On 02/25/2016 S M filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against PASADENA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are RALPH C. HOFER, LAURA A. MATZ and HOLLY J. FUJIE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
RALPH C. HOFER
LAURA A. MATZ
HOLLY J. FUJIE
PASADENA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
DOES 1 TO 25
LAW OFFICES OF ANDREW ZEYTUNTSYAN PC
QUIGLEY LANE ESQ.
LIEBMAN QUIGLEY & SHEPPARD
2/25/2016: Civil Case Cover Sheet
2/22/2017: Minute Order
3/8/2017: Minute Order
4/11/2017: Case Management Statement
6/13/2017: Minute Order
6/15/2017: Notice of Ruling
8/15/2017: Minute Order
10/23/2017: Minute Order
7/5/2018: Case Management Statement
7/27/2018: Notice of Settlement
2/25/2016: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR: NEGLIGENCE; NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION; NEGLIGENT HIRING AND/OR RETENTION
6/3/2016: FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR: NEGLIGENCE; NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION; NEGLIGENT HIRING AND/OR RETENTION
1/3/2017: Minute Order
2/3/2017: NOTICE OF NON-AVAILABILITY OF COUNSEL
at 08:30 AM in Department D; Unknown Event Type - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by CourtRead MoreRead Less
Minute order entered: 2018-09-24 00:00:00; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department D; Unknown Event Type - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department D; Non-Appearance Case Review (Non-Appearance (Case Review); Order Made) -Read MoreRead Less
at 08:30 am in Department NCGD, Ralph C. Hofer, Presiding; Non-Appearance (Case Review) - Order MadeRead MoreRead Less
Minute order entered: 2018-08-06 00:00:00; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Notice of Settlement; Filed by ADRIANA MARTINEZ (Plaintiff); S. M. (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Notice of Settlement; Filed by Attorney for PlaintiffRead MoreRead Less
Notice of SettlementRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department D; Status Conference (Status Conference; Matter continued) -Read MoreRead Less
Summons; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Ord Apptng Guardian Ad Litem; Filed by Plaintiff/PetitionerRead MoreRead Less
Ord Apptng Guardian Ad Litem (FOR S.M. ); Filed by Attorney for Pltf/PetnrRead MoreRead Less
Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/PetitionerRead MoreRead Less
Application-Miscellaneous (FOR S.M. A MINOR GUARDIAN AD LITEM(COPY) ); Filed by Attorney for Pltf/PetnrRead MoreRead Less
APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM-CIVIL EX PARTERead MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by nullRead MoreRead Less
ComplaintRead MoreRead Less
Civil Case Cover SheetRead MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR: NEGLIGENCE; NEGLIGENT SUPERVISION; NEGLIGENT HIRING AND/OR RETENTIONRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC611533 Hearing Date: January 24, 2020 Dept: NCD
Case No: BC 611533
Case Name: S.M. v. Pasadena Unified School District
MOTION TO ENFORCE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT
[CCP § 664.6]
Moving Party: Defendant Pasadena Unified School District
Responding Party: Plaintiff S.M., through GAL Adriana Martinez
Order enforcing settlement reached with Plaintiff S.M., through GAL Adriana Martinez on July 19, 2018.
Monetary sanctions against plaintiff’s GAL, Adriana Martinez, in the amount of $1,600
SUMMARY OF FACTS:
This case involves a claim by a special education needs student that the student was inappropriately touched by another special needs student in a school bathroom.
On July 27, 2018, plaintiff filed a Notice of Settlement.
On October 25, 2019, the court heard an expedited Petition to Approve Compromise of Disputed Claim of Minor S.M. filed on behalf of Petitioner Adriana Martinez.
The court published its detailed tentative ruling on the evening of Thursday, October 3, 2019, which was to grant the petition.
At the hearing, there was no appearance by defendant. Counsel for the petitioner submitted on the court’s tentative ruling.
The Guardian ad Litem, on behalf of the minor child, appeared at the hearing and stated she did not agree to the terms and conditions set forth in the minor’s contract. The petition was then denied.
CCP § 664.6 provides, in pertinent part:
“If parties to pending litigation stipulate, in a writing signed by the parties outside the presence of the court...for settlement of the case,...the court, upon motion, may enter judgment pursuant to the terms of the settlement. If requested by the parties, the court may retain jurisdiction over the parties to enforce the settlement until performance in full of the terms of the settlement.”
In this case, the parties entered into a written Stipulation for Settlement signed by the parties outside of the presence of the court. [Ex. D]. The matter has not yet been dismissed, and the court still has jurisdiction over the matter.
The Second District in Weddington
Productions, Inc. v. Flick (1998) 60
Plaintiff has filed a “Partial Opposition” to the motion, in which plaintiff indicates plaintiff does not oppose the motion to enforce the judgment, that the GAL, Adriana Martinez, fully understands and agrees to complete the terms of the settlement as agreed to at the previous mediation on July 19, 2018 and wishes for the court to approve and sign an attached Petition and Order Approving Compromise of Disputed Claim. Plaintiff indicates that plaintiff does oppose the imposition of sanctions pursuant to CCP § 128.5, which are also sought in the moving papers.
The Stipulation for Settlement calls for the payment of $17,000 by defendant, with plaintiff to be responsible for all medical specials and liens, and each party to bear their own costs and fees. The Stipulation provides, “This settlement is subject to the approval of both the governing board of the PUSD and court approval of the minor’s compromise which shall be filed by plaintiff.” [Ex. D].
It is not clear that the court entering judgment on this agreement gets the parties very far, as there is no indication here that the PUSD governing board has approved the Stipulation for Settlement, and, as noted above, the petition for approval of the minor’s compromise has been denied, so it has not been approved by the court.
To the extent the opposition requests that the court approve a petition attached to the opposition, the petition is the same petition previously submitted and ruled on and denied on October 25, 2019. [Zeytuntsyan Decl., Ex. A]. Hence, the petition would have to be refiled and noticed in order for the court to approve it, which could be done on an expedited basis, pursuant to an Expedited Petition to Approve, if still appropriate. It is particularly appropriate that notice be given here given that the settlement appears to involve public funds.
The matter will be discussed at the hearing, as the parties appear to be prepared to stipulate orally before the court to the entry of judgment once the conditions have been satisfied. The court will inquire if the PUSD governing board has approved the settlement, and, if so, set a hearing on the expedited petition, which must be refiled and re-served with a new hearing date.
With respect to the request for monetary sanctions, the opposition indicates that counsel for defendant has indicated that defendant would be willing to drop the request for sanctions if the terms of the settlement are performed and stipulated. This issue will be discussed at the hearing.
Overall, sanctions are sought pursuant to CCP § 128.5, which provides, in pertinent part:
“(a) A trial court may order a party, the party's attorney, or both, to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney's fees, incurred by another party as a result of actions or tactics, made in bad faith, that are frivolous or solely intended to cause unnecessary delay. This section also applies to judicial arbitration proceedings under Chapter 2.5 (commencing with Section 1141.10) of Title 3 of Part 3.
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) “Actions or tactics” include, but are not limited to, the making or opposing of motions or the filing and service of a complaint, cross-complaint, answer, or other responsive pleading. The mere filing of a complaint without service thereof on an opposing party does not constitute “actions or tactics” for purposes of this section.
(2) “Frivolous” means totally and completely without merit or for the sole purpose of harassing an opposing party.
(c) Expenses pursuant to this section shall not be imposed except on notice contained in a party's moving or responding papers or, on the court's own motion, after notice and opportunity to be heard. An order imposing expenses shall be in writing and shall recite in detail the action or tactic or circumstances justifying the order.”
An award of sanctions for a party’s frivolous action or delaying tactic is within the sound discretion of the trial court, and the “test on appeal is whether the trial court abused the broad discretion” to justify the court of appeal’s interference with a sanction award. Wallis v. PHL Associates, Inc. (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 882, 893, quotation, citation omitted.
The standard to be applied has been set forth as follows:
““Section 128.5 permits the trial court to impose sanctions under certain narrowly defined conditions. Sanctions are warranted only if the moving party meets its burden of proving that the opposing party's action or tactic was (1) totally and completely without merit, measured by the objective, ‘reasonable attorney’ standard, or (2) motivated solely by an intention to harass or cause unnecessary delay, measured by a subjective standard. [Citations.] Whether sanctions are warranted depends on an evaluation of all the circumstances surrounding the questioned action. [Citation.]” (Weisman v. Bower (1987) 193 Cal.App.3d 1231, 1236, 238 Cal.Rptr. 756, fn. omitted.).”
Wallis, at 893.
It cannot be found that the plaintiff’s action in objecting to the petition is subject to the totally and completely without merit condition, as counsel for petitioner actually submitted on the court’s tentative to grant the petition, as a reasonable attorney would do. It is also not clear that the GAL acted with subjective ill intent in balking at the hearing on the petition. One purpose of the hearing on such a petition is for the court to determine that the guardian understands the terms of the settlement and believes it is in the best interest of the minor, and that the guardian is not being unduly pressured to enter into the settlement. The GAL has submitted a declaration indicating that she did agree to settle the case at the mediation and was fully advised of the terms of the settlement, and at the hearing objected because “at that time, as an overzealous mother, I wanted to continue to fight for my child.” [Martinez Decl. ¶¶2, 3]. She states that her actions were not in bad faith or to delay or harass the defendant or any other party, but she “simply needed more time to fully grasp the moment and to make the best decision for my child.” [Martinez Decl. ¶ 4]. She “sincerely” apologizes to the court and all parties for any convenience she may have caused. [Martinez Decl. ¶ 5].
This set of facts does not amount to a situation where sanctions are warranted, and the sanctions are denied.
Motion to Enforce Judgment Under Code of Civil Procedure Section 664.6:
The papers suggest that the parties are willing to further stipulate to perform under their Stipulation for Settlement, dated 7/19/2018. The court will hear argument concerning how this will be accomplished. The court notes that the Stipulation for Settlement provides: “This settlement is subject to the approval of both the governing board of the PUSD and court approval of the minor’s compromise which shall be filed by plaintiff.” [Ex. D].
The court requires information and evidence concerning whether the settlement has been approved by the governing board of PUSD. The court also will require that a new Petition for Compromise be filed and served, specifying a new hearing date, as the previous petition attached to the opposition has been denied. The petition may be brought on an expedited basis, if appropriate. The parties may then stipulate for the entry of Judgment in the agreed upon sum and pursuant to the other terms of the Stipulation for Judgment.
Request for Sanctions pursuant to CCP § 128.5 is DENIED.
Case Number: BC611533 Hearing Date: October 25, 2019 Dept: NCD
Case No: BC 611533
Case Name: S.M. v. Pasadena Unified School District
[CCP §372 CRC 3.1384]
Moving Party: Petitioner Adriana Martinez as GAL for claimant S.M
Expedited Petition to Approve Compromise of Pending Action brought by petitioner Adriana Martinez for claimant S.M. is GRANTED.
The petition is brought as “Expedited” Petition.
Under CCP section 372, a minor’s claim may be compromised by a guardian ad litem “with the approval of the court in which the action or proceeding pending…”
A petition for court approval of such a compromise under this section must comply with CRC Rules 7.950, 7.951, and 7.952. CRC Rule 3.1384.
Rule 7.950 specifies the required content of a petition, stating that the petition “must contain a full disclosure of all information that has any bearing upon the reasonableness of the compromise, covenant, settlement or disposition.” In addition, “the petition must be prepared on a fully completed Petition to Approve Compromise…(form MC-350)”
Rule 7.950.5 permits the use of an “Expedited petition” in authorized circumstances. Subdivision (a) of the Rule provides:
“a) Authorized use of expedited petition Notwithstanding the provisions of rule 7.950, a petitioner for court approval of a compromise of or a covenant not to sue or enforce judgment on a minor's disputed claim; a compromise or settlement of a pending action or proceeding to which a minor or person with a disability is a party; or disposition of the proceeds of a judgment for a minor or person with a disability under chapter 4 of part 8 of division 4 of the Probate Code (commencing with section 3600) or Code of Civil Procedure section 372 may, in the following circumstances, satisfy the information requirements of that rule by fully completing the Expedited Petition to Approve Compromise of Disputed Claim or Pending Action or Disposition of Proceeds of Judgment for Minor or Person With a Disability (form MC-350EX): (1) The petitioner is represented by an attorney authorized to practice in the courts of this state; (2) The claim is not for damages for the wrongful death of a person; (3) No portion of the net proceeds of the compromise, settlement, or judgment in favor of the minor or disabled claimant is to be placed in a trust; (4) There are no unresolved disputes concerning liens to be satisfied from the proceeds of the compromise, settlement, or judgment; (5) The petitioner's attorney did not become involved in the matter at the direct or indirect request of a person against whom the claim is asserted or an insurance carrier for that person; (6) The petitioner's attorney is neither employed by nor associated with a defendant or insurance carrier in connection with the petition; (7) If an action has been filed on the claim: (A) All defendants that have appeared in the action are participating in the compromise; or (B) The court has finally determined that the settling parties entered into the settlement in good faith; (8) The judgment for the minor or disabled claimant (exclusive of interest and costs) or the total amount payable to the minor or disabled claimant and all other parties under the proposed compromise or settlement is $50,000 or less or, if greater: (A) The total amount payable to the minor or disabled claimant represents payment of the individual-person policy limits of all liability insurance policies covering all proposed contributing parties; and (B) All proposed contributing parties would be substantially unable to discharge an adverse judgment on the minor's or disabled person's claim from assets other than the proceeds of their liability insurance policies; and (9) The court does not otherwise order.”
Here, the petition is brought by the GAL, represented by an attorney, is on the proper form, and appears to make the required showing. There are two concerns here. First, the attorney seeks as expenses the cost to pay a medical bill from a Dr. Konstat, totaling $3,000, which was negotiated and reduced down. The court may want to ensure that there are no other claims being made in unusual portions of the application. Second, the attorneys’ fees sought are 33.3% of the settlement. The declaration of counsel appears to sufficiently satisfy the requirements of CRC Rule 7.955, however, and it appears that work was conducted, and the settlement reached at a mediation.
Otherwise, this case involves a claim by a special education needs student that he was inappropriately touched by another special needs student in a school bathroom. The liability issue is not clear on the part of defendant Pasadena Unified School District, which claims it had no advance notice of any inappropriate conduct by the other child prior to the incident. Claimant has been treated for post-traumatic stress and has fully recovered from the effects of the incident.
The settlement is for $17,000, with $5,640 to be deducted in expenses, and $5,610 to be paid in attorneys’ fees, leaving the net balance of the proceeds for the claimant of $5,750, to be placed in a blocked account. This settlement amount is appropriate.