On 11/30/2017 GEORGE HAMPTON filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against DAWN MARIE KOVER. 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.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
CHRISTOPHER K. LUI
KOVER DAWN MARIE
LOS ANGELES METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION A
CITY OF LOS ANGELES
DOES 1 TO 100
WOODS MAINTENANCE SERVICES INC. DOE 1
SIMON ROBERT STANLEY ESQ.
VEATCH CARLSON LLP
GIUDICE-HU CARLA ESQ.
FRIEDENTHAL HEFFERNAN & BROWN LLP
2/13/2018: DECLARATION OF DEMURRING PARTY IN SUPPORT OF AUTOMATIC EXTENSION
2/15/2018: Other -
2/28/2018: COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)
3/5/2018: LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITYS ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
3/14/2018: CROSS-COMPLAINT?PERSONAL INJURY, PROPERTY DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH
3/20/2018: ANSWER TO CROSS-COMPLAINT
3/29/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS
5/17/2018: AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT
5/21/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT
5/24/2018: REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL
6/11/2018: CROSS-COMPLAINANT, WOODS MAINTENANCE SERVICES, INC.'S, CROSS-COMPLAINT FOR EQUITABLE INDEMNITY, APPORTIONMENT. OF FAULT, DECLARATORY RELIEF, AND COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE
8/10/2018: CROSS COMPLAINT - PERS. INJURY PROPERTY DAMAGE, WRONG DEATH (2 PAGES)
8/10/2018: LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY'S ANSWER TO WOODS MAINTENANCE SERVICES, INC.'S CROSS-COMPLAINT
4/18/2019: Stipulation to Continue Trial/FSC [and Related Motion/Discovery Dates] Personal Injury Courts Only (Department 91, 92, 93, 97)
1/17/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS
11/30/2017: COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)
at 08:30 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - StipulationRead MoreRead Less
at 10:00 AM in Department 4A, Christopher K. Lui, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - StipulationRead MoreRead Less
[Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Personal Injury Courts Only (Central District); Filed by Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation A (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
CIVIL DEPOSITRead MoreRead Less
Receipt; Filed by Dana Dore (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
ANSWER OF CROSS-DEFENDANT, WOODS MAINTENANCE SERVICES, INC., TO FIRST AMENDED CROSS-COMPLAINT OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITYRead MoreRead Less
LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY'S ANSWER TO WOODS MAINTENANCE SERVICES, INC.'S CROSS-COMPLAINTRead MoreRead Less
CROSS COMPLAINT - PERS. INJURY PROPERTY DAMAGE, WRONG DEATH (2 PAGES)Read MoreRead Less
Answer to Cross-Complaint; Filed by Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation A (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
First Amended Cross Complaint; Filed by Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation A (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Answer; Filed by Dawn Marie Kover (Defendant); Dana Dore (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DECLARATION OF DEMURRING PARTY IN SUPPORT OF AUTOMATIC EXTENSIONRead MoreRead Less
Declaration; Filed by Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation A (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by George Hampton (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by George Hampton (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by George Hampton (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC685031 Hearing Date: March 04, 2020 Dept: 28
Cross-Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment
Having considered the moving papers, opposing, and reply papers, the Court rules as follows.
On November 13, 2016, the Plaintiff, George Hampton, was riding his bicycle on the east side of Canoga Boulevard when the Defendant, Dawn Kovar, drove her vehicle out of a metro station parking lot into the path of the Plaintiff’s bicycle. The Plaintiff suffered personal injuries when his bicycle collided with the Defendant’s motor vehicle. The Plaintiff filed a Complaint for negligence against Dawn Kovar. In addition, the Plaintiff brought a cause of action against Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“LACMTA”) to claim that it had maintained a dangerous condition at the LACMTA station.
LACMTA brought a claim against Woods Maintenance Services, Inc. (“Woods”) to claim that Woods had breached a contract by failing to indemnify LACMTA for the Plaintiff’s claims. In November of 2015, Cross-Defendant, Woods had entered into a contract with Cross-Complainant, LACMTA. Woods agreed to perform graffiti abatement and landscape maintenance for metro lines, busways, and metro stations owned and managed by LACMTA. This included the metro station at Canoga with the parking lot from which Dawn Kovar had exited. The Cross-Complaint alleges that the accident occurred because Woods had not performed its work correctly at the metro station.
The Plaintiff’s action has settled. The only remaining claim is the Cross-Complaint of LACMTA against Woods.
The Cross-Defendant, Woods, seeks summary judgment of the Cross-Complaint on the ground that the Cross-Complainant cannot establish that Woods breached the maintenance contract.
The purpose of a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication “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.) The moving party is entitled to summary judgment if they can show that there is no triable issue of material fact or if they have a complete defense thereto. (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal. 4th 826, 843.)
Once the moving party has met that burden, section 437c shifts the burden to the opposing party to show that there is a triable issue of material fact as to the cause of action. If the opposing party 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, 159 Cal. App. 4th at 467.)
Summary adjudication may be granted as to one or more causes of action within an action, or one or more claims for damages. (Cal. Code of Civ. Proc. §437c(f).)
LACMTA made written objections to paragraphs 3 and 4 in the declaration of Joshua Woods on the grounds that they lack foundation and that the term “safety inspection” is vague. The Court should overrule both objections. Joshua Woods states facts identifying a foundation for his statements because he states that he is the Director of Operations for Woods and that he is responsible for making bids on contracts. Further, the meaning of the term “safety inspection” can be determined with reasonable certainty in the context of this case and the contract that identifies the duties of the parties.
Woods seeks summary judgment on the ground that LACMTA cannot establish an essential element of its causes of action, i.e., the element of breach. The Cross-Complaint includes two causes of action directed at Woods: the third cause of action for breach of contract and the fourth cause of action for breach of express indemnity. Both claims are based on the breach of a maintenance contract.
The Plaintiff claimed in his Complaint that LACMTA had maintained a dangerous condition on its premises, which was that a motorist leaving the parking lot could not see a bicyclist on the roadway. LACMTA alleges in its Cross-Complaint that Woods had a contractual duty under the maintenance contract to maintain the foliage at LACMTA’s metro station so that the foliage did not block visibility and that Woods breached this duty because the foliage blocked visibility.
Under California law, the essential elements of a cause of action for breach of contract are (1) the existence of the contract, (2) plaintiff's performance or excuse for nonperformance, (3) defendant's breach, and (4) the resulting damages to the plaintiff. (Oasis West Realty, LLC v. Goldman (2011) 51 Cal.4th 811, 821.)
Woods provides evidence that it entered into a contract with LACMTA under which Woods performed maintenance at the metro station (Woods decl., exhibit A; N.B., this is only portions of the contract. The complete contract is attached to the Cross-Complaint as exhibit A).
Pages 112 to 127 of the contract identify the general maintenance requirements. Paragraph L on page 116 requires Wood to inspect the entire project at least once a month and to make weekly inspects to the landscape and irrigation systems to check on the appearance of the plants and “to look for any landscape and irrigation system problems once a week.” Paragraph E on page 119 includes the following:
“Shrubs shall also be trimmed away from the Busway and adjoining streets to avoid impeding the visibility of bus operators and motorists on public roads.”
These portions of the contract show that Woods had a duty to inspect the property, look for landscape problems, and trim the shrubs so that they do not impede visibility.
In paragraph GC-37 on page 85, the contract required Woods to defend and indemnify LACMTA for claims arising out of or resulting from any act, omission, fault, or negligence of Woods (Woods decl., exhibit A). The plaintiff claimed he was injured because of LACMTA’s failure to maintain its landscaping.
In paragraph 12 of the Cross-Complaint, LACMTA alleges that Woods breached the contract by
1) failing to discover conditions that posed a safety hazard to motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians;
2) failing to inspect, maintain, and trim, prune, or alter or foliage along the fence; and
3) failing to accept LACMTA’s tender of defense and request for indemnity.
Further, LACMTA alleges that Woods undertook the obligation to prevent injury to motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians, Woods contractually accepted responsibility for injuries to such persons, and Woods agreed to defend LACMTA and take over any case alleging a failure by Wood to meet these obligations. Further, LACMTA alleges that Woods should have discovered the condition of the shrubs and bushes that allegedly caused the Plaintiff’s injuries.
Woods first provides evidence in paragraph 5 of the declaration of Joshua Woods that Woods did not undertake any obligations outside of the express terms of the contract and that Woods was not directed to do anything beyond the scope of the contract. This does not show that LACMTA cannot establish Woods breached the contract. Instead, LACMTA’s claim is based on Woods failing to perform its duties to inspect and trim the foliage along the fence. As noted above, the contract imposed duties on Woods to inspect the property, look for landscape problems, and trim the shrubs so that they do not impede visibility.
Woods then attempts to meet its burden of proof by providing photographs of the fence (moving papers, exhibit B and C). These photographs show foliage along the fence and are taken from the perspective of a driver looking out of the driveway and fence towards the roadway.
It is not clear how these photographs show that Woods performed its duties to inspect the property, look for landscape problems, and trim the shrubs so that they do not impede visibility. Instead, the photographs show that it would be difficult for a motorist in the driveway to see the roadway and passing motorists or cyclists.
Woods argues that it trimmed the hedge as required by the contract. However, as discussed above, the contract imposed duties to inspect the property, look for landscape problems, and trim the shrubs so that they do not impede visibility. Here, the fact that the hedge was trimmed is insufficient to show that it did not create a landscape problem by impeding visibility of passing motorists and cyclists.
Woods also argues that no act or omission by Woods had anything to do with the Plaintiff’s accident. However, a review of Woods’ papers reveals that it has not established this argument. The evidence in its motion does not meet its burden of showing that LACMTA cannot establish a breach of contract. Instead, the evidence in the photographs appears to show that there was foliage blocking visibility of the roadway, and this lack of visibility could have been a cause of the accident that injured the Plaintiff. As a result, Woods has not provided evidence that it did not breach the contract and that it did not breach an express duty to defend or indemnify LACMTA for the Plaintiff’s claims.
Based on the foregoing, the motion of Cross-Defendant, Woods Maintenance Services, Inc., for Summary Judgment is DENIED.
Cross-Complainant, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, is ordered to give notice of this ruling.
Case Number: BC685031 Hearing Date: February 24, 2020 Dept: 28
Motion for Summary Judgment
The Court CONTINUES Cross-Defendant Woods Maintenance Services, Inc.’s motion for summary judgment to March 4, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 28 of Spring Street Courthouse located at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, California 90012 due to Court congestion.
Cross-Defendant Woods Maintenance Services, Inc. is ordered to give notice of this ruling.
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