This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/27/2019 at 04:46:43 (UTC).

ALLEN G SHAW ET AL VS ASHLAND LLC ET AL

Case Summary

On 02/21/2018 ALLEN G SHAW filed a Personal Injury - Other Product Liability lawsuit against ASHLAND LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are CAROLYN B. KUHL, DENNIS J. LANDIN and TERESA A. BEAUDET. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****5379

  • Filing Date:

    02/21/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Product Liability

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

CAROLYN B. KUHL

DENNIS J. LANDIN

TERESA A. BEAUDET

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

SHAW ALLEN G.

SHAW CAROLE J.

Defendants and Respondents

BERRYMAN PRODUCTS INC.

ILLINOIS TOOL WORKS INC.

ASHLAND LLC

CHAMPION BRANDS L.L.C.

SAFETY-KLEEN SYSTEMS INC.

B'LASTER CORPORATION THE

SHELL OIL COMPANY

RADIATOR SPECIALTY COMPANY

UNIVAR USA INC

UNION OIL COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA

UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION

DOES 1-100 INCLUSIVE

THE B'LASTER CORPORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

ARMITAGE MICHAEL L. ESQ.

MARCUS NANCY CATHERINE

ARMITAGE MICHAEL LEIGHTON ESQ.

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

REED SMITH LLP

LEWIS BRISBOIS BISGAARD & SMITH LLP

STEPTOE & JOHNSON LLP

HURRELL CANTRALL LLP

MEYER JASON FREDERICK ESQ.

PERRINO RUDY R

UCHIDA DAVID MAKOTO

SAYRE MARK DAVID

LEVIN JASON

SEGURA MILDRED Y

MEYER JASON FREDERICK

AKOPYAN HILDA ADRIANA

NEJAT SADAF ANAHITA

PAULOS NICHOLAS

KUM ROBERT

MCNULTY JOHN VINCENT

O'BRIEN COLLEEN M

 

Court Documents

CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT

5/31/2018: CASE MANAGEMENT STATEMENT

) ) STIPULATION AND ORDER ) AUTHORIZING ELECTRONIC ) SERVICE OF DOCUMENTS

6/18/2018: ) ) STIPULATION AND ORDER ) AUTHORIZING ELECTRONIC ) SERVICE OF DOCUMENTS

NOTICE OF RULINGS ON PRO HAC. VICE APPLICATIONS AND RELATED STATUS CONFERENCE

7/10/2018: NOTICE OF RULINGS ON PRO HAC. VICE APPLICATIONS AND RELATED STATUS CONFERENCE

NOTICE OF ENTRY OF DISMISSAL AND PROOF OF SERVICE

8/3/2018: NOTICE OF ENTRY OF DISMISSAL AND PROOF OF SERVICE

DEFENDANT RADIATOR SPECIALTY COMPANY'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR TRIAL SETTING PREFERENCE

9/5/2018: DEFENDANT RADIATOR SPECIALTY COMPANY'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR TRIAL SETTING PREFERENCE

ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE

9/19/2018: ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE

Order

10/15/2018: Order

Complaint

11/2/2018: Complaint

Answer

11/8/2018: Answer

Case Management Statement

1/28/2019: Case Management Statement

Request for Judicial Notice

3/18/2019: Request for Judicial Notice

Notice

5/28/2019: Notice

Ex Parte Application

6/4/2019: Ex Parte Application

DEFENDANT SHELL OIL COMPANYS ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT;AND ETC.

4/9/2018: DEFENDANT SHELL OIL COMPANYS ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT;AND ETC.

DEFENDANT THE B?LASTER CORPORATION'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFFS' CO1PLA1NT; ETC

4/11/2018: DEFENDANT THE B?LASTER CORPORATION'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFFS' CO1PLA1NT; ETC

DEFENDANTS UNION OIL COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA AND ASHLAND LLC'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT

4/2/2018: DEFENDANTS UNION OIL COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA AND ASHLAND LLC'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT

DEFENDANTS UNION OIL COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA AND ASHLAND LLC'S JURY DEMAND

4/2/2018: DEFENDANTS UNION OIL COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA AND ASHLAND LLC'S JURY DEMAND

PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR PERSONAL INJURIES (CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 377.30) PRODUCT LIABILITY 1. NEGLIGENCE ;ETC

2/21/2018: PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR PERSONAL INJURIES (CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 377.30) PRODUCT LIABILITY 1. NEGLIGENCE ;ETC

197 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/21/2019
  • Request for Dismissal

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  • 06/14/2019
  • Notice of Entry of Dismissal and Proof of Service; Filed by UNION OIL COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA (Defendant)

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  • 06/10/2019
  • Request for Dismissal; Filed by UNION OIL COMPANY OF CALIFORNIA (Defendant)

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  • 06/06/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 50, Teresa A. Beaudet, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 06/06/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 50, Teresa A. Beaudet, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment (by Blaster) - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 06/06/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer) of 06/06/2019); Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/06/2019
  • Notice (OF COURT ORDER); Filed by Shell Oil Company (Defendant)

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  • 06/06/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Motion to Strike (not anti-SLAPP) - without Demurrer)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/05/2019
  • Notice (of Settlement); Filed by Radiator Specialty Company (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/05/2019
  • Notice (Amended Notice of Ruling after June 4. 2019 Hearing); Filed by Allen G. Shaw (Plaintiff); Carole J. Shaw (Plaintiff)

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339 More Docket Entries
  • 03/21/2018
  • Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint -

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  • 03/21/2018
  • Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint -

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  • 03/21/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Allen G. Shaw (Plaintiff); Carole J. Shaw (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/21/2018
  • Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint -

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  • 03/21/2018
  • Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint -

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  • 03/21/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Allen G. Shaw (Plaintiff); Carole J. Shaw (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/21/2018
  • PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES FOR PERSONAL INJURIES (CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 377.30) PRODUCT LIABILITY 1. NEGLIGENCE ;ETC

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  • 02/21/2018
  • SUMMONS

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  • 02/21/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by Allen G. Shaw (Plaintiff); Carole J. Shaw (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/21/2018
  • CIVIL DEPOSIT

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC695379    Hearing Date: November 07, 2019    Dept: 50

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Department 50

allen g. shaw, et al.,

Plaintiffs,

vs.

ashland llc, et al.

Defendants.

Case No.:

BC 695379

Hearing Date:

November 7, 2019

Hearing Time:

8:30 a.m.

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE:

DEFENDANT SAFETY-KLEEN SYSTEMS, INC.’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Background

Plaintiffs Allen G. Shaw and Carole J. Shaw (jointly, “Plaintiffs”) filed this action on February 21, 2018 against, inter alia, Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc. (“Safety Kleen”), alleging causes of action for (1) negligence, (2) strict liability, (3) intentional/fraudulent concealment, and (4) loss of consortium. The gravamen of the operative First Amended Complaint (“FAC”), which was filed on November 2, 2018, concerns personal injuries sustained by Plaintiff Allen G. Shaw (“Shaw”) as a result of exposure to benzene and benzene-containing substances during the course and scope of his employment as an automotive mechanic, specifically from approximately 1949 to 1979. (FAC, ¶¶ 1-2.) Shaw was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (“MDS”) on or about October 2, 2017. (FAC, ¶ 20.)

Plaintiffs allege that Safety Kleen “manufactured, distributed, marketed, supplied, and sold benzene-containing products purchased by [Shaw] and/or his employers and used in the course of his employment which included all of the following: parts washing solvents including 105 Solvent Recycled.” (FAC, ¶ 13.) Plaintiffs allege that, through absorption and inhalation, the benzene in the solvents was a substantial factor in causing Shaw’s MDS. (FAC, ¶ 13.)

Safety Kleen now moves for summary adjudication of Plaintiffs’ third cause of action for intentional/fraudulent concealment and Plaintiffs’ claim for punitive damages. Plaintiffs oppose.

Evidence

The Court grants Plaintiffs’ request for judicial notice as to Exhibits 1, 2, and 3.

The Court rules on Safety Kleen’s evidentiary objections as follows:

Objection 1: sustained

Objection 2: sustained

Objection 3: sustained

Objection 4: sustained

Objection 5: sustained

Objection 6: overruled

Objection 7: overruled

Objection 8: overruled

Legal Standard

“A party may move for summary adjudication as to one or more causes of action within an action, one or more affirmative defenses, one or more claims for damages, or one or more issues of duty, if the party contends that the cause of action has no merit, that there is no affirmative defense to the cause of action, that there is no merit to an affirmative defense as to any cause of action, that there is no merit to a claim for damages, as specified in Section 3294 of the Civil Code, or that one or more defendants either owed or did not owe a duty to the plaintiff or plaintiffs.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c(f)(1).) “A motion for summary adjudication shall be granted only if it completely disposes of a cause of action, an affirmative defense, a claim for damages, or an issue of duty.” (Ibid.) The moving party bears the initial burden of production to make a prima facie showing that there are no triable issues of material fact. (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 850.) If the moving party carries this burden, the burden shifts to the opposing party to make a prima facie showing that a triable issue of material fact exists. (Ibid.) Courts “liberally construe the evidence in support of the party opposing summary judgment and resolve doubts concerning the evidence in favor of that party.” (Dore v. Arnold Worldwide, Inc. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 384, 389.)

When a defendant seeks summary judgment or summary adjudication, he/she must show either (1) that one or more elements of the cause of action cannot be established; or (2) that there is a complete defense to that cause of action. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c(p)(2).) “If the defendant fails to make this initial showing, it is unnecessary to examine the plaintiff’s opposing evidence, and the motion must be denied.” (Powell v. Kleinman (2007) 151 Cal.App.4th 112, 121.)

Discussion

In support of the cause of action for fraudulent concealment, Plaintiffs allege that Safety Kleen, among others, “had specific prior knowledge that benzene is an insidious blood and bone marrow poison, that there is no safe level of exposure to benzene and that there was a high risk of injury or death resulting from exposure to benzene and benzene-containing solvents . . . .” (FAC, ¶ 46.) Plaintiffs also allege that this knowledge was obtained “from scientific studies and medical data to which defendants had access . . . on or before 1948.” (FAC, ¶ 46.) Plaintiffs allege that Safety Kleen and others “acted to manipulate public information and knowledge in order to give the impression that benzene and benzene-containing products were safe and to prevent the disclosure of the information available to the defendants regarding the true and full nature of the health hazards of benzene and benzene-containing products.” (FAC, ¶ 46.)

Specifically, as to Safety Kleen, Plaintiffs allege that Safety Kleen “knew by no later than 1977 that there was benzene in its parts washing solvents and that benzene exposure causes cancer.” (FAC, ¶ 79.) Despite this knowledge, Safety Kleen “affirmatively told customers that [their solvents] did not contain benzene.” (FAC, ¶ 83.) Safety Kleen named its product “Safety-Kleen,” which misled customers to believe that the product was safe. (FAC, ¶ 84.) Plaintiffs allege that Safety Kleen withheld and concealed its knowledge of benzene’s health hazards . . . with the intent, expectation and foreseeability that . . . its customers[] would rely upon its statements and omissions in determining whether to work upon its premises and use its benzene-containing products.” (FAC, ¶ 86.)

Safety Kleen contends that the cause of action for fraudulent concealment has no merit because Safety Kleen had no duty to Plaintiffs.

“[T]he elements of a cause of action for fraud based on concealment are: (1) the defendant must have concealed or suppressed a material fact, (2) the defendant must have been under a duty to disclose the fact to the plaintiff, (3) the defendant must have intentionally concealed or suppressed the fact with the intent to defraud the plaintiff, (4) the plaintiff must have been unaware of the fact and would not have acted as he did if he had known of the concealed or suppressed fact, and (5) as a result of the concealment or suppression of the fact, the plaintiff must have sustained damage.” (Bigler-Engler v. Breg, Inc. (2017) 7 Cal.App.5th 276, 310–311 [brackets in original; internal quotations omitted].) “There are four circumstances in which nondisclosure or concealment may constitute actionable fraud: (1) when the defendant is in a fiduciary relationship with the plaintiff; (2) when the defendant had exclusive knowledge of material facts not known to the plaintiff; (3) when the defendant actively conceals a material fact from the plaintiff; and (4) when the defendant makes partial representations but also suppresses some material facts.” (Id. at p. 311 [internal quotations omitted].) In the latter three circumstances, “some other relationship between the plaintiff and defendant” must exist for a duty to disclose to arise. (Ibid.) Such relationships are based on transactions such as “seller and buyer, employer and prospective employee, doctor and patient, or parties entering into any kind of contractual arrangement.” (Ibid.) “Such a transaction must necessarily arise from direct dealings between the plaintiff and the defendant; it cannot arise between the defendant and the public at large.” (Id. at p. 312.)

In Bigler-Engler, the plaintiff was injured as the result of her use of a medical device. (Bigler-Engler v. Breg, Inc., supra, 7 Cal.App.5th at p. 284.) The plaintiff sued both her doctor, who prescribed the use of the device, and the manufacturer of the device under various negligence and strict liability theories as well as for fraud and intentional concealment. (Ibid.) The Court of Appeal held that the plaintiff could not prevail on her fraud claims because she had failed to establish that a transactional relationship existed between herself and the manufacturer to give rise to a duty to disclose. (Id. at p. 314.) The Court of Appeal noted that there was no evidence that the manufacturer transacted with the plaintiff in any way, since the medical device was obtained through the plaintiff’s doctor without the plaintiff’s involvement. (Ibid.) The Court of Appeal further noted that there was no evidence that the manufacturer knew that the plaintiff “was a potential user of the [] device, that she was prescribed the [] device, or that she used the [] device.” (Ibid.) There was also no evidence that the manufacturer “directly advertised its products to consumers such as [the plaintiff] or that it derived any monetary benefit directly from [the plaintiff’s] individual rental of the [] device.” (Ibid.)

Safety Kleen asserts that no direct transactional relationship ever existed between Safety Kleen and Plaintiffs to support imposition of a duty to disclose. In support of this assertion, Safety Kleen offers evidence in the form of Plaintiffs’ discovery responses. In response to an interrogatory requesting “all facts that support [Plaintiffs’] causes of action against [Safety Kleen] alleged in [the] Complaint,” Plaintiffs do not identify any direct dealings with Safety Kleen. (Uchida Decl., ¶ 4, Ex. C, Response to Special Interrogatory No. 11.) Plaintiffs state that Shaw used Safety Kleen products as an automotive mechanic, but Shaw also testified at deposition that, as a mechanic, he was not in charge of ordering products and had no interactions with Safety Kleen regarding their products. (Uchida Decl., ¶ 7, Ex. F (Shaw Depo.), pp. 256:1-10, 318:16-22.)

Plaintiffs counter that the standard is different for toxic torts cases, where courts have recognized “the duty to warn can extend to the public at large.” (Opp’n, p. 15:14-16.) In support of this contention, Plaintiffs cite primarily to Jones v. ConocoPhillips Co. (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 1187. In Jones, a wrongful death case, the decedent’s family sued manufacturers of various chemical products that allegedly caused the decedent’s illness and death. (Id. at p. 1191.) The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order sustaining some of the defendants’ demurrers. (Ibid.) Most relevant to the instant case, the Court of Appeal found that the plaintiffs adequately alleged a cause of action for fraudulent concealment against the manufacturers based on the allegation that the defendants were “aware of the toxic nature of their products,” that they “alone had knowledge of material facts,” and that they “made representations regarding their products, but failed to disclose additional facts which materially qualify the facts disclosed, and/or which rendered the disclosures made likely to mislead [the decedent].” (Id. at pp. 1199-1200.) The Court of Appeal based this decision on the principle that a duty to disclose “may also arise when a defendant possesses or exerts control over material facts not readily available to the plaintiff.” (Id. at p. 1199.) Importantly, the Court of Appeal did not state that a duty to disclose existed with regard to the public at large. Indeed, there was no discussion at all of the transactional relationship prerequisite in Jones.

Although Plaintiffs contend that the Jones case sets a different standard for toxic torts cases, the Court finds that the rule cited in Jones is not inconsistent with that set forth in Bigler-Engler. In Bigler-Engler, the Court of Appeal acknowledged that a duty to disclose may arise in the absence of a transactional relationship if the defendant made an “affirmative statement” that was “so misleading that it [] give[s] rise to a fraud cause of action.” (Bigler-Engler v. Berg, Inc., supra, at p. 312.) Because Jones was a case decided at the pleadings stage, the allegations supporting the existence of a duty were entitled to a liberal reading and did not require factual specificity. (Jones v. ConocoPhillips Co., supra, at p. 1199.) Therefore, “conclusory allegations” of the misleading nature of the defendant manufacturers’ affirmative representations were sufficient to survive demurrer. (Id. at p. 1200.)

Here, Safety Kleen’s only contention as to the duty element is that no transactional relationship existed between Shaw and Safety Kleen, so no duty arose. However, as set forth in both Bigler-Engler and Jones, a duty can still arise in cases where no transactional relationship exists. Therefore, Plaintiffs are correct that a duty can exist between Shaw and Safety Kleen absent a transactional relationship, but not because a duty can exist between a manufacturer and the public at large, but because a manufacturer can be held liable under a fraud theory for affirmative statements that are especially misleading. The Court thus notes that Safety Kleen’s argument that no duty exists because no transactional relationship exists does not dispose of the entire duty element. Plaintiffs allege in the FAC that Safety Kleen “affirmatively told customers that [the solvent] did not contain benzene” and that the name of the product (“Safety-Kleen”) was itself misleading. (FAC, ¶¶ 83-84.) Safety Kleen does not address in its moving papers whether a duty exists under those facts and under the law as set forth in Bigler-Engler. Therefore, the Court finds that Safety Kleen has failed to demonstrate that Plaintiffs cannot establish the duty element of the fraudulent concealment cause of action.

Separately, Safety Kleen contends that Plaintiffs cannot establish that the fraudulent concealment cause of action has merit because Plaintiffs served factually devoid responses to discovery relating to the claim. “If plaintiffs respond to comprehensive interrogatories seeking all known facts with boilerplate answers that restate their allegations, or simply provide laundry lists of people and/or documents, the burden of production will almost certainly be shifted to them once defendants move for summary judgment and properly present plaintiffs’ factually devoid discovery responses.” (Andrews v. Foster Wheeler LLC (2006) 138 Cal.App.4th 96, 107.) Here, Safety Kleen argues that Plaintiffs cannot show that Safety Kleen intentionally concealed a material fact regarding a Safety Kleen product, or that Safety Kleen intended to defraud Plaintiffs by the concealment because in response to special interrogatories seeking “all facts” supporting Plaintiffs’ contentions, Plaintiffs responded by repeating the allegations in the FAC, by listing Shaw’s employers, and by alleging conduct that was “unsupported by facts of record.” (Mot., p. 10:17-20.)

In particular, in response to Special Interrogatory No. 2 (“State all facts that support YOUR contention that YOU were exposed to PRODUCTS MARKETED by SAFETY-KLEEN that caused YOUR injury”), Shaw stated that he was exposed to benzene-containing solvents such as 105 Solvent Recycled, which is a Safety-Kleen brand parts washer solvent. (Uchida Decl., ¶ 4, Ex. C, Response to Special Interrogatory No. 2.) Shaw also provided facts relating to his employment as an automotive mechanic and facts relating to his memory of his use of Safety Kleen products during his employment. (Uchida Decl., ¶ 4, Ex. C, Response to Special Interrogatory No. 2.) In response to Special Interrogatory No. 11 (“State all facts that support YOUR causes of action against SAFETY-KLEEN alleged in YOUR Complaint”), Shaw offered the same facts as set forth in response to Special Interrogatory No. 2 plus the fact that Safety Kleen knew or should have known that their products contained benzene and were thus harmful. (Uchida Decl., ¶ 4, Ex. C, Response to Special Interrogatory No. 11.) Specifically, Shaw stated that Safety Kleen was aware of scientific studies that found that benzene could cause blood and bone marrow diseases and that he did not recall seeing any warnings, written instructions, or recommendations regarding the hazards of exposure to benzene on Safety Kleen products. (Uchida Decl., ¶ 4, Ex. C, Response to Special Interrogatory No. 11.)

In contrast to the factually devoid responses at issue in Andrews, the Court finds that Plaintiffs’ responses are not factually devoid. In Andrews, in response to a special interrogatory seeking “each fact” in support of the contention that the defendant was liable to the plaintiff as alleged in the complaint, the plaintiff “merely stated” that he was exposed to asbestos during his working career, listed his jobsite locations and dates of employment, and stated his job duties for each. (Andrews v. Foster Wheeler LLC, supra, at p. 104.) The plaintiff did not refer to the defendant’s specific product in the response. (Ibid.) The Court of Appeal found that the plaintiff’s response did not “state specific facts showing that [the plaintiff] was actually exposed to asbestos-containing material from [the defendant’s] products.” (Ibid.) Here, Plaintiffs’ responses do refer to a specific Safety Kleen product. Further, Plaintiffs’ responses do provide some factual basis in support of the elements of intentional concealment and intent to defraud—that Safety Kleen knew that its solvents contained benzene, that Safety Kleen knew that benzene was harmful based on knowledge obtained from scientific studies and medical data, and that Safety Kleen did not provide any warnings about benzene on its benzene-containing solvents. Although Safety Kleen contends that these facts are “unsupported by facts of record,” they are facts nonetheless. Accordingly, the Court does not find that Safety Kleen has met its burden of showing that Plaintiffs’ discovery responses are so factually devoid such that the burden of production on the fraudulent concealment claim should be shifted to Plaintiffs.

For the same reasons as set forth above, the Court does not find that Safety Kleen has met its burden of showing that Plaintiffs’ discovery responses are so factually devoid such that the burden of production on the punitive damages claim should be shifted to Plaintiffs. Safety Kleen cites to its Undisputed Material Fact (“UMF”) nos. 13, 14, and 16, which in turn cite Plaintiffs’ responses to Special Interrogatory Nos. 2, 11, 13, and 18 and Request for Production of Documents Nos. 10 and 11. The only interrogatory relevant to punitive damages is Special Interrogatory No. 18 (“State all facts that support YOUR claimed punitive damages in YOUR Complaint from SAFETY-KLEEN”) and Request for Production of Documents No. 11 (“Any and all DOCUMENTS that support YOUR contention that YOU are entitled to punitive damages pursuant to Civil Code Section 3294 from SAFETY-KLEEN as alleged in YOUR Complaint”). (Uchida Decl., ¶ 4, Ex. C; ¶ 6, Ex. E.) Plaintiffs’ response to Special Interrogatory No. 18 incorporated the response to Special Interrogatory No. 11. (Uchida Decl., ¶ 4, Ex. C, Response to Special Interrogatory No. 18.) Plaintiffs’ response to Request for Production of Document No. 11 listed a number of documents, including Safety Kleen’s balance sheets, income statements, general ledgers, and tax returns. The Court finds that these responses are not factually devoid. Safety Kleen also argues that Shaw’s deposition testimony shows that he has no facts that anyone from Safety Kleen intended to cause him harm, citing to its UMF no. 16. But that “fact” states only that Shaw admitted that he never had any conversations with any Safety Kleen representatives, never read or received any literature related to Safety Kleen parts washers, and did not recall what any label said on any Safety Kleen parts washer. (UMF 16.) In light of Plaintiffs’ response to Special Interrogatory No. 18, this “fact” does not suggest that Plaintiffs do not have and cannot obtain any evidence showing that Safety Kleen acted with malice, fraud, or oppression. Accordingly, the Court finds that Safety Kleen has failed to meet its burden of showing that Plaintiffs’ punitive damages claim has no merit.

Conclusion

For the reasons set forth above, the Court denies Safety Kleen’s motion for summary adjudication.

Plaintiffs are ordered to give notice of this ruling.

DATED: November 7, 2019 ________________________________

Hon. Teresa A. Beaudet

Judge, Los Angeles Superior Court

Case Number: BC695379    Hearing Date: November 01, 2019    Dept: 50

THE HEARING ON THE MSJ SET ON 11/7/19 WILL GO FORWARD ON THAT DATE.  MOVING PARTY IS TO GIVE NOTICE OF THIS ORDER.  NO APPEARANCE AT TOMORROW'S HEARING IS NECESSARY.