California Court of Appeals, Second District, First Division
from a judgment and order of the Superior Court of Los
Angeles County, No. BC532354 Rafael A. Ongkeko, Judge.
Office of Guinevere M. Malley and Guinevere M. Malley for
Plaintiff and Appellant.
Century Law Group and Karen A. Larson for Defendants and
CHANEY, ACTING P. J.
Aguila, Inc. appeals from a judgment entered in a lawsuit
involving proceeds awarded to its tenants, Edgar Fragoso and
Eva Meneses, as part of an eminent domain proceeding. The
trial court determined that the parties' lease agreement
did not support Thee Aguila's claims, and that Thee
Aguila's asserted claims were collaterally estopped by
the judgment in the eminent domain proceeding. We agree with
the trial court and affirm.
February 1, 2008, Fragoso and his mother, Meneses, signed a
15-year lease for commercial property located at 2800
Firestone Boulevard in South Gate to open the El Parral
Restaurant. Central to this dispute, the form lease provided:
the Premises or any portion thereof are taken by the power of
eminent domain, or sold by Landlord under the threat of
exercise of said power (all of which is herein referred to as
‘condemnation'), this Lease shall terminate as to
the part so taken as of the date the condemning authority
takes title or possession, whichever occurs first....
awards for the taking of any part of the Premises or any
payment made under the threat of the exercise of the power of
eminent domain shall be the property of the Landlord, whether
made as compensation for the diminution of the value of the
leasehold or for the taking of the fee or as severance
damages; provided, however, that Tenant shall be entitled to
any award for loss or damage to Tenant's trade fixtures
and removable personal property.”
2009, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) filed a
complaint in eminent domain seeking to have the property
condemned. (L.A. Super. Ct. No. BC416163.) The trial court
issued an order for prejudgment possession in favor of LAUSD
in November 2009.
eminent domain complaint named, among other interested
defendants, El Parral, Edgar Fragoso individually and doing
business as El Parral, and Meneses and Fragoso's El
Parral landlord, Thee Aguila.
answer to the eminent domain complaint, Thee Aguila claimed
“by assignment, each and every award herein for the
taking, including [El Parral's] loss of good will, but
not including its trade fixtures.” Meneses, Fragoso,
and El Parral each claimed in their answers they were
entitled to “compensation for loss of business goodwill
relating to the operation of [El Parral] on the leased
trial court issued its judgment on the eminent domain
complaint and final order condemning the property on March 9,
2011. In that order, the trial court awarded Thee Aguila a
total of $6, 198, 100 for its interest in the property.
Meneses, Fragoso, and El Parral were awarded a total of $6,
100, 000 for their interest in the property, including
“any claims for leasehold value, ...