This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/18/2019 at 22:20:22 (UTC).

ELENA RAMOS VS CITY OF WALNUT

Case Summary

On 12/21/2017 ELENA RAMOS filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against CITY OF WALNUT. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is CHRISTOPHER K. LUI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7871

  • Filing Date:

    12/21/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

CHRISTOPHER K. LUI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

RAMOS ELENA

Defendants and Respondents

WALNUT CITY OF

DOES 1 THROUGH 50

CITY OF WALNUT

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff

CITY OF WALNUT

Cross Defendant

ROES 1 TO 50

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

MCNICHOLAS & MCNICHOLAS LLP

BECKER LAW GROUP

MCNICHOLAS JOHN PATRICK IV

BECKER TODD

Cross Plaintiff Attorney

HAITH SCOTT CLINTON

 

Court Documents

Summons

2/1/2018: Summons

Answer

2/1/2018: Answer

Cross-Complaint

2/1/2018: Cross-Complaint

Unknown

4/3/2018: Unknown

Stipulation and Order

3/27/2019: Stipulation and Order

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

1/12/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

SUMMONS

12/21/2017: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1) DANGEROUS CONDITION OF PUBLIC PROPERTY - I3NTITY LIABILITY (GOVT. CODE 835) ;ETC

12/21/2017: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1) DANGEROUS CONDITION OF PUBLIC PROPERTY - I3NTITY LIABILITY (GOVT. CODE 835) ;ETC

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/06/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 03/27/2019
  • Stipulation and Order (to Continue Trial, FSC and related Motion/Discovery Dates); Filed by City of Walnut (Defendant)

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  • 04/03/2018
  • Receipt; Filed by City of Walnut (Defendant)

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  • 04/03/2018
  • CIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 02/01/2018
  • Answer

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  • 02/01/2018
  • Summons; Filed by City of Walnut (Defendant)

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  • 02/01/2018
  • Cross-Complaint; Filed by City of Walnut (Defendant)

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  • 02/01/2018
  • Answer; Filed by City of Walnut (Defendant)

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  • 02/01/2018
  • Cross-Complaint; Filed by City of Walnut (Cross-Complainant)

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  • 02/01/2018
  • Cross-Complaint

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  • 01/12/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 01/12/2018
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Elena Ramos (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/21/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by Elena Ramos (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/21/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1) DANGEROUS CONDITION OF PUBLIC PROPERTY - I3NTITY LIABILITY (GOVT. CODE 835) ;ETC

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  • 12/21/2017
  • SUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC687871    Hearing Date: March 12, 2021    Dept: 28

Motion for Summary Judgment

Having considered the moving and non-opposing papers, the Court rules as follows. opposing paper were filed.

BACKGROUND

On December 21, 2017, Plaintiff Elena Ramos (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendant City of Walnut.  Plaintiff alleges negligence and violations of Government Code sections 815.4 and 835 in the complaint for injuries sustained on December 16, 2016 from an uprooted tree.

On June 26, 2019, Plaintiff filed an amendment to her complaint to rename Doe 26 as Defendant West Coast Arborists.

On December 24, 2020, Defendant West Coast Arborists filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 437c.

Trial is set for May 12, 2021.

PARTY’S REQUEST

Defendant West Coast Arborists asks the Court to enter summary judgment in its favor and against Plaintiff because Defendant West Coast Arborists did not owe a duty to Plaintiff.

LEGAL STANDARD

The purpose of a motion for summary judgment “is to provide courts with a mechanism to cut through the parties’ pleadings in order to determine whether, despite their allegations, trial is in fact necessary to resolve their dispute.”  (Aguilar v. Atl. Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 843.)  “Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (c), requires the trial judge to grant summary judgment if all the evidence submitted, and ‘all inferences reasonably deducible from the evidence’ and uncontradicted by other inferences or evidence, 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.”  (Adler v. Manor Healthcare Corp. (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1110, 1119.)

“On a motion for summary judgment, the initial burden is always on the moving party to make a prima facie showing that there are no triable issues of material fact.”  (Scalf v. D. B. Log Homes, Inc. (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 1510, 1519.)  A defendant moving for summary judgment “has met his or her burden of showing that a cause of action has no merit if the party has shown that one or more elements of the cause of action . . . cannot be established.”  (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).)  “Once the defendant . . . has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff . . . to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto.”  (Ibid.)  “If the plaintiff cannot do so, summary judgment should be granted.”  (Avivi v. Centro Medico Urgente Med. Ctr. (2008) 159 Cal.App.4th 463, 467.)

“When deciding whether to grant summary judgment, the court must consider all of the evidence set forth in the papers (except evidence to which the court has sustained an objection), as well as all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from that evidence, in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment.”  (Avivi, supra, 159 Cal.App.4th at p. 467; see also Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (c).)

DISCUSSION

The elements for negligence are: (1) a legal duty owed to the plaintiff to use due care; (2) breach of duty; (3) causation; and (4) damage to the plaintiff. (County of Santa Clara v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2006) 137 Cal.App.4th 292, 318.)¿

California Civil Code section 1714, subdivision (a) states, in part: [e]veryone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care . . . . “As a general rule, each person has a duty to use ordinary care and is liable for injuries caused by his failure to exercise reasonable care in the circumstances.” Romero v. Superior Court (2001) 89 Cal.App.4th 1068, 1080 [citation and quotations omitted].)

The element of duty “may be imposed by law, be assumed by the defendant, or exist by virtue of a special relationship.” Potter v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. (1993) 6 Cal.4th 965, 985.“The issue of whether a duty exists is a question of law to be determined by the court . . . . (Brooks v. Eugene Burger Management Corp. (1989) 215 Cal.App.3d 1611, 1620.) ively negate the existence of duty.  (Eriksson v. Nunnink (2011) 191 Cal.App.4th 826, 848-850.) there is no triable issue of material fact regarding causation only when there is no other reasonable conclusion.  (Kurinij v. Hanna & Morton (1997) 55 Cal.App.4th 853, 864.)

In Cabral v. Ralphs Grocery Co. (2011) 51 Cal.4th 764, the Supreme Court summarized the so-called Rowland factors for determining whether a duty of care exists: “In the Rowland decision, this court identified several considerations that, when balanced together, may justify a departure from the fundamental principle embodied in Civil Code section 1714: ‘the foreseeability of harm to the plaintiff, the degree of certainty that the plaintiff suffered injury, the closeness of the connection between the defendant’s conduct and the injury suffered, the moral blame attached to the defendant’s conduct, the policy of preventing future harm, the extent of the burden to the defendant and consequences to the community of imposing a duty to exercise care with resulting liability for breach, and the availability, cost and prevalence of insurance for the risk involved.’” Id. at p. 771 [citing Rowland v. Christian, 69 Cal.2d 108, 113).Although foreseeability and the extent of the burden to the defendant are ordinarily the crucial considerations, one or more of the Rowland factors may be determinative of the duty analysis in a given case. Castaneda v. Olsher (2007) 41 Cal.4th 1205, 1213; Delgado v. Trax Bar & Grill (2005) 36 Cal.4th 224, 237, fn. 15.)

Defendant West Coast Arborists’ undisputed material facts establishes the following.  Plaintiff alleges Defendant West Coast Arborists’ failure to maintain the subject tree for a significant period of time caused it to fall.  (UMF No. 3.)  Defendant West Coast Arborists was last authorized to trim the subject tree on April 3, 2008.  (UMF Nos. 14-15.)  Defendant West Coast Arborists could not maintain the tree after April 3, 2008 without prior authorization.  (UMF Nos. 12, 15.)  On April 3, 2008, Defendant City of Walnut approved of Defendant West Coast Arborists trimming of the subject tree.  (UMF Nos. 17-18.)

The Court finds Defendant West Coast Arborists has met its burden.  Defendant West Coast Arborists trimmed the tree that injured Plaintiff over eight years and eight months before the tree was uprooted in causing Plaintiff’s injuries.  It is unforeseeable that a tree would be uprooted merely because it was on a hill and trimmed over eight years and eight months before.  Moreover, Defendant West Coast Arborists did not have control over the maintenance of the subject tree after its last April 3, 2008 trimming and the incident.  Thus, Defendant West Coast Arborists could not have controlled the growth of the tree in order to maintain its integrity.  Therefore, the Court finds Defendant West Coast Arborists has met its burden.

Plaintiff has not filed an opposition.  Thus, the motion is properly granted.

CONCLUSION

The motion is GRANTED.

Defendant West Coast Arborists is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Defendant West Coast Arborists is ordered to file a proof of service of this ruling with the Court within five days.

The parties are directed to the header of this tentative ruling for further instructions.

Case Number: BC687871    Hearing Date: July 21, 2020    Dept: 28

Motion to Continue Trial and Related Dates

Having considered the moving papers, the Court rules as follows.

BACKGROUND

On December 21, 2017, Plaintiff Elena Ramos (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendant City of Walnut.  Plaintiff alleges dangerous condition of public property, negligence, and vicarious liability in the complaint in relation to injuries sustained from a tree uprooting and striking her on December 16, 2016.

On February 1, 2018, Defendant/Cross-Defendant City of Walnut filed a cross-complaint against Roes 1 through 50 seeking implied indemnity.

On June 26, 2019, Plaintiff filed an amendment to the complaint renaming Doe 26 as Defendant West Coast Arborists.

On August 23, 2019, the Court granted an ex parte application continuing trial from November 13, 2019 to January 17, 2020.

On November 27, 2019, the Court granted an ex parte application continuing trial from January 17, 2020 to April 20, 2020.

On February 25, 2020, the Defendant/Cross-Complainant City of Walnut filed an amendment to its cross-complaint renaming Roe 1 as Cross-Defendant West Coast Arborists, Inc.

On March 6, 2020, the Court granted an ex parte application continuing trial from April 20, 2020 to August 6, 2020.

On March 16, 2020, Cross-Complainant Nieves Landscape, Inc. filed a cross-complaint against Roes 1 through 50 seeking indemnity, apportionment, contribution, and declaratory relief.

On April 8, 2020, Defendant/Cross-Complainant City of Walnut filed an amendment to its cross-complaint renaming Roe 2 as Cross-Complainant/Cross-Defendant Nieves Landscape.

On April 10, 2020, Cross-Defendant/Cross-Complainant West Coast Arborists, Inc. filed a cross-complaint against Roes 1 through 100 seeking indemnity, contribution, and declaratory relief.

On April 22, 2020, Cross-Defendant/Cross-Complainant West Coast Arborists, Inc. filed a motion to continue trial pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 3.1332.

On April 23, 2020, the Court continued trial from August 6, 2020 to August 11, 2020.

On June 1, 2020, the Court advanced the hearing on the motion to continue trial to July 21, 2020.  The Court also advanced trial to July 21, 2020.

Trial is set for July 21, 2020.

PARTYS REQUESTS

Cross-Defendant/Cross-Complainant West Coast Arborists, Inc. (“Moving Party”) asks the Court to continue trial for no less than 90 days.

LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 3.1332, subdivision (a), “[t]o ensure the prompt disposition of civil cases, the dates assigned for a trial are firm.  All parties and their counsel must regard the date set for trial as certain.”  Under California Rules of Court, rule 3.1332, subdivision (b), “[a] party seeking a continuance of the date set for trial, whether contested or uncontested or stipulated to by the parties, must make the request for a continuance by a noticed motion or an ex parte application under the rules in chapter 4 of this division, with supporting declarations.  The party must make the motion or application as soon as reasonably practical once the necessity for the continuance is discovered.”

California Rules of Court, rule 3.1332, subdivision (c) states that “[a]lthough continuances of trials are disfavored, each request for a continuance must be considered on its own merits.  The court may grant a continuance only on an affirmative showing of good cause requiring the continuance.”  California Rules of Court, rule 3.1332, subdivision (d) sets forth factors that are relevant in determining whether to grant a continuance.

California Code of Civil Procedure section 2024.050 allows a court to grant leave to complete discovery proceedings.  In doing so, a court shall consider matters relevant to the leave requested, including, but not limited to: (1) the necessity of the discovery, (2) the diligence in seeking the discovery or discovery motion, (3) the likelihood of interference with the trial calendar or prejudice to a party, and (4) the length of time that has elapsed between previous trial dates.  (Code Civ. Proc., § 2024.050.)

DISCUSSION

The Court initially notes that opposing papers had be filed and personally served on July 8, 2020, at the latest, to conform with the mandates of California Code of Civil Procedure section 1005.  No opposing papers were timely filed and served.  The Court exercises its discretion in refusing to consider any late opposing papers pursuant to California Rules of Court, rule 3.1300, subdivision (d).

Moving Party argues there is good cause to continue trial for no less than 90 days for four reasons.  First, Moving Party was only made a party recently on January 10, 2020, .  (Rivera Decl., ¶ 4.)  Second, Moving Party’s deadline to file a motion for summary judgment passed on April 23, 2020 based on the prior trial August 6, 2020.  (Rivera Decl., ¶¶ 7, 14.)  Third, Moving Party has not had an opportunity to attend or set any depositions.  (Rivera Decl., ¶ 8.)  Fourth, all parties have agreed to continue trial.  (Rivera Decl., ¶ 10.)

The Court finds there is good cause to continue trial.  While there have been four continuances, two were granted on an ex parte basis before Moving Party was made a party in this action.  Further, the Court advanced trial so as to effectively eliminate the effect of the last continuance and lessen the extent of the third continuance.  Importantly, Moving Party needs time to conduct discovery in order to file a motion for summary judgment.  Thus, there is good cause to continue trial and related dates.

CONCLUSION

The motion is GRANTED.

The Court orders trial shall be continued to January 14, 2021 at 8:30 a.m.  The Court also orders the final status conference date shall be continued to January 6, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.  Both hearings are to be held in Department 28 of the Spring Street Courthouse, 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.  All discovery cut-off dates shall relate to the January 14, 2021 trial date.

Moving Party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

The parties are directed to the header of this tentative ruling for further instructions.

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