Judge: Douglas W. Stern, Case: BC696452, Date: 2023-05-18 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: BC696452    Hearing Date: May 18, 2023    Dept: 68

Ivan Argueta vs. Calcrete Construction, et al., Case No. BC696452

Motion to Enforce Settlement

Moving Party: Plaintiff Ivan Argueta.  (No opposition was received.)

MOVING PARTY’S POSITION

            Defendants Calcrete Construction, Inc., and Calcrete, Inc., (Defendants) failed to make the $50,000 settlement payment pursuant to the parties’ settlement agreement by the agreed-upon date of December 27, 2022. (Ortiz Decl., ¶ 5.)  The Settlement Agreement, executed on December 9, 2022, included a Stipulation for Civil Judgment provision that provides that in the event Defendants failed to pay the negotiated settlement of $50,000.00, then Plaintiff would be entitled to a judgment of $70,000.00. (Ortiz Decl., ¶ 4, Ex. 1, ¶ 21.)

            Plaintiff filed this motion pursuant to CCP § 664.6 and is requesting entry of judgment and attorneys’ fees and costs for bringing the motion. Plaintiff’s counsel indicated that she expected to spend 4 hours on the motion at her billing rate of $600.00 and requests the $60 filing fee for a total of $2,460.00. (Ortiz Decl., ¶ 22.)

The terms of the Settlement Agreement were:

“If Defendants fail to make payment as agreed upon, the Defendants shall be deemed in default. If Defendants fail to cure default within 10 Days written notice, Plaintiff may declare the default and seek (by ex parte application or other motion) for entry of a Stipulation for Civil Judgment pursuant to California Code of Civil - Procedure’s section 664. In such an event, judgment shall be immediately entered.” [Ortiz Decl., ¶4, Exh. 1, ¶21.]

Plaintiff was not paid and proper demand to cure was made.  Still no payment.

ANALYSIS

            Upon stipulation of the parties, the court shall retain jurisdiction to enforce the settlement until full performance. (CCP § 664.6; See Wackeen v. Malis (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 429, 440 [absent such a stipulation the court lacks subject matter jurisdiction to enforce the settlement.].) Upon retention of jurisdiction pursuant to CCP § 664.6, the court retains jurisdiction over both the parties and the case. (Lofton v. Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 1050, 1061.)

Based on the terms of the stipulated agreement, Plaintiff is entitled to the judgment amount that he is requesting - $70,000.00. CCP § 664.6(a) allows for the court, upon motion, to enter judgment pursuant to the terms of a settlement. The parties signed the settlement agreement. Defendants breached the settlement agreement, and Plaintiff filed this motion to enforce the settlement agreement. The Court may enforce the settlement agreement by entering judgment against Defendants.

Attorney’s Fees

            Plaintiff has requested attorney’s fees and costs in the amount of $2,460.00. Plaintiff has not provided any legal basis for this request. There is nothing in the Settlement Agreement that says that the party entitled to judgment is entitled to attorney’s fees and costs. On the contrary, the Settlement Agreement states in paragraph 8:

8. No Responsibility for Payment of Costs and Attorneys’ Fees.

Plaintiff agrees and represents that Defendants Releasees have no obligation to pay any costs or attorneys’ fees to Plaintiff or his attorney(s) in connection with any matter, and that Plaintiff shall be solely responsible for any costs or attorneys’ fees incurred on his behalf. Defendants agree and represent that Plaintiff has no obligation to pay any costs or attorneys’ fees to Defendants or their attorney(s) in connection with any matter, and that Defendants shall be solely responsible for any costs or attorneys’ fees incurred on their behalf.” (Bold added.)

Nor has Plaintiff provided reference to any statute or code section that would allow Plaintiff to recover attorney’s fees for the motion. The request for attorney fees is DENIED.

            Judgment shall be entered in the amount of $70,000.00 based on the terms of the Stipulation for Civil Judgment in the Settlement Agreement.

ORDER

1.      Plaintiff Ivan Argueta’s motion to enforce settlement is GRANTED.

2.      Judgment is awarded to Plaintiff Ivan Argueta against Defendants Calcrete Construction, Inc., and Calcrete, Inc., in the amount of $70,000.00.

3.      The request for an award of attorney fees is DENIED.