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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/26/2020 at 08:45:57 (UTC).

JANE R D DOE VS LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

Case Summary

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 RICHARD E. RICO and JON R. TAKASUGI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****4474

  • Filing Date:

    12/20/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

RICHARD E. RICO

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

DOE JANE R.D.

HORTA MARIA

RODRIGUEZ YAZMIN

Defendants and Respondents

LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

DOES 1 TO 25

LA'S BEST DOE 1

Guardian Ad Litems

NORMA M.

M. NORMA

Minor

JANE R. D. DOE

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

CARRILLO LUIS ALLEN

Defendant Attorneys

GOLDSMITH MICHELE MARLA

BARNES CRAIG S

BARNES CRAIG S. ESQ.

HICKS MATTHEW R.

GOLDSMITH MICHELE MARLA ESQ.

GOLDSMITH MICHELE A

Minor Attorney

CARRILLO LUIS A. ESQ.

Other Attorneys

CARRILLO LAW FIRM LLP

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: CONTINUANCE DUE TO COURT UNAVAILABILITY AND V...)

7/30/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: CONTINUANCE DUE TO COURT UNAVAILABILITY AND V...)

Declaration - DECLARATION OF M GOLDSMITH ISO (PROP) JUDGMENT AS TO PLTF JANE CBR DOE ONLY

9/15/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION OF M GOLDSMITH ISO (PROP) JUDGMENT AS TO PLTF JANE CBR DOE ONLY

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: JUDGMENT AS TO PLAINTIFF JANE C.B.R. DOE ONLY)

9/25/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: JUDGMENT AS TO PLAINTIFF JANE C.B.R. DOE ONLY)

Declaration - DECLARATION OF M GOLDSMITH ISO (PROP) JUDGMENT AS TO PLTF JANE RD DOE ONLY

10/15/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION OF M GOLDSMITH ISO (PROP) JUDGMENT AS TO PLTF JANE RD DOE ONLY

Motion to Consolidate

6/26/2019: Motion to Consolidate

Answer

7/18/2019: Answer

Request for Judicial Notice

8/23/2019: Request for Judicial Notice

Reply - REPLY TO OPPOSITION IN MSJ

1/10/2020: Reply - REPLY TO OPPOSITION IN MSJ

Order - ORDER COURT'S RRULING

1/22/2020: Order - ORDER COURT'S RRULING

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER SPECIFICALLY SETTIN...)

2/11/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER SPECIFICALLY SETTIN...)

Separate Statement

2/21/2020: Separate Statement

NOTICE OF RULING

12/20/2017: NOTICE OF RULING

DEFENDANT LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES (SET TWO)

6/11/2018: DEFENDANT LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES (SET TWO)

Minute Order -

9/4/2018: Minute Order -

REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

9/7/2018: REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Substitution of Attorney

1/30/2019: Substitution of Attorney

Order - ORDER STIPULATION BETWEEN PLAINTIFF AND DFENDANT REGARDING INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAMINATION(MENTAL EXAMINATION) OF PLAINTIFF; ORDER

5/13/2019: Order - ORDER STIPULATION BETWEEN PLAINTIFF AND DFENDANT REGARDING INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAMINATION(MENTAL EXAMINATION) OF PLAINTIFF; ORDER

OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL LAUSD TO PRODUCE FURTHER RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, SET ONE; DECLARATION OF ANURITA S. VARMA

10/26/2017: OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL LAUSD TO PRODUCE FURTHER RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFF'S REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, SET ONE; DECLARATION OF ANURITA S. VARMA

121 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/20/2020
  • Hearing11/20/2020 at 11:00 AM in Department 17 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Appearance Case Review

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  • 10/20/2020
  • DocketMemorandum of Costs (Summary); Filed by Los Angeles Unified School District (Defendant)

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  • 10/16/2020
  • DocketMemorandum of Costs (Summary); Filed by Los Angeles Unified School District (Defendant)

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  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketDeclaration (of M Goldsmith ISO (Prop) Judgment as to Pltf Jane RD Doe Only); Filed by Los Angeles Unified School District (Defendant)

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  • 10/15/2020
  • DocketDeclaration (of M Goldsmith ISO (Prop) Judgment as to Pltf Jane CJB Doe Only); Filed by Los Angeles Unified School District (Defendant)

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  • 10/02/2020
  • DocketNotice (of Entry of Judgment); Filed by Los Angeles Unified School District (Defendant)

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  • 10/02/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Los Angeles Unified School District (Defendant)

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  • 09/25/2020
  • Docketat 11:50 AM in Department 17, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Court Order

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  • 09/25/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order re: Judgment as to Plaintiff Jane C.B.R. Doe Only) of 09/25/2020); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/25/2020
  • DocketJudgment ((Proposed) Judgment as to Pltf Jane CBR Doe Only); Filed by Los Angeles Unified School District (Defendant)

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228 More Docket Entries
  • 09/01/2017
  • DocketCONFIDENTIALITY STIPULATION AND PROTECTIVE ORDER

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  • 01/23/2017
  • DocketGENERAL DENIAL AND ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

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  • 01/23/2017
  • DocketGeneral Denial; Filed by Los Angeles Unified School District (Defendant)

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  • 01/05/2017
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Norma M. (Legacy Party); Jane R. D. Doe (Legacy Party)

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  • 01/05/2017
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 12/20/2016
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by null

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  • 12/20/2016
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 12/20/2016
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 12/20/2016
  • DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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  • 12/20/2016
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR: NEGLIGENCE, NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION, NEGLIGENT HIRING AND/OR RETENTION

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC644474    Hearing Date: September 24, 2020    Dept: 17

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

DEPARTMENT 17

TENTATIVE RULING

JANE R.D. DOE, by and through her guardian ad litem, Norma Macias

vs.

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.

Legal Standard

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.)

Factual Background

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

Evidentiary Objections

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. 

Discussion

I. Negligence

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

 

 

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at smcdept17@lacourt.org by 4 p.m. the day prior as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative. If all parties to a motion submit, the court will adopt this tentative as the final order. If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar.

Due to Covid-19, the court is strongly discouraging in-person appearances. Parties, counsel, and court reporters present are subject to temperature checks and health inquiries, and will be denied entry if admission could create a public health risk. The court encourages the parties wishing to argue to appear via L.A. Court Connect. For more information, please contact the court clerk at (213) 633-0517. Your understanding during these difficult times is appreciated.