Mellein v. Gerges, 031416 CAAPP2, B255462

Docket Nº:B255462
Opinion Judge:EDMON, P. J.
Party Name:JAMES MELLEIN, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. MOTAZ M. GERGES, Defendant and Appellant.
Attorney:Motaz M. Gerges, in pro. per., for Defendant and Appellant. Paul Kujawsky for Plaintiff and Respondent.
Judge Panel:We concur: ALDRICH, J., LAVIN, J.
Case Date:March 14, 2016
Court:California Court of Appeals
 
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JAMES MELLEIN, Plaintiff and Respondent,

v.

MOTAZ M. GERGES, Defendant and Appellant.

B255462

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Third Division

March 14, 2016

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County No. PC053489, Melvin D. Sandvig, Judge.

Motaz M. Gerges, in pro. per., for Defendant and Appellant.

Paul Kujawsky for Plaintiff and Respondent.

EDMON, P. J.

Defendant/Appellant Motaz M. Gerges (“Attorney”) entered into an agreement with Plaintiff/Respondent James Mellein (“Client”) to prepare briefs in two of Client’s appellate matters. When Attorney allegedly failed to file adequate appellate briefs in either case, Client sued Attorney for breach of contract and money had and received, and he obtained a judgment in his favor. Attorney subsequently filed a motion for a new trial, which was denied.

Attorney appeals from the judgment. We affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Client retained Attorney to represent him in two appeals referred to by the parties as the “Castroll” appeal and the “Virtual” appeal. The attorney-client agreement provided that Client would pay Attorney a flat fee of $10, 000 for the Castroll appeal and a flat fee of $20, 000 for the Virtualappeal, with the first half of each fee (the retainer) due immediately, and the second half due upon completion of the appellate briefs.

Client filed a complaint against Attorney on August 8, 2012, for breach of contract and money had and received. The complaint alleged that Attorney prepared an “incomplete, incompetent” appellant’s opening brief in the Virtualappeal, which the Court of Appeal rejected, and refused to prepare a brief in the Castroll appeal. As a result, Client had to retain new counsel to file briefs in both cases. Client demanded that Attorney return the retainers, but Attorney refused to do so.

The case proceeded to a bench trial, which was unreported. The court entered a judgment in favor of Client for $29, 937.41.

Attorney filed a motion for new trial, which the trial court denied. Attorney timely appealed the judgment, designating an appellant’s appendix in lieu of a clerk’s transcript and a settled statement in lieu of a reporter’s transcript.1

On October 3, 2014, the trial court certified Attorney’s proposed settled statement, together with Client’s amendments...

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