On 07/10/2017 RAYMOND YI filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against JSGS PARTNERS, LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Norwalk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are PATRICIA D. NIETO, MARGARET MILLER BERNAL and MASTER CALENDAR. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Los Angeles, California
PATRICIA D. NIETO
MARGARET MILLER BERNAL
DOES 1 TO 100
JSGS PARTNERS LLC
KIM CHONG WOOK (DOE 1)
BAIK DONG HYUN (DOE 2)
JOHN JONG H. CHOI DOE 4
CHONG WOOK KIM DOE 1
DA SOON PARK AKA JASMINE KIM DOE 3
JOHN JONG H. CHOI (DOE 4)
DA SOON PARK AKA JASMINE KIM (DOE 3)
PARK DA SOON AKA JASMINE KIM
DONG HYUN BAIK DOE 2
CHONG WOOK KIM (DOE 1)
CHONG WOOK KIMDOE 1
BAIK DONG HYUN
DONG HYUN BAIK (DOE 2)
JSGS PARTNERS. LLC
JOHN JONG H. CHOI DOE 4
DONG HYUN BAIK AN
LAW OFFICES OF RICHARD D. HOFFMAN
HOFFMAN RICHARD DALE
HOFFMAN RICHARD D.
GMELICH THOMAS P. ESQ.
BRADLEY & GMELICH
GMELICH THOMAS PATRICK
5/31/2019: Motion to Compel
9/13/2017: Legacy Document
2/1/2018: Legacy Document
6/19/2018: REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT
7/16/2018: Legacy Document
7/16/2018: Minute Order
7/18/2018: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)
8/10/2018: Minute Order
10/24/2018: Memorandum of Points & Authorities
12/6/2018: Minute Order
4/30/2019: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment
11/16/2017: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION OF DEFENDANT/CROSS-COMPLAINANT JSGS PARTNERS LLC TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES (SET ONE); ETC.
9/13/2017: CIVIL DEPOSIT
8/4/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS
at 1:30 PM in Department C; Hearing on Motion to Compel (Deposition of PMK Nanoon Christian Fellowship) - Held - Taken under SubmissionRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Hearing on Motion to Compel Deposition of PMK Nanoon Christia...)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Notice (of Non-Opposition to Motion to Compel Deposition of Person Most Knowledgeable of Nanoom Christian Fellowship); Filed by JSGS Partners. LLC (Cross-Complainant)Read MoreRead Less
Motion to Compel (Deposition of PMK of Nanoom Christian Fellowship); Filed by JSGS Partners. LLC (Cross-Complainant); JOHN JONG H. CHOI (DOE 4) (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Notice of Ruling; Filed by Raymond Yi (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department F, Margaret Miller Bernal, Presiding; Trial Setting Conference - HeldRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department F, Margaret Miller Bernal, Presiding; Case Management Conference - HeldRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Case Management Conference; Trial Setting Conference)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Trial Setting Order; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Case Management Statement; Filed by Raymond Yi (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Amendment to Complaint (AS TO CHONG WOOK KIM (DOE 1) ); Filed by Attorney for PlaintiffRead MoreRead Less
AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINTRead MoreRead Less
Amendment to Complaint; Filed by Raymond Yi (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Raymond Yi (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Summons (on Complaint); Filed by Raymond Yi (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)Read MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by Raymond Yi (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Complaint filed-Summons IssuedRead MoreRead Less
SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Complaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by Attorney for PlaintiffRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC667792 Hearing Date: February 18, 2020 Dept: SEC
YI v. JSGS PARTNERS, LLC
CASE NO.: BC667792
Defendant JSGS Partners, LLC’s motion for summary judgment is CONTINUED to February 25, 2020 in Dept. SEC at 1:30 PM.
Moving Party to give NOTICE.
Case Number: BC667792 Hearing Date: February 11, 2020 Dept: SEC
YI v. JSGS PARTNERS LLC
CASE NO.: BC667792
Defendant Choi’s motion for summary judgment, or in the alternative, summary adjudication is DENIED.
Plaintiff to give NOTICE.
Defendant Choi moves for summary judgment, or in the alternative, summary adjudication pursuant to CCP § 437c.
A defendant moving for summary judgment/adjudication has met its burden of showing a cause of action has no merit if the defendant can show one or more elements of the plaintiff’s cause of action cannot be established. (CCP § 437c(p)(2).)
The Complaint alleges that on 9/23/15, Plaintiff was injured on Defendant JSGS Partners, LLC (“JSGS”)’s property due to its negligence. The Complaint asserts a single cause of action for Premises Liability. On 6/25/18, Defendant Choi was substituted in as Doe 4.
Premises Liability: A landowner or possessor owes a duty of care to persons who come on his property as well as to persons off the property for injuries due to the landowner's lack of due care in the management of his property… Generally, the duty owed by a landowner is nondelegable. (Swanberg v. O'Mectin (1984) 157 Cal.App.3d 325, 331-332; Brown v. George Pepperdine Foundation (1943) 23 Cal.2d 256, 260; 50 Cal.Jur.3d, Premises Liability, § 12, p. 476.)
Choi contends that he is not liable because he was only acting as a manager and member of JSGS, and is not an alter ego.
Choi submits the following evidence:
· John Choi purchased the property in 1988, and in 2004, Choi transferred the property to the “Choi Family Trust.” (Defense Separate Statement (DSS) 2.)
· On 6/18/11, John Choi dba Choice Maximum Development Company leased the premises to Dong Hyun Baik who operated a business on the premises called Sound Expo. (DSS 5, 9.)
· On 10/22/12, Choi transferred his interest in the Lease to JSGS Partners, LLC. From November 2012, Choi has been a manager and member of JSGS, and not an owner thereof. (DSS 8.)
The court finds that Choi failed to meet his initial burden on summary judgment.
It is unclear who the owner of the property is. Although Choi testified at deposition that he transferred the property to the “Choi Family Trust,” he does not “recall the year for sure” and states “sometime between 2004 and 2007 but I don’t remember for sure.” (Choi Deposition, 24:15-21.) When asked if the trust was recorded, Choi said yes, but did not attach a copy of the Choi Family Trust to his motion. Notably, Choi does not submit any grant deed or recorded instrument to substantiate the purported transfer. Even if this court were to accept Choi’s testimony that such transfer occurred, it is unclear whether the Choi Family Trust is irrevocable. If Choi was the grantor and this trust is an intervivos revocable trust, then the trust asset is still tied to Choi.
Choi then claims that the family trust sold the property to JSGS Partners, which is owned by his two sons (Id. at 25:8-19), but when subsequently asked if the family trust sold the property to JSGS Partners, Choi stated, “I am not sure about the legal process but I think you can say that it was sold.” (Id. at 27:7-10.) Choi then submits what is titled, “Assignment of Lease,” which transfers “interest in… [the] Lease” to JSGS. (Motion, Ex. C.) This document is only a transfer of the Lease. It is not a grant deed transferring “ownership” of the property, as attested by Choi in his deposition.
Further, Choi declares that he entered into a lease with Dong Hyun Baik as John Choi dba Choice Maximum Development Company. (Choi Decl., Par. 4; Motion, Ex. B.) [The Court notes that Choi’s declaration refers to a lease signed on 6/18/11, but Exhibit B is a lease signed on 3/1/08.] If Choi had sold the property to the Choi Family Trust before 2008 or 2011, then why did Choi sign the Lease using his individual name as Landlord?
Therefore, this court finds Choi’s testimony regarding the property transfers is incomplete and contradictory.
Further, Choi contends he is not liable “as a matter of law” (Motion, 18:26-27) because he is only a member of JSGS, LLP, but CCP 17703.04 does not shield Choi from liability simply because of his membership interest. CCP 17703.04(c) provides that if the member’s conduct was tortious and resulted in injury to a third party, he may still be liable for his tortious conduct. Thus, the fact that Choi was a member of an LLC, alone, is insufficient to shield Choi from liability.
As for Issue 2 – alter ego liability, Choi does not submit any initial evidence regarding the separation of the corporate interest from Choi’s individual interest or any document showing that the entity adhered to corporate formalities.
Accordingly, summary adjudication of Issues 1-2 is DENIED.
Choi contends he owed no duty to maintain/repair the garage door because the Lease delegated responsibility over maintenance/repair to the Tenant (Motion, 21:18-25).
The court finds that Choi failed to meet his initial burden because Sections 7.1 and 7.2 of the Lease refer to “doors” generally. (DSS 6, Ex. B, Section 7.1.) This section does not mention the “garage” or “garage doors.” Thus, it is unclear from the Lease whether reference to “doors” generally, refers to the “garage doors”. At a minimum, this is a triable issue.
Further, “[a] commercial landowner cannot totally abrogate its landowner responsibilities merely by signing a lease. As the owner of property, a lessor out of possession must exercise due care and must act reasonably toward the tenant as well as to unknown third persons. At the time the lease is executed and upon renewal a landlord has a right to reenter the property, has control of the property, and must inspect the premises to make the premises reasonably safe from dangerous conditions. Even if the commercial landlord executes a contract which requires the tenant to maintain the property in a certain condition, the landlord is obligated at the time the lease is executed to take reasonable precautions to avoid unnecessary danger…. The burden of reducing or avoiding the risk and the likelihood of injury will affect the determination of what constitutes a reasonable inspection. The landlord's obligation is only to do what is reasonable under the circumstances. The landlord need not take extraordinary measures or make unreasonable expenditures of time and money in trying to discover hazards unless the circumstances so warrant. When there is a potential
serious danger, which is foreseeable, a landlord should anticipate the danger and conduct a reasonable inspection before passing possession to the tenant. However, if no such inspection is warranted, the landlord has no such obligation.” (Mora v. Baker Commodities, Inc. (1989) 210 Cal.App.3d 771, 781.) In Mora, the appellate court reversed a trial court grant of summary judgment, holding that lessor failed to meet its initial burden because it did not present evidence of a reasonable inspection.
Here, Choi submits his own declaration, attesting that he inspected the garage doors prior to the tenancy in June 2011, and found no problems or damage to the garage doors at that time. (Choi Decl., Par. 5.) However, it is unclear when the tenancy commenced and when it was up for renewal. As this court indicated in Issues 1-2, the Lease attached as Exhibit B is a five-year lease commencing on dated 3/1/08. This court is unaware of any lease purportedly dated 6/18/11. Based on the five-year lease dated 3/1/08, the lease was up for renewal on 3/1/13. Choi’s declaration does not address any inspection occurring in 2013, which would have taken place prior to the incident on 9/23/15. Like Mora v. Baker Commodities, Inc., this court cannot find that Choi conducted a reasonable inspection based on the evidence submitted.
Accordingly, summary adjudication of Issue 3 is DENIED.
Relying on Stathoulis v. City of Montebello (2008) 164 Cal.App.4th 17 559, 566, Choi contends that an “essential element of recovery for premises liability under the governing statutes is proof a dangerous condition existed." However, Stathoulis v. City of Montebello concerns a Dangerous Condition of Public Property claim. Plaintiff’s Complaint does not allege any dangerous condition of public property. Rather, Plaintiff asserts only a Premises Liability claim. (Compare Plaintiff’s Complaint at checked box Prem. L-1 and the unchecked box at Prem. L-4.)
Choi also cites Mora v. Baker Commodities, Inc. (1989) 210 Cal.App.3d 771 for the proposition that the property was safe when transferred to the tenant, and that the lessor gave up control of the property. Choi submits his own declaration, attesting that he inspected the garage doors prior to the tenancy in June 2011, and found no problems or damage to the garage doors at that time. (Choi Decl., Par. 5.)
However, Mora v. Baker Commodities, Inc. also requires a showing that the “lessor/owner has given up control of the property.” (Mora, supra, 210 Cal.App.3d at 780.) In support of the contention that he gave up control, Choi
then refers the court to Section 7.2 of the Lease, but as this court has determined in Issue 3, the Lease terms are vague and ambiguous because it does not mention the “garage” or “garage doors.” Accordingly, Choi failed to meet his initial burden of establishing that he gave up control of the property.
Summary adjudication of Issues 5-6 is DENIED.
Choi contends he was not a substantial factor in causing Plaintiff’s injuries because “the responsibility for maintaining and repairing the garage doors at the premises rested with Mr. Baik, and not with Mr. Choi.” (Motion, 26:28-27:2.) As this court has determined in Issue 3, the Lease terms are vague and ambiguous because it does not mention the “garage” or “garage doors.” Therefore, Choi has not met his initial burden of establishing lack of causation.
Summary adjudication of Issue 7 is DENIED.
ISSUES 4 and 8
Choi contends that he did not have actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition, and therefore, duty does not attach.
However, the string of cases that Choi cites are distinguishable from the present case. Day v. Lupo Vine Street, L.P. (2018) 22 Cal.App.5th 62 holds that a lessor did not have the duty to acquire or maintain an automated external defibrillator for a tenant's boxing gym, where a patron had a fatal heart attack. According to the court, it would not be sound policy to require landlords to investigate and mitigate dangers caused by tenants' businesses.
In Garcia v. Holt (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 600, a landscaper was injured by explosives brought onto the property by the tenant. The court held that the lessor had no duty to investigate the dangers brought onto the property by the tenant.
In Salinas v. Martin (2015) 166 Cal.App.4th 404, a contractor was injured by pit bulls who were on the property with the lessor’s express permission. The court held that a duty existed because the lessor knew about the dangerous condition that the pit bulls presented.
Unlike Day, Garcia, and Salinas, here, the garage door is part of the premises and unrelated to any dangerous condition caused by the tenant’s business. Therefore, Choi must also produce evidence that he made a reasonable
inspection prior to relinquishing possession/control. As indicated in Issue 3 above, triable issues exist regarding whether a reasonable inspection was made.
Both Stone v. Center Trust Retail Prop., Inc. (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 608 and
Mora v. Baker Commodities, Inc. (1989) 210 Cal.App.3d 771 involve cases where the lessor had the ability to investigate, but failed to present evidence of such. Like Stone and Mora, Choi has not met his initial burden of establishing that he made a proper investigation prior to leasing the premises or during the renewal period. (See also related Issue 3.)
Regarding constructive notice, Choi testifies that he would visit the property approximately twice a month (DSS 8), but he does not state whether he made a reasonable inspection of the garage doors. Therefore, Choi has not met his initial burden of establishing that he lacked constructive notice.
Summary adjudication of Issues 4 and 8 is DENIED.