On 03/16/2018 FARRAH COLLINS filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against CF UNITED LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are CHRISTOPHER K. LUI and DANIEL M. CROWLEY. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
CHRISTOPHER K. LUI
DANIEL M. CROWLEY
UNITED OIL RAPID
CF UNITED LLC
DOES 1 TO 50
ALIAV ALON M.
ALIAV ALON MICHAEL
COLMAN JONATHAN H.
WALLACE BRADLEY STUART
1/23/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER RE NOTICE OF SETTLEMENT OF ENTIRE CASE) OF 01/23/2020
1/8/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE)
11/22/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT/ADJUDICATION
11/22/2019: Objection - OBJECTION PLAINTIFFS EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS IN OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT/ADJUDICATION
11/22/2019: Separate Statement
11/27/2019: Reply - REPLY REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
11/27/2019: Objection - OBJECTION OBJECTIONS TO THE DECLARATION OF PHILLIP ROSESCU
11/27/2019: Objection - OBJECTION OBJECTION TO PLAINTIFF'S EVIDENCE
12/6/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NUNC PRO TUNC ORDER)
8/28/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
8/29/2019: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER TO CONTINUE DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT HEARING TO OBTAIN DISCOVERY AND TO CONTINUE TRIAL
7/15/2019: Request for Refund / Order
7/15/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO EX PARTE APPLICATION
5/24/2019: Separate Statement
5/24/2019: Motion for Summary Judgment
5/24/2019: Request for Judicial Notice
4/20/2018: Proof of Service -
Hearing12/09/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department 28 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement) - Held - ContinuedRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement))); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement) - Not Held - Continued - Court's MotionRead MoreRead Less
DocketCertificate of Mailing for ([Minute Order (Court Order)]); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 2:37 PM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Court OrderRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement) - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Court OrderRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Posting of Jury Fees; Filed by Apro, LLC Erroneously Sued As CF United, LLC (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketAnswer; Filed by Apro, LLC Erroneously Sued As CF United, LLC (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Farrah Collins (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof of ServiceRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Farrah Collins (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketSummons; Filed by Farrah Collins (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)Read MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Farrah Collins (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC698416 Hearing Date: December 06, 2019 Dept: 4A
Motion for Summary Judgment
Having considered the moving, opposing, and reply papers, the Court rules as follows.
On March 16, 2018, Plaintiff Farrah Collins (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendants APRO, LLC (erroneously sued and served as CF United LLC) and United Oil Rapid alleging negligence and premises liability for a trip and fall that occurred on March 27, 2016.
On May 24, 2019, Defendant APRO, LLC filed a motion for summary judgment, or in the alternative, summary adjudication pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 473c.
On July 15, 2019, the Court continued the hearing on Defendant APRO, LLC’s motion for summary judgment, or in the alternative, summary adjudication to September 26, 2019.
On August 29, 2019, the Court continued the hearing on Defendant APRO, LLC’s motion for summary judgment, or in the alternative, summary adjudication to December 6, 2019.
Trial is set for January 23, 2020.
Defendant APRO, LLC (“Moving Defendant”) asks the Court to grant summary judgment, or in the alternative, summary adjudication in Moving Defendant’s favor and against Plaintiff because: (1) Plaintiff cannot identify the alleged dangerous condition, (2) the curb Plaintiff tripped on was a trivial condition, (3) Moving Defendant did not have notice of any alleged dangerous condition, and (4) Plaintiff’s negligence cause of action is duplicative of Plaintiff’s premises liability cause of action.
Plaintiff objects to the declaration of Walter Flores cited in Moving Defendant’s undisputed material fact number 22. This evidence consists of Mr. Flores’ statement that no person has ever reported to Moving Defendant that he or she slipped or tripped on or over the subject curb where Plaintiff fell on the round that Mr. Flores’ lacks personal knowledge. The Court disagrees. Mr. Flores has been employed by Defendant since approximately 2004 and, in March 2016 when Plaintiff was injured, he oversaw the operations at more than 100 gas stations in Southern California, including the station where Plaintiff was injured. (Walter Decl., ¶ 3.) In his capacity as Division Manager, Mr. Flores had knowledge about Defendant’s station surveillance systems and general gas station operation and management policies and procedures. (Ibid.) Because these facts establish a sufficient basis for Mr. Flores’ personal knowledge, Plaintiff’s objection to his testimony is OVERRULED.
Plaintiff objects to the form of Moving Defendant’s undisputed material facts numbers 32, 33, 35, and 37. The Court does not rely on the statements in these undisputed material facts, but rather the underlying evidence. As such, the Court declines to rule on these objections.
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(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.” (Id.) “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).)
The Court initially notes that Plaintiff’s negligence cause of action is duplicative of Plaintiff’s premises liability cause of action. Both causes of action rely on the same theory of liability (negligence) and the same facts (Plaintiff tripped and fell on Moving Defendant’s property due to a dangerous condition).
Existence of a Dangerous Condition
The elements for premises liability are: duty, breach, causation, and damages. (Castellon v. U.S. Bancorp (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 994, 998.) Those who own, possess, or control property generally have a duty to exercise ordinary care in managing the property to avoid exposing others to an unreasonable risk of harm. (Annocki v. Peterson Enterprises, LLC (2014) 232 Cal.App.4th 32, 37.) The existence and scope of duty are legal questions for the court. (Id. at p. 36.) If a dangerous condition exists, the property owner is “under a duty to exercise ordinary care either to make the condition reasonably safe for their [customers’] use or to give a warning adequate to enable them to avoid the harm.” (Bridgman v. Safeway Stores, Inc. (1960) 53 Cal.2d 443, 446.)
A property owner does not have a duty to make a trivial defect in property safe or give an adequate warning of such a trivial defect. (Cadam v. Somerset Gardens Townhouse HOA (2011) 200 Cal.App.4th 383, 388-389.) A court looks at the totality of the circumstances surrounding the accident in determining whether the condition is dangerous or trivial. (Caloroso v. Hathaway (2004) 122 Cal.App.4th 922, 927.) Depending on the nature of the alleged defect, a court may decide that expert opinion is unnecessary for determining whether a condition is trivial or dangerous. (See Fielder v. City of Glendale (1977) 71 Cal.App.3d 719, 732 (disregarding expert opinion on whether a condition is dangerous); see also Caloroso, supra, 122 Cal.App.4th at pp. 928-929 (finding no abuse of discretion for the trial court’s reliance on Fielder in disregarding expert opinion of whether a condition is dangerous.) A condition may be deemed trivial as a matter of law when reasonable minds cannot differ. (Kasparian v. AvalonBay Communities, Inc. (2007) 156 Cal.App.4th 11, 27.)
Moving Defendant’s undisputed material facts establish the following. Plaintiff alleges she fell at Moving Defendant’s gas station at approximately 10:00 p.m. on March 27, 2016. (UMF Nos. 1-2, p. 2:9-2:21.) Plaintiff did not raise her right foot high enough as she stepped on a curb outside the convenience store on the premises. (UMF Nos. 10-11, p. 4:4-4:15.) Plaintiff fell forward and ran into a glass door. (UMF No. 12, p. 4:15-4:20.) The curb was illuminated with an artificial light and had a contrasting white color on the top. (UMF No. 21, pp. 6:24-7:4.)
Moving Defendant’s undisputed material facts also establishes the following. After the incident, Plaintiff told Moving Defendant’s customer service representative that the parking lot was wet from the car wash and oils making her shoes slippery causing her to fall. (UMF No. 16, p. 5:11-5:25.) Plaintiff later alleged that she tripped over the curb in response to interrogatories asking for Plaintiff to identify the dangerous condition that gives rise to this action. (UMF No. 32, pp. 8:26-9:5.) The curb Plaintiff tripped on is 5 7/8 inches high. (UMF No. 19, p. 6:16-6:19.) The standard curb height in most California jurisdictions, including the City of Los Angeles, is 6 inches. (UMF No. 20, p. 6:20-6:23.)
The Court finds Moving Defendant has met its burden. Plaintiff’s written discovery responses show that Plaintiff has not been able to identify the dangerous condition that caused Plaintiff’s injury. Plaintiff’s allegation of slipping from a wet premises and oils is not binding against Moving Defendant as this allegation was made prior to trial and is not cited in Plaintiff’s complaint or her responses to written discovery given in this action.
The Court also finds that even if Plaintiff were to identify the curb as being a dangerous condition, that condition is trivial. There is no evidence showing that this curb is anything other than ordinary. Individuals encounter curbs on a daily basis. No reasonable mind could come to a conclusion that the subject curb, which is within the normal height of curbs in California, presents a dangerous condition.
In opposition, Plaintiff submits the declaration of safety expert Phillip Rosescu. Mr. Rosescu inspected the curb. (Rosescu Decl., ¶ 5.) Mr. Rosescu declared that the curb is a dangerous condition because there is no contrast of colors around the curb. (Rosescu Decl., ¶ 8.) Mr. Rosescu declared that the curb is a dangerous condition because it is a single elevation. (Rosescu Decl., ¶ 10.) Mr. Rosescu declared that the curb is a dangerous condition because the convenience store posts signage that diverts patrons attention from the curb as they approach the store. (Rosescu Decl., ¶ 12.)
The Court finds Plaintiff has not met her burden. The Court may disregard expert opinions submitted to show a condition is dangerous as established by the decisions in Caloroso and Fielder. There is good reason to here to disregard Mr. Rosescu’s conclusions because, in the Court’s view, he does not provide anything more than a lay witness opinion of a variety of reasons why a person may trip over the curb. Moreover, even if the Court were to consider Mr. Rosescu’s declaration, it would not create a triable issue of material fact. The pictures in Mr. Rosescu’s declaration of the curb show it is painted white with various chippings of the paint. Contrary to the suggestion by Mr. Rosescu, the curb is clearly delineated by the white paint. No reasonable mind would find that this curb presented a dangerous condition.
The motion is properly granted based on the absence of any triable issue of fact regarding the existence of a dangerous condition of property. Accordingly, the Court need not address Moving Defendant’s alternate argument that it lacked notice of any dangerous condition.
The motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.
Moving Defendant is ordered to give notice of this ruling.