On 08/05/2015 TRACY SCUDDER filed a Labor - Other Labor lawsuit against STATE OF CALIFORNIA DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are DALILA CORRAL LYONS and VICTOR E. CHVEZ. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.
Disposed - Judgment Entered
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
DALILA CORRAL LYONS
VICTOR E. CHVEZ
DOES 1 THROUGH 40
STATE OF CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANS-
FLORES VICTOR (PS)
GARCIA VICTOR (PS)
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
ACE ATTORNEY SERVICE INC.
TEST PARTY FOR TRUST CONVERSION
LAW OFFICES OF KYLE TODD
ASHLEY DENNING DEPUTY ATTORNEY
PARK KAREN J. ESQ.
3/6/2017: DEFENDANT STATE OF CALIFORNIA, ACTING BY AND THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION'S REQUEST TO RECONSIDER CACI 3700
12/22/2017: DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR JURY INSTRUCTIONS - DISPUTED
12/22/2017: PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO.1 TO PRECLUDE THE INTRODUCTION OF EVIDENCE OR TESTIMONY BY DEFENDANT OTHER THAN WHAT HAS BEEN PROVIDED IN DISCOVERY IN RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFF'S FORM INTERROGATORY NO. 15
12/22/2017: PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO.5 TO PRECLUDE DEFENDANT FROM 1NTRODUCINC. TESTIMONY OF WITNESSES NOT IDENTIFIED OR PRODUCED FOR DEPOSITION; DECLARATION OF KYLE TODD IN SUPPORT; EXHIBITS IN SUPPORT THE
12/22/2017: PLAINTIFF'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO.3 TO PRECLUDE DEFENDANT FROM REFERRING TO ITSELF AS THE GOVERNMENT OR "WE THE PEOPLE"; DECLARATION OF KYLE TODD IN SUPPORT; EXHIBITS IN SUPPORT THEREOF
1/8/2018: DECLARATION OF KAREN J. PARK IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT'S MEET AND CONFER EFFORTS TO FILE A JOINT WITNESS LIST FOR LONG CAUSE CONSIDERATION
3/9/2018: JURY INSTRUCTION 3700
3/9/2018: JURY QUESTIONS/REQUESTS
4/12/2018: Minute Order
7/17/2018: APPELLANT'S NOTICE DESIGNATING RECORD ON APPEAL
1/20/2016: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS
3/18/2016: ANSWER OF DEFENDANTS, THE PEOPILE OF STATE OF CALIFORNIA, ACTNG BY AND THROUGH THE DEPARMENT OF TRANSPORTATION; VICTOR GARCIA; AND VICTOR FLORES TO PLAINTIFF'S UNVERIFIED FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT
12/29/2016: DEFENDANT, THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, ACTING BY AND THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, VICTOR GARCIA AND VICTOR FLORES' OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF TRACY SCUDDER'S MOTION TO QUASH DEPOS
2/15/2017: ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO QUASH SUBPOENAS AND GRANTING DEFENDANT'S REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS
5/16/2017: ORDER ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER ADVANCING TRIAL DATE
11/30/2017: DECLARATION OF MEET AND CONFER, RE: TRIAL DOCUMENTS
11/30/2017: PLAINTIFF'S PROPOSED JURY INSTRUCTIONS LIST
12/6/2017: PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION IN LIMINE NO.4 TO PRECLUDE EVIDENCE OF ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE FAIR EMPLOYMENT AND HOUSING ACT OCCURRING BEFORE AUGUST 5, 2014
Appeal Record Delivered (APPEAL FILED 7-3-18); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department 8, Victor E. Chvez, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: (Order to Show Cause ReFailure to File Transcripts In A Timely Fashion) - HeldRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Order to Show Cause Re: Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to Fi...)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department 8, Victor E. Chvez, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: (Order to Show Cause ReFailure to File Transcript In A Timely Fashion) - Held - ContinuedRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Order to Show Cause Re: Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to F...)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
at 10:11 AM in Department 8, Victor E. Chvez, Presiding; Non-Appearance Case ReviewRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Non-Appearance Case Review)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Appeal Record Delivered; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Appeal - Original Clerk's Transcript 1 - 5 Volumes Certified; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Appeal - Notice of Fees Due for Clerk's Transcript on Appeal; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
NOTICE RE: CONTINUANCE OF HEARINGRead MoreRead Less
Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCERead MoreRead Less
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARINGRead MoreRead Less
OSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES (1) FEHA HARASSMENT; ETCRead MoreRead Less
SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by Tracy Scudder (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC590282 Hearing Date: August 07, 2020 Dept: 20
Judge David J. Cowan
Hearing Date: Friday, August 7, 2020
Case Name: Tracy Scudder v. State of California Dep’t. of Transportation et al.
Case No.: BC590282
Motion: Enforce Judgment
Moving Party: Plaintiff Scudder
Responding Party: Defendant State of California Dep’t. of Transportation
Ruling: The Motion is DENIED.
DOT to give notice.
If counsel do not submit on the tentative, they are strongly encouraged to appear by LA Court Connect rather than in person in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On August 5, 2015, Plaintiff Tracy Scudder filed a Complaint against Defendants State of California Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”), Victor Garcia, Victor Flores, and unnamed Does, stating claims for racial discrimination, racial harassment, retaliation, and failure to prevent the foregoing arising out of Plaintiff’s employment with Caltrans since 2006.
On March 9, 2018, following a jury trial, the jury rendered a verdict in Plaintiff’s favor on his claims for racial harassment and failure to prevent racial harassment and awarded Plaintiff $1,000,000 in damages.
On April 12, 2018, the Court entered judgment against Defendants.
On September 11, 2018, the Court awarded Plaintiff $592,075 in attorneys’ fees, $23,655 in expert costs, and $38,793.72 in costs after trial.
On June 4, 2019, after Defendants dismissed their appeal, the Court of Appeal issued a remittitur permitting Plaintiff to seek fees and costs incurred on appeal.
On August 29, 2019, the Court awarded Plaintiff $14,190 in attorneys’ fees incurred on appeal but denied costs.
On March 6, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Enforce the Judgment.
On March 17, 2020, Defendants filed an Opposition.
On July 21, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Reply.
Plaintiff brings this Motion to Enforce under CCP sec. 128 and 664.6 to compel Caltrans to pay the full amount of the judgment, including interest, and to pay attorneys’ fees due.
Motions to Enforce Against Public Entities
Initially, the Court addresses Caltrans’ argument that this motion is improper because a writ of mandate is the only “appropriate remedy” to compel payment by a public entity. (See Govt. Code sec. 965.7(a) (“A writ of mandate is an appropriate remedy to compel the state, or an officer or employee of the state, to perform any act required by this chapter.”)) In response, Plaintiff argues a writ of mandate is not the exclusive method of enforcing a judgment against a public agency, citing Govt. Code sec. 942. Section 942 provides that “[n]othing in this division shall be construed to deprive a claimant of the right to resort to writ of mandate or other proceeding against the public entity or the board or any employee of the public entity to compel payment of a claim.”
This argument is not persuasive—the Law Revision Commission comments to Section 942 confirm that a “writ of mandate is an appropriate remedy to compel a local public entity to pay an allowed claim” and the comments to Section 965.7 explain that “traditional forms of enforcement of a money judgment (execution and other remedies under the Code of Civil Procedure) are not available to enforce a judgment against the state or a state agency.” (15 Cal. Law. Rev. Comm. Report (Dec. 1980) at pp. 1273, 1277-78) “The Legislature's purpose in enacting this provision was ‘to provide that execution and other remedies under the Code of Civil Procedure for enforcement of money judgments do not apply to enforcement of a money judgment against a local public entity.” (Barkley v. City of Blue Lake (1993) 18 Cal.App.4th 1745, 1750.) Plaintiff fails to cite any authority permitting enforcement of money judgments against public entities under the Code of Civil Procedure. Nothing in the comments of Section 942 (or any other Govt. Code section) indicates any intent to permit enforcement under the Code of Civil Procedure.
There is a good reason that a writ of mandate, as provided for in the Govt. Code, is the proper and preferred remedy—a public entity’s “[p]ayment can be compelled only where there is a sufficient appropriation for the payment of the claim, settlement, compromise, or judgment,” and a writ is similarly proper “to compel [the] Director of Finance to certify that sufficient appropriation exists for payment.” (15 Cal. Law. Rev. Com. Rep. (Dec. 1980) at p. 1278 (comments on Section 965.7)) Simply put, writs of mandate are generally required to ensure that the judgment is provided for by appropriations, and the “traditional forms of enforcement” under the Code of Civil Procedure are not equipped to grant such relief. Hence, “a writ of mandate is an appropriate remedy,” and this remedy is provided for in the Govt. Code, not the Code of Civil Procedure. (See also Barkley, supra, 18 Cal.App.4th at 1750 (“the enforcement of money judgments against a ‘local public entity’ is governed by sections 970 through 971.2 of the Government Code.”); see also San Francisco Unified School Dist. v. San Francisco Classroom Teachers Assn. (1990) 222 Cal.App.3d 146, 150–151.)) Therefore, it appears to the Court that this motion—brought under the Code of Civil Procedure, sections 128 and 664.6—seeks the wrong remedy and likely should have been brought under Govt. Code sec. 965.7. However, as the Court’s review indicated the motion fails on the merits, the Court does not deny on this basis.
180-Day Delayed Interest Accrual
It appears to the Court that Plaintiff has failed to apply the 180-day delay in accrual of postjudgment interest against public entities. (See Govt. Code sec. 965.5.) “Pursuant to subdivisions (a) and (c) of section 965.5 of the Government Code, interest on a ‘judgment for the payment of money against the state or a state agency’ commences to accrue ‘180 days from the date of the final judgment or settlement’” at the “constitutional rate of 7 percent.” (Brown v. California Unemployment Ins. Appeals Bd. (2018) 20 Cal.App.5th 1107, 1120.)
Plaintiff argues Civ. Code sec. 3287 permits accumulation of interest not subject to the 180-day delay. Section 3287(a) provides that a “person who is entitled to recover damages certain, or capable of being made certain by calculation, and the right to recover which is vested in the person upon a particular day, is entitled also to recover interest thereon from that day, except when the debtor is prevented by law, or by the act of the creditor from paying the debt.” Section 3287 “is applicable to recovery of damages and interest from any debtor, including the state or any county, city, city and county, municipal corporation, public district, public agency, or any political subdivision of the state.” Plaintiff argues Govt. Code sec. 965.5 “does not interfere with this timing” for accumulation of interest, arguing the “only overlap between [Section] 965.5 and [Section] 3287 is that section 965.5 controls in determining the rate of interest.” Section 3287(c) provides that, “[u]nless another statute provides a different interest rate, in a tax or fee claim against a public entity that results in a judgment against the public entity, interest shall accrue . . . but shall not exceed 7 percent per annum. That rate shall control until the judgment becomes enforceable under Section 965.5 or 970.1 of the Government Code, at which time interest shall accrue . . . but shall not exceed 7 percent per annum.”
Plaintiff’s argument is not compelling. First, this interpretation of Section 3287 would make the 180-day delay in Section 965.5 virtually inapplicable. Plaintiff fails to explain when the delay would be applied, if not in a case such as this. The Court cannot accept a reading of Section 3287 that eliminates Section 965.5, particularly where Section 965.5 is a rule of narrower scope. The narrower rule generally takes precedence over more general rules. The Court agrees with Plaintiff that subdivision (c) is irrelevant to when interest begins to accumulate—it merely dictates the rate of accumulation, which is not in dispute here. As Plaintiff has not offered an interpretation of Section 3287 that would harmonize with the 180-day delay imposed by the Legislature, this argument is rejected. (See also California Fed. Savings & Loan Assn. v. City of Los Angeles (1995) 11 Cal.4th 342, 352 (holding the “plain language” of Govt. Code sec. 965.5 and 970.1 “exempts” the state and local public entities from interest provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure)) Additionally, it is not clear to the Court that subdivision (c) is relevant here where this is not “a tax or fee claim against a public entity.”
Plaintiff next argues Caltrans “assented” to accumulation without the 180-day delay by failing to raise this delay earlier. This argument is legally unsupported. There is no authority indicating this 180-day delay can be effectively waived rather than being automatically applied. This argument is similar to that asserted in 311 South Spring Street Co. v. Dep’t. of General Servs. (2009) 178 Cal.App.4th 1009, where the plaintiff argued that the “State waived its right to object to the postjudgment interest rate” of 10% rather than 7%. The appellate court rejected this argument, noting there “is no evidence here that State expressly agreed to a 10 percent rate” and found the judgment, which awarded postjudgment interest at 10% per annum, void as in excess of the Court’s jurisdiction and violative of Cal. Const. art. XV, sec. 1. (Id. at 1018-19.) Similarly here, there is no evidence Caltrans agreed to premature accumulation of interest, nor does the Court have authority to disregard the interest delay in Section 965.5. This argument is rejected.
Finally, in light of the foregoing, the evidence before the Court indicates Caltrans has now paid the judgment in full, including postjudgment interest once properly calculated. The total judgment on April 12, 2018, including fees and costs, was for $1,654,523.72. Plaintiff thereafter calculated interest “by multiplying the fraction of the year that interest has run, times the seven per cent court granted interest rate, times the principal.” In calculating interest from April 18, 2018 to July 19, 2019, Plaintiff counted 463 days. Plaintiff divided 463 by 365 to “find the fraction of the year interest has run” and then applied the 7% annual interest rate to that fraction, arriving at 0.08879. Plaintiff multiplied the principal, $1,654,523.72, by this number to reach interest of $146,912.64. Thus, Plaintiff contends he was owed Plaintiff was owed $1,801,436.36 on July 19, 2019.
But the days counted must be reduced by 180 to account for the delay under Govt. Code sec. 965.5. Therefore, interest from April 12, 2018 to July 19, 2019 should have been calculated by dividing 283 (not 463) by 365 and then multiplying by the 7% annual interest rate, resulting in a fraction of 0.05427 rather than 0.08879. When multiplied against the principal, the accumulated interest is $89,791.00 rather than $146,912.64. Therefore, as of July 19, 2019, Caltrans owed Plaintiff $1,654,523.72 (the principal) and $89,791.00 (interest) for a total of $1,744,314.72.
It is undisputed that on July 19, 2019, Caltrans tendered payment of $1,703,894.25. This payment is first applied to interest and then the principal. This left $40,420.47 unpaid—not $95,542.11, as Plaintiff contends—upon which interest accumulated at 7% per annum as of July 19, 2019. On August 29, 2019, the Court awarded Plaintiff $14,190 in post-appeal fees. The August 29 order does not indicate the fees would accrue interest—therefore, these fees are not properly included in the principal for interest calculations.
Plaintiff filed this motion to enforce 190 days later on March 6, 2020. Performing interest calculations anew, the Court divided 190 by 365 and multiplied by .07 (the 7% interest rate), reaching a figure of 0.03644. Multiplying the remaining principal of $40,420.47 by 0.03644, the Court calculates $1,472.92 in interest. This brings the total amount due to $41,893.39. On March 6, 2020, Caltrans tendered payment of $42,218.02 and a separate payment of $14,190 for post-appeal fees. Once these payments were applied, the judgment, interest, and fees were paid in full and interest no longer accrued. Plaintiff’s motion is therefore DENIED because the evidence shows the State fully satisfied the judgment as of March 6, 2020.
The Motion is DENIED.
DOT to give notice.
If counsel do not submit on the tentative, they are strongly encouraged to appear by LA Court Connect rather than in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 It is also not clear this motion is proper under CCP sec. 664.6, which applies when there is “a writing signed by the parties outside the presence of the court or orally before the court, for settlement of the case.” Plaintiff has a judgment in his favor following jury trial and there is no evidence of a written agreement between Plaintiff and Caltrans for the Court to enforce.