SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES – SOUTH CENTRAL DISTRICT

BOURBON HOLDING, LLC,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

 

VIRGINIA MACHEMING,

 

Defendant(s).

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CASE NO: 21CMUD00448

[TENTATIVE] ORDER DENYING  MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS BY DEFENDANTS, FALLON MADISON AND JOSEPH EDWARDS

Dept. A

DATE: 12/13/21

TIME:  8:30 A.M.

 

COMPLAINT FILED: 8/17/21

TRIAL DATE: 12/20/21

  1. BACKGROUND

            This is a post-foreclosure, unlawful detainer action. The complaint alleges that Plaintiff bought the residential real property at issue located at 14907 South Raymond Avenue in Gardena on 6/24/21 pursuant to a grant deed conveying the property to Plaintiff by HFG Loan Series Trust (“HFG”). HFG previously bought the property at a trustee’s sale on 4/1/21 from Placer Foreclosure, Inc. The original owner was Defendant, Virginia Macheming (“Macheming”). Plaintiff alleges that Macheming has remained in possession.

            Plaintiff served Macheming with a 3/90-day notice to quit based on Plaintiff’s perfected title. Defendant failed to deliver up possession. Defendant filed her answer on 8/26/21. On the same date, Defendants, Fallon Madison and Joseph Edwards (collectively, “Defendants”) filed their prejudgment claims of right to possession and their Answer.

  1. DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
  2. Motion filed 11/30//21

            Defendants argue that this unlawful detainer proceeding violates the County of Los Angeles’ COVID-19 Tenant Protections Resolution (“Resolution”) which prohibits no-fault evictions. Plaintiff has not identified Defendants’ fault to support terminating their tenancy. Plaintiff’s notice states only that the property was sold at a foreclosure sale and the new owner seeks to recover possession of the property in good faith. The protections under the Resolution prevent eviction of tenants who are not at fault.

  1. Opposition filed 11/30/21

            Plaintiff argues that this is a post-foreclosure eviction. The tenant protections under the County’s Resolution expire on 1/31/22. A jury trial will not take place before the projected termination of the County Protections. Defendant Macheming, as the owner who was foreclosed upon, does not enjoy any protections under the Resolution.

            Plaintiff argues that the complaint is adequately alleged since it is based on Macheming’s holding over of the property despite the foreclosure sale. Additionally, Edwards’ current address is in Lancaster, where he was served with a deficiency judgment for repossession of a vehicle.

  1. Reply filed 12/2/21

            Defendants argue that their affirmative defense under the Resolution will not terminate when the Resolution terminates.

III.  LEGAL STANDARDS GOVERNING MOTIONS FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS

            The court may grant a motion for judgment on the pleading on grounds the complaint fails to state a cause of action. Code Civ. Proc., § 438(b)(2). A motion for judgment on the pleadings performs the same function as a general demurrer and attacks only defects disclosed on the face of the pleadings or by matters that can be judicially noticed. Burnett v. Chimney Sweep (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 1057, 1064. For purposes of this motion, all properly alleged material facts are deemed to be true as well as all facts that may be implied or inferred from those expressly alleged.  Fire Ins. Exchange v. Superior Court (2004) 116 Cal.App.4th 446, 452.

            The requirements for meeting and conferring prior to filing the motion does not apply in unlawful detainer proceedings. Code Civ. Proc., § 439(d)(2).

  1. DISCUSSION

            The court grants Defendants’ request for judicial notice (“RJN”) of the Los Angeles County COVID-19 Tenant Protections Resolution, Dated 9/28/21. Defendants’ Exhibit List, Ex. 101; Evid. Code, § 452(b).

            The complaint was alleged against Macheming only. On 8/26/21, Defendants each filed a Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession claiming to occupy the premises at the time the complaint was filed. Defendants filed their Answer on 8/26/21, generally denying the allegations of the complaint and asserting affirmative defenses for violation of Los Angeles County’s Eviction Moratorium which prevents no-fault termination of tenancy, violation of the California COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act of 2020, for violations of provisions preventing no-fault evictions under the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s orders, for defective notice, and on grounds Plaintiff lacks standing to bring this action.

            The present Resolution extends the moratorium period through 1/31/22. Defendants’ Ex. 101, page 7, ¶ G. Plaintiff contends that this matter will not be tried until after the moratorium expires which implies Defendants will not be entitled to the benefit of these protections at the time of trial. However, the present Resolution provides that effective 3/4/20, “any Tenant protection provided under this Moratorium shall constitute an affirmative defense for a Tenant in any unlawful detainer action… Said affirmative defenses shall survive the termination or expiration of this Moratorium. Id., page 10, ¶ X (C).

            Among other things, the Moratorium applies to no-fault eviction notices and unlawful detainer actions served and/or filed on or after 3/4/20. Id., page 9, ¶ IV.A. The Moratorium precludes no-fault termination of tenancies, including but not limited to those stated in Code Civ. Proc., § 1161, et seq. Id., page 10, ¶ V(A)(2).

            The court cannot enter judgment on the pleadings as the pleadings and documents subject to judicial notice raise an issue of fact as to whether the property is being rented. The complaint alleges that Macheming, the prior owner, is maintaining possession despite foreclosure proceedings, which the court accepts as true for the purpose of the motion. Complaint, ¶ 4. Defendants’ Prejudgment Claims of Right to Possession assert under penalty of perjury that they are tenants on the property at issue.

            As a general rule, in testing a pleading against a demurrer, the facts alleged in the pleading are deemed to be true, however improbable they may be. However, “the courts will not close their eyes to situations where a complaint contains allegations of fact inconsistent with attached documents, or allegations contrary to facts which are judicially noticed.” Del E. Webb Corp. v. Structural Materials Co. (1982) 123 Cal.App.3d 593, 604. The inconsistent statements with respect to Defendants’ alleged tenancy as raised by the allegations of the Complaint, Defendants’ Prejudgment Claims of Right to Possession, and Defendants’ Answer, preclude a judgment in Defendants’ favor.

  1. CONCLUSION

             Defendants have not met their burden of establishing they are entitled to judgment on the pleadings referenced above. Accordingly, the motion is DENIED.

                                                                                    DATED: December 13, 2021

                                                                                    _______________________________

                                                                                    Hon. Thomas D. Long

                                                                                    Judge of the Superior Court