlement has been presented, the burden remains on any challenging party to establish a lack of good faith. See City of Grand Terrace, at 1261; CCP section 877.6(d). There is no opposition, so this burden has not been met. The motion accordingly is granted.

RULING:

[No Opposition].

Cross-Defendants RMEG Realty Inc. dba Century 21 Realty Masters and Milton Bernal’s UNOPPOSED Motion for Good Faith Determination Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 877.6 (a) (1) is GRANTED. The court determines that the settlement entered by cross-complainants Linda Diane Varma, individually and as Trustee of the Linda Varma Trust, dated July 17, 2009, and cross-defendants RMEG Realty dba Century 21 Realty Masters and Milton Bernal was entered into in good faith;

cross-defendants RMEG Realty dba Century 21 Realty Masters and Milton Bernal are discharged from all liability on claims for equitable contribution and/or full or partial indemnity by other parties, joint tortfeasors, or co-obligors, in this or any other action arising from the same general set of facts.