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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/26/2018 at 13:28:35 (UTC).

NICHOLAS LEVENSTEIN VS JEROME CHANG, ET AL.,

Case Summary

On 10/04/2017 NICHOLAS LEVENSTEIN filed a Contract - Business lawsuit against JEROME CHANG, . This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Santa Monica Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8174

  • Filing Date:

    10/04/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Business

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Santa Monica Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

MOONGOOSE HELP DESK

LEVENSTEIN NICHOLAS

DESK MOONGOOSE HELP

Defendants

CHANG JEROME

BLANKSPACES EXPERIENCE LLC

BLANKSPACES LLC

BDTLA BROADWAY LLC

Other

BRAMZON DANIEL

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

SOFRIS MICHAEL N.

Defendant Attorney

BRAMZON DANIEL

 

Court Documents

Answer

8/3/2018: Answer

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/12/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department M; (Order to Show Cause; Court Makes Order) -

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  • 09/12/2018
  • at 08:30 am in Department WEM, Mitchell L. Beckloff, Presiding; Order to Show Cause - Court Makes Order

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  • 08/06/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department M; Unknown Event Type - Held - Continued

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  • 08/06/2018
  • at 08:30 am in Department WEM, Mitchell L. Beckloff, Presiding; OSC-Failure to File Dism. or Judg. (RE ENTRY OF DEFAULT) - OSC held & continued

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  • 08/03/2018
  • Answer; Filed by Defendant

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  • 08/03/2018
  • Answer; Filed by JEROME CHANG (Defendant); BLANKSPACES, LLC (Defendant); BLANKSPACES EXPERIENCE, LLC (Defendant) et al.

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  • 08/03/2018
  • Answer

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  • 08/03/2018
  • Answer ( **STRICKEN BY THE COURT ON 9/12/18** ); Filed by Attorney for Defendant

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  • 06/25/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department M; (OSC-Failure to File Dism. or Judg.; OSC held & order is made) -

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  • 06/25/2018
  • at 00:00 AM in Department M; Unknown Event Type

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43 More Docket Entries
  • 10/04/2017
  • Request to Waive Court Fees; Filed by Plaintiff

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  • 10/04/2017
  • Summons; Filed by Plaintiff

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  • 10/04/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by NICHOLAS LEVENSTEIN (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/04/2017
  • Summons Filed; Filed by Plaintiff & Plaintiff In Pro Per

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  • 10/04/2017
  • Request-Waive Court Fees; Filed by Plaintiff & Plaintiff In Pro Per

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  • 10/04/2017
  • Order-Court Fee Waiver (AT TO NICHOLAS LEVENSTEIN ); Filed by Plaintiff & Plaintiff In Pro Per

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  • 10/04/2017
  • Request-Waive Addl Court Fees; Filed by Plaintiff & Plaintiff In Pro Per

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  • 10/04/2017
  • Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Filed by Plaintiff

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  • 10/04/2017
  • Request to Waive Additional Court Fees (Superior Court); Filed by Plaintiff

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  • 10/04/2017
  • Complaint Filed

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: SC128174    Hearing Date: July 10, 2020    Dept: M

CASE NAME: Nicholas Levenstein v. Jerome Chang, et al.

CASE NUMBER: SC128174

MOTION: Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration and motion for attorney fees

motion for reconsideration

Background

This lawsuit was filed in October 2017. Plaintiff alleged that he served defendants on October 11, 2017 and obtained an entry of default on November 22, 2017. On November 13, 2017, however, defendant Jerome Chang received an automatic extension to file a demurrer so his answer was not due until December 20, 2017. On June 25, 2018, the Court vacated the default of defendant Chang since it was entered despite this automatic extension of time. On June 26, 2018, Plaintiff again moved for entry of default. Defendants filed answers on August 3, 2018. On September 12, 2018, at an OSC re: the June 26 request for entry of default, Judge Lawrence Cho struck the August 3, 2018, answers as untimely and entered default nunc pro tunc as of June 26, 2018. On April 25, 2019, the court found the September 12, 2018 entry of default void as to all defendants.

Analysis

A court may reconsider a prior ruling if the party affected provides notice of “new or different facts, circumstances, or law.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 1008(a).) Plaintiff argues that the Court’s April 25, 2019 order constitutes new facts or circumstances. Plaintiff further argues that this Court’s April 25, 2019 order is void because it inappropriately voided a September 12, 2018 order of a previous judge in the same department. Plaintiff argues that the September 12, 2018 order could only be reconsidered by the same judge.

Plaintiff’s position is legally incorrect. A judge of a Superior Court has the power to vacate a void order of another judge of the Superior Court who has coordinate jurisdiction with him or her. (Ross v. Murphy (1952) 113 Cal.App.2d 453, 455; see Dolan v. Superior Court of California in and for City and County of San Francisco (1920) 47 Cal.App. 235, 241 [“A void order may be swept aside whenever it comes before a court.”].) “Additionally, a second judge may reverse a prior ruling of another judge if the record shows that it was based on inadvertence, mistake, or fraud.” (In re Marriage of Oliverez (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 1242, 1248–1249.) The record in this case indicated that there was a mistake.

Since the Court’s April 25, 2019, order does not constitute new facts or circumstances, and since Plaintiff presents no new facts, the motion is DENIED.

motion for attorneys' fees

Plaintiff moves for attorney fees under California Code of Civil Procedure § 473(b). Plaintiff seeks $26,852.50. The hearing was initially set for February 21, 2020. On February 20, 2020, Plaintiff informed the Court that the parties had stipulated to continue the hearing until May 21, 2020. The hearing was then continued by the Court until July 10, 2020. The joint stipulation did not reset the filing dates for defendant’s opposition. The opposition was not filed until July 6, 2020 – which is approximately five months late. The Court will exercise its discretion and not consider defendant’s opposition.

Legal Standard

“Notwithstanding any other requirements of this section, the court shall, whenever an application for relief is made no more than six months after entry of judgment, is in proper form, and is accompanied by an attorney's sworn affidavit attesting to his or her mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or neglect, vacate any (1) resulting default entered by the clerk against his or her client, and which will result in entry of a default judgment, or (2) resulting default judgment or dismissal entered against his or her client, unless the court finds that the default or dismissal was not in fact caused by the attorney's mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or neglect. The court shall, whenever relief is granted based on an attorney's affidavit of fault, direct the attorney to pay reasonable compensatory legal fees and costs to opposing counsel or parties.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 473(b).)

In determining whether requested fees are reasonable, courts consider the following factors: (1) the number of hours spent on the case, (2) reasonable hourly compensation for the attorney, (3) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, (4) the skill displayed in presenting them, and (5) the extent to which the litigation precluded other employment by the attorney. (Aetna Life & Cas. Co. v. City of Los Angeles (1985) 170 Cal.App.3d 865, 880.)

Analysis

  1. Basis for attorney fees

Plaintiff brings this motion under section 473(b). This Court awarded Plaintiff reasonable expenses and fees pursuant to its April 25, 2019 order. Therefore, Plaintiff is entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees.

  1. Reasonableness of attorney’s fees

Plaintiff requests that the Court Order Kevin Hermansen, Daniel J. Bramzon and the Law Offices of Daniel J. Bramzon, APC to pay the award jointly and severally. Plaintiff notes that the 473(b) Motion was filed on behalf Defendants Jerome Chang, Blankspaces LLC, Blankspaces Experience, LLC and BDTLA Broadway LLC.

Plaintiff argues that it is entitled to the $26,852.50 incurred in connection with the work done on this case, constituting 50.5 hours of work as well as the filing fees. Plaintiff is seeking attorney’s fees for every action taken on this case – from researching and filing a motion for reconsideration, to attending numerous hearings where Plaintiff failed to prove up the default judgment before the court. The Court intends to limit the attorney’s fees to the time spent in preparing the opposition to the motion for default (8 hours), attending the hearing (1 hour) and preparing the motion for attorney fees (4 hours). The declaration and entries, however, are incredibly vague, and the presence of block billing is a concern to the Court. As to the hourly rate, based upon Mr. Sofris’ experience and his declaration, the Court concludes his rate is reasonable. (Sofris Decl. ¶ 3.)

The Court concludes, however, that only eight hours are reasonable for reimbursement as costs and fees pursuant to section 4739(b). Defendants Jerome Chang, Blankspaces LLC, Blankspaces Experience, LLC and BDTLA Broadway LLC are jointly ordered to pay $4,200.

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