This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/19/2019 at 02:29:08 (UTC).

CITY OF WHITTIER VS CHRISTOPHER DANIEL GUARDADO ET AL

Case Summary

On 01/02/2018 CITY OF WHITTIER filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against CHRISTOPHER DANIEL GUARDADO. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JON R. TAKASUGI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8909

  • Filing Date:

    01/02/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Petitioner and Plaintiff

WHITTIER CITY OF

Respondents and Defendants

GUARDADO CHRISTOPHER DANIEL

GUARDADO RUDY HEMBERT

DOES 1 TO 25

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Petitioner and Plaintiff Attorney

SAVAGE FINETE APLC

Respondent and Defendant Attorney

PASAROW STEPHEN C. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

PLAINTIFF'S DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

6/18/2018: PLAINTIFF'S DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

5/9/2019: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

Order

5/21/2019: Order

STATEMENT OF DAMAGES (PERSONAL INJURY OR WRONGFUL DEATH)

3/9/2018: STATEMENT OF DAMAGES (PERSONAL INJURY OR WRONGFUL DEATH)

STATEMENT OF DAMAGES (PERSONAL INJURY OR WRONGFUL DEATH)

3/9/2018: STATEMENT OF DAMAGES (PERSONAL INJURY OR WRONGFUL DEATH)

REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

3/12/2018: REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

3/12/2018: REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

STATEMENT OF DAMAGES

3/23/2018: STATEMENT OF DAMAGES

STATEMENT OF DAMAGES

3/23/2018: STATEMENT OF DAMAGES

CIVIL DEPOSIT

3/27/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT

ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

3/27/2018: ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

3/27/2018: DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

3/27/2018: NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

1/24/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

1/24/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

SUMMONS

1/2/2018: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

1/2/2018: COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

5 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/02/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/18/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/21/2019
  • Order (PROPOSED ORDER AND STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND ALL RELATED DATES); Filed by Whittier, City of (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/09/2019
  • Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by Whittier, City of (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/18/2018
  • Demand for Jury Trial; Filed by Whittier, City of (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/18/2018
  • PLAINTIFF'S DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/27/2018
  • CIVIL DEPOSIT

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/27/2018
  • Demand for Jury Trial; Filed by Christopher Daniel Guardado (Defendant); Rudy Hembert Guardado (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/27/2018
  • NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/27/2018
  • DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

    Read MoreRead Less
12 More Docket Entries
  • 03/09/2018
  • Statement of Damages (Personal Injury or Wrongful Death); Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/09/2018
  • STATEMENT OF DAMAGES (PERSONAL INJURY OR WRONGFUL DEATH)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/24/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/24/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/24/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/24/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/02/2018
  • SUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/02/2018
  • Summons Issued; Filed by Whittier, City of (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/02/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by Whittier, City of (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 01/02/2018
  • COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC688909    Hearing Date: May 21, 2021    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

CITY OF WHITTIER,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

CHRISTOPHER DANIEL GUARDADO, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

CASE NO: BC688909

[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Dept. 31

2:30 p.m.

May 21, 2021

 

1. Background

Plaintiff, City of Whittier (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendants Christopher Daniel Guardado (“Christopher”) and Hembert Rudy Guardado (“Hembert”) (collectively, “Defendants”), erroneously sued and served as Rudy Hembert Guardado, for damages arising from a motor vehicle accident. The complaint alleges Christopher negligently caused the accident with Plaintiff’s employee on February 29, 2016, and Hembert owned and entrusted the vehicle to Christopher.

Defendants now move for summary adjudication as to the claim for negligent entrustment against Hembert.

2. Motion for Summary Judgment

a. Moving Argument

Defendants argue there is no evidence showing that Hembert had actual or constructive knowledge of any facts that Christopher was an incompetent or incapable driver. Further, Defendants contend Hembert did not have reason to know that Christopher would get into an accident or drive while under the influence of alcohol. Defendants argue that while Christopher confessed to speeding tickets, that is not enough to make him an unfit driver.

b. Opposing Argument

Plaintiff argues that there is evidence to support an inference that Hembert, who is Christopher’s father, was negligent in entrusting his vehicle to Christopher. Plaintiff contends Hembert never inquired into Christopher’s driving record or had any understanding of such during the time he permitted his son operate the vehicle. Plaintiff asserts that had Hembert inquired about Christopher’s driving record he would have learned Christopher he would have learned Christopher had previously been sued and found at fault for a vehicle accident, and that in the five years before the accident Christopher had been cited for speeding tickets. Plaintiff argues a trier of fact may find Hembert should have known Christopher was incompetent or unfit to drive.

c. Request for Judicial Notice

Defendants request the court take judicial notice of Plaintiff’s complaint filed on January 2, 2018. The request is granted. (Evid. Code § 452(d).)

d. Evidentiary Objections

Defendants, in their reply, submit an objection to the police report attached as Exhibit 1 to the opposition. The objection is sustained, as the report contains inadmissible hearsay. (See Vehicle Code § 20013 [“No such accident report shall be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal, arising out of an accident….”]; Box v. California Date Growers Ass'n (1976) 57 Cal.App.3d 266, 270 [“it is well established that traffic accident reports are not admissible in evidence.”].)

e. Burdens on Summary Judgment

Summary judgment is proper “if all the papers submitted show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” (Code Civ. Proc. §437c(c).) Where a defendant seeks summary judgment or adjudication, he must show that either “one or more elements of the cause of action, even if not separately pleaded, cannot be established, or that there is a complete defense to that cause of action.” (Id. at §437c(o)(2).) A defendant may satisfy this burden by showing that the claim “cannot be established” because of the lack of evidence on some essential element of the claim. (Union Bank v. Superior Court (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 574, 590.) Once the defendant meets this burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff to show that a “triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to that cause of action or defense thereto.” (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.) A defendant moving for summary judgment 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. (Id. at §437c(p).) A defendant may discharge this burden by furnishing either (1) affirmative evidence of the required facts or (2) discovery responses conceding that the plaintiff lacks evidence to establish an essential element of the plaintiff's case. If a defendant chooses the latter option he or she must present evidence “and not simply point out that plaintiff does not possess and cannot reasonably obtain needed evidence….” Aguilar, supra, 25 Cal.4th at 865-66,

[A] defendant may simply show the plaintiff cannot establish an essential element of the cause of action “by showing that the plaintiff does not possess, and cannot reasonably obtain, needed evidence.” (Id. at p. 854.) Thus, rather than affirmatively disproving or negating an element (e.g., causation), a defendant moving for summary judgment has the option of presenting evidence reflecting the plaintiff does not possess evidence to prove that element. “The defendant may, but need not, present evidence that conclusively negates an element of the plaintiff's cause of action. The defendant may also present evidence that the plaintiff does not possess, and cannot reasonably obtain, needed evidence—as through admissions by the plaintiff following extensive discovery to the effect that he has discovered nothing” to support an essential element of his case. (Aguilar, supra, at p. 855.) Under the latter approach, a defendant's initial evidentiary showing may “consist of the deposition testimony of the plaintiff's witnesses, the plaintiff's factually devoid discovery responses, or admissions by the plaintiff in deposition or in response to requests for admission that he or she has not discovered anything that supports an essential element of the cause of action.” (Lona v. Citibank, N.A., supra, 202 Cal.App.4th at p. 110.) In other words, a defendant may show the plaintiff does not possess evidence to support an element of the cause of action by means of presenting the plaintiff's factually devoid discovery responses from which an absence of evidence may be reasonably inferred. (Scheiding v. Dinwiddie Construction Co. (1999) 69 Cal.App.4th 64, 83.)

Thus, a moving defendant has two means by which to shift the burden of proof under the summary judgment statute: “The defendant may rely upon factually insufficient discovery responses by the plaintiff to show that the plaintiff cannot establish an essential element of the cause of action sued upon. [Citation.] [Or a]lternatively, the defendant may utilize the tried and true technique of negating (‘disproving’) an essential element of the plaintiff's cause of action.” (Brantly v. Pisaro (1996) 42 Cal.App.4th 1591, 1598.)

(Leyva v. Garcia (2018) 20 Cal.App.5th 1095, 1103.)

Until the moving defendant has discharged its burden of proof, the opposing plaintiff has no burden to come forward with any evidence. Once the moving defendant has discharged its burden as to a particular cause of action, however, the plaintiff may defeat the motion by producing evidence showing that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to that cause of action. (Id. at §437c(p)(2).) On a motion for summary judgment, the moving party's supporting documents are strictly construed and those of his opponent liberally construed, and doubts as to the propriety of summary judgment should be resolved against granting the motion. (D’Amico v. Board of Medical Examiners (1974) 11 Cal.3d 1, 21.)

f. Analysis

To prevail on an action for negligent entrustment, a plaintiff must prove as follows: (1) that the driver was negligent in operating the vehicle; (2) that the defendant was the owner, lessor, or possessor of the vehicle, (3) that the defendant knew or should have known that the driver was incompetent or unfit to drive the vehicle, (4) that the defendant permitted the driver to use the vehicle, and (5) that the driver's incompetence or unfitness to drive was a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff. (See Jeld-Wen, Inc. v. Superior Court (2005) 131 Cal.App.4th 853, 863–64, 864 fn. 8, citing CACI No. 724.)

“ ‘[I]t is generally recognized that one who places or entrusts his [or her] motor vehicle in the hands of one whom he [or she] knows, or from the circumstances is charged with knowing, is incompetent or unfit to drive, may be held liable for an injury inflicted by the use made thereof by that driver, provided the plaintiff can establish that the injury complained of was proximately caused by the driver's disqualification, incompetency, inexperience or recklessness.’ ” (Flores v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Co. (2010) 188 Cal.App.4th 1055, 1063, quoting Osborn v. Hertz Corp. (1988) 205 Cal.App.3d 703, 708.) In determining whether a defendant is negligent in entrusting a vehicle to a driver, the defendant's conduct is to be measured by what an ordinarily prudent person would do in similar circumstances. (Osborn, 205 Cal.App.3d at 709.) “[E]ntrustment of a vehicle to an intoxicated person is not negligence per se. A plaintiff must prove defendant had knowledge of plaintiff's incompetence when entrusting the vehicle.” (Blake v. Moore (1984) 162 Cal.App.3d 700, 706.)

Here, Defendants assert that Christopher had finished working and was headed home when the accident occurred at 4:35 a.m., and that Christopher was arrested at the scene for driving under the influence of alcohol. (UMF 2-3.) Christopher was driving a 1995 Honda Civic registered to Hembert, and Christopher has had a driver’s license since 2006 with no restrictions except that he wears contact lenses. (UMF 4-5.) At the time of the accident, Defendants lived at the same address, and Hembert never observed Christopher drive under the influence of alcohol or heard from anyone that Christopher drove under the influence. (UMF 6-8.) Christopher had not been in any accidents in the five years before the subject accident, and Hembert was unaware of Christopher’s driving record. (UMF 9-10.) Christopher was never arrested for driving under the influence prior to February 29, 2016, and while Christopher testified that he had gotten speeding tickets, there is no evidence Christopher had his licensed revoked for speeding, and speeding tickets were not a factor in his sentencing for drunk driving. (UMF 11-12.)

In opposition, Plaintiff avers the accident happened because Christopher was speeding and intoxicated at the time of the accident. Plaintiff contends a trier of fact can find Hembert should have known Christopher was incompetent or unfit to drive because Hembert did not concern himself with the whereabouts of his vehicle on the date of the accident and never inquired into Christopher’s driving record before the incident. Plaintiff argues Christopher’s predilection for speeding, history of speeding tickets, absence from the residence and intoxication made Christopher unfit to drive.

As to the arguments concerning Hembert not knowing Christopher’s whereabouts after the accident, Plaintiff fails to explain how Hembert not seeing his son after the accident made Christopher unfit or incompetent to drive at the time of the accident. Further, while Plaintiff contends Christopher was found at fault for a previous accident, Plaintiff does not dispute Christopher had not been involved in another accident for five years before the subject accident. (See UMF 9.)

During Christopher’s deposition, the following exchange occurred:

Q Prior to this incident what does your driving record look like? Had you any moving violations in the prior five years?

A I had lots of speeding tickets

Q Did those come up when you were appearing on the criminal matter regarding the incident?

A No

(Opp. Exh. 3 at p. 19:10-16.) However, Plaintiff does not provide any evidence as to exactly when Christopher received any speeding tickets as to suggest Hembert knew or should have known Hembert was an unfit driver at the time of the accident. Furthermore, Plaintiff does not cite any authority to suggest that speeding tickets alone make a driver unfit or incompetent to drive. (See Osborn, 205 Cal.App.3d at 710-11 [“By its enactment of various provisions of the Vehicle Code, the Legislature has carefully delineated, according to the seriousness of the offenses, the disabilities that are to be suffered by those convicted of drunk driving… Under this statutory scheme, neither a prior record of drunk driving nor a past refusal of insurance nor a prior suspension or revocation of a driver's license disqualifies a citizen from owning or driving a vehicle provided the legal disability has been cured and the citizen holds a valid driver's license.”].)

Based on the foregoing, Defendants’ motion for summary adjudication is granted as to the claim for negligent entrustment against Hembert only.

Defendants further request an order establishing Hembert’s liability is limited to $15,000.

While it is clear Vehicle Code § 17151(a) limits the liability of a vehicle owner “for the death or injury to one person in any one accident” to $15,000, a party may only move for summary adjudication of “a legal issue or a claim for damages other than punitive damages that does not completely dispose of a cause of action” if they submit to the court (1) a joint stipulation stating the issues to be adjudicated, and (2) a declaration from each stipulating party that the motion will further the interest of judicial economy. (Code Civ. Proc. § 437c(t)(l)(A)(i)–(ii).) No such stipulation has been filed here.

3. Conclusion

Defendants’ motion for summary adjudication is granted as to the claim for negligent entrustment against Hembert only.

Moving Defendant is ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept31@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.orgIf the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar. If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative. If the parties do not submit on the tentative, they should arrange to appear remotely.

 

Dated this 21st day of May, 2021

Hon. Thomas D. Long

Judge of the Superior Court

related-case-search

Dig Deeper

Get Deeper Insights on Court Cases


Latest cases where WHITTIER CITY OF is a litigant