Martin Potts & Associates, Inc. v. Corsair, LLC

244 Cal. App. 4th 432, 197 Cal. Rptr. 3d 856 (2016)

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Martin Potts & Associates, Inc. v. Corsair, LLC

California Court of Appeal
244 Cal. App. 4th 432, 197 Cal. Rptr. 3d 856 (2016)

Facts

Martin Potts & Associates, Inc. (MPA) (plaintiff) provided the management services for the Gran Plaza Outlets under a contract with Corsair, LLC (Corsair) (defendant). When Corsair quit paying MPA in August 2013 for those services, MPA sued Corsair in February 2014 for what it was owed. Corsair never filed a responsive pleading, and the trial court entered an order of default in Mach 2014 and a default judgment in August 2014. In October 2014, Corsair moved to set aside the default and default judgment that was supported by an affidavit of Corsair’s attorney, Nicholas Klein, attesting Klein received the complaint and other filings and took no action and that resulting default and default judgment were his failure and the sole reason they were allowed to occur. The trial court set aside the default and default judgment, finding they were caused by Klein’s “mistake, inadvertence, surprise or neglect” because Klein did not file a responsive pleading on Corsair’s behalf and failed to advise Corsair to file a responsive pleading. MPA appealed and argued that under Code of Civil Procedure § 437(b), relief is not required unless the attorney’s affidavit includes the reasons for the attorney’s “mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or neglect.”

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hoffstadt, J.)

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