This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/15/2019 at 00:03:25 (UTC).

HUGO MEDINA ET AL VS LIQUID ASPHALT SYSTEMS INC ET AL

Case Summary

On 05/01/2018 a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury case was filed by HUGO MEDINA against LIQUID ASPHALT SYSTEMS INC in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****4543

  • Filing Date:

    05/01/2018

  • 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

 

Party Details

Petitioners

TORRES JESUS

MEDINA HUGO

Defendants

TAURUS TANKS

LIQUID ASPHALT SYSTEMS INC.

PANTHER PRODUCTS CORPORATION

DOES 1 TO 50

Respondents and Defendants

LIQUID ASPHALT SYSTEMS INC.

PANTHER PRODUCTS CORPORATION

JONES STEVEN F.

WILLIAMS TERRY L.

 

Court Documents

SUMMONS

5/1/2018: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE 2 STRICT PRODUCT LIABILITY

5/1/2018: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE 2 STRICT PRODUCT LIABILITY

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/01/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by Hugo Medina (Plaintiff); Jesus Torres (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/01/2018
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE 2 STRICT PRODUCT LIABILITY

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  • 05/01/2018
  • SUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC704543    Hearing Date: March 10, 2020    Dept: 28

Motion to be Relieved as Counsel

Having considered the moving papers, the Court rules as follows. No opposing papers have been filed.

BACKGROUND

On May 1, 2018, Plaintiffs Hugo Medina and Jesus Torres (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against Defendants Liquid Asphalt Systems, Inc. dba Taurus Tanks, Terry L. Williams, Panther Products Corporation, Steven F. Jones, and Does 1-50. The complaint alleges causes of action for negligence and strict product liability, arising from the explosion of an asphalt tanker during a roofing job

On September 20, 2019, Morey & Upton, LLP, the previous counsel for Plaintiff Jesus Torres (“Torres”), filed a motion to be relieved as counsel as to Plaintiff Torres with the Court. On December 2, 2019, Department 4A of the Court heard and granted the motion. Morey & Upton, LLP remained as counsel for Plaintiff Hugo Medina. 

The case was transferred to Department 28 on January 13, 2020. 

On February 10, 2020, Patrick Gunning of Panish Shea & Boyle, LLP (“Counsel”), counsel for Plaintiff Torres, filed a motion to be relieved as counsel pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 284, subdivision (2). 

On February 28, 2020, Morey & Upton, LLP filed a Request for Dismissal of the complaint as to Plaintiff Hugo Medina only. Dismissal was entered as to Plaintiff Hugo Medina on March 3, 2020. 

Trial is set for May 20, 2020.

PARTY’S REQUEST

Counsel seeks to be relieved as counsel for Plaintiff because a conflict has arisen between Plaintiff and Counsel’s law firm. Furthermore, Counsel declares that prior to filing the instant motion, Counsel’s law firm requested Plaintiff sign a Substitution of Attorney form by consent under CCP § 284(1), and Plaintiff has not consented, thereby necessitating the instant motion. 

Additionally, in the instant motion, under other matters that the Court should consider (form MC-052, section 7), Counsel states that Defendants could not be served as they are long-dissolved corporations and their former agents for service, and their associated addresses are no longer in operation. Counsel contends that since no Defendants have been served, there is no prejudice to any other party in granting this motion. Counsel requests that, in addition to granting the instant motion, the court vacate the current trial date and set an OSC regarding retention of new counsel, service of process, and prosecution of the action on 5/20/2020.

LEGAL STANDARD

California Rule of Court rule 3.1362 (Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel) requires (1) notice of motion and motion to be directed to the client (made on the Notice of Motion and Motion to be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-051)); (2) a declaration stating in general terms and without compromising the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship why a motion under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(2) is brought instead of filing a consent under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(1) (made on the Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-052)); (3) service of the notice of motion and motion and declaration on all other parties who have appeared in the case; and (4) the proposed order relieving counsel (prepared on the Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-053)).

The court has discretion to allow an attorney to withdraw, and such a motion should be granted provided that there is no prejudice to the client and it does not disrupt the orderly process of justice. (See Ramirez v. Sturdevant (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 904, 915.

DISCUSSION

Counsel has completed and filed forms MC-051, MC-052, and MC-053, along with the relevant proof of service of each form, with the Court. On form MC-052 section 3, Counsel declares that he served Plaintiff by mail at Plaintiff’s last known address, and confirmed the address within the past 30 days by telephone and electronic search

The Court finds that the motion is proper. There is no evidence showing Plaintiff Torres would be prejudiced or the orderly process of justice would be disrupted in granting this motion. Trial is set for May 20, 2020. According to Counsel, Plaintiff may have retained new counsel, though there is no filed notice of substitution as of the date of this hearing.

CONCLUSION

The motion is GRANTED.

Counsel is relieved as counsel for Plaintiff effective upon the filing of the proof of service of Order Granting Attorney’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel–Civil form MC–053.

Counsel is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Case Number: BC704543    Hearing Date: December 02, 2019    Dept: 4A

Motion to be Relieved as Counsel

Having considered the moving papers and supplemental declaration, the Court rules as follows. opposing papers have been filed.

BACKGROUND

On May 1, 2018, Plaintiffs Hugo Medina and Jesus Torres filed a complaint against Defendants Liquid Asphalt Systems, Inc., Taurus Tanks, Terry L. Williams, Panther Products Corporation, and Steven F. Jones alleging negligence and strict products liability for an asphalt heater explosion on May 2, 2016.

On September 20, 2019, Morey & Upton, LLP, counsel for Plaintiff Jesus Torres, filed a motion to be relieved as counsel pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 284, subdivision (2).

On October 29, 2019, the Court continued the hearing on Morey & Upton, LLP’s motion to December 2, 2019 due to deficiencies in the moving papers.

Trial is set for May 20, 2020.

PARTY’S REQUEST

Morey & Upton, LLP seeks to be relieved as counsel for Plaintiff Jesus Torres because a conflict has arising between counsel and Plaintiff Jesus Torres making representation unreasonable.

LEGAL STANDARD

California Rule of Court rule 3.1362 (Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel) requires (1) notice of motion and motion to be directed to the client (made on the Notice of Motion and Motion to be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-051)); (2) a declaration stating in general terms and without compromising the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship why a motion under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(2) is brought instead of filing a consent under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(1) (made on the Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-052)); (3) service of the notice of motion and motion and declaration on all other parties who have appeared in the case; and (4) the proposed order relieving counsel (prepared on the Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-053)).

The court has discretion to allow an attorney to withdraw, and such a motion should be granted provided that there is no prejudice to the client and it does not disrupt the orderly process of justice. (See Ramirez v. Sturdevant (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 904, 915.)

DISCUSSION

On October 29, 2019, the Court continued the hearing on Morey & Upton, LLP’s motion to be relieved as counsel due to a failure to sign counsel’s declaration and a lack of details in counsel’s searches to confirm Plaintiff Jesus Torres’ address. incorrect and he signed his declaration, which was provided about his search efforts in confirming Plaintiff Jesus Torres’ address.  (Supp. McDonough Decl., ¶¶ 5-6.)  The Court finds this declaration to be sufficient.

There are no facts presented to the Court showing Plaintiff Jesus Torres would be prejudiced or that the orderly process of justice would be disrupted in granting this motion.  Plaintiff Jesus Torres will have nearly six months to retain substitute counsel.  This is ample time for that counsel to prepare for trial.

Accordingly, the motion is GRANTED.

Morey & Upton, LLP is relieved as counsel for Plaintiff effective upon the filing of the proof of service of Order Granting Attorney’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel–Civil form MC–053.

Morey & Upton, LLP is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Case Number: BC704543    Hearing Date: October 29, 2019    Dept: 4A

Motion to be Relieved as Counsel

Having considered the moving papers, the Court rules as follows. No opposition was filed.

BACKGROUND

On May 1, 2018, Plaintiffs Hugo Medina and Jesus Torres filed a complaint against Defendants Liquid Asphalt Systems, Inc. dba Taurus Tanks, Terry L. Williams, Panther Products Corporation, and Steven F. Jones, asserting causes of action for negligence and strict products liability. Plaintiffs alleged they were performing a roofing job when the subject tanker suddenly and unexpectedly exploded, causing them injuries.

Trial is set for May 20, 2020.

PARTY’S REQUEST

Morey & Upton, LLP (“Counsel”) moves to be relieved as counsel for Plaintiff Jesus Torres (“Plaintiff”).

LEGAL STANDARD

C.C.P. §284 provides, as follows:

The attorney in an action or special proceeding may be changed at any time before or after judgment of final determination, as follows:

1. Upon the consent of both client and attorney, filed with the clerk, or entered upon the minutes;

2. Upon the order of the court, upon the application of either client or attorney, after notice from one to the other.

CRC 3.1362 provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

(a) Notice A notice of motion and motion to be relieved as counsel under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(2) must be directed to the client and must be made on the Notice of Motion and Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel--Civil (form MC-051).

(b) Memorandum Notwithstanding any other rule of court, no memorandum is required to be filed or served with a motion to be relieved as counsel.

(c) Declaration The motion to be relieved as counsel must be accompanied by a declaration on the Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel--Civil (form MC-052). The declaration must state in general terms and without compromising the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship why a motion under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(2) is brought instead of filing a consent under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(1).

(d) Service The notice of motion and motion, the declaration, and the proposed order must be served on the client and on all other parties who have appeared in the case. The notice may be by personal service, electronic service, or mail.

(1) Code of Civil Procedure section 1013, it must be accompanied by a declaration stating facts showing that either:

(A)

(B)

(2) Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6 and rule 2.251, it must be accompanied by a declaration stating that the electronic service address is the client's current electronic service address.

As used in this rule, "current" means that the address was confirmed within 30 days before the filing of the motion to be relieved. Merely demonstrating that the notice was sent to the client's last known address and was not returned or no electronic delivery failure message was received is not, by itself, sufficient to demonstrate that the address is current. If the service is by mail, Code of Civil Procedure section 1011(b) applies.

(e) Order The proposed order relieving counsel must be prepared on the Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel--Civil(form MC-053) and must be lodged with the court with the moving papers. The order must specify all hearing dates scheduled in the action or proceeding, including the date of trial, if known. If no hearing date is presently scheduled, the court may set one and specify the date in the order. After the order is signed, a copy of the signed order must be served on the client and on all parties that have appeared in the case. The court may delay the effective date of the order relieving counsel until proof of service of a copy of the signed order on the client has been filed with the court.

DISCUSSION

Morey & Upton, LLP (“Counsel”) moves to be relieved as counsel for Plaintiff Jesus Torres (“Plaintiff”). Counsel claims a conflict has arisen between Plaintiff and Counsel, thus undermining the attorney-client relationship and making it unreasonable to continue representing Plaintiff.

Counsel did not establish that the address listed on the proofs of service is Plaintiff’s current address. While Plaintiff’s counsel, Kevin M. McDonough, declared Plaintiff’s address was confirmed as current within the past 30 days through “various internet and database searches and hiring a private investigator to confirm the address,” McDonough’s declaration does not appear to be signed. Moreover, McDonough did not provide details regarding the searches. For example, McDonough did not identify the internet and databases used, when the searches were performed, and what the searches revealed. McDonough also did not identify what the private investigator discovered, if anything, through the investigation.

Based on the foregoing, the motion to be relieved as counsel is CONTINUED to December 2, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 4A. Counsel shall file and serve, no later than November 6, 2019, a supplemental declaration setting forth, in detail, the means used to determine that Plaintiff’s address is current.

Plaintiff’s counsel is ordered to give notice of this order.