This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/15/2019 at 10:16:13 (UTC).

JOANNA LESLIE PFEISTER VS CARLOS EDUARDO AZUCENA ET AL

Case Summary

On 07/07/2017 JOANNA LESLIE PFEISTER filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against CARLOS EDUARDO AZUCENA. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are YOLANDA OROZCO, LAURA A. SEIGLE and AMY D. HOGUE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7771

  • Filing Date:

    07/07/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

YOLANDA OROZCO

LAURA A. SEIGLE

AMY D. HOGUE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

PFEISTER JOANNA LESLIE

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1 TO 50

AZUCENA CARLOS EDUARDO

FEDERAL EXPRESS CORPORATION

FEDERAL EXPRESS GROUND PACKAGE SYSTEM INC

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorney

SCARLETT RANDALL H.

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

HENDERSHOTT KURT T. ESQ

FISHKIN JEFFREY A

HENDERSHOTT KURT THOMAS

 

Court Documents

Motion for Leave to Amend

7/2/2019: Motion for Leave to Amend

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

7/11/2019: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Opposition

7/12/2019: Opposition

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

8/12/2019: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

2/8/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Certificate of Mailing for

2/14/2019: Certificate of Mailing for

Notice of Lien

4/17/2019: Notice of Lien

Declaration

4/26/2019: Declaration

Minute Order

5/8/2019: Minute Order

Opposition

5/9/2019: Opposition

Minute Order

5/14/2019: Minute Order

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

5/24/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Declaration

5/24/2019: Declaration

SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY

5/24/2018: SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY

DEFENDANTS' ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

9/1/2017: DEFENDANTS' ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

DEFENDANTS' NOTICE OF DEPOSIT OF JURY FEES

9/1/2017: DEFENDANTS' NOTICE OF DEPOSIT OF JURY FEES

CIVIL DEPOSIT

9/1/2017: CIVIL DEPOSIT

SUMMONS

7/7/2017: SUMMONS

47 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/21/2019
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department 4B at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 11/06/2019
  • Hearingat 10:00 AM in Department 4B at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 09/04/2019
  • Hearingat 13:30 PM in Department 4B at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery")

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  • 08/29/2019
  • Hearingat 13:30 PM in Department 4B at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Leave to Amend (name extension)

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  • 08/21/2019
  • Hearingat 13:30 PM in Department 4B at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Protective Order

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  • 08/21/2019
  • Hearingat 13:30 PM in Department 4B at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery")

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  • 08/14/2019
  • Docketat 5:00 PM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Court Order

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  • 08/14/2019
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((ORDER TRANSFERRING PERSONAL INJURY (PI) CASE TO INDEPENDENT C...) of 08/14/2019); Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/14/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (ORDER TRANSFERRING PERSONAL INJURY (PI) CASE TO INDEPENDENT C...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/14/2019
  • DocketORDER TRANSFERRING PERSONAL INJURY (PI) CASE TO INDEPENDENT CALENDAR (IC) COURT; Filed by Clerk

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72 More Docket Entries
  • 02/20/2018
  • DocketDEFENDANTS FEDEX GROUND PACKAGE SYSTEM, INC. AND CARLOS EDUARDO AZUCENA S NOTICE OF ASSOCIATION

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  • 09/01/2017
  • DocketCIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 09/01/2017
  • DocketDEFENDANTS' NOTICE OF DEPOSIT OF JURY FEES

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  • 09/01/2017
  • DocketReceipt; Filed by Carlos Eduardo Azucena (Defendant); Federal Express Ground Package System,Inc (Legacy Party)

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  • 09/01/2017
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Carlos Eduardo Azucena (Defendant); Federal Express Ground Package System,Inc (Legacy Party)

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  • 09/01/2017
  • DocketNotice; Filed by Carlos Eduardo Azucena (Defendant); Federal Express Ground Package System,Inc (Legacy Party)

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  • 09/01/2017
  • DocketDEFENDANTS' ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

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  • 07/07/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 07/07/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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  • 07/07/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Joanna Leslie Pfeister (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC667771    Hearing Date: December 05, 2019    Dept: 37

HEARING DATE: December 5, 2019

CASE NUMBER: BC667771

CASE NAME: Joanna Leslie Pfeister v. Carlos Eduardo Azucena, et al.

TRIAL DATE: August 18, 2020

MOTION: Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave and Order Permitting Discovery of the Financial Condition of Defendants

MOVING PARTIES: Plaintiff, Joanna Leslie Pfeister

OPPOSING PARTY: November 25, 2019

PROOF OF SERVICE: OK

OPPOSITION: November 25, 2019 (Declaration of Loeding and Objection to Plaintiff’s Motion filed November 20, 2019).

REPLY: November 25, 2019

TENTATIVE: Plaintiff, Joanna Leslie Pfeister’s Motion for Leave and Order Permitting Discovery of the Financial Condition of Defendants is DENIED without prejudice. Counsel for Defendants to give notice.

 

Background

This is a personal injury action arising from an alleged motor vehicle collision where a truck driven by Carlos Eduardo Azucena (“Azucena”) struck a vehicle driven by Joanna Leslie Pfeister. (“Plaintiff”) on May 6, 2016 as part of a multiple vehicle collision on the northbound interstate 5. The Complaint alleges that Azucena was negligent for colliding with Plaintiff in violation of California Vehicle Code section 22350 and that Federal Express Ground Package System, Inc. (“Fedex”) was the owner, operator, lessee, and/or entity for whose benefit the truck was being operated. The Complaint alleges one cause of action for negligence against Azucena, Fededx, and Does 1 to 50.

On or about September 21, 2018, Defendants stipulated that Azucena negligently operated his vehicle within the scope of the agency relationship with Defendant FedEx and that Defendant FedEx is vicariously liable for negligence to Plaintiff.

On August 14, 2019, this matter was transferred and reassigned from the Personal Injury Court to the Independent Calendar Court in the Central District of the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

On October 9, 2019, after obtaining leave of court, Plaintiff, now self represented, filed her First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) The FAC newly alleges a claim for punitive damages in connection with the Subject Collision. Plaintiff generally alleges that she is entitled to punitive damages because Azucena failed to operate his vehicle in compliance with various California and Federal regulations governing commercial vehicles. Plaintiff additionally alleges that she is entitled to punitive damages as to Fedex because Fedex policies enabled it to delegate non-delegable duties about management of its commercial vehicle drivers such that Azucena was not sufficiently screened or disciplined prior to the Subject Collision.

On October 29, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant motion seeking leave to permit discovery into Azucena and Fedex’s financial condition pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 3295. Azucena and Fedex oppose the motion.

Analysis

Civil Code § 3294(a) authorizes the recovery of punitive damages in non-contract cases “where it is proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice…

(1) “Malice” means conduct which is intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff or despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.

(2) “Oppression” means despicable conduct that subjects a person to cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of that person’s rights.

(3) “Fraud” means an intentional misrepresentation, deceit, or concealment of a material fact known to the defendant with the intention on the party of the defendant of thereby depriving a person of property or legal rights or otherwise causing injury.

Civil Code § 3294(c)(1)-(3).

Upon motion by the plaintiff supported by appropriate affidavits and after a hearing, if the court deems a hearing to be necessary, the court may at any time enter an order permitting the discovery otherwise prohibited by this subdivision if the court finds, on the basis of the supporting and opposing affidavits presented, that the plaintiff has established that there is a substantial probability that the plaintiff will prevail on the claim pursuant to Section 3294. Such order shall not be considered to be a determination on the merits of the claim or any defense thereto and shall not be given in evidence or referred to at the trial.

Civil Code § 3295(c) (emphasis added).

[B]efore a court may enter an order permitting discovery of a defendant's financial condition, it must (1) weigh the evidence submitted in favor of and in opposition to motion for discovery, and (2) make a finding that it is very likely the plaintiff will prevail on his claim for punitive damages. In this context, we interpret the words ‘substantial probability’ to mean ‘very likely’ or ‘a strong likelihood’ just as their plain meaning suggests. We note that the Legislature did not use the term ‘reasonable probability’ or simply ‘probability,’ which would imply a lower threshold of ‘more likely than not.’ Jabro v. Superior Court 95 Cal.App.4th 754, 758 (it is not enough that a plaintiff makes a prima facie showing sufficient to avoid summary judgment on the claim for punitive damages and the trial court must weigh evidence from both sides).

Plaintiff Pfeister argues that she is entitled to discovery into Defendants financial condition because the evidence in the instant case proves that she is more likely than not to prevail on a claim for punitive damages, pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 3295. Defendants contend that Plaintiff’s motion is flawed in its entirety because it is a plagiarism of Plaintiffs Stewart’s motion in the matter John Stewart et al. v. Fedex Ground Package System Inc., et al. (Los Angeles Superior Court case number BC640257) (see Opposition, 2-5; Declaration of Scott J. Loeding, ¶ 2.)

Here, a review of Plaintiff’s motion and supporting affidavits indicates that it may be an apparent copy of the Stewart motion. Plaintiff is self represented in this matter and submits only the declaration of attorney Jeffrey Burns to authenticate her various exhibits and documents in support of the instant motion. (See Volume I of “Declaration in Support of Motion for Permitting Discovery,” at pp. 2-6.) However, Mr. Burns has not made an appearance as an attorney in Plaintiff’s matter and Plaintiff has submitted no documents, declaration, or evidence that does not rely on authentication by Mr. Burns’ declaration. Mr. Burns declaration does not show he is making that declaration for this matter. In addition, much of the material is inadmissible hearsay as it involves discovery in another action. Plaintiff argues on reply that Mr. Burns “will be an attorney of record” in the instant action and has been admitted pro hac vice. (Reply, 2.) The court cannot find any order admitting him pro hac vice for this matter. However, whether Mr. Burns will appear in this matter in the future has no bearing on the fact that Plaintiff’s affidavits in support of her motion, as they are now submitted, lack proper authentication. Because Plaintiff’s motion is completely devoid of authenticated evidence, Plaintiff has failed to meet her burden under Code of Civil Procedure section 3295.

Given the foregoing, Plaintiff’s motion for order permitting discovery into Defendants’ financial condition is denied.

III. Conclusion

Plaintiff, Joanna Leslie Pfeister’s Motion for Leave and Order Permitting Discovery of the Financial Condition of Defendants is DENIED without prejudice. Counsel for Defendants to give notice