This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 09/16/2020 at 15:38:26 (UTC).

FERNANDO GARCIA VS SLAUSON & CRENSHAW ASSOCIATES

Case Summary

On 03/13/2018 FERNANDO GARCIA filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against SLAUSON CRENSHAW ASSOCIATES. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are JON R. TAKASUGI, HOLLY E. KENDIG and THOMAS D. LONG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7901

  • Filing Date:

    03/13/2018

  • 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

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

JON R. TAKASUGI

HOLLY E. KENDIG

THOMAS D. LONG

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

GARCIA FERNANDO

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1 TO 50

SLAUSON & CRENSHAW ASSOCIATES

Not Classified By Court

MITSUI SUMITOMO INSURANCE USA INC.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

SPENCER STEVEN E.

SPENCER STEVEN ERIC

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

ERSOFF VICTORIA L. ESQ.

CAMPBELL KEVIN DAVID

CHAPOVSKY DIMITRY DAVID

Not Classified By Court Attorney

TROTTER MICHAEL J.

 

Court Documents

Motion re: - MOTION RE: MOTION FOR MENTAL IME OF PLAINTIFF, FERNANDO GARCIA

7/13/2020: Motion re: - MOTION RE: MOTION FOR MENTAL IME OF PLAINTIFF, FERNANDO GARCIA

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE AND JURY TRIAL)

4/17/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE AND JURY TRIAL)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE CONTINUANCE OF MOTION TO QUASH PURSUANT TO EM...)

4/20/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE CONTINUANCE OF MOTION TO QUASH PURSUANT TO EM...)

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF MARCANNE HYJEK

3/9/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF MARCANNE HYJEK

Notice of Lien

4/1/2020: Notice of Lien

Notice of Change of Firm Name

4/1/2020: Notice of Change of Firm Name

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER EXTENDING TIME T...)

12/12/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER EXTENDING TIME T...)

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER EXTENDING TIME TO FILE A PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDATE FROM ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

12/12/2019: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR AN ORDER EXTENDING TIME TO FILE A PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDATE FROM ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

[Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Person - [PROPOSED ORDER] AND STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL, FSC (AND RELATED MOTION/DISCOVERY DATES) PERSO

12/2/2019: [Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Person - [PROPOSED ORDER] AND STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL, FSC (AND RELATED MOTION/DISCOVERY DATES) PERSO

Notice - NOTICE OF SUPPLEMENTAL EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

11/18/2019: Notice - NOTICE OF SUPPLEMENTAL EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

10/15/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Separate Statement

10/15/2019: Separate Statement

Reply - REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S SEPARATE STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS AND REFERENCE TO SUPPORTING EVIDENCE

10/24/2019: Reply - REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S SEPARATE STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS AND REFERENCE TO SUPPORTING EVIDENCE

Separate Statement

5/24/2019: Separate Statement

Motion for Summary Judgment

5/24/2019: Motion for Summary Judgment

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

5/24/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF DIMITRY CHAPOVSKY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

5/24/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF DIMITRY CHAPOVSKY IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

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

3/13/2018: COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES) -

39 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/15/2021
  • Hearing03/15/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 31 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement)

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  • 08/19/2020
  • DocketNotice of Settlement; Filed by Fernando Garcia (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/19/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause re: Dismissal (Settlement); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/15/2020
  • Docketat 10:30 AM in Department 31, Thomas D. Long, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Quash (PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO QUASH DEFENDANT?S SUBPOENAS OF EDD RECORDS) - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 07/15/2020
  • Docketat 10:30 AM in Department 31, Thomas D. Long, Presiding; Trial Setting Conference - Held

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  • 07/15/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/13/2020
  • DocketMotion re: (Motion for Mental IME of Plaintiff, Fernando Garcia); Filed by Slauson & Crenshaw Associates (Defendant)

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  • 07/13/2020
  • DocketDeclaration (Declaration of Dimitry Chapovsky in Support of Motion for Mental IME); Filed by Slauson & Crenshaw Associates (Defendant)

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  • 07/13/2020
  • DocketDeclaration (Declaration of Juan Gutierrez, Ph.D. in Support of Motion for Mental IME); Filed by Slauson & Crenshaw Associates (Defendant)

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  • 07/01/2020
  • DocketNotice of Posting of Jury Fees; Filed by Fernando Garcia (Plaintiff)

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55 More Docket Entries
  • 05/24/2019
  • DocketMotion for Summary Judgment; Filed by Slauson & Crenshaw Associates (Defendant)

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  • 10/12/2018
  • DocketSubstitution of Attorney; Filed by Victoria L. Ersoff, Esq. (Attorney)

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  • 08/10/2018
  • DocketNOTICE OF LIEN BASED ON PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION BENEFITS

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  • 05/24/2018
  • DocketDEFENDANT'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

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  • 05/24/2018
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Slauson & Crenshaw Associates (Defendant)

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  • 05/21/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Fernando Garcia (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/21/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 03/13/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Fernando Garcia (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/13/2018
  • DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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  • 03/13/2018
  • DocketSUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC697901    Hearing Date: December 02, 2019    Dept: 3

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

FERNANDO GARCIA,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

SLAUSON & CRENSHAW ASSOCIATES, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

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CASE NO: BC697901

[TENTATIVE] ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Dept. 3

1:30 p.m.

December 2, 2019

1. Background Facts

Plaintiff, Fernando Garcia filed this action against Defendant, Slauson & Crenshaw Associates for damages arising out of injuries Plaintiff sustained when a broiler fell on him while he was working at a Burger King restaurant.  S&C was the out-of-possession commercial landlord on the property where the injury occurred.  Plaintiff alleges the injury occurred, in part, because the roof on the building was leaking.  He contends the roof had been leaking since at least 2013 when the incident occurred (which was in November of 2016).    

2. History of Motion for Summary Judgment

S&C moves for summary judgment on the complaint, contending it did not owe a duty to protect Plaintiff from the incident that occurred.  It contends it, as an out-of-possession landlord, did not owe any duty to inspect or repair the premises.    

Plaintiff opposes the motion, arguing S&C had a non-delegable duty to inspect and repair the premises upon lease renewal.  Plaintiff also contends the most recent iteration of the lease between S&C and Burger King gave Burger King the obligation to repair the premises, but also gave S&C the right to inspect the repairs and to accept or reject the repairs.    

The Court was originally scheduled to hear the motion on 10/29/19.  The Court issued a ruling declining to rule on Defendant’s evidentiary objections, considering the parties’ positions and arguments, and ultimately denying the motion.  At the hearing on the motion, Defendant argued strenuously that Defendant and Burger King are involved in a ground lease, which varies in significant legal ways from a standard commercial lease.  The Court continued the hearing on the motion, asking the parties to brief the following issues:

· How is this case different from or similar to Lopez v. Superior Court (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 705, 714-16?

o Specifically, for Defendant, what provision in the contract in this case varies from a relevant provision in the Lopez contract?

o Also, if Burger King were to not renew or break its contract with Defendant, what would be the parties’ rights and responsibilities with respect to the physical restaurant improvement on the property upon termination of the contract?

· To the extent the contract in this case is different from the contract in Lopez, what authority distinguishes Lopez and/or reinforces Lopez in this contractual context? 

o Is there any case holding that a landlord, under similar circumstances, need not inspect or repair an improvement on its land upon renewal of a lease agreement?

3. Supplemental Briefing

The parties have both submitted supplemental briefs on the issues above.   The issue has essentially been narrowed to the following: does the nature of Defendant’s lease with its Burger King tenant distinguish the relationship in a manner sufficient to avoid the typical requirement that an out-of-possession landlord inspect and repair the premises upon renewal of a lease? 

a. Defendant’s Supplemental Brief

Defendant explains the ground lease and its terms at length.  Burger King explains that, when one tenant ceased leasing the premises and another tenant commenced leasing the premises, the new tenant purchased both the building itself and also the equipment in the building from the prior tenant, NOT from Defendant.  Defendant also notes that it had no right to enter the structure, as it had no ownership interest in the structure.  Defendant contends it never had the right to inspect the premises because the 2013 lease amendment merely continued the terms of the 1987 lease agreement. 

Defendant also argues it had no duty to repair the premises because the condition was open and obvious.  

Defendant goes on to discuss a Supreme Court case concerning payment of taxes.  In that case, the Supreme Court held that the landlord in a ground lease must pay property taxes on the property itself, but the tenant must pay property taxes on the value of the improvements.  Defendant discusses various authorities holding that the tenant in a ground lease situation is more similar to an owner of the property than a tenant in a typical commercial leasing relationship. 

Finally, Defendant reiterates the amendment to the lease was merely a continuation of the lease and not a new lease, such that there was no right to inspect the premises upon continuation.  Defendant relies on an out-of-state authority to support this conclusion. 

b. Plaintiff’s Supplemental Brief

Plaintiff argues all commercial landlords have an obligation to inspect their premises upon renewal of a lease agreement.  Plaintiff cites numerous cases so holding.  Plaintiff notes that placing the obligation for repairs and maintenance on the tenant cannot overcome the landlord’s duty to third parties, and only serves to create a contractual obligation running between the landlord and the tenant.  Plaintiff notes that any indication that the lessee takes the property “as is” also runs between the landlord and the tenant, but does not abrogate the landlord’s duties to third persons. 

Plaintiff concedes the lease is technically silent concerning what happens to the building upon termination of the lease, but correctly notes that a reasonable interpretation of the lease lends itself to the conclusion that the landlord would own the building if the lease were to terminate. 

c. Analysis

The Court is considering the following issues at this time:

· Does the lease amendment operate differently from an ordinary lease renewal such that there was no duty to inspect?

· Does the fact that this was a ground lease affect the determination of whether Defendant had a duty to inspect?

· Does the condition’s open and obvious nature serve as a defense to the action?

i. Lease Amendment

Defendant argues the parties’ 2013 lease amendment merely made clear that the 1986 lease remained in full force and effect, and therefore Defendant never had possession of the property; Defendant therefore contends there was no duty to inspect, and in fact it had no right, under the lease, to inspect.  Defendant relies on Leonhardi-Smith, Inc. v. Cameron (1980) 108 Cal.App.3d 42, 47; Reynolds v. McEwen (1952) 111 Cal.App.2d 540; and Tucci v. Days Inn (1994) 1994 Conn.LEXIS 1581, 1994 WL 282267 to support this position.

In Leonhardi-Smith, the issue is whether the executor of an estate could bind the estate to a renewal of the lease without court approval.  The court of appeals held, “A renewal under an existing lease merely extends the term under the conditions specified in the lease and is not a new lease requiring court approval.”  This case is clearly in such a different context that it provides no material guidance here.

In Reynolds, the issue was whether or not the tenant could avoid his duties under the lease when performance of construction on the property was not possible.  The court noted, “Where a renewal lease is executed before expiration of the original term, the lessee is entitled to continue in possession as though the original lease’s term did not expire until that of the renewal lease.”  The portion of the opinion wherein this is stated, however, has no bearing on the facts of the instant case.

Notably, numerous cases cited by Plaintiff also involved “lease renewal” agreements.  In Mora v. Baker Commodities, Inc. (1989) 210 Cal.App.3d 771, the court held, “At time lease is executed and upon renewal, landlord has right to re-enter property, has control of property, and must inspect premises to make them reasonably safe from dangerous conditions.”  In Lopez, discussed by the parties at length, the court held, “An agreement to renew a lease or relet the premises cannot relieve the lessor of his or her duty to see that the premises are reasonably safe at that time.”

The Court finds Defendant failed to show something about its renewal of its lease with Burger King was different from a typical lease renewal in a manner that obviates Defendant’s obligation to inspect the premises upon renewal of the lease.

ii. Ground Lease

The more difficult issue is whether the nature of the lease, which is a ground lease, distinguishes the lease from a typical commercial lease in a way that obviates the obligation to inspect upon renewal.  The Court has reviewed the various authorities cited by Defendant on this issue, and is satisfied that this type of lease is materially different from a typical lease.  The Court acknowledges the tax consequences of a long-term ground lease, and also the quasi-ownership relationship between the tenant and the building/improvement on the property.  The Court’s concern, however, is the lack of authority concerning the obligation to inspect upon renewal of one of these ground leases.  The only authority provided in this regard is Tucci, supra, a Connecticut case.  The case, however, is a Connecticut Superior Court ruling on a summary judgment motion, and is not published.  It is not controlling or even persuasive, as it is not even an appellate decision. 

The Court finds this appears to be an issue of first impression.  All of the law cited requires landlords to inspect premises upon renewal of leases.  Defendant cites no contrary authority.  Defendant does distinguish the type of lease at issue, but absent controlling authority holding that a landlord in a ground lease need not inspect the premises upon renewal of the lease, the Court is not inclined to grant summary judgment.

iii. Open and Obvious

Defendant’s final argument is that the wet floor at issue was open and obvious, which distinguishes this case from Lopez.  Defendant relies on Lopez, supra, at 711.  The full quote from Lopez, however, reads as follows: “Generally, if a dangerous condition of land is so obvious that a person could reasonably be expected to see it, the condition itself serves as a warning, and the landowner is under no further duty to remedy or warn of the condition. However, this is not true in all cases. It is foreseeable that even an obvious danger may cause injury if the practical necessity of encountering the danger, when weighed against the apparent risk involved, is such that under the circumstances a person might choose to encounter the danger.”

In this case, there are clearly triable issues of material fact concerning whether Plaintiff had no choice but to encounter the danger, as it was present on the floor of the restaurant where he worked.  This argument therefore fails to add Defendant. 

4. Conclusion

The issue of whether or not the lease’s status as a ground lease obviates the otherwise present duty to inspect and repair upon renewal of a lease is a difficult one.  Absent authority holding a landlord in a ground lease need not do so, the Court finds Defendant failed to show it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.  The motion for summary judgment is denied.  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. 

Case Number: BC697901    Hearing Date: October 29, 2019    Dept: 3

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

FERNANDO GARCIA,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

SLAUSON & CRENSHAW ASSOCIATES, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

CASE NO: BC697901

[TENTATIVE] ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Dept. 3

1:30 p.m.

October 29, 2019

1. Background Facts

Plaintiff, Fernando Garcia filed this action against Defendant, Slauson & Crenshaw Associates for damages arising out of injuries Plaintiff sustained when a broiler fell on him while he was working at a Burger King restaurant. S&C was the out-of-possession commercial landlord on the property where the injury occurred. Plaintiff alleges the injury occurred, in part, because the roof on the building was leaking. He contends the roof had been leaking since at least 2013 when the incident occurred (which was in November of 2016).

2. Motion for Summary Judgment

At this time, S&C moves for summary judgment on the complaint, contending it did not owe a duty to protect Plaintiff from the incident that occurred. It contends it, as an out-of-possession landlord, did not owe any duty to inspect or repair the premises.

Plaintiff opposes the motion, arguing S&C had a non-delegable duty to inspect and repair the premises upon lease renewal. Plaintiff also contends the most recent iteration of the lease between S&C and Burger King gave Burger King the obligation to repair the premises, but also gave S&C the right to inspect the repairs and to accept or reject the repairs.

b. Evidentiary Objections

Defendant purports to object to certain facts in Plaintiff’s separate statement. This is not proper. CRC 3.1354. The Court declines to rule on the purported objections.

c. 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.)

d. Duty

Defendant argues it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because it, as an out-of-possession landlord, owed no duty to Plaintiff to prevent the subject accident.

i. Scope of Out-of-Possession Landlord’s Duty

The Court has read and reviewed Lopez v. Superior Court (1996) 45 Cal.App.4th 705, 714-716 concerning this issue. Lopez contains a comprehensive statement concerning whether and to what extent a commercial landlord owes a duty to third parties, and therefore the Court will quote the ruling at length herein. The Court held (citations omitted):

In premises liability cases, summary judgment properly may be granted where a defendant unequivocally establishes its lack of ownership, possession, or control of property alleged to be in a dangerous or defective condition. (citation) In the instant case, there is no dispute that Friedman is the owner of the premises leased to Scattaglia. Thus, to the extent the trial court may have concluded that Friedman had no duty to exercise due care to protect third persons, such as Lopez, who came onto the leased premises, the trial court erred. (citation)

Portillo v. Aiassa (citation) contains a good discussion of the duties owed by a commercial landlord. “A landlord owes a duty of care to a tenant to provide and maintain safe conditions on the leased premises. [Citation.] This duty of care also extends to the general public. 'A lessor who leases property for a purpose involving the admission of the public is under a duty to see that it is safe for the purposes intended, and to exercise reasonable care to inspect and repair the premises before possession is transferred so as to prevent any unreasonable risk of harm to the public who may enter. [Citations.] An agreement to renew a lease or relet the premises ... cannot relieve the lessor of his duty to see that the premises are reasonably safe at that time.' [Citation.] [¶] Where there is a duty to exercise reasonable care in the inspection of premises for dangerous conditions, the lack of awareness of the dangerous condition does not generally preclude liability. [Citation.] 'Although liability might easily be found where the landowner has actual knowledge of the dangerous condition ”[t]he landowner's lack of knowledge of the dangerous condition is not a defense. He has an affirmative duty to exercise ordinary care to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition, and therefore must inspect them or take other proper means to ascertain their condition. And if, by the exercise of reasonable care, he would have discovered the dangerous condition, he is liable.“ ' [Citation.]”

Thus, a commercial landowner “cannot totally abrogate its landowner responsibilities merely by signing a lease. As the owner of property, a lessor out of possession must exercise due care and must act reasonably toward the tenant as well as to unknown third persons. [Citations.] At the time the lease is executed and upon renewal a landlord has a right to reenter the property, has control of the property, and must inspect the premises to make the premises reasonably safe from dangerous conditions. [Citations.] Even if the commercial landlord executes a contract which requires the tenant to maintain the property in a certain condition, the landlord is obligated at the time the lease is executed to take reasonable precautions to avoid unnecessary danger.” (Citation) “However, the landlord's responsibility to inspect is limited. Like a residential landlord, the duty to inspect charges the lessor 'only with those matters which would have been disclosed by a reasonable inspection.' [Citations.] The burden of reducing or avoiding the risk and the likelihood of injury will affect the determination of what constitutes a reasonable inspection.” (Citation)

ii. Analysis

The crux of the holding in Lopez is that a commercial landlord has a duty to inspect for foreseeable dangers when the landlord first leases the premises, and again each time the lease is renewed. Notably, Defendant cites numerous cases concerning the landlord’s duty to inspect and repair the premises AFTER the parties sign their lease agreement; these cases are not relevant, because Plaintiff alleges the leak in the roof existed in 2013, when Defendant and Burger King signed the most recent lease amendment.

Defendant does not provide any facts, in its separate statement, showing it inspected the premises when it entered into the amended lease in 2013. It does not provide any facts showing that, despite a reasonable inspection, the need for repairs was not discovered. Defendant therefore failed to meet its burden to show it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, and the motion for summary judgment is denied.

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.