Urizar v. Pineda, 031519 CAAPP2, B286746

Docket Nº:B286746
Opinion Judge:BAKER, J.
Party Name:SHENY URIZAR, Plaintiff and Appellant, v. MIGUEL ANGEL PINEDA, Defendant and Respondent.
Attorney:Law Offices of Ugo O. Asobie and Ugo O. Asobie for Plaintiff and Appellant.
Judge Panel:We concur: RUBIN, P. J.MOOR, J.
Case Date:March 15, 2019
Court:California Court of Appeals
 
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SHENY URIZAR, Plaintiff and Appellant,

v.

MIGUEL ANGEL PINEDA, Defendant and Respondent.

B286746

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Fifth Division

March 15, 2019

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. BC658098 William F. Fahey, Judge. Reversed.

Law Offices of Ugo O. Asobie and Ugo O. Asobie for Plaintiff and Appellant.

No appearance for Defendant and Respondent.

BAKER, J.

Sheny Urizar (Urizar) applied for entry of a default judgment against Miguel Angel Pineda (Pineda) for breach of an oral loan agreement. The trial court denied the application and dismissed Urizar's complaint with prejudice, finding that the breach of contract claim was barred by the two-year statute of limitations. We consider whether the trial court fully understood the materials before it at the default judgment “prove up” hearing, which led to a judgment of dismissal rather than the entry of judgment for Urizar.

I. BACKGROUND

A. The Operative Form Complaint

Urizar sued Pineda in April 2017, asserting causes of action for breach of contract and fraud.1

The operative form complaint alleges that in August 2014, Urizar loaned $16, 000 to Pineda pursuant to an oral agreement. The “essential terms” of the agreement obligated Pineda to repay the loan in monthly installments of at least $1, 000, with the first installment due in October 2014. According to the complaint, plaintiff began making the installment payments in October 2014 as required, but in or about March 2016, Pineda took the position that Urizar never loaned him the $16, 000. Instead, Pineda maintained all the installment payments he had made were towards the $35, 000 sale price of an auto repair shop that Urizar sold to Pineda in a separate transaction that took place around the time of the $16, 000 loan.

Pineda never responded to Urizar's complaint, and the court clerk entered Pineda's default in July 2017.

B. The Default Judgment Proceedings

Urizar applied to have the court enter a default judgment against Pineda and filed, in support thereof, a “case summary” document and a declaration with exhibits. The materials submitted, which included copies of a number of negotiated checks, provided additional information concerning the allegations in the complaint to which Pineda's default had been entered.

According to the materials submitted by Urizar, she loaned Pineda $16, 000 in cash, in or about August 2014, pursuant to an oral agreement. Later that same month, Urizar and Pineda entered into a separate transaction. This time pursuant to a written agreement, Pineda agreed to purchase an auto body repair business from Urizar for $35, 000. Under the terms of this agreement, Pineda was responsible for making an initial payment of $15, 000 to Urizar and then paying off the remaining $20, 000 in 36 monthly installments, with the first installment due on October 1, 2014.

On October 1, 2014, Pineda, using a check drawn on an account for “MP Auto Repair, ” paid Urizar $1, 200. Between October 2014 and October 2015, Pineda, using the same MP Auto Repair account, made at least 11 payments of $1, 200 each to Urizar. Although the checks did not indicate on their face that they were installment payments on the $16, 000 loan (as opposed to installment payments for the auto repair business purchase), Urizar understood them to be loan payments.

Beginning in October 2014 and continuing through March 2016, Pineda paid Urizar $555 each month by check. Like the $1, 200 checks, the $555 checks were written on the MP Auto Repair account. However, unlike the $1, 200 checks, which did not specify on their face what the payments were for, each $555 check (with one exception) included a notation that the...

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