United Grand Corp. v. Stollof, B305146

CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtSTRATTON, J.
Decision Date19 January 2022
PartiesUNITED GRAND CORPORATION, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. MARCIE STOLLOF, Defendant and Respondent.
Docket NumberB305146

UNITED GRAND CORPORATION, Plaintiff and Appellant,

MARCIE STOLLOF, Defendant and Respondent.


California Court of Appeals, Second District, Eighth Division

January 19, 2022

APPEAL from an order of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. BC554172 Edward B. Moreton, Jr., Judge. Affirmed.

Law Office of Bruce Adelstein and Bruce Adelstein for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Cozen O'Connor, Erik L. Jackson, Matthew Lewitz and Thomas W. Casparian for Defendant and Respondent.



In this sixth appeal arising from a simple unpaid rent case that began in 2014, appellant United Grand Corporation appeals from an order granting respondent Marci Stollof attorney fees as the prevailing party pursuant to the terms of a rent guaranty agreement between her and United Grand. We affirm the trial court's order.


United Grand Corporation (United Grand or UGC) filed this action in August 2014, alleging that Malibu Hillbillies had breached a lease agreement by failing to make rent payments in the amount of $46, 395.86 and Marcie Stollof had breached a guaranty agreement by failing to make those payments when Malibu Hillbillies did not. Both agreements include attorney fees provisions. United Grand sought prejudgment interest and attorney fees.

United Grand obtained default judgments against Stollof and Malibu Hillbillies. On April 13, 2015, judgment in the amount of $67, 852.55 was entered against Stollof and Malibu Hillbillies. This amount included attorney fees and costs. As detailed in our previous opinion, "Despite the essentially uncontested nature of the case, [UGC's] attorney, Cyrus Sanai, continued to generate a large amount of attorney fees on the case." (United Grand Corp. v. Malibu Hillbillies, LLC (2019) 36 Cal.App.5th 142, 146 (United Grand).)

Stollof lived in Maryland and was represented by counsel there. United Grand elected to pursue Stollof in Maryland for payment of the judgment. On May 22, 2015, United Grand initiated enforcement proceedings in the Circuit Court for


Baltimore County, Maryland. On May 29, 2015, the Maryland court entered judgment in the amount of $67, 852.55.

As we explained in our prior opinion: "In July 2015, Stollof tried to settle the case by offering to pay the amount of the April 13, 2015 judgment. United Grand refused the offer. United Grand's attorney, Sanai, explained his view of the litigation in the letter refusing the offer: 'What your client did not realize was that once judgment was entered, unopposed requests for post-judgment attorney fees would be rubber-stamped, and that myself and Maryland counsel could, if we took post-judgment fees on contingency, obtain a multiplier on our [lodestar] rate.'" (United Grand, supra, 36 Cal.App.5th at p. 147.)

On July 31, 2015, Stollof began the process of depositing $68, 418.35 in the Maryland court to satisfy the judgment, which required court approval. Her motion was accompanied by a check in that amount. She also filed a motion in California to set aside the default judgment against her.

With permission of the Maryland court, on September 10, 2015, Stollof deposited $68, 418.35. United Grand was free to withdraw these funds at any time if it accepted that the amount satisfied the judgment. United Grand did not do so.

On December 24, 2015, the trial court in California set aside the default as to Stollof. Now free of the default judgment entered against her, in April 2016 Stollof sought to end the case by either releasing $56, 615.59 of the money deposited with the Maryland court to United Grand or transferring the full amount deposited in the Maryland court, plus an additional $12, 000 (for a total of $80, 000) to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. United Grand refused both offers.


In May 2016, Stollof tried again to end the case. Her attorney tendered a check for $56, 705 to United Grand; this amount represented the damages sought in the complaint plus interest through May 2016. United Grand never deposited the check.

After these attempts at settlement failed, Stollof filed a First Amended Answer to the complaint on July 19, 2016, in which she alleged the defense of tender, specifically alleging the deposit of funds in the Maryland court.

On August 1, 2016, Stollof filed a motion in Los Angeles Superior Court to deposit $56, 705. The trial court granted the motion on October 18, 2016 and Stollof deposited the funds that same day. United Grand withdrew the full amount on November 23, 2016.

Seeing that United Grand had been paid the full amount of damages alleged in the complaint, the trial court issued an order to show cause why United Grand's complaint should not be stricken as to Stollof. By March 17, 2017, United Grand and its counsel Sanai had sought close to $2 million in attorney fees. That same date, as a partial terminating sanction, the trial court issued an order striking United Grand's prayer for attorney fees due to "pervasive misconduct" by United Grand, its attorney or both. The court indicated that in an effort to end the case and, as it said, "restore common sense and fairness in this clearly 'extreme situation, '" it intended to enter judgment in favor of United Grand and against Stollof in the amount already paid by Stollof to United Grand. (United Grand, supra, 36 Cal.App.5th at p. 150.) On April 11, 2017, the court entered such a judgment, expressly finding that the judgment had been satisfied on October 18, 2016 when Stollof deposited that amount with the


court. The trial court incorporated its March 17, 2017 ruling into the judgment and specifically found that United Grand's attorney had committed misconduct.

United Grand filed a notice of appeal, marking the fifth appeal in this matter. We affirmed the trial court's judgment. (United Grand, supra, 36 Cal.App.5th at p. 167.) Following remand, the trial court issued the order awarding attorney fees to Stollof. That order is the subject of this appeal.


The trial court awarded Stollof "her reasonable attorneys' fees (totaling $165, 870.00) and costs (totaling $42.00) incurred as Stollof is the prevailing party in this action. Stollof is awarded her reasonable attorneys' fees and costs in connection with (i) Stollof's successful dismissal of Plaintiff United Grand Corporation's ('UGC') claim for attorneys' fees in the trial and (ii) Stollof's successful dismissal of Second...

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