On 09/18/2017 ARNOLD MARTINEZ filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against MARCO ANTONIO RUIZ JR. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are ELAINE LU, DEBORAH L. CHRISTIAN and STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
DEBORAH L. CHRISTIAN
STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH
RUIZ MARCO ANTONIO JR.
DOWNTOWN L.A. LAW GROUP
STRAUS MARVIN J.
STRAUS MARVIN JONATHON
4/27/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE: JUNE 18, 2020) OF 04/27/2020
3/11/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE THE TRIAL DATE AN...)
3/11/2020: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE THE TRIAL DATE AND ALL RELATED DATES
7/26/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF VALEN M. HERMIZ IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT MARCO ANTONIO RUIZ JR.'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION OF PLAINTIFF'S CLAIM FOR PUNITIVE DAMAGES
7/26/2019: Motion for Summary Adjudication
9/19/2019: Brief - INDEX OF EVIDENCE SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION
9/19/2019: Objection - OBJECTION TO DEFENDANT'S EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION
10/1/2019: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information
12/2/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION)
1/3/2020: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL
6/11/2019: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL
3/15/2019: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information
3/15/2019: Notice of Change of Firm Name
3/2/2018: MOTION FOR LEAVE TO LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT
5/11/2018: MARCO ANTONIO RUIZ JR'S ANSWER TO ARNOLD MARTINEZ'S AMENDED COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
10/17/2017: MARCO ANTONIO RUIZ JR'S ANSWER TO ARNOLD MARTINEZ'S COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
9/18/2017: SUMMONS -
9/18/2017: COMPLAZNT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE
Hearing10/21/2020 at 10:30 AM in Department 32 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Trial Setting ConferenceRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Trial (- NFC) - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 32, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 09:12 AM in Department 32, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Court OrderRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order re: June 18, 2020)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order re: June 18, 2020) of 04/27/2020); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Trial - Not Held - Continued - StipulationRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 32, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - StipulationRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Stephen I. Goorvitch, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (to Continue the Trial Date and All Related Dates) - Held - Motion GrantedRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application to Continue the Trial Date an...)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketMOTION FOR LEAVE TO LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINTRead MoreRead Less
DocketPLAINTIFF S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN SUPPORT THEREOF; DECLARATION OF IGOR FRADKJN AND FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT AND SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketMotion for Leave; Filed by Arnold Martinez (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketAnswer; Filed by Marco Antonio Jr. Ruiz (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketMARCO ANTONIO RUIZ JR'S ANSWER TO ARNOLD MARTINEZ'S COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIALRead MoreRead Less
DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Arnold Martinez (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAZNT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCERead MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Arnold Martinez (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC676391 Hearing Date: December 02, 2019 Dept: 5
marco antonio ruiz, jr.,
Case No.: BC676391
Hearing Date: December 2, 2019
[TENTATIVE] order RE:
MOTION FOR SUMMARY adjudication
Plaintiff Arnold Martinez (“Plaintiff”) alleges that he sustained injuries in a motor vehicle collision with Defendant Marco Antonio Ruiz, Jr. (“Defendant”). Defendant moves for summary adjudication of Plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages. Plaintiff opposes the motion. The motion is granted.
“[T]he party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of persuasion that there is no triable issue of material fact and that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law . . . . There is a triable issue of material fact if, and only if, the evidence would allow a reasonable trier of fact to find the underlying fact in favor of the party opposing the motion in accordance with the applicable standard of proof.” (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 850.) “[T]he party moving for summary judgment bears an initial burden of production to make a prima facie showing of the nonexistence of any triable issue of material fact; if he carries his burden of production, he causes a shift, and the opposing party is then subjected to a burden of production of his own to make a prima facie showing of the existence of a triable issue of material fact.” (Ibid.) In ruling on the motion, “the court may not weigh the plaintiff's evidence or inferences against the defendant[’s] as though it were sitting as the trier of fact.” (Id. at 856.) However, the court “must . . . determine what any evidence or inference could show or imply to a reasonable trier of fact.” (Ibid., emphasis original.)
The Court rules as follows on Plaintiff’s Objections:
2. The Court need not rule on this objection, as it did not rely on the photographs of the accident in granting summary adjudication. (See Code Civ. Proc. § 437c(q).)
A party may move for summary adjudication of a claim for punitive damages under Civil Code section 3294. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (f)(1).) Therefore, the Court will consider this motion on the merits.
In the operative complaint, Plaintiff alleges, “Following the collision that is the basis for this Complaint, Defendant knowingly and intentionally fled the scene of the incident evading efforts by plaintiff to exchange identification and insurance information, eventually being confronted at Defendant’s residence by an officer of the California Highway Patrol, where he was identified as the driver of the adverse vehicle.” (First Amended Complaint, ¶ 17.) While leaving the scene of an accident without rendering aid is intentional conduct, it is independently actionable, supporting a claim for punitive damages, only if the defendant’s leaving the scene was “a proximate cause of further injury or death” beyond the accident itself. (Brooks v. E.J. Willig Truck Transp. Co. (1953) 40 Cal.2d 669, 679.) In other words, Plaintiff must proffer evidence that Defendant’s alleged flight caused additional injuries in order to seek punitive damages, as the accident sounds in negligence and does not support such a claim. (Karl v. C.A. Reed Lumber Co. (1969) 275 Cal.App.2d 358, 361.)
Defendant argues that Plaintiff has no such evidence. In order to satisfy the initial burden on a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication, a defendant may show that “the plaintiff does not possess needed evidence, because otherwise the plaintiff might be able to establish the elements of the cause of action; the defendant must also show that the plaintiff cannot reasonably obtain needed evidence, because the plaintiff must be allowed a reasonable opportunity to oppose the motion . . . .” (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 854, emphasis original.) To show that a plaintiff does not possess and cannot obtain evidence in support of a claim, a defendant “may rely on factually devoid discovery responses . . . .” (Union Bank v. Superior Court (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 573, 590.) In this case, Defendant asked Plaintiff to state all facts on which he predicates his claim for punitive damages. Plaintiff stated, “Defendants knew or should have known, such actions and omissions constituted a dangerous and unreasonable risk of harm of which Plaintiff was unaware. As a direct result of negligence, Plaintiff was hurt and injured in their health, strength, and activity.” (Index of Exhibits, Exhibit 3, pp. 5-6.) This response does not contain any facts that support Plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s response is sufficient to meet Defendant’s burden to show that Plaintiff cannot prevail on the claim for punitive damages.
In opposition, Plaintiff relies on his own declaration. Plaintiff states that he believes Defendant was intoxicated at the time of the accident. (Declaration of Arnold Martinez, ¶ 22.) That is immaterial, as Plaintiff does not allege Defendant’s intoxication as a basis for punitive damages in the operative complaint. The pleadings set the outer limits of materiality in a summary judgment proceeding. (FPI Development, Inc. v. Nakashima (1991) 231 Cal.App.3d 367, 382.) Regardless, Plaintiff needs to allege that Defendant’s flight caused or contributed to his injuries.
Plaintiff proffers his own deposition testimony. When asked if Defendant’s leaving the scene of the accident worsened his injuries, Plaintiff testified, “Maybe, because of the pursuit that we had.” (Declaration of Igor Fradkin, Exhibit 2, pp. 147-148.) Plaintiff also testified that the pursuit made him “tense and nervous” and that Plaintiff was “making sudden movements” during the pursuit. (Declaration of Igor Fradkin, Exhibit 2, p. 148.) Plaintiff testified that his neck pain “[m]aybe got worse because [he] was tense and nervous and [he] was doing -- making sudden movements.” (Ibid.) This testimony is speculative and uncertain, and it is not sufficient to raise triable issues of material fact, especially in the absence of medical corroboration of Plaintiff’s speculations. Plaintiff cannot raise triable issues of material fact by citing inferences “derived from speculation, conjecture, imagination, or guesswork.” (Joseph E. Di Loreto, Inc. v. O'Neill (1991) 1 Cal.App.4th 149, 161.) Regardless, even if the Court considered this evidence, it is not evidence that Plaintiff’s injuries were worsened by Defendant’s flight. At best, this evidence establishes that Plaintiff’s injuries were worsened by his decision to pursue Defendant.
CONCLUSION AND ORDER
Defendant’s motion for summary adjudication on the claim for punitive damages is granted. Defendant shall provide notice and file proof of such with the Court.
DATED: December 2, 2019 ___________________________
Stephen I. Goorvitch
Judge of the Superior Court