Koreatown coffee shop sale turns ugly. $400K bench verdict. Los Angeles County.
Minority partner in coffee shop says she was defrauded by the majority owners.
- Case Name: Jang v. J.S.M. Heyri, Inc.
- Court and Case Number: Los Angeles County Superior Court / BC563151
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, June 14, 2016
- Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, November 12, 2014
- Type of Action: Breach of Contract, Fraud
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Rafael Ongeko
- Plaintiffs: Hyun Joo Jang
- Defendants: J.S.M. Heyri, Inc.
- Type of Result: Bench Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: $400,000
- Net Verdict or Award: $400,000
- Economic Damages:
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Kring & Chung LLP by Laura Hess, Irvine.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
Law Offices of Kim Au & Associates by John Kim, Los Angeles.
Facts and Background
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
Plaintiff invested $200,000 in a coffee shop business in Koreatown, CCL Coffee Co. Inc. dba Heyri Café, in exchange for a 20% shareholder interest. Plaintiff received distributions for the first year of operations.
After the first year, plaintiff and defendants entered into a new agreement whereby plaintiff agreed to waive shareholder distributions for 5 years, and in exchange defendants agreed to sell the business in 5 years and pay plaintiff her $200,000 plus interest out of the sale proceeds.
Plaintiff discovered that, instead of selling the business as agreed, defendants instead dissolved the former corporation, opened a new corporation, and transferred the business into the new corporation in order to avoid paying plaintiff. Plaintiff contended that defendants fraudulently transferred assets.
- Defendant's Contentions:
Defendants contended Jae Wol Ma was the sole shareholder of both corporations and that they had no business relationship with plaintiff. Defendants denied plaintiff was ever an owner of the Heyri Café. Defendants contended they dissolved the old corporation and opened the new corporation because an employee stole money and checks, and because they wanted to revitalize the business.
Injuries and Other Damages
$200,000 principal and $200,000 interest calculated at 10% per annum for 10 years.