This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 11/19/2022 at 20:29:35 (UTC).

ADAM MURAD HERBERT BONAVIDA VS CHRISITIAN JOSEPH SMALLWOOD, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 02/24/2022 ADAM MURAD HERBERT BONAVIDA filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against CHRISITIAN JOSEPH SMALLWOOD,. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is DANIEL M. CROWLEY. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******6837

  • Filing Date:

    02/24/2022

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

DANIEL M. CROWLEY

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

BONAVIDA ADAM MURAD HERBERT

Cross Defendants, Cross Plaintiffs and Defendants

AARON SAMUEL ALAN

GULDALIAN TONY

RUSH KURSTEN CLAIRE

SMALLWOOD CHRISITIAN JOSEPH

CEBALLOS ANTHONY

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

SOOFER RAMIN

Defendant Attorneys

PHILLIPS THOMAS MILES

SMITH FRED B.

Cross Plaintiff Attorney

MAGNETTA COLETTE ROSE

Cross Defendant Attorneys

BOYD DANIELLE M.

WINDHAM TIMOTHY R

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER CONTINUING MOTIONS AND INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE)

11/15/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER CONTINUING MOTIONS AND INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER CONTINUING MOTIONS AND INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE) OF 11/15/2022

11/15/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER CONTINUING MOTIONS AND INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE) OF 11/15/2022

Cross-Complaint

11/9/2022: Cross-Complaint

Notice - NOTICE DEFENDANT SAMUEL ALAN AARONS NOTICE OF INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

11/9/2022: Notice - NOTICE DEFENDANT SAMUEL ALAN AARONS NOTICE OF INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER CONTINUING MOTION)

11/8/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER CONTINUING MOTION)

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER CONTINUING MOTION) OF 11/08/2022

11/8/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER CONTINUING MOTION) OF 11/08/2022

Answer

11/1/2022: Answer

Answer - ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

11/1/2022: Answer - ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

Answer

11/1/2022: Answer

Answer - ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

11/1/2022: Answer - ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

Motion to Strike (not initial pleading)

10/28/2022: Motion to Strike (not initial pleading)

Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) - NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION TO PLAINTIFFS FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

10/28/2022: Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) - NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION TO PLAINTIFFS FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Answer - ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

10/21/2022: Answer - ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

Amended Complaint - FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

9/27/2022: Amended Complaint - FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Stipulation - No Order - STIPULATION - NO ORDER TO STRIKE INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS ACTION AND PUNITIVE DAMAGES CLAIM WITHOUT PREJUDICE AGAINST ANTHONY CEBALLOS ONLY FROM COMPLAIN

9/21/2022: Stipulation - No Order - STIPULATION - NO ORDER TO STRIKE INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS ACTION AND PUNITIVE DAMAGES CLAIM WITHOUT PREJUDICE AGAINST ANTHONY CEBALLOS ONLY FROM COMPLAIN

Cross-Complaint

9/21/2022: Cross-Complaint

Answer

9/21/2022: Answer

Informal Discovery Conference - PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

9/7/2022: Informal Discovery Conference - PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE

41 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 02/20/2025
  • Hearing02/20/2025 at 08:30 AM in Department 28 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 08/24/2023
  • Hearing08/24/2023 at 08:30 AM in Department 28 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 08/10/2023
  • Hearing08/10/2023 at 10:00 AM in Department 28 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/06/2023
  • Hearing02/06/2023 at 1:30 PM in Department 28 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/06/2023
  • Hearing02/06/2023 at 11:00 AM in Department 28 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC)

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/06/2023
  • Hearing02/06/2023 at 1:30 PM in Department 28 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 12/07/2022
  • Hearing12/07/2022 at 1:30 PM in Department 28 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 11/23/2022
  • Hearing11/23/2022 at 11:00 AM in Department 28 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC)

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 11/15/2022
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses scheduled for 02/06/2023 at 01:30 PM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 28

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 11/15/2022
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint scheduled for 02/06/2023 at 01:30 PM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 28

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
68 More Docket Entries
  • 02/24/2022
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/24/2022
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 08/24/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 28

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/24/2022
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Dismissal scheduled for 02/20/2025 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 28

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/24/2022
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Adam Murad Herbert Bonavida (Plaintiff); As to: Chrisitian Joseph Smallwood (Defendant); Tony Guldalian (Defendant); Samuel Alan Aaron (Defendant) et al.

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/24/2022
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Adam Murad Herbert Bonavida (Plaintiff); As to: Chrisitian Joseph Smallwood (Defendant); Tony Guldalian (Defendant); Samuel Alan Aaron (Defendant) et al.

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/24/2022
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Adam Murad Herbert Bonavida (Plaintiff); As to: Chrisitian Joseph Smallwood (Defendant); Tony Guldalian (Defendant); Samuel Alan Aaron (Defendant) et al.

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/24/2022
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Adam Murad Herbert Bonavida (Plaintiff); As to: Chrisitian Joseph Smallwood (Defendant); Tony Guldalian (Defendant); Samuel Alan Aaron (Defendant) et al.

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/24/2022
  • DocketAlternate Dispute Resolution Packet; Filed by: Clerk

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/24/2022
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order re: Personal Injury Procedures; Filed by: Clerk

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 02/24/2022
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Daniel M. Crowley in Department 28 Spring Street Courthouse

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: *******6837 Hearing Date: December 7, 2022 Dept: 28

Defendant Samuel Alan Aaron’s Demurrer with Motion to Strike

Having considered the moving, opposing and reply papers, the Court rules as follows.

BACKGROUND

On February 24, 2022, Plaintiff Adam Murad Herbert Bonavida (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendants Christian Joseph Smallwood (“Smallwood”), Tony Guldalian (“Guldalian”), Kursten Claire Rush (“Rush”) and Samuel Alan Aaron (“Aaron”) for motor vehicle negligence, intentional infliction for emotional distress, negligence and negligent entrustment. Plaintiff later amended the complaint to include Defendant Anthony Ceballos (“Ceballos”).

On April 18, 2022, Rush filed an answer and a Cross-Complaint against Cross-Defendants Smallwood and Aaron for indemnity, contribution and declaratory relief. On October 21, 2022, Aaron filed an answer. On November 1, 2022, Smallwood filed an answer.

On May 18, 2022, Guldalian filed an answer. On May 19, 2022, Smallwood filed an answer.

On September 21, 2022, Ceballos filed an answer and a Cross-Complaint against Cross-Defendants Smallwood and Aaron for indemnity, apportionment and contribution and declaratory relief. On November 1, 2022, Smallwood filed an answer.

On September 27, 2022, Plaintiff filed the FAC.

On November 1, 2022, Smallwood and Rush filed answers. On November 30, 2022, Guidalian filed an answer.

On November 9, 2022, Smallwood filed a Cross-Complaint against Cross-Defendant Aaron for equitable indemnity, contribution and declaratory relief.

On October 28, 2022, Aaron filed a Demurrer with Motion to Strike to be heard on December 7, 2022. On November 21, 2022, Plaintiff filed an opposition. On November 30, 2022, Aaron filed a reply.

Trial is scheduled for August 24, 2023.

PARTY’S REQUESTS

Aaron requests the Court sustain the demurrer as to the cause of action for IIED for a failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. Aaron also requests the Court strike page 4, 11, line 8; page 7-8, 28, lines 20-28 and 1-7; page 8-9, 31, lines 24-28 and 1-7; page 9 33, lines 14-19; page 9 34, lines 26-28; page 11, 42, lines 13-14, pages 12-13, 52, lines 28 and 1-2, page 13, 53, lines 4-7; pages 13-14, 55-58; page 14, 61, lines 17-22; page 14, 62, lines 24-27; Page 15, 63.2, lines 1-8; Page 15, 64, 65, 66; Page 15, 67; and the prayer for punitive damages to the second cause of action.

Plaintiff requests the Court overrule the demurrer and deny the motion to strike.

LEGAL STANDARD

CCP 430.10 states: “The party against whom a complaint or cross-complaint has been filed may object, by demurrer or answer as provided in Section 430.30, to the pleading on any one or more of the following grounds: (a) The court has no jurisdiction of the subject of the cause of action alleged in the pleading; (b) The person who filed the pleading does not have the legal capacity to sue; (c) There is another action pending between the same parties on the same cause of action; (d) There is a defect or misjoinder of parties; (e) The pleading does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action; (f) The pleading is uncertain. As used in this subdivision, “uncertain” includes ambiguous and unintelligible; and (g) In an action founded upon a contract, it cannot be ascertained from the pleading whether the contract is written, is oral, or is implied by conduct.”

A demurrer for sufficiency tests whether the complaint states a cause of action. (Hahn v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal. App. 4th 740, 747.) When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations liberally and in context. (Taylor v. City of Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power (2006) 144 Cal. App. 4th 1216, 1228.) In a demurrer proceeding, the defects must be apparent on the face of the pleading or by proper judicial notice. (CCP 430.30(a).) A demurrer tests the pleadings alone and not the evidence or other extrinsic matters. (SKF Farms v. Superior Court (1984) 153 Cal. App. 3d 902, 905.) Therefore, it lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed. (Id.) The only issue involved in a demurrer hearing is whether the complaint, as it stands, unconnected with extraneous matters, states a cause of action. (Hahn, 147 Cal.App.4th at 747.)

“A cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress exists when there is ‘(1) extreme and outrageous conduct by the defendant with the intention of causing, or reckless disregard of the probability of causing, emotional distress; (2) the plaintiff’s suffering severe or extreme emotional distress; and (3) actual and proximate causation of the emotional distress by the defendant’s outrageous conduct.’ A defendant’s conduct is ‘outrageous’ when it is so ‘extreme as to exceed all bounds of that usually tolerated in a civilized community.’ And the defendant’s conduct must be ‘intended to inflict injury or engaged in with the realization that injury will result.’” (Hughes v. Pair (2009) 46 Cal.4th 1035, 1050-1051.)

“It is not enough that the conduct be intentional and outrageous. It must be conduct directed at the plaintiff, or occur in the presence of a plaintiff of whom the defendant is aware.” (Christensen v. Superior Court (1991) 54 Cal.3d 868, 903-904.)

In order to state a prima facie claim for punitive damages, a complaint must set forth the elements as stated in the general punitive damage statute, Civil Code Section 3294. (Coll. Hosp., Inc. v. Superior Court (1994) 8 Cal. 4th 704, 721.) These statutory elements include allegations that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice. (Civ. Code 3294 (a).) “Malice is defined in the statute as conduct intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff or despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others." (Coll. Hosp., Inc., supra, 8 Cal. 4th at 725 [examining Civ. Code 3294(c)(1)].)

“[S]imple negligence will not justify an award of punitive damages.” (Spencer v. San Francisco Brick Co. (1907) 5 Cal.App.126, 128.) Civil Code 3294(a) states: “In an action for the breach of an obligation not arising from contract, where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice, the plaintiff, in addition to the actual damages, may recover damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant.” “[E]ven gross negligence, or recklessness is insufficient to warrant an award of punitive damages.” (Dawes v. Superior Court (1980) 111 Cal App 3d 82, 87.)

“...[T]he act of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated may constitute an act of ‘malice’...if performed under circumstances which disclose a conscious disregard of the probably dangerous consequences.” (Taylor v. Superior Court (1979), 24 Cal.3d 890, 892.)

DISCUSSION

Demurrer

Plaintiff’s complaint provides that Guldalian entrusted his vehicle to Rush and gave Rush permission to allow others, including Smallwood to operate his vehicle. Plaintiff further alleges that Smallwood negligently operated the vehicle, resulting in his colliding with the median divider in the carpool late. The complaint also alleges that Aaron also negligently operated his own vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, speeding through a stop sign and eventually colliding with Plaintiff’s vehicle.

Aaron argues that the IIED cause of action should be subject to demurrer as it does not meet the elements for an IIED claim. The Court agrees. First, the Court notes that Plaintiff does not allege facts sufficient to support a cause of action based on “severe or extreme emotional distress.” Nothing within the complaint shows that there is any level of emotional distress beyond that associated with a typical car accident, which does not rise to the level of an IIED claim. Second, the Court agrees that driving while under the influence of alcohol, alone does not constitute extreme and outrageous behavior. Even though it may have not been the safest choice, it does not rise to the level of outrageousness required for an IIED claim. There must be other extenuating circumstances that make these claims rise to a level of extreme and outrageous OR a level of malice. For example, this can be shown via a series of attributable accidents or a history of drunk driving arrests. (Taylor v. Superior Court (1979) 24 Cal.3d 890, 892.) Stating that a Defendant has driven while under the influence previously is not sufficient to meet the requirements. The facts as pled here, which simply allege that Aaron operated a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, do not constitute extenuating circumstances. The Court sustains the demurrer.

Motion to Strike

The Court finds that the facts, as pled, do not provide a basis for a claim for punitive damages. Plaintiff pleads that Aaron drove while under the influence of alcohol. That, alone, is insufficient to support a finding of oppression, fraud of malice. Malice requires intent to injury or despicable conduct carried on with willful and conscious disregard for the rights or safety of others. Driving while impaired with no other extenuating circumstances does not rise to that level. In the absence of aggravating allegations, there is no basis for punitive damages. The Court grants the motion as to this issue.

The Court similarly grants the motion as to conclusory statements, such as “pose an extreme threat to others...” or “willful and conscious disregard as to the right of the public...” as these are legal conclusions. Furthermore, all of them are used to illustrate a basis for punitive damages, which, as articular above, the Court strikes.

The Court will not strike any mentions regarding speed, safe speed, or traveling at certain speeds. The Court also will not strike any mentions regarding Plaintiff’s consumption of alcohol, physical appearance after the accident, or field sobriety tests. These are all akin to factual allegations and are not conclusory legal statements. As such, the Court denies the motion on those grounds.

CONCLUSION

Defendant Samuel Alan Aaron’s Demurrer is SUSTAINED, with 30 days leave to amend.

Defendant Samuel Alan Aaron’s Motion to Strike is GRANTED, in part, with 30 days leave to amend. The Court grants the motion as to all requests for punitive damages or improper legal conclusions. The Court DENIES the motion as to any requests to strike mentions of speed, alcohol, field sobriety tests, or appearance after the incident.

Moving party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Moving Party is ordered to file the proof of service of this ruling with the Court within five days.

The parties are directed to the header of this tentative ruling for further instructions.



Case Number: *******6837 Hearing Date: August 26, 2022 Dept: 28

Defendant Samuel Alan Aaron’s Demurrer with Motion to Strike

Having considered the moving, opposing and reply papers, the Court rules as follows.

BACKGROUND

On February 24, 2022, Plaintiff Adam Murad Herbert Bonavida (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendants Christian Joseph Smallwood (“Smallwood”), Tony Guldalian (“Guldalian”), Kursten Claire Rush (“Rush”) and Samuel Alan Aaron (“Aaron”) for motor vehicle negligence, intentional infliction for emotional distress, negligence and negligent entrustment. Plaintiff later amended the complaint to include Defendant Anthony Ceballos (“Ceballos”).

On April 18, 2022, Rush filed an answer and a Cross-Complaint against Cross-Defendants Smallwood and Aaron for indemnity, contribution and declaratory relief.

On May 18, 2022, Guldalian filed an answer. On May 19, 2022, Smallwood filed an answer.

On July 11, 2022, Aaron filed a Demurrer with Motion to Strike to be heard on August 26, 2022. On August 15, 2022, Plaintiff filed an opposition. On August 19, 2022, Aaron filed a reply.

Trial is scheduled for August 24, 2023.

PARTY’S REQUESTS

Aaron requests the Court sustain the demurrer as to the cause of action for IIED for a failure to state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action. Aaron also requests the Court strike conclusory statements and requests for punitive damages.

Plaintiff requests the Court overrule the demurrer and deny the motion to strike.

LEGAL STANDARD

CCP 430.10 states: “The party against whom a complaint or cross-complaint has been filed may object, by demurrer or answer as provided in Section 430.30, to the pleading on any one or more of the following grounds: (a) The court has no jurisdiction of the subject of the cause of action alleged in the pleading; (b) The person who filed the pleading does not have the legal capacity to sue; (c) There is another action pending between the same parties on the same cause of action; (d) There is a defect or misjoinder of parties; (e) The pleading does not state facts sufficient to constitute a cause of action; (f) The pleading is uncertain. As used in this subdivision, “uncertain” includes ambiguous and unintelligible; and (g) In an action founded upon a contract, it cannot be ascertained from the pleading whether the contract is written, is oral, or is implied by conduct.”

A demurrer for sufficiency tests whether the complaint states a cause of action. (Hahn v. Mirda (2007) 147 Cal. App. 4th 740, 747.) When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations liberally and in context. (Taylor v. City of Los Angeles Dept. of Water and Power (2006) 144 Cal. App. 4th 1216, 1228.) In a demurrer proceeding, the defects must be apparent on the face of the pleading or by proper judicial notice. (CCP 430.30(a).) A demurrer tests the pleadings alone and not the evidence or other extrinsic matters. (SKF Farms v. Superior Court (1984) 153 Cal. App. 3d 902, 905.) Therefore, it lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed. (Id.) The only issue involved in a demurrer hearing is whether the complaint, as it stands, unconnected with extraneous matters, states a cause of action. (Hahn, 147 Cal.App.4th at 747.)

“A cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress exists when there is ‘(1) extreme and outrageous conduct by the defendant with the intention of causing, or reckless disregard of the probability of causing, emotional distress; (2) the plaintiff’s suffering severe or extreme emotional distress; and (3) actual and proximate causation of the emotional distress by the defendant’s outrageous conduct.’ A defendant’s conduct is ‘outrageous’ when it is so ‘extreme as to exceed all bounds of that usually tolerated in a civilized community.’ And the defendant’s conduct must be ‘intended to inflict injury or engaged in with the realization that injury will result.’” (Hughes v. Pair (2009) 46 Cal.4th 1035, 1050-1051.)

“It is not enough that the conduct be intentional and outrageous. It must be conduct directed at the plaintiff, or occur in the presence of a plaintiff of whom the defendant is aware.” (Christensen v. Superior Court (1991) 54 Cal.3d 868, 903-904.)

In order to state a prima facie claim for punitive damages, a complaint must set forth the elements as stated in the general punitive damage statute, Civil Code Section 3294. (Coll. Hosp., Inc. v. Superior Court (1994) 8 Cal. 4th 704, 721.) These statutory elements include allegations that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice. (Civ. Code 3294 (a).) “Malice is defined in the statute as conduct intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff or despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others." (Coll. Hosp., Inc., supra, 8 Cal. 4th at 725 [examining Civ. Code 3294(c)(1)].)

“[S]imple negligence will not justify an award of punitive damages.” (Spencer v. San Francisco Brick Co. (1907) 5 Cal.App.126, 128.) Civil Code 3294(a) states: “In an action for the breach of an obligation not arising from contract, where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice, the plaintiff, in addition to the actual damages, may recover damages for the sake of example and by way of punishing the defendant.” “[E]ven gross negligence, or recklessness is insufficient to warrant an award of punitive damages.” (Dawes v. Superior Court (1980) 111 Cal App 3d 82, 87.)

“...[T]he act of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated may constitute an act of ‘malice’...if performed under circumstances which disclose a conscious disregard of the probably dangerous consequences.” (Taylor v. Superior Court (1979), 24 Cal.3d 890, 892.)

DISCUSSION

Demurrer

Plaintiff’s complaint provides that Guldalian entrusted his vehicle to Rush and gave Rush permission to allow others, including Smallwood to operate his vehicle. It further alleges that Smallwood negligently operated the vehicle, resulting in his colliding with the median divider in the carpool late. The complaint also alleges that Aaron also negligently operated his own vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, speeding and eventually colliding with Plaintiff’s vehicle.

Aaron argues that the IIED cause of action should be subject to demurrer as it does not meet the elements for an IIED claim. The Court agrees. First, the Court notes that Plaintiff does not allege facts sufficient to support a cause of action based on “severe or extreme emotional distress.” Nothing within the complaint shows that there is any level of emotional distress beyond that associated with a typical car accident, which does not rise to the level of an IIED claim. Second, the Court agrees that driving while under the influence of alcohol, alone does not constitute extreme and outrageous behavior. An allegation of being under the influence, alone, does not rise to the level outrageousness required for an IIED claim. There must be other extenuating circumstances that make these claims rise to a level of extreme and outrageous OR a level of malice. The facts as pled here, which simply allege that Aaron while under the influence of alcohol, do not constitute extenuating circumstances. The Court sustains the demurrer.

Motion to Strike

The Court finds that the facts, as pled, do not provide a basis for a claim for punitive damages. Plaintiff pleads that Aaron drove while under the influence of alcohol. That, alone, is insufficient to support a finding of oppression, fraud of malice. Malice requires intent to injury or despicable conduct carried on with willful and conscious disregard for the rights or safety of others. Driving while impaired with no other extenuating circumstances does not rise to that level. In the absence of aggravating allegations, there is no basis for punitive damages. The Court grants the motion as to this issue.

The Court similarly grants the motion as to conclusory statements, such as “pose an extreme threat to others...” or “willful and conscious disregard as to the right of the public...” as these are legal conclusions. Furthermore, all of them are used to illustrate a basis for punitive damages, which, as articular above, the Court strikes.

The Court will not strike any mentions regarding speed, safe speed, or traveling at certain speeds. These are all akin to factual allegations and are not conclusory legal statements. As such, the Court denies the motion on those grounds.

CONCLUSION

Defendant Samuel Alan Aaron’s Demurrer is SUSTAINED, with 30 days leave to amend.

Defendant Samuel Alan Aaron’s Motion to Strike is GRANTED, in part, with 30 days leave to amend. The Court grants the motion as to all requests for punitive damages or improper legal conclusions. The Court DENIES the motion as to any requests to strike mentions of speed.

Moving party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Moving Party is ordered to file the proof of service of this ruling with the Court within five days.

The parties are directed to the header of this tentative ruling for further instructions.