This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/27/2019 at 02:01:34 (UTC).

SMART HOTEL, INC VS SHI JA PARK

Case Summary

On 12/15/2017 SMART HOTEL, INC filed an Other - Arbitration lawsuit against SHI JA PARK. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Pomona Courthouse South located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are PETER A. HERNANDEZ and DUKES, ROBERT A.. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****9880

  • Filing Date:

    12/15/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Other - Arbitration

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Pomona Courthouse South

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

PETER A. HERNANDEZ

DUKES, ROBERT A.

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

SMART HOTEL INC

DESAI RAJIV T.

SMART HOTEL INC.

Defendants

SHI JA PARK 2006 REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST

PARK SHI JA

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

WEISER FRANK A.

WEISER FRANK ALAN

 

Court Documents

Complaint

12/15/2017: Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet

12/15/2017: Civil Case Cover Sheet

Notice of Case Management Conference

12/19/2017: Notice of Case Management Conference

Unknown

2/22/2018: Unknown

Minute Order

4/9/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

5/15/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

6/13/2018: Minute Order

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

10/1/2018: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

10/1/2018: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

Minute Order

10/2/2018: Minute Order

Unknown

10/31/2018: Unknown

Unknown

10/31/2018: Unknown

Unknown

10/31/2018: Unknown

Response

12/7/2018: Response

Minute Order

12/10/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

3/11/2019: Minute Order

Request

5/8/2019: Request

Order for Publication

5/9/2019: Order for Publication

10 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/09/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service - Held - Continued

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  • 05/09/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held

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  • 05/09/2019
  • Order for Publication; Filed by Frank Alan Weiser (Attorney); SMART HOTEL, INC. (Plaintiff); RAJIV T. DESAI (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/09/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Case Management Conference; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure t...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/08/2019
  • Request (Application For An Order To Serve Summons And Complaint On Defendants By Publication; Declaration of Frank A. Weiser In Support Thereof); Filed by Frank Alan Weiser (Attorney); SMART HOTEL, INC. (Plaintiff); RAJIV T. DESAI (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/11/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service - Held - Continued

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  • 03/11/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held - Continued

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/11/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Case Management Conference; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure t...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/10/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held - Continued

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 12/10/2018
  • at 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service - Held - Continued

    Read MoreRead Less
26 More Docket Entries
  • 04/09/2018
  • Minute order entered: 2018-04-09 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/22/2018
  • OSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/22/2018
  • OSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/19/2017
  • Notice-Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/19/2017
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/15/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by SMART HOTEL, INC. (Plaintiff); RAJIV T. DESAI (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/15/2017
  • Notice (of Case Assignment); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/15/2017
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by SMART HOTEL, INC. (Plaintiff); RAJIV T. DESAI (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/15/2017
  • Summons (on Complaint)

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  • 12/15/2017
  • Complaint Filed

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: KC069880    Hearing Date: February 19, 2020    Dept: O

After hearing, Defendant Shi Ja Park’s demurrer to complaint is OVERRULED as to the breach of contract cause of action. Defendant to file an Answer within 10 days.

Defendant Shi Ja Park (“Defendant”) demurs to the breach of contract cause of action on the ground that it fails to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action.

A demurrer for sufficiency tests whether the complaint states a cause of action. (Hahn v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal.App.4th 740, 747.) When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations liberally and in context. (Taylor v. City of Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power (2006) 144 Cal.App.4th 1216, 1228.) In a demurrer proceeding, the defects must be apparent on the face of the pleading or via proper judicial notice. (Donabedian v. Mercury Ins. Co. (2004) 116 Cal.App.4th 968, 994.) “A demurrer tests the pleadings alone and not the evidence or other extrinsic matters. Therefore, it lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed.” (SKF Farms v. Superior Court (1984) 153 Cal.App.3d 902, 905.) “The only issue involved in a demurrer hearing is whether the complaint, as it stands, unconnected with extraneous matters, states a cause of action.” (Hahn, supra, 147 Cal.App.4th at 747.)

Breach of Contract (2nd Cause of Action)

The elements for a breach of contract cause of action are: (1) the contract; (2) plaintiff’s performance or excuse for nonperformance; (3) defendant’s breach; and (4) resulting damages. (Reichert v. General Ins. Co. (1968) 68 Cal.2d 822, 830.) In alleging a breach of contract cause of action, it is necessary to specify whether the contract is written, oral or implied by conduct. (CCP § 430.10(g).) In order to plead a written contract (the first element listed above), a plaintiff must, in addition to alleging the making of the contract, do one of the following: (1) set forth the contract in haec verba; or (2) plead the contract’s legal effect by alleging the substance of its relevant terms. (4 Witkin, California Procedure 4th Edition, 479-481.) In order to plead an oral contract, a plaintiff must plead its legal effect, i.e., allege the substance of the contractual terms. (Id., at 483.)

Paragraph 9 alleges that the parties entered into a written contract where Defendant agreed to sell to Plaintiffs Smart Hotel, Inc. and Rajiv T. Desal (“Plaintiffs”) the property located at 840 S. Indian Hill Blvd., Claremont, CA (the “Property”) for $8,500,000 (the “Agreement”). Plaintiffs allege that the parties entered into the contract with the intent to expand and upgrade the hotel as a franchise Marriott Hotel, which included an expansion of hotel rooms that required the elimination of tennis courts. (Complaint, ¶ 12.) However, Defendant did not inform Plaintiffs that an individual named Kevin Pollock claimed a leasehold interest to the tennis courts until December 20, 2013, close to the date for closing escrow on the sale of the Property. (Id. at ¶¶ 10-12.) Upon learning this, the parties amended the Agreement, making Defendant responsible for the termination and settlement of Mr. Pollock’s claim on the tennis court. (Id. at ¶ 14.) The parties closed escrow on December 31, 2013, constituting Plaintiffs’ performance. (Id. at ¶ 15.) However, Defendant breached this Agreement when she failed to terminate and/or settle Mr. Pollock’s claim on the tennis court until November 8, 2017. (Id. at ¶¶ 32-33.) Plaintiffs have been harmed no less than $10,450,000.00. (Id. at ¶ 47.) Thus, Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a breach of contract cause of action.

Defendant contends that the amendment to the agreement states that the Seller takes responsibility to terminate Mr. Pollock’s lease “as soon as possible.” (Id.) She contends that the Complaint fails to state how Defendant breached this term. Furthermore, Defendant contends that she did not sign the Agreement as an individual, but as the trustee of the living trust. (Id. at ¶ 9, Ex. A, p. 9.) Thus, Defendant cannot be sued individually because she did not even own the Property.

The Court disagrees with Defendant’s contentions. First, the ambiguity as to the term that the Seller is to take responsibility to terminate the lease “as soon as possible” is a question of fact and a matter that can be settled at discovery. At the pleading stage, it is sufficient for Plaintiffs to allege that Defendant breached the contract when she failed to terminate the lease until November 8, 2017. Second, the fact that Defendant signed the Agreement in her capacity as the trustee of the living trust does not absolve her of individual liability for the breach of contract claim. Plaintiffs allege that she was the trustee of the Shi Ja Park 2006 Revocable Living Trust. (Id. at ¶ 4.) Generally, the settlor/trustor of a revocable living trust maintains control of the property in the trust. While the settlor of a revocable inter vivos trust is living, the assets are considered the property of the settlor for the settlor's lifetime. (Estate of Giraldin (2012) 55 Cal.4th 1058, 1065-1066; Barefoot v. Jennings (2018) 27 Cal.App.5th 1, 5.) This is particularly true when the settlor is also the trustee of the trust. This is what Plaintiffs alleged here in the Complaint.

At the hearing, Defendant, for the first time, raised a standing issue as to Plaintiff Desai, only. Specifically, Defendant contends that because the Agreement was between Plaintiff Smart Hotel and Defendant, Plaintiff Desai, the President and Owner of Plaintiff Smart Hotel, has no standing to sue. Here, even assuming Defendant’s contention that the contract was between Plaintiff Smart Hotel and Defendant, it is undisputed that Plaintiff Desai has standing to sue as owner of Plaintiff Smart Hotel. Moreover, “under California's third party beneficiary doctrine, a third party—that is, an individual or entity that is not a party to a contract—may bring a breach contract contract contract, but also (2) that a motivating purpose of the contracting parties is to provide a benefit to the third party, and further (3) that permitting the third party to bring its own breach contract contracting contract contracting parties.” (Goonewardene v. ADP, LLC .)

The Court finds that the Complaint sufficiently alleges a breach of contract claim. The Demurrer is OVERRULED.

Case Number: KC069880    Hearing Date: November 01, 2019    Dept: O

Defendant Shi Ja Park’s motions to compel discovery are GRANTED. Plaintiffs are ordered to provide responses within 20 days. Sanctions are awarded in the requested amount of $2,197.00.

Defendants Shi Ja Park, both individually and as Trustee of the Shi Ja Park 2006 Revocable Living Trust (“Defendants”), move the Court for orders requiring Plaintiffs Smart Hotel, Inc. and Rajiv T. Desai (“Plaintiffs”) to provide verified responses to their request for production of documents (set 1), form interrogatories (set 1), and special interrogatories (set 1). Defendants also seeks monetary sanctions of $2,197.00 for the motions against Plaintiffs and their counsel.

CCP §§ 2030.290(b) and 2031.300(b) allow the propounding party to file a motion to compel responses to interrogatories and document demands if a response has not been received. If responses are untimely, responding party waives objections. (CCP §§ 2030.290(a) and 2031.300(a).) CCP §§ 2023.010(d), 2030.290(c) and 2031.300(c) authorize the court to impose sanctions for failure to respond to discovery without substantial justification.

On or about June 24, 2019, Defendants served their Form Interrogatories, Set One; Special Interrogatories, Set One; and Request for Production of Documents, Set One on Plaintiffs. (Jeong Decl., ¶ 2.) Defendants did not receive responses by the alleged deadline of July 24, 2019.[1] (Id. at ¶ 3.) Defendants’ counsel emailed Plaintiffs’ counsel that the deadline to respond has passed and requested Plaintiffs provide responses by August 5, 2019. (Id. at ¶ 4.) At the time Defendants filed and served these motions, they still have not received any responses to their discovery requests from Plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs through their counsel oppose the motions by contending that Plaintiffs’ counsel has health problems. (Weiser Decl., ¶¶2-7, 19.) Plaintiff’s counsel had a medical emergency on or about March 17, 2019. (Id. at ¶ 2, Ex. A.) While the court is sympathetic to Mr. Weiser’s health issues, nothing in the declaration indicates why Plaintiff’s counsel was unable to respond to the discovery request that were sent on or about June 24, 2019, over a month after the alleged health incident (for which he was discharged on March 18, 2019 and was allowed to return to work on March 25, 2019). (See id. at Ex. A.) Nor does Mr. Weiser explain why he did not request any extensions when Defendant’s counsel emailed him about the untimely responses. Plaintiff’s counsel also has not submitted any supplemental declaration stating that he has already served verified responses to Defendants’ discovery as promised.

The Court finds that Plaintiffs has not demonstrated substantial justification for the delay in serving discovery responses to Defendants’ counsel. This motion, then, is granted. Plaintiffs are ordered to provide responses within 20 days. Sanctions against Plaintiffs only are awarded in the requested sum of $2,197.00.


[1] This deadline according to Mr. Jeong is not accurate because the Requests were served by Regular US Mail, which extends the deadline to respond by 5 days and should have been July 29th.