On 04/20/2017 OCEAN TOWERS HOUSING CORPORATION filed a Contract - Professional Negligence lawsuit against ENENSTEIN RIBAKOFF LAVI. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are SAMANTHA P. JESSNER and YOLANDA OROZCO. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
SAMANTHA P. JESSNER
OCEAN TOWERS HOUSING CORPORATION
RIBAKOFF ENENSTEIN RIBAKOFF LAVINA &
DOES 1 TO 100
ENENSTEIN RIBAKOFF LAVINA & PHAM LLC
PARKER MILLS LLP
BRUNSTEN WILLIAM S.
NEMECEK & COLE
WILLIAMS JOSHUA CHARLES
BRUNSTEN WILLIAM STANLEY
WITTENBERG JEFFREY MARK
9/19/2018: NOTICE OF ATTORNEY'S LIEN
2/1/2019: Minute Order
3/7/2019: Substitution of Attorney
4/18/2019: Minute Order
5/7/2019: Substitution of Attorney
5/24/2018: Minute Order
6/20/2018: NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS
6/26/2018: Minute Order
1/29/2018: NOTICE RE: CONTINUANCE OF HEARING
10/10/2017: NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER THAT: 1) THIS MATTER SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO FINAL AND BINDING ARBITRATION BEFORE ADR SERVICES, INC.; ETC
4/27/2017: NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE
8/17/2017: CIVIL DEPOSIT
9/7/2017: DECLARATIONS OF DAVID RIBAKOFF AND RYAN WENGER IN SUPPORT OF PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION, IN LIEU OF FILING A DEMURRER, AND TO STAY ACTION (C.C.P. SECTION 1281.2, 1281.4, AND 1281.7)
9/7/2017: COMPENDIUM OF EXHIBITS IN SUPPORT OF PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION, IN LIEU OF FILING A DEMURRER, AND TO STAY ACTION
9/7/2017: REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT AND PETITIONERS'' PETITION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION IN LIEU OF FILING A DEMURRER AND TO STAY ACTION
9/27/2017: STIPULATION TO SUBMIT MATTER TO BINDING ARBITRATION AND TO STAY ACTION; ORDER
Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department 31 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Status ConferenceRead MoreRead Less
DocketSubstitution of Attorney; Filed by Ocean Towers Housing Corporation (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Yolanda Orozco, Presiding; Status Conference - Held - ContinuedRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Status Conference)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketSubstitution of Attorney; Filed by William Stanley Brunsten (Attorney)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Yolanda Orozco, Presiding; Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Court's MotionRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ((Status Conference Re: Arbitration)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Intent to Appear by Telephone; Filed by Ocean Towers Housing Corporation (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice (of Status Conference)Read MoreRead Less
DocketMinute order entered: 2017-07-06 00:00:00; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketPLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF ASSOCIATION OF COUNSELRead MoreRead Less
DocketAssociation of Attorney; Filed by Plaintiff/PetitionerRead MoreRead Less
DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARINGRead MoreRead Less
DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCERead MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Ocean Towers Housing Corporation (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAINT FOR NEGLIGENCE, BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY AND BREACH OF CONTRACTRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC658702 Hearing Date: February 25, 2021 Dept: 31
Case Number: BC694571 Hearing Date: February 25, 2021 Dept: 31
PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO ENFORCE SETTLEMENT IS GRANTED.
On February 22, 2018, Plaintiff Eladio Reyes filed the instant action against Defendant Hye Yun Apparel, Inc. alleging causes of action for:
Disability Discrimination in Violation of Gov. Code § 12940(a);
Failure to Accommodate Disability in Violation of Gov. Code § 12940(m);
Failure to Engage in an Interactive Process in Violation of Gov. Code § 12940(n);
Failure to Prevent Discrimination in Violation of Gov. Code § 12940(k); and
Wrongful Termination in Violation of Public Policy.
On August 19, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Settlement of Entire Case. On February 28, 2020, the Court, pursuant to a Stipulation to Dismiss Entire Action and Retain Jurisdiction to Enforce Settlement entered into by the parties, ordered the entire action dismissed with prejudice with the Court retaining jurisdiction to interpret and enforce the Settlement Agreement pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6
Plaintiff now moves for an order and entry of judgment enforcing the terms of the Settlement Agreement and Release of All Claims. Specifically, Plaintiff seeks judgment against Defendant in the principal amount of $11,000.00 plus an award of attorney fees and costs in the amount of $3,660.00 for a total judgment of $14,660.00.
California Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6 provides:
If the parties to pending litigation stipulate, in a writing signed by the parties outside the presence of the court or orally before the court, for settlement of the case, or part thereof, the court, upon motion, may enter judgment pursuant to the terms of the settlement. If requested by the parties, the court may retain jurisdiction over the parties to enforce the settlement until performance in full of the terms of the settlement.
“Section 664.6 was enacted to provide a summary procedure for specifically enforcing a settlement contract without the need for a new lawsuit.” (Chan v. Lund (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 1159, 1165-66 [quoting Weddington Productions, Inc. v. Flick (1998) 60 Cal.App.4th 793, 809-10].)
Plaintiff moves for an order entering judgment pursuant to the parties’ settlement against Defendant in the principal amount of $11,000.00 plus an award of attorney fees and costs in the amount of $3,660.00 for a total judgment of $14,660.00.
Plaintiff provides a copy of the Settlement Agreement executed on June 24, 2019, which provides that “Defendant shall pay Plaintiff the total settlement amount of Sixteen Thousand Dollars ($16,000.00) (“Total Settlement Amount”) . . . The Total Settlement Amount shall be made in equal installment payments of One Thousand Six Hundred Dollars per month, over ten (10) months on the first day of each consecutive month, commencing on June 1, 2019 and concluding with the final payment to be made on March 1, 2020.” (Bazerkanian Decl. ¶ 3, Exh. A, ¶ 1.)
Plaintiff argues that on December 12, 2019, the Parties executed and filed a “Stipulation for Settlement C.C.P. § 664.6” (the “Stipulation”), paragraph 6 of which provides: “this Stipulation is binding and may be enforced by a motion under Code of Civil Procedure § 664.6 or any other procedure permitted by law in the applicable state or federal court. (Bazerkanian Decl. ¶ 4, Exh. B, ¶ 6.) Plaintiff asserts that paragraph 7 continues, “[i]f any dispute arises relating to the terms and conditions of this Stipulation, the prevailing party in such dispute shall recover its/his costs and reasonable attorney’s fees from the non-prevailing party incurred in such dispute.” (Bazerkanian Decl. ¶ 4, Exh. B, ¶ 7.)
Plaintiff contends that Defendant made four one-thousand-dollar ($1,000.00) payments, dated July 16, 2019, September 26, 2019, October 23, 2019, and November 28, 2019. (Bazerkanian Decl. ¶ 6.) Plaintiff argues that after multiple requests for payment were made by Plaintiff, Defendant made two five-hundred-dollar ($500.00) payments to Plaintiff dated April 3, 2020 and May 26, 2020. (Bazerkanian Decl. ¶ 7.) Plaintiff asserts that to date, no further payments have been made by Defendant. Plaintiff contends that in total, Defendant has paid five thousand dollars ($5,000.00) of the total sixteen thousand dollars ($16,000.00) due. (Bazerkanian Decl. ¶ 8.)
The Stipulation filed on December 12, 2019 provides, in relevant part:
[T]his Stipulation is binding and may be enforced by a motion under Code of Civil Procedure § 664.6 or by any other procedure permitted by law in the applicable state or federal court.
(Bazerkanian Decl. ¶ 4, Exh. B, ¶ 6.) The Stipulation is signed by the parties. Accordingly, the Court finds that it has jurisdiction to enforce the Settlement Agreement.
Entry of Judgment Pursuant to Settlement Agreement
“A settlement agreement is interpreted according to the same principles as any other written agreement. [Citation.] It must be interpreted to give effect to the mutual intent of the parties as it existed at the time, insofar as that intent can be ascertained and is lawful. [Citations.] If the language of the agreement is clear and explicit and does not involve an absurdity, determination of the mutual intent of the parties and interpretation of the contract is to be based on the language of the agreement alone. [Citations.]
While the court may interpret the terms of the parties' settlement agreement, “nothing in section 664.6 authorizes a judge to create the material terms of a settlement, as opposed to deciding what terms the parties themselves have previously agreed upon. [Citations.]” (Leeman v. Adams Extract & Spice, LLC (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 1367, 1374.)
Here, Plaintiff seeks to have judgment entered in the principal sum of $11,000.00 consisting of the $16,000.00 due under the Settlement Agreement less the amounts already paid by Defendant in the amount of $5,000.00.
The Court finds that the Settlement Agreement provides for the payment of $16,000.00 from Defendant to Plaintiff by March 1, 2020. Plaintiff has provided sufficient evidence to substantiate the entry of judgment in the amount of $11,000.00, which consists of the $16,000.00 owed under the Settlement Agreement less the amounts already paid by Defendant, $5,000.00.
“Civil Code section 1717, subdivision (a), provides in relevant part as follows: ‘In any action on a contract, where the contract specifically provides that attorney's fees and costs, which are incurred to enforce that contract, shall be awarded either to one of the parties or to the prevailing party, then the party who is determined to be the party prevailing on the contract, whether he or she is the party specified in the contract or not, shall be entitled to reasonable attorney's fees in addition to other costs. [¶] ... [¶] Reasonable attorney's fees shall be fixed by the court, and shall be an element of the costs of suit.’” (PLCM Grp. v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal. 4th 1084, 1090.)
“A trial court assessing attorney fees begins with a touchstone or lodestar figure, based on the ‘careful compilation of the time spent and reasonable hourly compensation of each attorney . . . involved in the presentation of the case.” (Christian Research Institute v. Alnor (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 1315, 1321.) The court “need not simply award the sum requested. To the contrary, ascertaining the fee amount is left to the trial court's sound discretion.” (Id.) “The reasonableness of attorney fees is within the discretion of the trial court, to be determined from a consideration of such factors as the nature of the litigation, the complexity of the issues, the experience and expertise of counsel and the amount of time involved. The court may also consider whether the amount requested is based upon unnecessary or duplicative work.” (Wilkerson v. Sullivan (2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 443, 448.)
As noted above, the Stipulation provides:
If any dispute arises relating to the terms and conditions of this Stipulation, the prevailing party in such dispute shall recover its/his costs and reasonable attorney’s fees from the non-prevailing party incurred in such dispute.
(Bazerkanian Decl. ¶ 4, Exh. B, ¶ 7.)
Plaintiff seeks fees in the amount of $3,660.00 consisting of at least 4 hours spent preparing the instant motion and an anticipated 5 hours spent analyzing an Opposition, preparing a Reply, preparing for and attending the hearing billed at a rate of $400.00 per hour plus the $60 filing fee.
The Court finds that based on the language of the Stipulation, Plaintiff is entitled to attorney fees as a result of him being required to enforce the terms of the Settlement Agreement. Still, the Court finds that the amount of attorney fees requested is excessive and therefore unreasonable. Given the lack of an opposition, the Court awards reduced attorney fees in the amount of $2,060.00 consisting of 4 hours spent preparing the moving papers and 1 hour spent attending the hearing on the motion billed at a rate of $400 per hour, plus the $60 filing fee.
Plaintiff’s motion to enforce settlement is GRANTED. The Court enters judgment against Defendant in the principal amount of $11,000.00 plus an award of attorney fees and costs in the amount of $2,060.00 for a total judgment in the amount of $13,060.00.
Plaintiff is to give notice and prepare a form of judgment.
The parties are strongly encouraged to attend all scheduled hearings virtually or by audio. Effective July 20, 2020, all matters will be scheduled virtually and/or with audio through the Court’s LACourtConnect technology. The parties are strongly encouraged to use LACourtConnect for all their matters. All social distancing protocols will be observed at the Courthouse and in the courtrooms.
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