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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/03/2019 at 04:35:02 (UTC).

JOHN RODRIGUEZ VS CITY OF IRWINDALE ET AL

Case Summary

On 06/20/2017 JOHN RODRIGUEZ filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against CITY OF IRWINDALE. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Pomona Courthouse South located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are BENNY C. OSORIO, PETER A. HERNANDEZ and DUKES, ROBERT A.. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****5690

  • Filing Date:

    06/20/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Pomona Courthouse South

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

BENNY C. OSORIO

PETER A. HERNANDEZ

DUKES, ROBERT A.

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

RODRIGUEZ JOHN

Defendants, Respondents and Cross Defendants

IRWINDALE CITY OF

LAI TONY

STATE OF CALIFORNIA-CALTRANS

COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

DOES 1 TO 100

COLORADO EMILIO (DOE 1)

BALDWIN PARK CITY OF (DOE 2)

LOS ANGELES COUNTY OF

BALDWIN PARK CITY OF

COLORADO EMILO

COLORADO EMILIO

BALDWIN PARK CITY OF DOE 2

COLORADO EMILIO ROE 1

CITY OF BALDWIN PARK

CITY OF IRWINDALE

COLORADO EMILIO DOE 1

CITY OF IRWINDALE A PUBLIC ENTITY

CITY OF BALDWIN PARK A PUBLIC ENTITY

ROES 1 THORUGH 100 INCLUSIVE

Defendants, Cross Plaintiffs and Cross Defendants

BALDWIN PARK CITY OF

COLORADO EMILO

COLORADO EMILIO

3 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

FIORE MAURO JR. ESQ.

FIORE MAURO LAW OFFICES OF

FIORE MAURO JR.

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

GROSSBERG & HOEHN

HARRIS TIM ESQ.

NACIONALES-TAFOYA ROBERT MANUEL ESQ.

TAFOYA ROBERT N. ESQ.

GROSSBERG SCOTT J.

HARRIS TIMOTHY J.

NACIONALES-TAFOYA ROBERT MANUEL

HARRIS TIMOTHY J. ESQ.

GROSSBERG SCOTT JAY

DEENIHAN MATTHEW J. ESQ

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

TAFOYA ROBERT N. ESQ.

DEENIHAN MATTHEW J. ESQ

Cross Defendant Attorney

HAITH SCOTT C.

Other Attorneys

DEENIHAN MATTHEW JOHN ESQ

 

Court Documents

Notice of Related Case

3/6/2018: Notice of Related Case

Unknown

5/23/2018: Unknown

CROSS-COMPLAINT OF THE CITY OF IRWINDALE FOR: 1. TOTAL EQUITABLE INDEMNITY; 2. PARTIAL EQUITABLE INDEMNITY; ECT.

5/24/2018: CROSS-COMPLAINT OF THE CITY OF IRWINDALE FOR: 1. TOTAL EQUITABLE INDEMNITY; 2. PARTIAL EQUITABLE INDEMNITY; ECT.

ANSWER BY CITY OF IRWINDALE TO CROSS-COMPLAINT OF TONY LAI

7/5/2018: ANSWER BY CITY OF IRWINDALE TO CROSS-COMPLAINT OF TONY LAI

NOTICE OF ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO CONSOLIDATE RELATED CASES AND CONTINUING TRIAL OF LEAD CASE TO TRIAL DATE OF SECOND RELATED CASE AND DENYING DFMURRERS OF DEFENDANT EMILIO COLORADO AS MOOT

7/13/2018: NOTICE OF ORDER GRANTING MOTIONS TO CONSOLIDATE RELATED CASES AND CONTINUING TRIAL OF LEAD CASE TO TRIAL DATE OF SECOND RELATED CASE AND DENYING DFMURRERS OF DEFENDANT EMILIO COLORADO AS MOOT

Notice of Court Hearing

8/9/2018: Notice of Court Hearing

Answer

8/17/2018: Answer

Declaration

3/29/2019: Declaration

Motion re:

4/2/2019: Motion re:

Brief

4/5/2019: Brief

Minute Order

1/24/2018: Minute Order

CITY OF BALDWIN PARK'S CROSSCOMPLAINT FOR: 1. CONTRIBUTION 2. DECLARATORY RELIEF; 3. APPORTIONMENT; ETC

12/21/2017: CITY OF BALDWIN PARK'S CROSSCOMPLAINT FOR: 1. CONTRIBUTION 2. DECLARATORY RELIEF; 3. APPORTIONMENT; ETC

SUMMONS

12/21/2017: SUMMONS

ORDER RE: STIPULATION TO WITHDRAW PLAINTIFF'S CLAIM FOR PREJUDGMENT INTEREST AGAINST THE CITY OF IRWINDALE

12/18/2017: ORDER RE: STIPULATION TO WITHDRAW PLAINTIFF'S CLAIM FOR PREJUDGMENT INTEREST AGAINST THE CITY OF IRWINDALE

STIPULATION TO WITHDRAW PLAINTIFF'S CLAIM FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES AGAINST TONY LAI; ORDER THEREON

12/18/2017: STIPULATION TO WITHDRAW PLAINTIFF'S CLAIM FOR ATTORNEY'S FEES AGAINST TONY LAI; ORDER THEREON

NOTICE OF TAKING HEARING OFF CALENDAR RE: MOTION BY CITY OF IRWINDALE TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

12/4/2017: NOTICE OF TAKING HEARING OFF CALENDAR RE: MOTION BY CITY OF IRWINDALE TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT

ORDER RE: PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM GOVERNMENT CLAIM REQUIREMENT WITH REGARDS TO CITY OF BALDWIN PARK FOR LEAVE TO FILE CIVIL ACTION

11/15/2017: ORDER RE: PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM GOVERNMENT CLAIM REQUIREMENT WITH REGARDS TO CITY OF BALDWIN PARK FOR LEAVE TO FILE CIVIL ACTION

Amended Complaint

9/28/2017: Amended Complaint

105 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/15/2019
  • Substitution of Attorney; Filed by City of Irwindale (Defendant); CITY OF IRWINDALE, a public entity (Cross-Defendant)

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  • 05/02/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by Colorado, Emilio (ROE 1) (Defendant)

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  • 05/01/2019
  • Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information; Filed by Tony Lai (Defendant)

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  • 04/25/2019
  • Notice of Joinder (Name Extension) (Notice of Joinder by City of Irwindale to Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the Alternative, For Summary Adjudication of Issues Filed by Tony Lai); Filed by City of Irwindale (Defendant)

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  • 04/24/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Leave to Amend (NOTION OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED ANSWER) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 04/24/2019
  • Order (Ruling on the Court's Tentative Ruling); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/24/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Hearing on Motion for Leave to AMENDED NOTICE OF MOTION AND M...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/17/2019
  • Reply (In Support of Defendant Emilio Colorado's Motion to Amend Answer; Declaration of Matthew J. Deenihan); Filed by Colorado, Emilio (ROE 1) (Defendant)

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  • 04/09/2019
  • Opposition (OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO AMEND ANSWER); Filed by John Rodriguez (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/09/2019
  • Declaration (DECLARATION OF MAURO FIORE IN OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO AMEND ANSWER); Filed by John Rodriguez (Plaintiff)

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218 More Docket Entries
  • 10/18/2017
  • Petition; Filed by John Rodriguez (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/28/2017
  • Defendant's Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court (Small Claims)

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  • 09/28/2017
  • Motion for Leave; Filed by John Rodriguez (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/28/2017
  • PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM GOVERNMENT CLAIM REQUIREMENT WITH REGARDS TO CITY OF BALDWIN PARK FOR LEAVE TO FILE CIVIL ACTION

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  • 09/28/2017
  • Amendment to Complaint; Filed by John Rodriguez (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/20/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

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  • 06/20/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by John Rodriguez (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/20/2017
  • Complaint Filed

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  • 06/20/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 02/21/2017
  • Summons; Filed by Baldwin Park, City of (DOE 2) (Defendant)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC665690    Hearing Date: September 18, 2020    Dept: O

Defendant Irwindale’s motion for determination of good faith settlement is GRANTED.

Defendant Irwindale (“Defendant”) moves for good faith determination of its settlement with Plaintiff pursuant to CCP § 877.6.

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 877.6, in an action in which two or more parties are alleged to be joint-tortfeasors, they are entitled to a hearing concerning the good faith issue of a settlement. A determination of good faith requires that the court calculate a rough approximation of plaintiffs' total recovery and the settlor's proportionate liability, the amount paid in settlement, the allocation of settlement proceeds among plaintiffs, and a recognition that a settlor should pay less in settlement than he would if he were found liable after a trial. (Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodard-Clyde & Assoc. (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488, 499.) Other relevant considerations include the financial conditions and insurance policy limits of settling defendants, as well as the existence of collusion, fraud, or tortious conduct aimed to injure the interests of nonsettling defendants. (Ibid.)

A determination by the court that the settlement was made in good faith shall bar any other joint tortfeasor or co-obligor from any further claims against the settling tortfeasor or co-obligor for equitable comparative contribution, or partial or comparative indemnity, based on comparative negligence or comparative fault. (CCP § 877.6(c).)  

Here, Plaintiff has agreed to dismiss Defendant from Plaintiff’s lawsuit with prejudice for $25,000.00.

Defendant Baldwin Park (“Baldwin Park”) opposes the settlement on the ground that the Court’s Order on Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment establishes that Defendant was comparatively negligent. However, as Defendant rightly points out, Baldwin Park untimely filed its Opposition. (See CCP § 1005 (Oppositions to GFS are to be filed and served at least 9 court days before the hearing).) Thus, the Court is inclined to not consider the Opposition.

Even if it were to consider the merits, the Court finds that settlement is within the “ballpark” of Defendant’s share of liability, which in the Court’s opinion is approximately 25%. The Court had previously mentioned in its Summary Judgment Order that Defendant’s involvement in the liability to Plaintiff’s injuries amounted to Defendant’s control of a portion of the intersection where the accident occurred, and that the accident did occur in its jurisdiction. Plaintiff had also raised a dispute of fact whether Defendant had a duty to warn the public of a dangerous condition. But raising a dispute of fact is a different standard than measuring how a trier of fact could and likely would find in a case. At the summary judgment stage, the Court was not allowed to weigh the facts as presented to it by the parties. Thus, the Court found there was a dispute of fact as to whether the property was safe when used with due care, but did not weigh in on what it believed was Defendant’s relative liability in the case. Furthermore, during the arguments presented at the summary judgment hearing, it was undisputed at that time by all parties that Baldwin Park’s actions (i.e., the parked cars on Baldwin’s Park side of the intersection which blocked visibility of oncoming traffic) was a major contributing factor to the accident. Thus, contrary to Baldwin Park’s contention that Defendant has more liability, a trier of fact can also easily find that Baldwin Park contributed to a greater portion of Plaintiff’s injuries.

The Court recognizes that Defendant’s settlement may be less than if it were found liable after a trial. Plaintiff’s requested damages are approximately $165,000.00,[1] of which Defendant would only be liable for a portion of $100,000.00 in economic damages. A $25,000.00 settlement amount--15% of the approximate total damages--from a Defendant that a trier of fact could find did not contribute to the majority of the accident is fair. The settlement was reached through an arm’s length negotiation between attorneys representing the respective parties, the available insurance coverage, and Plaintiff’s damages.

Accordingly, the Court finds that settling Defendant has presented sufficient information for this Court to determine that the settlement is in good faith. Motion is GRANTED.

Defendant Colorado’s motion to bifurcate is DENIED.

Defendant Emilio Colorado (“Defendant”) moves to bifurcate issues pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1048:

The court, in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice, or when separate trials will be conducive to expedition and economy, may order a separate trial of any cause of action, including a cause of action asserted in a cross-complaint, or of any separate issue or of any number of causes of action or issues, preserving the right of trial by jury required by the Constitution or a statute of this state or of the United States.

(CCP § 1048(b).)

Defendant requests the Court to bifurcate the issue of his affirmative defense of Accord and Satisfaction. According to Defendant, Plaintiff had previously made a policy limit settlement demand, but acceptance of the offer was then rejected when Plaintiff discovered that Defendant’s policy limit was the minimum $15,000.00. Defendant contends that the parties reached an agreement when Plaintiff’s insurance carrier accepted the demand for the policy limit.

Defendant contends that the issue of accord and satisfaction should be heard and adjudicated in a trial first before the case goes in front of a second jury because if the trier of fact decides in the first trial that the affirmative defense does apply in this case, all of Plaintiff’s claims against Defendant would be barred.

However, the Court finds that bifurcation in this instance will not achieve judicial efficiency. Two different juries will be empaneled, and there is no indication that the witnesses testifying at the first trial regarding accord and satisfaction will not be required to testify again at the second trial. Furthermore, as Plaintiff points out in his Opposition, the Court had previously ruled on this very issue, finding that there was no binding settlement agreement between the parties. (See Court’s Order on September 16, 2019.) Thus, Defendant is asking for another bite at the apple on this question of law that the Court has already decided against his favor by having a jury improperly decide this.

Motion is DENIED.


[1] Baldwin Park also mentioned that Plaintiff initially demanded $4,000,000.00 in damages from the City of Irwindale on his Claim for Damages Form, but that amount is unsubstantiated by the facts and cannot be seen as a reasonable amount in general and special damages.

Case Number: BC665690    Hearing Date: March 10, 2020    Dept: O

After hearing, Defendant City of Irwindale’s motion to trifurcate is DENIED.

Defendant City of Irwindale (“Defendant”) moves to trifurcate issues pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1048.  On March 9, 2020, Defendant notified the Court that it had settled its matter.  Nevertheless, Defendant City of Baldwin Park submitted a joinder of the motion and, thus, the Court will rule on the merits of the motion.  Under section 1048:

The court, in furtherance of convenience or to avoid prejudice, or when separate trials will be conducive to expedition and economy, may order a separate trial of any cause of action, including a cause of action asserted in a cross-complaint, or of any separate issue or of any number of causes of action or issues, preserving the right of trial by jury required by the Constitution or a statute of this state or of the United States. 

(CCP § 1048(b).)

Defendant requests the Court to trifurcate the issues of (1) design immunity, (2) liability, and (3) damages.  According to Defendant, the issue of design immunity should be heard as a Court trial first before the case goes in front of a jury because if the Court decides that design immunity applies in this case, there would be no need for the jury to decide liability or damages.  The Court understands that one of the elements of the design immunity affirmative defense concerns “reasonableness,” which is a question of law under Cornette v. Department of Transportation (2001) 26 Cal.4th 63, 66.  However, there is an open question as to whether the first two prongs of the design immunity affirmative defense should be heard by the jury.  At the hearing, Plaintiff John Rodriguez (“Plaintiff”) and Defendant City of Baldwin Park concurred that the “reasonableness” prong of the design immunity affirmative defense should be ruled on by the Court while a jury should decide the first two prongs.

As a result, the Court DENIES the motion to have a bench trial prior to a jury trial on the design immunity issue.

Moreover, the Court finds that trifurcation or bifurcation in this case will not achieve judicial economy.  Under Defendant’s scenario, at least two different juries would be empaneled, and there is no indication that the witnesses testifying at the first trial regarding design immunity will not be required to testify again at the second (or third) trial with regard to the issues of liability and damages.  Even if the witnesses were completely independent of each other concerning liability and damages, this is not an efficient way to proceed and Defendant does not provide sufficient justification for such an approach in this case. 

The Court DENIES the motion for separate trials on the issues of liability and damages.

Case Number: BC665690    Hearing Date: January 06, 2020    Dept: O

Defendant Tony Lai’s motion for order determining good faith settlement is GRANTED.

Defendant Tony Lai (“Defendant”) moves for good faith determination of his settlement with Plaintiff John Rodriguez (“Plaintiff”) pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 877.6.

Pursuant to section 877.6, in an action in which two or more parties are alleged to be joint-tortfeasors, they are entitled to a hearing concerning the good faith issue of a settlement. A determination of good faith requires that the court calculate a rough approximation of plaintiffs' total recovery and the settlor's proportionate liability, the amount paid in settlement, the allocation of settlement proceeds among plaintiffs, and a recognition that a settlor should pay less in settlement than he would if he were found liable after a trial. (Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodard-Clyde & Assoc. (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488, 499.) Other relevant considerations include the financial conditions and insurance policy limits of settling defendants, as well as the existence of collusion, fraud, or tortious conduct aimed to injure the interests of nonsettling defendants. (Ibid.)

A determination by the court that the settlement was made in good faith shall bar any other joint tortfeasor or co-obligor from any further claims against the settling tortfeasor or co-obligor for equitable comparative contribution, or partial or comparative indemnity, based on comparative negligence or comparative fault. (CCP § 877.6(c).)  

If the nonsettling defendants do not oppose the motion on the good faith issue, a “barebones motion which sets forth the ground of good faith, accompanied by a declaration which sets forth a brief background of the case, is sufficient.” (City of Grand Terrace v. Sup.Ct. (Boyter) (1987) 192 CA3d 1251, 1261.)

The motion and its accompanying declarations set forth grounds for good faith determination. Plaintiff and Defendant have agreed to settle Plaintiff’s claim for $25,000.00. The Court finds the settlement was made in good faith. There is no opposition. The Motion is GRANTED.

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