This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/20/2022 at 03:43:31 (UTC).

AIDA VARTANYAN VS CALIFORNIA HEALTHCARE AND REHABILITATION CENTER, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 08/26/2021 AIDA VARTANYAN filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against CALIFORNIA HEALTHCARE AND REHABILITATION CENTER. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Van Nuys Courthouse East located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are SHIRLEY K. WATKINS, VIRGINIA KEENY and WILLIAM A. CROWFOOT. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******1594

  • Filing Date:

    08/26/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

SHIRLEY K. WATKINS

VIRGINIA KEENY

WILLIAM A. CROWFOOT

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

VARTANYAN AIDA

Defendants

CALIFORNIA HEALTHCARE AND REHABILITATION CENTER

VALLEY PRESBYTERIAN HOSPITAL

BARLOW RESPIRATORY HOSPITAL AT VPH

BARLOW RESPIRATORY HOSPITAL A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

ZAMAN SHAWN

Defendant Attorney

MENDOZA MARISSA ELENA

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

5/3/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE)

Notice of Case Reassignment/Vacate Hearings

5/3/2022: Notice of Case Reassignment/Vacate Hearings

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE) OF 05/03/2022, ORDER PURSUANT TO CCP SECTION 170.1

5/3/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE) OF 05/03/2022, ORDER PURSUANT TO CCP SECTION 170.1

Order - ORDER PURSUANT TO CCP SECTION 170.1

5/3/2022: Order - ORDER PURSUANT TO CCP SECTION 170.1

Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER ON STIPULATION TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

5/4/2022: Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER ON STIPULATION TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT

Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER STIPULATION TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT; [PROPOSED] ORDER

5/2/2022: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER STIPULATION TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT; [PROPOSED] ORDER

Case Management Statement

4/29/2022: Case Management Statement

Case Management Statement

4/13/2022: Case Management Statement

Case Management Statement

4/13/2022: Case Management Statement

Proof of Personal Service

3/17/2022: Proof of Personal Service

Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO STRIKE

1/18/2022: Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO STRIKE

Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO DEMURRER

1/18/2022: Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO DEMURRER

Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO STRIKE

1/24/2022: Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO STRIKE

Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF DEMURRER

1/24/2022: Reply - REPLY IN SUPPORT OF DEMURRER

Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

1/27/2022: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITH MOTION TO STRIKE (CCP 430.10))

1/31/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEMURRER - WITH MOTION TO STRIKE (CCP 430.10))

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 01/31/2022

1/31/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 01/31/2022

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

1/31/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

32 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 08/18/2022
  • Hearing08/18/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department W at 6230 Sylmar Ave., Van Nuys, CA 91401; Case Management Conference

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  • 05/04/2022
  • DocketNotice (OF ENTRY OF ORDER ON STIPULATION TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT); Filed by Barlow Respiratory Hospital, a California Corporation (Defendant)

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  • 05/03/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department T, Shirley K. Watkins, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held

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  • 05/03/2022
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Case Management Conference) of 05/03/2022, Order Pursuant to CCP Section 170.1); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/03/2022
  • DocketNotice of Case Reassignment/Vacate Hearings; Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/03/2022
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Case Management Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/03/2022
  • DocketOrder (Pursuant to CCP Section 170.1); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/02/2022
  • DocketStipulation and Order (TO FILE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT); Filed by Barlow Respiratory Hospital, a California Corporation (Defendant)

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  • 04/29/2022
  • DocketCase Management Statement; Filed by California Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center (Defendant)

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  • 04/13/2022
  • DocketCase Management Statement; Filed by Aida Vartanyan (Plaintiff)

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31 More Docket Entries
  • 11/17/2021
  • DocketEx Parte Application (to have the Court Sign the Amendment to Complaint and Transfer the Case to Stanley Mosk); Filed by Aida Vartanyan (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/04/2021
  • DocketDeclaration (of Marissa Mendoza Pursuant to CCP 430.41, 435.5); Filed by California Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center (Defendant)

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  • 10/08/2021
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Aida Vartanyan (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/08/2021
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Aida Vartanyan (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/20/2021
  • DocketPI General Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/20/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ([PI General Order], Standing Order re PI Procedures and Hearing Dates); Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/26/2021
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Aida Vartanyan (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/26/2021
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Aida Vartanyan (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/26/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/26/2021
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Aida Vartanyan (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: *******1594 Hearing Date: January 31, 2022 Dept: 27

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

Aida Vartanyan, et al.,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

CALIFORNIA HEALTHCARE AND REHABILITATION CENTER, et al.,

Defendant(s),

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

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)

) ) ) )

CASE NO.: *******1594

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: DEFENDANT NORMANDIE/WILSHIRE RETIREMENT HOTEL, INC. dba CALIFORNIA HEALTHCARE AND REHABILITATION CENTER’S DEMURRER AND MOTION TO STRIKE

Dept. 27

1:30 p.m.

January 31, 2022

I. INTRODUCTION

On August 26, 2021, plaintiff Aida Vartanyan (“Plaintiff”), individually and as a successor-in-interest of Manouk Vartanyan (“Decedent”) filed this action against defendants Normandie/Wilshire Retirement Hotel, Inc. dba California Healthcare Rehabilitation Center (“Defendant”) (erroneously sued as California Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center”) and Barlow Respiratory Hospital at VPH (“Valley Presbyterian”) (erroneously sued as “Valley Presbyterian Hospital”). Plaintiff is Decedent’s surviving wife and beneficiary who alleges that she was forced by Valley Presbyterian to admit Decedent to Defendant’s skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility on February 26, 2021. (Compl., 20.) Plaintiff states that she and her daughter were not allowed to visit Decedent at Defendant’s facility and was only able to see him on March 2, 2021 when Decedent was taken to a dialysis center. (Compl., 21-22.) At this visit, Plaintiff observed that he was neglected. (Compl., 23-24.) When she raised her concerns with Defendant’s staff, they stated that they would “talk to the nurses” and take care of it. (Compl., 25.) Defendant’s employee allegedly admitted they were not turning Decedent every few hours to prevent bed sores. (Compl., 26.) The neglect and mistreatment continued and Decedent told Plaintiff and their daughter, “They do not take care of me and they are very mean. They hit me.” (Compl., 28.) He also asked them to “please take [him] out of here” and informed them that Doe 1 (Defendant’s employee) would batter him and physically abuse him. (Compl., 28-29.) Plaintiff managed to have Decedent transferred to another facility around March 12, 2021, but Decedent died on April 12, 2021 due to the alleged neglect and abuse he experienced at Defendant’s facility. (Compl., 32-33.)

Plaintiff asserts causes of action against Defendant for: (1) battery, (2) negligence, (3) vicarious liability, (4) negligent hiring, retention, and supervision, (5) violation of the Bane Act, (6) intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”), and (7) negligent infliction of emotional distress.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

A demurrer tests the legal sufficiency of the pleadings and will be sustained only where the pleading is defective on its face. (City of Atascadero v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 445, 459.) “We treat the demurrer as admitting all material facts properly pleaded but not contentions, deductions or conclusions of fact or law. We accept the factual allegations of the complaint as true and also consider matters which may be judicially noticed. [Citation.]” (Mitchell v. California Department of Public Health (2016) 1 Cal.App.5th 1000, 1007; Del E. Webb Corp. v. Structural Materials Co. (1981) 123 Cal.App.3d 593, 604 [“the facts alleged in the pleading are deemed to be true, however improbable they may be”].) Allegations are to be liberally construed. (Code Civ. Proc., 452.) A demurrer may be brought if insufficient facts are stated to support the cause of action asserted. (Code Civ. Proc., 430.10, subd. (e).)

Leave to amend must be allowed where there is a reasonable possibility of successful amendment. (Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal.3d 335, 348.) The burden is on the complainant to show the Court that a pleading can be amended successfully. (Ibid.)

III. DISCUSSION

Meet and Confer

Before filing a demurrer, the demurring party shall meet and confer with the party who has filed the pleading and shall file a declaration detailing their meet and confer efforts. (Code Civ. Proc., 430.41, subd. (a).)

Defense counsel, Marissa E. Mendoza, declares that on October 29, 2021, she attempted to initiate a meet and confer with Plaintiff’s counsel, but was informed that Plaintiff’s counsel would not be available to discuss the issues until on or after November 3, 2021. (Mendoza Decl., 4.) The parties subsequently met and conferred on November 5, 2021, which triggered the automatic 30-day extension of time to file a responsive pleading. (Mendoza Decl., 6-7.) This declaration fails to describe the means by which the meet and confer occurred and is therefore insufficient. Nevertheless, the Court proceeds to analyze the demurrer and motion to strike on their merits.

Demurrer

  1. Battery, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s intentional tort claims of battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) cannot be maintained against a corporate entity because a corporation is not a person. This is incorrect; as a corporate employer, Defendant may be liable for unauthorized intentional torts through a theory of vicarious liability, authorization, or subsequent ratification. (Lisa M. v. Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital (1995) 12 Cal.4th 291, 296-297; C.R. Tenet Healthcare Corp. (2009) 169 Cal.App.4th 1094, 1110.) Nevertheless, Plaintiff fails to allege sufficient facts to plead a theory of vicarious liability because there are no facts establishing the requisite “causal nexus” between the alleged torts committed by Doe 1 and their work for Defendant, or that the conduct was reasonably foreseeable as a consequence of the nature of the work. Nor does she plead sufficient facts to plead the alternative theories of authorization or ratification.

Additionally, it is unclear whether Plaintiff is asserting a claim for IIED on her own behalf. Nevertheless, Defendant correctly argues that Plaintiff’s cause of action for IIED fails insofar as it is asserted on behalf of Decedent because the damages recoverable in a survival action do not include damages for pain and suffering. (Code Civ. Proc., 377.34, subd. (a).)

Accordingly, Defendant’s demurrer to Plaintiff’s first cause of action for battery and sixth cause of action for IIED is SUSTAINED with leave to amend.

  1. Vicarious Liability

Plaintiff appears to assert a “cause of action” for vicarious liability as a vehicle to obtain punitive damages. However, vicarious liability is not a cause of action, but a theory of liability. (John Y., Jr. v. Chaparral Treatment Center, Inc. (2002) 101 Cal.App.4th 565, 574.) Accordingly, the demurrer to Plaintiff’s third cause of action for vicarious liability is SUSTAINED without leave to amend.

  1. Violation of the Bane Act

The Tom Bane Civil Rights Act is codified at Civil Code section 52.1. It provides that an individual may bring a private right of action for damages, injunction, and equitable relief against a person if that person “interferes by threats, intimidation, or coercion, or attempts to interfere by threats, intimidation, or coercion, with the exercise or enjoyment by any individual or individuals of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or of the rights secured by the Constitution or laws of this state.” (Civ. Code, 52.1, subd. (a), (b), (h).) “The essence of a Bane Act claim is that the defendant, by the specified improper means (i.e., ‘threats, intimidation or coercion’), tried to or did prevent the plaintiff from doing something he or she had the right to do under the law or to force the plaintiff to do something that he or she was not required to do under the law. [Citation.]” (Austin B. v. Escondido Union School Dist. (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 860, 883.)

Here, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated the Bane Act by intentionally interfering with Decedent’s right to be free from battery, assault, threats, intimidation, and coercion. (Compl., 83.) Plaintiff’s allegations are not only too vague to determine who committed the interference and how, but are also circular. Plaintiff essentially alleges that Defendant used violence to interfere with Decedent’s right to be free of violence. Concluding that such conduct constitutes a violation of the Bane Act would, transform every battery claim into a Bane Act claim. This result would be contrary to much of California’s Bane Act jurisprudence, which makes clear that the Bane Act was passed primarily as hate crime legislation (Jones v. Kmart Corp. (1998) 17 Cal.4th 329, 338) and was meant to narrowly supplement the Ralph Act (Stamps v. Superior Court (2006) 136 Cal.App.4th 1441, 1447).

Defendant’s demurrer to the fifth cause of action is therefore SUSTAINED with leave to amend.

  1. Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress

As stated above, Plaintiff cannot recover damages for Decedent’s emotional distress. (Code Civ. Proc., 377.34.) Accordingly, the demurrer to the cause of action for NIED asserted by Plaintiff as a survival action is SUSTAINED without leave to amend.

Plaintiff’s cause of action for NIED asserted on her own behalf is also faulty. “In the absence of physical injury or impact to the plaintiff himself, damages for emotional distress should be recoverable only if the plaintiff: (1) is closely related to the injury victim, (2) is present at the scene of the injury-producing event at the time it occurs and is then aware that it is causing injury to the victim and, (3) as a result suffers emotional distress beyond that which would be anticipated in a disinterested witness.” (Burgess v. Superior Court (1992) 2 Cal.4th 1064, 1073.)

Accordingly, Defendant’s demurrer to Plaintiff’s seventh cause of action for NIED, as asserted on her own behalf, is SUSTAINED with leave to amend.

  1. Duplicative Causes of Action

In the last section of its demurrer, Defendant provides a flawed application of the “primary rights” doctrine. Defendant argues that Plaintiff is restricted to pleading only a single cause of action for negligence and therefore, her causes of action for battery, IIED, negligent hiring, NIED, and violation of the Bane Act are duplicative. However, “[t]he primary right theory has a fairly narrow field of application. It is invoked most often when a plaintiff attempts to divide a primary right and enforce it in two suits. The theory prevents this result by either of two means: (1) if the first suit is still pending when the second is filed, the defendant in the second suit may plead that fact in abatement … ; or (2) if the first suit has terminated in a judgment on the merits adverse to the plaintiff, the defendant in the second suit may set up that judgment as a bar under the principles of res judicata. … The latter application of the primary right theory appears to be most common.” (Crowley v. Katleman (1994) 8 Cal.4th 666, 682.)

The Court recognizes that a demurrer may be sustained when a cause of action is duplicative of another cause of action and thus adds nothing to the complaint by way of fact or theory of recovery. (Palm Springs Villas II Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Parth (2016) 248 Cal.App.4th 268, 290; Rodrigues v. Campbell Industries (1978) 87 Cal.App.3d 494, 501.) But here, Plaintiff asserts different claims with a variety of theories, including through theories of vicarious liability (negligent and intentional torts), and direct liability (negligent hiring). Although they may be insufficiently pleaded as described in more detail above, they are not duplicative.

Motion to Strike

As the Court has sustained Defendant’s demurrer to the first, third, fifth, sixth, and seventh causes of action, its motion to strike paragraphs 46, 59, 60, 62-64, 85-89, 94, 96, 97, 103, 104, 118, 120, and 122-124 is moot. This leaves the following paragraphs at issue: 51, 53, 54, 70, 71, and 121.

In sum, the paragraphs at issue concern the following:

Defendant largely rehashes its demurrer in its motion to strike and does not identify the specific paragraphs that are relevant to each argument. Defendant only generally argues that Plaintiff is not entitled to punitive damages and that Plaintiff has failed to state sufficient facts to allege certain causes of action. The Court will not attempt to divine Defendant’s intentions by guessing which arguments apply to the paragraphs that it seeks to strike. Accordingly, Defendant’s motion to strike paragraphs 51, 53, 54, 70, 71, and 121 is DENIED without prejudice.

IV. CONCLUSION

Defendant’s demurrer to the first, fifth, sixth, and seventh causes of action is SUSTAINED with 20 days’ leave to amend.

Defendant’s demurrer to the third cause of action is SUSTAINED without leave to amend.

Defendant’s motion to strike is moot with respect to paragraphs 46, 59, 60, 62-64, 85-89, 94, 96, 97, 103, 104, 118, 120, and 122-124 and DENIED without prejudice as to paragraphs 51, 53, 54, 70, 71, and 121.

Moving party to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT27@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. Please be advised that if you submit on the tentative and elect not to appear at the hearing, the opposing party may nevertheless appear at the hearing and argue the matter. Unless you receive a submission from all other parties in the matter, you should assume that others might appear at the hearing to argue.


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