This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/20/2020 at 00:54:39 (UTC).

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY VS CHRISTIAN RICHARD ZAMORANO

Case Summary

On 04/17/2019 STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against CHRISTIAN RICHARD ZAMORANO. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is WENDY CHANG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******3824

  • Filing Date:

    04/17/2019

  • 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

WENDY CHANG

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY

Defendant

ZAMORANO CHRISTIAN RICHARD

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

MAGPAPIAN MANUEL M

 

Court Documents

Reply (name extension) - Reply TO PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO SET ASIDE ENTRY OF DEFAULT AND/OR JUDGMENT

8/11/2020: Reply (name extension) - Reply TO PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO SET ASIDE ENTRY OF DEFAULT AND/OR JUDGMENT

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and Default Jud...)

8/18/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and Default Jud...)

Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and / or Default Judgment - Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and / or Default Judgment

4/9/2020: Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and / or Default Judgment - Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and / or Default Judgment

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Plaintiff's Opposition to Motion to Set Aside Default

4/23/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Plaintiff's Opposition to Motion to Set Aside Default

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

7/18/2019: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

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

6/14/2019: Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

4/17/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Complaint - Complaint

4/17/2019: Complaint - Complaint

Summons - Summons on Complaint

4/17/2019: Summons - Summons on Complaint

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

4/17/2019: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

4/17/2019: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/20/2022
  • Hearing04/20/2022 at 10:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service

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  • 06/02/2021
  • Hearing06/02/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 08/18/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 06/02/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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  • 08/18/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and Default Jud...)

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  • 08/18/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and Default Judgment (CCP 473.5) scheduled for 08/18/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 updated: Result Date to 08/18/2020; Result Type to Held - Taken under Submission

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  • 08/18/2020
  • DocketPursuant to oral stipulation, Non-Jury Trial scheduled for 10/14/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court was rescheduled to 06/02/2021 08:30 AM

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  • 08/11/2020
  • DocketReply TO PLAINTIFF?S OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO SET ASIDE ENTRY OF DEFAULT AND/OR JUDGMENT; Filed by: CHRISTIAN RICHARD ZAMORANO (Defendant)

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  • 04/23/2020
  • DocketOpposition Plaintiff's Opposition to Motion to Set Aside Default; Filed by: STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/09/2020
  • DocketMotion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and / or Default Judgment; Filed by: CHRISTIAN RICHARD ZAMORANO (Defendant); As to: STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/09/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and Default Judgment (CCP 473.5) scheduled for 08/18/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26

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1 More Docket Entries
  • 07/18/2019
  • DocketDefault entered as to CHRISTIAN RICHARD ZAMORANO; On the Complaint filed by STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY on 04/17/2019

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  • 06/14/2019
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (Plaintiff); As to: CHRISTIAN RICHARD ZAMORANO (Defendant); Proof of Mailing Date: 05/05/2019; Service Cost: 70.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 04/19/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 10/14/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 04/19/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 04/20/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 04/19/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Wendy Chang in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 04/17/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (Plaintiff); As to: CHRISTIAN RICHARD ZAMORANO (Defendant)

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  • 04/17/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (Plaintiff); As to: CHRISTIAN RICHARD ZAMORANO (Defendant)

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  • 04/17/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY (Plaintiff); As to: CHRISTIAN RICHARD ZAMORANO (Defendant)

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  • 04/17/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 04/17/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC03824    Hearing Date: August 18, 2020    Dept: 26

State Farm v. Zamorano, et al.

MOTION TO VACATE DEFAULT AND DEFAULT JUDGMENT

(CCP §§ 473(d), 473.5)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Christian Richard Zamorano’s Motion to Vacate Default and Default Judgment is DENIED.

ANALYSIS:

Plaintiff State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (“Plaintiff”) filed the instant action for automobile subrogation against Defendant Christian Richard Zamorano (“Defendant”) on April 17, 2019. Following Defendant’s failure to file a responsive pleading, the court entered his default on July 18, 2019. Defendant filed the instant Motion to Vacate Default on April 9, 2020. Plaintiff filed an opposition on April 23, 2020.

Discussion

CCP § 473(d)

The Motion is first brought pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 473, subdivision (d), under which “[t]he court may . . . set aside any void judgment or order.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 473, subd. (d).) In County of San Diego v. Gorham (2010) 186 Cal.App.4th 1215, 1229, the Court of Appeal explained:

[W]here it is shown that there has been a complete failure of service of process upon a defendant, he generally has no duty to take affirmative action to preserve his right to challenge the judgment or order even if he later obtains actual knowledge of it because “[w]hat is initially void is ever void and life may not be breathed into it by lapse of time.” (Morgan, supra, 105 Cal.App.2d at p. 731, 234 P.2d 319.) Consequently under such circumstances, “neither laches nor the ordinary statutes of limitation may be invoked as a defense” against an action or proceeding to vacate such a judgment or order. (Id. at p. 732, 234 P.2d 319.) And, where evidence is admitted without objection that shows the existence of the invalidity of a judgment or order valid on its face, “it is the duty of the court to declare the judgment or order void.” (Thompson v. Cook (1942) 20 Cal.2d 564, 569, 127 P.2d 909 (Cook ).)

(County of San Diego v. Gorham (2010) 186 Cal.App.4th 1215.) There being no deadline to bring a motion under Code of Civil Procedure section 473, subdivision (d), Defendant’s Motion for relief under this statute is timely.

Defendant must now demonstrate that he was not served with the Summons and Complaint as required by the service statutes. The proof of substitute service filed on June 14, 2019 is attested to by a registered process server, and therefore, is entitled to a presumption of validity. (Cal. Evid. Code, § 457.) It states that following multiple attempts at personal service, the Summons and Complaint were left at 12226 Schmidt Road, El Monte, California on May 5, 2019 at 2:20 pm with co-occupant Chris Cruz. (Proof of Service, filed 6/14/19, ¶¶3-5.) The papers were thereafter mailed to the service address on May 10, 2020, making service effective on May 20, 2020. (Id. at p. 3; Code Civ. Proc., § 415.20.)

In his moving declaration, Defendant states that in May 2019, he did not reside at the Schmidt Road address. (Motion, Zamorano Decl., ¶3.) Rather, Defendant lived at 962 E. Ranchcreek Road, Covina, California, where he had resided since mid-2017. (Ibid.) Defendant further states that he never received the papers served in this action and was unaware of the case until notified of the action by defense counsel on March 30, 2020. (Id. at ¶¶4-5.) However, no documentary evidence is attached to Defendant’s declaration demonstrating the dates he lived at the Schmidt Road address or the E. Ranchcreek Road address. The Court, therefore, is not inclined to find that the Schmidt Road address was not the proper address for service of the Summons and Complaint.

Even if the Court were to take Defendant’s bare statement regarding his residence as credible, Plaintiff’s opposition presents evidence that in March 2019, the only address of record for Defendant was at Schmidt Road. Specifically, Plaintiff attaches a copy of its investigative report regarding Defendant’s residences. (Opp., Magapian Decl., ¶3 and Exh. E.) Plaintiff’s evidence carries its burden to demonstrate that service at the Schmidt address was proper.

Defendant also argues that Plaintiff erroneously sent copies of the Summons and Complaint to Century National Insurance Company through AFA Claims Services (“AFA”), when Defendant is actually insured by Sterling Causalty Insurance Company (“Sterling Casualty”). (Motion, Rodriguez Decl., ¶2.) AFA is the claims adminstrator for Sterling Casulaty. (Ibid.) Even if the communications to AFA were incorrectly addressed, it is difficult to see how Plaintiff could have realized this was a problem. On March 12, 2019, Plaintiff’s counsel sent a letter to AFA regarding the claim made to Plaintiff. (Motion, Rodriguez Decl., Exh. A.) On April 18, 2019, AFA responded indicating that Sterling Casualty was Defendant’s insurer and that AFA would need more time to investigate the claim. (Id. at Exh. B.) On April 30, 2019, Plaintiff’s counsel mailed AFA the Summons and Complaint. (Id. at Exh. C.) At no point did AFA inform Plaintiff’s counsel that communications should be sent to Sterling Casualty. Instead, AFA again responded in May and June 2019 to indicate that additional time was required to complete its investigation. (Id. at Exhs. D and F.) The Court does not find these communications with AFA to be evidence that Plaintiff improperly sought to take Defendant’s default with quiet speed.

It is in the Court’s discretion to make factual determinations based on the evidence presented. (Shamblin v. Brattain (1988) 44 Cal.3d 474, 479.) Here, Defendant’s evidence does not overcome the presumption of service nor show that Plaintiff acted improperly. The Court finds that Defendant has not shown a failure of service of process and therefore, relief under Civil Code section 473, subdivision (d) is not proper.

CCP § 473.5

The Motion is also brought under Code of Civil Procedure section 473.5, subdivision (a):

When service of a summons has not resulted in actual notice to a party in time to defend the action and a default or default judgment has been entered against him or her in the action, he or she may serve and file a notice of motion to set aside the default or default judgment and for leave to defend the action.

(Code Civ. Proc., § 473.5, subd. (a).) As there is no indication in the Court’s records that written notice of the entry of default was served on Defendant, the outer deadline for a motion under Code of Civil Procedure section 473.5 is two years after entry of default judgment.

However, there is also reasonabless requirement in bringing a motion under this staute. Defendant has not shown the timing of the Motion is reasonable. The Motion contradicts itself by stating that AFA was notified of the action, but also that AFA was kept in the dark about the action. (Motion, Rodriguez Decl., Exhs. A-F; Beck Decl., ¶¶4-6.) Defense counsel then argues that if AFA was aware of this action, which it was as of April 30, 2019, it would have timely hired counsel to defend the case. (Id. at ¶7.) Finally, Defendant contends that AFA only learned of this action on February 20, 2020. (Ibid.) Again, this is clearly contradicted by the declaration of AFA’s own claims representative. Therefore, Defendant has not shown that the timing of this Motion is reasonably diligent.

Finally, Defendant does not provide any information from which the Court can determine his lack of actual notice was not caused by his own avoidance of service or inexcusable neglect. (See Motion, Zamorano Decl.) This must be demonstrated for relief under Code of Civil Procedure section 473.5, and therfore, relief under this statute is also not proper.

Conclusion

Defendant Christian Richard Zamorano’s Motion to Vacate Default and Default Judgment is DENIED.

Plaintiff to give notice.