This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/15/2019 at 09:19:35 (UTC).

ANT II LLC VS TORRANCE PIPELINE COMPANY LLC ET AL

Case Summary

On 06/14/2018 ANT II LLC filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against TORRANCE PIPELINE COMPANY 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 ROBERT B. BROADBELT, HOLLY E. KENDIG and ELAINE LU. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****0212

  • Filing Date:

    06/14/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

ROBERT B. BROADBELT

HOLLY E. KENDIG

ELAINE LU

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

ANT II LLC

Defendants

TORRANCE BASIN PIPELINE COMPANY LLC

TORRANCE PIPELINE COMPANY LLC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

WALLENSTEIN MICHAEL H.

Defendant Attorney

HUGHES PERRY S.

 

Court Documents

Status Report

7/26/2019: Status Report

Case Management Statement

11/2/2018: Case Management Statement

Case Management Statement

11/8/2018: Case Management Statement

Minute Order

11/15/2018: Minute Order

Case Management Order

11/15/2018: Case Management Order

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

12/7/2018: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

Notice

12/19/2018: Notice

Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (170.6)

12/21/2018: Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (170.6)

Notice of Deposit - Jury

1/8/2019: Notice of Deposit - Jury

Notice of Case Reassignment/Vacate Hearings

1/10/2019: Notice of Case Reassignment/Vacate Hearings

Minute Order

1/10/2019: Minute Order

Certificate of Mailing for

1/10/2019: Certificate of Mailing for

Notice

1/16/2019: Notice

Notice of Case Management Conference

1/31/2019: Notice of Case Management Conference

Notice

2/5/2019: Notice

Case Management Statement

2/15/2019: Case Management Statement

Case Management Statement

2/28/2019: Case Management Statement

Minute Order

3/4/2019: Minute Order

39 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/06/2020
  • Hearingat 10:00 AM in Department 53 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 04/24/2020
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department 53 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 03/11/2020
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department 53 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Joinder to Motion for Summary Judgment / Adjudication

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  • 09/18/2019
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department 53 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment

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  • 07/26/2019
  • DocketStatus Report (JOINT MEDIATION REPORT); Filed by Ant II, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/15/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 53, Robert B. Broadbelt, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 07/12/2019
  • Docketat 1:54 PM in Department 53, Robert B. Broadbelt, Presiding; Court Order

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  • 07/12/2019
  • DocketNotice (of Continuance of Hearing); Filed by Ant II, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/12/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order;)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/09/2019
  • DocketReply (In Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Adjudication); Filed by Ant II, LLC (Plaintiff)

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49 More Docket Entries
  • 07/06/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Ant II, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/25/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 06/25/2018
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE & OSC RE PROOF OF SERVICE

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  • 06/20/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Ant II, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/20/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 06/20/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 06/20/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Ant II, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/14/2018
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR: (1) BREACH OF CONTRACT - ANT 264 ETC...

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  • 06/14/2018
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 06/14/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Ant II, LLC (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ****0212    Hearing Date: April 29, 2021    Dept: 53

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles – CENTRAL District

Department 53

ant ii, llc ;

Plaintiff,

vs.

torrance pipeline company llc , et al.;

Defendants.

Case No.:

****0212

Hearing Date:

April 29, 2021

Time:

10:00 a.m.

[Tentative] Order RE:

motion for trial setting preference, bifurcation of declaratory relief cause of action, and relief from code of civil procedure section 599

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff ANT II, LLC

RESPONDING PARTIES: Defendants Torrance Pipeline Company LLC and Torrance Basin Pipeline Company LLC

Motion for Trial Setting Preference, Bifurcation of Declaratory Relief Cause of Action, and Relief from Code of Civil Procedure Section 599

The court considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers.

Background

Plaintiff ANT II, LLC (“Plaintiff”) filed this action on June 14, 2018, against defendants Torrance Pipeline Company LLC (“TPC”) and Torrance Basin Pipeline Company, LLC (“TBP”) (collectively, “Defendants”). The Complaint alleges six causes of action: (1) breach of contract – ANT 264, (2) breach of contract – ANT 001, (3) breach of contract – ANT 263, (4) breach of contract – ANT 265, (5) declaratory relief – annual compensation, and (6) declaratory relief – length of license area for ANT 264.

Plaintiff now moves for (1) an order granting trial setting preference pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1062.3, (2) an order bifurcating the fifth and sixth causes of action for declaratory relief pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1048, subdivision (b), and (3) relief from Code of Civil Procedure section 599. Defendants oppose the motion.

REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE

The court grants Plaintiff’s request for judicial notice as to Exhibits 1 and 2.

MOTION TO BIFURCATE

Code of Civil Procedure section 1048, subdivision (b) provides: “The court, in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice, or when separate trials will be conducive to expedition and economy, may order a separate trial of any cause of action, including a cause of action asserted in a cross-complaint, or of any separate issue or of any number of causes of action or issues, preserving the right of trial by jury required by the Constitution or a statute of this state or of the United States.”

Code of Civil Procedure section 598 allows a court to order that the trial of any issue or part thereof be conducted before the trial of any other issue to promote the ends of justice or the economy and efficiency of handling the litigation. “[T]rial courts have broad discretion to determine the order of proof in the interests of judicial economy.” (Grappo v. Coventry Fin. Corp. (1991) 235 Cal.App.3d 496, 504.)

Plaintiff contends that the fifth and sixth causes of action for declaratory relief should be tried by the court without a jury because they sound in equity rather than at law. Plaintiff also contends that it would be more efficient, convenient, and economical to try the equitable claims for declaratory relief before the legal claims for breach of contract.

Under the fifth cause of action for declaratory relief, Plaintiff seeks “a judicial determination as to the respective rights and duties under the respective License Agreements with respect to the payment of Annual Compensation during the renewal term. Specifically, ANT [] seeks a judicial determination that the respective Annual Compensation due for each of the License Agreements, effective on the respective renewal dates as set forth herein, is as established by ANT as set forth herein, or in an amount otherwise determined by the Court . . . .” (Compl., ¶ 73.) In connection with its fifth cause of action for declaratory relief, Plaintiff “also seeks an order compelling Defendants to pay the Annual Compensation so determined for each of the License Agreements forthwith with prejudgment interest at the statutory rate.” (Compl., ¶ 74.) Under the sixth cause of action for declaratory relief, Plaintiff seeks “a judicial determination that the total length of the pipeline subject to the ANT 264 Agreement is 13,561 feet, or some other length determined by the Court according to proof.”[1] (Compl., ¶ 80.)

Defendants dispute Plaintiff’s contention that the court should bifurcate trial to hold a separate trial by the court on the fifth and sixth causes of action for declaratory relief before the other issues. Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s fifth cause of action for declaratory relief, which requires a determination of the issue of whether the Annual Compensation set by Plaintiff under the four license agreements is the reasonable value of the consideration Defendants are to receive under the licenses as required by Civil Code section 1611, is legal in nature and should be tried by a jury.

“‘The right to a jury trial is guaranteed by our constitution. (Cal. Const. art. I, ; 16.) . . . [T]he right so guaranteed, however, is the right as it existed at common law in 1850, when the Constitution was first adopted . . . . As a general proposition, “[t]he jury trial is a matter of right in a civil action at law, but not in equity.” [Citations] [¶] . . . “If the action has to deal with ordinary common-law rights in courts of law, it is to that extent an action at law. In determining whether the action was one triable by a jury at common law, the court is not bound by the form of the action but rather by the nature of the rights involved and the facts of the particular case -- the gist of the action. A jury trial must be granted where the gist of the action is legal, where the action is in reality cognizable at law.” [Citation.] On the other hand, if the action is essentially one in equity and the relief sought “depends upon the application of equitable doctrines,” the parties are not entitled to a jury trial. [Citations.] Although . . . “the legal or equitable nature of a cause of action ordinarily is determined by the mode of relief to be afforded” [citation], the prayer for relief in a particular case is not conclusive [citations.].’” (Entin v. Superior Court (2012) 208 Cal.App.4th 770, 776-777 [emphasis in original] (quoting C & K Engineering Contractors v. Amber Steel Co. (1978) 23 Cal.3d 1, 8-9).) “‘In case of doubt . . . the issue should be resolved in favor of preserving a litigant’s right to trial by jury. [Citations.]’” (Interactive Multimedia Artists, Inc. v. Superior Court (1998) 62 Cal.App.4th 1546, 1551 (quoting Byram v. Superior Court (1977) 74 Cal.App.3d 648, 654).)

“Our courts have frequently ‘characterized’ declaratory relief actions as ‘being “equitable” [in nature].’ [Citation.] They are, ‘in fact, sui generis and may raise either legal or equitable issues.’ [Citation.] Consequently, the right to a jury ‘may not be denied . . . simply because the [] action is one for declaratory relief.’ [Citation.] Rather, as with other types of claims, ‘“the proper inquiry is the sometimes difficult one whether the issues [raised in the action] are legal or equitable in nature.”’ [Citation.] The difficulty of this task is ‘multiplied when the relief sought is a “sui generis” declaration [of rights] in which event the court is even deprived of the advantage of considering the prayer as an indication of whether or not the claim is addressed to equity.’ [Citation.]” (Entin, supra, 208 Cal.App.4th at p. 777 [emphasis in original].)

As Defendants point out, there is no dispute that Defendants are “entitled to have the breach of contract claims decided by a jury.” (Oppos., p. 3:26-28.) Code of Civil Procedure section 592 states, in relevant part: “In actions for . . . money claimed as due upon a contract, or as damages for breach of contract, . . . an issue of fact must be tried by a jury, unless a jury trial is waived . . . .” Here, Defendants have not waived the right to jury trial. (Minute order, filed March 4, 2019.)

Plaintiff states: “The main underlying issue in this case is the rent due under the four subject licenses. This is the subject of the fifth cause of action for declaratory relief . . . .” (Motion, p. 7:18-19.) Plaintiff further acknowledges that “in ruling on [Plaintiff’s] motion for summary adjudication, the court has concluded that under Civil Code section 1611, the amount of Annual Compensation due under the licenses is the ‘reasonable worth’ of the licensed property.” (Motion, p. 8:3-5.) As the court found in its order denying Plaintiff’s motion for summary adjudication, because the licenses at issue give Plaintiff the authority to determine in its sole discretion the amount of consideration to be paid by the other party, Civil Code section 1611 requires that the amount of “the consideration must be so much money as the object of the contract is reasonably worth.” (April 2, 2020 order, pp. 15:15-23, 16:14-19.)

Plaintiff cites Cook v. Thomas (1964) 230 Cal.App.2d 866, 868, for the proposition that the determination of the “reasonable worth” of the licenses under Civil Code section 1611 is a “determination [that] lies in equity.” (Motion, p. 8:5-8.) However, the court agrees with Defendants that Cook does not stand for or support that proposition. In Cook, the trial court found that the parties had entered into an oral agreement whereby the defendant agreed to pay a finder’s fee to the plaintiff for his services “but with no meeting of the minds concerning the amount of consideration to be paid to [plaintiff] . . . .” (Id. at p. 867, 868.) The Court of Appeal therefore found that “it became the duty of the [trial] court to ascertain from the evidence the reasonable value of [plaintiff’s] services” under Civil Code section 1611. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s determination of the reasonable amount of consideration to be paid to the plaintiff for the services he rendered under the oral contract pursuant to Civil Code section 1611, without addressing or stating any rule about whether such a determination under section 1611 is a legal or an equitable issue. Although the trial was conducted by the trial court, there is no discussion in the Court of Appeal’s opinion as to whether either party had requested a trial by jury.

In Shore v. Commercial Bankers Life Ins. Co. (1972) 24 Cal.App.3d 226, 227, defendant insurance company assured plaintiff that, if plaintiff were successful in his efforts to get a certain agent to place health and accident insurance with defendant, plaintiff would be “adequately compensated.” After plaintiff brought the principals of the agent and defendant together, the agent placed business with defendant which resulted in premiums of about four million dollars. (Id. at p. 227-228.) Defendant later disavowed its agreement to compensate plaintiff. (Id. at p. 228.) The Court of Appeal concluded that “plaintiff was promised adequate compensation . . . ,” and “[w]hen his mission was successfully completed he clearly had a cause of action for adequate compensation.” (Id. at p. 229.) Citing Civil Code section 1611 and Cook v. Thomas, supra, 230 Cal.App.2d at 868, the Court of Appeal then stated: “All that was necessary was for the parties, or, if they could not agree, for a court or jury to fix the amount of compensation at a definite figure.” (Emphasis added.) The Court of Appeal also quoted Professor Corbin, in relevant part, with approval as follows: “Thus, where A has rendered service for B without agreeing in advance upon the compensation to be paid, B is bound to pay a reasonable sum; what this sum may be is a question of fact for the court or jury. . . . . (6 Corbin Contracts, ch. 70, ; 1290, p. 166.)” (Id. at p. 230-231 (emphasis added).) (See also O’Keefe v. Aptos Land & Water Co. (1955) 134 Cal.App.2d 772, 779 [In applying Civil Code section 1611, “it is the function of the trier of the facts to ascertain and declare the reasonable value of the property involved.”]

In Hunter v. Ryan (1930) 109 Cal.App. 736, 737-738, the issue of the reasonable value of services rendered by the plaintiff’s assignor under a promise to pay a bonus pursuant to Civil Code section 1611 was tried before a jury. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff in the amount of $5,000, which the trial court reduced to $2,000 on a motion for new trial. (Id. at p. 737.) The Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment entered in favor of the plaintiff. (Id. at p. 739.)

In other cases, the Court of Appeal has affirmed the trial court’s determination of the amount of consideration under Civil Code section 1611, but the parties either waived the right to jury trial or the trial court made the determination without a jury and the Court did not address whether either party had requested a trial by jury. (See, e.g., Carney v. Hayter (1944) 62 Cal.App.2d 792, 793, 798 [affirming trial court’s determination of the amount of consideration in an action in quantum meruit to which Civil Code section 1611 applied and where trial by jury was waived]; First Bank of Jamestown v. Gillis (1930) 104 Cal.App. 523, 524, 527-528 [affirming the trial court’s determination of the reasonable value of an apple crop under Civil Code section 1611 in a “cause [that] was tried before the court sitting without a jury”].)

Thus, the case law supports Defendants’ position that determination of the reasonable amount of consideration to be paid by Defendants under the four license agreements pursuant to Civil Code section 1611 is an issue that is legal (rather than equitable) in nature, to be decided by the court or a jury (whichever is the trier of fact).

As set forth above, in determining whether a party has a right to jury trial on a cause of action for declaratory relief, the court must look to the gist of the declaratory relief claim. “In determining whether the right to a jury exists . . . , the proper inquiry is . . . whether ‘the issues [raised in the declaratory relief action] are legal or equitable in nature.’ [Citation.] Therefore, if the ‘gist’ of a declaratory relief action involves the resolution of factual issues pertaining to a plaintiff’s contractual rights, the defendant is entitled to a jury regardless of whether that underlying legal claim remains ‘inchoate.’ (See [California Casualty Indemnity Exchange v. Frerichs (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 1446, 1450] [right to jury attaches where a declaratory relief action ‘concern[s] an inchoate breach of contract claim’]; [Patterson v. Insurance Co. of North America (1970) 6 Cal.App.3d 310, 315] [right to a jury trial applies when a declaratory relief action is ‘in effect used as a substitute for an action at law’].)” (Entin, supra, 208 Cal.App.4th at pp. 781-782 [emphasis in original].)

Here, Plaintiff’s fifth cause of action for declaratory relief seeks “a judicial determination that the respective Annual Compensation due for each of the License Agreements, effective on the respective renewal dates as set forth herein, is as established by ANT . . . , or in an amount otherwise determined by the Court . . . .” (Compl., ¶ 73.) Plaintiff also seeks “an order compelling Defendants to pay the Annual Compensation so determined for each of the License Agreements forthwith with prejudgment interest at the statutory rate.” (Compl., ¶ 74.) In support of its breach of contract causes of action, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants breached the contracts by refusing and continuing to refuse to pay the new Annual Compensation determined by Plaintiff. (Compl., ¶¶ 39, 46, 53, 60, 67.)

First, the court finds that the issues raised in Plaintiff’s fifth cause of action for declaratory relief are legal in nature. In determining whether the license fees to be paid by Defendants for each of the license agreements are the new amounts established by Plaintiff, Civil Code section 1611 requires that the trier of fact determine whether those new amounts are what the pipeline license rights are “reasonably worth.” As discussed above, that issue is legal in nature.

Second, the court finds that the “gist” of Plaintiff’s fifth cause of action for declaratory relief involves the resolution of factual issues pertaining to Plaintiff’s breach of contract claims. As Plaintiff states: “The main underlying issue in this case is the rent due under the four subject licenses. This is the subject of the fifth cause of action for declaratory relief, and is the predicate for determining whether Defendants’ failure to pay that amount constitutes a breach of the four licenses.” (Motion, p. 7:18-20.) Thus, determination of whether Defendants are required to pay the new amount of license fees claimed by Plaintiff under the license agreements is an issue that will need to be determined for both (1) Plaintiff’s fifth cause of action for declaratory relief, and (2) the element of breach in each of Plaintiff’s breach of contract causes of action. As discussed above, an issue of fact in an action for damages for breach of contract must be tried by a jury unless a jury trial is waived. (Code Civ. Proc., ; 592.) “Courts will not permit the declaratory action to be used as a device to circumvent the right to a jury trial in cases where such right would be guaranteed if the proceeding were coercive rather than declaratory in nature.” (State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (1956) 47 Cal.2d 428, 432 [internal quotations and citations omitted].)

Third, the court notes that Plaintiff, in its prayer for relief for its fifth cause of action for declaratory relief, requests a judicial determination that the Annual Compensation due for each license agreement is as determined by Plaintiff effective as of 2017 or 2018. (Compl., prayer for relief, p. 14:15-24.) Although the mode of the relief requested is not determinative of the issue of whether an action is legal or equitable in nature, the mode of the relief is a factor that may be considered when assessing the right to a jury trial. (C & K Engineering Contractors, supra, 23 Cal.3d at p. 9.) In its fifth cause of action for declaratory relief, Plaintiff essentially seeks the same monetary damages it requests in its breach of contract causes of action. The mode of the relief requested by Plaintiff in its fifth cause of action for declaratory relief therefore supports the conclusion that the “gist” of Plaintiff’s declaratory relief claim is legal in nature.

For the reasons set forth above, the court finds that the “gist” of Plaintiff’s fifth cause of action for declaratory relief is an action at law, rather than in equity, and that Defendants are therefore entitled to a jury trial on that cause of action.

In its sixth cause of action for declaratory relief, Plaintiff seeks a judicial declaration of the total length of the pipeline subject to the ANT 264 license agreement. (Compl., ¶ 80.) Although that declaratory relief claim might be equitable in nature and for the court to decide, Plaintiff has not established that bifurcating that claim for a separate and early trial by the court would “further[] . . . convenience or . . . avoid prejudice, or . . . be conducive to expedition and economy.” (Code Civ. Proc., ; 1048, subd. (b).) Indeed, Plaintiff states in its moving papers that the sixth cause of action “can be readily tried along with rent due.” (Motion, p. 4:27-28 fn. 3.)

For the reasons set forth above, the court exercises its discretion to deny Plaintiff’s motion for an order bifurcating trial of the fifth and sixth causes of action for declaratory relief pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1048, subdivision (b).

MOTION FOR TRIAL SETTING PREFERENCE

Code of Civil Procedure section 1062.3, subdivision (b) provides that “[a]ny action brought under the provisions of this chapter in which the plaintiff seeks any relief, in addition to a declaration of rights and duties, shall take such precedence only upon noticed motion and a showing that the action requires a speedy trial.”

Plaintiff states that Defendants have made only partial payments on the rent due under the license agreements, and that Plaintiff, a small company, is suffering substantial financial hardship as a result of Defendants’ refusal to make full payments on the rent it claims is due under the license agreements. Plaintiff points out that Defendants have not agreed to waive a jury trial in this action, and Plaintiff contends that, although trial in this action is currently set for July 14, 2021, trial is almost certain to be continued in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In opposition to the motion, Defendants contend that Plaintiff has failed to show any valid basis for trial setting preference under section 1062.3. Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s request is based solely on the idea that Plaintiff hopes to recover significant damages at trial, and that there is no valid reason for this matter to take precedence over other matters on the court’s calendar.

Based on the evidence and arguments presented by the parties, the court finds that Plaintiff has failed to meet its burden to show that this action requires a speedy trial. The court therefore denies Plaintiff’s motion for trial setting preference under Code of Civil Procedure section 1062.3.

MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM CODE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE SECTION 599

Code of Civil Procedure section 599, subdivision (a), states: “Notwithstanding any other law and unless ordered otherwise by a court or otherwise agreed to by the parties, a continuance or postponement of a trial date extends any deadlines that have not already passed as of March 19, 2020, applicable to discovery, including the exchange of expert witness information, mandatory settlement conferences, and summary judgment motions in the same matter. The deadlines are extended for the same length of time as the continuance or postponement of the trial date.” Subdivision (b) provides that “[t]his section shall remain in effect only during the state of emergency proclaimed by the Governor on March 4, 2020, related to the COVID-19 pandemic and 180 days after the end . . . of that state of emergency and is repealed on that date.”

Plaintiff contends that the emergency declaration is unlikely to end before the present trial date set in this action. Plaintiff states that the parties already informally exchanged appraisal reports, but that Defendants have refused to make their appraiser available for a deposition before a formal statutory exchange of expert witness information. (Wallenstein Decl., filed January 22, 2021, ¶ 8.) Plaintiff contends that subjecting the parties’ appraisers to the scrutiny of a deposition will promote settlement, and that granting relief from the automatic discovery extension of section 599 and freezing the expert discovery cut-off with the July 14, 2021 trial date will force Defendants to make their appraiser available for deposition. In opposition, Defendants disagree that taking the deposition of their appraiser will promote settlement.

After considering the arguments and evidence presented by the parties, the court agrees with Plaintiff that, if the July 14, 2021 trial date in this action were to be continued, there would probably be good cause to grant Plaintiff’s request that the deadlines for the exchange of information concerning expert trial witnesses, and the cut-off dates to complete discovery proceedings pertaining to expert trial witnesses and to have motions concerning that discovery heard, shall not be extended and shall not be based on the new trial date. But the court finds that Plaintiff’s request for that limited relief from Code of Civil Procedure section 599 is premature at this time because the court has not yet made an order continuing the present trial date. Thus, at this time, those deadlines for the exchange of information concerning expert trial witnesses, and the cut-off dates for expert discovery and expert discovery motions are based on the July 14, 2021 trial date and the court expects the parties to comply with those deadlines. Any depositions may be taken remotely, if a party, attorney, witness, or court reporter request.

For the reasons set forth above, the court denies Plaintiff’s request for relief from Code of Civil Procedure section 599 without prejudice to making such a request if the present trial date is continued in the future.

ORDER

For the reasons set forth above, the court denies plaintiff ANT II, LLC’s motion for trial setting preference, bifurcation of declaratory relief causes of action, and relief from Code of Civil Procedure section 599.

The court orders Defendants to give notice of this order.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

DATED: April 29, 2021

_____________________________

Robert B. Broadbelt III

Judge of the Superior Court


[1] The court notes that, in their papers filed in connection with this motion, the parties do not dispute or present any argument as to Plaintiff’s sixth cause of action for declaratory relief. In its motion, Plaintiff states that the facts and evidence regarding the sixth cause of action for declaratory relief are limited and that the sixth cause of action can be readily tried along with the determination of the rent due under the fifth cause of action for declaratory relief. (Motion, p. 7:27-28 fn. 5.) The court therefore focuses on Plaintiff’s fifth cause of action for declaratory relief.



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