This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/21/2019 at 00:04:22 (UTC).

SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND VS HAKKASAN LIMITED

Case Summary

On 09/25/2017 SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against HAKKASAN LIMITED. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is LAURA A. SEIGLE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7170

  • Filing Date:

    09/25/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

LAURA A. SEIGLE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

PAYIND SOHRAB MOHAMMED

Defendants and Respondents

HAKKASAN LIMITED

BOOTSY BELLOWS NIGHTCLUB

HAKKASAN SF LLC.

TOLL BRIAN

TERZIAN JOHN

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

KARIMIAN SHAHIN SHAWN

 

Court Documents

Proof of Personal Service

5/29/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

5/23/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Minute Order

5/13/2019: Minute Order

Declaration

5/8/2019: Declaration

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

4/30/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

4/30/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

4/30/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Proof of Personal Service

3/25/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Minute Order

3/11/2019: Minute Order

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/29/2019
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/23/2019
  • DocketAmendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name); Filed by SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/13/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service and Failure to File Default Judgment Pursuant to CRC 3.740 - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 05/13/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service and ...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/08/2019
  • DocketDECLARATION OF SHAHIN SHAWN KARIMIAN IN RESPONSE TO OSC RE FAILURE TO FILE PROOF OF SERVICE AND FAILURE TO FILE DEFAULT JUDGMENT; Filed by SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/30/2019
  • DocketAmendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name); Filed by SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/30/2019
  • DocketAmendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name); Filed by SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/30/2019
  • DocketAmendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name); Filed by SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/25/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 03/25/2019
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/11/2019
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Court

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  • 03/11/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Final Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/25/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 09/25/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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  • 09/25/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ****7170 Hearing Date: August 26, 2022 Dept: 27

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

HAKKASAN LIMITED, et al.,

Defendant(s).

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CASE NO.: ****7170

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS JOHN TERZIAN AND BRIAN TOLL’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Dept. 27

1:30 p.m.

August 26, 2022

I. INTRODUCTION

On September 25, 2017, Plaintiff Sohrab Mohammed Payind (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendants Hakkasan Limited dba Bootsy Bellows Nightclub, Hakkasan Group, Hakkasan LV LLC (“Hakkasan LV”), Hakkasan Holdings, Hakkasan USA, Inc., BToll Entertainment LLC, and Does 1 to 50 for premises liability and general negligence.

On April 30, 2019, Plaintiff added John Terzian (“Terzian”), Hakkasan SF, LLC, and Brian Toll (“Toll”) as Does 1, 2, and 3, respectively

On May 13, 2019, Plaintiff filed an amendment to complaint correcting Hakkasan Limited dba Bootsy Bellows Nightclub’s name to Hakkasan Group dba Bootsy Bellows Nightclub.

On September 29, 2020, Plaintiff filed an amendment to complaint, substituting in Defendant DBDJ, LLC for Doe 4.

On November 9, 2021, the Court granted DBDJ, LLC’s motion to quash service of summons and dismissed DBDJ, LLC from this action.

On January 25, 2022, pursuant to Plaintiff’s request, Hakkasan Limited, Hakkasan LV, Hakkasan SF, LLC, and Hakkasan Holdings were dismissed from this action.

On April 29, 2022, Defendants Terzian and Toll (collectively “Defendants”) filed a motion for summary judgment or, in the alternative, summary adjudication. Plaintiff filed opposition papers on July 1, 2022. Defendants filed reply papers on August 19, 2022.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On September 27, 2015, at or near 9229 Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood, CA, Defendants failed to exercise ordinary care to avoid or prevent the accident that occurred, resulting in injuries to Plaintiff. (Complaint, Prem.L-1, GN-1; Opposition, Plaintiff’s Response to Separate Statement of Undisputed Material Facts, No. 1.)

III. LEGAL STANDARD

In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, courts must apply a three-step analysis: “(1) identify the issues framed by the pleadings; (2) determine whether the moving party has negated the opponent’s claims; and (3) determine whether the opposition has demonstrated the existence of a triable, material factual issue.” (Hinesley v. Oakshade Town Center (2005) 135 Cal.App.4th 289, 294.)

“[T]he initial burden is always on the moving party to make a prima facia showing that there are no triable issues of material fact.” (Scalf v. D. B. Log Homes, Inc. (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 1510, 1519.) A defendant moving for summary judgment or summary adjudication “has met his or her burden of showing that a cause of action has no merit if the party has shown that one or more elements of the cause of action . . . cannot be established, or that there is a complete defense to the cause of action.” (Code Civ. Proc., 437c, subd. (p)(2).) A moving defendant need not conclusively negate an element of plaintiff’s cause of action. (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 854.)

To meet this burden of showing a cause of action cannot be established, a defendant must show not only “that the plaintiff does not possess needed evidence” but also that “the plaintiff cannot reasonably obtain needed evidence.” (Aguilar, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 854.) It is insufficient for the defendant to merely point out the absence of evidence. (Gaggero v. Yura (2003) 108 Cal.App.4th 884, 891.) The defendant “must also produce evidence that the plaintiff cannot reasonably obtain evidence to support his or her claim.” (Ibid.) The supporting evidence can be in the form of affidavits, declarations, admissions, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and matters of which judicial notice may be taken. (Aguilar, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 855.)

“Once the defendant . . . has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff . . . to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto.” (Code Civ. Proc., 437c, subd. (p)(2).) The plaintiff may not merely rely on allegations or denials of its pleadings to show that a triable issue of material fact exists, but instead, “shall set forth the specific facts showing that a triable issue of material fact exists as to the cause of action.” (Ibid.) “If the plaintiff cannot do so, summary judgment should be granted.” (Avivi v. Centro Medico Urgente Medical Center (2008) 159 Cal.App.4th 463, 467.)

IV. DISCUSSION

Request for Denial or Continuance

In opposition, Plaintiff requests the Court either deny or continue this motion for summary judgment by 90 days to allow Plaintiff the right to complete discovery.

CCP section 437c(h) provides that “[i]f it appears from the affidavits submitted in opposition to a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication, or both, that facts essential to justify opposition may exist but cannot, for reasons stated, be presented, the court shall deny the motion, order a continuance to permit affidavits to be obtained or discovery to be had, or make any other orders as may be just.” (Code Civ. Proc., 437c, subd. (h).) A summary judgment is a drastic measure which deprives the losing party of trial on the merits. (Bahl v. Bank of America (2001) 89 Cal.App.4th 389, 395.) To mitigate this harshness, the drafters of CCP section 437c included a provision making continuances virtually mandated. (Id.) Where the opposing party submits an adequate affidavit showing that essential facts may exist but cannot be presented in a timely manner, the Court must either deny summary judgment or grant a continuance. (Dee v. Vintage Petroleum, Inc. (2003) 106 Cal.App.4th 30, 34-35.)

“The nonmoving party seeking a continuance must show: (1) the facts to be obtained are essential to opposing the motion; (2) there is reason to believe such facts may exist; and (3) the reasons why additional time is needed to obtain these facts. [Citations.]” (Wachs v. Curry (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 616, 623.) If these factors are met, a continuance is mandatory. (Danieley v. Goldmine Ski Associates, Inc. (1990) 218 Cal.App.3d 111, 127.) “It is not sufficient under [CCP section 437c(h)] merely to indicate further discovery or investigation is contemplated.” (Roth v. Rhodes (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 530, 548.)

Here, Plaintiff’s counsel’s declaration provides that Plaintiff propounded written discovery on each moving defendant on or about April 18, 2022; that Defendants responded to the discovery and objected to everything on May 10, 2022; that defense counsel did not respond to the letter or call Plaintiff to engage in the meet and confer process; and that, without substantive responses, Plaintiff has been denied information likely to lead to admissible evidence to rebut Defendants’ contentions. (Opposition, Karimian Decl., 5.) Plaintiff’s counsel also declares that Plaintiff noticed the depositions of moving defendants; that Defendants objected to the notices; that defense counsel advised she would get available dates for the depositions; and that, to date, that has not occurred. (Id., 6.)

Plaintiff’s counsel’s declaration does not set forth the requisite facts to be obtained that are essential to opposing the motion and that there is reason to believe such facts may exist. (Wachs, supra, 13 Cal.App.4th at 623.) Plaintiff has thus failed to meet the factors for a denial or continuance of this motion for summary judgment.

The Court notes that, as pointed out by Defendants in reply, Plaintiff named Defendants two years after filing this action in September 2017—i.e., Defendants were brought into this action in 2019. There is no explanation as to why Plaintiff appears to have waited until just a four months ago to obtain discovery from Defendants. The Court may also deny the request for continuance under these circumstances. (Bahl, supra, 89 Cal.App.4th at 398 (“When lack of diligence results in a party’s having insufficient information to know if facts essential to justify opposition may exist, and the party is therefore unable to provide the requisite affidavit under Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (h), the trial judge may deny the request for continuance of the motion.”).)

The Court further notes that, while a review of the complaint and Plaintiff’s opposition fails to clarify the specific theory of liability asserted against Defendants, it appears from Plaintiff’s June 15, 2022, meet and confer letter sent to defense counsel that Plaintiff is attempting to assert alter ego liability against Defendants with respect to DBDJ, LLC. (Opposition, Karimian Decl., 5, Ex. C.) No alter ego liability has been asserted against Defendants in the complaint. To this extent, any discovery Plaintiff is seeking with respect to whether Defendants are alter egos of DBDJ, LLC cannot be said to be essential to opposing this motion for summary judgment. (Hutton v. Fidelity National Title Company (2013) 213 Cal.App.4th 486, 493 (“[T]he burden of a defendant moving for summary judgment only requires that he or she negate plaintiff’s theories of liability as alleged in the complaint; that is, a moving party need not refute liability on some theoretical possibility not included in the pleadings.” (emphasis in original)).)

In light of the foregoing, Plaintiff’s request for a denial or continuance of this motion is denied.

Motion for Summary Judgment

Defendants move for summary judgment in their favor and against Plaintiff on the premises liability and general negligence causes of action asserted against them in the complaint.

A. First Cause of Action for Premises Liability

“Those who own, possess, or control property generally have a duty to exercise ordinary care in managing the property in order to avoid exposing others to an unreasonable risk of harm. (Annocki v. Peterson Enterprises, LLC (2014) 232 Cal.App.4th 32, 37.) The elements of a cause of action for premises liability are the same as those for negligence: duty, breach, causation, and damages. (Castellon v. U.S. Bancorp (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 994, 998.)

Here, Plaintiff alleges defendants “did not exercise ordinary care, caution or prudence to avoid or prevent the accident described in said complaint, and that said accident and injuries sustained by plaintiff were actually and proximately caused by said fault, carelessness and negligence of defendants and each of them named in the complaint.” (Complaint, Prem.L-1.) While Plaintiff has alleged how the other defendants named in this action are specifically liable for premises liability, Plaintiff has failed to plead facts showing how Defendants, who were substituted in as Does 1 and 3, are specifically liable for premises liability. However, given that this is a premises liability claim, it can be reasonably inferred that Plaintiff seeks to hold Defendants liable for premises liability as owners, possessors, or controllers of the property where the subject accident occurred.

Defendant contends this cause of action fails because they did not own, manage, or control the property. To support this contention, Defendants have submitted their own declarations attesting that they did not personally own, lease, maintain, manage, operate, or control the subject premises on September 27, 2015. (Toll Decl., 3; Terzian Decl., 3.) This is sufficient for Defendants to meet their burden of demonstrating they cannot be liable as owners, possessors, or controllers of the property where the subject accident occurred.

Although Plaintiff has submitted an opposition, Plaintiff’s opposition merely requests a denial or continuance of this motion. Plaintiff has not presented evidence demonstrating triable issues of material fact exist as to whether Defendants owned, possessed, or controlled the property. Plaintiff has thus failed to meet his burden.

Accordingly, Defendants are entitled to judgment on the first cause of action for premises liability.

B. Second Cause of Action for General Negligence

The elements for negligence are: (1) a legal duty owed to the plaintiff to use due care; (2) breach of duty; (3) causation; and (4) damage to plaintiff. (County of Santa Clara v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2006) 137 Cal.App.4th 292, 318.)

Like with the premises liability cause of action, Plaintiff alleges defendants “did not exercise ordinary care, caution or prudence to avoid or prevent the accident described in said complaint, and that said accident and injuries sustained by plaintiff were actually and proximately caused by said fault, carelessness and negligence of defendants and each of them named in the complaint.” (Complaint, GN-1.) Plaintiff fails to allege facts showing how Defendants are specifically liable for general negligence. However, given Plaintiff alleges the same allegations against Defendants for this cause of action as with the premises liability cause of action, it appears Plaintiff is also seeking to hold Defendants liable for general negligence as owners, possessors, or controllers of the property where the subject accident occurred. Plaintiff’s opposition does not indicate otherwise. In fact, the facts regarding the incident as set forth in Plaintiff’s opposition (i.e., that Plaintiff was a patron at the Bootsy Bellows Nightclub on September 27, 2015, and was injured when he stepped on a piece of broken glass that penetrated his shoe) tends to show that the only viable theory of liability against Defendants for the subject accident is as owners, possessors, or controllers of the property where the accident occurred. (Opposition, p. 3: 4-5.) To the extent Plaintiff is attempting to hold Defendants liable on an alter ego theory, as discussed, Plaintiff has failed to plead such a theory against Defendants in the complaint.

As with the premises liability cause of action, Defendants argue the general negligence cause of action fails because they did not own, manage, or control the property where the subject accident occurred. Defendants’ declarations that they “did not personally own, lease, maintain, manage, operate or control the premises located at 9229 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, California on Sept. 27, 2015” are sufficient for Defendants to meet their burden of demonstrating they did not own, manage, or control the property where the subject accident occurred. (Toll Decl., 3; Terzian Decl., 3.)

As discussed, while Plaintiff has filed an opposition, Plaintiff has failed to present evidence demonstrating triable issues of material fact exist. Plaintiff has thus failed to meet his burden.

Accordingly, Defendants are entitled to judgment on the second cause of action for general negligence.

As Defendants are entitled to judgment on both causes of action asserted in the complaint, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment.

Motion for Summary Adjudication

As Defendants are entitled to summary judgment, Defendants’ alternative motion for summary adjudication is moot.

VI. CONCLUSION

In light of the foregoing, Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

Defendants’ alternative Motion for Summary Adjudication is MOOT.

Moving party to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT27@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. Please be advised that if you submit on the tentative and elect not to appear at the hearing, the opposing party may nevertheless appear at the hearing and argue the matter. Unless you receive a submission from all other parties in the matter, you should assume that others might appear at the hearing to argue. If the Court does not receive emails from the parties indicating submission on this tentative ruling and there are no appearances at the hearing, the Court may, at its discretion, adopt the tentative as the final order or place the motion off calendar.



Case Number: ****7170 Hearing Date: January 14, 2022 Dept: 27

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

HAKKASAN LIMITED, et al.,

Defendant(s).

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CASE NO.: ****7170

ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF’S EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL 120 DAYS AND REOPEN DISCOVERY

Dept. 27

8:30 a.m.

January 14, 2022

Plaintiff Sohrab Mohammed Payind (“Plaintiff”) wishes to reopen discovery in this matter to allow Plaintiff to conduct depositions of the individual Defendants and also make written discovery requests of the individual Defendants to address alter ego issues as well as issues of their membership and control of dismissed Defendant DBDJ, LLC (“DBDJ”); Plaintiff seeks a basis to impose liability on the individual Defendants, in lieu, presumably, of dismissed defendant DBDJ. The exigency stems from the fact that the FSC in this case is on January 19, 2022, and the trial, on January 24, 2022. Plaintiff asserts that, without the ability to conduct additonal discovery, Plaintiff would be left without a viable Defendant to affix liability to and thus would surely face a defense verdict.

A motion to reopen discovery is required to be a noticed motion. One obvious reason for that here is that it is by no means obvious that re-opening discovery is likely to have the legal effect Plaintiff expects. The individual Defendants are entitled to an opportunity to thoughtfully oppose the motion, and the Court is entitled to an opportunity to consider it other than on the fly.

Plaintiff has waited until mere days before the FSC date in this case to seek this relief, notwithstanding that it is predicated on DBDJ having been dismissed from the action on November 9, 2021. The Court has a heavy motions schedule and Plaintiff seeks preferential attention notwithstanding that Plaintiff has been aware of this issue for a least two months (and longer than that if it had thought through the potential consequences of an adverse ruling on the DBDJ motion to quash that was filed April 22, 2021). Plaintiff asserts that, “[t]he motion to quash was granted on November 9, 2021, and then with Holidays and personal matters, this is the first opportunity for Plaintiff to address the issue.” This is the most translucent of excuses.

Plaintiff’s Ex Parte Application is DENIED.

In denying this application, the Court refers Plaintiff to the First Amended Standing Order Re: Personal Injury Procedures at the Spring Street Courthouse, February 24, 2020, para. 16 (“The PI Courts do not regard the Court’s unavailability for timely motion hearings as an ‘immediate danger’ or threat of ‘irreparable harm’ justifying ex parte relief. Instead of seeking ex parte relief, the moving party should reserve the earliest available motion hearing date (even if it is after the scheduled trial date) and file a motion to continue trial.”).

Dated this 14th day of January 2022

William A. Crowfoot

Judge of the Superior Court



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Case Number: ****7170 Hearing Date: November 9, 2021 Dept: 27

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

HAKKASAN LIMITED, et al.,

Defendant(s).

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CASE NO.: ****7170

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: DEFENDANT DBDJ, LLC’S MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF SUMMONS FOR UNTIMELY SERVICE OF PROCESS

Dept. 27

8:30 a.m.

November 9, 2021

  1. INTRODUCTION

On September 25, 2017, Plaintiff Sohrab Mohammed Payind filed this action asserting causes of action for premises liability and negligence. Plaintiff named the following as defendants: Hakkasan Limited DBA Bootsy Bellows Nightclub (“Hakkasan Limited”), Hakkasan Group, Hakkasan LV LLC (“Hakkasan LV”), Hakkasan Holdings (“Hakkasan Holdings”), Hakkasan USA, Inc., and BToll Entertainment LLC.

On April 30, 2019, Plaintiff added Brian Toll (“Toll”), Hakkasan SF, LLC (“Hakkasan SF”), and John Terzian (“Terzian”) as Does 1 through 3.

On August 8, 2019, Defendants Hakkasan Limited, Hakkasan LV, Hakkasan SF, Hakkasan Holdings (collectively, the Hakkasan Defendants”), Toll, and Terzian filed an answer to the complaint.

On March 13, 2020, Plaintiff filed a motion for an order compelling Hakkasan Limited’s discovery responses. Plaintiff’s Motion was granted on July 29, 2020.

On September 29, 2020, Plaintiff filed an amendment to the complaint substituting moving party DBDJ, LLC (“DBDJ”) for Doe 4. DBDJ was served on March 22, 2021, according to a proof of service filed that same day.

On April 22, 2021, DBDJ filed this motion to quash service of summons pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure sections 583.210 and 583.250.

  1. LEGAL STANDARD

Code of Civil Procedure section 583.210 requires that “[t]he summons and complaint shall be served upon a defendant within three years after the action is commenced against the defendant.” (Code Civ. Proc., ; 583.2190, subd. (a).) An action is “commenced” at the time the complaint is filed. (Ibid.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 583.250 states that if service is not made within the time prescribed in sections 583.210-583.250 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the action shall be dismissed by the court on motion of any person interested in the action. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 583.250, subd. (a).)

The burden of demonstrating a dismissal is warranted is on the defendant. (Hocharian v. Superior Court (1981) 28 Cal.3d 714, 723, fn. 7.) However, the plaintiff has the burden of showing that delay in prosecution was justified or excusable. (Wilson v. Sunshine Meat & Liquor Co., 34 Cal.3d 554, 562-563. Where a plaintiff fails to make a sufficient showing of excusable delay, the trial court does not abuse its discretion in granting defendant’s motion to dismiss. (Ibid.) The policy of disposing of litigation on the merits does not prevail unless the plaintiff makes some showing of excusable delay. (Salas v. Sears, Roebuck & Co. (1986) 42 Cal.3 342, 347.)

  1. DISCUSSION

    It is undisputed that DBDJ was not served until March 22, 2021, which is more than 3 years after this action was filed on September 25, 2017. It is also undisputed that DBDJ was not named as a defendant until September 29, 2020, which is also more than 3 years after this action was filed.

    In opposition to this motion, Plaintiff argues that “Defendants” had a duty to notify Plaintiff that they were the incorrect parties and to inform him that the correct entity was DBDJ and therefore, DBDJ should be estopped from arguing that service was untimely.

    In a letter dated July 14, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel was advised by Judith J. Steffy (“Steffy”), counsel for the Hakkasan Defendants, that the wrong entities were named in this action. (Karimian Decl., Ex. A.) Steffy wrote that Hakkasan Limited, Hakkasan LV, Hakkasan SF, and Hakkasan Holdings did not operate Bootsy Bellows nightclub in 2015 and that the correct entity that should have been named is DBDJ.

    Steffy and the Hakkasan Defendants informed Plaintiff of the correct defendant more than two months before the three-year period for service of summons expired. This was ample time to file an amendment to the complaint and serve DBDJ. Plaintiff claims that he had to “scramble and investigate the claim” within two months after receiving the news from defense counsel, but does not outline what that entailed and what delays prevented him from naming and serving DBDJ before September 25, 2020.

    Plaintiff also argues broadly that service during the COVID-19 pandemic made service “impossible, impracticable, or otherwise futile due to causes beyond his control.” However, Plaintiff’s only evidentiary support is his counsel’s declaration, which is threadbare and unpersuasive. Plaintiff’s counsel declares that his office was closed but does not state when his office was closed or how it affected the ability to file an amendment to the complaint. (Karimian Decl., ¶ 8.) Plaintiff’s counsel does not explain how “it was impossible to get an attorney service to effect service of process.” (Opp., 2:7-9.) Plaintiff’s counsel also states that he was sick with COVID-19 at some vague point in time “during COVID-19” but does not state when he was sick or how this affected serving DBDJ. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s counsel’s declaration is insufficient to demonstrate that Plaintiff’s delay in serving DBDJ is excusable. Accordingly, DBDJ’s motion is GRANTED.

  2. CONCLUSION

DBDJ’s motion is GRANTED and DBDJ is hereby dismissed from the action.

Moving party to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT27@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. Please be advised that if you submit on the tentative and elect not to appear at the hearing, the opposing party may nevertheless appear at the hearing and argue the matter. Unless you receive a submission from all other parties in the matter, you should assume that others might appear at the hearing to argue.

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Case Number: ****7170    Hearing Date: July 29, 2020    Dept: 27

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA 

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

SOHRAB MOHAMMED PAYIND,

Plaintiff,

vs.

HAKKASAN LIMITED, et al.,

Defendants.

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.: BC677170

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF’S MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT’S RESPONSES TO DISCOVERY, DEEM ADMITTED AND MONETARY SANCTIONS

Dept. 27

8:30 a.m.

July 29, 2020

On September 25, 2017, Plaintiff Sohrab Mohammed Payind (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendant Hakkasan Limited relating to an incident at a nightclub. November  15, 2019, Plaintiff served Set One of Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, Request for Production of Documents, and Request for Admissions on Defendant.  Defendant claims responses were served on July 14, 2020.  Plaintiff moves to compel Defendant’s responses to discovery requests, for an order deeming admitted requests for admissions, and monetary sanctions.

Compel Responses

Where a party fails to serve timely responses to discovery requests, the court may make an order compelling responses.  (Code Civ. Proc., ;; 2030.290, 2031.300; Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 390, 403.)   A party that fails to serve timely responses waives any objections to the request, including ones based on privilege or the protection of attorney work product.  (Code Civ. Proc., ;; 2030.290, subd. (a), 2031.300, subd. (a).)  Unlike a motion to compel further responses, a motion to compel responses is not subject to a 45-day time limit and the propounding party has no meet and confer obligations.  (Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc., supra, 148 Cal.App.4th at p. 404.)

Defendant states it served responses to Plaintiff’s discovery on July 14, 2020.  However, the responses are not attached as exhibits and the Court cannot review if they are verified and without objections.  

Plaintiff improperly filed one motion for all three sets of discovery instead of three motionsAccordingly, the Motions to compel are GRANTED on the condition that Plaintiff pays 2 additional filing fees within 5 days of the date of this Order, and Defendant is ordered to serve verified responses, without objection, to Plaintiff’s Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Request for Production of Documents within twenty (20) days of the date of this Order.

Deem Admitted

Where a party fails to timely respond to a request for admission, the propounding party may move for an order that the genuineness of any documents and the truth of any matters specified in the requests be deemed admitted.  (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2033.280, subd. (b).)  The party who failed to respond waives any objections to the demand, unless the court grants them relief from the waiver, upon a showing that the party (1) has subsequently served a substantially compliant response, and (2) that the party’s failure to respond was the result of mistake, inadvertence, or excusable neglect.  (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2033.280, subds. (a)(1)-(2).) The court shall grant a motion to deem admitted requests for admissions, “unless it finds that the party to whom the requests for admission have been directed has served, before the hearing on the motion, a proposed response to the requests for admission that is in substantial compliance with Section 2033.220.”  (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2033.280, subd. (c).)

Defendant states it served responses to Plaintiff’s Requests for Admission.  But the responses are not attached and the Court cannot assess whether Defendant served substantially compliant responses prior to the hearing on this Motion.  Also, this Motion should have been brought as a separate Motion.  Accordingly, the Motion to deem admitted requests for admissions is GRANTED on the condition that Plaintiff pays a filing fee within 5 days of the date of this Order.  

Monetary Sanctions

Where the court grants a motion to compel responses, sanctions shall be imposed against the party who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel, unless the party acted with substantial justification or the sanction would otherwise be unjust.  (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2030.290, subd. (c).)  

Defendant argues sanctions should not be imposed because the parties had agreed to engage in settlement talks while discovery was outstanding and because substantive responses have already been served.  Plaintiff does not rebut this assertion.  Accordingly, the Court finds that sanctions would be unjust.  

Where a party fails to provide a timely response to requests for admission, “[i]t is mandatory that the court impose a monetary sanction under Chapter 7 (commencing with Section 2023.010) on the party or attorney, or both, whose failure to serve a timely response to requests for admission necessitated this motion.”  (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2033.280, subd. (c).)

The request for monetary sanctions is GRANTED and imposed against Defendant and counsel of record, jointly and severally, in the reduced amount of $200, to be paid within twenty (20) days of the date of this Order.

Moving party to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT27@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  

Dated this 29th day of July 2020

Hon. Edward B. Moreton, Jr. 

Judge of the Superior Court



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