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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/11/2019 at 13:06:50 (UTC).

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA VS RICHARD B SEGERBLOM

Case Summary

On 07/13/2017 THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA filed a Property - Other Real Property lawsuit against RICHARD B SEGERBLOM. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is MONICA BACHNER. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8604

  • Filing Date:

    07/13/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Real Property

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

MONICA BACHNER

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs, Petitioners and Cross Defendants

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

Defendants, Respondents and Cross Plaintiffs

SEGERBLOM RICHARD B.

G.J. SIEGEL & ASSOCIATES INC

SEGERBLOM KIM

MASSROCK INC

DOEL-FIN INC

MALIBU BEACH VIEW ESTATES

MALIBU BEACH VIEW CORPORATION

FOREIGN COASTAL INVESTMENTS LTD

ADAMSON COMPANIES

MG VENTURES LLC

DOES ONE THROUGH ONE HUNDRED INCLUSIVE

MANSARD HOLDINGS INC.

LITCHFIELD CAPITAL LLC

KO VENTURES LLC

ATICHSON GERTRUDE R.

COMMONWEALTH LAND TITLE INSURANCE COMPANY

DOEL-FIN INC.

MASSROCK INC.

2 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

KAMIZOLAS WILLIAM T. ESQ

KAMIZOLAS WILLIAM TOM ESQ.

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

WALLACE RICHARD

SQUIRE RYAN CHRISTOPHER

Cross Plaintiff Attorney

BRISCOE JOHN

 

Court Documents

Unknown

3/5/2018: Unknown

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

3/5/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

Unknown

3/5/2018: Unknown

AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT

4/26/2018: AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT

PROOF OF SERVICE AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT

4/26/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT

APPLICATION FOR PUBLICATION

5/4/2018: APPLICATION FOR PUBLICATION

FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT TO QUIET TITLE

6/4/2018: FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT TO QUIET TITLE

DEFENDANTS LITCHFIELD CAPITAL, LLC AND MG VENTURES, LLC'S ANSER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT TO QUIET TITLE

7/23/2018: DEFENDANTS LITCHFIELD CAPITAL, LLC AND MG VENTURES, LLC'S ANSER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT TO QUIET TITLE

DEFENDANTS LITCHFIELD CAPITAL, LLC'S VERIFIED CROSS-COMPLAINT FOR QUIET TITLE, INJUNCTION, AND DAMAGES

7/23/2018: DEFENDANTS LITCHFIELD CAPITAL, LLC'S VERIFIED CROSS-COMPLAINT FOR QUIET TITLE, INJUNCTION, AND DAMAGES

NOTICE OFPENDENCY OF ACTION; DECLARATION OF NO KNOWN ADDRESSES OF ADVERSE PARTIES

9/18/2018: NOTICE OFPENDENCY OF ACTION; DECLARATION OF NO KNOWN ADDRESSES OF ADVERSE PARTIES

Unknown

11/19/2018: Unknown

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

11/19/2018: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Substitution of Attorney

12/13/2018: Substitution of Attorney

Notice

3/12/2019: Notice

Motion for Summary Judgment

5/15/2019: Motion for Summary Judgment

DECLARATION OF DEMURRING PARTY IN SUPPORT OF AUTOMATIC EXTENSION

2/2/2018: DECLARATION OF DEMURRING PARTY IN SUPPORT OF AUTOMATIC EXTENSION

CIVIL DEPOSIT

2/2/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT

NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

7/24/2017: NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

92 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/07/2019
  • Exhibit List; Filed by Litchfield Capital, LLC (Defendant); MG Ventures, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 06/07/2019
  • Motion for Summary Judgment; Filed by Litchfield Capital, LLC (Defendant); MG Ventures, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 06/07/2019
  • Declaration (of Karl Huish in Support of Defendant and Cross-Complainant Litchfield Capital, LLC's Motion and Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by Litchfield Capital, LLC (Defendant); MG Ventures, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 06/07/2019
  • Separate Statement; Filed by Litchfield Capital, LLC (Defendant); MG Ventures, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 06/07/2019
  • Declaration (of Scott B. Mahler in Support of Defendant and Cross-Complainant Litchfield Capital, LLC's Motion and Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by Litchfield Capital, LLC (Defendant); MG Ventures, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 06/07/2019
  • Request for Judicial Notice; Filed by Litchfield Capital, LLC (Defendant); MG Ventures, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 05/15/2019
  • Motion for Summary Judgment; Filed by The People of the State of California (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/15/2019
  • Declaration (OF DEBORAH PROCHNOW IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT); Filed by The People of the State of California (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/15/2019
  • Request for Judicial Notice; Filed by The People of the State of California (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/15/2019
  • Declaration (OF CHR!STINA RUANO lN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT); Filed by The People of the State of California (Plaintiff)

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166 More Docket Entries
  • 11/13/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by The People of the State of California, (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/23/2017
  • at 2:30 PM in Department 71; Court Order (Court Order; Court makes order) -

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  • 10/23/2017
  • Minute order entered: 2017-10-23 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/23/2017
  • Minute Order

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  • 07/24/2017
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/24/2017
  • NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 07/13/2017
  • COMPLAINT TO QUIET TITLE [CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 760.020, 761.020]

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  • 07/13/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by The People of the State of California, (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/13/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 07/13/2017
  • NOTICE OF PENDENCY OF PROCEEDING

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC668604    Hearing Date: April 13, 2021    Dept: 71

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

DEPARTMENT 71

TENTATIVE RULING

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, acting by and through the Department of Transportation,

vs.

RICHARD B. SEGERBLOM, et al.

Case No.: BC668604

Hearing Date: April 13, 2021

Cross-Defendant County of Los Angeles’s motion for judgment on the pleadings is granted without leave to amend.

Cross-Defendant County of Los Angeles (“the County”) moves for judgment on the pleadings as to the 1st (quiet title), 2nd (injunctive relief), 3rd (just compensation for taking of property), 4th (damages for breach of contract) causes of action in the cross-complaint of Cross-Complainant Litchfield Capital, LLC (“Litchfield”).

Requests for Judicial Notice

County’s 12/3/21 request for judicial notice is granted. However, the Court will not take judicial notice of the truth of the matters asserted within the documents. (C-RJN, Exhs. 1, 2, 3, 4.)

Litchfield’s 2/23/21 request for judicial notice is granted. However, the Court does not take judicial notice of the truth of the matters asserted within the Proof of Service. (L-RJN, No. 1; Decl. of Mahler, Exh. A.)

Background

On July 13, 2017, Plaintiff The People of the State of California, acting by and through the Department of Transportation (the “State”) filed a complaint against Litchfield and other named defendants (private owners of the Property since 1968) alleging a single cause of action for quiet title with respect to the real property located in Los Angeles, California, and commonly known as APN 4460-019-142 (“Property”). The County is not a defendant in the State’s complaint since the County did not claim title to the Property. On July 23, 2019, Litchfield filed its cross-complaint against Cross-Defendants the State, the County, and All Persons Unknown, Claiming Any Legal or Equitable Right, Title, Estate, Lien, or Interest in the Property Described in the Cross-Complaint Adverse to Litchfield’s Title or Any Cloud Upon Litchfield’s Title Thereto (collectively, “Cross-Defendants”). On January 22, 2020, the County filed its answer to the cross-complaint. The County filed the instant motion on December 3, 2021.

Litchfield alleges that on March 8, 1965, the County issued Street Improvement Bond 1, Series One, pursuant to the Improvement Act of 1911, which created a lien of assessment on the Property, which the State alleges it owned at the time of the issuance of the Bond. (Cross-Complaint ¶9.) Litchfield alleges that assessments on the Property remained unpaid, and on November 27, 1968, the County issued a Certificate of Sale of the Property to Richard B. Segerblom (“Segerblom”), which stated that consideration was paid in the amount of unpaid assessments for Bond 1. (Cross-Complaint ¶11.) On January 8, 1970, the County issued its Treasurer’s Deed to Segerblom who had satisfied the conditions of the Certificate of Sale. (Cross-Complaint ¶13.) The Property was thereafter sold and many times until 2012, when Litchfield purchased the Property and ownership vested in Litchfield. (Cross-Complaint ¶13.) Throughout the transfers, the County collected transfer taxes and the owners all paid property taxes assessed on the Property. (Cross-Complaint ¶13.) No later than 1999, the State had knowledge that the County had sold the Property to Segerblom in 1970. (Cross-Complaint ¶14.)

Procedural Issues

Litchfield argues the instant motion is untimely since it should have been filed no later than April 3, 2020, which was 30 days prior to the initial trial date given a pretrial conference order had been entered. (Opposition, pg. 8; C.C.P. §438(e) [“No motion may be made pursuant to this section if a pretrial conference order has been entered pursuant to Section 575, or within 30 days of the date the action is initially set for trial, whichever is later, unless the court otherwise permits.”].) However, given the Court’s vacating of the trial date following the filing of the complaint in intervention by non-parties Alan Armstrong and Latigo Cove Property Owners Civil Association, Inc. on December 4, 2020, a pretrial conference order has not yet been entered for the new trial date, which has not yet been set. Even if untimely, the Court, in its discretion, elects to rule on the County’s motion.

Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings

The County argues it is entitled to judgment on the pleadings because Litchfield cannot allege sufficient facts to support its individual causes of action against the County and/or the causes of action are for remedies and do not constitute proper causes of action. (Motion, pgs. 6-9.) In the alternative, the County argues Litchfield’s claims against it fail because the County is immune for matters relating to the collection of a tax or for interpretation or application of any law relating to a tax pursuant to Government Code §860.2. (Motion, pg. 10.) Finally, the County argues Litchfield’s claims are barred by the applicable statutes of limitations. (Motion, pgs. 10-12.)

Quiet Title (1st COA)

A cause of action for quiet title requires the following elements: (1) description of the property; (2) plaintiff’s title or interest and the basis; (3) defendant’s asserting adverse claim or antagonistic property interest; (4) date as of which the determination is sought; and (5) prayer for determination of title. (C.C.P. §761.020.) In addition, with respect to defendant’s adverse claim, the cause of action must name the specific adverse claims as to which the plaintiff seeks to quiet title. (C.C.P. §761.020, Comment.)

Litchfield’s quiet title cause of action is based on the following allegations: (1) Cross-Defendants each claim some right, title or interest in the Property adverse to the title of Litchfield; (2) Cross-Defendants’ claims are without merit, are unlawful and Cross-Defendants have no right, title or interest in the Property; and (3) Litchfield seeks a determination from the Court quieting its title in the Property against the adverse claims of Cross-Defendants and seeks that determination as of November 6, 2012, when Litchfield’s Deed was recorded. (Cross-Complaint ¶¶20-24.) Litchfield also alleges the title claims of the State are invalid, and the state has no title, right, or interest in the Property. (Cross-Complaint ¶25.)

Litchfield did not sufficiently allege its quiet title cause of action against the County. Litchfield failed to allege facts suggesting the County is asserting an adverse claim or antagonistic property interest with respect to the Property. Litchfield alleges no facts in support of its conclusory assertion that the County claims some right, title, or interest in the Property.

In opposition, Litchfield argues the County is an indispensable party to the quiet title cause of action because the County held an interest in the property in the form of a tax assessment lien that is at the heart of the litigation. (Opposition, pgs. 8-9.) However, this argument is without merit. Litchfield fails to cite to authority supporting its contention that, the County’s prior lien on the Property makes the County an indispensable party to the present title dispute. Litchfield does not allege or argue that the County has a present lien or interest on the Property. The fact the dispute originates from the County’s prior interest in the Property does not mean the County is presently asserting an interest such that it would be a necessary party to the action. Litchfield also argues Revenue and Taxation Code §3950 permits the quiet title cause of action against the County because Section 3951, “permits Litchfield to name the ‘state,’ which presumably would include the County as the state’s political subdivision, as defendant.” (Opposition, pg. 9.) However, the argument that the State “presumably would include the County” is unsupported. Moreover, Litchfield has brought the instant action against the State.

The burden is on Litchfield to demonstrate in what manner it could amend its cross-complaint and how such amendment would change the effect of the pleading. (Satten v. Webb (2002) 99 Cal.App.4th 365, 374.) In opposition, Litchfield argues it should be allowed leave to amend; however, Litchfield submits no offer of proof as to how it could amend the cross-complaint to state a quiet title cause of action against the County, which claims no adverse interest in the Property.

Based on the foregoing, the County’s motion is granted as to the 1st cause of action without leave to amend.

Injunctive Relief (2nd COA)

Litchfield’s injunctive relief cause of action is based on the allegation that if Cross-Defendants are not enjoined from persisting to publish their wrongful title claims, Litchfield will be irreparably harmed since land is unique and the wrongful title claims have made the Property undevelopable and unmarketable. (Cross-Complaint ¶27.) In the Prayer, Litchfield requests a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining Cross-Defendants from asserting any right, title, or interest in the Property adverse to Litchfield or its successors-in-interest. (Prayer ¶2.)

Litchfield cannot allege sufficient facts to constitute a cause of action for injunctive relief, which is not an independent cause of action, but a remedy. (See City of South Pasadena v. Department of Transportation (1994) 29 Cal.App.4th 1280, 1293.) In addition, Litchfield has not alleged facts suggesting the County is asserting any title claim on the Property which must be enjoined, and Litchfield has already alleged injunctive relief as a remedy. Litchfield does not address the sufficiency of its injunctive relief cause of action in opposition.

As such, the County’s motion as to the 2nd cause of action is granted without leave to amend.

Just Compensation for Taking of Property (3rd COA)

Litchfield’s just compensation cause of action is based on the following allegations: (1) if the State prevails in invalidating the sale of the Property to Segerblom, it will have taken Litchfield’s Property without payment of just compensation, and (2) Litchfield will therefore be entitled to such compensation in the fair market value of the Property. (Cross-Complaint ¶30.)

Litchfield cannot allege sufficient facts to state a cause of action for just compensation against the County since the relief sought is a remedy and not a standalone cause of action. (Frustuck v. City of Fairfax (1963) 212 Cal.App.2d 345, 357-358.) Moreover, Litchfield has failed to allege facts suggesting it would be entitled to this remedy from the County given the County claims no interest in the Property, is not the party condemning the Property (which is the state), and has not taken anything from Litchfield that might require a refund.

In opposition, Litchfield argues statutory authority entitles it to just compensation in the event the County’s tax sale is declared void or the Court determines the Property should not have been sold. (Rev. Code §§3729, 3731.) However, Litchfield does not cite to authority suggesting it can assert an independent cause of action seeking this remedy and why it is entitled to seek such a remedy from the County.

Damages for Breach of Contract (4th COA)

“The essential elements of a breach of contract claim are: ‘(1) the contract, (2) plaintiff's performance or excuse for nonperformance, (3) defendant's breach, and (4) the resulting damages to plaintiff.’” (Hamilton v. Greenwich Investors XXVI, LLC (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 1602, 1614.)

The breach of contract cause of action is based on the following allegations: (1) on July 20, 2018, Litchfield timely submitted claims to the State and County under the Government Claims Act for damages arising from the conduct of the State and County including their breach of contract; (2) Cross-Defendants’ adverse title claims are repudiation of the contract created by the 1968 Certificate of Sale of Property entered into between the State’s political subdivision, the County, and Segerblom; (3) Litchfield is successor-in-interest to the rights created in Segerblom by the contract; and (4) the repudiation constitutes a breach of that contract which has caused Litchfield pecuniary damage. (Cross-Complaint ¶¶32-33.)

As such, Litchfield’s breach of contract cause of action relies on allegations that the State and the County are branches of the same entity, such that the State’s instant action against Litchfield constitutes a breach of the County’s tax sale contract with Litchfield, as a successor-in-interest to Segerblom. Moreover, the County’s alleged “breach” of the contract is its alleged “adverse title claims” which repudiate the County’s 1968 Certificate of Sale to Segerblom. However, as discussed above, Litchfield has not alleged facts suggesting the County has present adverse title claims with respect to the Property and against Litchfield; rather, the State’s action against Litchfield amounts to a present adverse title claim.

The Court notes the County argues Litchfield failed to allege the existence of a contract with the County since the County did not own or sell the Property to Segerblom, and the Certificate of Sale only reflects that the County foreclosed on the Property for the benefit of Segerblom on behalf of the bondholder. (Motion, pg. 9.) The County also argues that even if a contract once existed, Litchfield was not in privity on it given the land was purchased and sold numerous times before Litchfield’s purchase. (Motion, pg. 9.) However, in reply, the County does not maintain these arguments, and instead asserts that the cause of action fails as to the County because even if a contract existed, the County has no contractual duty to Litchfield or Litchfield’s predecessor as a purchaser of a tax sale property. (Reply, pgs. 6-7.)

Litchfield cannot allege sufficient facts to constitute the breach of contract cause of action against the County if the tax sale is found to be void. While Litchfield may be entitled to seek statutory remedies against the State in the event the State succeeds in ruling the County’s tax sale of the Property to Segerblom void, Litchfield is not entitled so bring an action against the State or County for breach of contract in connection with the tax sale, for which the State and County do not owe purchasers contractual duties. (See Craland, Inc. v. State of California (1989) 214 Cal.App.3d 1400, 1407–1408. [“[T]he State and County are not subject to contractual liability and… purchasers at a tax sale are limited to statutory remedies.”].) Moreover, Litchfield has not alleged a breach by the County, which asserts no interest in the Property and does not contend the 1968 tax sale of the property to Segerblom was improper.

Litchfield has the burden of demonstrating the deficiencies in its pleadings can be cured by amendment; however, Litchfield does not address how its breach of contract cause of action can be amended to state a claim against the County.

Based on the foregoing, the County’s motion as to the 4th cause of action is granted without leave to amend.

Government Code §860.2 Immunity & Statutes of Limitations

In light of Litchfield’s failure to allege facts sufficient to support the causes of action in its cross-complaint, the Court does not reach the parties’ arguments as to whether the claims are barred by the County’s immunity pursuant to Government Code §860.2 or the applicable statutes of limitations.

Conclusion

Based on the foregoing, the County’s motion for judgment on the pleadings is granted without leave to amend.

Dated: April _____, 2021

Hon. Monica Bachner

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: BC668604    Hearing Date: December 09, 2020    Dept: 71

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

DEPARTMENT 71

TENTATIVE RULING

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, acting by and through the Department of Transportation,

vs.

RICHARD B. SEGERBLOM, et al.

Case No.: BC668604

Hearing Date: December 9, 2020

Plaintiff The People of the State of California’s motion to compel Cross-Defendant The County of Los Angeles to provide further responses to Requests for Production (Set Two) is granted. The County is to provide a supplemental response to the Requests without objections within 10 court days.

Plaintiff’s request for monetary sanctions is denied.

Plaintiff The People of the State of California, acting by and through the Department of Transportation (“Plaintiff”) moves to compel Cross-Defendant The County of Los Angeles (“the County”) to serve verified amended responses, without objections, to Plaintiff’s Requests for Production of Documents (Set Two) (“Requests”). Plaintiff also requests an award of monetary sanctions against the County in the amount of $4,840, plus the court reporter fee. (Notice of Motion, pg. 2.)

As a preliminary matter, the County waived the right to assert objections to the discovery requests. In March 2020, Plaintiff propounded the Requests, along with other discovery requests, on the County and, after agreeing to several extensions following the County’s May 29, 2020 substitution of counsel to Nossaman LLP (“Nossaman”), the County’s discovery responses were due on July 31, 2020. (Decl. of Yoo ¶¶4-5, Exh A.) On July 15, 2020, County’s counsel emailed Plaintiff requesting to confirm the extent of its discovery, which noted the Requests, which Plaintiff confirmed. (Decl. of Yoo ¶5, Exhs. B-002, B-003.) While it provided timely responses to Plaintiff’s other discovery requests, the County concedes it did not provide timely responses to the Requests, indicating that the Requests were “overlooked,” and notified Plaintiff responses would be served “in due course.” (Decl. of Yoo ¶7, Exh. C-004; Decl. of Macaulay ¶3.) On August 10, 2020, the County provided untimely responses asserting objections, without including responsive documents, and on August 26, 2020, the County produced 58 pages of documents, without identifying to which requests they were responsive. (Decl. of Yoo ¶8.) Plaintiff filed the instant motion on September 25, 2020. On October 16, 2020, the County served further responses to the Requests which removed all objections except for privilege; however, the County also determined it was not withholding any privileged documents responsive to the Requests. (Decl. of Macaulay ¶11, Exh. B.) By failing to timely serve responses to the Requests, the County waived all objections. (See C.C.P. §2031.300(a).) The Court notes the County has not moved for relief from waiver due to its untimely responses based on mistake, inadvertence, or excusable neglect. (C.C.P. §2031.300(a).)

Plaintiff’s motion to compel further responses to the Requests is granted. The County initially served untimely responses to the Requests on August 10, 2020, in which the County agreed to provide responsive documents to the requests, with the exception of No. 23, to which it asserted an objection on the basis of privilege. (Decl. of Yoo ¶8; Decl. of Macaulay ¶5.) After meet and confer efforts, the County served a supplemental response on October 16, 2020. (Decl. of Macaulay ¶11; Exh. B) The response improperly contains a “Preliminary Statement,” a privilege objection and an “Introduction;” however, the County no longer asserts an objection to Request No. 23, and the supplemental responses to the individual Requests do not assert objections. As discussed above, the County waived the right to assert objections by failing to timely respond to the Requests. Therefore, the County’s Preliminary Statement and privilege objection are without merit. (See C.C.P. §2031.310(a)(3).) However, the County’s responses to the individual requests do include statements of compliance and/or inability to comply and otherwise identify the documents responsive to each request. (See C.C.P. §§2031.210(a), 2031.220, 2031.230, 2031.280.) As such, Plaintiff is entitled to a supplemental response that does not include the privilege objection, Preliminary Statement and Introduction.

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s motion to compel further responses is granted.

Plaintiff’s request for monetary sanctions is denied. The Court finds circumstances including Plaintiff’s filing of the instant motion in the midst of the County’s meet and confer efforts and despite the County’s agreement to provide the requested responses makes imposition of monetary sanctions unjust. (Decl. of Macaulay ¶10, Exh. A; C.C.P. §2031.300(c).) As noted above, once the County had the opportunity to provide supplemental responses to the Requests, it no longer asserted its privilege objection to Request No. 23 and otherwise agreed to provide documents responsive to the Requests for which documents existed, rendering the instant motion predominately moot.

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s request for monetary sanctions is denied.

Dated: December _____, 2019

Hon. Monica Bachner

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: BC668604    Hearing Date: December 04, 2020    Dept: 71

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

DEPARTMENT 71

TENTATIVE RULING

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, acting by and through the Department of Transportation,

vs.

RICHARD B. SEGERBLOM, et al.

Case No.: BC668604

Hearing Date: December 4, 2020

Intervenors’ motion to file a complaint in intervention is granted.

Intervenors Latigo Cove Property Owners Civic Association Inc. (“the Association”) and Alan Armstrong (“Armstrong”) (collectively, “Intervenors”) move for leave to intervene in the instant matter because they each claim an easement interest in the real property parcel identified by Defendant and Cross-Complainant Litchfield Capital, LLC (“Litchfield”) in its cross-complaint that is adverse to Litchfield’s asserted interest. Intervenors move to intervene on the grounds that disposition of the action without their involvement will impair their ability to protect their respective interests which are not being adequately represented by the existing parties, making Intervenors indispensable or conditionally necessary parties. (Notice of Motion, pgs. 2-3; C.C.P. §§387, 389.)

Intervenors filed the instant motion as an ex parte application on September 14, 2020, which on September 15, 2020, the Court specially set for hearing on December 4, 2020 and deemed the ex parte application the moving papers. Intervenors assert Plaintiff The People of the State of California (“the State”) is not opposed to the intervention; however, Litchfield’s failure to agree necessitated the instant motion. (Notice of Motion, pg. 3.) On November 13, 2020, Intervenors filed a Notice of Errata to the Declaration of Armstrong, which includes a page that was inadvertently omitted from the originally filed declaration. On November 13, 2020, Litchfield and MG Ventures, LLC (“MG Ventures”) (collectively “Litchfield Parties”) filed an opposition to the instant motion. However, the proof of service attached to the opposition indicates it was not served on counsel for Intervenors and was only served on counsel for the State and for Cross-Defendant the County of Los Angeles (“the County”). As such, Litchfield parties failed to comply with C.C.P. §1005(c), which requires service of an opposition on the moving party. On November 20, 2020, Intervenors filed a reply, which, in addition to addressing arguments raised in the opposition, requested the Court not consider the improperly filed opposition. (Reply, pg. 6.) The Court will consider the Litchfield Parties’ opposition.

C.C.P. §387(a) provides as follows: “Upon timely application, any person, who has an interest in the matter in litigation, or in the success of either of the parties, or an interest against both, may intervene in the action or proceeding. An intervention takes place when a third person is permitted to become a party to an action or proceeding between other persons, either by joining the plaintiff in claiming what is sought by the complaint, or by uniting with the defendant in resisting the claims of the plaintiff, or by demanding anything adversely to both the plaintiff and the defendant, and is made by complaint, setting forth the grounds upon which the intervention rests, filed by leave of the court and served upon the parties to the action or proceeding who have not appeared in the same manner as upon the commencement of an original action, and upon the attorneys of the parties who have appeared, or upon the party if he has appeared without an attorney, in the manner provided for service of summons or in the manner provided by Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 1010) Title 14 of Part 2. A party served with a complaint in intervention may within 30 days after service move, demur, or otherwise plead to the complaint in the same manner as to an original complaint.”

C.C.P. §387(b) provides as follows: “(b) If any provision of law confers an unconditional right to intervene or if the person seeking intervention claims an interest relating to the property to transaction which is the subject of the action and that person is so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede that person's ability to protect that interest, unless that person's interest is adequately represented by existing parties, the court shall, upon timely application, permit that person to intervene.”

Intervenors are entitled to file a complaint in intervention in the instant action. Intervenors submitted evidence they each have interests in the real property in which Litchfield seeks to quiet title, specifically the property described in Litchfield’s Ex Parte Application for a Temporary Restraining Order (“TRO Ex Parte”) as a 3.5-acre parcel in Malibu assigned the Assessor Parcel Number (“APN”) of 4460-019-142 located as shown in Exhibit C to the TRO Ex Parte (herein, “Litchfield Property”). (Motion, pg. 5; Exh. 2.) In its cross-complaint Litchfield seeks to quiet title against all persons unknown “ ‘claiming any legal or equitable right, title, estate, lien, or interest in the property described in the complaint adverse to Cross -Complainant's title, or any cloud upon Cross -Complainant's title thereto’ ” any right or interest in the Litchfield Property. (XC ¶7.) The Court notes the State also seeks to quiet title to real property that has the same APN as the Litchfield Property (herein, “State Property”); however, the footprint of the State Property, which is identified as parcels “A” and “B” in the State’s Notice of Motion for Summary Judgment, is smaller than the Litchfield Property, and contained within the Litchfield Property. Intervenors assert their easement interests exist in the portion of the Litchfield Property that does not overlap with the State Property.

Intervenors submitted evidence the Association is a voluntary organization composed of the owners of the 29 houses located on Latigo Shore Drive, a private road between the Litchfield Property and the Pacific Ocean. (Decl. of Haldeman ¶2.) Interveners submitted evidence the Association has an interest in the Litchfield Property in the form prescriptive rights of 29 dewatering wells located on the Litchfield Property, which were installed in 1978 following heavy winter rains that triggered landslide conditions. (Decl. of Haldeman ¶4; Decl. of Armstrong ¶10, Exhs. 5, 5-A.) Intervenors submitted evidence the Association has maintained the wells since they were installed at an approximate cost of $7,500 per year, and, after the wells were damaged during the November 2018 Woolsey fire, the Association repaired the wells at a cost of approximately $50,000. (Decl. of Haldeman ¶¶5-6; Decl. of Armstrong ¶¶13-14.) Intervenors submitted evidence the Association never sought nor received permission to install, access, maintain, replace, or otherwise operate the wells. (Decl. of Haldeman ¶6.) Intervenors assert the Association’s interest in the portion of the Litchfield Property on which the wells are located arises under the doctrine of prescription based on the Association’s open, notorious, hostile and continuous use and maintenance of the wells. (Motion, pg. 8.)

Intervenors also submitted evidence Armstrong has his own interest in the southern-most portion of Litchfield Property in the form of a 20-foot wide easement for ingress and egress and the right to construct and maintain utilities, which was conveyed to Armstrong’s family in 1978 by a Grant Deed recorded as Instrument No. 78-1147939 on October 17, 1978. (Decl. of Armstrong ¶9, Exh. 4.) Intervenors argue that, in addition to the express easement, Armstrong has openly, notoriously, and continuously used the easement rights under the Grant Deed, and as such, Armstrong has an interest in a portion of the Litchfield Property based on an express grant and prescriptive easement. (Motion, pg. 8.)

Intervenors submitted evidence suggesting they first learned about the State’s instant action to quiet title on July 22, 2020, when Armstrong received a call from the State’s lead Counsel. (Decl. of Armstrong ¶17.) Armstrong declared that, at the time of the call, it was unclear whether the interests of Armstrong and the Association were implicated by the action; however, following an investigation, Intervenors determined their rights could be affected by the cross-complainant brought by Litchfield and, shortly thereafter sought to protect their interests in the action. (Decl. of Armstrong ¶¶17-18.)

The submitted evidence suggests Intervenors have interests in the Litchfield Property that entitle them to intervene in the action. Litchfield Parties’ argument in opposition that their cross-complaint does not seek to involve any alleged claims made by Intervenors fails to acknowledge that the Associations’ wells and Armstrong’s express easement lie within the Litchfield Property, as to which Litchfield Parties seek to quiet title. (Opposition, pg. 4, fn. 1.)

Litchfield Parties’ argument that Intervenors’ motion is untimely is without merit. (Opposition, pgs. 6-7.) Litchfield Parties rely on Armstrong’s familiarity with the history of the dispute between the State and private owners over ownership of the property adjacent to Latigo Shore Drive; however, this is not evidence Armstrong or the Association were aware of the instant lawsuit in which Litchfield is presently seeking to quiet title to the Litchfield Property. Rather, Intervenors submitted evidence they did not have notice of the lawsuit and its potential infringement on Intervenors’ interests in the property until July 2020, and Litchfield Parties submit no evidence suggesting otherwise.

Based on the foregoing, Intervenors’ motion for leave to file a complaint in intervention is granted.

Dated: December _____, 2020

Hon. Monica Bachner

Judge of the Superior Court

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