Choi v. Kang CA2/2

Filed 1/31/23 Choi v. Kang CA2/2 NOT TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL REPORTS California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115. IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT DIVISION TWO SOO OK CHOI, B316549 Plaintiff and Respondent, (Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. BC692532) v. SAMUEL JINKYOO KANG et al., Defendants and Appellants. APPEAL from an order and judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Holly J. Fujie, Judge. Affirmed in part, reversed and remanded in part. David S. Kim & Associates, David S. Kim and Todd A. Fuson for Defendants and Appellants. Medvei Law Group and Sebastian M. Medvei for Plaintiff and Respondent. ______________________________ A default judgment was entered in favor of plaintiff and respondent Soo Ok Choi and against defendants and appellants Samuel Jinkyoo Kang (Kang), NIW USA, Inc. (NIW), REX Counselor, Inc. (REX), and Yoonsun Ban (Ban) following: (1) REX and Ban’s failure to answer plaintiff’s first amended complaint (FAC), and (2) the trial court’s order imposing terminating sanctions against Kang and NIW for failure to comply with discovery orders (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.030, subd. (d)).1 Defendants appeal, arguing that the trial court erred in imposing terminating sanctions and entering a default judgment for excessive damages.2 We affirm in part and reverse in part. We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in imposing terminating sanctions against Kang and NIW for their failure to comply with discovery orders. However, we agree with defendants that the damage award must be reversed because it exceeds the amount identified in the FAC. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND The pleadings On February 1, 2018, plaintiff brought this action against defendants (and others) alleging violation of the Immigration Consultants Act (the ICA; Bus. & Prof. Code, § 22440 et seq.). In the operative FAC, she sought, inter alia, general and special damages, treble damages, and civil penalties in the amount “of 1 All further statutory references are to the Code of Civil Procedure unless otherwise indicated. 2 Defendants do not challenge the entry of Ban and REX’s defaults as a result of their failure to answer the FAC. 2 $100,000 for each individual violation of the ICA, estimated to exceed $2,000,000.” And, she requested costs and attorney fees. As is relevant to the issues raised in this appeal, Kang and NIW filed an answer to the FAC. Ban and REX never answered the FAC and their defaults were entered. Order to comply with plaintiff’s discovery requests (Dec. 2, 2019) Early in the litigation, plaintiff served a number of discovery requests upon defendants, including, inter alia, special interrogatories to Kang and a request for production of documents to NIW. Defendants objected, and the parties met and conferred in an effort to resolve their dispute. …

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