This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/04/2020 at 19:42:51 (UTC).

VINCENT BRYANT VS WALKENHORSTS COMPANY

Case Summary

On 05/16/2019 VINCENT BRYANT filed a Contract - Business lawsuit against WALKENHORSTS COMPANY. 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:

    *******4772

  • Filing Date:

    05/16/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Business

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

BRYANT VINCENT

Defendant

WALKENHORSTS COMPANY

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Defendant Attorney

MANNELLY PHILIP MATTHEW

 

Court Documents

Memorandum of Costs (Summary) - Memorandum of Costs (Summary)

1/28/2020: Memorandum of Costs (Summary) - Memorandum of Costs (Summary)

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10))

1/15/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10))

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

1/16/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Motion to Strike (not initial pleading) - Motion to Strike (not initial pleading)

11/25/2019: Motion to Strike (not initial pleading) - Motion to Strike (not initial pleading)

Reply (name extension) - Reply Plaintiff Reply to Hearing on Demurrer dated Sept 4,2019

10/21/2019: Reply (name extension) - Reply Plaintiff Reply to Hearing on Demurrer dated Sept 4,2019

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for Order Enforcing Court Ord...)

11/4/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for Order Enforcing Court Ord...)

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

11/13/2019: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

9/23/2019: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

9/4/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

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

8/8/2019: Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

7/11/2019: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

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

7/26/2019: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information - Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

Summons - Summons on Complaint

5/22/2019: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Complaint - Complaint

5/16/2019: Complaint - Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

5/16/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) GRANTED

5/20/2019: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) GRANTED

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

5/16/2019: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

5/16/2019: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

8 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/19/2022
  • Hearing05/19/2022 at 10:30 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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  • 11/12/2020
  • Hearing11/12/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 01/28/2020
  • DocketMemorandum of Costs (Summary); Filed by: Walkenhorsts Company (Defendant); As to: Vincent Bryant (Plaintiff); Total Costs: 880.88

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  • 01/16/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: Walkenhorsts Company (Defendant)

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  • 01/15/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10))

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  • 01/15/2020
  • DocketHearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) scheduled for 01/15/2020 at 10:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94 updated: Result Date to 01/15/2020; Result Type to Held - Motion Granted

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  • 11/26/2019
  • DocketHearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) scheduled for 01/15/2020 at 10:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 11/25/2019
  • DocketMotion to Strike (not initial pleading); Filed by: Walkenhorsts Company (Defendant)

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  • 11/13/2019
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: Walkenhorsts Company (Defendant)

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  • 11/04/2019
  • DocketUpdated -- Ex Parte Application for Order Enfrocing Court Order and entering Judgment in favor of Walkenhorst's: Result Date: blank; As To Parties changed from Vincent Bryant (Plaintiff) to Vincent Bryant (Plaintiff)

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17 More Docket Entries
  • 05/20/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 05/19/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 05/20/2019
  • DocketUpdated -- Request to Waive Court Fees: Filed By: Vincent Bryant (Plaintiff); Result: Granted; Result Date: 05/20/2019; As To Parties: removed

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  • 05/20/2019
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by: Vincent Bryant (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/20/2019
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) GRANTED; Filed by: Clerk; As to: Vincent Bryant (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/16/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Vincent Bryant (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/16/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 05/16/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 05/16/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 05/16/2019
  • DocketUpdated -- Request to Waive Court Fees: Status Date changed from 05/20/2019 to 05/16/2019; As To Parties: removed

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  • 05/16/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Vincent Bryant (Plaintiff); As to: Walkenhorsts Company (Defendant)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC04772    Hearing Date: January 15, 2020    Dept: 94

Bryant v. Walkenhorst’s Company

DEMURRER; MOTION TO STRIKE

(CCP §§ 430.31, et seq., 435-436)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Walkenhorst’s Company’s Motion to Strike is GRANTED.

ANALYSIS:

Background

On May 16, 2019, Plaintiff Vincent Bryant (“Plaintiff”) filed an action against Defendant Walkenhorst’s Company (“Defendant”) seeking a refund. Although Plaintiff did not label any cause of action in the Complaint, the Court determined at a later hearing Plaintiff was asserting a products liability claim. (9/24/19 Minute Order.)

On July 11, 2019, Defendant filed a Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint. On September 4, 2019, the Court sustained Defendant’s Demurrer with 45 days’ leave to amend. (Id.) The Court found that, because Plaintiff had not alleged which theory of liability he was asserting, it was not able to apply the correct elements of a product liability claim. (Id.) In addition, the Court stated that it was not persuaded that Plaintiff’s allegations were sufficient to establish any type of product liability claim. (Id.)

On October 21, 2019, Plaintiff filed a “Reply to Hearing on Demurrer Dated Sept. 4, 2019 Amended Addendum to Original Complaint” (the “Reply”). The documents states,

“The Plaintiff is now amending the original Complaint to read or established [sic] a ‘manufacturing defect’ in the television sold (distributed) by the Defendant Walkenhorst’s and that the date of purchase of the television from the Defendant that there was a standing order or a national recall on the television described in the Plaintiff [sic] original civil complaint due to a manufacture [sic] defect in the television that could cause a fire by way of the electrical cord connected to the television described in the Plaintiff [sic] complaint. The Plaintiff has been harmed by financial loss and the cost of the television to date the Defendant has not payed [sic] a refund or replaced the defected [sic] television, described in the original Complaint.” (Reply, p. 2-3.)

On November 25, 2019, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Strike and Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Improper Pleading (the “Motion”).

To date, no opposition or reply briefs have been filed.

Legal Standard & Discussion

1. Motion to Strike

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).) A motion to strike is used to address defects that appear on the face of a pleading or from judicially noticed matter but that are not grounds for a demurrer. (Pierson v. Sharp Memorial Hospital (1989) 216 Cal.App.3d 340, 342; see also City & County of San Francisco v. Strahlendorf (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1911, 1913 (motion may not be based on a party's declaration or factual representations made by counsel in the motion papers).) 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.)

Generally, a party filing a motion to strike must meet and confer with the opposing party as required by Code of Civil Procedure, section 435.5, subdivision (a). However, a party is not required to meet and confer in an action where a party is not represented by counsel is incarcerated in a local, state, or federal correctional institution. (Code Civ. Proc., § 435.5, subd. (d)(1).) Here, Plaintiff is incarcerated in a California Rehabilitation Center and is self-represented based on the information provided in the complaint. Thus, Defendant does not need to meet and confer with Plaintiff for this motion to strike.

Plaintiff was previously granted 45’ days leave to amend his Complaint. (9/4/19 Minute Order.) Plaintiff filed a “Reply.” Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s Reply should be stricken because the pleading fails to satisfy the rules of civil procedure and court rules. The Court agrees. The pleadings allowed in civil actions are complaints, demurrers, answers, and cross-complaints. (Code Civ. Proc., § 422.10.) Plaintiff’s Reply to Hearing on Demurrer Dated Sept. 4, 2019 Amended Addendum to Original Complaint is not an allowable pleading. In addition, Plaintiff’s Reply does not contain a caption stating that the case is a limited case as required by Code of Civil Procedure, section 422.30, subdivision (b).

Furthermore, Code of Civil Procedure, section 425.10 requires that a complaint or a cross-complaint contain a demand for judgment, and, if the recovery of money is sought, the amount demanded must be stated. (Code Civ. Proc., § 425.10, subd. (a)(2).) Plaintiff’s Reply does not state how much he is seeking in damages, and instead improperly refers to the original complaint.

Accordingly, Defendant’s Motion to Strike Plaintiff’s Reply is GRANTED.

2. Demurrer

 

In the alternative, Plaintiff demurs on the grounds that Plaintiff’s Reply fails to state sufficient facts to constitute a cause of action against Defendant. (Mot., p. 2.) Having already granted the Motion to Strike, the Court analyzes Defendant’s Demurrer only for sake of completeness.

A demurrer is a pleading used to test the legal sufficiency of other pleadings. It raises issues of law, not fact, regarding the form or content of the opposing party’s pleading. It is not the function of the demurrer to challenge the truthfulness of the complaint; and for purpose of the ruling on the demurrer, all facts pleaded in the complaint are assumed to be true, however improbable they may be.

A demurrer can be used only to challenge defects that appear on the face of the pleading under attack; or from matters outside the pleading that are judicially noticeable. (Blank v. Kirwan (1985) 39 Cal.3d 311.) No other extrinsic evidence can be considered (i.e., no “speaking demurrers”). A demurrer is brought under Code of Civil Procedure section 430.10 [grounds], section 430.30 [as to any matter on its face or from which judicial notice may be taken], and section 430.50, subdivision (a) [can be taken to the entire complaint or any cause of action within]. Specifically, a demurrer may be brought per Code of Civil Procedure section 430.10, subdivision (e), if insufficient facts are stated to support the cause of action asserted. Per Code of Civil Procedure section 430.10 subdivision (a), a demurrer may be brought where the court has no jurisdiction of the subject of the cause of action alleged in the pleading. Furthermore, demurrer for uncertainty will be sustained only where the complaint is so bad that the defendant cannot reasonably respond. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.10, subd. (f).)

However, in construing the allegations, the court is to give effect to specific factual allegations that may modify or limit inconsistent general or conclusory allegations. (Financial Corporation of America v. Wilburn (1987) 189 Cal.App.3rd 764, 769.) And, if the facts pled in the complaint are inconsistent with facts which are incorporated by reference from exhibits attached to the complaint, the facts in the incorporated exhibits control. Further, irrespective of the name or label given to a cause of action by the plaintiff, a general demurrer must be overruled if the facts as pled in the body of the complaint state some valid claim for relief. Special demurrers are not allowed in limited jurisdiction courts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 92, subd. (c).)

Leave to amend must be allowed where there is a reasonable possibility of successful amendment. (Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal.3d 335, 348.) The burden is on the complainant to show the Court that a pleading can be amended successfully. (Id.)

Finally, a demurring party must confer with the opposing party as required by Code of Civil Procedure, section 430.41, subdivision (a) before filing a demurrer except in an action in which a party not represented by counsel is incarcerated in a local, state, or federal institution. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (d)(1).) As previously stated, Plaintiff is incarcerated and thus no meet and confer is required.

Here, Plaintiff attempts to amend his complaint to state a cause of action for products liability based on a manufacturing defect. (Reply, p. 1.) A product liability claim is based on manufacturing defect requires the Plaintiff to allege (1) that Defendant manufactured, distributed, or sold the television, (2) that the television contained a manufacturing defect when it left Defendant’s possession, (3) how Plaintiff was harmed, and (4) how the television’s defect was a substantial factor in causing Plaintiff’s harm. (CACI 1201.)

Plaintiff’s Reply alleges that Defendant sold and distributed the television and that Plaintiff has suffered financial loss as a result of the defective television. (Reply, p. 2.) However, Plaintiff does not allege that the defect was a substantial factor in causing Plaintiff’s harm or that the television contained the alleged defect when it left Defendant’s possession. In addition, Defendant does not provide any details in his Reply about the television that allegedly caused him harm, such as the make or model. Plaintiff’s amended pleading should plead sufficient facts on its own and not refer back to any previous pleadings.

Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant’s Motion to Strike is GRANTED.

Moving party to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMCdept94@lacourt.org as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.