This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 01/31/2020 at 11:40:18 (UTC).

MICHAEL HAZARD VS BURBANK AUTO PARTS ET AL

Case Summary

On 08/05/2016 MICHAEL HAZARD filed a Personal Injury - Other Product Liability lawsuit against BURBANK AUTO PARTS. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are WILLIAM D. STEWART, RALPH C. HOFER, YOLANDA OROZCO and SAMANTHA JESSNER. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****9772

  • Filing Date:

    08/05/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Product Liability

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

WILLIAM D. STEWART

RALPH C. HOFER

YOLANDA OROZCO

SAMANTHA JESSNER

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

HAZARD MICHAEL

Defendants, Respondents and Cross Defendants

DOES 1 THROUGH 100

ATP-INC

BURBANK AUTO PARTS

VEHICLE EFFECTS INC.

MILLER ROBERT DOE 2

NORTH HOLLYWOOD AUTO PARTS INC.

HANSON DISTRIBUTING COMPANY (DOE 3)

ATP-INC.

GENUINE PARTS COMPANY

HANSON DISTRIBUTING COMPANY INC. DOE 3

GENUINE PARTS COMPANMY (DOE 1)

MILLER ROBERT (DOE 2)

HANSON DISTRIBUTING COMPANY DOE 3

ROES 1-50 INCLUSIVE

HANSON DISTRIBUTING COMPANY INC. (DOE 3)

MCCARTHY DENNIS

Defendants, Respondents, Cross Plaintiffs and Cross Defendants

VEHICLE EFFECTS INC.

ATP INC.

NORTH HOLLYWOOD AUTO PARTS INC.

MCCARTHY DENNIS

HANSON DISTRIBUTING COMPANY (DOE 3)

GENUINE PARTS COMPANMY (DOE 1)

HANSON DISTRIBUTING COMPANY

GENUINE PARTS COMPANMY DOE 1

26 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

KIESEL LAW LLP

ARENDSEN CANE MOLNAR LLP

ARENDSEN HAMILTON EDUARD

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

HOSP GILBERT & BERGSTEN

LASCOLA MARK P.

LASCOLA MARK PHILIP

WALTERS ROBERT W. LAW OFFICES OF

FRIEDENTHAL DANIEL R. ESQ.

BEHAR JEFFREY S. ESQ.

BEHAR JEFFREY S.

BEHAR JEFFREY STEVEN

FRIEDENTHAL HEFFERNAN & BROWN LLP

BERGSTEN ROBERT T. ESQ.

ROBERT W. WALTERS LAW OFFICES OF

PALMER CHARLES A. ESQ.

FRIEDENTHAL DANIEL RAY

PALMER CHARLES ARTHUR ESQ.

BERGSTEN ROBERT TROY ESQ.

THOMAS BRYAN MATTHEW ESQ.

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

WALTERS ROBERT W. LAW OFFICES OF

FRIEDENTHAL DANIEL R. ESQ.

BEHAR JEFFREY S. ESQ.

PALMER CHARLES A. ESQ.

Cross Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

PALMER CHARLES ARTHUR

FRIEDENTHAL DANIEL RAY

PALMER CHARLES ARTHUR ESQ.

26 More Attorneys Available

 

Court Documents

Notice - NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 7 TO EXCLUDE JOHN D. OLIVAS' OPINION THAT THE CLUTCH ASSEMBLY IN THE SUBJECT VEHICLE WAS IMPROPERLY INSTALLED, ADJUSTED OR USED

10/25/2019: Notice - NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 7 TO EXCLUDE JOHN D. OLIVAS' OPINION THAT THE CLUTCH ASSEMBLY IN THE SUBJECT VEHICLE WAS IMPROPERLY INSTALLED, ADJUSTED OR USED

Stipulation Re: Jury (Civil Trials)

10/29/2019: Stipulation Re: Jury (Civil Trials)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (JURY TRIAL)

11/7/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (JURY TRIAL)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (JURY TRIAL)

11/8/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (JURY TRIAL)

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 6

8/30/2019: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 6

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO. EIGHT TO PRECLUDE SO-CALLED REPTILE TACTICS AT TRIAL

9/5/2019: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE MOTION IN LIMINE NO. EIGHT TO PRECLUDE SO-CALLED REPTILE TACTICS AT TRIAL

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL

9/9/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF MOTION IN LIMINE 1

9/11/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF MOTION IN LIMINE 1

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY (NOT "FURTHER DISCOVERY...)

9/20/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY (NOT "FURTHER DISCOVERY...)

Exhibit List - EXHIBIT LIST JOINT

9/24/2019: Exhibit List - EXHIBIT LIST JOINT

Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 1

9/24/2019: Motion in Limine - MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 1

Application for Determination of Good Faith Settlement

9/26/2019: Application for Determination of Good Faith Settlement

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 5 TO PRECLUDE VEHICLE EFFECTS FROM ARGUING CLAIMS OF NEGLIGENCE AGAINST ANY PERSON OR ENTITY OTHER THAN ATP-INC.

10/17/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO. 5 TO PRECLUDE VEHICLE EFFECTS FROM ARGUING CLAIMS OF NEGLIGENCE AGAINST ANY PERSON OR ENTITY OTHER THAN ATP-INC.

Notice of Ruling

11/20/2018: Notice of Ruling

Summons - Summons on Complaint

1/4/2019: Summons - Summons on Complaint

CIVIL DEPOSIT -

12/27/2016: CIVIL DEPOSIT -

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

2/21/2017: CROSS-COMPLAINT ?PERSONAL INJURY, PROPERTY DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH

ANSWER TO COMPLAINT BY DEFENDANT VEHICLE EFFECTS, INC.

2/21/2017: ANSWER TO COMPLAINT BY DEFENDANT VEHICLE EFFECTS, INC.

349 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 12/07/2020
  • Hearing12/07/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department A at 300 East Olive, Burbank, CA 91502; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 01/30/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department A, William D. Stewart, Presiding; Status Conference (re Further Hearing on Hanson Distributing Company, Inc. Cross-Complaint) - Held

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  • 01/30/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Status Conference re Further Hearing on Hanson Distributing C...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/30/2020
  • DocketNotice (OF TRIAL AND FSC); Filed by Hanson Distributing Company (Cross-Complainant)

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  • 01/29/2020
  • DocketNotice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by Daniel Ray Friedenthal (Attorney)

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  • 01/28/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department A, William D. Stewart, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (to Enforce the Stipulation Dated November 21, 2019 Filed by Pltff Michael Hazard) - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 01/28/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application to Enforce the Stipulation Da...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/27/2020
  • DocketEx Parte Application (to Enforce the Stipulation Dated November 21,2019); Filed by Michael Hazard (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/24/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department A, William D. Stewart, Presiding; Hearing on Motion - Other (Requiring Vehicle Effects, Inc. to Pay Expenses of Proof Filed by Plaintiff Michael Hazard)

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  • 01/17/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department A, William D. Stewart, Presiding; Hearing on Motion - Other (Notice of Intention to Move for New Trial Filed Deft, X Deft & X Complainants Vehicle Effects, Inc. & Dennis McCarthy) - Held - Motion Denied

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577 More Docket Entries
  • 08/05/2016
  • DocketCross-Complaint; Filed by Michael Hazard (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/05/2016
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Michael Hazard (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/05/2016
  • DocketCross-Complaint; Filed by Michael Hazard (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/05/2016
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Michael Hazard (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/05/2016
  • DocketCross-Complaint; Filed by Michael Hazard (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/05/2016
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Michael Hazard (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/05/2016
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Michael Hazard (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/05/2016
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Michael Hazard (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/05/2016
  • DocketComplaint

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  • 08/05/2016
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Michael Hazard (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC629772    Hearing Date: January 24, 2020    Dept: A

Hazard v Vehicle Effects

Motion for Order Compelling Defendant to Pay Costs

Calendar:

05

Case No.:

BC629772

Hearing Date:

January 24, 2020

Action Filed:

August 05, 2016

Judgment:

November 26, 2019

MP:

Plaintiff Michael Hazard

RP:

Defendants Vehicle Effects, Inc.

ALLEGATIONS:

The action arises from personal injuries suffered by Plaintiff Michael Hazard (“Plaintiff”) alleges that he was injured when an ATP Z295 replacement flywheel that was installed onto a 1996 Chevrolet Chevelle V8-396 engine suddenly and unexpectedly shattered and disintegrated. Plaintiff alleges that the flywheel was designed and manufactured in China, sold to Defendant ATP, Inc. (“ATP”), who sold it to Defendant Hanson Distributing Company, Inc. (“Hanson”), who then sold the flywheel to Defendant Burbank Auto Parts, Inc. (“BAP”), who thereafter sold it to Plaintiff.

PRESENTATION:

On November 26, 2019, the Jury returned a special verdict, finding that there was a manufacturing defect, that the flywheel was negligently installed, and that McCarthy was not negligent. In sum, the Jury determined that Plaintiff was injured in the amount of $6,178,388 and that ATP was 65% responsible, Vehicle Effects was 35% responsible, and McCarthy was 0% responsible.

The instant motion was filed by Plaintiff on December 11, 2019. VEI opposed the motion on January 09, 2020. The Court received a reply brief on January 16, 2020.

RELIEF REQUESTED:

Plaintiff moves for an order compelling VEI to pay $942,873.55 in costs associated with proving up RFA Nos. 22 & 23.

DISCUSSION:

Standard of Review – Under Code of Civ. Proc. §2033.420, “If a party fails to admit the genuineness of any document or the truth of any matter when requested to do so under this chapter, and if the party requesting that admission thereafter proves the genuineness of that document or the truth of that matter, the party requesting the admission may move the court for an order requiring the party to whom the request was directed to pay the reasonable expenses incurred in making that proof, including reasonable attorney’s fees.” Code of Civ. Proc. §2033.420(a). However, sanctions may not be granted if the Court finds that “(1) An objection to the request was sustained or a response to it was waived under Section 2033.290. [¶] (2) The admission sought was of no substantial importance. [¶] (3) The party failing to make the admission had reasonable ground to believe that that party would prevail on the matter. [¶ or] (4) There was other good reason for the failure to admit.” Code of Civ. Proc. §2033.420(b).

On motion, Plaintiffs request costs associated with proving Requests for Admission Nos. 22 & 23, where VEI denied being a contributing factor or cause of the incident. The Court has reviewed the evidence presented by the parties on motion as well as its own recollection, and concludes that VEI had a reasonable ground to believe that it would prevail on the matter at the time they responded to the Requests for Admission. Specifically, the Court notes that VEI reasonably relied on the available facts regarding the material defects in the flywheel to deny liability for their own failure to install, adjust or operate the flywheel and its assembly properly. At their own expense, this party had the shattered flywheel examined and was informed that it was of substandard quality and porous, which was contrary to VEI’s previous experience with after-market flywheels. Certainly at that point, VEI had no reason to believe that any other contributing cause was present for the failure. The principle of parsimony, sometimes referred to as Occam’s Razor would definitely support that notion. If scientific evidence showed a defective part, why would anyone necessarily look further?

Later, evidence did come forward of the heat effect (“HAZ”) on the flywheel, potentially implicating VEI’s installation, adjustment or operation. And yet, the court recalls no definitive opinion being brought forward that there was any time value on this heat effect; was it during the last seconds of the flywheel’s integrity, or was it accumulative during the 24 miles of operation? If the latter, why wouldn’t Mr. King or Mr. McCarthy have heard or otherwise experienced the rubbing or friction during the road testing? Additionally, as VEI points out, one of Plaintiff’s experts, Mr. McCarthy had testified that the flywheel was properly installed by a trusted and experienced employee who had done this assembly many scores of times. While other evidence existed that could – and ultimately did – sway the jury under the court’s instructions, that VEI was partially liable, fees under Code of Civ. Proc. §2033.420 are truly not appropriate under these circumstances.

Accordingly, the motion will be denied.

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RULING: Deny motion.

In the event the parties submit on this tentative ruling, or a party requests a signed order or the court in its discretion elects to sign a formal order, the following form will be either electronically signed or signed in hard copy and entered into the court’s records.

ORDER

Plaintiff Michael Hazard’s Motion for Costs came on regularly for hearing on January 24, 2020, with appearances/submissions as noted in the minute order for said hearing, and the court, being fully advised in the premises, did then and there rule as follows:

THE MOTION IS DENIED.

DATE: _______________ _______________________________

JUDGE

Case Number: BC629772    Hearing Date: January 17, 2020    Dept: A

Hazard v Burbank Auto Parts

Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict;

Motion for New Trial

Calendar:

09

Case No.:

BC629772

Hearing Date:

January 17, 2020

Action Filed:

August 05, 2016

Judgment:

November 26, 2019

MP:

Defendants Vehicle Effects, Inc.; and Dennis McCarthy

RP:

Plaintiff Michael Hazard

ALLEGATIONS:

The instant action arises from personal injuries suffered by Plaintiff Michael Hazard (“Plaintiff”) alleges that he was injured when an ATP Z295 replacement flywheel that was installed onto a 1996 Chevrolet Chevelle V8-396 engine suddenly and unexpectedly shattered and disintegrated. Plaintiff alleges that the flywheel was designed and manufactured in China, sold to Defendant ATP, Inc. (“ATP”), who sold it to Defendant Hanson Distributing Company, Inc. (“Hanson”), who then sold the flywheel to Defendant Burbank Auto Parts, Inc. (“BAP”), who thereafter sold it to Plaintiff.

PRESENTATION:

On November 26, 2019, the Jury returned a special verdict, finding that there was a manufacturing defect, that the flywheel was negligently installed, and that McCarthy was not negligent. In sum, the Jury determined that Plaintiff was injured in the amount of $6,178,388 and that ATP was 65% responsible, Vehicle Effects was 35% responsible, and McCarthy was 0% responsible.

The instant motions were filed by Defendant Vehicle Effects, Inc. (“VEI”) with the JNOV filed on December 11, 2019, and New Trial motion filed on December 23, 2019. Plaintiff filed opposition to both motions on January 02, 2020, with reply briefs filed on January 07, 2020.

RELIEF REQUESTED:

Defendant Vehicle Effects, Inc. moves for new trial.

Defendants Vehicle Effects, Inc. moves for judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

DISCUSSION:

Standard of Review – New Trial – Code of Civil Procedure §657 sets forth the relief available on a motion for new trial, as well as the causes upon which such a motion may be made. “[T]he proceedings on a motion for new trial are strictly statutory, and the procedure for seeking relief must conform strictly to the statutory mandate.” People v. Southern Cal. Edison Co. (1976) 56 Cal. App. 3d 593, 601. “A trial court has broad discretion in ruling on a new trial motion, and the court’s exercise of discretion is accorded great deference on appeal. [Citation.] An abuse of discretion occurs if, in light of the applicable law and considering all of the relevant circumstances, the court’s decision exceeds the bounds of reason and results in a miscarriage of justice. [Citation.]” Fassberg Const. Co. v. Housing Authority of City of Los Angeles, 152 Cal. App. 4th 720, 751-52 (2007).

The grounds for new trial are specifically described in Code of Civ. Proc. §657(1)-(7), which generally permit the trial court to vacate its verdict and order a new trial when matters raised on motion show that irregularities, misconduct, accident or surprise, newly discovered evidence, excessive or inadequate damages, or error in evidence and law have caused the aggrieved party to have their substantial rights materially affected. In granting a motion for a new trial, there is “no standard or test to guide the trial judge, but instead contemplates he will in every case exercise his sound judicial discretion.” Perry v. Fowler (1951) 102 Cal. App. 2d 808, 811. The Court is generally required to “reweigh[] the evidence, and should grant a new trial if the jury's verdict appears to be against the weight of the evidence; the judge may review conflicting evidence, weigh its sufficiency, consider credibility of witnesses and draw reasonable inferences from the evidence presented at trial.” Valdez v. J. D. Diffenbaugh Co. (1975) 51 Cal. App. 3d 494, 512.

VEI moves for new trial pursuant to Code of Civ. Proc. §657(6), that the evidence was insufficient to support the verdict. In making their argument, VEI contends that there was no evidence presented to the jury that the flywheel was negligently installed. Motion, 7:13-17. Further, VEI argues that the only testimony proffered to support VEI’s liability was speculative, and therefore inadequate grounds to support liability in negligence on VEI’s installation of the flywheel. Motion, 7:23-8:23. In opposition, Plaintiff presents various evidentiary grounds that Plaintiff argues could have served as the basis for the Jury’s determination, namely: alteration of the flywheel by heat, (Opposition, 5:1-6:1), that VEI’s installation resulted in excessive heat to the flywheel, (Opposition, 6:2-8:3), that the excessive heat could only have been generated through the installation process, (Opposition, 8:4-20), and that the improper installation was further shown by a circumferential groove in the pressure plate, (Opposition, 9:1-28). On reply VEI contends that the experts never attributed the resulting breakdown in the flywheel to VEI’s installation, and reiterates arguments that the testimony was speculative.

The Court finds that there are insufficient grounds to justify a new trial. Not only was there evidence presented that a reasonable jury could arrive at their result, the Court additionally instructed the jury with CACI 417, regarding the potential applicability of Res Ipsa Loquitor to the instant facts. Under the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitor, the jury only needed to find that (1) Plaintiff would ordinarily not have been harmed but for someone’s negligence, (2) the harm was caused by something VEI controlled, and (3) Plaintiff’s actions did not cause of contribute to the events causing the injury.

 

Accordingly, the Court will deny the motion for new trial.

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Standard of Review – JNOV – A motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict shall be made within the period specified by Code of Civ. Proc. §659, in respect of the filing and serving of notice of intention to move for a new trial. Code of Civ. Proc. §629. That is, motions for judgment notwithstanding the verdict must be written and properly served on the trial court and parties, within the fifteen (15) days prescribed by Code of Civ. Proc. §659. Younesi v. Lane (1991) 228 Cal. App. 3d 967, 975, overruled on different grounds by Van Beurden Ins. Services, Inc. v. Customized Worldwide Weather Ins. Agency, Inc. (1997) 15 Cal. 4th 51, 63; see also Sturgeon v. Leavitt (1979) 94 Cal. App. 3d 957, 962 (When a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict is filed after the fifteen (15) day period denoted in Code of Civ. Proc. §659, the motion is ineffectual and the trial judge has no power to act on it.). Yet, the court shall not rule upon the motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict until the expiration of the time within which a motion for a new trial must be served and filed, and if a motion for a new trial has been filed with the court by the aggrieved party, the court shall rule upon both motions at the same time. Code of Civ. Proc. §629.

The trial court has limited discretion to grant a motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict; it may grant it only when there is no substantial evidence to support the verdict. Teitel v. First Los Angeles Bank (1991) 231 Cal. App. 3d 1593, 1603. Campbell v. Cal-Gard Surety Services, Inc. (1998) 62 Cal. App. 4th 563, 570. A judgment notwithstanding the verdict can be sustained only when it can be said as a matter of law that no other reasonable conclusion is legally deducible from the evidence, and that any other holding would be so lacking in evidentiary support that the reviewing court would be compelled to reverse it, or the trial court would be compelled to set it aside as a matter of law. Moore v. City and County of San Francisco (1970) 5 Cal. App. 3d 728, 733 – 734. The trial court renders judgment notwithstanding the verdict when a motion for directed verdict should have been granted if made. Code of Civ. Proc. §629; Hansen v. Sunnyside Products, Inc. (1997) 55 Cal. App. 4th 1497, 1510 [Rev. Den. 9/17/97]; Walton v. Magno (1994) 25 Cal. App .4th 1237, 1239–40. The trial judge cannot, therefore, reweigh the evidence, or judge the credibility of witnesses; if the evidence is conflicting or if several reasonable inferences may be drawn, the motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict should be denied. Teitel v. First Los Angeles Bank (1991) 231 Cal. App. 3d 1593, 1603.

As the substance of the moving papers for the instant motion are largely identical to the motion for New Trial, the Court adopts its analysis supra, and will deny the instant motion.

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RULING: see below:

In the event the parties submit on this tentative ruling, or a party requests a signed order or the court in its discretion elects to sign a formal order, the following form will be either electronically signed or signed in hard copy and entered into the court’s records.

ORDER

Defendants Vehicle Effects, Inc.’s Motions for New Trial and Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict came on regularly for hearing on January 17, 2020, with appearances/submissions as noted in the minute order for said hearing, and the court, being fully advised in the premises, did then and there rule as follows:

THE MOTIONS ARE DENIED.

DATE: _______________ _______________________________

JUDGE