Karton v. Dougherty, 011019 CAAPP2, B268342

Docket Nº:B268342
Opinion Judge:ROTHSCHILD, P. J.
Party Name:DAVID S. KARTON, A LAW CORPORATION, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. WILLIAM RUSSELL DOUGHERTY, Defendant and Respondent.
Attorney:Mintz Law Group and Marshall G. Mintz for Plaintiff and Appellant. Benedon & Serlin, LLP, Gerald M. Serlin, and Melinda W. Ebelhar, for Plaintiff and Appellant. Musick Peeler & Garrett, Cheryl A. Orr; Law Offices of James T. Duff, and James T. Duff for Defendant and Respondent.
Judge Panel:WE CONCUR: JOHNSON, J., LUI, J.
Case Date:January 10, 2019
Court:California Court of Appeals
 
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DAVID S. KARTON, A LAW CORPORATION, Plaintiff and Appellant,

v.

WILLIAM RUSSELL DOUGHERTY, Defendant and Respondent.

B268342

California Court of Appeals, Second District, First Division

January 10, 2019

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. BC206243 Mel Red Recana, Judge. Affirm.

Mintz Law Group and Marshall G. Mintz for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Benedon & Serlin, LLP, Gerald M. Serlin, and Melinda W. Ebelhar, for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Musick Peeler & Garrett, Cheryl A. Orr; Law Offices of James T. Duff, and James T. Duff for Defendant and Respondent.

ROTHSCHILD, P. J.

Appellant David S. Karton, A Law Corporation (Karton) appeals from the trial court's denial of its motion to “set aside” our 2009 opinion in David S. Karton, A Law Corp. v. Dougherty (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 133 (Karton) (2009 Opinion), and all subsequent orders, rulings and proceedings. Our 2009 Opinion is the law of the case, however, the doctrine providing that the decision of an appellate court, stating a rule of law necessary to the decision of the case, conclusively establishes that rule and makes it determinative of the rights of the same parties in any subsequent retrial or appeal in the same case. The 2009 Opinion is final and controlling on the trial court, which had no authority to reverse or vacate it. We, therefore, affirm the trial court's denial of Karton's motion.

BACKGROUND

The history of this long-running dispute is set forth in detail in the 2009 Opinion. In very brief summary: In 1996, William Russell Dougherty retained Karton to represent him in a marital dissolution action. (Karton, supra, 171 Cal.App.4th at p. 136.) The retainer agreement contained the following attorney fee provision: “ ‘In the event legal services are commenced in connection with the enforcement of this agreement or the collection of the fees and/or the costs, whether in the form of a demand, a court action, or an arbitration proceeding, the prevailing party (to the extent permitted by law) shall be entitled to legal fees for services, as well as court and/or arbitration costs.' ” (Ibid.) In 1999, Karton filed suit against Dougherty, seeking to recover $65, 246.63 in unpaid fees and costs, plus interest. (Ibid.) On August 11, 1999, the trial court entered a default judgment against Dougherty for a total of $86, 676.88, including accrued prejudgment interest, attorney fees, and costs. (Id. at pp. 138-139.)

By October 4, 1999, Karton had collected approximately $56, 000 in partial satisfaction of the judgment. (Karton,

supra, 171 Cal.App.4th at p. 139.) Thereafter, Karton pursued further...

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