This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/10/2019 at 22:27:26 (UTC).

RAMON ROSALES SR ET AL VS ARON H PETROSIAN JR ET AL

Case Summary

On 02/25/2016 RAMON ROSALES SR filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against ARON H PETROSIAN JR. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are ROBERT B. BROADBELT, PATRICIA D. NIETO and GLORIA WHITE-BROWN. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****1814

  • Filing Date:

    02/25/2016

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

ROBERT B. BROADBELT

PATRICIA D. NIETO

GLORIA WHITE-BROWN

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs, Petitioners and Guardian Ad Litems

ROSALES NICOLAS R.

ROSALES ISAAC

ROSALES ALEJANDRO J.

ROSALES RAMON SR.

ROSALES SR. RAMON

Defendants and Respondents

PETROSIAN DIRUHI

PETROSIAN ARON H. JR.

PETROSIAN ARON H. SR.

DOES 1 - 100

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS' (DPW)

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES (COLA)

PETROSIAN SR. ARON H.

PETROSIA JR. ARON H.

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS' (DPW)

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES (COLA)

Minor

ROSALES RAMON JR.

11 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Minor, Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

DOURIAN ROBERT ESQ.

LAW OFFICES OF ROBERT DOURIAN

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

CULLINS & GRANDY

KORFF EVE HELENE

SHAVER KORFF & CASTRONOVO LAW O/O

GRANDY JAMES L. ESQ

GRANDY ALLISON L.

HURRELL THOMAS C. ESQ.

HURRELL THOMAS CHARLES ESQ.

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorney

HURRELL THOMAS C. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

Unknown

7/31/2017: Unknown

Notice

2/6/2018: Notice

Case Management Statement

5/2/2018: Case Management Statement

Minute Order

5/3/2018: Minute Order

Case Management Statement

9/13/2018: Case Management Statement

Minute Order

2/28/2019: Minute Order

Response

5/2/2019: Response

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

7/13/2016: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

ANSWER TO COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES; DEMAND FOR TRIAL BY JURY

7/27/2016: ANSWER TO COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES; DEMAND FOR TRIAL BY JURY

DEFENDANT DIRUHI PETROSIAN'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY AJUDICATION (CCP437C); REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE; DECLARATION OF HEATHER G. COTE; PROPOSED ORDER

2/7/2017: DEFENDANT DIRUHI PETROSIAN'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY AJUDICATION (CCP437C); REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE; DECLARATION OF HEATHER G. COTE; PROPOSED ORDER

DEFENDANT ARON PETROSIAN, SR.'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY AJUDICATION (CCP437C); REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE; ETC.

2/7/2017: DEFENDANT ARON PETROSIAN, SR.'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY AJUDICATION (CCP437C); REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE; ETC.

EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER RELATING AND CONSOLIDATING RELATED CASES; FOR TRIAL CONTINUANCE; AND FOR CONSOLIDATION OF PENDING MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION; DECLARATION OF HEATHER COTE; [PROPOSE

4/21/2017: EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER RELATING AND CONSOLIDATING RELATED CASES; FOR TRIAL CONTINUANCE; AND FOR CONSOLIDATION OF PENDING MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION; DECLARATION OF HEATHER COTE; [PROPOSE

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF HEARING DATE RE DEFENDANT ARON H. PETROSIAN SR.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY AJUDICATION

4/21/2017: NOTICE OF CHANGE OF HEARING DATE RE DEFENDANT ARON H. PETROSIAN SR.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY AJUDICATION

DEFENDANTS AND CROSS-COMPLAINANTS COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES AND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS' NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE

5/25/2017: DEFENDANTS AND CROSS-COMPLAINANTS COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES AND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS' NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE

DEFENDANTS AND CROSS-COMPLAINANTS COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES AND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS' NOTICE OF MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE

5/25/2017: DEFENDANTS AND CROSS-COMPLAINANTS COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES AND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS' NOTICE OF MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE

Minute Order

6/21/2017: Minute Order

NOTICE OF RULING ON DEFENDANTS AND CROSS-COMPLAINANTS COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES AND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS' MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE

6/22/2017: NOTICE OF RULING ON DEFENDANTS AND CROSS-COMPLAINANTS COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES AND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS' MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF HEARING DATE ON DEFENDANTS AND CROSS-COMPLAINANTS COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES AND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS' NOTICE OF MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE

6/29/2017: NOTICE OF CHANGE OF HEARING DATE ON DEFENDANTS AND CROSS-COMPLAINANTS COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES AND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS' NOTICE OF MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE

68 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/02/2019
  • Response (PLAINTIFFS' RESPONSE TO DEFENDANTS/CROSS- DEFENDANTS' ARON PETROSIAN, SR. AND DIRUHI PETROSIAN'S BRIEF RE FURTHER DISCOVERY STAY); Filed by Ramon Rosales Sr. (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/02/2019
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Ramon Rosales Sr. (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/24/2019
  • Brief (Defendants/Cross-Defendants Aron Petrosian, Sr. and Diruhi Petrosian's Brief re Imposition of Discovery Stay); Filed by Diruhi Petrosian (Defendant); Aron H. Petrosian Sr. (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/19/2019
  • Proof of Service - No Service; Filed by Ramon Rosales Sr. (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/19/2019
  • Response (Plaintiff's Response to Defendants County of Los Angeles's Brief Re Further Discovery Stay); Filed by Ramon Rosales Sr. (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/15/2019
  • Reply (Plaintiffs' Reply brief Against Imposition of Further Discovery Stay); Filed by Ramon Rosales Sr. (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/15/2019
  • Proof of Service by Mail; Filed by Ramon Rosales Sr. (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/15/2019
  • Response (Response to Plaintiff's Brief Regarding Stay); Filed by County of Los Angeles (Defendant); Department of Public Works (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/08/2019
  • Brief (Defendant Aron Petrosian, Jr.'s Responsive Brief to Plaintiffs' Opening Brief); Filed by Aron H. Petrosia Jr. (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/02/2019
  • Brief (OPENING BRIEF AGAINST IMPOSITION OF DISCOVERY STAY); Filed by Ramon Rosales Sr. (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
172 More Docket Entries
  • 02/25/2016
  • APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM-CIVIL EX PARTE

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/25/2016
  • COMPLAINT FOR WRONGFUL DEATH & PERSONAL INJURY (1) NEGLIGENTFRECKLESS OPERATION OF MOTOR VEHICLE RESULTING IN WRONGFUL DEATH AND PERSONAL INJURY; ETC

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/25/2016
  • Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/25/2016
  • Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/25/2016
  • Complaint; Filed by Ramon Rosales Sr. (Plaintiff); Ramon, Sr. Rosales (Plaintiff); Alejandro J. Rosales (Plaintiff) et al.

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/25/2016
  • Application-Miscellaneous (FOR ISAAC ROSALES GUARDIAN AD LITEM ); Filed by Attorney for Pltf/Petnr

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/25/2016
  • Application-Miscellaneous (FOR RAMON ROSALES,JR. GUARDIAN AD LITEM ); Filed by Attorney for Pltf/Petnr

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/25/2016
  • Application-Miscellaneous (FOR NICOLAS ROSALES GUARDIAN AD LITEM ); Filed by Attorney for Pltf/Petnr

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/25/2016
  • Complaint

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/25/2016
  • Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC611814    Hearing Date: March 11, 2020    Dept: J

HEARING DATE: Wednesday, March 11, 2020

NOTICE: OK[1]

RE: Rosales, Sr., et al. v. Petrosian, Jr.,, et al. (BC611814; C/W Case No. BC611815)

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Defendants/Cross-Defendants Aron H. Petrosian’s, Jr., Diruhi Petrosian’s and Aron H.

Petrosian, Sr.’s MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT

Responding Party: Defendants/Cross-Complainants, County of Los Angeles and Department of Public Works.

Tentative Ruling

Defendants/Cross-Defendants Aron H. Petrosian’s, Jr., Diruhi Petrosian’s and Aron H.

Petrosian, Sr.’s Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement is GRANTED.

Background

Case No. BC611814

Plaintiffs Ramon Rosales, Sr., Alejandro J. Rosales, Nicholas R. Rosales, Isaac Rosales and Rosales Jr., by and through their Guardian Ad Litem, Ramon Rosales Sr. (“Plaintiffs”) sue for injuries and for the wrongful death of their wife/mother, who was killed in a December 17, 2014 motor vehicle accident (“Subject Accident”). On February 25, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a complaint, asserting causes of action against Defendants Aron H. Petrosian Jr., Diruhi Petrosian, Aron H. Petrosian Sr. (collectively, “The Petrosians”) and Does 1-100 for:

  1. Negligent/Reckless Operation of Motor Vehicle Resulting in Wrongful Death and Personal Injury;

  2. Negligent/Reckless Entrustment of Motor Vehicle to Minor Resulting in Wrongful Death and Personal Injury

    On July 25, 2017, this case was ordered transferred to this instant department, at the direction of Department 1. On September 11, 2017, this case was consolidated with Case No. BC611815 for all proceedings.

    The Final Status Conference is set for August 10, 2020. Trial is set for August 18, 2020.

    Case No. BC611815

    Plaintiffs Ramon Rosales, Sr., Alejandro J. Rosales, Nicholas R. Rosales, Isaac Rosales and Rosales Jr., by and through their Guardian Ad Litem, Ramon Rosales Sr. (“Plaintiffs”) allege that a roadway design defect and unsafe roadway conditions caused/contributed to the Subject Accident. On February 25, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a complaint, asserting causes of action against Defendants County of Los Angeles (County”), Department of Public Works (“Public Works”), State of California Department of Transportation (“DOT”) and Does 1-100 for:

    1-3. Gov’t Code § 835, Dangerous & Defective Condition of Public Property

    & Gov’t Code § 815.2 Negligent or Wrongful Acts by Public

    Employees, Resulting in Dangerous Road Conditions

    4-6. Negligence/Wrongful Conduct of Non-Public Entity Third Parties

    Causing Dangerous Condition of Public Property

    On August 4, 2016, County and Public Works filed their cross-complaint, wherein they asserted causes of action against Cross-Defendants The Petrosians and Does 1-50 for:

  1. Equitable Indemnity

  2. Contribution

  3. Comparative Fault

    On September 29, 2016, Plaintiffs dismissed DOT, without prejudice. On July 25, 2017, this case was ordered transferred to this instant department, at the direction of Department 1. On September 11, 2017, this case was consolidated with Case No. BC611815 for all proceedings.

Legal Standard

Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488 provides the following non-exclusive list of factors for the court to determine in considering the “good faith” of a settlement: “a rough approximation of plaintiffs’ total recovery and the settlor’s proportionate liability, the amount paid in settlement, the allocation of settlement proceeds among plaintiffs, and a recognition that a settlor should pay less in settlement than he would if he were found liable after a trial.” (Id. at 499.) “Other relevant considerations include the financial conditions and insurance policy limits of settling defendants, as well as the existence of collusion, fraud, or tortious conduct aimed to injure the interests of nonsettling defendants.” (Id.) The evaluation should be made on the basis of information available at the time of the settlement.” (Id.)

The moving party’s initial evidentiary burden depends on whether the good faith of the settlement is being contested. If the nonsettling defendants do not oppose the motion on the good faith issue, a “barebones” motion which sets forth the grounds of good faith, accompanies by a declaration which sets forth a brief background of the case, is sufficient. (City of Grand Terrace v. Superior Court (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 1251, 1261.)

When a motion for determination of good faith settlement is contested, however, the moving party must make a more specific showing under the Tech-Bilt factors. (Id. at 1261-62.) Such a showing may be made either in the original moving papers or in counter-declarations filed after the nonsettling defendants have filed an opposition challenging good faith of the settlement. (Id. at 1262.) Where good faith is contested, the showing requires competent evidence in support of “good faith.” (Greshko v. Count y of Los Angeles (1987) 194 Cal.App.3d 822, 834.)

“Once there is a showing made by the settlor of the settlement, the burden of proof on the issue of good faith shifts to the non-settlor who asserts that the settlement was not made in good faith.” (City of Grant Terrace, supra, 192 Cal.App.3d at 1262; CCP § 877.6(d).)

Discussion

The Petrosians move the court for an order, per CCP § 877.6, to determine that the settlement between Plaintiffs and The Petrosians for $400,000.00 (i.e., $200,000.00 for wrongful death claim, $100,000.00 for personal injury claim of Plaintiff Isaac Rosales and $100,000.00 for personal injury claim of Plaintiff Ramon Rosales, Jr.) was made in good faith. The Petrosians also seek orders barring any and all current and future cross-complaints for equitable indemnity, implied indemnity, comparative contribution and/or declaratory relief and dismissing with prejudice any pending cross-complaints filed against The Petrosians, including the cross-complaint filed by County.

 

Procedural Defects

Pursuant to the November 5, 2018 General Order Re Mandatory Electronic Filing for Civil, litigants are required to provide printed courtesy copies of all filings, including pleadings and motions (including attachments such as declarations and exhibits) of 26 pages or more and pleadings and motions that include points and authorities. Here, the court did not receive a courtesy copy of the papers filed by The Petrosians. Counsel for The Petrosians is admonished. Counsel is instructed to comply with the court’s general order in future filings.

The Petrosians have also failed to comply with California Rules of Court Rule 3.1382 (i.e., “[a] motion or application for determination of good faith settlement may include a request to dismiss a pleading or a portion of a pleading. The notice of motion or application for determination of good faith settlement must list each party and pleading or portion of pleading affected by the settlement and the date on which the affected pleading was filed” [emphasis added].) The court admonishes counsel for The Petrosians in this regard.

Merits

The matter was originally heard on January 31, 2020 and continued to March 11, 2020 for

further briefing.

The court determines that the deficiencies noted in its previous tentative ruling have now been

Sufficiently addressed. Aron H. Petrosian, Sr. (“Petrosian Sr.) and Diruhi Petrosian (“Diruhi”) contend that their proportional liability is limited. Petrosian Sr. was not an owner of the vehicle operated by Aron H. Petrosian, Jr. (“Petrosian Jr.”); as such, Petrosian Sr. believes he has no liability under Vehicle Code § 17150. Petrosian Sr. notes that all other Code sections cited by County, including Civil Code §§ 1714 ($25,000.00), 17708 ($30,000.00), and 17707 ($30,000.00) include caps on parental liability. Diruhi contends that, while she was the registered owner of the vehicle operated by Petrosian Jr., her liability is capped at $30,000.00 (See Vehicle Code § 17151.) The court recognizes that the cap “does not apply . . . to a vehicle owner’s own common law negligence.” (Fremont Comp. Ins. Co. v. Harnett (1993) 19 Cal.App.4th 669, 676-76.) County urges that such a cap does not apply here based on a ticket Petrosian Jr. was issued around July 5, 2014. County further argues that Petrosian Sr.’s and Diruhi’s liability under Civil Code § 1714.1 is in addition to their liability under the Vehicle Code [See § 1714(a) (“The liability imposed by this section is in addition to any liability now imposed by law”).] County also argues that Petrosian Jr. has not addressed his proportional liability.

The rule stated in Tech-Bilt that “a defendant’s settlement figure must not be grossly disproportionate to what a reasonable person, at the time of the settlement, would estimate the settling defendant’s liability to be” is subject to an exception. “[B]ad faith is not established merely by a showing that a settling defendant with limited ability to satisfy a judgment will pay less than his or her theoretical proportionate share: ‘Such a rule would unduly discourage settlements. “For the damages are often speculative, and the probability of legal liability therefor is often uncertain or remote. And even where the claimant’s damages are obviously great, and the liability therefor certain, a disproportionately low settlement figure is often reasonable in the case of a relatively insolvent, and uninsured, or underinsured, joint tortfeasor.” [Citation.]’ (Schmidt v. Superior Court (1988) 205 Cal.App.3d 1244, 1248, quoting Tech-Bilt, supra, 38 Cal.3d at p. 499.) The court finds this exception to be dispositive here.

In Schmid, defendant motorist in a personal injury action petitioned the Third District Court of Appeal for a writ of mandate seeking to vacate the trial court’s order denying a motion for determination that her settlement with plaintiffs was in good faith. In that case, defendant was the driver, and Plaintiff Bert Sargent (“Sargent”) was a passenger in defendant’s car. About 11 p.m., defendant missed a sharp left turn, drove off the road and collided with a tree near Placerville, severely injuring Sargent. The road was an unmarked, unlit, winding road in the hills and lacked a shoulder area. Other accidents had recently occurred on that road but the county had taken no steps to reduce the danger. After the accident, defendant’s blood-alcohol level measured approximately .17. Sargent and his wife sued defendant and El Dorado County (“County”) and alleged permanent physical, mental, and emotional damages in excess of $500,000.00, including medical bills expected to reach $60,000.00. He also alleged that the accident deprived him of his ability to work or support himself. Defendant offered a settlement of $55,000.00, which was her policy limit; she had no other assets. Plaintiffs, in their joinder to the motion, estimated that defendant’s share of liability was 10-20%, and the share of County’s liability was 80-90%. The court denied the motion because it did not feel the percentage of negligence attributable to County was realistic and that the amount of the settlement bore a realistic proportion to damages that could be awarded. In issuing a peremptory writ of mandate directing the trial court to vacate its order denying the motion and enter a new order granting the motion, the court of appeal determined that the above exception applied: “We can think of no earthly good that would come from requiring defendant Schmid to remain in the action . . . No evidence suggests that Schmid has any assets, or any prospect of acquiring assets, other than her insurance policy. Yet disapproval of the good faith of the settlement would doubtless require Schmid to continue her defense, possibly at the expense of her insurer, to avoid a judgment in excess of her policy limits that could require her to declare bankruptcy. We see no virtue in this . . .” (Id. at 1248-1249.)

In this case, Plaintiffs’ position is that the Petrosians are inadequately covered by liability insurance relative to their claims, and that there is little or no “collectability” as to the Petrosians beyond the $100,000.00 they have agreed to pay out of pocket, in addition to the policy limits.

Petrosian Jr. has submitted a declaration, wherein he confirms that he had automobile liability insurance with State Farm Insurance Company at the time of the incident, that said policy has bodily injury limits of $100,000 per person/$300,000 per occurrence, and that he has no excess, umbrella or other liability insurance applicable to the accident. (Petrosian Jr. Decl., ¶3.) Petrosian Jr. further attests that he does not have any interest in any real property, does not own a vehicle or any stocks or bonds and does not have any money in his checking or savings accounts. (Id., ¶¶4-5).

Plaintiffs, in their supplemental briefing, have provided a declaration from Jeffrey S. Rosner (“Rosner”) of Nationwide Asset Investigation, Inc. Rosner attests that his investigators ran a double check with the three credit data bases and their nationwide property database on Petrosian Jr. and found no real property in his name, no indication of any property being transferred by him to any of the other parties investigated, no liens, judgments or bankruptcy filings against him, and no record of him maintaining any active bank account or an account at any financial institutions. (Rosner Decl., ¶4.)

Information has been provided as to Petrosian Sr.’s and Diruhi’s financial condition. Rosner’s firm ran a double check through the three credit data bases. (Id., ¶5). They found no indication of any property being transferred among any of the parties investigated. (Id.) They found that Petrosian Sr. maintains a joint checking account with Diruhi at U.S. Bank, located at 600 North Brand Blvd., Glendale, CA 91203, and that this account has a recent balance of $7,540.00, with a $1,950.00 deposit made on January 30, 2020. (Id.) No other accounts or liquid assets were found in Petrosian Sr.’s name. (Id.) They also found that Petrosian Sr. maintains three mortgages, with (1) Chase in the amount of $1,446,773.00, (2) New Res Shellpoint in the amount of $456,000.00 and with (3) Central Loan Administration in the amount of $413,820.00, for a total of $2,316,593.00 in mortgages. (Id.) Petrosian Sr. and Diruhi do not have any liens, judgments or bankruptcies. (Id., ¶¶5-6.) Diruhi does not have any real property, mortgages, other accounts or liquid assets in her name. (Id., ¶6.)

The court determines that the reasoning of Schmid is applicable here. Even assuming that The Petrosians’ (particularly Petrosian Jr.’s) share of proportionate fault is significantly greater than any fault borne by County, the evidence suggests that the Petrosians are of limited financial resources. Accordingly, the motion is GRANTED.


[1] The motion was filed on December 31, 2019 and originally set for hearing on January 31, 2020. On January 31, 2020, the court continued the hearing to March 11, 2020, with the following briefing schedule: “Moving party to submit a further declaration by 2/21/20. Any reply or opposition is due by 3/2/20. Moving party is to give notice.” On January 31, 2020, moving party filed and mail-served its “Notice of Ruling.”

Case Number: BC611814    Hearing Date: January 31, 2020    Dept: J

HEARING DATE: Friday, January 31, 2019

NOTICE: OK

RE: Rosales, Sr., et al. v. Petrosian, Jr.,, et al. (BC611814; C/W Case No. BC611815)

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Defendants/Cross-Defendants Aron H. Petrosian’s, Jr., Diruhi Petrosian’s and Aron H.

Petrosian, Sr.’s MOTION FOR DETERMINATION OF GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT

Responding Party: Defendants/Cross-Complainants, County of Los Angeles and Department of Public Works.

Tentative Ruling

Defendants/Cross-Defendants Aron H. Petrosian’s, Jr., Diruhi Petrosian’s and Aron H.

Petrosian, Sr.’s Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement is DENIED without

prejudice.

Background

Case No. BC611814

Plaintiffs Ramon Rosales, Sr., Alejandro J. Rosales, Nicholas R. Rosales, Isaac Rosales and Rosales Jr., by and through their Guardian Ad Litem, Ramon Rosales Sr. (“Plaintiffs”) sue for injuries and for the wrongful death of their wife/mother, who was killed in a December 17, 2014 motor vehicle accident (“Subject Accident”). On February 25, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a complaint, asserting causes of action against Defendants Aron H. Petrosian Jr., Diruhi Petrosian, Aron H. Petrosian Sr. (collectively, “The Petrosians”) and Does 1-100 for:

  1. Negligent/Reckless Operation of Motor Vehicle Resulting in Wrongful Death and Personal Injury;

  2. Negligent/Reckless Entrustment of Motor Vehicle to Minor Resulting in Wrongful Death and Personal Injury

    On July 25, 2017, this case was ordered transferred to this instant department, at the direction of Department 1. On September 11, 2017, this case was consolidated with Case No. BC611815 for all proceedings.

    The Final Status Conference is set for August 10, 2020. Trial is set for August 18, 2020.

    Case No. BC611815

    Plaintiffs Ramon Rosales, Sr., Alejandro J. Rosales, Nicholas R. Rosales, Isaac Rosales and Rosales Jr., by and through their Guardian Ad Litem, Ramon Rosales Sr. (“Plaintiffs”) allege that a roadway design defect and unsafe roadway conditions caused/contributed to the Subject Accident. On February 25, 2016, Plaintiffs filed a complaint, asserting causes of action against Defendants County of Los Angeles (County”), Department of Public Works (“Public Works”), State of California Department of Transportation (“DOT”) and Does 1-100 for:

    1-3. Gov’t Code § 835, Dangerous & Defective Condition of Public Property

    & Gov’t Code § 815.2 Negligent or Wrongful Acts by Public

    Employees, Resulting in Dangerous Road Conditions

    4-6. Negligence/Wrongful Conduct of Non-Public Entity Third Parties

    Causing Dangerous Condition of Public Property

    On August 4, 2016, County and Public Works filed their cross-complaint, wherein they asserted causes of action against Cross-Defendants The Petrosians and Does 1-50 for:

  1. Equitable Indemnity

  2. Contribution

  3. Comparative Fault

    On September 29, 2016, Plaintiffs dismissed DOT, without prejudice. On July 25, 2017, this case was ordered transferred to this instant department, at the direction of Department 1. On September 11, 2017, this case was consolidated with Case No. BC611815 for all proceedings.

Legal Standard

Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488 provides the following non-exclusive list of factors for the court to determine in considering the “good faith” of a settlement: “a rough approximation of plaintiffs’ total recovery and the settlor’s proportionate liability, the amount paid in settlement, the allocation of settlement proceeds among plaintiffs, and a recognition that a settlor should pay less in settlement than he would if he were found liable after a trial.” (Id. at 499.) “Other relevant considerations include the financial conditions and insurance policy limits of settling defendants, as well as the existence of collusion, fraud, or tortious conduct aimed to injure the interests of nonsettling defendants.” (Id.) The evaluation should be made on the basis of information available at the time of the settlement.” (Id.)

The moving party’s initial evidentiary burden depends on whether the good faith of the settlement is being contested. If the nonsettling defendants do not oppose the motion on the good faith issue, a “barebones” motion which sets forth the grounds of good faith, accompanies by a declaration which sets forth a brief background of the case, is sufficient. (City of Grand Terrace v. Superior Court (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 1251, 1261.)

When a motion for determination of good faith settlement is contested, however, the moving party must make a more specific showing under the Tech-Bilt factors. (Id. at 1261-62.) Such a showing may be made either in the original moving papers or in counter-declarations filed after the nonsettling defendants have filed an opposition challenging good faith of the settlement. (Id. at 1262.) Where good faith is contested, the showing requires competent evidence in support of “good faith.” (Greshko v. Count y of Los Angeles (1987) 194 Cal.App.3d 822, 834.)

“Once there is a showing made by the settlor of the settlement, the burden of proof on the issue of good faith shifts to the non-settlor who asserts that the settlement was not made in good faith.” (City of Grant Terrace, supra, 192 Cal.App.3d at 1262; CCP § 877.6(d).)

Discussion

The Petrosians move the court for an order, per CCP § 877.6, to determine that the settlement between Plaintiffs and The Petrosians for $400,000.00 (i.e., $200,000.00 for wrongful death claim, $100,000.00 for personal injury claim of Plaintiff Isaac Rosales and $100,000.00 for personal injury claim of Plaintiff Ramon Rosales, Jr.) was made in good faith. The Petrosians also seek orders barring any and all current and future cross-complaints for equitable indemnity, implied indemnity, comparative contribution and/or declaratory relief and dismissing with prejudice any pending cross-complaints filed against The Petrosians, including the cross-complaint filed by County.

 

Procedural Defects

Pursuant to the November 5, 2018 General Order Re Mandatory Electronic Filing for Civil, litigants are required to provide printed courtesy copies of all filings, including pleadings and motions (including attachments such as declarations and exhibits) of 26 pages or more and pleadings and motions that include points and authorities. Here, the court did not receive a courtesy copy of the papers filed by The Petrosians. Counsel for The Petrosians is admonished. Counsel is instructed to comply with the court’s general order in future filings.

The Petrosians have also failed to comply with California Rules of Court Rule 3.1382 (i.e., “[a] motion or application for determination of good faith settlement may include a request to dismiss a pleading or a portion of a pleading. The notice of motion or application for determination of good faith settlement must list each party and pleading or portion of pleading affected by the settlement and the date on which the affected pleading was filed” [emphasis added].) The court admonishes counsel for The Petrosians in this regard.

Merits

The motion is opposed. The court determines that The Petrosians have not met their initial

burden of showing that the settlement amount is “within the reasonable range of the settling

tortfeasor’s propositional share of comparative liability for the plaintiff’s injuries.” (Tech-Bilt,

supra, 38 Cal.3d at 499.) The motion falls short. Although The Petrosians set forth the amount

paid in settlement, they have not presented any admissible evidence regarding the rough

approximation of Plaintiffs’ total recovery or of their financial condition. Aron H. Petrosian, Jr.

has not submitted a declaration whatsoever. Diruhi Petrosian and Aron H. Petrosian, Sr. have

failed to adequately address their proportionate liability under the statutes set forth in County’s

cross-complaint against them (i.e., Vehicle Code §§ 17707, 17708, 17150) of under Civil Code §

1714.1. The Petrosians, moreover, have failed to present any admissible evidencing regarding

Aron H. Petrosian, Jr.’s proportional liability.

The reply fares no better and is not accompanied by any admissible evidence. Plaintiffs’ counsel attests that he “found no evidence of substantial liquid assets belonging to the PETROSIANS in general, and Aron Petrosian, Jr., in particular” and that “[b]ased on assessments made regarding the financial capacity of the PETROSIAN tortfeasors, it was determined they may be able to shoulder an out of pocket contribution. . . in the amount of $100,000,” but provides the court and opposing parties with no further information in this regard. (Dourian Decl., ¶3.)

Accordingly, the motion is DENIED without prejudice.