This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/16/2019 at 19:14:04 (UTC).

NATURAL HEALTH USA LLC ET AL VS NICK SANDERS

Case Summary

On 10/06/2017 NATURAL HEALTH USA LLC filed a Personal Injury - Assault/Battery/Defamation lawsuit against NICK SANDERS. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is DALILA CORRAL LYONS. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8718

  • Filing Date:

    10/06/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Assault/Battery/Defamation

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

DALILA CORRAL LYONS

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

BEHDJOU MATTHEW

GAZZOLA MICHAEL

NATURAL HEALTH USA LLC

Defendants

SANDERS NICK

SANDERS NICHOLAS

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

CZECH JEFFERY J. ESQ.

HOWELL JONATHAN A. ESQ.

Respondent and Defendant Attorneys

KENNETH G. EADE LAW OFFICE

EADE KENNETH G.

 

Court Documents

NOTICE OF RULING

2/7/2018: NOTICE OF RULING

NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER

2/9/2018: NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER

Unknown

2/9/2018: Unknown

PROOF OF SERVICE BY MAIL

2/9/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE BY MAIL

NOTICE OF PLAINTIFFS' POSTING OF JURY FEES

2/9/2018: NOTICE OF PLAINTIFFS' POSTING OF JURY FEES

APPELLANT'S NOTICE DESIGNATING RECORD ON APPEAL (UNLIMITED CIVIL CASE)

3/28/2018: APPELLANT'S NOTICE DESIGNATING RECORD ON APPEAL (UNLIMITED CIVIL CASE)

NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL (UNLIMITED JURISDICTION)

3/29/2018: NOTICE OF FILING OF NOTICE OF APPEAL (UNLIMITED JURISDICTION)

NOTICE OF DEFAULT (UNLIMITED CIVIL APPEALS)

8/28/2018: NOTICE OF DEFAULT (UNLIMITED CIVIL APPEALS)

Unknown

10/30/2018: Unknown

Unknown

11/13/2018: Unknown

Minute Order

11/13/2018: Minute Order

PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO STRIKE COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO CALIFORNIA CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 425.16; ETC.

1/12/2018: PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO STRIKE COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO CALIFORNIA CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 425.16; ETC.

DEFENDANT'S REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO CALIFORNIA CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 425.16; ETC.

1/23/2018: DEFENDANT'S REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO SPECIAL MOTION TO STRIKE PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO CALIFORNIA CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 425.16; ETC.

DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

1/23/2018: DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER

1/30/2018: CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER

Minute Order

1/30/2018: Minute Order

RULING

1/30/2018: RULING

DEFENDANT NICHOLAS SANDERS' ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

2/7/2018: DEFENDANT NICHOLAS SANDERS' ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

12 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/08/2019
  • Docketat 09:30 AM in Department 20, Dalila Corral Lyons, Presiding; Jury Trial ((5 days estimate)) - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 03/27/2019
  • Docketat 08:33 AM in Department 20, Dalila Corral Lyons, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 02/01/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 20, Dalila Corral Lyons, Presiding; Status Conference (reSettlement) - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 01/18/2019
  • Docketat 3:00 PM in Department 20, Dalila Corral Lyons, Presiding; (:filing deadline for Plaintiff's Status REPORT re Settlement) - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 11/16/2018
  • DocketAppeal Record Delivered; Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/14/2018
  • DocketAppeal - Original Clerk's Transcript 1 - 5 Volumes Certified; Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/13/2018
  • Docketat 6:45 PM in Department 20, Dalila Corral Lyons, Presiding; Court Order

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  • 11/13/2018
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (COURT ORDER:) of 11/13/2018); Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/13/2018
  • DocketMinute Order ( (COURT ORDER:)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/30/2018
  • DocketAppellate Order Reinstating Appeal; Filed by Clerk

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32 More Docket Entries
  • 11/20/2017
  • DocketMotion to Strike; Filed by Nick Sanders (Defendant)

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  • 11/07/2017
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons

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  • 11/07/2017
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 10/31/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/31/2017
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 10/31/2017
  • DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/31/2017
  • DocketORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

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  • 10/06/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 10/06/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Natural Health USA, LLC (Plaintiff); Michael Gazzola (Plaintiff); Matthew Behdjou (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/06/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR LIBEL

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ****8718    Hearing Date: June 30, 2020    Dept: 20

Tentative Ruling

Judge David J. Cowan

Department 20


Hearing Date: Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Case Name: Natural Health USA LLC et al. v. Nick Sanders

Case No.: ****8718

Motion: Deem Facts Admitted (CCP ; 2033.280)

Moving Party: Defendant Sanders

Responding Party: UNOPPOSED

Notice: OK


Ruling: The Motion to Deem Facts Admitted is GRANTED.

Plaintiffs Gazzola, Behdjou, and Natural Health are jointly and severally ordered to pay sanctions of $l,835.00 to Defendant Sanders within fourteen days of this Order.

Moving party to give notice.


BACKGROUND

On October 29, 2019, Defendant Sanders served identical sets of requests for admission on Plaintiffs Gazzola, Behdjou, and Natural Health.

On November 19, 2019, Defendant’s counsel agreed to a thirty-day extension of Plaintiff’s deadline to respond, making the response due January 2, 2020.

On March 27, 2020, Defendant filed three motions to deem facts admitted against each Plaintiff and sought sanctions jointly and severally.

On June 22, 2020, Defendant filed a Reply, even though no Opposition was filed.

 

DISCUSSION

If no timely response is served to requests for admission, the requesting party “may move for an order that the genuineness of any documents and the truth of any matters specified in the requests be deemed admitted, as well as for a monetary sanction.” (CCP ; 2033.280(b).) The Court “shall” make the requested order (i.e. the order is mandatory) unless the nonresponsive party serves, before the hearing, a proposed response to the requests for admission. (CCP ; 2033.280(c).) It is also “mandatory that the court impose a monetary sanction” on a party or attorney (or both) that necessitated a motion to deem. (CCP ; 2033.280(c).)

A response must be served “[w]ithin 30 days after service of requests for admission.” (CCP ; 2033.280.) Here, Plaintiff’s Response is long overdue—it has been over eight months since the requests were served. Thus, the Court must grant Defendant’s motion. The Court also imposes monetary sanctions of $1,815.00 jointly and severally against all three Plaintiffs.



Case Number: ****8718    Hearing Date: December 11, 2019    Dept: 20

TENTATIVE RULING

Judge Dalila Corral Lyons

Department 20


Hearing Date: Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Case Name: Natural Health USA, LLC, et al. v. Nick Sanders

Case No.: ****8718

Motions: (1) Relieved as Counsel for Natural Health USA, LLC

(2) Relieved as Counsel for Michael Joseph Gazzola

(3) Relieved as Counsel for Matthew Shahrouz Behdjou

Moving Party: Jonathan A. Howell of Czech & Howell, APC

Responding Party: *UNOPPOSED*

Notice: OK


Ruling: Czech & Howell, APC’s motion to be relieved as counsel for Plaintiffs Natural Health USA, LLC; Michael Joseph Gazzola; and Matthew Shahrouz Behdjou is GRANTED.

Order to Show Cause Re: legal representation of Plaintiff Natural Health USA, LLC is scheduled for March 5, 2020 at 8:30 AM in Department 20 at Stanley Mosk Courthouse.

WARNING: Because Plaintiff Natural Health USA, LLC is an entity, it is prohibited from representing itself in Court and must be represented by a licensed attorney.

If Plaintiff Natural Health USA, LLC does not have representation, the Court on March 5, 2020 will dismiss Natural Health USA, LLC’s complaint.

Moving Party to give notice.


BACKGROUND

On October 6, 2017, Natural Health USA, LLC, Michael Gazzola, and Matthew Behdjou (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed the Complaint against Nicholas Sanders, erroneously sued as Nick Sanders, (“Defendant”) for (1) libel. Plaintiffs allege Plaintiffs operate a business taking entrepreneurs to China to directly source products from Chinese factories. Plaintiffs allege Defendant worked for Plaintiffs as a translator on three such trips. Plaintiffs allege Defendant failed to cash, in China, an American paycheck issued by Defendants, and thereafter posted libelous statements about Defendants’ business to a website. The allegedly libelous statements include accusations of financial crimes and dishonesty.

On October 3, 2019, the case was remitted from an appeal of this Court’s January 30, 2018 denial of Defendant’s anti-SLAPP special motion to strike. This Court’s ruling was affirmed.

ANALYSIS

I. Relieved as Counsel

Cal. Civ. Proc. Code ; 284 states that an attorney in an action may be changed at any time before or after judgment: (1) upon the consent of both client and attorney; or (2) upon the order of the court, upon the application of either client or attorney, after notice from one to the other. CCP ; 284; CRC 3.1362. The court has the power to permit withdrawal of an attorney within its sound discretion. Jones v. Green (1946) 74 Cal.App.2d 223. An attorney may withdraw without cause as long as the withdrawal can be accomplished without undue prejudice to the client's interest – i.e., counsel cannot withdraw at a critical point, but if the case is not at a critical point withdrawal is permitted because the client will not be prejudiced. Ramirez v. Sturdevant (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 904, 915. The court has discretion to deny the withdrawal request when withdrawal would work an injustice or cause undue delay in proceeding; but the court's discretion in this area is one to be exercised reasonably. Mandell v. Superior (1977) 67 Cal.App.3d 1.

Counsel must make a motion to be relieved as attorney of record. The form and content of such motion are governed by CRC 3.1362. The motion must be made using mandatory forms: Notice of Motion and Motion to be Relieved as Counsel – Civil (MC-051), Declaration (MC-052), and Proposed Order (MC-053). The forms must be filed and served in compliance with the procedural standards set forth in CRC 3.1362.

Here, Jonathan A. Howell of Czech & Howell, APC (“Counsel”) has filed a motion, given proper notice, and filed forms MC-051, MC-052, and MC-053 to be relieved as counsel for each of the three Plaintiffs: Natural Health USA, LLC, Michael Joseph Gazzola, and Matthew Shahrouz Behdjou (“Client”). Counsel moves on the grounds that the attorney-client relationship “is such that attorney is incapable of providing proper representation,” though Counsel is reluctant to further detail the conflict to avoid a disclosure of confidential information. Counsel does swear Client is not responding to telephone calls, emails or text messages.

Trial is set for May 4, 2020. The other hearings on calendar are a Status Conference Re: Settlement on March 26, 2020 at 8:30AM and the Final Status Conference on April 22, 2020 at 8:30AM. The case is not in a posture in which Client would be prejudiced by Counsel’s withdrawal as attorney of record. See e.g., Ramirez 21 Cal.App.4th 904; Mandell 67 Cal.App.3d 1. The Client must be represented by an attorney since it is an entity. The Client has sufficient time to retain new counsel to prepare for the trial.

Accordingly, Czech & Howell, APC’s three motions to be relieved as counsel are GRANTED.



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