This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/15/2019 at 00:33:06 (UTC).

LYDIA VALDEZ VS KIM HAMLETT ET AL

Case Summary

On 01/26/2018 a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle case was filed by LYDIA VALDEZ against KIM HAMLETT in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****1796

  • Filing Date:

    01/26/2018

  • 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

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Petitioner and Plaintiff

VALDEZ LYDIA

Defendants and Respondents

LOS ANGELES THE COUNTY OF

DOES 1-25

HAMLETT KIM

GARDENA THE CITY OF

 

Court Documents

[Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Person

5/21/2019: [Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Person

Notice

5/22/2019: Notice

Notice of Motion

6/27/2019: Notice of Motion

Opposition

7/10/2019: Opposition

REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

5/31/2018: REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

STIPULATION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

5/21/2018: STIPULATION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Answer

4/23/2018: Answer

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

3/26/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

4/2/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

4/3/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT 1. NEGLIGENCE (JURY DEMANDED]

3/14/2018: FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT 1. NEGLIGENCE (JURY DEMANDED]

PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

2/5/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

PROOOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

2/5/2018: PROOOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

SUMMONS

1/26/2018: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE 2. NEGLIGENCE PER SE

1/26/2018: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE 2. NEGLIGENCE PER SE

3 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/12/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 07/10/2019
  • Opposition (PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFNDANTS CITY OF GARDENA AND KIM HAMLETT'S MOTION TO RECLASSIFY TO LIMITED JURISDICTION; DECLARATION OF RONALD R. HEARD); Filed by Lydia Valdez (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/27/2019
  • Notice of Motion; Filed by Kim Hamlett (Defendant); Gardena, The City of (Defendant)

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  • 05/22/2019
  • Notice (Notice of Continuance of FSC Trial and Related Motion Discovery Dates); Filed by Gardena, The City of (Defendant)

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  • 05/21/2019
  • [Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Personal Injury Courts Only (Central District); Filed by Gardena, The City of (Defendant)

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  • 05/31/2018
  • REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

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  • 05/31/2018
  • Partial Dismissal (w/o Prejudice); Filed by Lydia Valdez (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/21/2018
  • STIPULATION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF THE FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

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  • 05/21/2018
  • Stipulation and Order; Filed by Defendant/Respondent

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  • 04/23/2018
  • Answer

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6 More Docket Entries
  • 03/26/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 03/14/2018
  • FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT 1. NEGLIGENCE (JURY DEMANDED]

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  • 03/08/2018
  • First Amended Complaint; Filed by Lydia Valdez (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/05/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 02/05/2018
  • PROOOF OF SERVICE OF SUMMONS

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  • 02/05/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Lydia Valdez (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/05/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Lydia Valdez (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/26/2018
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE 2. NEGLIGENCE PER SE

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  • 01/26/2018
  • SUMMONS

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  • 01/26/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by Lydia Valdez (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC691796    Hearing Date: February 05, 2020    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

LYDIA VALDEZ,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

KIM HAMLETT, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

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CASE NO: BC691796

[TENTATIVE] ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFF’S MOTION FOR A NEW TRIAL

Dept. 31

1:30 p.m.

February 5, 2020

1. Allegations of the Complaint

Plaintiff, Lydia Valdez filed this action against Defendants, City of Gardena and Kim Hamlett for damages arising out of a trip and fall on a city bus handicap ramp. Plaintiff filed her complaint on 1/26/18. In her complaint, at ¶¶8-10, Plaintiff alleges compliance with the Government Tort Claims Act.

2. 12/12/19 Motion for Summary Judgment

The Court heard and granted Defendants’ motion for summary judgment on 12/12/19. The Court will not reiterate the entirety of its analysis. As pertains to this motion, the Court ruled as follows:

Defendants deposed Plaintiff on 4/17/19. Defense Counsel showed Plaintiff a copy of her Government Tort Claim. Plaintiff admitted that she had never seen the form before, had not filled out the form, did not sign the form, and did not authorize anyone to sign the form on her behalf.

Plaintiff had hired a lawyer, Vincent J. Quigg, to represent her in connection with the case. All reasonable inferences lead to the conclusion that Quigg, or someone from his office, prepared, signed, and filed the form.

The form is largely correct, in that it accurately details the location and incident at issue, and gives notice of the facts of the case. The form does, however, contain egregious errors, including mis-spelling Plaintiff’s name in multiple places. The form is dated 5/11/17. The form purports to be signed by Plaintiff, personally, not by someone “on her behalf.”

On 5/18/17, Plaintiff retained her current attorney, and has not been represented by Quigg since 5/18/17.

Gov Code §910.2 provides, in pertinent part, “The claim shall be signed by the claimant or by some person on his behalf.”

The crux of Defendants’ argument is that Plaintiff, in failing to sign the claim or authorize a person to sign the claim, cannot establish compliance with §910.2. Defendants essentially contend the form is a nullity, as it was not properly signed. Defendants do not cite any case directly on point, but do refer the Court to various cases concerning a prior version of the Code, which required tort claims to be verified. Numerous cases held that failure to verify a claim rendered the claim a nullity. Defendants argue, by extension, failure to sign the claim would render the claim a nullity.

Plaintiff, on the other hand, analogizes this case to various cases holding that “substantial compliance” with the requirements of Gov Code §910 is sufficient. §910 is the code section requiring various details about the claim, including the claimant’s address, the date, place, and circumstances of the occurrence, a general description of the occurrence, etc. Plaintiff also argues it would be inequitable to grant summary judgment where, as here, the claim was not signed because Plaintiff’s former attorney did not tell Plaintiff she needed to sign it, and she had no legal training that would have caused her to realize she needed to sign the form.

Defendants, in reply, argue “substantial compliance” applies to §910, but not to §910.2. Defendants argue the equitable arguments are not relevant and, in any event, Plaintiff’s equitable remedy is against her former attorney, not against Defendants.

This is a very difficult issue and an unfortunate situation. It is a purely legal issue, and is therefore ripe for the Court to decide at summary judgment. The Court finds Plaintiff expressly denied, at her deposition, either signing the claim or authorizing someone else to sign it on her behalf. The Court finds failure to sign the document is extremely similar to failure to verify the document under prior requirements, such that the case law governing verification is more on point than the case law governing substantial compliance with §910. In light of those findings, the motion for summary judgment must be granted.

3. Motion for New Trial

At this time, Plaintiff moves for a new trial. She moves for a new trial on the ground that the Court’s 12/12/19 ruling constitutes an error in law, as substantial compliance applies to §910.2.

a. Evidentiary Objections

Defendants filed objections to the reply memorandum of points and authorities. The Court is not aware of any authority permitting such objections, and they are overruled.

b. Propriety of Motion for New Trial

The threshold issue on the motion is whether the Court can reconsider a summary judgment ruling based on “error in law.” Either the moving or opposing party can seek reconsideration of a summary judgment ruling by the same judge within 10 days upon showing “new or different facts, circumstances or law.” CCP §1008(a); Hennigan v. White (2011) 199 Cal.App.4th 395, 406. However, once judgment is entered, the court cannot entertain or decide a motion for reconsideration. But the court has discretion to treat a motion for reconsideration as a motion for new trial. Sole Energy Co. v. Petrominerals Corp. (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 187, 193.

After the judgment is entered, it is subject to attack in the trial court as any other judgment. A motion for new trial can be filed within 15 days after the clerk's mailing of notice of entry of judgment. CCP §659. Such motion can be based on any statutory ground for new trial that is applicable: e.g., “accident or surprise,” “newly discovered evidence,” “error of law,” etc. See CCP §657; Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 841. When a new trial is granted following summary judgment, the new trial motion is in the nature of a motion for reconsideration (CCP §1008) and subject to the same requirements. Passavanti v. Williams (1990) 225 Cal.App.3d 1602, 1606.

Defendants argue that Passavanti precludes granting the motion based on “error in law,” and permits the motion to be granted if and only if there are new or different facts, circumstances, of law. The Court has reviewed Passavanti and finds it does not so hold. In light of the other authorities cited above, the Court will consider whether it committed an error of law in connection with the prior ruling.

c. Merits

Regardless of the foregoing, the Court finds Plaintiff fully advanced her arguments concerning substantial compliance in connection with the original motion for summary judgment, and the Court analyzed and rejected those arguments. Absent any new or different authorities, the Court affirms its prior ruling at this time. The motion for a new trial is denied.

Plaintiff is ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept31@lacourt.org 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.

Case Number: BC691796    Hearing Date: December 12, 2019    Dept: 3

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

LYDIA VALDEZ,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

KIM HAMLETT, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

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CASE NO: BC691796

[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Dept. 3

1:30 p.m.

December 12, 2019

1. Allegations of the Complaint

Plaintiff, Lydia Valdez filed this action against Defendants, City of Gardena and Kim Hamlett for damages arising out of a trip and fall on a city bus handicap ramp. Plaintiff filed her complaint on 1/26/18. In her complaint, at ¶¶8-10, Plaintiff alleges compliance with the Government Tort Claims Act.

2. Undisputed Facts

Defendants deposed Plaintiff on 4/17/19. Defense Counsel showed Plaintiff a copy of her Government Tort Claim. Plaintiff admitted that she had never seen the form before, had not filled out the form, did not sign the form, and did not authorize anyone to sign the form on her behalf.

Plaintiff had hired a lawyer, Vincent J. Quigg, to represent her in connection with the case. All reasonable inferences lead to the conclusion that Quigg, or someone from his office, prepared, signed, and filed the form.

The form is largely correct, in that it accurately details the location and incident at issue, and gives notice of the facts of the case. The form does, however, contain egregious errors, including mis-spelling Plaintiff’s name in multiple places. The form is dated 5/11/17. The form purports to be signed by Plaintiff, personally, not by someone “on her behalf.”

On 5/18/17, Plaintiff retained her current attorney, and has not been represented by Quigg since 5/18/17.

3. Motion for Summary Judgment

Defendants move for summary judgment on the complaint, contending Plaintiff’s admissions establish a failure to comply with the Government Tort Claims Act. Specifically, Defendants contend Plaintiff admitted she did not comply with Gov Code §910.2, and therefore they contend they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

Gov Code §910.2 provides, in pertinent part, “The claim shall be signed by the claimant or by some person on his behalf.”

The crux of Defendants’ argument is that Plaintiff, in failing to sign the claim or authorize a person to sign the claim, cannot establish compliance with §910.2. Defendants essentially contend the form is a nullity, as it was not properly signed. Defendants do not cite any case directly on point, but do refer the Court to various cases concerning a prior version of the Code, which required tort claims to be verified. Numerous cases held that failure to verify a claim rendered the claim a nullity. Defendants argue, by extension, failure to sign the claim would render the claim a nullity.

Plaintiff, on the other hand, analogizes this case to various cases holding that “substantial compliance” with the requirements of Gov Code §910 is sufficient. §910 is the code section requiring various details about the claim, including the claimant’s address, the date, place, and circumstances of the occurrence, a general description of the occurrence, etc. Plaintiff also argues it would be inequitable to grant summary judgment where, as here, the claim was not signed because Plaintiff’s former attorney did not tell Plaintiff she needed to sign it, and she had no legal training that would have caused her to realize she needed to sign the form.

Defendants, in reply, argue “substantial compliance” applies to §910, but not to §910.2. Defendants argue the equitable arguments are not relevant and, in any event, Plaintiff’s equitable remedy is against her former attorney, not against Defendants.

This is a very difficult issue and an unfortunate situation. It is a purely legal issue, and is therefore ripe for the Court to decide at summary judgment. The Court finds Plaintiff expressly denied, at her deposition, either signing the claim or authorizing someone else to sign it on her behalf. The Court finds failure to sign the document is extremely similar to failure to verify the document under prior requirements, such that the case law governing verification is more on point than the case law governing substantial compliance with §910. In light of those findings, the motion for summary judgment must be granted.

Defendants are ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept3@lacourt.org 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.

Case Number: BC691796    Hearing Date: November 12, 2019    Dept: 3

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

LYDIA VALDEZ,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

KIM HAMLETT, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

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CASE NO: BC691796

[TENTATIVE] ORDER CONTINUING HEARING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Dept. 3

1:30 p.m.

November 12, 2019

Defendants, City of Gardena and Kim Hamlett filed this motion for summary judgment on 8/16/19, setting it for hearing on 11/12/19. On 10/24/19, Plaintiff timely filed opposition to the motion.

Any reply to the opposition is due on or before 11/07/19. Because 11/11/19 is a court holiday, the Court is concerned it will not have time to review the reply papers meaningfully prior to the hearing. The hearing is therefore continued for one week, to 11/19/19 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 3 of the Spring Street Courthouse. The time for filing a reply is not extended as a result of this continuance, and no additional briefing is permitted by either party as a result of this continuance.

Additionally, the Court’s First Amended General Order Re: Mandatory Electronic Filing for Civil, dated 5/03/19, ¶9(b)(vi, requires parties to lodge tabbed courtesy copies of all papers in support of or opposition to a summary judgment motion. The Court asks both parties to provide courtesy copies of the moving, opposition, and reply papers directly to the department at least one week prior to the hearing.

Defendants are ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept3@lacourt.org 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.