This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 01/07/2021 at 18:31:13 (UTC).

JEAN PAIGE VS. RONALD J NOLAN

Case Summary

On 01/04/2016 JEAN PAIGE filed a Contract - Professional Negligence lawsuit against RONALD J NOLAN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Chatsworth Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is MELVIN D. SANDVIG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6813

  • Filing Date:

    01/04/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Professional Negligence

  • Courthouse:

    Chatsworth Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

MELVIN D. SANDVIG

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

PAIGE JEAN

Defendant

NOLAN RONALD J

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

MARK CARTON

CARTON MARK

Defendant Attorney

DIDONATO PETER RUSSELL

 

Court Documents

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) -

5/31/2016: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) -

Legacy Document -

8/28/2017: Legacy Document -

Legacy Document -

11/14/2017: Legacy Document -

Case Management Statement -

1/5/2018: Case Management Statement -

Legacy Document -

1/5/2018: Legacy Document -

Minute Order -

4/21/2017: Minute Order -

Minute Order -

7/28/2017: Minute Order -

Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-03-19 00:00:00

3/19/2018: Minute Order - Minute order entered: 2018-03-19 00:00:00

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/21/2021
  • Hearing06/21/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department F47 at 9425 Penfield Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311; Jury Trial

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  • 06/11/2021
  • Hearing06/11/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department F47 at 9425 Penfield Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311; Final Status Conference

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  • 04/21/2021
  • Hearing04/21/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department F47 at 9425 Penfield Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311; Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC)

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  • 02/19/2021
  • Hearing02/19/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department F47 at 9425 Penfield Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311; Hearing on Motion to Strike Motion to Deem Jury Trial Waiver and to Strike Jury Trial Request

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  • 12/28/2020
  • DocketMotion for Order (to deem defendant right to Jury trial waived and to strike posting of jury fees-momorandum); Filed by JEAN PAIGE (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/28/2020
  • DocketRequest for Judicial Notice; Filed by JEAN PAIGE (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/28/2020
  • DocketDeclaration (in support of motion to deem defendant right to Jury trial waived and to strike posting of jury fees-momorandum); Filed by JEAN PAIGE (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/28/2020
  • DocketDeclaration (of Mark Carton in support of motion to deem defendant right to Jury trial waived and to strike posting of jury fees-momorandum); Filed by JEAN PAIGE (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/18/2020
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department F47, Melvin D. Sandvig, Presiding; Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC) - Not Held - Rescheduled by Court

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  • 12/11/2020
  • DocketNotice of Posting of Jury Fees; Filed by RONALD J NOLAN (Defendant)

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115 More Docket Entries
  • 05/06/2016
  • Docketat 00:00 AM in Department Legacy; (Request to Enter Default; REJECTED) -

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  • 05/06/2016
  • DocketRequest for Entry of Default / Judgment; Filed by JEAN PAIGE (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/25/2016
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by JEAN PAIGE (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/20/2016
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by JEAN PAIGE (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/04/2016
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by JEAN PAIGE (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/04/2016
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by JEAN PAIGE (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/04/2016
  • DocketSummons; Filed by null

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  • 01/04/2016
  • DocketComplaint filed-Summons Issued; Filed by null

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  • 01/04/2016
  • DocketNotice (Notice of All Purpose Case Assignment and Notice of Case Management Conference)

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  • 01/04/2016
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Filed by JEAN PAIGE (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: PC056813    Hearing Date: April 28, 2021    Dept: F47

Dept. F-47

Date: 4/28/21 TRIAL DATE: 6/21/21

Case #PC056813

MOTION TO BIFURCATE

Motion filed on 2/23/21.

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Ronald J. Nolan

RESPONDING PARTY: Plaintiff Jean Paige

NOTICE: ok

RELIEF REQUESTED: An order for bifurcation of this action and a separate trial/trial within a trial pursuant to CCP 598 and 1048, to allow a final determination of the personal injury issues in the underlying claim from which this alleged legal malpractice action arises prior to the trial of the legal malpractice claims.

RULING: The motion is denied.

Plaintiff is reminded to review the 5/3/19 First Amended General Order Re Mandatory Electronic Filing for Civil. When e-filing documents, parties must comply with the “TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS” which are set forth at page 4, line 4 through page 5, line 12 of the Court’s 5/3/19 First Amended General Order Re Mandatory Electronic Filing for Civil (particularly with regard to bookmarking). See also CRC 3.1110(f)(4) Failure to comply with these requirements in the future may result in papers being rejected, matters being placed off calendar, matters being continued so documents can be resubmitted in compliance with these requirements, documents not being considered and/or the imposition of sanctions.

This action arises out of Defendant’s alleged legal malpractice. Plaintiff sustained personal injuries due to a trip and fall incident that occurred on 12/7/12. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant, an attorney she hired, failed to file an action against the underlying tortfeasors within the applicable statutes of limitations barring her recovery against them. On 1/4/16, Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant alleging one cause of action for negligence. Default and default judgment were entered against Defendant. Pursuant to Defendant’s motion, the default judgment was set aside on 7/28/17. Thereafter, a Case Management Conference was held on 1/18/18. In their Case Management Statements filed in relation to the 1/18/18 Casement Management Conference, both Plaintiff and Defendant requested a jury trial. The parties have stipulated to several trial continuances resulting in the current trial date of 6/21/21.

Plaintiff timely paid jury fees; however, Defendant did not. See CCP 631(b), (c), (f)(5). Defendant did not post jury fees until December 2020. On 12/28/20, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Order Deeming Jury Trial Waived and to Strike Defendant’s Notice of Jury Request. On 2/19/21, the Court continued the hearing on the foregoing motion to the date of the Final Status Conference. (See 2/19/21 Minute Order). The Court also indicated that “[i]f Plaintiff believes that she has a basis to demand a court trial due to her and her witnesses health issues and the risks presented by a jury trial during the pandemic, she must file a separate motion presenting authority for such relief accompanied by medical evidence establishing the risk to Plaintiff’s and her witnesses’ health if the trial proceeds by jury.” (emphasis added) Id.

On 2/23/21, Defendant filed the instant motion seeking an order for bifurcation of this action and a separate trial/trial within a trial pursuant to CCP 598 and 1048, to allow a final determination of the personal injury issues in the underlying claim from which this alleged legal malpractice action arises prior to the trial of the legal malpractice claims. On 4/8/21, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Set Trial as Bench Trial which is set to be heard on the same date as this Motion to Bifurcate.

Plaintiff’s request to have this motion continued to the date of the Final Status Conference is denied. The Court finds that the issue is ripe for determination at this time.

CCP 1048(b) provides:

The court, in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice, or when separate trials will be conducive to expedition and economy, may order a separate trial of any cause of action, including a cause of action asserted in a cross-complaint, or of any separate issue or of any number of causes of action or issues, preserving the right of trial by jury required by the Constitution or a statute of this state or of the United States.

CCP 598 provides, in relevant part:

The court may, when the convenience of witnesses, the ends of justice, or the economy and efficiency of handling the litigation would be promoted thereby, on motion of a party, after notice and hearing, make an order, no later than the close of pretrial conference in cases in which such pretrial conference is to be held, or, in other cases, no later than 30 days before the trial date, that the trial of any issue or any part thereof shall precede the trial of any other issue or any part thereof in the case ...

Whether to grant separate trials lies within the sound discretion of the trial court and is subject to reversal only for clear abuse. See Grappo (1991) 235 CA3d 496, 504.

To establish attorney malpractice, a trial-within-a-trial method of proof is required. See Mattco Forge, Inc. (1997) 52 CA4th 820, 831-834. As such, a plaintiff must prove that he/she would have prevailed in the underlying action in order to recover on a malpractice claim against his/her attorney who handled the underlying action. Id.

The cases relied on by Defendant for his request to bifurcate of this action and hold a separate trial of Plaintiff’s underlying personal injury claim against the City of Santa Clarita and All American Asphalt before a trial of the malpractice claim are procedurally distinguishable from the instant case. The cases cited by Defendant stand for the proposition that a separate malpractice action against a plaintiff’s attorney may be stayed pending the resolution of the underlying litigation. See Beal Bank, SSB (2007) 42 C4th 503, 513-514; Jordache Enterprises, Inc. (1998) 18 C4th 739, 758; Adams (1995) 11 C4th 583, 592-593; Sindell (1997) 54 CA4th 1457, 1473 fn.11. Here, the underlying action is not pending. Rather, the underlying action (trial-within-a-trial) will be resolved in this action. Any claimed prejudice to Defendant can be eliminated by instructing the jury that if they find Plaintiff failed to establish she would have prevailed in the underlying personal injury action, Plaintiff cannot establish any legal damages resulting from Defendant’s malpractice.

Dept. F-47

Date: 4/28/21 TRIAL DATE: 6/21/21

Case #PC056813

MOTION TO SET TRIAL AS BENCH TRIAL

Motion filed on 4/8/21.

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Ronald J. Nolan

RESPONDING PARTY: Plaintiff Jean Paige

NOTICE: ok

RELIEF REQUESTED: An order setting the trial in this case as a bench trial without a sitting jury due to Plaintiff’s medical conditions.

RULING: The motion is denied.

This action arises out of Defendant’s alleged legal malpractice. Plaintiff sustained personal injuries due to a trip and fall incident that occurred on 12/7/12. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant, an attorney she hired, failed to file an action against the underlying tortfeasors within the applicable statutes of limitations barring her recovery against them. On 1/4/16, Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant alleging one cause of action for negligence. Default and default judgment were entered against Defendant. Pursuant to Defendant’s motion, the default judgment was set aside on 7/28/17. Thereafter, a Case Management Conference was held on 1/18/18. In their Case Management Statements filed in relation to the 1/18/18 Casement Management Conference, both Plaintiff and Defendant requested a jury trial. The parties have stipulated to several trial continuances resulting in the current trial date of 6/21/21.

Plaintiff timely paid jury fees; however, Defendant did not. See CCP 631(b), (c), (f)(5). Defendant did not post jury fees until December 2020. On 12/28/20, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Order Deeming Jury Trial Waived and to Strike Defendant’s Notice of Jury Request. On 2/19/21, the Court continued the hearing on the foregoing motion to the date of the Final Status Conference. (See 2/19/21 Minute Order). However, the Court noted that “[i]f there was no question that jury trials could be conducted as of 6/21/21, the Court would exercise its discretion to allow a trial by jury despite Defendant’s failure to timely post jury fees.” Id. The Court stated that “Defendant’s failure to timely post jury fees did not cause prejudice to Plaintiff as Plaintiff was also requesting a jury trial up until the filing of [the] motion [to deem jury trial waived and strike defendant’s notice of jury trial request].” Id. The Court further noted that “Plaintiff seems to conflate the issues of Defendant’s failure to timely post jury fees with the health issues she and her witnesses suffer which could cause serious harm if a jury trial were permitted to proceed during the pandemic.” Id. Finally, the Court indicated that “[i]f Plaintiff believes that she has a basis to demand a court trial due to her and her witnesses health issues and the risks presented by a jury trial during the pandemic, she must file a separate motion presenting authority for such relief accompanied by medical evidence establishing the risk to Plaintiff’s and her witnesses’ health if the trial proceeds by jury.” (emphasis added) Id.

On 4/8/21, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Set Trial as Bench Trial.

Plaintiff’s request to have this motion continued to the date of the Final Status Conference is denied. Based on the fact that civil jury trials are currently proceeding, the Court finds that the issue is ripe for determination at this time.

The only authority cited by Plaintiff for the proposition that the Court may set this matter as a bench trial, despite Defendant’s request for a jury trial and Defendant’s curing his failure to timely pay jury fees, is CCP 128(a)(3), (5) and (8).

CCP 128 provides, in relevant part:

     (3) To provide for the orderly conduct of proceedings before it, or its officers.

     (5) To control in furtherance of justice, the conduct of its ministerial officers, and of all other persons in any manner connected with a judicial proceeding before it, in every matter pertaining thereto.

(A) There is no reasonable possibility that the interests of nonparties or the public will be adversely affected by the reversal.

(B) The reasons of the parties for requesting reversal outweigh the erosion of public trust that may result from the nullification of a judgment and the risk that the availability of stipulated reversal will reduce the incentive for pretrial settlement.

The Court notes that Plaintiff has taken somewhat inconsistent positions in her motion and reply. In the motion, Plaintiff argues that if she only suffered from a compromised immune system due to her kidney transplant “there may have been a technical solution of convening a remote jury.” (See Motion p.3:20-21). However, in the reply, Plaintiff argues that Defendant’s suggestion that Plaintiff participate in a jury trial on Zoom would unfairly prejudice the case against her. (See Reply, p.2:21-22). The Court sympathizes with Plaintiff’s medical conditions; however, the Court finds that under the circumstances of this case, the authority relied on by Plaintiff and the reasons set forth in its 2/19/21 Minute Order, it does not have the authority to order that this matter proceed as a bench trial.

Case Number: PC056813    Hearing Date: February 19, 2021    Dept: F47

Dept. F-47

Date: 2/19/21 TRIAL DATE: 6/21/21

Case #PC056813

MOTION TO DEEM JURY TRIAL WAIVED

&

TO STRIKE DEFENDANT’S NOTICE OF JURY REQUEST

Motion filed on 12/28/20.

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Jean Paige

RESPONDING PARTY: Defendant Ronald J. Nolan

NOTICE: ok

RELIEF REQUESTED: An order pursuant to CCP 631 deeming Defendant waived the right to a jury trial by failing to demand a jury and/or post jury fees, to strike his Posting of Jury Fees and Notice of Posting Jury Fees, and to order the case be tried to the Court on 6/21/21 as currently set without a jury.

RULING: The hearing will be continued.

Plaintiff’s Request for Judicial Notice is granted.

This action arises out of Defendant’s alleged legal malpractice. Plaintiff sustained personal injuries due to a trip and fall incident that occurred on 12/7/12. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant, an attorney she hired, failed to file an action against the underlying tortfeasors within the applicable statutes of limitations barring her recovery against them. On 1/4/16, Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant. Default and default judgment were entered against Defendant. Pursuant to Defendant’s motion, the default judgment was set aside on 7/28/17. (diDonato Decl., Ex.2). Thereafter, a Case Management Conference was held on 1/18/18. In their Case Management Statements filed in relation to the 1/18/18 Casement Management Conference, both Plaintiff and Defendant requested a jury trial. (diDonato Decl., Ex.3, 4). The parties have stipulated to several trial continuances resulting in the current trial date of 6/21/21.

A civil action must be brought to trial within five years after the action is commenced against the defendant. CCP 583.310. Due to the pandemic, Emergency Rule 10(a) extends the five year deadline by six months. Here, the default also extends the five year deadline by 53 days. As such, under current rules, this case must be brought to trial on or before 8/26/21.

CCP 631 provides, in relevant part:

(a) The right to a trial by jury as declared by Section 16 of Article I of the California Constitution shall be preserved to the parties inviolate. In civil cases, a jury may only be waived pursuant to subdivision (f).

(b) At least one party demanding a jury on each side of a civil case shall pay a nonrefundable fee of one hundred fifty dollars ($150), unless the fee has been paid by another party on the same side of the case. The fee shall offset the costs to the state of providing juries in civil cases. If there are more than two parties to the case, for purposes of this section only, all plaintiffs shall be considered one side of the case, and all other parties shall be considered the other side of the case. Payment of the fee by a party on one side of the case shall not relieve parties on the other side of the case from waiver pursuant to subdivision (f).

(c) The fee described in subdivision (b) shall be due on or before the date scheduled for the initial case management conference in the action, except as follows:

(1) In unlawful detainer actions, the fees shall be due at least five days before the date set for trial.

(2) If no case management conference is scheduled in a civil action, or the initial case management conference occurred before June 28, 2012, and the initial complaint was filed on or after July 1, 2011, the fee shall be due no later than 365 calendar days after the filing of the initial complaint.

(3) If the initial case management conference occurred before June 28, 2012, and the initial complaint in the case was filed before July 1, 2011, the fee shall be due at least 25 calendar days before the date initially set for trial.

(4) If the party requesting a jury has not appeared before the initial case management conference, or first appeared more than 365 calendar days after the filing of the initial complaint, the fee shall be due at least 25 calendar days before the date initially set for trial.

. . .

(f) A party waives trial by jury in any of the following ways:

(1) By failing to appear at the trial.

(2) By written consent filed with the clerk or judge.

(3) By oral consent, in open court, entered in the minutes.

(4) By failing to announce that a jury is required, at the time the cause is first set for trial, if it is set upon notice or stipulation, or within five days after notice of setting if it is set without notice or stipulation.

(5) By failing to timely pay the fee described in subdivision (b), unless another party on the same side of the case has paid that fee.

(6) By failing to deposit with the clerk or judge, at the beginning of the second and each succeeding day's session, the sum provided in subdivision (e).

(g) The court may, in its discretion upon just terms, allow a trial by jury although there may have been a waiver of a trial by jury.

. . .

Plaintiff timely paid jury fees; however, Defendant did not. See CCP 631(b), (c), (f)(5). Defendant did not post jury fees until December 2020. (diDonato Decl. ¶6, Ex.7). Based on the foregoing, the fact that jury trials are currently not being heard due to Covid-19 and the health conditions of Plaintiff and her witnesses, Plaintiff has decided to withdraw her request for a jury trial and requests an order pursuant to CCP 631 deeming Defendant waived the right to a jury trial by failing to demand a jury and/or post jury fees, to strike his Posting of Jury Fees and Notice of Posting Jury Fees, and to order the case be tried to the Court on 6/21/21 as currently set without a jury.

Defendant contends that his failure to timely post jury fees was due to the “excusable mistake neglect and inadvertence” of his counsel which was promptly corrected when realized. (See diDonato Decl. ¶¶5-6). As such, Defendant argues that the Court should exercise its discretion to allow the jury trial to proceed.

If a party waives its right to a jury trial by failing to timely post jury fees, it has been held to be an abuse of discretion for the trial court to deny relief from such waiver where the opposing party fails to show prejudice from granting relief. See Mackovska (2019) 40 CA5th 1; Boal (1985) 165 CA3d 806, 809; Gann (1991) 231 CA3d 1698, 1703; Tesoro del Valle Master Homeowners Association (2011) 200 CA4th 619, 638.

If there was no question that jury trials could be conducted as of 6/21/21, the Court would exercise its discretion to allow a trial by jury despite Defendant’s failure to timely post jury fees. See CCP 631(g). Defendant’s failure to timely post jury fees did not cause prejudice to Plaintiff as Plaintiff was also requesting a jury trial up until the filing of this motion.

Plaintiff seems to conflate the issues of Defendant’s failure to timely post jury fees with the health issues she and her witnesses suffer which could cause serious harm if a jury trial were permitted to proceed during the pandemic. In other words, if Defendant had timely posted jury fees and jury trials are permitted as of 6/21/21, would Plaintiff be willing to proceed with a jury trial on 6/21/21 or would Plaintiff request a court trial due to health issues? (See Paige Decl. ¶¶5-9; Reply p.3:26-p.4:27).

Based on the foregoing, the novelty of the issues presented by this motion, uncertainties regarding what will be permitted and/or possibly the institution of additional emergency rules, the hearing on this motion will be continued to the date of the Final Status Conference.

If Plaintiff believes that she has a basis to demand a court trial due to her and her witnesses health issues and the risks presented by a jury trial during the pandemic, she must file a separate motion presenting authority for such relief accompanied by medical evidence establishing the risk to Plaintiff’s and her witnesses’ health if the trial proceeds by jury.

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