Judge: Andrew E. Cooper, Case: 20CHCV00570, Date: 2024-06-11 Tentative Ruling

Counsel wishing to submit on a tentative ruling may inform the clerk or courtroom assisant in North Valley Department F51, 9425 Penfield Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311, at (818) 407-2251.  Please be aware that unless all parties submit, the matter will still be called for hearing and may be argued by any appearing/non-submitting parties. If the matter is submitted on the court's tentative ruling by all parties, counsel for moving party shall give notice of ruling. This may be done by incorporating verbatim the court's tentative ruling. The tentative ruling may be extracted verbatim by copying and specially pasting, as unformatted text, from the Los Angeles Superior Court’s website, http://www.lasuperiorcourt.org. All hearings on law and motion and other calendar matters are generally NOT transcribed by a court reporter unless one is provided by the party(ies).


Case Number: 20CHCV00570    Hearing Date: June 11, 2024    Dept: F51

MOTION TO ENFORCE SETTLEMENT

Los Angeles Superior Court Case # 20CHCV00570

 

Motion Filed: 2/16/24

 

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff SunPower Capital, LLC (“Plaintiff”)

RESPONDING PARTY: Defendants Anita Espinoza (“Defendant”)

NOTICE: OK

 

RELIEF REQUESTED: An order and entry of judgment enforcing the terms of a 2/08/23 written settlement agreement between the parties.

 

TENTATIVE RULING: The motion is granted.

 

BACKGROUND

 

This is a breach of contract action by a limited liability company against Anita Espinoza for failure to make payments under a lease agreement for the usage of a solar power system. The operative complaint, filed on 9/28/20, contains the following causes of action: (1) breach of contract, and (2) common counts.

 

On 2/08/23, the parties entered into a settlement agreement (Ex. A to Decl. of Joshua P. Friedman, Esq.) The Court dismissed the action without prejudice and retained jurisdiction pursuant to CCP § 664.6 on 2/23/23.

 

On 2/16/24, Plaintiff filed the instant motion enforce the settlement agreement. On 5/29/24, Defendants filed their opposition. Plaintiff replies.

 

ANALYSIS

 

A.     Retention of Jurisdiction

 

“If parties to pending litigation stipulate, in a writing signed by the parties outside of the presence of the court or orally before the court, for settlement of the case, or part thereof, the court, upon motion, may enter judgment pursuant to the terms of the settlement. If requested by the parties, the court may retain jurisdiction over the parties to enforce the settlement until performance in full of the terms of the settlement.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 664.6, subd. (a).)

 

Here, the parties signed a stipulation containing the parties’ agreement for the Court to retain jurisdiction under Code of Civil Procedure §664.6 to enforce the terms of the Stipulation and enter judgment in the event of default. (Friedman, Esq. Decl. ¶ 2, Exh. A.) Before dismissing the action, the parties signed the Stipulation. (Id.; Exh. A p. 4.) On 2/23/23, the Court dismissed the entire case without prejudice, according to the Stipulation, and expressly stated that it “shall retain jurisdiction pursuant to CCP § 664.6.” (See 02-23-23 Order.) Therefore, the Court finds that the Stipulation complies with the requirements under CCP § 664.6, and it has retained jurisdiction to enter judgment pursuant to the parties’ Stipulation in this action.

 

B.     Entry of Judgment

The Settlement Agreement provides that the parties agreed to settle the matter for a principal sum of $48,207.31, with Defendant making an initial payment of $203.41 by 2/15/23. (Friedman, Esq. Decl. ¶ 2, Exh. A.) Defendant would subsequently make monthly payments of $203.41 beginning on 3/15/23, until the remaining settlement amount was paid in full. (Id.) Plaintiff provides the Court with the declaration of its counsel who avers that Defendant made sporadic payments totaling $1,423.87. (Id. ¶6.) Counsel states that he notified defense counsel several times about Defendant’s default and breach (Id. ¶ 7.) The agreement provides that Defendant is deemed to be in default if he becomes delinquent in payments for more than three days after the due date. (Id. ¶ 2; Exh. A. p. 3: 1-5.) Counsel further states that the Agreement provides that no notice of default is required to be provided and that Plaintiff was entitled to file a motion setting aside the dismissal and have judgment entered. (Id. ¶ 6.) Based Defendant’s failure to comply with the Settlement Agreement, Plaintiff requested that a judgment be entered against Defendant. (Id. ¶¶ 8-9.)

In opposition, Defendant asserts that Plaintiff comes to the table with unclean hands because it did not provide a functional solar power system. In reply, Plaintiff points out that the settlement Agreement clearly establishes the parties' respective responsibilities and that issues with the solar power system requiring repair were to be resolved via a warranty claim.

The Court finds the Settlement Agreement valid and enforceable under CCP § 664.6. Here, Plaintiff provides evidence that Defendant has made sporadic payments despite Plaintiff sending notice regarding Defendant’s default. (Id. ¶¶ 6-7.) Moreover, the agreement provides that any issues that arise with the system are covered under the warranty. Defendant does not dispute this nor provide any evidence indicating that she sought to invoke the warranty. Therefore, since a valid and signed settlement agreement between the parties has been breached, and the Court retains jurisdiction to enter judgment, the motion satisfies the requirements under CCP § 664.6.

Accordingly, Plaintiff’s Motion to Vacate Dismissal and Enter Judgment is GRANTED. Dismissal entered on February 23, 2023, is vacated. Judgment is entered for Plaintiff and against Defendant in the amount of $46,783.44 for the following: the principal amount of $48,207.31 less $1,423.87 in payments made by Defendant.

CONCLUSION

 

The motion is granted. Dismissal entered on 2/23/23 is vacated. Judgment is entered in Plaintiff’s favor and against Defendant for $46,783.44.