On 01/18/2017 HENRY ROMAN filed a Labor - Other Labor lawsuit against NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORPORATION. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is BARBARA A. MEIERS. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
BARBARA A. MEIERS
BLANCHARD LONNIE C. III ESQ.
NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORPORATION
DOES 1 THROUGH 10
DION-KINDEM PETER R.
BLANCHARD LONNIE C. III ESQ.
GIBSON DUNN & CRUTCHER LLP
5/9/2018: Minute Order
5/10/2018: Minute Order
7/31/2018: DECLARATION OF JESSE A. CRIPPS IN SUPPORT OF AMANDA C. MACHIN'S VERIFIED APPLICATION FOR ADMISSION PRO IMC VICE
8/7/2018: PLAINTIFF'S MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES IN OPPOSITION TO I)CFENDANT'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS
8/10/2018: Minute Order
8/20/2018: Minute Order
2/4/2019: Motion for Summary Judgment
2/4/2019: Request for Judicial Notice
5/23/2019: Minute Order
3/10/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS
6/2/2017: DEFENDANT NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORPORATION'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STAY
7/5/2017: RULING RE: DEFENDANT NORTHROP GRUMMAN CORP.'S MOTION
7/5/2017: Minute Order
at 09:00 AM in Department 61; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Held - Taken under SubmissionRead MoreRead Less
Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore; Filed by NOrthrop Grumman Corporation (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Reply (Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by NOrthrop Grumman Corporation (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Opposition (Plaintiff's Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by Henry Roman (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Response (Plaintiff's Responses to Defendant's Separate Statement of Undisputed Material Facts in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by Henry Roman (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
at 09:00 AM in Department 61; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Rescheduled by PartyRead MoreRead Less
Separate Statement; Filed by NOrthrop Grumman Corporation (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Motion for Summary Judgment; Filed by NOrthrop Grumman Corporation (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Declaration (OF JESSE A. CRIPPS IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE PLEADINGS); Filed by NOrthrop Grumman Corporation (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCERead MoreRead Less
ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARINGRead MoreRead Less
at 4:30 PM in Department 12; Unknown Event Type - Held - Motion GrantedRead MoreRead Less
Minute order entered: 2017-01-23 00:00:00; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Minute OrderRead MoreRead Less
Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (170.6); Filed by Lonnie C. III Blanchard, Esq. (Attorney); Henry Roman (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE TO JUD!CIAL OFFICER (CODE CIV. PROC., 170.6)Read MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT FOR RECOVERY OF PENALTIES PURSUANT TO CALIFORNIA LABOR CODE SECTION 2699 AND DEMAND FOR JURY TRIALRead MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by Henry Roman (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC647361 Hearing Date: July 13, 2020 Dept: 61
Defendant Northrop Grumman System Corp.’s Motion to Dismiss or Quash Service of Summons is GRANTED.
Defendant to provide notice.
MOTION TO DISMISS
“The summons and complaint shall be served upon a defendant within three years after the action is commenced against the defendant. For the purpose of this subdivision, an action is commenced at the time the complaint is filed.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 583.210, subd. (a).) The calculation of time for the purposes of this statute does not include any period in which “[t]he prosecution of the action or proceedings in the action was stayed and the stay affected service.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 583.240, subd. (b).)
NGSC argues that dismissal under this statute is proper here because the complaint was filed on January 18, 2017, while NGSC was added as a Doe defendant more than three years later on January 31, 2020, and was served even later, in March 2020. (Motion at pp. 9–10.)
A difficulty with NGSC’s argument is that proceedings in this matter were ordered stayed from July 5, 2017, to August 10, 2018. (See 7/5/2017 and 8/10/2018 Orders.) NGSC argues that this stay did not affect service and that Roman could have added NGSC as a Doe defendant during this time. (Motion at p. 10.) But the stay was a mandatory one entered pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure § 1281.4, based on overlapping issues between the proceedings in this case and proceedings in arbitration. (See Code Civ. Proc. § 1281.4.) Any proceedings against NGSC would have been as subject to the stay as proceedings against NG. (Contrast Higgins v. Superior Court (2017) 15 Cal.App.5th 973, 982 [holding that stay of proceedings related to bankruptcy of single defendant did not affect service against non-bankrupt defendants because bankruptcy stays apply only to the debtor].) Thus the stay of proceedings in this case affected service within the meaning of the statute, and the period in which to serve NGSC has not yet run.
II. MOTION TO QUASH
NGSC argues that the service of summons against it must be quashed under Code of Civil Procedure § 474 because Roman was never ignorant of NGSC’s identity or role in his allegations. (Motion at pp. 10–12.)
“When the plaintiff is ignorant of the name of a defendant, he must state that fact in the complaint, or the affidavit if the action is commenced by affidavit, and such defendant may be designated in any pleading or proceeding by any name, and when his true name is discovered, the pleading or proceeding must be amended accordingly.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 474.)
The criteria for a motion to quash under Code of Civil Procedure § 474 was discussed in A.N. v. County of Los Angeles:
First, section 474 includes an implicit requirement that a plaintiff may not “unreasonably delay” his or her filing of a Doe amendment after learning a defendant's identity. Second, a defendant named in an action by a Doe amendment under section 474 may challenge the amendment by way of an evidence-based motion, which argues that the plaintiff “unreasonable delayed” his or her filing of the challenged amendment. Third, “unreasonable delay” . . . includes a prejudice element, which requires a showing by the defendant that he or she would suffer prejudice from plaintiff's delay in filing the Doe amendment.
(Supra (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 1058, 1066–67.)
This element of “prejudice” does not apply when the Doe defendant is added after the statute of limitations has already run. (See Woo v. Superior Court (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 169, 177.)
NGSC argues that Roman was objectively aware of NGSC’s potential liability as Roman’s employer because NGSC was listed as an employer on Roman’s pay-stubs, and he was subjectively aware of this as well because Roman sent a PAGA letter to both NG and NGSC in July 2016. (Motion at p. 11.)
The court agrees with NGSC that Roman’s delay in bringing suit against NGSC was not reasonable. Roman does not contest the evidence cited by NGSC, but only argues that he did not “definitively” know which entity was “the actual employer.” (Opposition at p. 11.) But Roman knew enough to sue NG, and knew enough to issue a PAGA letter to NGSC, and ought to have known enough to have sought adjudication of the issue.
Roman argues that NGSC ought to be estopped from seeking to have the claim dismissed because NG in these proceedings never disputed that it was Roman’s employer, and in fact indicated that it was, until very recently. (Opposition at pp. 4–8.) The difficulty with Roman’s argument is that the doctrine of estoppel that he invokes is designed “to prevent [a] defendant from profiting from his deception.” (Tejada v. Blas (1987) 196 Cal.App.3d 1335, 1341.) The deceptions that Roman identifies are all representations on the part of a different entity, NG, not NGSC, the entity seeking to have the complaint dismissed.
But Roman is correct in another respect. Unless the addition of a Doe defendant takes place after the statute of limitations has run, a motion to dismiss under Code of Civil Procedure § 474 entails an element of “prejudice” for the defendant seeking dismissal. (Opposition at p. 12; see A.N., supra, 171 Cal.App.4th at pp. 1066–67.) And NGSC’s showing of prejudice here consists of a conclusory averment that it exists. (Motion at p. 12.) No trial date is set in this action, and there is no reason to believe NGSC won’t be afforded adequate time to conduct discovery as to Roman’s claims. Thus if NGSC is to obtain dismissal under section 474, it must show that the statute of limitations has run.
NGSC argues that in fact it has. The statute of limitations for a PAGA claim is one year, which means it would have run long before NGSC was added as a defendant. (Brown v. Ralphs Grocery Co. (2018) 28 Cal.App.5th 824, 829, citing Code Civ. Proc. § 340.)
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. The question is whether the plaintiff knew or reasonably should have known that he had a cause of action against the defendant.
(McClatchy v. Coblentz, patch, Duffy & Bass, LLP (2016) 247 Cal.App.4th 368, 371–72, internal citations, quotation marks, and alterations omitted.)
It is clear that Roman reasonably should have known, and indeed did know, the identity of NGSC and its relation to his claims at the time the Complaint was filed, based on facts apparent to Roman at that time, including NGSC’s appearance on his pay-stubs. This much is apparent from the PAGA letter identifying NGSC as a defendant that he sent before he filed his complaint. (Cripps Decl. Exhs. A, B.) Accordingly, because Roman reasonably should have known of his cause of action against NGSC when he filed the Complaint, the doe amendment naming NGSC does not relate back, and the motion to quash under section 474 is properly GRANTED.
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