This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/15/2019 at 09:22:15 (UTC).

CHRISTOPHER SWEET, AN IND. VS JONATHAN SWEET; ET AL

Case Summary

On 09/22/2017 CHRISTOPHER SWEET, AN IND filed a Property - Other Property Fraud lawsuit against JONATHAN SWEET. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Torrance Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are ROBERT B. BROADBELT and DEIRDRE HILL. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****2334

  • Filing Date:

    09/22/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Property - Other Property Fraud

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Torrance Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

ROBERT B. BROADBELT

DEIRDRE HILL

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

SWEET CHRISTOPHER AN INDIVIDUAL

SWEET CHRISTOPHER

Defendants

DOES 1 TO 10 INCLUSIVE

SWEET JONATHAN AN INDIVIDUAL

SWEET JONATHAN

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

DANIEL R. SALLUS

SALLUS DANIEL R.

Defendant Attorneys

DANIEL B. HEIDTKE

HEIDTKE DANIEL B.

 

Court Documents

Request

6/10/2019: Request

Declaration

6/12/2019: Declaration

Notice

6/12/2019: Notice

Response

6/14/2019: Response

Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

7/24/2019: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

Minute Order

7/24/2019: Minute Order

Certificate of Mailing for

8/7/2019: Certificate of Mailing for

Summons

2/7/2018: Summons

Legacy Document

3/29/2018: Legacy Document

Legacy Document

5/14/2018: Legacy Document

Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

8/16/2018: Notice of Case Reassignment and Order for Plaintiff to Give Notice

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

8/22/2018: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Notice

1/2/2019: Notice

Ex Parte Application

4/3/2019: Ex Parte Application

Notice of Ruling

4/4/2019: Notice of Ruling

Minute Order

4/4/2019: Minute Order

Notice of Ruling

4/22/2019: Notice of Ruling

Stipulation and Order

5/20/2019: Stipulation and Order

63 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 12/04/2019
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department B at 825 Maple Ave., Torrance, CA 90503; Jury Trial

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  • 11/20/2019
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department B at 825 Maple Ave., Torrance, CA 90503; Hearing on Motion to Bifurcate

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  • 11/20/2019
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department B at 825 Maple Ave., Torrance, CA 90503; Final Status Conference

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  • 08/15/2019
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department B at 825 Maple Ave., Torrance, CA 90503; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (name extension)

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  • 08/13/2019
  • DocketDeclaration (in Support of Defendant Jonathan Sweet's Ex Parte Application); Filed by JONATHAN, SWEET (Defendant)

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  • 08/13/2019
  • Docketfor Order Shortening Time for Hearing on Motion to Stay Court's August 7, 2019 Ruling.; Filed by JONATHAN, SWEET (Defendant)

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  • 08/07/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Status Conference (rescheduling of mediaton/MSC) - Held

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  • 08/07/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 08/07/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Quash (Subpoena) - Held - Taken under Submission

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  • 08/07/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department B, Deirdre Hill, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Clerical Error

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98 More Docket Entries
  • 12/20/2017
  • DocketOpposition; Filed by CHRISTOPHER, SWEET (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/20/2017
  • DocketOpposition; Filed by CHRISTOPHER, SWEET (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/28/2017
  • DocketNotice of Motion; Filed by JONATHAN, SWEET (Defendant)

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  • 11/28/2017
  • DocketPoints and Authorities; Filed by JONATHAN, SWEET (Defendant)

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  • 11/28/2017
  • DocketDeclaration; Filed by JONATHAN, SWEET (Defendant)

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  • 11/28/2017
  • DocketPoints and Authorities; Filed by JONATHAN, SWEET (Defendant)

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  • 10/12/2017
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by CHRISTOPHER, SWEET (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/22/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/22/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by CHRISTOPHER, SWEET (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/22/2017
  • DocketSummons; Filed by CHRISTOPHER, SWEET (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: YC072334    Hearing Date: November 20, 2019    Dept: SWB

Superior Court of California

County of Los Angeles

Southwest District

Torrance Dept. B

CHRISTOPHER SWEET,

Plaintiff,

Case No.:

YC072334

vs.

[Tentative] RULING

JONATHAN SWEET,

Defendant.

Hearing Date: November 20, 2019

Moving Parties: Plaintiff Christopher Sweet

Responding Party: None

Motion to Bifurcate Trial re Punitive Damages

The court considered the moving papers.

RULING

The motion is GRANTED as to bifurcation of trial on the issue of punitive damages.

BACKGROUND

On September 22, 2017, plaintiff Christopher Sweet filed a complaint against Jonathan Sweet for breach of oral contract and fraud.

On February 7, 2018, plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint.

On April 4, 2018, plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint.

Trial is set for January 15, 2020.

LEGAL AUTHORITY

Under CCP §598, “[t]he court may, when the convenience of witnesses, the ends of justice, or the economy and efficiency of handling the litigation would be promoted thereby, on motion of a party, after notice and hearing, make an order . . . that the trial of any issue or any part thereof shall precede the trial of any other issue or any part thereof in the case . . . .”

Under CCP §1048(b), “[t]he 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 . . . or of any separate issue or of any number of causes of action or issues.”

“The court shall, on application of any defendant, preclude the admission of evidence of that defendant’s profits or financial condition until after the trier of fact returns a verdict for plaintiff awarding actual damages and finds that a defendant is guilty of malice, oppression, or fraud in accordance with Section 3294. Evidence of profit and financial condition shall be admissible only as to the defendant or defendants found to be liable to the plaintiff and to be guilty of malice, oppression, or fraud. . . .” Civil Code §3295(d).

“Upon a defendant’s motion, a trial must be bifurcated when a plaintiff seeks punitive damages.” Westrec Marina Mgt., Inc. v. Jardine Ins. Brokers Orange County, Inc. (2000) 85 Cal. App. 4th 1042, 1050. In Hilliard v. A.H. Robins Co. (1983) 148 Cal. App. 3d 374, 392-94, the court stated that “[t]here are no reported cases discussing the bifurcation of a punitive damage issue from the issue of the liability and compensatory damages. Such an order, however, is appropriate in those cases in which the trial judge, in his or her discretion, believes the ends of justice and ‘. . . the economy and efficiency of handling the litigation . . .’ will be promoted. In the case at bar, the trial judge appears to have entertained some doubts about his authority to isolate the punitive damages issue but he felt it was necessary because, at that time, he was somewhat skeptical and uncertain that the plaintiff had established a factual basis for punitive damages. The trial judge certainly had the authority under the amendments to the bifurcation code section and, under the circumstances, we cannot say that the bifurcation order was an abuse of discretion.”

DISCUSSION

Under CCP §§598 and 1048, plaintiff requests an order to bifurcate trial as to the issue of punitive damages against defendant. Plaintiff acknowledges that “[n]o pretrial discovery shall be permitted with respect to the financial condition of the defendant unless the court enters an order permitting such discovery pursuant to this subdivision.” Civil Code §3295(b). Plaintiff is not seeking such an order at this time.

Bifurcation would promote the judicial economy and efficiency of this matter regarding punitive damages. Further, evidence of defendant’s financial condition is admissible only if he is found to be liable to plaintiff and guilty of malice, oppression, or fraud. Civil Code §3295(d).

The motion is therefore GRANTED as to bifurcation of trial on the issue of punitive damages.

Plaintiff is ordered to give notice.