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Shaoxing City Maolong Wuzhong Down Products, Ltd. v. Keehn & Associates, APC

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Second Division

June 25, 2015

SHAOXING CITY MAOLONG WUZHONG DOWN PRODUCTS, LTD. et al., Plaintiffs and Appellants,
v.
KEEHN & ASSOCIATES, APC, et al., Defendants and Respondents.

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County No. BC455229 Rolf M. Treu.

Page 1032

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Timothy D. McGonigle for Plaintiffs and Appellants.

Petit Kohn Ingrassia & Lutz, Douglas A. Pettit, Valerie G. Hong, and Matthew C. Smith, for Defendants and Respondents.

OPINION

HOFFSTADT, J.

A creditor retained attorneys to challenge another creditor’s lien after the debtor declared bankruptcy. After the first creditor’s attorneys missed the deadline to investigate and attack the lien, that creditor hired new counsel and entered into a settlement with the debtor for less than the full amount of its debt. The creditor sued the first attorneys for malpractice, and filed suit less than one year after the settlement but more than one year after the missed deadline. The trial court granted summary judgment to the attorneys, concluding that the lawsuit was untimely as a matter of law. We conclude this was correct, and affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

An arbitrator determined that plaintiffs Shaoxing City Maolong Wuzhong Down Products, Ltd. (Shaoxing) and Shui Yan Cheng’s (Cheng) (collectively, plaintiffs) were entitled to a total of $5.35 million from Aeolus Down, Inc. (Aeolus), Wei Xu, and Wei Dong (collectively, debtors). After the arbitrator issued its tentative ruling but before plaintiffs obtained a judgment confirming the arbitration award, Aeolus entered into a security agreement with Zhejiang Hengdi Bedding Co., Ltd., and Zhejiang Liuqiao Feather Co., Ltd. (collectively, Zhejiang), and Zhejiang filed a blanket lien attaching to all of Aeolus’s assets.

Soon after plaintiffs obtained the judgment, debtors filed for bankruptcy. Plaintiffs hired defendants Keehn & Associates, APC, and L. Scott Keehn (collectively, Keehn) as counsel in order to obtain discovery and challenge Zhejiang’s lien as a fraudulent transfer. Pursuant to a stipulation of the parties, the bankruptcy court ordered that all discovery and any challenges pertaining to Zhejiang’s lien be filed by an “Investigation Termination Date” of October 7, 2009. The deadline came and went without Keehn completing its discovery or filing any challenge to ...


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