This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/30/2019 at 01:13:49 (UTC).

JACQUELINE WRIGHT VS CITY OF LOS ANGELES ET AL

Case Summary

On 05/07/2018 a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury case was filed by JACQUELINE WRIGHT against CITY OF LOS ANGELES 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:

    ****5320

  • Filing Date:

    05/07/2018

  • 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

Plaintiff

WRIGHT JACQUELINE

Respondents and Defendants

STATE OF CALIFORNIA

CITY OF LOS ANGELES

DOES 1 TO 100

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION(C

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

 

Court Documents

Notice of Deposit - Jury

2/28/2019: Notice of Deposit - Jury

REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

7/23/2018: REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

5/24/2018: REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

6/1/2018: DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

ANSWER OF DEFENDANT COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES TO COMPLAINT OF PLAINTFF JACQUELINE WRIGHT

6/1/2018: ANSWER OF DEFENDANT COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES TO COMPLAINT OF PLAINTFF JACQUELINE WRIGHT

SUMMONS

5/7/2018: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: LLBILITY FOR DANGEROUS CONDITION OF PUBLIC PROPRW, PURSUANT TO GOVERNMENT CODE 835 ET SEQ.; ETC

5/7/2018: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: LLBILITY FOR DANGEROUS CONDITION OF PUBLIC PROPRW, PURSUANT TO GOVERNMENT CODE 835 ET SEQ.; ETC

 

Docket Entries

  • 02/28/2019
  • Notice of Deposit - Jury; Filed by County of Los Angeles (Defendant)

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  • 07/23/2018
  • Request for Dismissal; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 07/23/2018
  • REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

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  • 06/01/2018
  • Demand for Jury Trial; Filed by County of Los Angeles (Defendant)

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  • 06/01/2018
  • Answer; Filed by County of Los Angeles (Defendant)

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  • 06/01/2018
  • ANSWER OF DEFENDANT COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES TO COMPLAINT OF PLAINTFF JACQUELINE WRIGHT

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  • 06/01/2018
  • DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL

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  • 05/24/2018
  • REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

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  • 05/24/2018
  • Partial Dismissal (w/o Prejudice); Filed by Jacqueline Wright (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/07/2018
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: LLBILITY FOR DANGEROUS CONDITION OF PUBLIC PROPRW, PURSUANT TO GOVERNMENT CODE 835 ET SEQ.; ETC

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  • 05/07/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by Jacqueline Wright (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/07/2018
  • SUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC705320    Hearing Date: December 19, 2019    Dept: 4B

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: DEEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Jacqueline Wright alleges that on November 23, 2017, Defendant County of Los Angeles allowed the roadway to be in a dangerous condition, causing her car to hit a large rock or piece of concrete on the road. (Undisputed Material Facts (“UMF”) Nos. 1, 2.) On October 26, 2017, Defendant’s road maintenance superintendent, George Patterson, inspected the road. (UMF No. 9.) No work orders were generated for repairs on October 26, 2017. (UMF No. 10.)

On May 7, 2018, Plaintiff filed this action against Defendant and others for dangerous condition of public property pursuant to Government Code section 835 et seq. and for vicarious liability pursuant to Government Code section 815.2. Defendant moves for summary judgment or summary adjudication on the grounds that: (1) Defendant lacked actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition; and (2) the cause of action for vicarious liability fails as a matter of law because the rule for vicarious liability does not apply in dangerous condition cases.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, courts must apply a three-step analysis: “(1) identify the issues framed by the pleadings; (2) determine whether the moving party has negated the opponent’s claims; and (3) determine whether the opposition has demonstrated the existence of a triable, material factual issue.” (Hinesley v. Oakshade Town Center (2005) 135 Cal.App.4th 289, 294.)

“A party may move for summary adjudication as to one or more causes of action within an action, one or more affirmative defenses, one or more claims for damages, or one or more issues of duty, if that party contends that the cause of action has no merit or that there is no affirmative defense thereto, or that there is no merit to an affirmative defense as to any cause of action, or both, or that there is no merit to a claim for damages . . . or that one or more defendants either owed or did not owe a duty to the plaintiff or plaintiffs. A motion for summary adjudication shall be granted only if it completely disposes of a cause of action, an affirmative defense, a claim for damages, or an issue of duty.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (f)(1).) A motion for summary adjudication shall proceed in all procedural respects as a motion for summary judgment. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (f)(2).)

“[T]he initial burden is always on the moving party to make a prima facia showing that there are no triable issues of material fact.” (Scalf v. D. B. Log Homes, Inc. (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 1510, 1519.) A defendant moving for summary judgment or summary adjudication “has met his or her burden of showing that a cause of action has no merit if the party has shown that one or more elements of the cause of action . . . cannot be established, or that there is a complete defense to the cause of action.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).) A moving defendant need not conclusively negate an element of plaintiff’s cause of action. (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 854.)

To meet this burden of showing a cause of action cannot be established, a defendant must show not only “that the plaintiff does not possess needed evidence” but also that “the plaintiff cannot reasonably obtain needed evidence.” (Aguilar, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 854.) It is insufficient for the defendant to merely point out the absence of evidence. (Gaggero v. Yura (2003) 108 Cal.App.4th 884, 891.) The defendant “must also produce evidence that the plaintiff cannot reasonably obtain evidence to support his or her claim.” (Ibid.)  The supporting evidence can be in the form of affidavits, declarations, admissions, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and matters of which judicial notice may be taken. (Aguilar, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 855.)

“Once the defendant . . . has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff . . . to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).) The plaintiff may not merely rely on allegations or denials of its pleadings to show that a triable issue of material fact exists, but instead, “shall set forth the specific facts showing that a triable issue of material fact exists as to the cause of action.” (Ibid.) “If the plaintiff cannot do so, summary judgment should be granted.” (Avivi v. Centro Medico Urgente Medical Center (2008) 159 Cal.App.4th 463, 467.)

III. EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS

Plaintiff’s Objection Nos. 1-6 are OVERRULED.

IV. DISCUSSION

A public entity had actual or constructive notice of a dangerous condition if it had actual knowledge of the existence of the condition and knew or should have known of its dangerous character. (Gov. Code, § 835.2, subd. (a).) A public entity had constructive notice of a dangerous condition only if the plaintiff establishes that the condition had existed for such a period of time and was of such an obvious nature that the public entity, in the exercise of due care, should have discovered the condition and its dangerous character. (Gov. Code, § 835.2, subd. (b).) On the issue of due care, admissible evidence includes, but is not limited to evidence of whether the condition and its dangerous character would have been discovered by an inspection system that was reasonably adequate or whether the public entity maintained and operated an inspection system with due care and did not discover the condition. (Gov. Code, § 835.2, subds. (b)(1)-(b)(2).)

Defendant argues it did not have actual or constructive notice of the road debris. In support, Defendant submits the declaration of Julian Garcia, who is the principal engineer in Road Maintenance of Defendant’s Department of Public Works. As Principal Engineer, he is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of road infrastructure within the County of Los Angeles. (Garcia Decl., ¶ 1.) According to Garcia, the Public Works Road Maintenance Division “has a policy of inspecting the roadway wherein Plaintiff’s purported incident occurred, one time per month.” (Garcia Decl., ¶ 6.) The roadway was inspected on October 26, 2017 by George Patterson and no work orders were generated for repairs. (Garcia Decl., ¶ 12, Ex. 3.) Defendant argues its once-a-month inspection policy is reasonable.

Defendant did not present evidence about the extent of the inspection, how the inspector performed his inspection, or what types of defects and conditions the inspector looked for, other than potholes. For example, Defendant did not explain whether the inspector was on the lookout for debris on the road or had a check list of potentially dangerous conditions to look for. Thus, Defendant did not submit sufficient evidence establishing a prima facie case that its inspection system was reasonably adequate or that it operated an inspection system with due care. The Court cannot conclude on this record that, as a matter of law, Defendant’s system of inspecting once a month was reasonable. Accordingly, Defendant’s motion for summary adjudication as to the first cause of action is DENIED.

As for the second cause of action, Defendant argues a vicarious liability theory cannot be pursued against a public entity in a dangerous condition case. (Longfellow v. Cnty. of San Luis Obispo (1983) 144 Cal.App.3d 379, 383.) Plaintiff does not oppose this argument in her brief or response to Defendant’s separate statement. Accordingly, Defendant’s motion for summary adjudication on the second cause of action is GRANTED.

V. CONCLUSION

Summary adjudication is GRANTED with respect to Plaintiff’s second cause of action and DENIED with respect to Plaintiff’s first cause of action.

Moving party to give notice.

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.

Case Number: BC705320    Hearing Date: October 29, 2019    Dept: 4B

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES AND MOTION TO COMPEL PRODUCTION

On September 9, 2019, Defendant filed a motion to compel further answers to interrogatories. On September 16, 2019, the parties were to participate in an IDC. They informed the court that the issues had been resolved and that any motions previously scheduled regarding these issues are to be taken off calendar by the moving party. However, Defendant did not take the motion to compel further answers to interrogatories off calendar. Based on the parties’ representations to the court on September 16, 2019, the motion is MOOT.

On August 22, 2019, Defendant filed a motion to compel production of documents. On September 17, 2019, defense counsel filed a declaration stating Defendant has now served a response and produced documents. Counsel stated a legal assistant made a mistake in not responding earlier. Defendant did not file a reply. As the documents have now been produced, the motion is MOOT. The request of sanctions DENIED as defense counsel should have phoned Plaintiff’s counsel and had a discussion about lack of a response and when the documents would be produced.

Moving party to give notice.

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 as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.