This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/03/2020 at 18:10:04 (UTC).

AIMEE HERNANDEZ ET AL VS ANNETTE GREEN ET AL

Case Summary

On 10/05/2017 AIMEE HERNANDEZ filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against ANNETTE GREEN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are YOLANDA OROZCO and HOLLY E. KENDIG. The case status is Disposed - Judgment Entered.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8601

  • Filing Date:

    10/05/2017

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

YOLANDA OROZCO

HOLLY E. KENDIG

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

DE VASQUEZ DORA MORAN

VASQUEZ-MORAN CLAUDIA C.

Petitioners

HERNANDEZ AIMEE

HERNANDEZ ISABELLA

Defendants and Cross Defendants

LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT

GREEN ANNETTE

CITY OF LOS ANGELES

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff

CITY OF LOS ANGELES

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

ESLAMBOLY-HAKIM SHARONA ANN

Defendant Attorneys

QUIGLEY LANE ESQ.

BREEDY-RICHARDSON WILBERTA ELEANOR ESQ.

BAIRAMIAN LARA

BELOFSKY DAVID ARTHUR

 

Court Documents

Notice of Change of Firm Name

3/30/2020: Notice of Change of Firm Name

Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR ORDER

4/2/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR ORDER

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR ORDER

4/2/2020: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR ORDER

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 03/10/2020

3/10/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 03/10/2020

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

3/10/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

Judgment - JUDGMENT [PROPOSED]

3/10/2020: Judgment - JUDGMENT [PROPOSED]

Declaration - IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO STRIKE

10/11/2018: Declaration - IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO STRIKE

Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) -

10/11/2018: Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) -

Reply - REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT'S DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT

11/8/2018: Reply - REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS' OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT'S DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT

Request for Dismissal - REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL - NOT ENTERED

2/11/2020: Request for Dismissal - REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL - NOT ENTERED

Request for Dismissal - REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL - NOT ENTERED

2/11/2020: Request for Dismissal - REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL - NOT ENTERED

Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore - ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE PAM MYERS #12940

2/13/2020: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore - ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE PAM MYERS #12940

Notice of Ruling

2/14/2020: Notice of Ruling

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (HEARING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; HEARING ON MOTION FOR...) OF 02/13/2020

2/13/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (HEARING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; HEARING ON MOTION FOR...) OF 02/13/2020

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; HEARING ON MOTION FOR...)

2/13/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; HEARING ON MOTION FOR...)

Notice of Ruling

2/13/2020: Notice of Ruling

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER SHORTENING TIME RE: HEARING ON MOTION FOR GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT;

1/31/2020: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR ORDER SHORTENING TIME RE: HEARING ON MOTION FOR GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT;

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION RE: NOTICE FOR ORDER SHORTENING TIME

1/31/2020: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION RE: NOTICE FOR ORDER SHORTENING TIME

113 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/02/2020
  • DocketNotice (of Entry of Judgment or Order); Filed by City of Los Angeles (Defendant)

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 04/02/2020
  • DocketNotice (Notice of Entry of Judgment or Order); Filed by City of Los Angeles (Defendant)

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 03/30/2020
  • DocketNotice of Change of Firm Name; Filed by Annette Green (Defendant)

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 03/17/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Yolanda Orozco, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: (Submission of Judgment) - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 03/16/2020
  • Docketat 09:30 AM in Department 31, Yolanda Orozco, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 03/10/2020
  • Docketat 2:40 PM in Department 31, Yolanda Orozco, Presiding; Court Order

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 03/10/2020
  • DocketJudgment; Filed by City of Los Angeles (Defendant)

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 03/10/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order) of 03/10/2020); Filed by Clerk

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 03/10/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order)); Filed by Clerk

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 03/03/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Yolanda Orozco, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
149 More Docket Entries
  • 07/24/2018
  • DocketAPPUCAT1ON AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM CIVIL

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 07/10/2018
  • DocketAPPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM CIVIL

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 07/10/2018
  • DocketApplication ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 07/10/2018
  • DocketNOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 07/10/2018
  • DocketApplication ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 07/10/2018
  • DocketAPPUCATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD UTEM CIVIL

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 05/14/2018
  • DocketReceipt-Depository; Filed by Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran (Plaintiff); Aimee Hernandez (Petitioner); Isabella Hernandez (Petitioner) et al.

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 05/14/2018
  • DocketCIVIL DEPOSIT

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 10/05/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran (Plaintiff); Aimee Hernandez (Petitioner); Isabella Hernandez (Petitioner) et al.

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less
  • 10/05/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR 1) NEGLIGENCE ;ETC

    [+] Read More [-] Read Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ****8601 Hearing Date: October 18, 2022 Dept: 31

PETITIONS TO APPROVE MINOR’S COMPROMISE OF:

1) AIMEE HERNANDEZ AND 2) ISABELLA HERNANDEZ ARE GRANTED

The Court finds that all issues and discrepancies have been resolved and therefore GRANTS the Amended Petitions to Confirm Minors' Compromise of Aimee Hernandez and Isabella Hernandez. Petitioner to give notice.


Case Number: ****8601 Hearing Date: October 3, 2022 Dept: 31

PETITIONS FOR MINORS' COMPROMISEBackground

This case arises from an alleged incident where a car struck pedestrians at an intersection located next to an elementary school operated by Los Angeles Unified School District (“LAUSD”). Plaintiffs Aimee Hernandez and Isabelle Hernandez are students at the elementary school. Plaintiff Dora Moran de Vasquez is their grandmother who was walking them to school.

On October 6, 2017, Plaintiffs Aimee Hernandez by and through her guardian ad litem Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran, Isabelle Hernandez by and through her guardian ad litem Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran, and Dora Moran de Vasquez (“Plaintiffs”) filed the instant action against Defendants Annette Green (“Green”), the City of Los Angeles (“City”), the County of Los Angeles (“County”), LAUSD, and Does 1 to 50.

On September 4, 2018, the City filed a Cross-Complaint against Green, asserting causes of action for:

1) Indemnification;

2) Apportionment of Fault; and

3) Declaratory Relief.

On September 24, 2018, Green filed a Cross-Complaint against the City, asserting the same causes of action.

On January 23, 2019, the Plaintiffs dismissed County without prejudice.

On June 26, 2019, the Court sustained LAUSD’s demurrer to the second and third causes of action raised in the FAC without leave to amend.

On February 13, 2020, the Court granted Green’s motion for determination of good faith settlement as the Plaintiffs. On the same day, the Court granted City’s motion for summary judgment as to the FAC.

On March 10, 2020, judgment was entered in favor of the City.

On June 20, 2022, Petitioner Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran (“Petitioner”) filed the instant petition (“Petition”) to approve a minor’s compromise as to Claimant Aimee Hernandez (“Claimant”). The hearing was continued to allow Petitioner to address and correct the deficiencies noted in the Petition. (Min. Or. 07/22/22.)

An amended petition for Approval of Compromise, with respect to Aimee Hernandez, was filed on August 31, 2022.

On June 23, 2022, Petitioner Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran (“Petitioner”) filed the instant petition (“Petition”) to approve a minor’s compromise as to Claimant Aimee Hernandez (“Claimant”). The hearing was continued to allow Petitioner to address and correct the deficiencies noted in the Petition. (Min. Or. 07/28/22.)

An amended petition for Approval of Compromise, with respect to Aimee Hernandez, was filed on September 09, 2022.

Legal Standard

Court approval is required for all settlements of a minor’s claim. (Prob. Code 3500, 3600, et seq.; CCP 372.) “‘[W]ithout trial court approval of the proposed compromise of the ward’s claim, the settlement cannot be valid. [Citation.] [ ] Nor is the settlement binding [on the minor] until it is endorsed by the trial court.’” (Pearson v. Superior Court (2012) 202 Cal.App.4th 1333, 1338.) A minor, like Claimant, “shall appear either by a guardian or conservator of the estate or by a guardian ad litem appointed by the court in which the action or proceeding is pending, or by a judge thereof, in each case.” (Code Civ. Proc., 372, subd. (a)(1).) Alternatively, the petitioner may file a declaration demonstrating that he or she has a right to compromise the minor’s claim under Cal. Probate Code section 3500.

Regarding the substance of the Petition, to obtain court approval of the settlement of a minor’s claims, the petitioner must file a complete and “verified petition for approval of the settlement and must disclose ‘all information that has any bearing upon the reasonableness of the compromise.’ [Citations.]” (Barnes v. Western Heritage Ins. Co. (2013) 217 Cal.App.4th 249, 256; Cal. Rules of Court, rule 7.950. [underlining added.].)

To recover attorney’s fees California Rules of Court, 7.955, subdivision (a), requires the Court to use a reasonable fee standard when approving and allowing the amount of attorney's fees payable from money or property paid or to be paid for the benefit of a minor, unless the Court approved the fee arrangement in advance. The Court must consider the terms of any representation agreement made between the attorney and the representative of the minor and must evaluate the agreement based on the facts and circumstances existing at the time the agreement was made. Further, section 7.955, subdivision (c), requires the attorney to submit a declaration that addresses the following non-exclusive factors:

1. The fact that a minor or person with a disability is involved and the circumstances of that minor or person with a disability.

2. The amount of the fee in proportion to the value of the services performed.

3. The novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and the skill required to perform the legal services properly.

4. The amount involved and results obtained.

5. The time limitations or constraints imposed by the representative of the minor or person with a disability or by the circumstances.

6. The nature and length of the professional relationship between the attorney and the representative of the minor or person with a disability.

7. The experience, reputation, and ability of the attorney or attorneys performing the legal services.

8. The time and labor required.

9. The informed consent of the representative of the minor or person with a disability to the fee.

10. The relative sophistication of the attorney and the representative of the minor or person with a disability.

11. The likelihood, if apparent to the representative of the minor or person with a disability when the representation agreement was made, that the attorney's acceptance of the particular employment would preclude other employment.

12. Whether the fee is fixed, hourly, or contingent.

13. If the fee is contingent:

a. The risk of loss borne by the attorney;

b. The amount of costs advanced by the attorney; and

c. The delay in payment of fees and reimbursement of costs paid by the attorney.

14. Statutory requirements for representation agreements applicable to particular cases or claims.

Discussion

I. Compromise of Aimee Hernandez

Petitioner has submitted an amended Petition for Approval of Minor’s Comprise for minor Aimee Hernandez. The previous Petition was denied due to the following deficiencies:

First, the proposed Order approving the petition was not lodged with the Court (MC-351).

Second, the Petition did not include “an original or a photocopy of any doctor’s report containing a diagnosis of the claimant’s injuries or a prognosis for the claimant’s recovery, and a report of the claimant’s current condition,” which was to be attached as Attachment 8. (See MC-350 8.)

Third, the Petition did not include proof of any medical liens or that Claimant’s medical expenses were reduced. (MC-350 12.)

Fourth, Petitioner failed to include a copy of the of the retainer agreement as required. (See MC-350 13(a), 17.)

Fifth, the Plaintiffs’ counsel’s declaration in support of the 42% contingency fee did not sufficiently explain why the fees were reasonable. (See CRC rule 7.955.)

The Court now finds:

First, the Proposed Order (MC-351) and the Order to Deposit Money into a Blocked Account (MC-355) have been lodged with the Court. The total amount authorized to be deposited is $69,210.93.

Second, the Petitioner included a photocopy of Aimee Hernandez’s doctors’ report. Aimee Hernandez continues to experience pain in her left shoulder and right arm. After she was discharged, she was given ibuprofen. Aimee Hernandez’s doctor’s note reveals that Aimee Hernandez experiences no pain in the shoulder or wrist as of August 30, 2017, but continued to suffer “issues.” However, on December 9, 2020, Dr. Steve M. Meir diagnosed Aimee Hernandez with “cubital tunnel syndrome.” No Doctor’s note from Dr. Meier is attached informing the Court of the minor’s future prognosis or whether she continues to experience symptoms and is receiving treatment. (MC-350 attachment 7.)

Third, the Petitioner included proof of medical liens and medical expenses that were reduced. The amount reduced is $68,086.00 and the total medial lien amount that remains is $1,823.73.

Fourth, Petitioner has provided a copy of the retainer agreement. Per the retainer agreement, attorney’s fees are 25% before the suit is filed and 42% after the suit is filed. (MC-350 attachment 17a)

Fifth, Counsel for the minor asserts that they have reduced their fee to 35% of the minor’s recovery, totaling $35,000.00 in attorney’s fees. Counsel has also submitted a declaration addressing why attorney’s fees should be assessed at 35%.

Counsel asserts that good cause exists for a 35% contingency fee because: (1) Plaintiffs were not offered a settlement before they retained counsel, (2) time spent investigating, negotiating, and litigating the case, including taking multiple depositions, and (4) getting Defendant Annette Green to settle for her policy limit of $100,000.00. The Court is satisfied that factors outlined in California Rule of Court, Rule 7.955 (c) have been and approves the contingency fee at 35%.

The Court notes further deficiencies:

Both boxes in section 17(c) are checked.

Section 10, subsection (c), explaining the terms of the settlement, is left blank. Although the gross settlement amount for all the Plaintiffs is not stated, the following information is provided:

“Dora Moran De Vasquez’s gross settlement is $100,000.00 and Isabella Hernandez’s claim was settled for $55,000.00. Plaintiffs’ counsel is seeking $42,000.00 in attorney’s fees from Dora Moran De Vasquez’s claim and $19,250.00 from Isabella Hernandez’s claim.”

Petitioner is also required to include Attachment 11b (6) explaining the reasons for the apportionment of the settlement payment between the parties.

II. Compromise of Isabella Hernandez

Petitioner has submitted an amended Petition for Approval of Minor’s Comprise for minor Aimee Hernandez. The previous Petition was denied due to the following deficiencies:

First, Petitioner has failed to comply with Section 8 of the Petition, by failing to include Attachment 8 “[a]n original or a photocopy of any doctor’s report containing a diagnosis of the claimant’s injuries or a prognosis for the claimant’s recovery, and a report of the claimant’s current condition”. (MC-350, Section 8.)

Second, Petitioner has failed to comply with Section 10c. of the Petition, by failing to describe the “[t]erms of the settlement” entered between Claimant Hernandez and Defendant Annette Green. (MC-350 Section 10c.)

Third, while Petitioner states Defendant Annette Green has additionally settled with the two (2) other Plaintiffs in this action, Petitioner has failed to comply with Section 11b.(6) of the Petition, by failing to include Attachment 11b.(6) the “[r]easons for the apportionment of the settlement payments between the claimant and each other plaintiff or claimant named above”. (MC-350 section 11b.(6).)

Fourth, while Petitioner represents “[n]o reimbursement is requested by the” Non-ERISA insured medical plan which paid Claimant Hernandez’s medical expenses, Petitioner fails to provide any proof thereof. (MC-350 Sections 12a.(3), 12b.(2)(f)(i).).)

Fifth, Petitioner has failed to comply with Section 13a. of the Petition, by failing to include Attachment 17a “a copy of any written attorney fee agreement”. (MC-350 Section 13a.)

Lastly, the Plaintiffs’ counsel’s declaration in support of the 42% contingency fee did not sufficiently explain why the fees were reasonable. (See CRC rule 7.955.)

The Court now finds:

First, although Petitioner included a photocopy of the discharge documents, Petitioner also asserts that the minor continues to suffer from emotional and mental distress related to the accident. (MC-350 attachment 7.) There is no doctor’s report assessing the minor’s current condition or prognosis of her recovery and if the minor requires further treatment. (MC-350 section 8.)

Second, Petitioner explains the terms of the settlement and represents that the minor’s claims are settled for $55,000.00.

Third, in attachment 11(b)(6), Petitioner explains that Defendant Annette Green had a policy limit of $100,000.00 per person and $300,000.00 per incident. Defendant Green settled for $100,000.00 of the policy limit with Aimee Hernandez and Dora Moran de Vasquez each. However, because Aimee Hernandez was injured the least and her only treatment was the initial hospital visit, Defendant refused to settle for the full policy limit and only accepted a settlement of $55,000.00 for minor Isabella Hernandez. (MC-35- attachment 11(b)(6).)

Fourth, Petitioner includes a copy of a letter from the healthcare provider representing that subrogation or right of reimbursement will not be pursued. (MC-35 attachment 12b(5).)

Fifth, Petitioner includes a copy of the written attorney fee agreement. (MC-350 attachment 17a). Per the retainer agreement, attorney’s fees are 25% before the suit is filed and 42% after the suit is filed.

Lastly, Counsel has also submitted a declaration addressing why attorney’s fees should be assessed at 35%. (MC-350 13a.) Counsel asserts that the fee has been reduced from 42% to 35% after this Court assess that that fee was too high. This Court did not state that the 42% contingency fee was too high, only that Petitioner’s counsel’s declaration was insufficient to support an attorney’s fee request of 42%. (See Min. Or. 07/28/22.)

Counsel asserts that good cause exists for a 35% contingency fee because: (1) Plaintiffs were not offered a settlement before they retained counsel, (2) time spent investigating, negotiating, and litigating the case, including taking multiple depositions, and (4) getting Defendant Annette Green to settle for minor’s claim for $55,000.00. The Court is satisfied that factors outlined in California Rule of Court, Rule 7.955 (c) have been and approves the contingency fee at 35%.

The Court also notes one other deficiency, both boxes in section 17(c) are checked.

Conclusion

Petitioner’s Amended Petitions to Confirm Minor's Compromise of Aimee Hernandez and Isabella Hernandez remain with a few open issues. The Court will discuss with counsel the best way to address these.



Case Number: ****8601 Hearing Date: July 28, 2022 Dept: 31

PETITION FOR APPROVAL OF MINOR’S COMPROMISE IS CONTINUED

Background

The present action arises from a motor vehicle versus pedestrian accident, which occurred on October 5, 2016. On the aforementioned date, Aimee Hernandez, Isabella Hernandez, and Dora Moran De Vasquez were walking westbound upon the intersection of 69th Street and Menlo Avenue in Los Angeles, California when a motor vehicle driven by Annette Green failed to observe and yield to the aforementioned pedestrians, causing a collision.

On October 5, 2017, Aimee Hernandez, a minor, by and through her guardian ad litem, Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran; Isabella Hernandez, a minor, by and through her guardian ad litem, Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran; and Dora Moran De Vasquez (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) initiated the present action by filing a Complaint against Annette Green; City of Los Angeles; County of Los Angeles; Los Angeles Unified School District; and Does 1 through 50 (collectively, “Defendants”).

On July 24, 2018, pursuant to Court Order, Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran was appointed as the guardian ad litem of Plaintiff Aimee Hernandez and Plaintiff Isabella Hernandez.

On September 4, 2018, Defendant City of Los Angeles filed a Cross-Complaint against Defendant Annette Green and Roes 1 through 10. Defendant County of Los Angeles’ Cross-Complaint alleges the following causes of action: (1) Indemnification; (2) Apportionment of Fault; and (3) Declaratory Relief.

On September 24, 2018, Defendant Annette Green filed a Cross-Complaint against Defendant City of Los Angeles and Does 1 through 30. Defendant Annette Green’s Cross-Complaint alleges the following causes of action: (1) Indemnification; (2) Apportionment of Fault; and (3) Declaratory Relief.

On January 23, 2019, pursuant to the Stipulation entered between Plaintiffs and Defendant County of Los Angeles, Defendant City of Los Angeles was dismissed from this action, without prejudice.

On March 28, 2019, Plaintiffs filed the operative First Amended Complaint against Defendants Annette Green; City of Los Angeles; Los Angeles Unified School District; and Does 1 through 50. Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint alleges the following causes of action: (1) Negligence; (2) Statutory Liability/Dangerous Condition of Public Property; and (3) Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress.

On June 26, 2019, Defendant Los Angeles Unified School District’s Demurrer to Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint was sustained, without leave to amend.

On February 13, 2020, Defendant City of Los Angeles’ Motion for Summary Judgment against Plaintiff’s First Amended Complaint was granted by this Court.

Additionally, on February 13, 2020, Defendant Annette Green’s Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement, which requested a determination from this Court that the settlement between Defendant Annette Green and Plaintiffs was entered in good faith, was granted by this Court.

On March 10, 2020, following the Court’s ruling upon Defendant City of Los Angeles’ Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court entered judgment in favor of Defendant City of Los Angeles and against Plaintiffs upon Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint.

On June 23, 2022, Dora Moran De Vasquez filed a Petition for Approval of Compromise of Claim or Action or Disposition of Proceeds of Judgment for Minor (hereinafter, “Petition for Approval of Minor’s Compromise”), with respect to Plaintiff Isabella Hernandez (Age 14).

Legal Standard

An enforceable settlement of a minor’s claim or that of a person lacking the capacity to make decisions can only be consummated with court approval. (Prob. Code, 2504, 3500, 3600 et seq.; Code Civ. Proc., 372; see Pearson v. Sup.Ct. (2012) 202 Cal.App.4th 1333, 1337.) “[T]he protective role the court generally assumes in cases involving minors, [is] a role to assure that whatever is done is in the minor's best interests . . . [I]ts primary concern is whether the compromise is sufficient to provide for the minor's injuries, care and treatment.” (Goldberg v. Sup. Ct. (1994) 23 Cal.App.4th 1378, 1382.)

A petition for court approval of a compromise pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 372 must comply with California Rules of Court, Rules 7.950, 7.951 and 7.952.

California Rules of court, Rule 7.950 provides, in relevant part, “[a] petition 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 the disposition of the proceeds of a judgment for a minor or person with a disability under Probate Code sections 3500 and 3600-3613 or Code of Civil Procedure section 372 must be verified by the petitioner and must contain a full disclosure of all information that has any bearing upon the reasonableness of the compromise, covenant, settlement, or disposition. Except as provided in rule 7.950.5, the petition must be submitted on a completed Petition for Approval of Compromise of Claim or Action or Disposition of Proceeds of Judgment for Minor or Person With a Disability (form MC-350).” (Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 7.950.)

Discussion

Dora Moran De Vasquez (“Petitioner”) petitions this Court for approval of the compromise entered between Minor Plaintiff Isabella Hernandez (“Claimant Hernandez”), age 14, and Defendant Annette Green.

The following facts, requests, and representations are made within Petition for Approval of Minor’s Compromise.

Petitioner represents Claimant Hernandez, a pedestrian walking upon the intersection of 69th Street and Menlo Avenue in Los Angeles, California, was struck by a motor vehicle driven by Defendant Annette Green on approximately October 5, 2016. (Petition, Section 5.) As a result of the collision, Claimant Hernandez suffered “arm pain and swelling”, “emotional distress”, and “anxiety”. (Id., Section 6.) Claimant Hernandez has not fully recovered from her injuries, and notably continues to suffer from “nervousness and anxiety”. (Id., Attachment 7.)

Petitioner represents Claimant Hernandez has entered into a Settlement Agreement with Defendant Annette Green for a sum of approximately $55,000.00 (“Settlement Proceeds”). (Petition, Section 10.) Petitioner represents approximately $11,340.00 was expended by a Non-ERISA insured plan for the payment of Claimant Hernandez’s medical expenses arising following the subject collision. (Id., Sections 12a.(1), 12b(2)(c)(e).) Petitioner represents “[n]o reimbursement is requested by the plan”, and accordingly, no portion of the Settlement Proceeds will be allotted to reimbursement or payment of medical expenses. (Id., Sections 12a.(3), 12b.(2)(f)(i).)

Further, Petitioner proposes approximately forty-two percent (42%) of the Settlement Proceeds ($23,100.00) should be reserved for the payment of Claimant Hernandez’s counsel’s attorneys’ fees. (Petition, Section 13a.) Petitioner, additionally, proposes approximately $2,965.34 of the Settlement Proceeds should be reserved for the payment of Claimant Hernandez’s counsel’s expended costs of litigation. (Id., Section 13b, Attachment 13b.)

Following the proposed reductions of attorneys’ fees and costs, Petitioner represents Claimant Hernandez’s net Settlement Proceeds would equal to approximately $28,934.66. (Petition, Section 15.) Petitioner proposes that Claimant Hernandez’s Settlement Proceeds be disbursed pursuant to deposit in an insured, blocked account. (Petition, Section 18b.(2).)

After reviewing the Petition, the Court finds Petitioner’s Petition for Approval of Minor’s Compromise cannot be approved due to the following defects.

First, Petitioner has failed to comply with Section 8 of the Petition, by failing to include Attachment 8 “[a]n original or a photocopy of any doctor’s report containing a diagnosis of the claimant’s injuries or a prognosis for the claimant’s recovery, and a report of the claimant’s current condition”. (Petition, Section 8.)

Second, Petitioner has failed to comply with Section 10c. of the Petition, by failing to describe the “[t]erms of the settlement” entered between Claimant Hernandez and Defendant Annette Green. (Id., Section 10c.)

Third, while Petitioner states Defendant Annette Green has additionally settled with the two (2) other Plaintiffs in this action, Petitioner has failed to comply with Section 11b.(6) of the Petition, by failing to include Attachment 11b.(6) the “[r]easons for the apportionment of the settlement payments between the claimant and each other plaintiff or claimant named above”. (Id., Section 11b.(6).)

Fourth, while Petitioner represents “[n]o reimbursement is requested by the” Non-ERISA insured medical plan which paid Claimant Hernandez’s medical expenses, Petitioner fails to provide any proof thereof. (Id., Sections 12a.(3), 12b.(2)(f)(i).).)

Fifth, Petitioner has failed to comply with Section 13a. of the Petition, by failing to include Attachment 17a “a copy of any written attorney fee agreement”. (Id., Section 13a.)

Lastly, the Declaration of Claimant Hernandez’s counsel (Sharona Eslamboly Hakim, Esq.) is insufficient to support an award of attorneys’ fees equal to forty-two percent (42%) of the Settlement Proceeds. The Declaration of Claimant Hernandez’s counsel fails to adequately describe the “novelty and difficulty of the questions involved, and the skill required to perform the legal services” rendered in this action, for the purposes of supporting an award of forty-two percent (42%) of the Settlement Proceeds. The Declaration of Claimant Hernandez’s counsel merely states, “[m]any hours of attorney time and staff time has been devoted towards the settlement of this action”. (Petition, Attachment 13a. 5.) This is insufficient to support a greater than usual request for attorneys’ fees.

Based on the foregoing, Petitioner’s Petition for Approval of Minor’s Compromise, with respect to Claimant Hernandez, is continued to enable Petitioner to correct the above noted issues.

Conclusion

Petitioner’s Petition for Approval of Minor’s Compromise, with respect to Claimant Hernandez, is CONTINUED to September 1, 2022, at 9 am.



Case Number: ****8601 Hearing Date: July 22, 2022 Dept: 31

PETITION TO APPROVE MINOR’S COMPROMISE IS CONTINUED

Background

This case arises from an alleged incident where a car struck pedestrians at an intersection located next to an elementary school operated by Los Angeles Unified School District (“LAUSD”). Plaintiffs Aimee Hernandez and Isabelle Hernandez are students at the elementary school. Plaintiff Dora Moran de Vasquez is their grandmother who was walking them to school.

On October 6, 2017, Plaintiffs Aimee Hernandez by and through her guardian ad litem Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran, Isabelle Hernandez by and through her guardian ad litem Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran, and Dora Moran de Vasquez (“Plaintiffs”) filed the instant action against Defendants Annette Green (“Green”), the City of Los Angeles (“City”), the County of Los Angeles (“County”), LAUSD, and Does 1 to 50.

On September 4, 2018, the City filed a Cross-Complaint against Green, asserting causes of action for:

(1) Indemnification;

(2) Apportionment of Fault; and

(3) Declaratory Relief.

On September 24, 2018, Green filed a Cross-Complaint against the City, asserting the same causes of action.

On January 23, 2019, Plaintiffs dismissed County without prejudice.

On March 28, 2019, Plaintiffs filed the operative First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). The FAC asserts causes of action for:

(1) Negligence against Green;

(2) Statutory Liability/Dangerous Condition of Public Property against the City and LAUSD; and

(3) Negligent Infliction of Emotion Distress against Green, City, and LAUSD.

On June 26, 2019, the Court sustained LAUSD’s demurrer to the second and third causes of action raised in the FAC without leave to amend.

On February 13, 2020, the Court granted Green’s motion for determination of good faith settlement as the Plaintiffs. On the same day, the Court granted City’s motion for summary judgment as to the FAC.

On March 10, 2020, judgment was entered in favor of City.

On June 20, 2022, Petitioner Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran (“Petitioner”) filed the instant petition (“Petition”) to approve a minor’s compromise as to Claimant Aimee Hernandez (“Claimant”).

Legal Standard

“[T]he protective role the court generally assumes in cases involving minors, [is] a role to assure that whatever is done is in the minor’s best interests…[I]ts primary concern is whether the compromise is sufficient to provide for the minor’s injuries, care and treatment.” (Goldberg v. Sup. Ct. (1994) 23 Cal.App.4th 1378, 1382.)

A petition for court approval of a compromise or covenant not to sue under Code of Civil Procedure 372 must comply with California Rules of Court, rules 7.950, 7.951 and 7.952. The petition must be verified by the petitioner and contain a full disclosure of all information that has “any bearing upon the reasonableness” of the compromise or the covenant. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 7.950.) The person compromising the claim on behalf of the minor or person who lacks capacity, and the represented person, must attend the hearing on compromise of the claim unless the court for good cause dispenses with their personal appearance. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 7.952.)

An order for deposit of funds of a minor or person lacking decision making capacity and a petition for the withdrawal of such funds must comply with California Rules of Court, rules 7.953 and 7.954. (Cal. Rules of Court 3.1384; see also Super. Ct. L.A. County, Local Rules, rules 4.115-4.118.)

Discussion

According to the Petition, Claimant has agreed to settle her claim against Green in the amount of $100,000.00. From this settlement offer, $1,823.73 will be paid towards medical expenses, $42,000.00 will be paid in attorney’s fees, representing 42% of the total settlement amount, and $2,965.34 will be paid out in expenses. (Petition 12-13, 16; Attachment 13(a): re: Fee Declaration; Attachment 13(b) re: Expenses.) The Petition further states that Claimant received treatment for the various injuries that she sustained due to the accident. (Petition, 6-8, Attachment 7.) Thus, Claimant is left with a balance of $53,210.93 after all fees and expenses are paid. (Petition, 15.) Also, the Petition indicates that Claimant has not completely recovered from her injuries and continues to experience pain in her left shoulder and right arm. (Petition 8-9.)

Pursuant to items 18b(2) and the corresponding attachments of the Petition, the Claimant’s net settlement proceeds are to be deposited into their own blocked accounts at the Water and Power Company Credit Union, which is located at 8800 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90045. (Attachment 18b(2).)

Upon review of the instant Petition and its corresponding attachments, the Court notes that there are a number of deficiencies that preclude granting the Petition. First, while a proposed Order to Deposit Funds in Blocked Account was received, it is noted that a proposed Order approving the underlying petition was not lodged with the Court.

Second, the Petition did not include “an original or a photocopy of any doctor’s report containing a diagnosis of the claimant’s injuries or a prognosis for the claimant’s recovery, and a report of the claimant’s current condition,” which was to be attached as Attachment 8. (See Petition 8.)

Third, the Petition does not include proof of any medical liens or that Claimant’s medical expenses were reduced.

Fourth, in terms of attorney fees, the Petition failed to include a copy of the retainer agreement as required. (See Petition 13(a), 17.) And fifth, the declaration in support of the 42% contingency fee is insufficient because it generally alludes to “many hours of attorney time and staff time that was devoted to this case.” (Attachment 13(a), Hakim Decl. 5.) The declaration references time spent investigating Plaintiffs’ claims and engaging in protracted discovery as well as the great efforts it took opposing City’s motion for summary judgment. (Id.) However, City’s motion was granted and Plaintiffs only secured settlement against Green. While Plaintiffs’ counsel managed to secure Green’s insurance policy limits, the declaration does not sufficiently justify the requested attorney fees award pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 7.955(b).

Based on the aforementioned issues, the Court CONTINUES the instant Petition.

Conclusion

The Court CONTINUES Petitioner’s petition for approval of minor’s compromise re: Aimee Hernandez to August 24, 2022 to enable Petitioner to address and correct the above noted issues.

Petitioner to give notice.

The parties are strongly encouraged to attend all scheduled hearings virtually or by audio. Effective July 20, 2020, all matters will be scheduled virtually and/or with audio through the Court’s LACourtConnect technology. The parties are strongly encouraged to use LACourtConnect for all their matters. All social distancing protocols will be observed at the Courthouse and in the courtrooms.



Case Number: ****8601    Hearing Date: February 13, 2020    Dept: 31

DETERMINATION OF GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT.

Background

This case arises from an alleged incident where a car struck pedestrians at an intersection located next to an elementary school operated by Los Angeles Unified School District (“LAUSD”). Plaintiffs Aimee Hernandez and Isabelle Hernandez are students at the elementary school. Plaintiff Dora Moran de Vasquez is their grandmother who was walking them to school.

On October 6, 2017, Plaintiffs Aimee Hernandez by and through her guardian ad litem Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran, Isabelle Hernandez by and through her guardian ad litem Claudia C. Vasquez-Moran, and Dora Moran de Vasquez (“Plaintiffs”) filed the instant action against Defendants Annette Green (“Green”), the City of Los Angeles (“City”), the County of Los Angeles (“County”), LAUSD, and Does 1 to 50.

On September 4, 2018, the City filed a Cross-Complaint against Green, asserting causes of action for:

  1. Indemnification;

  2. Apportionment of Fault; and

  3. Declaratory Relief.

On September 24, 2018, Green filed a Cross-Complaint against the City, asserting the same causes of action.

On January 23, 2019, Plaintiffs dismissed County without prejudice.

On March 28, 2019, Plaintiffs filed the operative First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). The FAC asserts causes of action for:

  1. Negligence against Green;

  2. Statutory Liability/Dangerous Condition of Public Property against the City and LAUSD; and

  3. Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress against Green, City, and LAUSD.

    On June 26, 2019, the Court sustained LAUSD’s demurrer to the FAC without leave to amend. Specifically, The Court sustained the demurrer as to the second (statutory liability/dangerous condition of public property) and third cause of action (negligent infliction of emotional distress) as to LAUSD without leave to amend.

    On August 28, 2019, the Court granted City’s motion to continue trial. Trial in this matter is now set for March 16, 2020.

    Defendant Green now moves the Court for determination of good faith settlement as to Plaintiffs in this action. City filed a notice of non-opposition to the motion. City and Green have each dismissed their cross-complaints against the other.

    Discussion

    Pursuant to California Rules of Court Rule 3.1382, “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.” The notice of motion substantially complies with this requirement but omits the pleading affected by the settlement and the date it was filed. However, the Court does not find the omission fatal to the motion as the only operative pleading is the FAC and City has filed a notice of non-opposition.

    “A determination by the court that the settlement was made in good faith shall bar any other joint tortfeasor or co-obligor from any further claims against the settling tortfeasor or co-obligor for equitable comparative contribution, or partial or comparative indemnity, based on comparative negligence or comparative fault.” (Code Civ. Proc. ; 877.6(c).)

    Here, the motion is unopposed. “When no one objects, the barebones motion which sets forth the ground of good faith, accompanied 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.) There is no reason to require the Tech-Bilt factors in an unopposed application. (Ibid.) The application is supported by the declaration of Ronald S. Housman who attests to a brief background of the case and the negotiations between the parties. (Brehm Communities v. Sup. Ct. (2001) 88 Cal.App.4th 730, 736 (“[T]he determination whether the settlement was in good faith must be based on competent, admissible evidence.”).) Plaintiffs have agreed to accept $100,000 for Aimee Hernandez, $100,000 for Bora De Vasquez, and $55,000 for Isabella Hernandez in exchange for a dismissal of the action. (Housman Decl. ¶ 6.) At the time of the accident, Green had insurance liability limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. (Housman Decl., ¶ 4, Exh. B.) She has no other assets beyond her insurance. (Housman Decl., ¶ 5, Exh. C.)

    The Court finds the settlement to have been made in good faith and the settlement amount is reasonable. Therefore, the unopposed motion is GRANTED.

    Moving party to give notice.



related-case-search

Dig Deeper

Get Deeper Insights on Court Cases


Latest cases represented by Lawyer ESLAMBOLY HAKIM SHARONA