This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/19/2020 at 02:14:32 (UTC).

SHERI JENNINGS VS. FUEL360 MEDIA INC.

Case Summary

On 11/28/2017 SHERI JENNINGS filed a Labor - Other Labor lawsuit against FUEL360 MEDIA INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Burbank Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are DONNA FIELDS GOLDSTEIN and BENNY C. OSORIO. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7621

  • Filing Date:

    11/28/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Labor - Other Labor

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Burbank Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

DONNA FIELDS GOLDSTEIN

BENNY C. OSORIO

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

JENNINGS SHERI

Defendants

FUEL360 MEDIA INC.

GRIFFITH DOE 1 JEFFERY J.

GRIFFITH JEFFERY

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

KRUGER JACKIE ROSE LAW OFFICE OF

KRUGER JACKIE ROSE

Defendant Attorney

HAMMACK WAYNE H.

 

Court Documents

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 05/06/2020

5/6/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 05/06/2020

Case Management Statement

2/6/2020: Case Management Statement

Notice of Ruling - NOTICE OF RULING RE DEFENDANT JEFFREY J GRIFFITH'S DEMURRER

1/9/2020: Notice of Ruling - NOTICE OF RULING RE DEFENDANT JEFFREY J GRIFFITH'S DEMURRER

Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - DEMURRER - WITHOUT MOTION TO STRIKE TO PLAINTIFF'S AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT NAMING DOE 1-JEFFERY J. GRIFFITH; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF J

11/20/2019: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - DEMURRER - WITHOUT MOTION TO STRIKE TO PLAINTIFF'S AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT NAMING DOE 1-JEFFERY J. GRIFFITH; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF J

Proof of Personal Service

11/6/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: DISMISSAL FOR LACK OF PROSECUTION; OR...)

9/25/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: DISMISSAL FOR LACK OF PROSECUTION; OR...)

Notice of Rejection Of Electronic Filing

8/5/2019: Notice of Rejection Of Electronic Filing

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

6/19/2019: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

Minute Order - Minute Order (Case Management Conference; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal...)

2/20/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Case Management Conference; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal...)

Notice of Case Management Conference

11/28/2017: Notice of Case Management Conference

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Complaint filed-Summons Issued

11/28/2017: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Complaint filed-Summons Issued

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Declaration

2/13/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Declaration

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for Minute Order (Order to Show Cause Re: re: Entry of Default/Default Judgment...) of 10/30/2018

10/30/2018: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for Minute Order (Order to Show Cause Re: re: Entry of Default/Default Judgment...) of 10/30/2018

Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-04-30 00:00:00

4/30/2018: Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-04-30 00:00:00

Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-07-10 00:00:00

7/10/2018: Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-07-10 00:00:00

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Notice

8/13/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: Notice

Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-08-29 00:00:00

8/29/2018: Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-08-29 00:00:00

Notice of Ruling -

8/13/2018: Notice of Ruling -

56 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/03/2020
  • Hearing11/03/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department B at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Case Management Conference

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  • 09/18/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B; Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) (to the Amended Complaint filed by Defendant Jeffery J. Griffith) - Held

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  • 09/18/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) to t...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/18/2020
  • DocketOrder (Court's Order re: Demurrer); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/11/2020
  • DocketReply (to Plaintiff's Opposition to Demurrer to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint); Filed by Jeffery J. Griffith (DOE 1) (Defendant)

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  • 08/05/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B; Case Management Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 06/12/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B; Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) (to the Amended Complaint) - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 05/06/2020
  • Docketat 09:35 AM in Department B; Court Order

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  • 05/06/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order) of 05/06/2020); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/06/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order)); Filed by Clerk

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76 More Docket Entries
  • 02/14/2018
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Sheri Jennings (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/13/2018
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service (OSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Status Conference Held) -

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  • 02/13/2018
  • DocketDeclaration (of Priscilla Buelna); Filed by Sheri Jennings (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/13/2018
  • DocketMinute order entered: 2018-02-13 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/30/2017
  • DocketRequest For Copies

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  • 11/28/2017
  • DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by Sheri Jennings (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/28/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Court

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  • 11/28/2017
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Sheri Jennings (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/28/2017
  • DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Court

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/28/2017
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Sheri Jennings (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: EC067621    Hearing Date: September 18, 2020    Dept: NCB

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

sheri jennings,

Plaintiff,

vs.

fuel360 media inc., et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: EC067621

Hearing Date: September 18, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

Demurrer

Background

A. Allegations

Plaintiff Sheri Jennings (“Plaintiff”) alleges that in May 2015, she was a prospective employee of Defendant Fuel360 Inc. (erroneously named as Fuel360 Media Inc. in the initial complaint) (“Fuel360”) and that Defendant Jeff Griffith (“Griffith”) was the founder and managing partner of Fuel360. She alleges that they negotiated the terms of her employment, which was finalized on May 7, 2017 whereby Plaintiff was to earn a base salary of $90,000 annually with a 5% commission on all sales revenue contingent upon her successfully procuring Studio System News as a client for Fuel360 (or a rate of $8,000 per month). Plaintiff alleges that she successfully secured Studio System News as a client. In November 2015, she provided Fuel360 with her 2-week notice of her intent to quit, such that her last day of work was November 29, 2015. She alleges that she sent a demand for her unpaid commission along with a full accounting of the sales she generated. She alleges that Griffith refused to honor the terms of the agreement and failed to pay her the commission owed in the approximate amount of $7,600.

On January 23, 2020, Plaintiff filed the first amended complaint (“FAC”), alleging causes of action for: (1) breach of contract; (2) nonpayment of wages (Labor Code, §§202-203, 218.5); (3) failure to provide a written commission agreement (Labor Code, §§2751 et seq.); (4) violation of the Unfair Business Practices Act (Bus. & Profs. Code, §17200, et seq.); and (5) fraud.

On April 24, 2019, Plaintiff named Jeffery J. Griffith as Doe 1 in an amendment to the complaint.

B. Demurrer

On February 27, 2020, Griffith filed a demurrer to the FAC.

On April 6, 2020, Plaintiff filed an opposition.

On September 11, 2020, Griffith filed a reply brief.

DISCUSSIOn

A. Doe Amendment and Alter Ego Allegations

Griffith demurs to the FAC, arguing that Plaintiff was aware of Griffith’s identity as facts were alleged against him in the initial complaint, and that it was not until a year and half later that Plaintiff filed an amendment to the complaint to name him as Doe 1. Thus, he argues that the Doe Amendment is improper. Griffith also argues that the alter ego allegations are lacking in the FAC.

CCP §474 permits a plaintiff who is ignorant of the name of a defendant to designate the defendant by any name in the complaint, but requires the plaintiff to allege in the complaint that the plaintiff is ignorant of the defendant’s name. When the plaintiff discovers the defendant’s true name, CCP §474 permits the plaintiff to amend the pleadings. The purpose of CCP §474 is to permit a plaintiff to preserve a claim against an unknown defendant until the plaintiff learns the identity of the defendant. (Dieckmann v. Superior Court (1985) 175 Cal.App.3d 345, 355.) A plaintiff is deemed to be “ignorant of the name” both when the plaintiff does not know the identity of the defendant and when the plaintiff knows the identity of the defendant but is ignorant of facts giving the plaintiff a cause of action against the defendant. (Dover v. Sadowinski (1983) 147 Cal.App.3d 113, 116).

The alter ego doctrine is used to hold the persons controlling the corporation liable for the acts of the corporation when the persons are using the corporate form to perpetrate a fraud, circumvent a statute, or accomplish some other wrongful or unequitable purpose. (Sonora Diamond Corp. v. Superior Court (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 523, 538.) Courts liberally apply the alter ego doctrine when the equities and justice of the situation call for it rather than restricting it to technical requirements of pleading and procedure. (First Western Bank & Trust Co. v. Bookasta (1968) 267 Cal.App.2d 910, 915.) Plaintiff must factually allege that there is “a unity of interest and ownership between the corporation and its equitable owner that the separate personalities of the corporation and the shareholder do not in reality exist. Second, there must be an inequitable result if the acts in question are treated as those of the corporation alone,” (Sonora Diamond Corp. v. Superior Court (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th 523, 526.)

The Court notes that Griffith previously demurred to the initial complaint on the same grounds that the Doe Amendment was improper. The Court stated that it was apparent that Plaintiff knew of Griffith’s identity prior to the filing of the complaint in 2017. However, the Court sustained the demurrer to the initial complaint with 20 days leave to amend because Plaintiff had indicated that she could allege facts regarding alter ego allegations between Griffith and Fuel360, which Plaintiff stated she discovered through counsel’s investigations.

Based on the Court’s prior order, Plaintiff has cured the issue raised in the prior demurrer and this demurrer. While Plaintiff knew of the identity of Griffith prior to the commencement of this action, she may alternatively claim “ignorance” of Griffith where she knows his identity but is ignorant of the facts giving rise to her cause of action against him.

Further, at the pleading stage, the Court finds that Plaintiff has alleged facts sufficient to allege the alter ego doctrine. In the FAC, Plaintiff alleges that each of the defendants was the agent, servant, and/or employee of the other and were acting within the scope and purpose of such agency or employment. (FAC, ¶5.) Plaintiff also alleges that Fuel360 was organized by Griffith as a device to avoid individual liability and for the purpose of substituting financially irresponsible corporations in the place of said individuals, and that Fuel360 was formed with capitalization totally inadequate for the business in which it was engaged. (Id., ¶28.) She also alleges that Fuel360 is insolvent, Griffith failed to observe corporate formalities while operating Fuel360, and that adherence to the fiction of the corporate existence of Fuel360 would, under the circumstances, sanction a fraud and promote injustice such that Plaintiff would be unable to realize any material judgment in her favor. (Id., ¶¶29-31.) Thus, Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged the elements of alter ego.

The demurrer on this ground is overruled.

B. Fuel360, Inc.

Next, Griffith argues that Plaintiff improperly added a new defendant, Fuel360, Inc. as a party because Plaintiff did not file a Doe Amendment, explain the basis for adding a new defendant, or request leave to amend to add Fuel360, Inc. He argues that he never had any role with the defaulted defendant, Fuel360 Media, Inc., which is a non-existent entity. Plaintiff argues in opposition that she initially sued Fuel360, Inc. as its dba Fuel360 Media, Inc. and thus is correcting the name.

At this time, arguments regarding Fuel360, Inc. are premature. First, the Court is not aware of whether Fuel360, Inc. was served with the summons and complaint of the action. Thus, it does not appear that Fuel360, Inc. is a party to this action as of yet. Second, Griffith is an individual defendant and Fuel360, Inc. did not jointly file the demurrer with him. At this time, the Court will overrule the demurrer on this ground.

Conclusion and Order

Griffith’s demurrer to the FAC is overruled.

Griffith is ordered to file an answer within 10 days of this order.

Griffith shall provide notice of this ruling.

Case Number: EC067621    Hearing Date: January 03, 2020    Dept: NCB

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

North Central District

Department B

sheri jennings,

Plaintiff,

vs.

fuel360 media inc., et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: EC067621

Hearing Date: January 3, 2020

[TENTATIVE] order RE:

Demurrer

Background

  1. Allegations

Plaintiff Sheri Jennings (“Plaintiff”) alleges that in May 2015, she was a prospective employee of Defendant Fuel360 Media Inc. (“Fuel360”) and that Jeff Griffith (“Griffith”) was the founder and managing partner of Fuel360. She alleges that they negotiated the terms of her employment, which was finalized on May 7, 2017 whereby Plaintiff was to earn a base salary of $90,000 annually with a 5% commission on all sales revenue contingent upon her successfully procuring Studio System News as a client for Fuel360. (Compl., ¶8, Ex. A.) Plaintiff alleges that she successfully secured Studio System News as a client at the rate of $152,00 in June 2015, according a 5% commission. In November 2015, she provided Fuel360 with her 2-week notice of her intent to quit, such that her last day of work was November 29, 2015. She alleges that she sent a demand for her unpaid commission along with a full accounting of the sales she generated. She alleges that Griffith refused to honor the terms of the agreement and failed to pay her the commission owed in the approximate amount of $7,600.

On November 28, 2017, Plaintiff filed the complaint for alleging causes of action for: (1) breach of contract; (2) unjust enrichment; (3) nonpayment of wages (Labor Code, §§202-203, 218.5); (4) failure to provide itemized wage statement (Labor Code, §§226 et seq.); (5) failure to provide a written commission agreement (Labor Code, §§2751 et seq.); and (6) violation of the Unfair Business Practices Act (Bus. & Profs. Code, §§17200 et seq.).

On April 24, 2019, Plaintiff named Jeffery J. Griffith as Doe 1 in an amendment to the complaint.

  1. Demurrer

On November 20, 2019, Griffith filed a demurrer to the amendment to the complaint.

On December 18, 2019, Plaintiff filed an opposition.

DISCUSSIOn

Griffith demurs to the amendment to the complaint, arguing that Plaintiff was aware of Griffith’s identity as facts were alleged against him in the initial complaint, and that it was not until a year and half later that Plaintiff filed an amendment to the complaint to name him as Doe 1.

CCP § 474 permits a plaintiff who is ignorant of the name of a defendant to designate the defendant by any name in the complaint but requires the plaintiff to allege in the complaint that the plaintiff is ignorant of the defendant’s name. When the plaintiff discovers the defendant’s true name, CCP §474 permits the plaintiff to amend the pleadings. The purpose of CCP § 474 is to permit a plaintiff to preserve a claim against an unknown defendant until the plaintiff learns the identity of the defendant. (Dieckmann v. Superior Court (1985) 175 Cal. App. 3d 345, 355.) A plaintiff is deemed to be “ignorant of the name” both when the plaintiff does not know the identity of the defendant and when the plaintiff knows the identity of the defendant but is ignorant of facts giving the plaintiff a cause of action against the defendant. (Dover v. Sadowinski (1983) 147 Cal. App. 3d 113, 116).

Here, there is no denying that Plaintiff has alleged facts against Griffith as the founder and managing partner of Fuel360. (Compl., ¶6.) She also alleged facts that Griffith refused to honor the terms of the agreement and failed to pay her commissions owed. (Id., ¶15.) Thus, Plaintiff knew of Griffith’s identity when filing the complaint in 2017.

Nevertheless, Plaintiff may be found “ignorant” of Griffith’s name not only when she does not know the identity of the defendant, but also when she knows the identity of the defendant but is ignorant of the facts giving rise to a cause of action against him. In her opposition brief, Plaintiff argues that new information surfaced through her counsel’s investigation, which showed that Fuel360 is an insolvent and suspended business, Griffith is in good financial state, and that Griffith underfunded the corporation, failed to observe corporate formalities, comingled corporate assets and personal funds, failed and used Fuel360 as a shield from liability. (Opp. at p.2; Jackie Rose Kruger Decl., ¶6.) Thus, Plaintiff argues that Griffith should be liable to Plaintiff under the alter ego doctrine. She seeks leave to amend in the event the allegations do not sufficiently allege such facts.

As currently worded, the Court does not find that the complaint alleges sufficient facts to show that the alter ego doctrine applies. The facts alleged in the opposition are extrinsic matters that were not alleged in the complaint; however, the Court considers Plaintiff’s arguments for the purpose of finding whether leave to amend is proper.

Thus, the Court sustains the demurrer to the complaint with 20 days leave to amend.

Conclusion and Order

Griffith’s demurrer is sustained with 20 days leave to amend.

Plaintiff is ordered to provide notice of this ruling.