This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/20/2019 at 13:35:22 (UTC).

UNITED FINANCIAL CASUALTY COMPANY VS ELI'S AUTO CENTER

Case Summary

On 08/21/2017 UNITED FINANCIAL CASUALTY COMPANY filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against ELI'S AUTO CENTER. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is GEORGINA T. RIZK. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******3423

  • Filing Date:

    08/21/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

GEORGINA T. RIZK

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Cross Defendant

UNITED FINANCIAL CASUALTY COMPANY

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff

ELI'S AUTO CENTER

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

NIVINSKUS MARK ROBERT

LOVELAND RICHARD WARDELL

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorney

ROBINETT TIMOTHY DOUGLAS

 

Court Documents

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Declaration of Min K. Kang in Support of Cross-Defendant United Financial Casualty Company's Ex Parte Application for an Order Continuing Trial Date

7/16/2019: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Declaration of Min K. Kang in Support of Cross-Defendant United Financial Casualty Company's Ex Parte Application for an Order Continuing Trial Date

Memorandum of Points & Authorities - Memorandum of Points & Authorities

7/16/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities - Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for An Order Continuing the O...)

7/17/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for An Order Continuing the O...)

Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Joint Stipulation and Order to Continue Trial

7/17/2019: Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Joint Stipulation and Order to Continue Trial

Notice (name extension) - Notice Regarding Plaintiff and Defendant United Financial Company's Ex Parte Application for an Order Continuing the September 27, 2019 Trial Date

7/30/2019: Notice (name extension) - Notice Regarding Plaintiff and Defendant United Financial Company's Ex Parte Application for an Order Continuing the September 27, 2019 Trial Date

Substitution of Attorney

2/6/2018: Substitution of Attorney

Answer

2/9/2018: Answer

Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order joint stipulation and order to continue trial

10/31/2018: Stipulation and Order (name extension) - Stipulation and Order joint stipulation and order to continue trial

Notice (name extension) - Notice Notice of Entry of Order

11/14/2018: Notice (name extension) - Notice Notice of Entry of Order

Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

1/11/2018: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

Answer

12/8/2017: Answer

Cross-Complaint

12/8/2017: Cross-Complaint

Proof of Personal Service

10/11/2017: Proof of Personal Service

Summons - on Complaint

8/21/2017: Summons - on Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet

8/21/2017: Civil Case Cover Sheet

Complaint

8/21/2017: Complaint

Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

8/21/2017: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

5 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 08/24/2020
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department 94 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service

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  • 04/13/2020
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department 94 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 07/30/2019
  • DocketNotice Regarding Plaintiff and Defendant United Financial Company's Ex Parte Application for an Order Continuing the September 27, 2019 Trial Date; Filed by: United Financial Casualty Company (Plaintiff); As to: United Financial Casualty Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/17/2019
  • DocketJoint Stipulation and Order to Continue Trial; Signed and Filed by: United Financial Casualty Company (Plaintiff); As to: Eli's Auto Center (Defendant)

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  • 07/17/2019
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for An Order Continuing the O...)

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  • 07/17/2019
  • DocketHearing on Ex Parte Application for An Order Continuing the October 21, 2019 Trial Date scheduled for 07/17/2019 at 01:30 PM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94 updated: Result Date to 07/17/2019; Result Type to Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Court

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  • 07/17/2019
  • DocketPursuant to written stipulation, Non-Jury Trial scheduled for 09/27/2019 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94 Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court was rescheduled to 04/13/2020 08:30 AM

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  • 07/16/2019
  • DocketMemorandum of Points & Authorities; Filed by: United Financial Casualty Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/16/2019
  • DocketDeclaration Declaration of Min K. Kang in Support of Cross-Defendant United Financial Casualty Company's Ex Parte Application for an Order Continuing Trial Date; Filed by: United Financial Casualty Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/16/2019
  • DocketHearing on Ex Parte Application for An Order Continuing the October 21, 2019 Trial Date scheduled for 07/17/2019 at 01:30 PM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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11 More Docket Entries
  • 12/08/2017
  • DocketDefendant/Cross-Complainant Eli's Auto Center's Cross-Complaint for: 1. Money Due on a Written Contract; 2. Quantum Meruit; 3. Account Statedl 4. Open Book Account; and 5. Promissory Estoppel; Filed by: Eli's Auto Center (Cross-Complainant); As to: United Financial Casualty Company (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 12/08/2017
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Eli's Auto Center (Defendant)

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  • 10/11/2017
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: United Financial Casualty Company (Plaintiff); As to: Eli's Auto Center (Defendant); Service Date: 09/27/2017; Service Cost: 69.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 08/29/2017
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Georgina T. Rizk in Department 77 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 08/29/2017
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 02/19/2019 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 77

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  • 08/29/2017
  • DocketOSC - Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 08/24/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 77

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  • 08/21/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: United Financial Casualty Company (Plaintiff); As to: Eli's Auto Center (Defendant)

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  • 08/21/2017
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: United Financial Casualty Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/21/2017
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Clerk

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  • 08/21/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 17STLC03423    Hearing Date: December 16, 2019    Dept: 94

United Financial Casualty Co. v. Eli’s Auto Center, et al.

MOTION FOR LEAVE TO AMEND COMPLAINT AND TO RECLASSIFY ACTION

(CCP §§ 473(a); 403.040)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff United Financial Casualty Company’s Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint and to Reclassify Action to Unlimited Jurisdiction GRANTED. PLAINTIFF IS TO FILE THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT AND PAY THE RECLASSIFICATION FEE WITHIN TEN (10) DAYS. UPON FILING OF THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT, THIS CASE IS RECLASSIFIED AS AN UNLIMITED CIVIL CASE AND TRANSFERRED TO THE TRANSFER/RECLASSIFICATION DESK FOR REASSIGNMENT TO AN INDEPENDENT CALENDAR COURT.

ANALYSIS:

On August 21, 2017, Plaintiff United Financial Casualty Company (“Plaintiff”) filed the instant action for common counts against Defendant Eli’s Auto Center (“Defendants”). Defendant filed a Cross-Complaint for breach of written contract and common counts on December 11, 2017. Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Amend Complaint and Reclassify Action on November 22, 2019. To date, no opposition has been filed.

Motion for Leave to Amend

Plaintiff alleges that it paid Defendant money to repair the motor vehicle of Plaintiff’s insured, but the work was never performed. Defendant cross-claims on the grounds that Plaintiff failed to pay in full for work performed on their insureds’ vehicles.

Plaintiff moves for leave to add allegations to the Complaint regarding overpayments made to Defendant for a total of eight vehicles. (Motion, Kang Decl., ¶7.) These alleged overpayments were discovered during the parties’ extended settlement discussions, which concluded in November, 2019. (Id. at ¶¶4-6.) Additionally, Plaintiff seeks to add two co-Plaintiffs and another Defendant as it is learning of the exact relationship between Defendant and Eli’s Auto Center II, Inc. (Id. at ¶¶7-8.)

The policy favoring amendment and resolving all matters in the same dispute is “so strong that it is a rare case in which denial of leave to amend can be justified. . . .” “Although courts are bound to apply a policy of great liberality in permitting amendments to the complaint at any stage of the proceedings, up to and including trial [citations], this policy should be applied only ‘where no prejudice is shown to the adverse party . . . . [citation].  A different result is indicated ‘where inexcusable delay and probable prejudice to the opposing party’ is shown. [Citation].” (Magpali v. Farmers Group (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 471, 487 (emphasis added).) Where a proposed amendment opening an entirely new substantive area of injury on the eve of trial without any explanation for why the major change had not been made long before, denial of leave is appropriate ordered in the court’s discretion.  (Id.)

Also, a motion for leave to file an amended pleading must comply with CRC Rule 3.1342, which requires a supporting declaration setting forth explicitly what allegations are to be added and where, and explicitly stating what new evidence was discovered warranting the amendment and why the amendment was not made earlier.  The motion must also include (1) a copy of the proposed and numbered amendment, (2) specifications by reference to pages and lines the allegations that would be deleted and added, and (3) a declaration specifying the effect, necessity and propriety of the amendments, date of discovery and reasons for delay. (CRC Rule 3.1324(a)-(b).)

Plaintiff has demonstrated that leave to amend is appropriate based on its discovery of additional facts and parties relating to the claims raised in both the Complaint and Cross-Complaint. The Notice of Motion sets forth the proposed changes to the Complaint, and attaches a copy of the proposed First Amended Complaint.

Motion to Reclassify

Plaintiff also moves for reclassification of this action to a court of unlimited jurisdiction based on the facts discussed above. 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).) 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 279.) The plaintiff must present evidence to demonstrate a possibility that the damages will exceed $25,000.00, then the trial court must review the record to determine “whether a judgment in excess of $25,000.00 is obtainable.” (Ibid.)

Plaintiff has explained the chronology of its discovery of the facts that make it appropriate to expand the scope of the Complaint. Given that there are now eight alleged instances of over payment to Defendant, there is a strong possibility the amount in controversy will exceed $25,000.00.

Conclusion

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s Motion to Amend Complaint and to Reclassify Action is GRANTED.

Moving party to give notice.