Judge’s tentative awards $60,000 in attys fees for failure to admit requested admissions

A tentative today from Judge Saltzman:

The Plaintiffs demonstrate how the Debtor fails to admit several requests for admission that were later proved to be true. Most of the requests that the Debtor failed to admit were not objectionable, the requested admissions were material, the Debtor had no reasonable ground to believe that he might prevail on the fact of the admission, and there is no other good reason for the Debtor to have failed to admit. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37(c)(2).

The Debtor makes no attempt to challenge any law or authorities for why the Plaintiffs are entitled to attorney’s fees. The Debtor argues that he should have prevailed on the motion for summary judgment. The Debtor tries to make technical arguments, twisting the meaning of “personal knowledge” to something utterly absurd. The Debtor’s attempts to justify his frivolous denials and objections to requests for admission are all unpersuasive, and none of those arguments explain why the Plaintiffs are not entitled to attorney’s fees for the continued litigation regarding their anti-SLAPP judgment.

The Plaintiffs explain with detailed and specific authority why and how they are entitled to attorney’s fees for having to defend the anti-SLAPP judgment in this court. The Debtor makes no attempt to argue or challenge the Plaintiffs’ entitlement to these fees under C.C.P. § 425.16. Rules 7054 and 54 allow the prevailing party to recover attorney’s fees if the attorney’s fees would be recoverable under applicable non-bankruptcy law. Travelers Cas. & Sur. Co. of Am. v. Pacific Gas & Elec. Co., 549 U.S. 443, 447-50 (2007).

In addition to the unopposed argument for entitlement to fees under California law, the Plaintiffs are entitled to attorney’s fees for the Debtor’s failures to admit facts that were known to him. Here, the Debtor knew of the transaction and he received a commission from the transaction. Despite the Debtor’s best efforts to obfuscate, there’s nothing unclear or confusing here.

The Plaintiffs are entitled to an award of attorney’s fees under California law and under Rule 37(c)(2) for the Debtor’s failure to properly answer material requests for admission. The Plaintiffs’ request is also made more reasonable by the voluntary reduction in total billed fees by over a one-third reduction.

The court will award the Plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees of $60,000.00.

The case number is 9:18-01045

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