This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/04/2019 at 01:31:11 (UTC).

DARRELL ANTHONY WILLIAMS VS LAZARO PADILLA ET AL

Case Summary

On 03/15/2018 a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle case was filed by DARRELL ANTHONY WILLIAMS against LAZARO PADILLA 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:

    ****8310

  • Filing Date:

    03/15/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Petitioner and Plaintiff

WILLIAMS DARRELL ANTHONY

Defendants and Respondents

PADILLA LAZARO

DOES 1 TO 100

TERESO DOE 1 SAMUEL

 

Court Documents

PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

3/30/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

LAZARO PADILLA'S ANSWER TO DARRELL ANTHONY WILLIAMS' COMPLAINT, AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

6/20/2018: LAZARO PADILLA'S ANSWER TO DARRELL ANTHONY WILLIAMS' COMPLAINT, AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

Substitution of Attorney

1/30/2019: Substitution of Attorney

Stipulation and Order

6/7/2019: Stipulation and Order

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

6/10/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

SUMMONS

3/15/2018: SUMMONS

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

3/15/2018: COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/10/2019
  • Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name); Filed by Darrell Anthony Williams (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/07/2019
  • Stipulation and Order ([Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC [and Related Motion/Discovery Dates] Personal Injury Courts Only (Central District)); Filed by Lazaro Padilla (Defendant)

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  • 01/30/2019
  • Substitution of Attorney; Filed by Darrell Anthony Williams (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/20/2018
  • Answer; Filed by Lazaro Padilla (Defendant)

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  • 06/20/2018
  • LAZARO PADILLA'S ANSWER TO DARRELL ANTHONY WILLIAMS' COMPLAINT, AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

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  • 03/30/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 03/23/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Darrell Anthony Williams (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/15/2018
  • COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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  • 03/15/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by Darrell Anthony Williams (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/15/2018
  • SUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC698310    Hearing Date: December 02, 2019    Dept: 4B

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT

Plaintiff Darrell Williams (“Plaintiff”) filed this action on March 15, 2018 against Lazaro Padilla (“Defendant”) for negligence arising from a motor vehicle accident on February 17, 2017. Plaintiff did not name Luis Tereso (the driver) or Samuel Tereso (the owner of the car) as defendants. On June 9, 2019, Plaintiff filed an amendment to the complaint under California Code of Civil Procedure section 474 to substitute Samuel Tereso for a previously named fictitious defendant. Samuel Tereso moved to quash service of summons, but his motion was denied on November 19, 2019. On October 1, 2019, Plaintiff filed this motion for leave to file amended complaint to add Luis Tereso as a defendant and to add the allegation that Luis was driving the vehicle at the time of the collision. Plaintiff attached a copy of the proposed amended complaint.

The court may, in its discretion and after notice to the adverse party, allow, upon any terms as may be just, an amendment to any pleading, including adding or striking out the name of any party, or correcting a mistake in the name of a party, or a mistake in any other respect. (Code Civ. Proc., § 473, subd. (a)(1).) “Public policy dictates that leave to amend be liberally granted.” (Centex Homes v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co. (2015) 237 Cal.App.4th 23, 32.) “Although courts are bound to apply a policy of great liberality in permitting amendments to the complaint at any stage of the proceedings, up to and including trial . . . this policy should be applied only ‘where no prejudice is shown to the adverse party.’ [Citation]. A different result is indicated ‘where inexcusable delay and probable prejudice to the opposing party’ is shown. [Citation.]” (Magpali v. Farmers Group, Inc. (1996) 47 Cal.App.4th 1024, 487.)

In ruling on a motion for leave to amend the complaint, the court does not consider the merits of the proposed amendment, because “the preferable practice would be to permit the amendment and allow the parties to test its legal sufficiency by demurrer, motion for judgment on the pleadings or other appropriate proceedings.” (Kittredge Sports Co. v. Superior Court (1989) 213 Cal.App.3d 1045, 1048.) While the court may deny leave to amend where the proposed amendment is insufficient to state a valid cause of action or defense, such denial is most appropriate where the insufficiency cannot be cured by further amendment—i.e., where the statute of limitations has expired or the insufficiency is established by controlling caselaw. (California Casualty Gen. Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (1985) 173 Cal.App.3d 274, 280-281, disapproved on other grounds in Kransco v. American Empire Surplus Lines Ins. Co. (2000) 23 Cal.4th 390.)

Plaintiff argues that naming Luis as the driver of the vehicle is proper even though the accident took place more than 2 years ago. After the crash, Plaintiff did not remember the name of the driver and thought that the driver was defendant Lazaro Padilla (“Padilla”). Plaintiff did not find out Luis was the driver until Plaintiff received Padilla’s discovery responses which stated that Padilla helped Samuel Tereso (“Samuel”) finance the vehicle and obtain insurance. Then, when Samuel was named as a Doe defendant, Samuel moved to quash service of summons and included the declaration of Luis, who testified that he drove the car on the date of the accident. Plaintiff argues he and his counsel first learned that Luis was the driver of the vehicle upon reviewing Samuel’s motion to quash service of summons on or about August 26, 2019, and the he filed this motion on October 1, 2019.

Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s amendment is untimely because at the time of the accident, Luis let Plaintiff take a photo of his driver’s license and insurance card with Plaintiff’s cell phone. Luis also texted a copy of the insurance card to Plaintiff. Defendant argues Plaintiff was not diligent in investigating the identity of the driver because Defendant told Plaintiff immediately after being served that he was not the driver, but Plaintiff did not take steps to find the driver. Plaintiff argues that he lost the photos from the day of the accident because he lost his phone, at the time he filed the complaint he did not know the identity of the driver, and Defendant delayed discovery and failed to respond to discovery requests calling for the name of the driver.

On this record, the Court cannot decide as a matter of law that Plaintiff’s claim against Luis as the driver is barred by the statute of limitations and not saved by the relation back doctrine. That matter can be addressed on motions more appropriate than a motion for leave to amend or at trial.

Defendant also contends Luis will be prejudiced by the addition of Luis as a defendant because the trial is scheduled for February 11, 2020 and evidence has been lost. As an initial matter, it is unclear why Defendant is arguing about prejudice to Luis and what knowledge Defendant has about the prejudice Luis will suffer. Defendant argues that the two vehicles involved in the accident no longer exist. But Defendant does not submit any evidence of that or explain when and how the vehicles were lost. Nor does Defendant describe any additional discovery to be taken if Luis is added as a defendant. If necessary, the trial can be continued to allow discovery that becomes necessary due to the addition of Luis.

Plaintiff’s motion for leave to file an amended complaint is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to file the amended complaint within five days of the date of this Order.

Moving party to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT4B@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative.

Case Number: BC698310    Hearing Date: November 19, 2019    Dept: 4B

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: MOTION TO QUASH SERVICE OF SUMMONS

Plaintiff Darrell Williams (“Plaintiff”) filed this action on March 15, 2018 against Lazaro Padilla for negligence arising from a motor vehicle accident on February 17, 2017. Plaintiff did not name Luis Tereso (the driver) or Samuel Tereso (the owner of the car) as defendants. On June 9, 2019, Plaintiff filed an amendment to the complaint under California Code of Civil Procedure section 474 to substitute Samuel Tereso for a previously named fictitious defendant. Defendant Samuel Tereso (“Defendant”) specially appears to quash service of summons on the grounds that he has been improperly named as a Doe defendant.

Section 474 permits a plaintiff to commence an action before it has become barred by the statute of limitations due to the plaintiff’s ignorance of the defendant’s identity. (McClatchy v. Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, LLP (2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 368, 377.) A plaintiff is considered ignorant of a person’s name if he or she is ignorant of the facts giving him a cause of action against such person. (Ibid.) Defendant contends Plaintiff had knowledge of his identity at the time of the accident. Luis Tereso states he gave a copy of the registration to Plaintiff at the accident, the registration lists Defendant’s and Lazaro Padilla’s names, and Plaintiff took a photo of the registration. Plaintiff did not attach a copy of the registration. Luis also states the same day he texted a copy of the insurance card to Plaintiff. The insurance card lists Defendant as one of the insured along with Lazaro Padilla and Luis Tereso.

Plaintiff argues that he lost the information from the day of the accident and thought that Lazaro Padilla was the driver, which is why his counsel wrote letters to the insurer listing Lazaro Padilla as the driver and insured. Defendant attaches a copy of a letter to the insurer listing Padilla as the insured. This substantiates Plaintiff’s argument that he did not know Defendant’s role, which is why he listed Padilla as the insured. Plaintiff contends Lazaro Padilla refused to answer discovery requests identifying the driver, and that until receiving this motion, Plaintiff did not know that Luis was actually the driver. Plaintiff contends he was not aware of Defendant’s ownership of the car (and therefore, Defendant’s liability) until September 28, 2018 when Mr. Padilla served verified discovery responses stating that he helped Defendant finance and insure the vehicle involved in the accident.

Section 474 is “liberally construed to accomplish the purpose of enabling a plaintiff to substitute a named defendant for a fictitiously named defendant where the defendant’s name was known, but the facts giving rise to a cause of action were not.” Defendant’s evidence is insufficient to show that Plaintiff was aware that Defendant was the owner of the car when the complaint was filed or any time before September 28, 2018.

Therefore, the Motion to quash is DENIED.

Moving party to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT4B@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative.