This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/31/2019 at 03:51:17 (UTC).

WESTLAKE VILLAGE MARKETPLACE VS. WEST AMERICAN ROOFING, INC.

Case Summary

On 03/27/2017 WESTLAKE VILLAGE MARKETPLACE filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against WEST AMERICAN ROOFING, INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Van Nuys Courthouse East located in Los Angeles, California. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****5475

  • Filing Date:

    03/27/2017

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

WESTLAKE VILLAGE MARKETPLACE LLC

Defendants

WEST AMERICAN ROOFING INC.

OLD REPUBLIC SURETY COMPANY

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

ERAMO MARTIN PETER

Defendant Attorney

KIM RAINA S.

 

Court Documents

Exhibit List

7/6/2018: Exhibit List

Witness List

7/6/2018: Witness List

Brief

7/6/2018: Brief

Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service

7/6/2018: Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service

Minute Order

7/16/2018: Minute Order

Stipulation, Receipt and Order re: Release of Civil Exhibits

7/17/2018: Stipulation, Receipt and Order re: Release of Civil Exhibits

Minute Order

7/17/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

8/1/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

8/20/2018: Minute Order

Statement of Decision

8/20/2018: Statement of Decision

Motion for Order

8/22/2018: Motion for Order

Declaration

8/27/2018: Declaration

Ex Parte Application

8/27/2018: Ex Parte Application

Order

8/29/2018: Order

Minute Order

8/29/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

9/11/2018: Minute Order

Unknown

9/21/2018: Unknown

Unknown

9/21/2018: Unknown

17 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 01/10/2019
  • DocketWrit of Execution ((Ventura)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/13/2018
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department U; Hearing on Application for Order for Appearance and Examination - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Court

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  • 12/13/2018
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department U; Hearing on Application for Order for Appearance and Examination - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Court

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  • 12/13/2018
  • DocketMinute Order ((Hearing on Application for Order for Appearance and Examinati...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/11/2018
  • DocketAbstract of Judgment - Civil and Small Claims; Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/06/2018
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department U; Hearing on Application for Order for Appearance and Examination (for West American Roofing, Inc) - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 12/06/2018
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department U; Hearing on Application for Order for Appearance and Examination (Judgment Debtor Examination) - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 12/06/2018
  • DocketMinute Order ((Hearing on Application for Order for Appearance and Examinati...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/05/2018
  • DocketApplication and Order for Appearance and Examination (as to Victor Enright); Filed by Westlake Village Marketplace, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/05/2018
  • DocketDeclaration (of Martin Eramo re Third party in Possession/Control of Property); Filed by Westlake Village Marketplace, LLC (Plaintiff)

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74 More Docket Entries
  • 05/22/2017
  • DocketRequest for Entry of Default / Judgment; Filed by Westlake Village Marketplace, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/22/2017
  • DocketRequest-Enter Judgment; Filed by Westlake Village Marketplace, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/22/2017
  • DocketProof of Service of Summons and Complaint; Filed by Westlake Village Marketplace, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/17/2017
  • Docketat 00:00 AM in Department U; Unknown Event Type

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  • 05/17/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/17/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice; Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/17/2017
  • DocketGeneral Denial; Filed by Old Republic Surety Company (Defendant)

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  • 03/27/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/27/2017
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Westlake Village Marketplace, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/27/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Westlake Village Marketplace, LLC (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

b'

Case Number: ****5475 Hearing Date: November 10, 2021 Dept: U

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - NORTHWEST DISTRICT

WESTLAKE VILLAGE MARKETPLACE, LLC, a California limited liability company,

Plaintiff,

vs.

WEST AMERICAN ROOFING, INC., a California corporation; OLD REPUBLIC SURETY COMPANY, a Wisconsin corporation; and DOES 1 through 25, inclusive,

Defendants.

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CASE NO: ****5475

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR ORDER FIXING ATTORNEYS’ FEES ON APPEAL

Dept. U

8:30 a.m.

October 4, 2021

I. BACKGROUND

This is an action by plaintiff Westlake Village Marketplace, LLC seeking damages from West American Roofing, Inc. (Roofing) and Old Republic Surety Company for negligently completed construction work. Plaintiff filed its complaint on March 27, 2017, and the action was tried on July 16—17, 2018. This Court entered judgment in plaintiff’s favor and against Roofing in the sum of $59,000.00, and pursuant to post-trial motions, this Court awarded attorneys’ fees.

First and second amended judgments were entered on October 22, 2018, and on November 15, 2019, respectively, to reflect attorneys’ fees and costs and the addition of judgment debtor Victor Frank Enright (Enright).

Enright appealed from the second amended judgment noted above, and this was fully briefed and argued on May 4, 2021. On May 17, 2021, the Court of Appeals denied Enright’s motion to dismiss, affirmed the Second Amended Judgment in its entirety, and awarded plaintiff its costs on appeal. The California Supreme Court denied Roofing’s petition for review without comment on July 6, 2021.

On July 29, plaintiff filed the instant motion to fix its attorneys’ fees for the appeal at $18,996.25. On October 25, 2021, Enright filed opposition to plaintiff’s motion, and on November 1, 2021, plaintiff filed reply.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

“[T]he fee setting inquiry in California ordinarily begins with the ‘lodestar,’ i.e., the number of hours reasonably expended multiplied by the reasonable hourly rate. … The reasonable hourly rate is that prevailing in the community for similar work. The lodestar figure may then be adjusted, based on consideration of factors specific to the case, in order to fix the fee at the fair market value for the legal services provided.” (PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095 (PLCM) [internal citations omitted].) Factors relevant to a determination of an appropriate enhancement multiplier include: (1) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved; (2) the skill displayed in presenting them; (3) the extent to which the nature of the litigation precluded other employment by the attorneys; and (4) the contingent nature of the fee award. (Ketchum III v. Moses (2000) 24 Cal.4th at p. 1132 (Ketchum).)

III. DISCUSSION

Here, Martin Eramo is counsel for plaintiff. Eramo requests that the Court fix attorneys’ fees according to the lodestar, which is the proper method. (Ketchum, supra, 24 Cal.4th at p. 1132.) Eramo seeks fees in the amount of $18,996.25, representing 58.45 hours of attorney time in connection with his defense to the appeal to the Court of Appeal through law and motion, briefing, and argument, and in responding to Roofing’s petition for review to the Supreme Court, and preparing for this motion. (Motion, p. 6, lns. 19—22.)

Eramo provides fee calculations within his sworn declaration, attached to the motion at pp. 10—11. Review of these and the included itemization of time per task confirms that Eramo spent 58.45 hours of attorney time on this matter. 58.45 X $325.00 = $18,996.25.

In confirming an award of attorneys’ fees, the Court applies the lodestar calculation by identifying an hourly rate prevailing in the community for similar work, then multiplying that rater by the number of hours of attorneys’ time expended. Here, $325.00 is a reasonable rate which prevails in the community for similar work, that being work on appeal.

In opposition, Enright seeks that the Court reduce the award because it is excessive, duplicative, and unnecessary, and because plaintiff engages in “block billing.” (See, generally, Opposition.) These are appropriate objections to a request for attorneys’ fees under Enright’s cited authorities as well as others, See, e.g., Ketchum, supra, 24 Cal.4th at p. 1132.) But Enright produces no proof or specific allegation that any of these apply in this case other than merely stating that they do, and this is insufficient.

Eramo having thus shown justification under the lodestar for his fee of $18,996.25, the Court grants plaintiff’s motion for order fixing attorneys’ fees on appeal to $18,996.25.

IV. CONCLUSION

Plaintiff’s motion is GRANTED.

The Court ORDERS attorneys’ fees on appeal fixed to $18,996.25.

Plaintiff ORDERED to give notice.

DATED: November 10, 2021

_____________________

Hon. Bernie C. LaForteza

Judge of the Superior Court

'


Case Number: ****5475    Hearing Date: January 06, 2021    Dept: U

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - NORTHWEST DISTRICT

WESTLAKE VILLAGE MARKETPLACE, LLC, a California limited liability company,

Plaintiff,

vs.

WEST AMERICAN ROOFING, INC., a California corporation; OLD REPUBLIC SURETY COMPANY, a Wisconsin corporation; and DOES 1 through 25, inclusive,

Defendants.

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CASE NO: ****5475

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR SANCTIONS

Dept. U

8:30 a.m.

January 6, 2021

I. BACKGROUND

This action came to trial on July 16 and 17, 2018. The Court issued its proposed Statement of Decision on August 3, 2018 and entered judgment on September 21, 2018. The first amended judgment was entered on October 22, 2018 in favor of Westlake Village Marketplace, LLC (Plaintiff) on the first cause of action for breach of contract against West American Roofing (West American). The principle sum of the judgment was $59,000 plus $1,215 in costs and $38,805 in attorneys’ fees. On April 17, 2020, Victor Frank Enright (Enright) was added as a judgment debtor based on a finding that he is Defendant’s alter ego.

Defendant filed an appeal on June 17, 2020 which remains pending.

On October 21, 2020, Plaintiff filed this motion for sanctions against Enright, West American (here, Defendants), and their counsel, Kathleen Gadalla (Gadalla) with Richie Litigation PC, in the amount of $1,278.75. This amount represents Plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees and costs reasonably incurred in opposing Defendants’ motion to stay collection efforts without posting an appellate stay bond or other surety under Code of Civil Procedure section 917.1.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

“A trial court may order a party, the party's attorney, or both, to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred by another party as a result of actions or tactics, made in bad faith, that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay.” (Code Civ. Proc., ; 128.5(a).) “Frivolous” under this code provision “means totally and completely without merit or for the sole purpose of harassing an opposing party.” (Code Civ. Proc., ; 128.5(b)(2).)

For purposes of imposing sanctions for bringing bad-faith actions or tactics that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay, whether an action is frivolous is governed by an objective standard: ;any reasonable attorney would agree it is totally and completely without merit; there must also be a showing of an improper purpose, i.e., subjective bad faith on the part of the attorney or party to be sanctioned. (Levy v. Blum (2001) 92 Cal.App.4th 625, 635.)

III. DISCUSSION

A. Request for Judicial Notice

Plaintiff requests the Court judicially notice the Ventura County action case records in Case No. 56-2020-00542252-CU-FR-VTA, specifically the complaint filed on June 10, 2020. Evidence Code section 452(d) authorizes judicial notice of court records of this state and of other state courts. Thus, as the Ventura County action and its complaint are case records of this state, they are judicially noticed.

B. Motion for Sanctions

Plaintiff requests the Court impose monetary sanctions against Defendants for bringing the motion to stay the proceedings initiated in Ventura County because it lacked any support based on statutory or case law authority. The Court no longer had jurisdiction over this case when Defendants moved to stay the Ventura County action because West American had filed an appeal, thus, the appellate court obtained jurisdiction and this Court’s jurisdiction terminated.

Plaintiff reasons Defendants attempted to stay the Ventura County action as a way to avoid posting the surety bond required under Code of Civil Procedure section 917.1. This code provision requires parties to post an undertaking to stay the enforcement of a trial court judgment or order of a payment of money when the action is appealed. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 917.1(a)(1).)

Plaintiff contends it never received notice of the motion to stay until its counsel, Martin Eramo (Eramo), discovered the motion on the Court’s calendar. Eramo contacted defense counsel, Gadalla, regarding the issues with Defendants’ motion, but never received any response. (Eramo Decl., ¶ 15.) Defendants did not withdraw the motion, causing Plaintiff to file an opposition and serve this motion.

Plaintiff requests $1,278.75 in monetary sanctions against Defendants and Gadalla as compensation for the attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in defending the motion to stay. Eramo’s hourly rate is $325 and he spent three hours preparing Plaintiff’s opposition to Defendant’s motion to stay. Eramo spent another three-quarters of an hour remotely attending the motion to stay hearing and incurred $60 in filing the present motion. (Eramo Decl., ¶ 20.)

Defendant opposes the imposition of sanctions by trying to reargue its motion to stay the Ventura County action and continuing to maintain that it is identical to the present action. Defendants argue monetary sanctions are inappropriate under Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030 because Defendants were substantially justified in filing the motion for a stay. However, reliance on this code provision is misplaced because it applies to discovery sanctions which are not at issue here. Moreover, Defendants contend their failure to post a surety bond was inadvertent due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Court finds Defendants’ motion to stay the Ventura County action to be objectively frivolous on the grounds that the Court no longer had jurisdiction over this action, because jurisdiction had vested with the appellate court, and this Court had no authority to stay an action in another county. Defendants’ provided no statutory or case law support for its decision to file the motion with this Court and, thus, the Court finds the motion to stay to have been “totally and completely without merit.” (Code Civ. Proc., ; 128.5(b)(2).)

Moreover, the fact that West American did not post an undertaking to prevent enforcement of this Court’s money order while the action was on appeal, but rather, tried to have this Court stay the Ventura County action when it had no authority for such action, demonstrates that Defendants were trying to use the motion to stay for the improper purpose of evading the obligation to post an appellate surety bond.

The Court finds Eramo’s hourly rate and time expended are reasonable given the irregular nature of Defendants’ motion to stay. Thus, the Court awards Plaintiff $1,278.75 in monetary sanctions jointly and severally against Defendants and Gadalla.

IV. CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions is GRANTED.

Defendants and Gadalla are ordered to pay Plaintiff $1,278.75 in monetary sanctions within 30 days of this ruling.

Plaintiff is ordered to give notice of the Court’s ruling.

DATED: January 6, 2021

_____________________

Hon. Theresa M. Traber

Judge of the Superior Court



Case Number: ****5475    Hearing Date: October 21, 2020    Dept: U

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - NORTHWEST DISTRICT

WESTLAKE VILLAGE MARKETPLACE, LLC, a California limited liability company,

Plaintiff,

vs.

WEST AMERICAN ROOFING, INC., a California corporation; OLD REPUBLIC SURETY COMPANY, a Wisconsin corporation; and DOES 1 through 25, inclusive,

Defendants.

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CASE NO: ****5475

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO STAY PROCEEDINGS

Dept. U

8:30 a.m.

October 21, 2020

I. BACKGROUND

This action came to trial on July 16 and 17, 2018. The Court issued its proposed Statement of Decision on August 3, 2018 and entered judgment on September 21, 2018. The first amended judgment was entered on October 22, 2018 in favor of Westlake Village Marketplace, LLC (Plaintiff) on the first cause of action for breach of contract against West American Roofing (Defendant). The principal sum of the judgment was $59,000 plus $1,215 in costs and $38,805 in attorneys’ fees. On April 17, 2020, Victor Frank Enright (Enright) was added as a judgment debtor based on a ruling that he is Defendant’s alter ego.

Defendant filed an appeal on June 17, 2020 which remains pending.

Defendant now moves the Court to stay a Ventura County action having case number 57-2020-00542251 entitled Westlake Village Marketplace, LLC v. Victor F. Enright & Stephanie Lynn Lopez (the Ventura action) on the grounds that it could lead to conflicting judgments with the appeal in this action.

II. LEGAL STANDARD & DISCUSSION

A. Request for Judicial Notice

Plaintiff requests judicial notice be taken of the court records, specifically the complaint, in the Ventura action. Evidence Code section 452(d) authorizes this Court to judicially notice the records of the courts of this state, therefore, Plaintiff’s request is granted.

B. Motion to Stay

The Court has the power to control its own processes and orders to ensure “orderly administration of justice,” including the power to stay proceedings. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 128(8); Bailey v. Fosca Oil Co. (1963) 216 Cal.App.2d 813, 817-818.)

Defendant contends the Ventura action should be stayed until the pending appeal is decided because the two actions are based on the same set of facts and individual rulings could result in conflicting decisions.

Plaintiff opposes on the grounds that the Notice of Appeal filed by Defendant vested jurisdiction in the appellate court, thereby terminating this Court’s jurisdiction over enforcement of the judgment. Additionally, this Court lacks the authority to stay a case in another county.

Plaintiff filed the Ventura action on June 10, 2020 to enforce its judgment against Defendant and set aside Enright’s fraudulent conveyance of real property to his daughter, Stephanie Lynn Lopez (Lopez). Plaintiff filed a lis pendens against a parcel of real property Enright conveyed to Lopez without consideration after the first amended judgment was entered.

As a general rule, “the perfecting of an appeal stays proceedings in the trial court upon the judgment or order appealed from or upon the matters embraced therein or affected thereby, including enforcement of the judgment or order . . . .” (Code Civ. Proc, ; 916(a); Varian Med. Systems, Inc. v. Delfino (2005) 35 Ca.4th 180, 189; Dowling v. Zimmerman (2001) 85 Cal.App.4th 1400, 1427-1428.) Essentially, the section 916(a) “stay” means that, upon timely filing of a notice of appeal, the trial court is divested of power to act on matters “embraced in” or “affected by” the appealed judgment or order. Jurisdiction over the appealed matters shifts to the court of appeal and is terminated in the trial court and the trial court's power to enforce, vacate or modify the appealed judgment or order is suspended while the appeal is pending. (Varian Med. Systems, Inc. v. Delfino, supra, 35 Cal.4th at 196-198; Waremart Foods v. United Food & Comm'l Workers Union, Local 588 (2001) 87 Cal.App.4th 145, 154.)

Here, the Court is without jurisdiction to enforce the judgment against Defendant because such jurisdiction was vested in the appellate court when Defendant noticed its appeal. The Ventura action seeks to set aside Enright’s conveyance to his daughter so that the real property can be levied upon by Plaintiff to satisfy its judgment against Defendant. Thus, the Ventura action is to enforce this Court’s prior judgment. However, because this action is now pending on appeal, this Court is without jurisdiction to enforce its own judgment and, thereby, cannot stay the action to do so in Ventura county.

Even if this Court had the authority to issue the requested, Defendant would need to post a bond pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 917.1 to stay enforcement of a money judgment on appeal. Defendant tries to evade this requirement by claiming the Ventura action is identical to this action. However, this maneuver is futile because the actions are not identical. The action on appeal is based on breach of contract while the Ventura action seeks to enforce this Court’s judgment against Enright by setting aside the transfer of real property to Lopez so that Plaintiff cannot levy its judgment.

What is more, Defendant has provided no authority for the proposition that this Court can stay an action pending in another county. Absent such a citation, the Court declines to do so.

III. CONCLUSION

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant’s motion to stay proceedings is DENIED.

Plaintiff is ordered to give notice of the Court’s ruling.

DATED: October 21, 2020

_____________________

Hon. Theresa M. Traber

Judge of the Superior Court



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