This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/02/2020 at 21:09:53 (UTC).

JESAL TORRES VS CLARK STEVENS

Case Summary

On 05/31/2019 JESAL TORRES filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against CLARK STEVENS. 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 Other.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******5270

  • Filing Date:

    05/31/2019

  • Case Status:

    Other

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

TORRES JESAL

Defendant

STEVENS CLARK

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Defendant Attorneys

KIM HEE JOONG

OBAGI ZEIN E

ASH PAUL V

ASH PAUL

 

Court Documents

Request for Dismissal - Request for Dismissal

5/28/2020: Request for Dismissal - Request for Dismissal

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer)

2/25/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer)

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

2/26/2020: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees - Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Answer - Answer

2/26/2020: Answer - Answer

Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

2/26/2020: Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

11/25/2019: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer - Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer

8/9/2019: Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer - Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration DECLARATION, PURSUANT TO CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, SECTION 430.41(a)(2), AND CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, SECTION 435.5(a)(2)

7/16/2019: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration DECLARATION, PURSUANT TO CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, SECTION 430.41(a)(2), AND CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, SECTION 435.5(a)(2)

Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

6/24/2019: Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Complaint - Complaint

5/31/2019: Complaint - Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

5/31/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Summons - Summons on Complaint

5/31/2019: Summons - Summons on Complaint

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

5/31/2019: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

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

5/31/2019: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

2 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/28/2020
  • DocketOn the Complaint filed by JEsal TORRES on 05/31/2019, entered Request for Dismissal with prejudice filed by JEsal TORRES as to the entire action

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  • 05/28/2020
  • DocketAddress for Hee Joong Kim (Attorney) updated

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  • 05/28/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 11/30/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 05/28/2020

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  • 05/28/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 06/03/2022 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 05/28/2020

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  • 02/26/2020
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: CLARK STEVENS (Defendant)

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  • 02/26/2020
  • DocketDemand for Jury Trial; Filed by: CLARK STEVENS (Defendant)

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  • 02/26/2020
  • DocketNotice of Posting of Jury Fees; Filed by: CLARK STEVENS (Defendant)

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  • 02/26/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Paul Ash (Attorney): First Name changed from PAUL to Paul; Last Name changed from ASH to Ash; Organization Name: Hanger Steinberg Shapiro & Ash; Middle Name: blank

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  • 02/25/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer)

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  • 02/25/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer scheduled for 02/25/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 02/25/2020; Result Type to Held - Motion Denied

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4 More Docket Entries
  • 07/16/2019
  • DocketDeclaration DECLARATION, PURSUANT TO CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, SECTION 430.41(a)(2), AND CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE, SECTION 435.5(a)(2); Filed by: CLARK STEVENS (Defendant)

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  • 06/24/2019
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: JEsal TORRES (Plaintiff); Service Cost: 69.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 06/03/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 11/30/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 06/03/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 06/03/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 06/03/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 05/31/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: JEsal TORRES (Plaintiff); As to: CLARK STEVENS (Defendant)

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  • 05/31/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: JEsal TORRES (Plaintiff); As to: CLARK STEVENS (Defendant)

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  • 05/31/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: JEsal TORRES (Plaintiff); As to: CLARK STEVENS (Defendant)

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  • 05/31/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 05/31/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC05270    Hearing Date: February 25, 2020    Dept: 25

MOTION TO STRIKE

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Clark Stevens’ Motion to Strike Portions of Plaintiff’s Complaint is DENIED.

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On May 31, 2019, Plaintiff Jesal Ruiz Torres (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for general negligence, premises liability and strict liability arising from a dog bite against Defendant Clark Stevens (“Defendant”).

On August 9, 2019, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Strike Portions of Plaintiff’s Complaint (the “Motion”). To date, no opposition or reply briefs have been filed.

  1. Legal Standard

California law authorizes a party’s motion to strike matter from an opposing party’s pleading if it is irrelevant, false, or improper. (Code Civ. Proc. §§ 435; 436, subd. (a).) Motions may also target pleadings or parts of pleadings which are not filed or drawn in conformity with applicable laws, rules or orders. (Code Civ. Proc. § 436, subd. (b).) Motions to strike in limited jurisdiction courts may only challenge pleadings on the basis that “the damages or relief sought are not supported by the allegations of the complaint.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 92, subd. (d).)

In particular, a motion to strike can be used to attack the entire pleading or any part thereof – in other words, a motion may target single words or phrases, unlike demurrers. (Warren v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co. (1971) 19 Cal.App.3d 24, 40.) California’s policy of liberal construction applies to motions to strike. (Code Civ. Proc. § 452; see also Duffy v. Campbell (1967) 250 Cal.App.2d 662, 666 [noting that courts must resolve all reasonable doubts in favor of the pleading when considering a motion to strike].) The Code of Civil Procedure also authorizes the Court to act on its own initiative to strike matters, empowering the Court to enter orders striking matter “at any time in its discretion, and upon terms it deems proper.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 436.)

Finally, Code of Civil Procedure section 435.5 requires that “[b]efore filing a motion to strike pursuant to this chapter, the moving party shall meet and confer in person or by telephone with the party who filed the pleading that is subject to the motion to strike for the purpose of determining whether an agreement can be reached that resolves the objections to be raised in the motion to strike.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 435.5, subd. (a).)

  1. Discussion

As an initial matter, the Court notes that the Motion is accompanied by a meet and confer declaration as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 435.5, subdivision (a). (Mot., Ash Decl., ¶ 4-5.) Defendant moves to strike Plaintiff’s request for punitive damages on the ground that there are insufficient factual allegations of wrongful motive, intent, or purpose to support the imposition of punitive damages pursuant to Civil Code section 3294 and that the request for punitive damages constitutes irrelevant, false, or improper matter. (Mot., p. 2:1-5.)

“In order to survive a motion to strike an allegation of punitive damages, the ultimate facts showing an entitlement to such relief must be pled by a plaintiff.” (Clauson v. Superior Court (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 1253, 1255.) A request for punitive damages may be made pursuant to Civil Code section 3294 which provides that “[i]n an action for the breach of an obligation not arising from contract, where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice, the plaintiff, in addition to the actual damages, may recover damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant.” (Civ. Code, § 3294, subd. (a).)

Under the statute, malice is defined as “conduct which is intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff or despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others” and oppression is defined as “despicable conduct that subjects a person to cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of that person’s rights.” (Code Civ. Proc., 3294, subds. (c)(1), (2).) Although not defined in the statute, despicable conduct refers to circumstances that are base, vile, or contemptible. (College Hospital, Inc. v. Superior Court (1994) 8 Cal.4th 704, 725.) Also, “[u]nder the statute, malice does not require actual intent to harm…Conscious disregard for the safety of another may be sufficient where the defendant is aware of the probable dangerous consequences of his or her conduct and he or she willfully fails to avoid such consequences….[Citation.]” (Pfeifer v. John Crane, Inc. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 1270, 1299.)

Here, Plaintiff’s exemplary damages attachment alleges that defendant was guilty of malice and oppression as defined in Civil Code section 3294. (Compl., p. 7, ¶ EX-1.) Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant knew or should have known his dog was vicious and or had a propensity to attack persons, that defendant “willfully neglected to restrain his vicious dog to protect unknowing invitees,” that Defendant “willfully neglected to post signs” warning unknowing invitees about the vicious dog, and that “Plaintiffs intentional conduct in failing to either restrain the to [sic] dog or warn invitees of inherent danger constitutes malice and oppression.” (Compl., p. 7, ¶ EX-2.)

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Clark Stevens’ Motion to Strike Portions of Plaintiff’s Complaint is DENIED.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.