On 11/03/2016 ALEXIS FERNANDEZ filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COM. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are DEIRDRE HILL and HOLLY J. FUJIE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
HOLLY J. FUJIE
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY
TOYOTA MOTOR SALES U.S.A. INC.
TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION
KIM CINDY B.
DOES 1 THROUGH 30
DREYER BABICH BUCCOLA WOOD CAMPORA LLP
MILLER LAUREN OTSUJI
BRENNER WILLIAM A.
MILLER LAUREN O.
BOWMAN AND BROOKE LLP
BOWMAN & BROOKE LLP
VEATCH CARLSON LLP
TIMOTHY A. HODGE ESQ
HODGE TIMOTHY ALAN
5/18/2017: Case Management Statement
5/31/2017: Minute Order
8/29/2017: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)
11/15/2017: Case Management Statement
1/24/2018: Case Management Statement
2/8/2018: Minute Order
11/1/2018: Other -
12/24/2018: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice
11/9/2016: PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE TO JUDICIAL OFFICER (CODE CIV. PROC., 170.6)
2/10/2017: ANSWER OF DEFENDANTS SAMUEL KIM AND CINDY B. KIM TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
Notice ( of Entry of Order re Def. GEICO's MSJ/MSA); Filed by ALEXIS FERNANDEZ (Plaintiff); EVELYN FERNANDEZ (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Order ( After Hearing on Def. GEICO's MSJ/MSA); Filed by ALEXIS FERNANDEZ (Plaintiff); EVELYN FERNANDEZ (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
at 11:00 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Held - Motion DeniedRead MoreRead Less
Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore; Filed by ALEXIS FERNANDEZ (Plaintiff); EVELYN FERNANDEZ (Plaintiff); GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY (Defendant) et al.Read MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Notice (Notice of Court's Continuance of Defendant Government Employees Insurance Company's Motion for Summary Judgment or, In The Alternative of Issues); Filed by GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COMPANY (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Continued - Court's MotionRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
at 10:00 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Jury Trial - Held - ContinuedRead MoreRead Less
Brief (Objecting to Geico's Introduction of New Facts and Evidence in Reply to Plaintiffs' Opposition to MSJ/MSA); Filed by ALEXIS FERNANDEZ (Plaintiff); EVELYN FERNANDEZ (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
at 08:31 am in Department 98, Holly J. Fujie, Presiding; Affidavit of Prejudice - GrantedRead MoreRead Less
Minute order entered: 2016-11-18 00:00:00; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Minute OrderRead MoreRead Less
Affidavit of Prejudice--Peremptory (PLAINTIFF TO JUDGE FUJIE ); Filed by Attorney for Pltf/PetnrRead MoreRead Less
Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (170.6); Filed by Plaintiff/PetitionerRead MoreRead Less
PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE TO JUDICIAL OFFICER (CODE CIV. PROC., 170.6)Read MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT FOR (1) BREACH OF CONTRACT; ETCRead MoreRead Less
ComplaintRead MoreRead Less
SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by ALEXIS FERNANDEZ (Plaintiff); EVELYN FERNANDEZ (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC639572 Hearing Date: November 08, 2019 Dept: SWB
Torrance Dept. B
ALEX FERNANDEZ, et al.,
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES INSURANCE COM, et al.,
Hearing Date: November 8, 2019
Moving Parties: Defendants Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.
Responding Party: None
Motion for Good Faith Settlement Determination
The court considered the moving papers.
The motion is GRANTED. The court ORDERS that in this action, all present claims and cross-complaints of any kind for implied indemnity, equitable comparative contribution and apportionment or partial or comparative indemnity and apportionment based on comparative negligence or comparative fault against Toyota be and are dismissed with prejudice. Any and all present and future claims against Toyota by or on behalf of joint tortfeasors or co-obligors are barred.
On November 3, 2016, plaintiffs Alexis Fernandez and Evelyn Fernandez filed a Complaint against Government Employees Insurance Company (“Geico”), Toyota Motor Corporation, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., Samuel Kim, and Cindy B. Kim based on a motor vehicle accident that occurred on July 5, 2015.
On March 8, 2017, plaintiffs filed a FAC.
On November 2, 2017, plaintiffs Alexis Fernandez and Evelyn Fernandez filed a Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) for (1) breach of contract, (2) product negligence, (3) automobile negligence, (4) breach of contract, (5) breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, (6) breach of contractual duty to preserve evidence, (7) promissory estoppel, (8) intentional misrepresentation, (9) negligent misrepresentation, and (10) loss of consortium.
On April 4, 2019, the court denied defendant Geico’s motion for summary judgment and, in the alternative, summary adjudication.
On August 23, 2019, the court granted defendants Samuel Kim and Cindy Kim’s motion for good faith settlement determination.
Defendants Toyota request an order that the settlement entered into by and among the Toyota defendants and plaintiffs was made in good faith.
In City of Grand View Terrace v. Superior Court (1987) 192 Cal. App. 3d 1251, 1261, the court provided the following guidance regarding a motion for a good faith settlement determination:
This court notes that of the hundreds of motions for good faith determination presented for trial court approval each year, the overwhelming majority are unopposed and granted summarily by the trial court. At the time of filing in many cases, the moving party does not know if a contest will develop. If each motion required a full recital by declaration or affidavit setting forth a complete factual response to all of the Tech-Bilt factors, literally thousands of attorney hours would be consumed and inch-thick motions would have to be read and considered by trial courts in an exercise which would waste valuable judicial and legal time and clients’ resources. . . . That is to say, when no one objects, the barebones motion which sets forth the ground of good faith, accompanied by a declaration which sets forth a brief background of the case is sufficient.
If the good faith settlement is contested, section 877.6, subdivision (d), sets forth a workable ground rule for the hearing by placing the burden of proving the lack of good faith on the contesting party. Once there is a showing made by the settlor of the settlement, the burden of proof on the issue of good faith shifts to the nonsettlor who asserts that the settlement was not made in good faith. If contested, declarations by the nonsettlor should be filed which in many cases could require the moving party to file responsive counterdeclarations to negate the lack of good faith asserted by the nonsettling contesting party.
192 Cal. App. 3d 1251, 1260-1261 (citation omitted).
“[Code of Civil Procedure] Section 877.6 was enacted by the Legislature in 1980 to establish a statutory procedure for determining if a settlement by an alleged joint tortfeasor has been entered into in good faith and to provide a bar to claims of other alleged joint tortfeasors for equitable contribution or partial or comparative indemnity when good faith is shown.” IRM Corp. v. Carlson (1986) 179 Cal. App. 3d 94, 104.
CCP § 877.6(a)(1) provides, in relevant part, that, on noticed motion, “[a]ny party to an action wherein it is alleged that two or more parties are joint tortfeasors or co-obligors on a contract debt shall be entitled to a hearing on the issue of the good faith of a settlement entered into by the plaintiff or . . . and one or more alleged tortfeasors or co-obligors . . . .” “A determination by the court that the settlement was made in good faith shall bar any other joint tortfeasor or co-obligor from any further claims against the settling tortfeasor or co-obligor for equitable comparative contribution, or partial or comparative indemnity, based on comparative negligence or comparative fault.” CCP § 877.6(c). Although a determination that a settlement was in good faith does not discharge any other party from liability, “it shall reduce the claims against the others in the amount stipulated” by the settlement. CCP § 877(a).
“The party asserting the lack of good faith shall have the burden of proof on that issue.” CCP § 877.6(d).
In Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488, 499, the California Supreme Court identified the following nonexclusive factors courts are to consider in determining if a settlement is in good faith under section 877.6: “a rough approximation of plaintiffs' total recovery and the settlor's proportionate liability, the amount paid in settlement, the allocation of settlement proceeds among plaintiffs, and a recognition that a settlor should pay less in settlement than he would if he were found liable after a trial. Other relevant considerations include the financial conditions and insurance policy limits of settling defendants, as well as the existence of collusion, fraud, or tortious conduct aimed to injure the interests of nonsettling defendants.”
The evaluation of whether a settlement was made in good faith is required to “be made on the basis of information available at the time of settlement.” Tech-Bilt, 38 Cal.3d at 499. “‘[A] defendant’s settlement figure must not be grossly disproportionate to what a reasonable person, at the time of the settlement, would estimate the settling defendant’s liability to be.’ [Citation.]” Id. at 499.
“The party asserting the lack of good faith, who has the burden of proof on that issue (§ 877.6, subd. (d)), should be permitted to demonstrate, if he can, that the settlement is so far ‘out of the ballpark’ in relation to these factors as to be inconsistent with the equitable objectives of the statute. Such a demonstration would establish that the proposed settlement was not a ‘settlement made in good faith’ within the terms of section 877.6.” Tech-Bilt, 38 Cal.3d at 499-500.
“Thus, Tech-Bilt held that in determining whether a settlement was made in good faith for purposes of section 877.6, a key factor a trial court should consider is whether the amount paid in settlement bears a reasonable relationship to the settlor’s proportionate share of liability. (Tech-Bilt, supra, 38 Cal.3d at pp. 499–500 . . . .) This is because one of the main goals of section 877.6 is ‘allocating costs equitably among multiple tortfeasors.’ (Tech-Bilt, supra, 38 Cal.3d at p. 502 . . . .).” TSI Seismic Tenant Space, Inc. v. Superior Court (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 159, 166. “Accordingly, a court not only looks at the alleged tortfeasor's potential liability to the plaintiff, but it must also consider the culpability of the tortfeasor vis-à-vis other parties alleged to be responsible for the same injury. Potential liability for indemnity to a nonsettling defendant is an important consideration for the trial court in determining whether to approve a settlement by an alleged tortfeasor. [Citation.]” Id. at 166.
The court considered the Tech-Bilt factors as applied to the settlement.
First, as to a rough approximation of plaintiffs’ total recovery, plaintiff Alexis is claiming $1,564,495 for past medical expenses, $500,000 to $750,000 for future medical care, $150,000 to $160,000 for past lost wages, and $650,000 to $750,000 for future lost earnings.
Second, as to the Toyota defendants’ proportionate liability, on July 5, 2015, plaintiff Alexis was driving his Corolla on I-15 when he was struck by a speeding vehicle driven by Samuel Kim and owned by Cindy Kim. Upon collision, the 2003 Corolla burst into flames. Defendants contend that there is no evidence of a design or manufacturing defect that establishes liability against them. They assert that they produced numerous documents evidencing the vehicle’s fuel system met or exceeded both governmental regulations and Toyota’s internal requirements. Further, Geico and plaintiffs failed to preserve the vehicle evidence and no party has been able to fully inspect the fuel tank. Defendant contends that their likely percentage of liability is low, if any.
Third, the court considered the amount for which the parties settled, which is the subject of a motion to seal.
Fourth, as to the allocation of settlement proceeds, both plaintiffs, as a married couple, will receive the entirety of the proceeds.
Fifth, the court recognizes that defendants should pay less in settlement than if they were found liable after a trial.
Sixth, as to financial conditions and insurance policy limits of settling defendants, they did not address.
Seventh, as to whether there is evidence of collusion, fraud, or tortious conduct aimed to injure the interests of the other defendants, there is none. The parties engaged in extensive discovery and on February 19, 2019, all parties met and participated in mediation although they were unable to reach an informal resolution at that time. Plaintiffs and the Toyota defendants continued negotiation discussions and agreed to a confidential settlement. There is no opposition.
After considering the Tech-Bilt factors, the court finds and determines that the settlement entered into between plaintiffs and the Toyota defendants was made in good faith within the meaning of CCP § 877.6. Therefore, the motion is GRANTED.
Moving defendants are ordered to give notice of the ruling.
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