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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/06/2021 at 01:01:17 (UTC).

JULIAN GONZALEZ VS CONTAINER FREIGHT LLC

Case Summary

On 04/27/2020 JULIAN GONZALEZ filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against CONTAINER FREIGHT LLC. 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:

    *******3642

  • Filing Date:

    04/27/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

GONZALEZ JULIAN

Defendant

CONTAINER FREIGHT LLC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

SOLIMAN STEVEN

Defendant Attorney

MORIARTY KRISTIAN

 

Court Documents

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Supplemental Declaration In Support Of Plaintiff's Motion for Reclassification of Action

4/12/2021: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Supplemental Declaration In Support Of Plaintiff's Motion for Reclassification of Action

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

4/12/2021: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees - Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

5/4/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information - Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

12/21/2020: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information - Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

3/4/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

8/26/2020: Motion to Reclassify - Motion to Reclassify

Answer - Answer

6/12/2020: Answer - Answer

Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

6/12/2020: Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

4/27/2020: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for [First Amended Standing Order, Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case]

5/15/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for [First Amended Standing Order, Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case]

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

5/8/2020: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

Complaint - Complaint

4/27/2020: Complaint - Complaint

Summons - Summons on Complaint

4/27/2020: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

4/27/2020: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

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

4/27/2020: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

4 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/01/2023
  • Hearing05/01/2023 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service

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  • 10/25/2021
  • Hearing10/25/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 04/12/2021
  • DocketDeclaration Supplemental Declaration In Support Of Plaintiff's Motion for Reclassification of Action; Filed by: Julian Gonzalez (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/12/2021
  • DocketNotice of Posting of Jury Fees; Filed by: Container Freight LLC (Defendant)

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  • 03/04/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion) scheduled for 05/04/2021 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 03/04/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion))

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  • 03/04/2021
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion) scheduled for 03/04/2021 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Held - Continued was rescheduled to 05/04/2021 10:00 AM

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  • 12/21/2020
  • DocketNotice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by: Container Freight LLC (Defendant)

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  • 08/26/2020
  • DocketMotion to Reclassify; Filed by: Julian Gonzalez (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/26/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion) scheduled for 03/04/2021 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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3 More Docket Entries
  • 05/15/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- First Amended Standing Order: As To Parties: removed

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  • 05/08/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 05/01/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 05/08/2020
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: Julian Gonzalez (Plaintiff); As to: Container Freight LLC (Defendant); Service Date: 04/28/2020; Service Cost: 40.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 05/08/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 10/25/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 04/27/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Julian Gonzalez (Plaintiff); As to: Container Freight LLC (Defendant)

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  • 04/27/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Julian Gonzalez (Plaintiff); As to: Container Freight LLC (Defendant)

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  • 04/27/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Julian Gonzalez (Plaintiff); As to: Container Freight LLC (Defendant)

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  • 04/27/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 04/27/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 04/27/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 25 Spring Street Courthouse

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STLC03642    Hearing Date: May 4, 2021    Dept: 25

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION FOR RECLASSIFICATION OF ACTION

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Julian Gonzalez

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO RECLASSIFY

(CCP § 403.040)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Julian Gonzalez’s Motion for Reclassification of Action is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

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: None filed as of April 30, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of April 30, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On April 27, 2020, Plaintiff Julian Gonzalez (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for general negligence and motor vehicle negligence against Defendant Container Freight, LLC (“Defendant”). Defendant filed an Answer on June 12, 2020.

On August 26, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Reclassification of Action (the “Motion”). Defendant did not file an opposition.

At the initial March 4 hearing, the Court found Plaintiff did not file any evidence demonstrating the possibility of obtaining damages over $25,000.00 existed. (3/4/21 Minute Order.) Plaintiff also did not state when the facts demonstrating Plaintiff’s damages could exceed $25,000.00 were discovered. (Id.) For these reasons, the matter was continued and Plaintiff was ordered to file and serve a supplemental declaration with documentary evidence. (Id.)

Plaintiff’s counsel filed a supplemental declaration on April 12, 2021.

II. Legal Standard

Code of Civil Procedure section 403.040 allows a plaintiff to file a motion for reclassification of an action within the time allowed for that party to amend the initial pleading. (Code Civ. Proc., § 403.040, subd. (a).) The court may, on its own motion, reclassify a case at any time. (Id.) If the motion is made after the time for the plaintiff to amend the pleading, the motion may only be granted if (1) the case is incorrectly classified; and (2) the plaintiff shows good cause for not seeking reclassification earlier. (Code Civ. Proc., § 403.040, subd. (b).)

In Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257, 262, the California Supreme Court held that a matter may be reclassified from unlimited to limited only if it appears to a legal certainty that the plaintiff's damages will necessarily be less than $25,000. (Walker v. Superior Court (1991) 53 Cal.3d 257.) If there is a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00, the case cannot be transferred to limited. (Ibid.) This high standard is appropriate in light of “the circumscribed procedures and recovery available in the limited civil courts.” (Ytuarte v. Superior Court (2005) 129 Cal.App.4th 266, 278.)

In Ytuarte, the Court of Appeals examined the principles it set forth in Walker and held that “the court should reject the plaintiff's effort to reclassify the action as unlimited only when the lack of jurisdiction as an “unlimited” case is certain and clear.” (Id. at p. 279.) Nevertheless, the plaintiff must present evidence to demonstrate a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00 and the trial court must review the record to determine “whether a judgment in excess of $25,000.00 is obtainable.” (Id.)

III. Discussion

Here, Plaintiff’s counsel states that when he filed the Complaint, certain damages were unknown and uncertain and as a result, he believed the damages would not exceed $25,000. (Mot., Soliman Decl., ¶ 3.) However, “after further investigation and discussion with Plaintiff,” Plaintiff’s counsel states he is confident the amount in controversy will exceed $25,000.00. (Id. at ¶ 5.) Specifically, Plaintiff’s counsel states he was not previously made aware that the lost wages Plaintiff claimed were approximately $8,000 per month. (Id. at ¶ 6.) Plaintiff’s counsel explains in his supplemental declaration that he does not have any evidence that could substantiate the lost wages claim, but that discovery is ongoing on both sides. (4/12/21 Soliman Decl., ¶ 4.)

Plaintiff’s counsel also states that, at the time he filed the Complaint, he had very little details regarding the damage sustained by Plaintiff’s vehicle but found out on July 27, 2020 that the vehicle was rendered a total loss. (Id. at ¶ 5.) However, he also provides a copy of a property damage release signed by Plaintiff on August 22, 2018. (Id., Exh. A.) Thus, any property damage sustained cannot be used to support a transfer to unlimited jurisdiction.

Plaintiff’s counsel further provides copies of Plaintiff’s medical billing records. (Id. at ¶ 7. Exh. B. ) He explains that while the attached medical bills total only $13,850.00, he is aware of other hospital visits for which he has been unable to obtain lien and/or billing payment records. (Id.) Lastly, Plaintiff’s counsel submits a copy of Plaintiff’s pain management specialist’s report recommending that Plaintiff receive a lumbar epidural steroid injection and an intralaminar cervical injection. (Id. at ¶ 8, Exh. C.) Plaintiff’s counsel states he believes all of this together demonstrates the damages in this case are certain to exceed $25,000.00. (Id. at ¶ 9.)

The Court is not persuaded. As the Court previously stated, Plaintiff must submit evidence demonstrating the possibility that damages exceed $25,000.00 exists. Plaintiff could not provide any evidence demonstrating he previously earned wages of $8,000.00 per month, not even a declaration from Plaintiff himself. While Plaintiff’s counsel states there are “other” hospital visits for which billing information has not been obtained, the amount of those purported bills and the extent of services provided are unclear. In addition, the pain management specialist’s report does not include the price for the two epidural injections but are unlikely to exceed a few thousand dollars.

A plaintiff seeking to reclassify his action must present at least some evidence demonstrating an award of over $25,000.00 is possible. Plaintiff has not done so. Thus, the Motion is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

IV. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Julian Gonzalez’s Motion for Reclassification of Action is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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