This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/22/2021 at 02:21:35 (UTC).

HUMBERTO ORELLANA VS JOSE ALONSO CASTELLANOS, AN INDIVIDUAL, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 06/20/2019 HUMBERTO ORELLANA filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against JOSE ALONSO CASTELLANOS, AN INDIVIDUAL. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JAMES E. BLANCARTE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******5860

  • Filing Date:

    06/20/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Cross Defendant and Plaintiff

ORELLANA HUMBERTO

Defendants, Cross Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

JAUREGUI AN INDIVIDUAL JACQUELINE

GALINDO AN INDIVIDUAL OSCAR ROLANDO

CASTELLANOS AN INDIVIDUAL JOSE ALONSO

MARTINEZ AN INDIVIDUAL MARTIN

MARTINEZ AN INDIVIDUAL VANESSA

ORELLANA HUMBERTO

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

WILDEBOER ARTA K.

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

MUHTASEB IBRAHIM N.

PENNINGTON AMY

MARKS DONNA

DAVIS MONTE RAY

GONZALEZ RODOLFO

Defendant, Cross Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

GONZALEZ RODOLFO

BARRENO ALEXANDRA

 

Court Documents

Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

6/20/2019: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

6/20/2019: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

6/20/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Summons - Summons on Complaint

6/20/2019: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Complaint - Complaint

6/20/2019: Complaint - Complaint

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

10/9/2019: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

10/9/2019: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

Summons - Summons on Complaint

10/8/2019: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Cross-Complaint - Cross-Complaint

10/8/2019: Cross-Complaint - Cross-Complaint

Answer - Answer

10/8/2019: Answer - Answer

Answer - Answer

1/21/2020: Answer - Answer

Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

12/18/2019: Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

12/18/2019: Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

Answer - Answer

12/18/2019: Answer - Answer

Answer - Answer

12/18/2019: Answer - Answer

Cross-Complaint - Cross-Complaint

12/18/2019: Cross-Complaint - Cross-Complaint

Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

12/18/2019: Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees - Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

5/19/2020: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees - Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

40 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 12/16/2021
  • Hearing12/16/2021 at 09:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement)

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  • 10/18/2021
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: JOSE ALONSO CASTELLANOS, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant); JACQUELINE JAUREGUI, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant)

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  • 10/07/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion - Other to Contest Defendants Vanessa Marti...)

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  • 10/07/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion - Other to Contest Defendants Vanessa Martinez and Martin Martinez's Application for Good Faith Settlement scheduled for 10/07/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Court on 10/07/2021

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  • 10/05/2021
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement) scheduled for 12/16/2021 at 09:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 10/05/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Jury Trial)

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  • 10/05/2021
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Jury Trial scheduled for 10/05/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 10/05/2021

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  • 10/05/2021
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 06/23/2022 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 10/05/2021

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  • 09/09/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion - Other to Contest Defendants Vanessa Martinez and Martin Martinez's Application for Good Faith Settlement scheduled for 10/07/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 09/09/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion - Other to Contest Defendants Vanessa Marti...)

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61 More Docket Entries
  • 10/08/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: VANESSA MARTINEZ, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant); MARTIN MARTINEZ, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant); As to: HUMBERTO ORELLANA (Plaintiff); JOSE ALONSO CASTELLANOS, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant); JACQUELINE JAUREGUI, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant) et al.

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  • 10/08/2019
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: VANESSA MARTINEZ, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant); MARTIN MARTINEZ, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant); As to: HUMBERTO ORELLANA (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/21/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 12/17/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 06/21/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 06/23/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 06/21/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 06/20/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: HUMBERTO ORELLANA (Plaintiff); As to: JOSE ALONSO CASTELLANOS, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant); JACQUELINE JAUREGUI, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant); OSCAR ROLANDO GALINDO, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant) et al.

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  • 06/20/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: HUMBERTO ORELLANA (Plaintiff); As to: JOSE ALONSO CASTELLANOS, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant); JACQUELINE JAUREGUI, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant); OSCAR ROLANDO GALINDO, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant) et al.

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  • 06/20/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: HUMBERTO ORELLANA (Plaintiff); As to: JOSE ALONSO CASTELLANOS, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant); JACQUELINE JAUREGUI, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant); OSCAR ROLANDO GALINDO, AN INDIVIDUAL (Defendant) et al.

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  • 06/20/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 06/20/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

b'

Case Number: 19STLC05860 Hearing Date: October 7, 2021 Dept: 25

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO CONTEST DEFENDANTS VANESSA\r\nAND MARTIN MARTINEZ’S APPLICATION FOR GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT

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MOVING PARTY: Defendant\r\nand Cross-Defendants Jose Alonso Castellanos and Jacqueline Jauregui

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RESP. PARTY: None

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MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF GOOD FAITH\r\nSETTLEMENT

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(CCP § 877, et seq.)

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TENTATIVE RULING:

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Defendants\r\nJose Alonso Castellanos and Jacqueline Jauregui’s Motion to Contest Defendant\r\nVanessa and Martin Martinez’s Application for Good Faith Settlement is PLACED\r\nOFF CALENDAR.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

SERVICE: \r\n

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[X]\r\nProof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

\r\n\r\n

[X]\r\nCorrect Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

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[X]\r\n16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) OK

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OPPOSITION: None filed as of October\r\n5, 2021 [ ] Late [X]\r\nNone

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REPLY: None filed as\r\nof October 5, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

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ANALYSIS:

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I. \r\nBackground\r\n& Discussion

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On June 29, 2019, Plaintiff Humberto Orellana\r\n(“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint alleging general negligence, negligence per se,\r\nand negligent entrustment against Defendants Jose Alonso Castellanos\r\n(“Castellanos”), Jacqueline Jauregui (“Jauregui”), Oscar Rolando Galindo\r\n(“Galindo”), Vanessa Martinez (“Vanessa”), and Martin Martinez (“Martin”)\r\n(collectively, “Defendants”).

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Defendants Vanessa and Martin filed an Answer and a\r\nCross-Complaint against Plaintiff and Defendants Castellanos, Jauregui, and\r\nGalindo for comparative indemnity, contribution, and declaratory relief on\r\nOctober 8, 2019. Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui filed Answers to the\r\nComplaint and the Cross-Complaint on December 18, 2019. They also filed a\r\nCross-Complaint for comparative indemnity, contribution, and declaratory relief\r\nagainst Defendants Vanessa, Martin, and Galindo.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Defendants Vanessa and Martin filed an Answer to the\r\nCastellanos and Jauregui Cross-Complaint on January 21, 2020.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Defendant Galindo filed an Answer to the Complaint and a\r\nCross-Complaint for apportionment of fault, indemnification, and declaratory\r\nrelief against Defendants Castellanos and Vanessa on August 21, 2020.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui filed an Answer to\r\nthe Galindo Cross-Complaint on September 2, 2020.

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On February 26, 2021, Defendant Galindo filed a motion\r\nfor the determination that his $10,000.00 settlement with Plaintiff was made in\r\ngood faith. That motion came up for hearing on March 25. Following oral\r\nargument from the parties, the Court took the matter under submission. (3/25/21\r\nMinute Order.) The Court also ordered that a copy of the available deposition\r\ntranscripts be emailed to the Courtroom’s email address. (Id.) On April\r\n26, the Court granted Defendant Galindo’s motion. (4/26/21 Minute Order.) In\r\ndoing so, the Court reasoned that (1) Plaintiff’s Complaint sought general\r\ndamages, medical damages, special and incidental damages, loss of earnings,\r\nloss of earnings capacity, “pre-judgment”, and costs of suit; (2) that\r\nPlaintiff’s discovery responses indicated that Plaintiff was not seeking\r\nproperty or loss of income damages; (3) that Plaintiff’s bills totaled\r\n$5,400.00; (4) that Plaintiff was not scheduled to receive any further medical\r\ntreatment; and (5) that Plaintiff’s damages related to medical treatment were unlikely\r\nto greatly exceed $5,400.00. (Id.) The Court also found that Defendants\r\nCastellanos and Jauregui had not carried their burden to demonstrate the\r\nsettling parties’ lack of good faith in entering into the subject settlement. (Id.)\r\n

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\r\n\r\n

On April 14, 2021, Defendants Vanessa and Martin filed an\r\nApplication for Determination of Good Faith Settlement.

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On April 29, Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui filed\r\nthe instant Motion to Contest Defendants Vanessa and Martin Martinez’s\r\nApplication for Determination of Good Faith Settlement (the “Motion”). No\r\nopposition was filed.

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\r\n\r\n

Defendant Galindo served a copy of the Court’s April 26\r\norder granting his motion for determination of good faith settlement on May 12\r\non Plaintiff and Defendants Castellanos, Jauregui, Vanessa, and Martin.\r\n(5/12/21 Notice of Ruling.)

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\r\n\r\n

At the initial September 9, the Court requested that\r\nmoving Defendants file and serve supplemental papers in support of their Motion\r\nand warned that failure to do so could result in the Motion being placed off\r\ncalendar or denied. (9/9/21 Minute Order.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

To date, no supplemental papers have been filed. Notably,\r\nat the scheduled October 5 non-jury trial, the parties informed the Court the\r\nmatter had settled and were in the process of finalizing the settlement.\r\n(10/5/21 Minute Order.)

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Accordingly, this Motion is PLACED OFF CALENDAR.

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II. \r\nConclusion\r\n& Order

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For the foregoing reasons, Defendants Jose Alonso Castellanos and\r\nJacqueline Jauregui’s Motion to Contest Defendant Vanessa and Martin Martinez’s\r\nApplication for Good Faith Settlement is PLACED OFF CALENDAR.

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Moving parties are ordered to give\r\nnotice.

'b'

Case Number: 19STLC05860 Hearing Date: September 9, 2021 Dept: 25

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO CONTEST DEFENDANTS VANESSA\r\nAND MARTIN MARTINEZ’S APPLICATION FOR GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT

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MOVING PARTY: Defendant\r\nand Cross-Defendants Jose Alonso Castellanos and Jacqueline Jauregui

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RESP. PARTY: None

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MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF GOOD FAITH\r\nSETTLEMENT

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(CCP § 877, et seq.)

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TENTATIVE RULING:

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Defendants\r\nJose Alonso Castellanos and Jacqueline Jauregui’s Motion to Contest Defendant\r\nVanessa and Martin Martinez’s Application for Good Faith Settlement is\r\nCONTINUED TO OCTOBER 7, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING\r\nSTREET COURTHOUSE. At least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing, moving\r\nDefendants must file and serve supplemental papers as requested herein. Failure\r\nto do so will result in the Motion being placed off calendar or denied.

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SERVICE: \r\n

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[X]\r\nProof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

\r\n\r\n

[X]\r\nCorrect Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

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[X]\r\n16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) OK

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OPPOSITION: None filed as of September\r\n7, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

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REPLY: None filed as\r\nof September 7, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

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ANALYSIS:

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I. \r\nBackground\r\n

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On June 29, 2019, Plaintiff Humberto Orellana\r\n(“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint alleging general negligence, negligence per se,\r\nand negligent entrustment against Defendants Jose Alonso Castellanos\r\n(“Castellanos”), Jacqueline Jauregui (“Jauregui”), Oscar Rolando Galindo\r\n(“Galindo”), Vanessa Martinez (“Vanessa”), and Martin Martinez (“Martin”)\r\n(collectively, “Defendants”).

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Defendants Vanessa and Martin filed an Answer and a\r\nCross-Complaint against Plaintiff and Defendants Castellanos, Jauregui, and\r\nGalindo for comparative indemnity, contribution, and declaratory relief on\r\nOctober 8, 2019. Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui filed Answers to the\r\nComplaint and the Cross-Complaint on December 18, 2019. They also filed a\r\nCross-Complaint for comparative indemnity, contribution, and declaratory relief\r\nagainst Defendants Vanessa, Martin, and Galindo.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Defendants Vanessa and Martin filed an Answer to the\r\nCastellanos and Jauregui Cross-Complaint on January 21, 2020.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Defendant Galindo filed an Answer to the Complaint and a\r\nCross-Complaint for apportionment of fault, indemnification, and declaratory\r\nrelief against Defendants Castellanos and Vanessa on August 21, 2020.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui filed an Answer to\r\nthe Galindo Cross-Complaint on September 2, 2020.

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On February 26, 2021, Defendant Galindo filed a motion\r\nfor the determination that his $10,000.00 settlement with Plaintiff was made in\r\ngood faith. That motion came up for hearing on March 25. Following oral\r\nargument from the parties, the Court took the matter under submission. (3/25/21\r\nMinute Order.) The Court also ordered that a copy of the available deposition\r\ntranscripts be emailed to the Courtroom’s email address. (Id.) On April\r\n26, the Court granted Defendant Galindo’s motion. (4/26/21 Minute Order.) In\r\ndoing so, the Court reasoned that (1) Plaintiff’s Complaint sought general\r\ndamages, medical damages, special and incidental damages, loss of earnings,\r\nloss of earnings capacity, “pre-judgment”, and costs of suit; (2) that\r\nPlaintiff’s discovery responses indicated that Plaintiff was not seeking\r\nproperty or loss of income damages; (3) that Plaintiff’s bills totaled\r\n$5,400.00; (4) that Plaintiff was not scheduled to receive any further medical\r\ntreatment; and (5) that Plaintiff’s damages related to medical treatment were unlikely\r\nto greatly exceed $5,400.00. (Id.) The Court also found that Defendants\r\nCastellanos and Jauregui had not carried their burden to demonstrate the\r\nsettling parties’ lack of good faith in entering into the subject settlement. (Id.)\r\n

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

On April 14, 2021, Defendants Vanessa and Martin filed an\r\nApplication for Determination of Good Faith Settlement.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

On April 29, Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui filed\r\nthe instant Motion to Contest Defendants Vanessa and Martin Martinez’s\r\nApplication for Determination of Good Faith Settlement (the “Motion”). No\r\nopposition was filed.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Defendant Galindo served a copy of the Court’s April 26\r\norder granting his motion for determination of good faith settlement on May 12\r\non Plaintiff and Defendants Castellanos, Jauregui, Vanessa, and Martin.\r\n(5/12/21 Notice of Ruling.)

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II. \r\nLegal\r\nStandard

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“Any party to an action in which it is alleged that two\r\nor more parties are joint tortfeasors or co-obligors on a contract debt shall\r\nbe entitled to a hearing on the issue of the good faith of a settlement entered\r\ninto by the plaintiff or other claimant and one or more alleged tortfeasors or\r\nco-obligors,” upon giving proper notice. \r\n(Code Civ. Proc., § 877.6, subd. (a)(1).) “A good faith settlement under Code of Civil\r\nProcedure sections 877 and 877.6 must strike a balance between the competing\r\npublic policies of encouraging settlements and the equitable sharing of\r\nliability among parties at fault. \r\n[Citation.]” (PacifiCare of\r\nCalifornia v. Bright Medical Associates, Inc. (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 1451,\r\n1464.) “Neither statutory goal should be\r\napplied to defeat the other.’” (Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde &\r\nAssociates (1985) 38 Cal.App.3d 488, 494.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

“Section 877 establishes that a good faith settlement\r\nbars other defendants from seeking contribution from the settling defendant\r\n[citation], but at the same time provides that the plaintiff’s claims against\r\nthe other defendants are to be reduced by ‘the amount of consideration paid\r\nfor’ the settlement [citation]. \r\n[Citation.]” (Dole Food Co.,\r\nInc. v. Superior Court (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 894, 908–909.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

There is no precise\r\nmeasure of a good faith settlement with one of several tortfeasors, but the\r\nsettlement must be within the “ballpark” of the settling defendant’s liability\r\ntaking into account the facts and circumstances of each case. (Tech-Bilt,\r\nInc. v. Woodward-Clyde\r\n& Associates (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488, 499.) “Good faith” depends on\r\nwhat the plaintiff knew about liability at the time the settlement was entered\r\ninto, not on evidence that may be later acquired. (Id.) In determining\r\nwhether a settlement is in good faith and within the “ballpark,” the Court may\r\nconsider the following (1) a rough approximation of the plaintiff’s total\r\nrecovery and the settlor’s proportionate liability; (2) the amount paid in\r\nsettlement; (3) the recognition that a settlor should pay less in settlement\r\nthan if found liable at trial; (4) the settlor’s financial condition and\r\ninsurance policy limits, if any; and (5) evidence of any collusion, fraud, or\r\ntortious conduct between the settlor and the plaintiff aimed at making the\r\nnon-settling defendants pay more than their fair share. (Id.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Another key\r\ndetermination is the settling tortfeasor’s potential liability for indemnity to\r\nother joint tortfeasors. (Long Beach Memorial Medical Center v. Superior\r\nCourt (2009) 172 Cal.App.869, 873, 875-86.) A disproportionately low\r\nsettlement for purposes of obtaining immunity from an indemnity cross-complaint\r\ncreates an inference the settlement was not made in good faith. (Id.)

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III. \r\n Discussion

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui challenge the good faith\r\nof the proposed $5,000.00 settlement between Plaintiff and Defendants Vanessa\r\nand Martin Martinez. (Mot., pp. 3-4.) Moving Defendants raise several of the\r\narguments this Court rejected in its April 26 Minute Order regarding\r\nPlaintiff’s and Defendant Galindo’s $10,000.00 settlement, but also rely on new\r\nevidence, including the deposition of Defendant Galindo. (Id.)

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Moving Defendants indicated on April 29, when this Motion\r\nwas filed, that a copy of Defendant Galindo’s deposition transcript would be submitted\r\nas soon as it was available. (Id., Gonzalez Decl., ¶ 7.) As of the date\r\nof this hearing, moving Defendants have not submitted a copy of that\r\ntranscript.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Further, the Court notes that, on April 26, moving\r\nDefendants’ counsel was admonished for submitting 209 pages of deposition\r\ntranscript without limiting or highlighting the portions relied on. (4/26/21\r\nMinute Order.) As discussed therein, California Rules of Court, rule 3.1116,\r\nsubdivision (c), requires that the relevant portion of any testimony in a\r\ndeposition transcript be marked in a manner that calls attention to it. (Id.)\r\nIn this subsequent motion, moving Defendants’ counsel has done the same, submitting\r\napproximately 124 pages of deposition transcripts but failing to properly mark or\r\nhighlight them. (Mot., Gonzalez Decl., ¶¶ 5-6, Exhs. 3-4.) Further, moving\r\nDefendants reference Plaintiff’s deposition transcript as Exhibit 3 (id.),\r\nbut Plaintiff’s marked or highlighted transcript was not attached. The attached\r\nExhibit 3 is Defendant Castellanos’ deposition transcript.

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Thus, Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui’s Motion is\r\nCONTINUED to allow them an opportunity to correct these errors.

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IV. \r\nConclusion\r\n& Order

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For the foregoing reasons, Defendants Jose Alonso Castellanos and\r\nJacqueline Jauregui’s Motion to Contest Defendant Vanessa and Martin Martinez’s\r\nApplication for Good Faith Settlement is CONTINUED TO OCTOBER 7, 2021 at 10:30\r\na.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. At least 16 court days\r\nbefore the next scheduled hearing, moving Defendants must file and serve\r\nsupplemental papers as requested herein. Failure to do so will result in the\r\nMotion being placed off calendar or denied.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Moving parties are ordered to give\r\nnotice.

'

Case Number: 19STLC05860    Hearing Date: March 25, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE:    Thu., March 25, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Orellana v. Castellanos, et al. COMPL. FILED: 06-29-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC05860 DISC. C/O:   09-05-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O:    09-20-21

TRIAL DATE:  10-05-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT

MOVING PARTY:   Defendant Oscar Rolando Galindo

RESP. PARTY: Defendants Jacqueline Jauregui and Jose Alonso Castellanos

MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT

(CCP § 877.6)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Oscar Rolando Galindo’s Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement is CONTINUED TO MAY 24, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. At least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing, Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui are ordered to file and serve supplemental papers as requested herein.

SERVICE

[X] Proof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

[X] Correct Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

[X] 16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) OK

OPPOSITION: Filed on March 17, 2021 [X] Late [   ] None

REPLY: Filed on March 18, 2021 [   ] Late [   ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On June 29, 2019, Plaintiff Humberto Orellana (“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint alleging general negligence, negligence per se, and negligent entrustment against Defendants Jose Alonso Castellanos (“Castellanos”), Jacqueline Jauregui (“Jauregui”), Oscar Rolando Galindo (“Galindo”), Vanessa Martinez (“Vanessa”), and Martin Martinez (“Martin”) (collectively, “Defendants”).

Defendants Vanessa and Martin filed an Answer and a Cross-Complaint against Plaintiff and Defendants Castellanos, Jauregui, and Galindo for comparative indemnity, contribution, and declaratory relief on October 8, 2019. Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui filed an Answer to the Complaint and to the Cross-Complaint on December 18, 2019. They also filed a Cross-Complaint for comparative indemnity, contribution, and declaratory relief against Defendants Vanessa, Martin, and Galindo. 

Defendants Vanessa and Martin filed an Answer to the Castellanos and Jauregui Cross-Complaint on January 21, 2020.

Defendant Galindo filed an Answer to the Complaint and a Cross-Complaint for apportionment of fault, indemnification, and declaratory relief against Defendants Castellanos and Vanessa on August 21, 2020.

Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui filed an Answer to the Galindo Cross-Complaint on September 2, 2020.

On February 26, 2021, Defendant Galindo filed the instant Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement (the “Motion”). Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui filed a late Opposition on March 17 and Defendant Galindo filed a Reply on March 18.

  1. Legal Standard

“Any party to an action in which it is alleged that two or more parties are joint tortfeasors or co-obligors on a contract debt shall be entitled to a hearing on the issue of the good faith of a settlement entered into by the plaintiff or other claimant and one or more alleged tortfeasors or co-obligors,” upon giving proper notice.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 877.6, subd. (a)(1).)  “A good faith settlement under Code of Civil Procedure sections 877 and 877.6 must strike a balance between the competing public policies of encouraging settlements and the equitable sharing of liability among parties at fault.  [Citation.]”  (PacifiCare of California v. Bright Medical Associates, Inc. (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 1451, 1464.)  “Neither statutory goal should be applied to defeat the other.’” (Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1985) 38 Cal.App.3d 488, 494.)

“Section 877 ‘establishes that a good faith settlement bars other defendants from seeking contribution from the settling defendant [citation], but at the same time provides that the plaintiff’s claims against the other defendants are to be reduced by ‘the amount of consideration paid for’ the settlement [citation].  [Citation.]”  (Dole Food Co., Inc. v. Superior Court (2015) 242 Cal.App.4th 894, 908–909.)

There is no precise measure of a good faith settlement with one of several tortfeasors, but the settlement must be within the “ballpark” of the settling defendant’s liability taking into account the facts and circumstances of each case. (Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488, 499.) “Good faith” depends on what the plaintiff knew about liability at the time the settlement was entered into, not on evidence that may be later acquired. (Id.) In determining whether a settlement is in good faith and within the “ballpark,” the Court may consider the following (1) a rough approximation of the plaintiff’s total recovery and the settlor’s proportionate liability; (2) the amount paid in settlement; (3) the recognition that a settlor should pay less in settlement than if found liable at trial; (4) the settlor’s financial condition and insurance policy limits, if any; and (5) evidence of any collusion, fraud, or tortious conduct between settlor and the plaintiff’s aimed at making nonsettling defendants pay more than their fair share. (Id.)

Another key determination is the settling tortfeasor’s potential liability for indemnity to other joint tortfeasors. (Long Beach Memorial Medical Center v. Superior Court (2009) 172 Cal.App.869, 873, 875-86.) A disproportionately low settlement for purposes of obtaining immunity from an indemnity cross-complaint creates an inference the settlement was not made in good faith. (Id.)

  1. Discussion

Here, Defendant Galindo seeks a determination that the settlement of $10,000.00 that was reached on February 16, 2021 with Plaintiff was done in good faith. (Mot., p. 1:12-15, Pennington Decl., ¶ 2, Exh. A.)

The action arises out of an alleged June 26, 2017, four-vehicle accident. (Compl., ¶ 10.) Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Castellanos, in a vehicle owned by Defendant Jauregui, collided with Plaintiff’s vehicle, causing Defendant Galindo to collide with Defendant Castellanos, which in turn caused Defendant Vanessa, in a vehicle owned by Defendant Martin, to collide with Defendant Galindo. (Id. at ¶¶ 11-18.) As noted above, Defendants Vanessa, Martin, Castellanos, and Jauregui filed a Cross-Complaint for indemnity against Defendant Galindo.

Defendant Galindo points out that this is a limited jurisdiction case with a maximum recovery of $25,000.00 and that this settlement represents 40% of Plaintiff’s total potential recovery. (Mot., p. 5:13-22.) Defendant Galindo’s discovery responses state that he felt an impact to the rear of his vehicle from Defendant Vanessa that caused his vehicle to collide with Defendant Castellanos in front of him. (Id., p. 4:13-19, Pennington Decl., ¶ 7, Exh. E.) Defendant Galindo also references a police report stating that Defendants Galindo, Castellanos, and Vanessa’s violation of the applicable speed limit was a factor contributing to the accident, but did not attach a copy of the report. (Id. at p. 4:19-23.)

In Opposition, Defendants Jauregui and Castellanos argue that a potential exposure of $10,000.00 (given Defendant Galindo’s proposed $10,000.00 settlement, Defendants Vanessa and Martin’s proposed $5,000.00 settlement, and this Court’s jurisdictional amount of $25,000.00) in liability is not reasonable given the proportion of fault between the Defendants. (Oppo., pp. 5:24-6:8.) Specifically, Defendants Jauregui and Castellanos state that Plaintiff testified at his deposition that he heard a collision before he felt Defendant Castellanos rear-end his vehicle. (Oppo., p. 3:21-23.) Defendants Jauregui and Castellanos further argue that Defendant Vanessa testified at her deposition that prior to the collision, she was cut off, presumably by Defendant Galindo, thereby causing the accident. (Id.) However, Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui did not submit copies of the deposition transcript for neither Plaintiff nor Defendant Vanessa. Thus, the Court cannot evaluate or determine whether these deposition transcripts contain testimony that bear on whether Defendant Galindo’s proposed $10,000.00 settlement is within the “ballpark” of his estimated liability. Indeed, “a court not only looks at the alleged tortfeasor’s potential liability to the plaintiff, but it must also consider the culpability of the tortfeasor vis-à-vis other parties alleged to be responsible for the same injury.”  (TSI Seismic Tenant Space, Inc. v. Superior Court (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 159, 166.) 

For this reason, Defendants Jauregui and Castellanos are ordered to file and serve copies of the deposition transcripts referenced in their Opposition so that the Court may adequately evaluate their argument regarding the proportion of fault between Defendants.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Oscar Rolando Galindo’s Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement is CONTINUED TO MAY 24, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. At least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing, Defendants Castellanos and Jauregui are ordered to file and serve supplemental papers as requested herein.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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