This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 11/21/2020 at 21:31:11 (UTC).

JOSE MACIAS ET AL VS BARRANCA MEDICI LP

Case Summary

On 06/09/2017 JOSE MACIAS filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against BARRANCA MEDICI LP. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Pomona Courthouse South located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are PATRICIA D. NIETO, DUKES, ROBERT A., GEORGINA T. RIZK, ROBERT A. DUKES and PETER A. HERNANDEZ. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****4576

  • Filing Date:

    06/09/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Pomona Courthouse South

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

PATRICIA D. NIETO

DUKES, ROBERT A.

GEORGINA T. RIZK

ROBERT A. DUKES

PETER A. HERNANDEZ

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs, Petitioners and Guardian Ad Litems

RAMOS JENNY

MACIAS JOSE

MACIAS SETH

MACIA JOSE

Defendants and Respondents

BARRANCA MEDICI LP

DOES 1 TO 20

BARRANCA VILLA INVESTORS LTD. A CALIFORNIA LIMITED PARTNERSHIP

PMI/CC EQUITIES LLC.

Plaintiff, Minor and Not Classified By Court

MACIAS SETH

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff, Petitioner and Minor Attorneys

VIRAG BRIAN J. ESQ.

VIRAG ESQ. BRIAN J.

VIRAG BRIAN JEFFREY ESQ.

VIRAG BRIAN JEFFREY

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

BORDIN-WOSK JOSHUA

BORDIN SEMMER LLP

BORDIN-WOSK JOSHUA D

 

Court Documents

Order to Show Cause re: Dismissal (Settlement)

11/13/2020: Order to Show Cause re: Dismissal (Settlement)

Order to Show Cause re: Dismissal (Settlement)

11/13/2020: Order to Show Cause re: Dismissal (Settlement)

Order - ORDER ON THE COURT'S TENTATIVE RULING

6/23/2020: Order - ORDER ON THE COURT'S TENTATIVE RULING

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION;)

6/23/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION;)

Notice - NOTICE PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF WITHDRAWING MOTION TO COMPEL OFF CALENDAR

5/12/2020: Notice - NOTICE PLAINTIFF'S NOTICE OF WITHDRAWING MOTION TO COMPEL OFF CALENDAR

Motion for Summary Adjudication

4/1/2020: Motion for Summary Adjudication

Separate Statement

4/1/2020: Separate Statement

[Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Person - [PROPOSED ORDER] AND STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL, FSC (AND RELATED MOTION/DISCOVERY DATES) PERSO

11/18/2019: [Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Person - [PROPOSED ORDER] AND STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL, FSC (AND RELATED MOTION/DISCOVERY DATES) PERSO

Proof of Personal Service

11/5/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: NOTICE OF HEARING

5/16/2018: Legacy Document - LEGACY DOCUMENT TYPE: NOTICE OF HEARING

Notice of Deposit - Jury

2/5/2019: Notice of Deposit - Jury

DEFENDANTS BARRANCE MEDICI LPS MOTION TO STRIKE PUNITIVE AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND CERTAIN OTHER ALLEGATIONS FROM COMPLAINT AND ETC.

2/20/2018: DEFENDANTS BARRANCE MEDICI LPS MOTION TO STRIKE PUNITIVE AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND CERTAIN OTHER ALLEGATIONS FROM COMPLAINT AND ETC.

PLAINTIFF?S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT, BARRANCA MEDICI LP'S MOTION TO STRIKE PUNITIVE AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND CERTAIN OTHER ALLEGATIONS FROM COMPLAINT

4/5/2018: PLAINTIFF?S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT, BARRANCA MEDICI LP'S MOTION TO STRIKE PUNITIVE AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND CERTAIN OTHER ALLEGATIONS FROM COMPLAINT

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: 1. BREACH OF WARRANTY OF HABITABILITY; ETC

6/9/2017: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: 1. BREACH OF WARRANTY OF HABITABILITY; ETC

APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

6/12/2017: APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

NOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

6/14/2017: NOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM?CIVIL

8/1/2017: APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM?CIVIL

SUMMONS -

9/8/2017: SUMMONS -

38 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 01/26/2021
  • Hearing01/26/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department O at 400 Civic Center Plaza, Pomona, CA 91766; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement)

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  • 11/17/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 11/13/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause re: Dismissal (Settlement); Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/13/2020
  • DocketNotice of Settlement; Filed by JOSE MACIAS (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/13/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause re: Dismissal (Settlement); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/26/2020
  • Docketat 09:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Leave to Amend (Motion for Leave to Amend and add Fraud Cause of Action) - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 08/18/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 08/05/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 06/23/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 06/23/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department O, Peter A. Hernandez, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Adjudication - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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77 More Docket Entries
  • 09/08/2017
  • DocketSummons Issued; Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/09/2017
  • DocketOrd Apptng Guardian Ad Litem; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 08/01/2017
  • DocketAPPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM CIVIL

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  • 08/01/2017
  • DocketApplication ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 06/14/2017
  • DocketNOTICE OF REJECTION - APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

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  • 06/12/2017
  • DocketAPPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM - CIVIL

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  • 06/12/2017
  • DocketApplication ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 06/09/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: 1. BREACH OF WARRANTY OF HABITABILITY; ETC

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  • 06/09/2017
  • DocketComplaint Filed

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  • 06/09/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by JOSE MACIAS (Plaintiff); Jose Macias (Plaintiff); Jenny Ramos (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC664576    Hearing Date: June 23, 2020    Dept: O

Defendant Barranca Medici, LP’s motion for summary adjudication is DENIED.

Introduction

On April 1, 2020, Defendant Barranca Medici, LP (“Defendant”) filed a Motion for Summary Adjudication on the issue of exemplary and punitive damages in the Complaint of Plaintiffs Jose Macias, individually and as Guardian ad Litem for Seth Macias, and Jenny Ramos (“Plaintiffs”). Plaintiffs filed their Opposition on June 9, 2020. The Court held a hearing on June 23, 2020, and took the matter under submission. The Court hereby finds as follows:

Judicial Notice

Judicial notice is taken of Defendant’s Exhibit A. (Evid. Code §§ 452, 453.)

Legal Standard

A defendant moving for summary judgment/adjudication has met his burden of showing a cause of action has no merit if the defendant can show one or more elements of the plaintiff’s cause of action cannot be established. (CCP § 437c(p)(2).) “A defendant can satisfy its burden by presenting evidence that negates an element of the cause of action or evidence that the plaintiff does not possess and cannot reasonably expect to obtain evidence needed to support an element of the cause of action.” (Superior Dispatch, Inc. v. Insurance Corp. of New York (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 175, 186.) The court must liberally construe evidence in support of the party opposing summary judgment and resolve all doubts concerning the evidence in favor of that party. (Dore v. Arnold Worldwide, Inc. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 384, 389.)

The present case involves a rental property owned by Defendant located at 111 South Barranca, West Covina, California (the “Property”). Plaintiffs allege that Defendant failed to provide a habitable dwelling during their tenancy at one of the units of the Property due to a bed bug infestation. Plaintiffs allege that Defendant retaliated against them for their complaints by pretextually evicting them when they refused to pay for a pest control fee. According to Plaintiffs allegations, Defendant served Plaintiffs a notice to quit using the failure to pay the pest control services fees. Shortly after, Plaintiffs filed this case alleging habitability issues with the rental property during their tenancy.

Defendant contends that Plaintiffs are unable to show a triable issue of fact as to the issue of exemplary and punitive damages.

To be entitled to punitive or exemplary damages, a plaintiff must show that the defendant was guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice in an action for a breach of an obligation not arising from a contract. (Civ. Code § 3294.) Under section 3294:

(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 part of the defendant of thereby depriving a person of property or legal rights or otherwise causing injury.

(Id.)

Generally, the law does not favor punitive damages and they should be granted with the great caution. (Ferraro v. Pacific Fin. Corp. (1970) 8 Cal.App.3d 339, 351.) On a motion for summary adjudication with respect to a punitive damage claim, the higher evidentiary standard applies. If a plaintiff is going to prevail on a punitive damage claim, he or she can only do so by establishing malice, oppression or fraud by clear and convincing evidence. Thus, any evidence submitted in response to a motion for summary adjudication must necessarily meet that standard. (Basich v. Allstate Ins. Co. (2001) 87 Cal.App.4th 1112, 1121.) Under Civil Code section 1942.5, a retaliatory act by the landlord because of a tenant’s lawful actions in asserting his or her rights subjects the landlord to liability for punitive damages.

Defendant’s position is that there are no facts demonstrating that Defendant acted with malice, fraud, or oppression to warrant punitive damages. At most, Defendant asserts that its actions merely demonstrate negligence. Furthermore, Defendant claims that the basis for Plaintiffs’ claims are contractual in nature, for which section 3294 specifically excludes as a type of claim in obtaining punitive damages. According to Defendant, the facts demonstrate that when Plaintiffs informed Defendant of a bed bug problem, Defendant promptly acted to remedy it. (DSS 6-8.) Moreover, Defendant contends the bed bug problem was also promptly resolved. (DSS 10-11, 13.) Particularly, Defendant claims the pest control company that treated the premises, Rumble Fish, determined the bed bug problem had been resolved. (DSS 11.) Additionally, Defendant asserts that when the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (“DPH”) employee inspected the premises on August 11, 2015, she also did not find any bed bug infestation. (DSS 13.) Defendant contends that beyond the bed bug problem reoccurring, something that is not within its complete control, Defendant did nothing which shows intentional malice or ill-will toward Plaintiffs in handling the bed bug problem. Based on the foregoing, Defendant has met its burden, and the burden shifts to Plaintiffs to show a dispute of fact.

Plaintiffs contend that Defendant did not show that Plaintiffs cannot reasonably expect to obtain evidence to support their claim for punitive damages. Furthermore, Plaintiffs also contend that there may exist further facts justifying a claim for punitive damages, since it has not been able to take the deposition of Defendant’s persons most knowledgeable both due to Defendant’s objections and with delays due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. (Opposition, 6:20-24.)

The evidence Plaintiffs do present, however, does dispute Defendant’s characterization of the material facts. Plaintiffs contend that the bed bug problem was never resolved, disputing Defendant’s assertion that both the pest control company and DPH found no bed bug infestation issue. (Disputed DSS 11, 13.) A male DPH inspector by the name of “Kai” found bed bug activity around May 2015. (Disputed DSS 13.) While the female DPH inspector did not find bed bugs at the time of the August 11, 2015 inspection, she also qualified in her testimony that simply because she did not find bed bugs at the time of the inspection did not mean they were no longer there because bed bugs often hide during the day and generally come out at night, making them hard to find. (Id.) Thus, Plaintiff has demonstrated that there is at least a dispute of fact as to whether the bed bug problem persisted.

However, the evidence of a bed bug problem is only one small consideration in deciding whether Plaintiffs can pursue punitive damages against Defendant. As Defendant rightly points out, Plaintiffs have not demonstrated through these facts alone that Defendant intentionally released bed bugs into their unit, willfully ignored the problem, or acted in a manner that caused Plaintiffs to suffer a graver injustice. Plaintiffs do not show facts that Defendant willfully created the bed bug problem to force Plaintiffs to move out of the premises. Thus, Plaintiffs must also now show a dispute of fact as to whether any other actions by Defendant demonstrate a willful act of malice, oppression, or fraud that would warrant a claim for punitive damages.

Plaintiffs contend that the should be entitled to seek punitive damages because Defendant acted with malice in evicting Plaintiffs for complaining about the bed bug problem. Particularly, Plaintiffs contend that they were improperly charged the pest control fee of an initial amount in $2,300.00, which was later reduced to $1,200.00.[1] (Disputed DSS 6.) Plaintiffs contend this amount Defendant requested was outrageous because this amount was allegedly the total amount in costs to treat not only Plaintiffs’ unit, but also four other adjacent units. Plaintiffs also contend the amount was outrageous because the treatment demonstrated by Defendant and the pest control company was substandard as the issue reoccurred at least twice before Plaintiffs moved out. (Undisputed DSS 7-10, 12.) This pest control fee, Plaintiffs contend, was charged in retaliation for them complaining about the habitability of their rental property, particularly to DPH which caused the agency to conduct an inspection of the premises. (Disputed DSS 13.) Plaintiffs also contend that Defendant made a baseless accusation that Plaintiffs were responsible for the bed bug infestation. (Disputed DSS 6.) This accusation seemed to serve the basis for Defendant charging Plaintiffs the pest control fee. When Plaintiffs ultimately refused to pay this fee, Plaintiffs were served a 60-day Notice to Vacate and Notice of Non-Renewal of Lease. (Disputed DSS 14.) Thus, Plaintiffs have demonstrated facts showing an indicia of malice by Defendant in how it dealt with Plaintiffs’ complaint of the bed bug issue.

A jury should therefore decide the ultimate merits as to whether Defendant acted with malice when it charged Plaintiffs the pest control fee.

Summary Adjudication is DENIED.


[1] Of important note is Defendant’s lack of contention in its Motion that it was able to charge this pest control fee to Plaintiffs.