Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Taheri Law Group, A.P.C. v. Sorokurs

August 18, 2009

TAHERI LAW GROUP, A.P.C., PLAINTIFF AND APPELLANT,
v.
ALEXANDER SOROKURS ET AL., DEFENDANTS AND RESPONDENTS.



APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Edward A. Ferns, Judge. Affirmed. (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. BS100377).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Croskey, J.

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

INTRODUCTION

Taheri Law Group, A.P.C. (Taheri) appeals from a judgment granting the petition of Alexander Sorokurs and his medical corporation, Alexander Sorokurs, Inc, (collectively, Sorokurs) to confirm an arbitration award. Taheri contends that the trial court erred in confirming the arbitration award and in denying its petition to vacate the award. Since Sorokurs did not file a timely response to Taheri's petition to vacate the award, Taheri argues that the court was required to grant the petition to vacate the arbitration award. We disagree and affirm.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

In 2004, Sorokurs retained Taheri to represent him in multiple lawsuits arising out of his purchase of a medical clinic. Taheri was successful in several cases and on two occasions, the opposing party was ordered to pay attorney's fees to Sorokurs. In 2005, Sorokurs terminated the representation, at which time Taheri sought to recover $604,113.43 for legal services performed in accordance with their Hourly Retainer Agreement. Sorokurs claimed that the Hourly Retainer Agreement was not valid, as he had not been aware of what he was signing. Taheri successfully petitioned to compel arbitration of the fee dispute. Taheri sought damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, quantum meruit, fraud and declaratory relief. Sorokurs counterclaimed for malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, fraud and declaratory relief. On March 28, 2007, the arbitrator issued the final decision, awarding Taheri the net sum of $34,196.60 against Sorokurs, a fraction of the amount Taheri had sought. Sorokurs was designated as the prevailing party.

On July 6, 2007, Taheri filed a petition to vacate the arbitration award, citing all the statutory grounds for vacation set forth in section 1286.2.*fn1 Sorokurs did not respond to this petition within the 10-day deadline set forth in section 1290.6, but on August 2, 2007, filed an ex parte request for an order to extend the deadline to file opposition to Taheri's petition to vacate the arbitration award. At the hearing, the court denied all ex parte relief with the exception of shortening time for service of a motion for relief under section 473.*fn2 The following day, Sorokurs filed a petition to confirm the arbitration award.

Taheri opposed both the section 473 motion and the petition to confirm the arbitration award. In its opposition to Sorokurs's request for relief from the filing deadline, Taheri argued that since Sorokurs had missed his 10-day deadline, the allegations of Taheri's petition to vacate were deemed admitted, which required the petition to be granted. In its opposition to the petition to confirm the arbitration order, Taheri similarly argued that since the allegations of its petition to vacate the arbitration award had been deemed admitted, the petition to confirm necessarily must be denied.

On September 5, 2007, the trial court held a hearing on the outstanding motions and petitions. The trial court denied Sorokurs's request for section 473 relief and Taheri's petition to vacate the arbitration award. The court, however, granted Sorokurs's petition to confirm. On September 7, 2007, the court entered judgment for Taheri against Sorokurs in the amount of the $34,196.60 award. Taheri has filed a timely appeal from that judgment.

CONTENTIONS

Taheri contends that the trial court erred in denying its petition to vacate the arbitration award. It argues that in the absence of Sorokurs's timely response to Taheri's petition, the allegations of the petition were deemed admitted and therefore, the trial court was required to vacate the award.

DISCUSSION

"The proper interpretation of statutory language is a question of law which this court reviews de novo, independent of the trial court's ruling or reasoning." (Plunkett v. Spaulding (1997) 52 Cal.App.4th 114, 126, overruled on other grounds in Schreiber v. Estate of Kiser (1999) 22 Cal.4th 31, 40.) "We review issues of statutory interpretation de novo. . . . The primary purpose of statutory construction is to ascertain the Legislature's intent. . . . We first consider the statutory language, "being careful to give the statute's words their plain, commonsense meaning.' . . . "If the language of the statute is not ambiguous, the plain meaning controls and resort to extrinsic sources to determine the Legislature's intent is unnecessary.' " (California School Employees Assn., Tustin Chapter No. 450 v. Tustin Unified School Dist. (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 510, 517, citations omitted.)

Once a party to an arbitration files a petition to confirm, correct, or vacate an award, "[a] response shall be served and filed within 10 days after service of the petition" unless the court extends, or both parties agree to extend, the deadline. (§ 1290.6.) If a response is not filed within the deadline, "[t]he allegations of a petition are deemed to be admitted by a respondent." (§ 1290.) The plain language of section 1290 provides only that the "allegations of a petition are deemed to be admitted," not that the petition is to be granted. The question then becomes: what is an allegation? Black's Law Dictionary defines "allegation" as "something declared or asserted as a matter of fact, especially in a legal pleading; a party's formal statement of a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.