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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/28/2019 at 17:28:54 (UTC).

DERRELL L DUDLEY ET AL VS CITY OF LOS ANGELES

Case Summary

On 11/29/2016 DERRELL L DUDLEY filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against CITY OF LOS ANGELES. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is CHRISTOPHER K. LUI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****2168

  • Filing Date:

    11/29/2016

  • 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

Presiding Judge

CHRISTOPHER K. LUI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff, Petitioner and Guardian Ad Litem

JEFFERIES JESSICA

Defendants and Respondents

LOS ANGELES CITY OF

DOES 1 TO 100

CITY OF LOS ANGELES

GUTIERREZ DOE 2 ADOLFO

HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES DOE 1

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

CITY OF LOS ANGELES

HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES DOE 1

Cross Defendants

CALIFORNIA AVERLAND CONSTRUCTION INC.

ROES 1-50

Minor

DUDLEY DERRELL L.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff, Petitioner and Minor Attorneys

PETTIS ZIMMER LLP

PETTIS JAMES CRAIG

MCLACHLAN MICHAEL DOUGLAS

Defendant Attorney

BERGERSON JOHN MILLIAN

Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

LEWIS HONEY A

WOODWARD KAREN ELIZABETH ESQ.

Cross Defendant Attorneys

DOUGLASS MICHAEL CRAIG

NOWLAND THOMAS F

 

Court Documents

Unknown

2/8/2018: Unknown

ANSWER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FILED BY ADOLFO GUTIERREZ

2/26/2018: ANSWER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FILED BY ADOLFO GUTIERREZ

INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE FORM FOR PERSONAL INJURY COURTS

4/20/2018: INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE FORM FOR PERSONAL INJURY COURTS

Minute Order

5/15/2018: Minute Order

Minute Order

9/13/2018: Minute Order

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

5/9/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Declaration

5/9/2019: Declaration

Motion in Limine

5/9/2019: Motion in Limine

Motion in Limine

5/9/2019: Motion in Limine

Motion in Limine

5/9/2019: Motion in Limine

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

5/9/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Declaration

5/10/2019: Declaration

Motion in Limine

5/10/2019: Motion in Limine

Opposition

5/20/2019: Opposition

SUMMONS

3/8/2017: SUMMONS

CROSS-COMPLAINT, PERSONAL INJURY, PROPERTY DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH

4/13/2017: CROSS-COMPLAINT, PERSONAL INJURY, PROPERTY DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH

STIPULATION AND ORDER ALLOWING PLAINTIFFS TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

7/17/2017: STIPULATION AND ORDER ALLOWING PLAINTIFFS TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

ANSWER TO THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FILED BY DEFENDANT, HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES

9/29/2017: ANSWER TO THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FILED BY DEFENDANT, HOUSING AUTHORITY OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES

72 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/22/2019
  • Stipulation and Order ( for Good Faith Settlement Determination; Order [Proposed]); Filed by City of Los Angeles (Defendant)

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  • 05/20/2019
  • Opposition (To MIL (Medical Condition)); Filed by Derrell L. Dudley (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/20/2019
  • Declaration (of Jim Pettis); Filed by Derrell L. Dudley (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/20/2019
  • Opposition (to MIL (Liability Experts)); Filed by Derrell L. Dudley (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/20/2019
  • Opposition (to MIL (Medical Treatment)); Filed by Derrell L. Dudley (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/20/2019
  • Declaration (of Jim Pettis); Filed by Derrell L. Dudley (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/20/2019
  • Opposition (to MIL (Current Medical Condition)); Filed by Derrell L. Dudley (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/14/2019
  • Motion to Bifurcate; Filed by California Averland Construction, Inc. (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 05/10/2019
  • Declaration (Jim Pettis); Filed by Derrell L. Dudley (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/10/2019
  • Motion in Limine (No. 4); Filed by Derrell L. Dudley (Plaintiff)

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124 More Docket Entries
  • 03/08/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 03/08/2017
  • Summons Issued; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/23/2017
  • Ord Apptng Guardian Ad Litem; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 02/09/2017
  • Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 02/09/2017
  • APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM CIVIL EX PARTE

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  • 12/08/2016
  • NOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 11/30/2016
  • APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

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  • 11/30/2016
  • Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 11/29/2016
  • Complaint; Filed by null

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  • 11/29/2016
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES BASED ON GOVERNMENTAL TORT LIABILITY AND NEGLIGENCE (GOV. CODE SECTIONS 815.2,815.4, 820, 830.8,835, AND 840.2]

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC642168    Hearing Date: July 20, 2020    Dept: 28

Petition to Approve Minor’s Compromise

Having considered the petitioning papers, the Court rules as follows.  No opposing papers were filed.

BACKGROUND

On November 29, 2016, Plaintiffs Derrell L. Dudley and Jessica Jefferies (“Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against Defendant City of Los Angeles (“Defendant”) seeking damages for personal injuries caused by a bicycle-motor vehicle accident that occurred on April 18, 2016.  Plaintiff Derrell L. Dudley alleges personal injuries when the city maintenance truck struck him while he was riding his bicycle.

On April 13, 2017, Defendant filed a cross-complaint against Roes 1 through 50.  

On July 20, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”).  The FAC replaces the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (“HACLA”) and Adolfo Gutierrez as Doe 1 and Doe 2, respectively. 

On July 26, 2018, HACLA filed a cross-complaint against Cross-Complainant California Averland Construction, Inc.

On June 20, 2019, Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Settlements of Entire Case conditional upon the minor’s compromise hearing.

On January 24, 2020, Petitioner Jessica Jefferies (“Petitioner”), as guardian ad litem, filed a petition to approve the compromise of the action for Claimant Derrell L. Dudley (“Claimant”), who is 14.

On January 27, 2020, Petitioner, as guardian ad litem, filed a petition to Confirm Minor’s Compromise with Special Needs Trust.

On January 28, 2020, the Court continued the hearing on the petition to Confirm Minor’s Compromise with Special Needs Trust to March 19, 2020 to allow time for the Probate Department to review the Special Needs Trust.

On March 11, 2020, the Court continued the hearing on the instant petition to April 8, 2020 due to the courthouse’s closure.

On March 20, 2020, the Court continued the hearing on the instant petition to May 13, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 17, 2020, the Court continued the hearing on the instant petition to August 10, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On June 1, 2020, the Court advanced the hearing on the instant petition to July 20, 2020 due to the Courts availability.

PARTY’S REQUEST

The Petitioner asks the Court to approve a petition to approve a compromise on behalf of the Claimant, Derrell L. Dudley.

LEGAL STANDARD

California Code of Civil Procedure section 372, subdivision (a)(1) provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

When a minor, a person who lacks legal capacity to make decisions, or a person for whom a conservator has been appointed is a party, that person shall appear either by a guardian or conservator of the estate or by a guardian ad litem appointed by the court in which the action or proceeding is pending, or by a judge thereof, in each case…The guardian or conservator of the estate or guardian ad litem so appearing for any minor, person who lacks legal capacity to make decisions, or person for whom a conservator has been appointed shall have power, with the approval of the court in which the action or proceeding is pending, to compromise the same, to agree to the order or judgment to be entered therein for or against the ward or conservatee, and to satisfy any judgment or order in favor of the ward or conservatee or release or discharge any claim of the ward or conservatee pursuant to that compromise. Money or other property to be paid or delivered pursuant to the order or judgment for the benefit of a minor, person lacking legal capacity to make decisions, or person for whom a conservator has been appointed shall be paid and delivered as provided in Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 3600) of Part 8 of Division 4 of the Probate Code.

California Rules of Court, rule 3.1384 provides, as follows:

  1. Petition for approval of the compromise of a claim

A petition for court approval of a compromise or covenant not to sue under Code of Civil Procedure section 372 must comply with rules 7.950, 7.951, and 7.952. 

  1. Order for the deposit of funds and petition for withdrawal

An order for the deposit of funds of a minor or a person with a disability, and a petition for the withdrawal of such funds, must comply with rules 7.953 and 7.954.

Further, California Rules of Court, rule 7.952, subdivision (a) requires the Petitioner and Claimant to attend the hearing on the petition.  

In addition, California Rules of Court, rule 7.955, subdivision (a) states that, unless the Court approved the fee arrangement in advance, the Court must use a reasonable fee standard when approving and allowing the amount of attorney's fees payable from money or property paid or to be paid for the benefit of a minor.  The Court must give consideration to the terms of any representation agreement made between the attorney and the representative of the minor and must evaluate the agreement based on the facts and circumstances existing at the time the agreement was made.  

Also, California Rules of Court, rule 7.955, subdivision (c) requires the attorney submit a declaration that addresses the following non-exclusive factors enumerated in section 7.955, subdivision (b):

1) The fact that a minor or person with a disability is involved and the circumstances of that minor or person with a disability.

2) The amount of the fee in proportion to the value of the services performed.

3) The novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the skill required to perform the legal services properly.

4) The amount involved and the results obtained.

5) The time limitations or constraints imposed by the representative of the minor or person with a disability or by the circumstances.

6) The nature and length of the professional relationship between the attorney and the representative of the minor or person with a disability.

7) The experience, reputation, and ability of the attorney or attorneys performing the legal services.

8) The time and labor required.

9) The informed consent of the representative of the minor or person with a disability to the fee.

10) The relative sophistication of the attorney and the representative of the minor or person with a disability.

11) The likelihood, if apparent to the representative of the minor or person with a disability when the representation agreement was made, that the attorney's acceptance of the particular employment would preclude other employment.

12) Whether the fee is fixed, hourly, or contingent.

13) If the fee is contingent:

A) The risk of loss borne by the attorney;

B) The amount of costs advanced by the attorney; and

C) The delay in payment of fees and reimbursement of costs paid by the attorney.

14) Statutory requirements for representation agreements applicable to particular cases or claims.

DISCUSSION

The Court finds Claimant is not required to appear at the hearing based on his age and the settlement amount.

The Court herein reviews the petition filed on January 27, 2020.  On April 18, 20216, Claimant, then ten (10) year old, was riding a bike in a playground in Mar Vista Gardens located in the City of Los Angeles.  A truck driven by HACLA employee, Adolfo Gutierrez, Struck Claimant.  Claimant suffered a fracture right ankle and potentially cartilage damage to his right knee.  Claimant’s fracture healed, but his knee sores, which occurs occasionally when Claimant play sports.  The soreness has largely subsided over the past year.  The Petition includes medical records in attachment 9.

The parties have negotiated a settlement under which Plaintiffs will dismiss their claims. Defendants City of Los Angeles will pay $25,000, HACLA will pay $38,000, and California Averland Construction, Inc. will pay $57,000 to Claimant.  Additionally, Defendants HACLA will pay $2,000 and California Averland Construction, Inc. will pay $3,000 to Petitioner.

The Court has reviewed the petition and finds the settlement amounts to be fair and reasonable. However, the Court has found the following defects.

In paragraph 17, the Petitioner states that Claimant will net $46,916.44 after medical expenses of $6,241.03, attorney’s fees of $39,600, and expenses of $27,242.53 are deducted from the $120,000 settlement.  The Plaintiffs attorney is seeking to recover 33% of the minor’s recovery.

The Court finds the amount of attorney’s fees requested to be reasonableThe court must apply a reasonable fee standard in approving attorney’s fees in a minor’s compromise petition. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 7.955, subd. (a).) The amount of attorney’s fees sought from Claimant represents approximately 33% of the gross settlement amounts. Counsel entered into a fee sharing agreement with McLachlan Law, APC. Counsel declares that the 33% sought is reasonable based on the combined work of Plaintiff’s counsel and will be divided according to the terms of the fee-sharing arrangement approved by Petitioner. Counsel attests that the case was pending for over two and a half-year, and, after extensive negotiations, a more favorable settlement amount was reached.  Counsels also assert that Plaintiffs agreed upon the fees.  Given the amount of work performed in this case, the Court finds the requested attorney’s fees to be reasonable.

The petition filed on January 24, 2020 is moot.

CONCLUSION

The petition to approve a minor’s compromise of pending action is APPROVED.

Petitioner is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

The parties are directed to the header of this tentative ruling for further instructions.

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