This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 03/24/2020 at 19:31:22 (UTC).

ODETTE COHEN VS WILLIAM RAMIREZ ET AL

Case Summary

On 09/14/2016 ODETTE COHEN filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against WILLIAM RAMIREZ. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Compton Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are MAURICE A. LEITER, CHRISTOPHER K. LUI and STEPHEN M. MOLONEY. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****3842

  • Filing Date:

    09/14/2016

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Compton Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

MAURICE A. LEITER

CHRISTOPHER K. LUI

STEPHEN M. MOLONEY

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

COHEN ODETTE

STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE COMPANY

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1-10

MR. ROOTER SOUTHBAY LSE

MR. ROOTER PLUMBING

ENTERPRISE FM TRUST LSR

CAL PROS INC

RAMIREZ WILLIAM

LSE MR. ROOTER SOUTHBAY

AKHOIAN ENTERPRISES INC. DBA MR. ROOTER PLUMBING

PLUMBING MR. ROOTER

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

LAW OFFICES OF JOSEF AVESAR

DORDICK GARY ALAN

AVESAR JOSEF

SHAFFER DOUGLAS DURAN

YASIN ALAA ALI

Defendant Attorneys

COLMAN JONATHAN HILLEL

NEWITT DENNIS STEPHEN

PERKINS JAMES JOHN

Other Attorneys

LALLY RAVINDER KAUR

 

Court Documents

Opposition - OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MIL NO. 5, WHICH SEEKS TO EXCLUDE REFERENCE TO THE STATEMENTS OF MARIA GONZALEZ AND MARTIN GONZALEZ

8/6/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MIL NO. 5, WHICH SEEKS TO EXCLUDE REFERENCE TO THE STATEMENTS OF MARIA GONZALEZ AND MARTIN GONZALEZ

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE; HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ...)

8/13/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE; HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ...)

Reply - REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO QUASH TRIAL SUBPOENA DIRECTED TO KATHERINE LOPEZ OF FEDERATED MUTUAL INSURANCE

8/16/2019: Reply - REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO QUASH TRIAL SUBPOENA DIRECTED TO KATHERINE LOPEZ OF FEDERATED MUTUAL INSURANCE

Special Verdict

9/24/2019: Special Verdict

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO QUASH MOTION TO QUASH THE CIVIL SUBPOENA...)

10/1/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION TO QUASH MOTION TO QUASH THE CIVIL SUBPOENA...)

DEFENDANTS? NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER TO QUASH PLAINTIFF?S NOTICE OF TAKING THE DEPOSITION OF INVESTIGATOR BRIAN NELSON; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; REQUEST FOR MONE

2/8/2018: DEFENDANTS? NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER TO QUASH PLAINTIFF?S NOTICE OF TAKING THE DEPOSITION OF INVESTIGATOR BRIAN NELSON; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; REQUEST FOR MONE

DEFENDANTS' MOTION IN LIMINE NUMBER SIX: FOR AN ORDER TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OR REFERENCE TO INVESTIGATOR SCOTT SHAW AND THE CASE OF PEOPLE V. FEINSTEIN; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; ETC

6/25/2018: DEFENDANTS' MOTION IN LIMINE NUMBER SIX: FOR AN ORDER TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OR REFERENCE TO INVESTIGATOR SCOTT SHAW AND THE CASE OF PEOPLE V. FEINSTEIN; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; ETC

PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO MOTIONS IN LIMINE NO.: 3

6/27/2018: PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO MOTIONS IN LIMINE NO.: 3

Minute Order -

6/27/2018: Minute Order -

DEFENDANTS' OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL RETURN OF DOCUMENTS AND TO PRECLUDE USE OF THE DOCUMENTS AT TRIAL; DECLARATION OF RAVI K. LALLY IN SUPPORT THEREOF

7/26/2018: DEFENDANTS' OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO COMPEL RETURN OF DOCUMENTS AND TO PRECLUDE USE OF THE DOCUMENTS AT TRIAL; DECLARATION OF RAVI K. LALLY IN SUPPORT THEREOF

Opposition - Opposition to Ex Parte Application

12/28/2018: Opposition - Opposition to Ex Parte Application

Minute Order - Minute Order (Defendants' Ex Parte Application for an Order Shortening Time...)

12/28/2018: Minute Order - Minute Order (Defendants' Ex Parte Application for an Order Shortening Time...)

Opposition - Opposition Plaintiff's Opposition to Def. Motion for Order Comepelling Verizon REcords of Sam Cohen

2/5/2019: Opposition - Opposition Plaintiff's Opposition to Def. Motion for Order Comepelling Verizon REcords of Sam Cohen

Reply - Reply Defendants' Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Compel the Cellphone Records of Nava Hackmon

2/11/2019: Reply - Reply Defendants' Reply to Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Compel the Cellphone Records of Nava Hackmon

Reply - Reply Defendants' Supplemental Brief to Their Reply to Def. Opposition to Motion to Compel The Cell. Records Nava Hackmon

2/14/2019: Reply - Reply Defendants' Supplemental Brief to Their Reply to Def. Opposition to Motion to Compel The Cell. Records Nava Hackmon

NOTICE OF MOTION TO DEEM FIRST SET OF REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED AND FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS AGAINST WILLIAM RAMIREZ AND COLMAN LAW GROUP PURSUANT TO C.C.P., SECTIONS 2023.010 & 2033.280(B); ETC

5/10/2017: NOTICE OF MOTION TO DEEM FIRST SET OF REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED AND FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS AGAINST WILLIAM RAMIREZ AND COLMAN LAW GROUP PURSUANT TO C.C.P., SECTIONS 2023.010 & 2033.280(B); ETC

Minute Order -

8/4/2017: Minute Order -

SUPPLEMENT TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER AND DECLARATION OF RAVI K. LALLY IN SUPPORT THEREOF.

11/20/2017: SUPPLEMENT TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR A PROTECTIVE ORDER AND DECLARATION OF RAVI K. LALLY IN SUPPORT THEREOF.

190 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 02/14/2020
  • DocketNotice ( of Entry of Amended Judgment on Special Verdict); Filed by Mr. Rooter Plumbing (Defendant); William Ramirez (Defendant); Akhoian Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 02/04/2020
  • DocketJudgment on Special Verdict; Filed by William Ramirez (Defendant); Akhoian Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 01/17/2020
  • DocketNotice ( OF RULING); Filed by William Ramirez (Defendant); Akhoian Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 01/16/2020
  • Docketat 09:09 AM in Department A, Maurice A. Leiter, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Tax Costs - Held

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  • 01/16/2020
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department A, Maurice A. Leiter, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for New Trial - Held - Motion Denied

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  • 01/16/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion to Tax Costs; Hearing on Motion for New Trial)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 01/10/2020
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department A, Maurice A. Leiter, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for New Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 01/10/2020
  • DocketStipulation and Order (TO CONTINUE HEARING DATE ON MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL); Filed by Odette Cohen (Plaintiff); STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE COMPANY (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/09/2020
  • DocketReply ( TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO TAX COSTS); Filed by Odette Cohen (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/06/2020
  • DocketReply ( TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL; DECLARATION OF ALEJANDRA MUNOZ); Filed by Odette Cohen (Plaintiff)

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366 More Docket Entries
  • 01/05/2017
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Odette Cohen (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/28/2016
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Odette Cohen (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/28/2016
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 09/26/2016
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Odette Cohen (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/26/2016
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 09/20/2016
  • DocketReceipt; Filed by Odette Cohen (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/20/2016
  • DocketCIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 09/14/2016
  • DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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  • 09/14/2016
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Odette Cohen (Plaintiff); STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE COMPANY (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/14/2016
  • DocketSUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC633842    Hearing Date: January 16, 2020    Dept: A

# 9. Odette Cohen v. William Ramirez, et al.

Case No.: BC633842

Matter on calendar for: Motion for New Trial; Motion to Tax Costs

Tentative ruling:

  1. Background

    This action arose from a vehicle collision. Plaintiff Odette Cohen and Defendant William Ramirez, employed by Defendant Akhoian Enterprises, Inc., dba Mr. Rooter Plumbing, collided at the intersection of Figueroa Street and Rosecrans Avenue. Plaintiff alleged that Defendant Ramirez attempted a reckless left turn, causing the collision. Defendants argued Defendant Ramirez had a green arrow, and that Plaintiff’s sudden acceleration caused the collision. The case proceeded to a jury trial, where a verdict was rendered for the Defendants.

    Plaintiff now moves for a new trial and to tax costs. Oppositions and replies have been filed and considered.

    For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies the motion for new trial and grants the motion to tax, in part.

  2. Standard

    1. Motion for New Trial

Article VI, section 13 of the California Constitution provides: “No judgment shall be set aside, or new trial granted, in any cause, on the ground of misdirection of the jury, or of the improper admission or rejection of evidence, or for any error as to any matter of pleading, or for any error as to any matter of procedure, unless, after an examination of the entire cause, including the evidence, the court shall be of the opinion that the error complained of has resulted in a miscarriage of justice.” (See also Maher v. Saad (2000) 82 Cal.App.4th 1317, 1324, fn. 2.)

A motion for new trial may be granted for “[i]nsufficiency of the evidence to justify the verdict or other decision…”, or for excessive damages, but “[a] new trial shall not be granted upon the ground of insufficiency of the evidence to justify the verdict or other decision, nor upon the ground of excessive… damages, unless after weighing the evidence the court is convinced from the entire record, including reasonable inferences therefrom, that the court or jury clearly should have reached a different verdict or decision.” (C.C.P., § 657.)

With respect to insufficiency of the evidence, the Court sits as a “thirteenth juror” and considers whether “the weight of the evidence appears to be contrary to the jury’s determination.” (Norden v. Hartman (1952) 111 Cal.App.2d 751, 758.)

    1. Motion to Tax Costs

Code of Civil Procedure § 1032(a)(b) states that a prevailing party is entitled as a matter of right to recover costs in any action or proceeding, unless a statute expressly states otherwise. Code of Civil Procedure § 1033.5(a) lists the costs that are recoverable and includes attorney’s fees when they are authorized by either contract, statute, or law. (C.C.P., § 1033.5(a)(10).)

The memorandum of cost is a verified statement by the party, attorney, or agent that the costs are correct and were necessarily incurred in the case. (Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 3.1700(a)(1).) “If the items appear to be proper charges, the verified memorandum is prima facie evidence that the costs, expenses and services therein listed were necessarily incurred by the defendant, and the burden of showing that an item is not properly chargeable or is unreasonable is upon the [objecting party].” (Oak Grove School Dist. v. City Title Ins. Co. (1963) 217 Cal.App.2d 678, 698.) “[I]f the correctness of the memorandum is challenged either in whole or in part by the affidavit or other evidence of the contesting party, the burden is then on the party claiming the costs and disbursements to show that the items charged were for matters necessarily relevant and material to the issues involved in the action.” (Id. at 699.)

Per Code of Civil Procedure § 1033.5(c) provides: “(1) Costs are allowable if incurred, whether or not paid. (2) Allowable costs shall be reasonably necessary to the conduct of the litigation rather than merely convenient or beneficial to its preparation. (3) Allowable costs shall be reasonable in amount. (4) Items not mention in this section . . . may be allowed . . . in the Court’s discretion.” (C.C.P., § 1033.5(c)(4).)

  1. Analysis

    1. Motion for New Trial

Plaintiff’s motion for new trial argues there is an insufficiency of evidence to justify the verdict. Her main contentions are that Plaintiff and two witnesses state Plaintiff had a green light, and that the physical evidence of the scene supports Plaintiff’s testimony.

Plaintiff points to her own testimony, and that of two witnesses, Pedro Peralta and Martin Gonzalez, who were in a vehicle behind Plaintiff. These statements were at odds with Defendant Ramirez’s testimony. Plaintiff and the witnesses testified that she had a green light, while Ramirez testified that he had the green light to turn left. However, the jury heard a prior recorded statement from Plaintiff in which she states that instead of proceeding on a green light, she first stopped because the light was red. (Opp. Exh. 1, pg. 33.) The recorded statement was taken six months after the accident. (Id.) It can be reasonably inferred from the verdict that this raised credibility concerns with the jury.

Additionally, both reconstruction experts found Peralta and Gonzalez’s stated distance from the crash as being unlikely. (Opp., Exh. 2, pg. 127; Opp. Exh. 4, pg. 74.) Also, Plaintiff’s argument that Mr. Solomon’s inability to determine if Plaintiff’s vehicle came from the left turn pocket or the number one lane is not a dispositive failing, as neither it, nor Mr. Kobayashi’s testimony, directly disproved the key aspects of Defendant Ramirez’s testimony, which stayed consistent on the fact that he had a green light, there was sufficient evidence for the jury to find for the defendant.

The jury was faced with contradicting testimony from the two parties. It was the jury’s duty to weigh credibility and reach a decision as to the events. Plaintiff’s motion does not show that a miscarriage of justice occurred, merely that the jury sided with Defendant Ramirez’s version of events.

The motion for new trial is denied.

    1. Motion to Tax Costs

      1. Filing and Motion Fees

At issue in these items is Defendant’s $1,223.00 in messenger service fees related to the delivery of courtesy copies. These are discretionary items that the Court does not require for filing and will not be allowed post January 1, 2019, when the Court made the switch to electronic filing.

The Court taxes $1,105.00 from this category.

      1. Depositions

Plaintiff argues the deposition costs associated with a capper theory, in which Plaintiff was steered to her counsel and that Peralta and Gonzalez were offered money for their testimonies, that the Court ultimately excluded before trial. Although the need for depositions should be determined “from the pretrial vantage point of a litigant,” Plaintiff’s motion successfully raises doubt as to whether these depositions were necessary. (Nelson v. Anderson (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 111, 132.) Having done so, the burden shifts to Defendants to support the cost, i.e., show the evidence that spawned the theory. Defendants’ opposition fails to do so. However, the opposition does provide support for the depositions of Ezra Atiya and Elham Gangian.

The Court taxes $2,085.19 from this category.

      1. Service of Process Costs

Defendants concede the FedEx charges should be taxed. As to the capper theory, the same reasoning noted above applies: Defendants have not proffered a sufficient argument that pursuing the theory was necessary from a pre-trial standpoint. Further, it cannot be determined from the Shaw, Segraves & Associates invoice which individuals were served as the invoice merely states “various individuals.”

The Court taxes $3,353.11 from this category.

      1. Witness Fees (Section 998 Offers)

Defendants made two Code of Civil Procedure § 998 offers of $115,000 and $190,000, both of which were reasonable amounts in light of the facts of this case. Plaintiff argues the second offer, made before the first expired, extinguished the first offer. “In order to function as an offer for purposes of section 998, an offer must remain open for the statutorily designated period . . . ,” which was 30 days (35 with service by mail) from the time it was made. (Marina Glencoe, L.P. v. Neue Sentimental Film AG (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 874, 880; Exhs. 1, 2.) The first offer rule does not rigidly apply to section 998 offers. (Martinez v. Brownco Construction Co. (2013) 56 Cal.4th 1014, 1024.) As stated by the Supreme Court in Martinez, Defendants should not be penalized for making multiple reasonable offers. (Id. at 1026.) In some circumstances, such as one offer being bested while another is not, application of the first offer rule may be appropriate. In Martinez, however, it was undisputed that both offers remained open for the required statutory times. Here, the first offer was cut short by the second. In this circumstance, the reasoning from Marina applies. Accordingly, the Court should count expert witness fees from the date of the second offer.

The Court taxes $27,263.00 from this category.

      1. Court Reporter Fees and “Other”

Defendants do not dispute the unrecoverable nature of the Court Reporter fees or photocopying fees. The Court will allow the CourtCall as a necessary expense. There is one invoice for CourtCall costs totaling $94.00

The Court taxes $746.90 (Reporter) and $1,014.41 (photocopies) from these categories.

Total amount taxed: $32,567.61

  1. Ruling

    The motion for new trial is denied.

    The motion to tax costs is granted in part. Defendants costs are taxed in the amount of $32,567.61, resulting in a cost award of $61,729.38.

    Next dates:

    Notice: