On 12/20/2016 JANE R D DOE filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are JON R. TAKASUGI and RICHARD E. RICO. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.
Disposed - Judgment Entered
JON R. TAKASUGI
RICHARD E. RICO
DOE JANE R.D.
LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
DOES 1 TO 25
LA'S BEST DOE 1
JANE R. D. DOE
SALYER DAVID A.
USA LEGAL NETWORK
BOYER HOLLY N.
CARRILLO LUIS ALLEN
GOLDSMITH MICHELE A
GOLDSMITH MICHELE MARLA ESQ.
GOLDSMITH MICHELE MARLA
BARNES CRAIG S
HICKS MATTHEW R.
BARNES CRAIG S. ESQ.
CARRILLO LUIS A. ESQ.
CARRILLO LAW FIRM LLP
10/15/2020: Judgment - JUDGMENT (PROPOSED) JUDGMENT AS TO PLTF JANE RD DOE ONLY
11/12/2020: Judgment - JUDGMENT AS TO PLTF JANE CJB DOE ONLY
11/13/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: JUDGMENTS AS TO PLAINTIFFS JANE RD DOE ONLY A...)
11/19/2020: Association of Attorney
11/20/2020: Notice of Filing of Notice of Appeal (Unlimited Civil)
11/20/2020: Appeal - Notice of Appeal/Cross Appeal Filed
11/25/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT RE JANE RD DOE AND JANE CJB DOE
11/25/2020: Memorandum of Costs (Summary)
11/25/2020: Memorandum of Costs (Summary)
12/2/2020: Appeal - Ntc Designating Record of Appeal APP-003/010/103
12/17/2020: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER JOINT STIPULATION TO EXTEND THE TIME FOR PLAINTIFFS TO FILE THEIR MOTION TO STRIKE OR TAX COSTS
2/5/2021: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER SECOND JOINT STIPULATION TO EXTEND THE TIME FOR PLAINTIFFS TO FILE THEIR MOTION TO STRIKE OR TAX COSTS
2/8/2021: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER JOINT STIPULATION REGARDING DEFENDANTS MEMORANDUM OF COSTS FILED AGAINST ALL PLAINTIFFS [PROPOSED] ORDER
2/26/2021: Appeal - Notice Court Reporter to Prepare Appeal Transcript - APPEAL - NOTICE COURT REPORTER TO PREPARE APPEAL TRANSCRIPT B308957 NOA 11/20/2020
4/7/2021: Appeal - Notice Court Reporter to Prepare Appeal Transcript - APPEAL - NOTICE COURT REPORTER TO PREPARE APPEAL TRANSCRIPT AMENDED
9/8/2021: Notice of Change of Firm Name - NOTICE OF CHANGE OF FIRM NAME AND ADDRESS
3/25/2020: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER JOINT STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] ORDER TO CONTINUE TRIAL, FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGEMENT DATES
5/1/2020: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees
DocketNotice of Change of Firm Name (AND ADDRESS); Filed by Los Angeles Unified School District (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketAppeal Record Delivered; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketAppeal - Notice Court Reporter to Prepare Appeal Transcript (Amended B308957 NOA 11/20/2020); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketAppeal Record Delivered (NOA 11/20/20); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketAppeal - Notice Court Reporter to Prepare Appeal Transcript (B308957 NOA 11/20/2020); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketStipulation and Order (Joint Stipulation Regarding Defendant?s Memorandum of Costs Filed Against All Plaintiffs [Proposed] Order); Filed by Jane R.D. Doe (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketStipulation and Order (SECOND JOINT STIPULATION TO EXTEND THE TIME FOR PLAINTIFFS TO FILE THEIR MOTION TO STRIKE OR TAX COSTS); Filed by Jane R.D. Doe (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketStipulation and Order (Joint Stipulation to Extend the Time for Plaintiffs to File their Motion to Strike or Tax Costs); Filed by Jane R.D. Doe (Plaintiff); Jane C.B.R. Doe (Plaintiff); Jane C.J.B. Doe (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNtc Designating Record of Appeal APP-003/010/103; Filed by Jane C.J.B. Doe (Appellant); Jane C.B.R. Doe (Appellant); Jane R.D. Doe (Appellant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice (of Entry of Judgment re Jane RD Doe and Jane CJB Doe); Filed by Los Angeles Unified School District (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketCONFIDENTIALITY STIPULATION AND PROTECTIVE ORDERRead MoreRead Less
DocketGENERAL DENIAL AND ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINTRead MoreRead Less
DocketGeneral Denial; Filed by Los Angeles Unified School District (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Norma M. (Legacy Party); Jane R. D. Doe (Legacy Party)Read MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by nullRead MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR: NEGLIGENCE, NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION, NEGLIGENT HIRING AND/OR RETENTIONRead MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC644474 Hearing Date: September 24, 2020 Dept: 17
Superior Court of California
County of Los Angeles
JANE R.D. DOE, by and through her guardian ad litem, Norma Macias
LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Case No.: BC644474 (lead)
(Consolidated with Case No.: BC715363)
Hearing Date: September 24, 2020
Defendant’s motion for summary judgment is GRANTED as to Plaintiffs Jane C.J.B. Doe and Jane R.D. Doe.
On July 25, 2018, Plaintiff Jane R.D. Doe filed suit against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). On September 13, 2018, Plaintiff filed a first amended complaint (FAC), alleging: (1) negligence; and (2) negligent hiring/retention/supervision.
On July 25, 2018, Plaintiffs Jane C.B.R. Doe and Jane C.J.B. Doe in related Case No.: BC715363 filed suit against LAUSD. On September 13, 2018, Plaintiffs filed a first amended complaint (FAC), alleging: (1) negligence; and (2) negligent hiring/retention/supervision.
On January 22, 2020, the Court granted LAUSD’s motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiff C.B.R. Doe.
Now, LAUSD moves for summary judgment as to the remaining Plaintiffs, Jane C.J.B. Doe and Jane R.D. Doe. The parties stipulated to have one consolidated motion as to both remaining Plaintiffs for the sake of efficiency and judicial economy, given that Plaintiffs’ FACs are based on substantially similar allegations.
Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (a) provides that a “party may move for summary judgment in any action or proceeding if it is contended that the action has no merit or that there is no defense to the action or proceeding.” The motion shall be granted if there is no triable issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (c).) Subdivision (p)(2) of the same section provides that where a defendant presents evidence showing one or more elements of a cause of action cannot be established, then the burden shifts to plaintiff to show the existence of a triable issue of material fact. (See Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Co. v. Superior Court (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 727, 732.)
A party is also permitted to move for summary adjudication of a particular issue, which can be granted “only if it completely disposes of a cause of action, an affirmative defense, a claim for damages, or an issue of duty.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (f)(1).)
The moving party’s burden on summary judgment “is more properly one of persuasion rather than proof, since he must persuade the court that there is no material fact for a reasonable trier of fact to find, and not to prove any such fact to the satisfaction of the court itself as though it were sitting as the trier of fact.” (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 850 fn.11, original italics.)
Plaintiffs’ FACs are based on allegations that between January 1, 2015 and February 11, 2015, they were sexually abused by John Salinas, a former Program Coach who worked in an after-school program at Arminta
Plaintiff raises identical evidentiary objections to those already previously ruled on by this Court in its earlier ruling granting LAUSD’s motion for summary judgment as to Plaintiff C.B.R. Doe.
First, the evidentiary objections to the Declaration of Michelle Goldsmith are disregarded; these declarations go to the authenticity of Plaintiff’s discovery responses, to which the Court need not refer in ruling on this motion.
Second, Plaintiff raises objections to statements in the Declaration of Maria Underwood. These statements relate to LAUSD’s investigation of Salinas and his background prior to hiring him. The objections are overruled. While Defendant has different nomenclature as to job titles, Underwood is a custodian of records and her declarations are sufficient to authenticate records kept by LAUSD during its normal course and scope of business. With regard to hearsay, it is limited to any knowledge potentially known by Defendant. Plaintiff’s remaining objections are unmeritorious and are likewise overruled.
LAUSD correctly argues that Plaintiff cannot assert a cause of action for common-law negligence against LAUSD because LAUSD is a public entity and liability against a public entity in California is wholly statutory. (Hoff v. Vacaville Unified School District (1998) 19 Cal.4th 925, 932.) The FAC is ambiguous as to whether Plaintiffs are attempting to set forth a cause of action for common-law negligence. Plaintiffs cannot do so, either directly against LAUSD or by way of vicarious liability for Salinas’ own negligence. (John R. v. Oakland Unified School District1 (1989) 49 Cal.3d 438, 452; Steven F. v. Anaheim Union High School District (2003) 112 Cal.App.4th 904, 908-909.) Accordingly, and for the purpose of clarity, summary judgment is granted as to any cause of action for common-law negligence against LAUSD.
II. Negligent Hiring/Firing/Supervision
The law is well established, on the other hand, that “a public school district may be vicariously liable under [Civil Code] section 815.2 for the negligence of administrators and supervisors in hiring, supervising, and retaining a school employee who sexually harasses and abuses a student.” (William S. Hart, supra, 53 Cal.4th at 879.) To prove liability, the plaintiff is required to demonstrate that a supervisory or administrative employee of the school district knew or had reason to know of the dangerous propensities of the employee who injured the plaintiff and acted negligently in hiring, supervising and retaining that employee. (Id. at 868-69, 878.)
Under the “knew or had reason to know standard,” the plaintiff is required to prove either actual knowledge of misconduct or heightened foreseeability, also called a “specific warning.” (See Chaney v. Superior Court (1995) 39 Cal.App.4th 152, 157 [no duty to prevent an assault absent “actual knowledge” of the perpetrator’s deviant sexual propensities]; Margaret W. v. Kelly R. (2006) 139 Cal.App.4th 141, 155 [sexual assault must be foreseeable, not just conceivable]; Juarez v. Boy Scouts of America, Inc. (2000) 81 Cal.App.4th 377, 386, 397, 403 [nothing in the molester’s background was deemed to be a “specific warning”].)
The inquiry at the heart of this motion is whether a reasonable jury would be able to find that LAUSD, in hiring, retaining, and supervising Salinas, had any “specific warnings” about Salinas’ behavior.
As to specific warnings before Salinas’ employment (i.e., hiring), LAUSD has pointed out that Plaintiffs have presented no evidence showing that LAUSD knew or should have known that Salinas was a threat before hiring him. LAUSD has also presented evidence of LAUSD’s due diligence prior to hiring Salinas, and that that due diligence failed to uncover any concerns about Salinas. (Defendant’s Separate Statement (DSS) ¶¶ 6-11.) LAUSD’s arguments and evidence support a reasonable inference that it did not have any specific warnings about Salinas’ behavior during the hiring process. Accordingly, the burden shifts to Plaintiffs to show a triable issue as to whether there was a specific warning during the hiring process.
Plaintiffs’ evidentiary showing on this motion is limited to Salinas’ time at Arminta, which began on December 19, 2014 and ended on February 11, 2015. The question, therefore, is even narrower: whether Plaintiff has shown a triable issue as to specific warnings during this two-month period of Salinas’ employment.
The following are factual contentions asserted by Plaintiffs regarding specific warnings, and the evidence presented in connection with each issue:
· Salinas’ classroom door was “mostly closed”, despite LAUSD’s open door policy which requires that if a program worker had students in their classroom, the door had to be open. (See Plaintiffs’ Separate Statement (“PSS”) ¶¶ 73-75.)
· Salinas’ general behavior and demeanor around female students was questionable. (See PSS ¶¶ 105-106 and record cited therein [staff member testifies that Salinas was more “interactive” with girls; that “he would get along with the little girls more than the boys;” and that female staff members noticed Salinas’ behavior and thought it was “weird”].)
· Salinas and one of the victim Plaintiffs had a suspicious relationship. (See PSS ¶¶ 107-108 and record cited therein [staff member testifies that she noticed that RD was a “teacher’s pet” and Salinas “always had her do everything for him”].
· Salinas opted out of bringing his class to outdoor playtime, choosing instead to keep his students in the classroom. (See PSS ¶¶ 100 and record cited therein [staff member testifies that, on some occasions, Salinas would skip playtime and keep the students in his classroom].)
The question is whether the above evidentiary facts, read reasonably in the light most favorable to Plaintiffs, convince the Court that a reasonable trier of fact will, at trial, be able to find that LAUSD did have a specific warning about Salinas’ behavior. (Aguilar, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 850, fn.11.) After careful consideration, the Court concludes that a reasonable trier of fact will not.
While Plaintiffs’ evidence might show that a reasonable jury could find that the threat presented by Salinas might have been “conceivable” to his fellow staff members at Arminta, Plaintiff’s evidence does not convince the Court that there will be sufficient evidence at trial through which a reasonable factfinder could find that assaults were actually foreseeable to Arminta staff based on their observations of Salinas’ behavior. (Margaret W, supra, 139 Cal.App.4th at p. 155 [sexual assault must be foreseeable, not just conceivable].) LAUSD points out that no one had ever filed or lodged any sort of complaint about Salinas and that the first time Arminta staff became aware of the abuse was after it was reported and Salinas was removed from employment. (DSS ¶ 22.) Other than the above-cited mildly suspicious behavior, there was no specific warning and therefore no foreseeable threat.
In light of the foregoing, the Court finds that LAUSD has met its burden of showing that Plaintiffs will not be able to establish that there was a specific warning, and Plaintiffs have failed to establish a triable issue as to specific warning. Accordingly, summary judgment will be granted.
It is so ordered.
Dated: September , 2020
Hon. Jon R. Takasugi Judge of the Superior Court
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