This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/12/2019 at 00:25:17 (UTC).

COLLEEN HOLLIER VS JENNIFER ZOPKO

Case Summary

On 02/21/2018 a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury case was filed by COLLEEN HOLLIER against JENNIFER ZOPKO in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****4938

  • Filing Date:

    02/21/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

HOLLIER COLLEEN

Respondents and Defendants

ZOPKO JENNIFER

DOES 1 TO 25

 

Court Documents

Association of Attorney

12/3/2018: Association of Attorney

Substitution of Attorney

12/10/2018: Substitution of Attorney

Association of Attorney

2/11/2019: Association of Attorney

Substitution of Attorney

2/20/2019: Substitution of Attorney

[Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Person

5/9/2019: [Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Person

Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

6/14/2019: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

3/19/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

GENERAL DENIAL TO COMPLAINT

4/19/2018: GENERAL DENIAL TO COMPLAINT

NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

4/19/2018: NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

CIVIL DEPOSIT

4/19/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT

SUMMONS

2/21/2018: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE 2. PREMISES LIABILITY

2/21/2018: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE 2. PREMISES LIABILITY

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/14/2019
  • Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by Colleen Hollier (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/09/2019
  • [Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Personal Injury Courts Only (Central District); Filed by Jennifer Zopko (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/20/2019
  • Substitution of Attorney; Filed by Jennifer Zopko (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/11/2019
  • Association of Attorney; Filed by Jennifer Zopko (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 12/10/2018
  • Substitution of Attorney; Filed by Jennifer Zopko (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 12/03/2018
  • Association of Attorney; Filed by Pritesh S. Kothary, Esq. (Attorney)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/19/2018
  • General Denial; Filed by Jennifer Zopko (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/19/2018
  • Receipt; Filed by Jennifer Zopko (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/19/2018
  • NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/19/2018
  • GENERAL DENIAL TO COMPLAINT

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/19/2018
  • CIVIL DEPOSIT

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/19/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Colleen Hollier (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/19/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/21/2018
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE 2. PREMISES LIABILITY

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/21/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by Colleen Hollier (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 02/21/2018
  • SUMMONS

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC694938    Hearing Date: February 13, 2020    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES – CENTRAL DISTRICT

COLLEEN HOLLIER,

JENNIFER ZOPKO, ET AL.,

Case No.:  BC694938

ORDER TRANSFERRING COMPLICATED PERSONAL INJURY (PI) CASE TO AN INDEPENDENT CALENDAR (IC) COURT

AFTER REVIEW OF THE COURT FILE, THE COURT MAKES THE FOLLOWING ORDER:

Department 31 of the Personal Injury Court has determined that the above entitled action is complicated based upon the number of pretrial hearings and/or the complexity of the issues presented. 

AT THE DIRECTION OF DEPARTMENT 1:

This case is hereby transferred and reassigned to the following Independent Calendar Court in THE CENTRAL DISTRICT, JUDGE BARBARA SCHEPER presiding in DEPT. 30 of the STANLEY MOSK COURTHOUSE, for all purposes except trial. Department 1 hereby delegates to the Independent Calendar Court the authority to assign the cause for trial to that Independent Calendar Court.  

ADDITIONALLY, DEPARTMENT 31 OF THE SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE WILL HEAR PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL, SCHEDULED FOR 2/03/20.  CCP §661.

The Order is signed and filed this date, and incorporated herein by reference.  Any pending motions or hearings, including trial and status conferences, will be reset, continued or vacated at the direction of the newly assigned Independent Calendar court.

UPON RECEIPT OF THIS NOTICE, COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF SHALL GIVE NOTICE TO ALL PARTIES OF RECORD.

DATED: January 29, 2020 ___________________________

Case Number: BC694938    Hearing Date: February 03, 2020    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

COLLEEN HOLLIER,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

JENNIFER ZOPKO, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

CASE NO: BC694938

[TENTATIVE] ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL

Dept. 31

1:30 p.m.

February 3, 2020

1. Background Facts

Plaintiff, Colleen Hollier filed this action against Defendant, Jennifer Zopko for damages arising out of a slip and fall in Defendant’s bathroom. The basic facts concerning the fall are not in dispute. Plaintiff and Defendant went to lunch on the day of the incident. After lunch, they returned to Defendant’s home. Plaintiff, who has a prosthetic leg, fell on Defendant’s bathroom floor. Defendant’s boyfriend had cleaned the bathroom floor while Plaintiff and Defendant were at lunch.

2. 12/16/19 Motion for Summary Judgment

On 12/16/19, the Court heard and granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment. The Court ruled on Defendant’s evidentiary objections as follows:

Defendant submitted objections with her reply papers. Objections 1 and 2 are overruled. Objections 3 to 13 are sustained.

Substantively, the Court ruled as follows:

The parties agree that Defendant is only liable to Plaintiff if Defendant had notice that the floor was slippery at the time Plaintiff fell. Defendant declares that she did not know the bathroom floor was wet when she and Plaintiff entered the home, and did not learn it was wet until she spoke with her boyfriend after the fall. Facts 15 and 16 in second issue, Defendant’s Declaration, ¶¶6-7. This is sufficient to meet the moving burden to show Defendant had no notice that the floor was wet when Plaintiff entered the bathroom.

Plaintiff argues facts 15 and 16 are disputed, and cites to the deposition testimony of Plaintiff’s son, Jeremiah, as well as to her own declaration, in support of this position. At page 7 of his deposition, Jeremiah testified that Defendant invited them to her house and Defendant’s boyfriend had cleaned. At page 28, Jeremiah testified that Defendant responded to Plaintiff when she fell, asked her if she was OK, and then told her her boyfriend had cleaned the house while they were gone. At pages 34-35, Jeremiah testified that Defendant’s boyfriend cleaned the house and that was why the floor was wet. Additionally, Plaintiff declares, at ¶¶4 and 5 of her declaration in support of the opposition, that Defendant told her, while they were at lunch, that her boyfriend was cleaning the house; additionally, she stated that the house “better be clean” when they get home.

None of the foregoing is sufficient to raise a triable issue of material fact concerning Defendant’s knowledge that the bathroom floor would be wet when the two came home. At most, Defendant has knowledge that her boyfriend was “supposed to” clean the house. There is no testimony that Defendant, for example, knew that her boyfriend always cleaned the bathroom last, such that it would be wet when the two entered. “Cleaning the house” could involve, or not involve, mopping the bathroom and leaving the floor wet. Of note, if anything, these conversations show that Plaintiff and Defendant both knew the house was being cleaned, such that each would have equal knowledge of the potential that the floor could be wet.

Because there are no triable issues of material fact concerning Defendant’s knowledge that the bathroom floor was wet when Plaintiff slipped and fell, the motion for summary judgment is granted.

The Court need not rule on the issue of whether the bathroom floor was safe when wet, because there are not triable issues of material fact concerning whether or not Defendant knew the floor was wet. In an abundance of caution, the Court has considered this issue also.

Defendant’s expert, John Brault, declares that he tested Defendant’s floor and it was safe both when dry and also when wet. Plaintiff argues the Declaration of Brault is insufficient to meet the moving burden because Brault did not state what type of tile the bathroom was comprised of, and his testing was likely not reliable. Brault clearly declares that he tested DEFENDANT’S floor, not some other tile floor. Plaintiff fails to meaningfully articulate why Brault’s testing would be unreliable. For those reasons, Plaintiff’s evidentiary objections are overruled, and Defendant meets her moving burden to show the floor was safe when wet or dry.

Plaintiff, in opposition to the motion, presents the Declaration of Barrilas, who declares he tested the floor with cleaning solvent on it, and it was not safe. Defendant’s objections to the Declaration of Barrilas are sustained. There is no admissible evidence before the Court that there was a cleaning solvent on the floor when Plaintiff fell. Plaintiff sued based on the floor being “wet,” not that there was solvent on the floor. Even if there was solvent, there is no testimony concerning what solvent was used, etc. Plaintiff did not, for example, present deposition testimony from Defendant’s boyfriend to the effect that he used a specific solvent when he mopped the floor. Any expert declaration based on the presence of a solvent, therefore, assumes facts not in evidence and cannot be considered.

The motion for summary judgment is therefore also granted on the ground that the floor was safe both when dry and also when wet, and Plaintiff did not raise a triable issue of material fact concerning the safety of the floor at the time of the fall.

3. Motion for a New Trial

At this time, Plaintiff moves for a new trial, contending the Court erred in connection with its ruling on Defendant’s evidentiary objections, and that error led to an error in granting the motion. Defendant argues the motion should be denied on procedural grounds. The Court will rule on the motion on its merits. In any event, the Court finds the motion lacks merit. Notably, the subject evidence, even if admitted, would go to the second issue discussed above (the parties’ expert testimony concerning whether or not the floor was dangerous), and not to the first issue discussed above (Defendant’s notice of the substance on the floor). As the Court noted in connection with the original motion, even if Defendant had notice that her boyfriend was cleaning, this is not tantamount to notice that the bathroom was dangerously wet and/or slippery when Plaintiff and Defendant returned home from lunch.

The motion for a new trial is denied.

Plaintiff 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.org.  If 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.

Case Number: BC694938    Hearing Date: January 29, 2020    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES – CENTRAL DISTRICT

COLLEEN HOLLIER,

Plaintiff,

v.

JENNIFER ZOPKO, et al.,

Defendants.

Case No.: BC694938

ORDER TRANSFERRING COMPLICATED PERSONAL INJURY (PI) CASE TO AN INDEPENDENT CALENDAR (IC) COURT

After review of the court file, the Court makes the following order:

Department 31 of the Personal Injury Court has determined that the above entitled action is complicated based upon the number of pretrial hearings and/or the complexity of the issues presented.

AT THE DIRECTION OF DEPARTMENT 1:

This case is hereby transferred and reassigned to the following Independent Calendar Court in THE CENTRAL DISTRICT, JUDGE BARBARA SCHEPER presiding in DEPT. 30 of the STANLEY MOSK Courthouse, for all purposes except trial. Department 1 hereby delegates to the Independent Calendar Court the authority to assign the cause for trial to that Independent Calendar Court.

ADDITIONALLY, DEPARTMENT 31 OF THE SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE WILL HEAR PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL, SCHEDULED FOR 2/03/20. CCP §661.

The Order is signed and filed this date, and incorporated herein by reference. Any pending motions or hearings, including trial and status conferences, will be reset, continued or vacated at the direction of the newly assigned Independent Calendar court.

Upon receipt of this notice, counsel for Plaintiff shall give notice to all parties of record.

DATED: January 29, 2020 ___________________________

Hon. Jon Takasugi

Judge of the Superior Court

Case Number: BC694938    Hearing Date: December 16, 2019    Dept: 3

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

COLLEEN HOLLIER,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

JENNIFER ZOPKO, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

CASE NO: BC694938

[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Dept. 3

1:30 p.m.

December 16, 2019

1. Background Facts

Plaintiff, Colleen Hollier filed this action against Defendant, Jennifer Zopko for damages arising out of a slip and fall in Defendant’s bathroom. The basic facts concerning the fall are not in dispute. Plaintiff and Defendant went to lunch on the day of the incident. After lunch, they returned to Defendant’s home. Plaintiff, who has a prosthetic leg, fell on Defendant’s bathroom floor. Defendant’s boyfriend had cleaned the bathroom floor while Plaintiff and Defendant were at lunch.

2. Motion for Summary Judgment

a. Parties’ Positions

Defendant moves for summary judgment on the complaint, contending (a) the floor was safe, (b) the floor is safe when both wet and dry, and (c) Defendant had no notice that her boyfriend had cleaned the bathroom floor while she was at lunch.

Plaintiff opposes the motion, contending the floor was not safe with cleaning product present on the floor, and contending Defendant knew her boyfriend had cleaned the floor, as she had instructed him to do so.

Defendant replies to the opposition, contending there is no evidence there was cleaning product on the floor when Defendant fell, Plaintiff’s expert’s declaration is subject to objection, and the evidence does not show Defendant knew her boyfriend had cleaned the floor while she was gone.

b. 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.)

c. Evidentiary Objections

Plaintiff submitted an evidentiary objection with her opposition papers. The objection is overruled.

Defendant submitted objections with her reply papers. Objections 1 and 2 are overruled. Objections 3 to 13 are sustained.

d. Prior Notice

The parties agree that Defendant is only liable to Plaintiff if Defendant had notice that the floor was slippery at the time Plaintiff fell. Defendant declares that she did not know the bathroom floor was wet when she and Plaintiff entered the home, and did not learn it was wet until she spoke with her boyfriend after the fall. Facts 15 and 16 in second issue, Defendant’s Declaration, ¶¶6-7. This is sufficient to meet the moving burden to show Defendant had no notice that the floor was wet when Plaintiff entered the bathroom.

Plaintiff argues facts 15 and 16 are disputed, and cites to the deposition testimony of Plaintiff’s son, Jeremiah, as well as to her own declaration, in support of this position. At page 7 of his deposition, Jeremiah testified that Defendant invited them to her house and Defendant’s boyfriend had cleaned. At page 28, Jeremiah testified that Defendant responded to Plaintiff when she fell, asked her if she was OK, and then told her her boyfriend had cleaned the house while they were gone. At pages 34-35, Jeremiah testified that Defendant’s boyfriend cleaned the house and that was why the floor was wet. Additionally, Plaintiff declares, at ¶¶4 and 5 of her declaration in support of the opposition, that Defendant told her, while they were at lunch, that her boyfriend was cleaning the house; additionally, she stated that the house “better be clean” when they get home.

None of the foregoing is sufficient to raise a triable issue of material fact concerning Defendant’s knowledge that the bathroom floor would be wet when the two came home. At most, Defendant has knowledge that her boyfriend was “supposed to” clean the house. There is no testimony that Defendant, for example, knew that her boyfriend always cleaned the bathroom last, such that it would be wet when the two entered. “Cleaning the house” could involve, or not involve, mopping the bathroom and leaving the floor wet. Of note, if anything, these conversations show that Plaintiff and Defendant both knew the house was being cleaned, such that each would have equal knowledge of the potential that the floor could be wet.

Because there are no triable issues of material fact concerning Defendant’s knowledge that the bathroom floor was wet when Plaintiff slipped and fell, the motion for summary judgment is granted.

e. Safety of the Bathroom Floor

The Court need not rule on the issue of whether the bathroom floor was safe when wet, because there are not triable issues of material fact concerning whether or not Defendant knew the floor was wet. In an abundance of caution, the Court has considered this issue also.

Defendant’s expert, John Brault, declares that he tested Defendant’s floor and it was safe both when dry and also when wet. Plaintiff argues the Declaration of Brault is insufficient to meet the moving burden because Brault did not state what type of tile the bathroom was comprised of, and his testing was likely not reliable. Brault clearly declares that he tested DEFENDANT’S floor, not some other tile floor. Plaintiff fails to meaningfully articulate why Brault’s testing would be unreliable. For those reasons, Plaintiff’s evidentiary objections are overruled, and Defendant meets her moving burden to show the floor was safe when wet or dry.

Plaintiff, in opposition to the motion, presents the Declaration of Barrilas, who declares he tested the floor with cleaning solvent on it, and it was not safe. Defendant’s objections to the Declaration of Barrilas are sustained. There is no admissible evidence before the Court that there was a cleaning solvent on the floor when Plaintiff fell. Plaintiff sued based on the floor being “wet,” not that there was solvent on the floor. Even if there was solvent, there is no testimony concerning what solvent was used, etc. Plaintiff did not, for example, present deposition testimony from Defendant’s boyfriend to the effect that he used a specific solvent when he mopped the floor. Any expert declaration based on the presence of a solvent, therefore, assumes facts not in evidence and cannot be considered.

The motion for summary judgment is therefore also granted on the ground that the floor was safe both when dry and also when wet, and Plaintiff did not raise a triable issue of material fact concerning the safety of the floor at the time of the fall.

Defendant is ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept3@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  If 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.