Judge: Armen Tamzarian, Case: 21STCV33005, Date: 2023-03-10 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: 21STCV33005    Hearing Date: March 10, 2023    Dept: 52

Non-Appearance Case Review Re: Entry of Judgment

On February 24, 2023, plaintiff Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Inc. submitted a stipulation and proposed judgment against defendants Solarna, LLC, Sebastian Molina, and Aaron Panigel.  “If parties to pending litigation stipulate, in a writing signed by the parties outside the presence of the court... for settlement of the case, or part thereof, the court, upon motion, may enter judgment pursuant to the terms of the settlement.”  (CCP § 664.6(a).) 

The court cannot enter the proposed judgment now.  Code of Civil Procedure section 664.6(a) provides for entering judgment pursuant to a stipulation “upon motion.”  Plaintiff submitted the stipulation and proposed judgment but did not file a noticed motion.  Moreover, plaintiff did not file proof of service of this stipulation (which was signed in 2021) and proposed judgment on defendants.  Defendants are entitled to notice and an opportunity to be heard before the court enters judgment.

Plaintiff also did not substantiate its request for $6,500 in attorney fees.  The parties’ stipulation provides for “attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in connection with collection of the sums owed to CED by said Defendants, including the costs and fees associated with the filing and enforcing of the Judgment.”  (Stip., p. 2.) 

Local Rule 3.214(a) provides: “When a promissory note, contract, or statute provides for the recovery of reasonable attorneys’ fees, the following schedule will apply to the amount of the new judgment unless otherwise determined by the court.  [¶¶] Contested case (unless otherwise determined by the court): [¶¶] $50,000.01 to $100,000, $3,270 plus 4% of the excess over $50,000.”

The court has no basis to determine the reasonable attorney fees plaintiff incurred.  Absent a motion for attorney fees or the parties’ stipulation to an amount of fees, the court will only award fees pursuant to the schedule under Local Rule 3.214(a).  For the proposed judgment of $55,835.15, the schedule provides for $3,503.41 in attorney fees.

Before the court can enter this proposed stipulated judgment, plaintiff Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Inc. must file a noticed motion for entry of judgment and for attorney fees.