On 11/16/2017 GUADALUPE MONTES filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against MARTA YUMAN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is LAURA A. SEIGLE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
LAURA A. SEIGLE
DOES 1 TO 50
MITCHELL TIMOTHY P. ESQ.
MAHLSTEDT BRADLEY V
1/9/2019: Proof of Service by Substituted Service
1/29/2019: Demand for Jury Trial
1/29/2019: General Denial
3/15/2019: Stipulation and Order
5/1/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)
5/7/2019: Motion re:
5/7/2019: Motion to Compel
at 08:30 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - StipulationRead MoreRead Less
Motion to Compel (NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL); Filed by Marta Yuman (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Motion re: (NOTICE OF MOTION FOR ORDER); Filed by Marta Yuman (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
at 10:00 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - StipulationRead MoreRead Less
Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name); Filed by Guadalupe Montes (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Stipulation and Order (Proposed Order & Stipulation Continue Trial/FSC); Filed by Guadalupe Montes (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
General Denial; Filed by Marta Yuman (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Notice of Deposit - Jury; Filed by Marta Yuman (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Demand for Jury Trial; Filed by Marta Yuman (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Proof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by Guadalupe Montes (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
ComplaintRead MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by Guadalupe Montes (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Summons; Filed by nullRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC683784 Hearing Date: December 20, 2019 Dept: 4B
[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: DEFENDANT PATRICK BAILEY’S MOTION TO QUASH
Plaintiff Guadalupe Montes filed this action on November 16, 2017 against Marta Yuman and Does 1-50 concerning a motor vehicle accident on December 8, 2015. On April 30, 2019, Plaintiff filed an amendment naming Patrick Bailey as a Doe defendant. Plaintiff served Baily on July 21, 2019. At that time, trial was set for September 16, 2019. Bailey moves to quash service of summons, contending Plaintiff had knowledge of his identity and involvement at the time of the accident, thereby rendering Plaintiff’s substitution improper because the statute of limitations had expired on December 8, 2017.
Code of Civil Procedure section 474 permits a plaintiff who is ignorant of the name of a defendant to name a Doe in a complaint, and then when the true name is discovered, amend the complaint. “Section 474 provides a method for adding defendants after the statute of limitations has expired, but this procedure is available only when the plaintiff is actually ignorant of the facts establishing a cause of action against the party to be substituted for a Doe defendant. (McClatchy v. Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, LLP (2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 368, 371-372.)
Bailey supports this contention by submitting copies of letters from Plaintiff’s attorney to USAA Insurance. (Ward Decl., Exhs. C and D.) One letter dated December 14, 2015 (just six days after the accident) identifies Bailey as the insured and asks for information about Bailey’s policy limits in connection with the December 8, 2015 accident involving Plaintiff. The other letter dated September 9, 2016 discusses a settlement offer and identifies Bailey as the insured. The September 9, 2016 letter states Bailey “negligently caused a multi-vehicle collision that injured [Plaintiff].”
Plaintiff argues she was ignorant of the culpability of Bailey until May 1, 2019 because the lack of a traffic collision report made “determining all of the parties and relative fault  challenging.” (Opp. 2:7-10.) Plaintiff ignores the two letters identifying Baily as the insured and the letter stating he caused the accident, except to object that the letters are in admissible under Evidence Code section 1152, which makes evidence of a compromise inadmissible to prove liability. Here, Baily does not offer the letters to prove liability, but to prove Plaintiff knew his identity back in 2016 and 2016. Therefore, the objection is overruled. Plaintiff submits no evidence, as opposed to her attorney’s argument, that she did not know Bailey’s culpability at the time of the accident. She does not explain why six days after the accident, on December 14, 2015, her attorney wanted to know Bailey’s insurance policy limits in connection with the December 8, 2015 accident. She does not explain why her attorney stated on September 9, 2016 that Bailey had caused the accident.
Plaintiff contends Bailey cannot avoid his designation as a Doe defendant by filing a motion to quash. However, in McClatchy, the Court stated, “Improper service of a defendant under section 474 may be attached by a motion to quash. [Citation omitted.] ‘If the terms of . . . section 474 have not been complied with, the purported defendant has not been named as such in the complaint. A service upon one not named in the complaint does not confer jurisdiction to proceed upon the complaint against him, and a motion to quash is proper.’ [Citation.]” (McClatchy, supra, 247 Cal.App.4th at p. 375.) That is the situation here. Plaintiff did not comply with the terms of section 474 because the only evidence shows her attorney knew Bailey’s identity within days of the accident, and she submitted no evidence to the contrary. Accordingly, quashing service on Bailey is proper under McClatchy.
Plaintiff also argues that Bailey propounded discovery thereby waiving his right to move to quash based on lack of jurisdiction. In A.N. v. County of Los Angeles (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 1058, the court stated that a Doe defendant can challenge the validity of the Doe amendment via “an evidence-based motion,” whatever entitled, contending that the plaintiff unreasonably delayed in filing the Doe amendment after learning the defendant’s identity. (Id. at pp. 1066-1067.) Here, Defendant’s evidence showed that Plaintiff’s attorney knew his identity six days after the accident and had reason to think he was liable such that his policy limit information was relevant, yet Plaintiff waited 3.5 years to file the Doe amendment. Plaintiff then waited three more months to serve Bailey. That is an unreasonable delay. Plaintiff presented no evidence giving any explanation, let alone a reasonable explanation, for the delay. (Id. at pp. 1067-1068.) In A.N., the court explained the Doe defendant must also show prejudice. (Id. at p. 1068.) In that case, the Doe defendants were brought into the case less than one month before the case was set for trial, “and it does not require speculation to recognize that a party who is drawn into litigation on the eve of trial will face difficulties in preparing a defense in such short order.” (Ibid.) Here, Plaintiff finally served Bailey less than two months before the trial date, presenting similar prejudice. Since then, the trial date was continued to March 20, 2020 to give Bailey time to challenge this action, but which still presents little time to prepare a case for trial. Based on the evidence presented, the Court finds that Plaintiff unreasonably delayed and Bailey would be prejudiced by being brought into this action with inadequate time to prepare for trial.
Accordingly, Bailey’s motion is GRANTED. 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.
Moving party to give notice.