On 04/26/2018 a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury case was filed by JANET VARGAS against CITY OF BELL in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California.
Disposed - Judgment Entered
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
JON R. TAKASUGI
BELL CITY OF
GOLDSMAN GENE J. ESQ.
RAGER KATHLEEN N. ESQ.
11/15/2019: Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment
6/6/2019: Notice of Ruling
5/17/2019: Order - ORDER BY THE COURT GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
5/17/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT)
2/28/2019: Declaration - Declaration of Sergio Ibarra ISO Motion for Summary Judgment
2/28/2019: Declaration - Declaration of Kathleen Rager ISO Motion for Summary Judgment
2/28/2019: Declaration - Declaration Declaration of E Ruzak ISO Motion for Summary Judgment
2/28/2019: Separate Statement
2/28/2019: Motion for Summary Judgment
2/28/2019: Notice - Notice Notice of Errata re filing of Decl. of Jose Calvillo Ortiz ISO Motion for Summary Judgment
2/28/2019: Request for Judicial Notice
2/28/2019: Declaration - Declaration Declaration of Jose Calvillo Ortiz ISO Motion for Summary Judgment
6/14/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS -
6/29/2018: Summons on Cross Complaint -
6/29/2018: CROSS-COMPLAINT OF CITY OF BELL
6/29/2018: ANSWER OF DEFENDANT CITY OF BELL TO COMPLAINT
4/26/2018: SUMMONS -
4/26/2018: COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES) -
Hearing12/16/2019 at 13:30 PM in Department 3 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment (CCP 473)Read MoreRead Less
DocketMotion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment; Filed by Janet Vargas (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Bell, City of (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Held - Motion GrantedRead MoreRead Less
DocketOrder (By the Court granting Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Bell, City of (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSeparate Statement; Filed by Bell, City of (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketAnswer; Filed by Bell, City of (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketCross-Complaint; Filed by Bell, City of (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSummons Issued; Filed by Bell, City of (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketANSWER OF DEFENDANT CITY OF BELL TO COMPLAINTRead MoreRead Less
DocketSummons on Cross ComplaintRead MoreRead Less
DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Janet Vargas (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)Read MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Janet Vargas (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC703806 Hearing Date: December 16, 2019 Dept: 3
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT
CITY OF BELL, ET AL.,
Case No.: BC703806
[TENTATIVE] ORDER DENYING MOTION TO VACATE JUDGMENT
December 16, 2019
1. Allegations of the Complaint
Plaintiff, Janet Vargas filed this action against Defendant, City of Bell for damages arising out of an automobile accident. Plaintiff alleges she was involved in an accident that was caused by the City’s failure to maintain its traffic signal; the signal was out at the location of the accident. The complaint includes causes of action for general negligence and premises liability.
2. 5/16/19 Motion for Summary Judgment
On 2/28/19, the City filed a motion for summary judgment. The Court ruled on the motion on 5/16/19. The Court ruled:
The City establishes it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law under Chowdhury v. City of Los Angeles (1995) 38 Cal.App.4th 1187, 1195. The Court therein held that non-functioning traffic signals cannot give rise to liability against a public entity; of note, Vehicle Code §21800 obligates a person approaching a non-functioning traffic signal to treat the intersection as a four-way stop.
The sole allegation against the City if the complaint is that it caused the accident by having a non-functioning traffic signal. The City met its moving burden to show, under Vehicle Code §21800 and Chowdhury, that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on this allegation. In the absence of opposition, the motion is granted.
3. Motion to Vacate Judgment
Plaintiff moves to vacate the summary judgment ruling, contending she never received the moving papers. Plaintiff supports the motion with the declarations of two of her attorneys and a legal assistant at her attorney’s law office. The declarations, collectively, aver that (a) Defendant could not have personally served Plaintiff’s attorney with the moving papers, as he is behind a locked door, (b) Plaintiff’s attorney’s office has a calendaring system that is consistently followed, and (c) Plaintiff would have opposed the motion if her attorney’s office had received the papers.
Plaintiff moves for relief pursuant to CCP §§473.5, 473(b), 187, 128, and 166.
a. Initial Note
Defendant timely filed and served opposition to the motion. Any reply to the opposition was due on or before 12/09/19. The Court has not received a reply to the opposition.
b. CCP §473.5
The motion for relief pursuant to CCP §473.5 is denied. This section, on its face, applies only to service of a summons. Additionally, §473.5(b) requires the moving party to provide a copy of the answer, motion, or other pleading proposed to be filed in the action. Plaintiff did not provide a copy of her proposed opposition to the motion for summary judgment.
c. §473(b) – mandatory relief provision
The motion for relief pursuant to the mandatory relief provision of §473(b) is also denied. Pursuant to English v. IKON Business Solutions, Inc. (2001) 94 Cal.App.4th 130, 137-138, summary judgment is not a “default,” “default judgment” or “dismissal” within meaning of CCP § 473(b), and therefore a motion for mandatory relief does not lie in connection with a ruling granting summary judgment.
Additionally, §473(b) requires a copy of the pleading proposed to be filed to accompany the motion. Again, there is no copy of the proposed opposition to the summary judgment motion.
d. §473(b) – discretionary relief provision
The motion for relief pursuant to the discretionary relief provision of §473(b) is denied. Plaintiff’s attorney admits receiving the notice of ruling in connection with the summary judgment motion on or about 6/06/19. Plaintiff did not, however, file this motion until 11/15/19. A motion for discretionary relief under § 473(b) must be made within a “reasonable time” after discovery of the dismissal. This is, in effect, a separate, discretionary time limitation on granting relief. “In order to qualify for relief under section 473, the moving party must act diligently in seeking relief …” Elston v. City of Turlock (1985) 38 Cal.3d 227, 234.
Plaintiff’s moving papers are entirely devoid of a discussion of why she waited from early June until mid-November to file this motion, and she is therefore not entitled to discretionary relief. Additionally, again, §473(b) requires a copy of the proposed pleading to be filed with the moving papers, and there is no proposed opposition to the summary judgment motion with the motion.
e. CCP §187
Plaintiff’s notice of motion indicates she also brings her motion per CCP §187. §187 provides, “When jurisdiction is, by the Constitution or this Code, or by any other statute, conferred on a Court or judicial officer, all the means necessary to carry it into effect are also given; and in the exercise of this jurisdiction, if the course of proceeding be not specifically pointed out by this Code or the statute, any suitable process or mode of proceeding may be adopted which may appear most conformable to the spirit of this Code.”
Plaintiff fails to meaningfully articulate how this section applies to this case.
f. CCP §128
Plaintiff’s notice of motion also seeks relief per CCP §128. §128 permits the Court broad discretion in controlling the proceedings before it. Plaintiff fails, however, to provide authority applying §128 to facts remotely similar to the instant case.
g. CCP §166
Finally, Plaintiff’s motion seeks relief per CCP §166. §166 concerns powers of judges to act in chambers on ex parte applications and to hear and rule upon certain motions not at issue here. It is entirely unclear how this section applies to the relief sought.
h. Final Note
One of Plaintiff’s lengthy arguments is that her attorney, Gene J. Goldsman, was very unlikely personally served with the moving papers, as he sits in an office behind a locked door. It is true that Defendant’s proof of service of the moving papers indicates Goldsman was personally served with the moving papers. In context, however, this almost certainly means simply that the moving papers were personally dropped off at his office, and not that he himself was personally served. Service may be made on a party's attorney by leaving the papers with a receptionist or anyone in charge of the office. If there is no one with whom to leave the papers, they may be left in a conspicuous place in the office between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. CCP § 1011(a); see National Advertising Co. v. City of Rohnert Park (1984) 160 Cal.App.3d 614, 618-619. Notably, the main purpose of “personally” serving the papers is to ensure that they are timely delivered, and that the time period for service is not extended under §1005(b).
Plaintiff failed to establish any basis upon which to grant the relief sought. The motion is therefore denied.
Plaintiff is ordered to give notice.
Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at email@example.com indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar. If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative.