This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/16/2019 at 00:22:17 (UTC).

JASON ANDERSON, JR., ET AL VS PALMDALE SCHOOL DISTRICT, ET A

Case Summary

On 02/05/2018 JASON ANDERSON, JR filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against PALMDALE SCHOOL DISTRICT, ET A. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Michael Antonovich Antelope Valley Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is RANDOLPH A. ROGERS. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7709

  • Filing Date:

    02/05/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

RANDOLPH A. ROGERS

 

Party Details

Defendants

ARNOLD CURLYN

PALMDALE SCHOOL DISTRICT

MURRAY THOMAS

HILL CHRIS

Minor

ANDERSON JR. JASON

Guardian Ad Litem

FAULKNER KATRINA

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Defendant Attorneys

CARPENTER MARTIN LEONARD

FOSTER DANIELLE C.

Minor Attorney

GROSS ARNOLD W.

Other Attorneys

ARIAS MICKEL MONTALBAN

SAVIN ADAM JAMES

 

Court Documents

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

3/2/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PLAINTIFF JASON ANDERSON, JR.'S NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

6/15/2018: PLAINTIFF JASON ANDERSON, JR.'S NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

NOTICE OF ASSOCIATION OF COUNSEL

6/22/2018: NOTICE OF ASSOCIATION OF COUNSEL

AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT

7/19/2018: AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT

PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

8/3/2018: PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION COMPELLING DEFENDANTS TO FURTHER RESPOND TO PLAINTIFF'S SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES

8/6/2018: PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION COMPELLING DEFENDANTS TO FURTHER RESPOND TO PLAINTIFF'S SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES

PLAINTIFF'S SEPARATE STATEMENT OF QUESTIONS ANSWERS IN DISPUTE SUPPORT OF MOTION COMPELLING DEFENDANTS TO FURTHER RESPOND TO PLAINTIFF'S SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES

8/6/2018: PLAINTIFF'S SEPARATE STATEMENT OF QUESTIONS ANSWERS IN DISPUTE SUPPORT OF MOTION COMPELLING DEFENDANTS TO FURTHER RESPOND TO PLAINTIFF'S SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES

Legacy Document

8/6/2018: Legacy Document

Opposition

8/21/2018: Opposition

Request for Judicial Notice

8/21/2018: Request for Judicial Notice

OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

8/21/2018: OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

PLAINTIFF'S SEPARATE STATEMENT OF REQUESTS AND RESPONSES IN DISPUTE IN SUPPORT OF MOTION COMPELLING DEFENDANTS

8/21/2018: PLAINTIFF'S SEPARATE STATEMENT OF REQUESTS AND RESPONSES IN DISPUTE IN SUPPORT OF MOTION COMPELLING DEFENDANTS

REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE IN SUPPORT OF OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

8/21/2018: REQUEST FOR JUDICIAL NOTICE IN SUPPORT OF OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

PLAINTIFF'S REPLY TO DEFENDANTS' OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

8/27/2018: PLAINTIFF'S REPLY TO DEFENDANTS' OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Response

8/28/2018: Response

Response

8/28/2018: Response

Opposition

8/28/2018: Opposition

Opposition

8/28/2018: Opposition

42 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/20/2019
  • Separate Statement (of Undisputed Material Facts in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by Curlyn Arnold (Defendant)

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  • 05/20/2019
  • Notice (Index of Evidence in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by Curlyn Arnold (Defendant)

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  • 05/20/2019
  • Motion for Summary Judgment; Filed by Curlyn Arnold (Defendant)

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  • 04/19/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department A15, Randolph A. Rogers, Presiding; Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 04/03/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department A15, Randolph A. Rogers, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 03/01/2019
  • Answer (Third Amended); Filed by Curlyn Arnold (Defendant); Palmdale School District (Defendant); Thomas Murray (Defendant) et al.

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  • 02/14/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department A15, Randolph A. Rogers, Presiding; Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 02/06/2019
  • Amended Complaint (Third); Filed by Jason Anderson, Jr. (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/28/2019
  • Stipulation and Order (STIPULATION AND PROPOSED ORDER RE: FILING OF THIRD AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES); Filed by Jason Anderson, Jr. (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/10/2019
  • Request for Judicial Notice; Filed by Palmdale School District (Defendant); Curlyn Arnold (Defendant); Thomas Murray (Defendant) et al.

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72 More Docket Entries
  • 03/27/2018
  • Answer

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  • 03/02/2018
  • Rtn of Service of Summons & Compl; Filed by Katrina Faulkner (Plaintiff); Jason Anderson, Jr. (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/02/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 02/07/2018
  • Summons Issued; Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/07/2018
  • Summons; Filed by Katrina Faulkner (Plaintiff); Jason Anderson, Jr. (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/07/2018
  • Petn & Ord Appointing GAL; Filed by Katrina Faulkner (Plaintiff); Jason Anderson, Jr. (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/07/2018
  • APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

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  • 02/07/2018
  • SUMMONS

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  • 02/05/2018
  • COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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  • 02/05/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by null

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: MC027709    Hearing Date: April 8, 2021    Dept: A14

   

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES – NORTH DISTRICT

JASON ANDERSON, JR., a minor, by and through his Guardian Ad Litem, KATRINA FAULKNER,

Plaintiff,

v.

PALMDALE SCHOOL DISTRICT, a public corporation, CURLYN ARNOLD, an individual, AND DOES 1 THROUGH 50, Inclusive, including but not limited to, Maintenance Personnel, Teacher’s Aides, and Other Individuals and Entities,

Defendants.

Case Number MC027709

[TENTATIVE]

STATEMENT OF DECISION

Date of Hearing:

April 08, 2021

Dept. A-14

Judge Stephen T. Morgan

Background   

The present case arises out of a physical injury suffered by Plaintiff Jason Anderson, Jr. (“Plaintiff”) on or about March 07, 2016, when Plaintiff’s left hand was allegedly slammed in a door while within the supervision of Defendants Curlyn Arnold (“Arnold”), Thomas Murray (“Murray”), and Chris Hill (“Hill”), acting within the course and scope of their employment with Defendant Palmdale School District (“PSD” and collectively, “Defendants”).

Plaintiff filed his Complaint on February 05, 2018, alleging a single Cause of Action for Negligence. The case was assigned to Department A15; the Honorable Judge Rogers presided. Defendants filed their Answer on March 27, 2018. Discovery ensued.

On September 04, 2018, the Court granted Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File a First Amended Complaint (“FAC”). The FAC alleges three (3) causes of action for (1) Vicarious Liability of Public Employees under Gov. Code, § 815.2, (2) Negligent Supervision under Gov. Code, § 815.2, and (3) Failure to Follow a Mandatory Duty under Gov. Code, § 815.6.

On December 06, 2018 Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint following a demurrer sustained by the Court, alleging allege two (2) Causes of Action for (1) Negligence and (2) Negligent Supervision under Gov. Code, § 815.2. Thereafter, on February 06, 2019, Plaintiff filed his Third Amended Complaint (“TAC”) pursuant to a stipulation between the parties. The TAC alleges two (2) Causes of Action, sounding in (1) Negligence (against Arnold, Murray, and Hill) and (2) Negligent Supervision under Govt. Code, § 815.2 (against PSD).

On August 13, 2019, this lawsuit was reassigned to the Honorable Wendy Chang pursuant to an inventory transfer following Judge Roger’s departure from Department A15. Judge Chang recused herself from the matter on the same day under Code Civ. Proc., § 170.6. The case was transferred to Department A14, now presided by the Honorable Stephen T. Morgan.

On March 12, 2021, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for an Order Allowing Plaintiff to Augment his Expert Witness Designation. Defendants opposed on March 25, 2021. Plaintiff replied on April 01, 2021.

The Court hears this motion alongside Defendants’ Motion in Limine No. 9, filed on March 17, 2020, which seeks to bar Plaintiff’s designated expert Richard W. Alderson (“Alderson”) from presenting expert testimony at trial. Plaintiff opposed on April 01, 2020. Defendants replied on April 01, 2021. The Court considers each motion in turn, below.

Jury trial is scheduled for August 06, 2021.

Analysis

(1) Request for Judicial NoticeDefendants seek judicial notice of the following:

  1. The facts contained in the Declaration of Dawn Schmucker.

  2. A letter dated May 26, 2016 sent to PSD on behalf of Jason Anderson Jr. and his Guardian ad Litem, Katrina Faulkner

  3. The Claim for Damages form submitted to Palmdale School District on September 8, 2016 on behalf of Jason Anderson Jr. and his Guardian ad Litem, Katrina Faulkner

(Opposition, Motion for Leave, Defendants’ Request for Judicial Notice, at pp. 1–2.)

In regard to the documents for which the court grants judicial notice, the court is not mandated to accept the truth of its their contents or the parties’ interpretation of those contents. (Joslin v. H.A.S. Ins. Brokerage (1986) 184 Cal.App.3d 369, 374.) Accordingly, Defendants’ request for judicial notice pursuant to Evid. Code § 452 subd. (h) is GRANTED to the extent that the documents show that Plaintiff made a claim to PSD under the Government Tort Claims Act, however, the Court does not accept the truth of the contents asserted, therein.

(2) Motion to Augment Defendant’s Expert List – Pursuant to Code Civ. Proc., § 2034.620, where a party meets the statute’s mandatory conditions, the Court’s must grant leave to augment or amend a party’s expert witness list. Under this mandatory standard, the court must “(a) [take] into account the extent to which the opposing party has relied on the list of expert witnesses. [¶] (b) . . . [determine] that any party opposing the motion will not be prejudiced in maintaining that party’s action or defense on the merits. [¶] (c) [determine] either . . . [¶] (1) The moving party would not in the exercise of reasonable diligence have determined to call the expert witness or has decided to offer the different or additional testimony of that expert witness [or;] [¶] (2) The moving party failed to determine to call that expert witness or to offer different or additional testimony of that expert witness as a result of mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect, and the moving party has done both: [¶] (A) sought leave to augment or amend promptly after deciding to call the expert witness . . . [¶] (B) Promptly thereafter served a copy of the proposed expert witness information . . .on all parties. . . .” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2034.620.)

Here, Plaintiff seeks to replace expert Richard W. Alderson (“Alderson”), Plaintiff’s school administration and special education expert, who was previously designated on Plaintiff’s timely July 25, 2019 expert witness list with new expert Joseph S. Schwartzberg, Ed.D. (“Schwartzberg”). The original trial date governing law and motion cut-offs was March 20, 2020. Given the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the trial date was ultimately rescheduled for August 06, 202, with this trial date governing all expert law, motion, and discovery, only, and all non-expert discovery cut off. (See March 10, 2021 Minute Order.)

On February 26, 2021, Plaintiff learned that Alderson passed away on February 06, 2021. Plaintiff contacted Defendants on March 03, 2021 to inform Defendants of Alderson’s passing and to reach an informal resolution regarding Alderson’s replacement. Failing to reach resolution, Plaintiff’s counsel served Defendants with Plaintiff’s Proposed Expert Witness Designation on March 09, 2021, listing Schwartzberg as Plaintiff’s retained school administration and special education expert. Plaintiff states that Schwartzberg will be testifying on the same topics as Alderson, that is, the standard of care as it relates to school administration and special education. Given the circumstances under which Plaintiff determined to augment the witness list, the Court finds that Plaintiff could not, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, determine to timely substitute Alderson with Schwartzberg.

Next, Defendants do not appear to be prejudiced by the augmentation of Schwartzberg. First, Schwartzberg will be presenting expert opinion on the same topics as Alderson. Alderson was deposed by Defendants February 28, 2020 as to the scope of his expert opinion regarding standard of care and Defendants have retained their own special education expert, Julie A. Braswell. As such, Defendants have been apprised of the subject area of Schwartzberg’s testimony and have prepared by retaining their own expert to that extent. Second, Defendants may seek to depose Schwartzberg and Plaintiff has agreed, as stated in the Moving Papers, to make Schwartzberg available within 30 days of this hearing. In addition, Plaintiff has agreed to pay Dr. Schwartzberg’s deposition rate of $450.00 per hour for up to seven hours on behalf of the Defendants. Accordingly, it appears that Defendants would not be prejudiced from maintaining their defense on the merits as a result of the augmentation.

Finally, the Court rejects Defendants’ arguments of the relevance of any expert’s opinion on the standard of care of school administrators and special education in determining the motion to augment. Such an argument does not support a finding of prejudice against Defendants, and the Court’s inquiry is limited here by the mandatory requirements of Code Civ. Proc. § 2034.620.

Based on the foregoing, the Court finds that Defendants will not be prejudiced by the augmentation and Plaintiff would not, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, have determined to “substitute” Alderson with Schwartzberg given the underlying circumstances. As such, it appears to the Court that Plaintiff has satisfied the mandatory requirements of Code Civ. Proc., § 2034.620 subds. (a) and (b).

Accordingly, the Motion for Leave to Augment is GRANTED.

(3) Defendant’s Motion in Limine No. 9 – A motion in limine is a motion used to preclude prejudicial or objectionable evidence before it is presented to the jury. (Blanks v. Shaw (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 336, 375.) The advantage of such motions is to avoid the obviously futile attempt to “unring the bell” in the event a motion to strike is granted in the proceedings before the jury. (Amtower v. Photon Dynamics, Inc. (2008) 158 Cal.App.4th 1582, 1593.) The granting of a motion in limine is improper if it eliminates the opportunity for a party to present evidence to prove its cause of action. (R & B Auto Ctr., Inc. v. Farmers Group, Inc. (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 327, 359.)

Regarding the presentation of expert testimony at trial, Evidence Code (“Evid. Code”), § 801 provides

If a witness is testifying as an expert, his testimony in the form of an opinion is limited to such an opinion as is:

(a) Related to a subject that is sufficiently beyond common experience that the opinion of an expert would assist the trier of fact; and

(b) Based on matter (including his special knowledge, skill, experience, training, and education) perceived by or personally known to the witness or made known to him at or before the hearing, whether or not admissible, that is of a type that reasonably may be relied upon by an expert in forming an opinion upon the subject to which his testimony relates, unless an expert is precluded by law from using such matter as a basis for his opinion.

As an initial matter, insofar as Defendants’ motion seeks to preclude Alderson from presenting expert testimony based on his alleged lack of credentials to qualify as an expert, the motion is moot pursuant to the Court’s findings and ruling on the motion for leave to augment, above.

The only remaining issue is whether any expert should be precluded from presenting opinion on subject matter relating to the standard of care of school administrators in a special education setting and Defendants’ alleged breach, therein, since those opinions are within a lay person’s knowledge. Notably, this argument was raised for the first time in the Reply papers of the motion in limine (the sole basis presented in the Moving Papers relates only to the credentials of Alderson). Thus, this matter is disregarded. (See San Diego Watercrafts, Inc. v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2002) 102 Cal.App.4th 308, 316 [due process requires a party be fully advised of the issues to be addressed and be given adequate notice of what facts it must rebut in order to prevail]; Zamani v. Carnes (9th Cir. 2007) 491 F.3d 990, 997 [“[t]he district court need not consider arguments raised for the first time in a reply brief”]; American Drug Stores, Inc. v. Stroh (1992) 10 Cal.App.4th 1446, 1453 (“[p]oints raised for the first time in a reply brief will ordinarily not be considered, because such consideration would deprive the respondent of an opportunity to counter the argument”]; Neighbours v. Buzz Oates Enterprises (1990) 217 Cal.App.3d 325, 335, fn. 8 [“‘the rule is that points raised in the reply brief for the first time will not be considered, unless good reason is shown for failure to present them before.’”]

Accordingly, since Alderson cannot testify at trial given his passing, Defendants’ Motion in Limine No. 9 is MOOT. Following Dr. Schwartzberg’s deposition, Defendants are not precluded from filing a Motion in Limine regarding Dr. Schwartzberg's qualifications and/or proposed testimony.

Conclusion

Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Augment is GRANTED;

Defendants’ Motion in Limine No. 9 is MOOT.
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