Judge: Jon R. Takasugi, Case: 21STCV14842, Date: 2022-07-27 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: 21STCV14842    Hearing Date: July 27, 2022    Dept: 17

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles








           Plaintiff in Interpleader








 Case No.:  21STCV14842




 Hearing Date:  July 27, 2022



            BMI’s motion for an order for discharge and awarding attorney fees is GRANTED.


On 4/20/2021, Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI) filed an complaint in interpleader against Alexander Collin Baker (Baker), Clara Veseliza Baker aka Clair Marlo, and Adam Bravery, LLC (Bravery, LLC).


On 8/17/2021, Baker and Bravery, LLC filed a cross-complaint (XC) against BMI and Erika Stallings, alleging: (1) declaratory judgment; (2) declaratory judgment; (3) breach of contract; (4) breach of fiduciary duty; (5) constructive fraud; (6) intentional infliction of emotional distress; and (7) fraudulent inducement


Now, BMI moves for an order discharging it from liability and awarding attorney fees.




            BMI argues that is entitled to be discharged from liability here, and is entitled to recover attorney fees because it was forced to incur unnecessary litigation costs. In full, BMI seeks an order granting the following:


(1)  Discharging BMI from all liability to the defendants Clair Marlo, Alexander C. Baker and Adam Bravery, LLC (collectively, “Defendants”) with respect to (i) interpleaded funds in the amount of $81,071.41, currently on deposit with the Clerk of the Court; (ii) the additional sum of $8,950.82 for which BMI has sought an order of the Court allowing this further amount to be deposited (iii) any future amounts deposited with the Court (collectively, “Interpleaded Funds”);

(2)  Restraining Defendants, or any of them, from instituting any proceeding against BMI with respect to the Interpleaded Funds;

(3)  Awarding BMI a total of $88,337 in reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, consisting of (a) $74,628 in attorney’s fees actually and reasonably incurred; (b) $2,819 in costs incurred; (c) $4,950.00 of anticipated fees to be incurred through hearing on this motion; and (d) unpaid sanctions in the amount of $5,940.00 ordered against defendant Alexander C. Baker (“Baker”) for attorney’s fees incurred defending against Baker’s Motion for Sanctions;

(4)  Permitting BMI to continue to deposit future royalties with the Court until final judgment or other Order of the Court; and

(5)  Dismissing BMI from the action.


CCP section 386 provides that an interpleader plaintiff may (1) disavow any interest in the amount being interpleaded, (2) deposit that amount with the court, and (3) seek and obtain a discharge from liability. (CCP § 386(b).)


Here, BMI has disclaimed any interest in and deposited the Interpleaded Funds. Moreover, the Defendants filed answers to the Interpleader and the Court has sustained BMI’s Demurrer to Baker and Bravery, LLC Cross-Complaint without leave to amend. As such, no party has any affirmative claims pending against BMI.


In opposition, Baker attempts to reargue the issue of whether or not BMI has properly stated a complaint in interpleader. The Court has already determined that BMI’s complaint in interpleader is proper, and Baker did not move for reconsideration of that ruling.


Baker’s opposition fits into a larger pattern of conduct employed throughout this action wherein Baker has repeatedly attempted to litigate issues already ruled upon, and has misused judicial resources by engaging in unnecessary motion practice for the sole purposes of harassment and delay.  For example, Baker previously filed a motion for sanctions, based on BMI’s request for an IDC, which was not only rejected by this Court, but found to be “not well taken and appears to have no other purpose but ‘to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation.’” (See 4/1/2022 Ruling on Submitted Matter.) The Court awarded BMI $5,940 in sanctions from Baker for attorney’s fees incurred by BMI in connection with opposing the Sanctions Motion. (Ibid.)


BMI’s evidence presented with this motion also persuades the Court that Baker engaged in abuses of the discovery process for the express purpose of harassing BMI and causing unnecessary delay. 


 Based on the foregoing, the Court finds adequate justification to grant BMI’s motion in full.



It is so ordered.


Dated:  July    , 2022


   Hon. Jon R. Takasugi
   Judge of the Superior Court



Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at smcdept17@lacourt.org by 4 p.m. the day prior as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative.  If all parties to a motion submit, the court will adopt this tentative as the final order.  If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar. 


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