Pending - Other Pending
Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury
GEORGINA T. RIZK
VALLIN MARIA DE LOURDES
DOES 1 TO 25
ALL STAR HOMES LLC
DELA CRUZ DOROTHY
PARKLANE MOBILE ESTATES AN ENTITY OF UNKNOWN FORM
MORTGAGE FUNDING A CALIFORNIA
PARKLANE MOBILE ESTATES AN ENTITY OF UNKNOWN FORM
ISAACS BARAK ESQ.
SALEM ABE G. ESQ.
REDFIELD RYAN P.
1/2/2018: COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)
3/15/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT
3/7/2018: ORDER ON COURT FEE WAIVER
3/7/2018: ANSWER OF DEFEDANT ALL STARHOMES TO PLAINTIFF'S UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES
3/7/2018: ORDER ON COURT FEE WAIVER
3/7/2018: Proof of Service by 1st Class Mail
3/6/2018: ANSWER OF DEFENDANT MARIA RICHARDSON TO PLAINTIFF'S UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES
6/13/2019: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees
6/13/2019: Demand for Jury Trial
4/12/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)
3/25/2019: Stipulation and Order
6/29/2018: AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT
2/8/2018: ANSWER OF DEFENDANT CALLOAN CORPORATION, A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION
Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department 2 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; : OSC RE Dismissal[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department 2 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Hearingat 10:00 AM in Department 2 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 2, Georgina T. Rizk, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 2, Georgina T. Rizk, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by Parklane Mobile Estates, an entity of unknown form (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCross-Complaint; Filed by Parklane Mobile Estates, an entity of unknown form (Cross-Complainant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketDemand for Jury Trial; Filed by Parklane Mobile Estates, an entity of unknown form (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketNotice of Posting of Jury Fees; Filed by Parklane Mobile Estates, an entity of unknown form (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketAnswer; Filed by Parklane Mobile Estates, an entity of unknown form (Defendant)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by Defendant/Respondent[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketANSWER OF DEFEDANT ALL STARHOMES TO PLAINTIFF'S UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketORDER ON COURT FEE WAIVER[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketAnswer; Filed by Defendant/Respondent[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketANSWER OF DEFENDANT MARIA RICHARDSON TO PLAINTIFF'S UNVERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketAnswer; Filed by Mortgage Funding, a California (Defendant); Mortgage Funding (Legacy Party)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketANSWER OF DEFENDANT CALLOAN CORPORATION, A CALIFORNIA CORPORATION[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Maria De Lourdes Vallin (Plaintiff)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketSUMMONS[+] Read More [-] Read Less
DocketCOMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)[+] Read More [-] Read Less
Case Number: ****8886 Hearing Date: February 04, 2020 Dept: 29
Vallin v. Colloan Corp. et al.
Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendant Mortgage Funding is DENIED. Defendant has not shown it is entitled to judgment in its favor based on the material facts proffered. Cal Code Civil Procedure ; 437c(p)(2).
The complaint alleges that on 2/27/2016, Plaintiff was on Defendant’s property to view a mobile home owned by Defendant Mortgage Funding, erroneously sued as Colloan Corporation (“Defendant”). Plaintiff’s sister, Flora Meza, was in the midst of buying the property from Defendant. Ms. Meza allegedly made an appointment for her and her sisters to view the property, but the agent (Defendant Maria Richardson Madrigal) could not make the appointment. She allegedly told Ms. Meza that the women could view the interior of the property by looking through the windows. Plaintiff tried to look through the window from atop a short, wooden “staircase” that Plaintiff alleges appeared to be affixed to the property, when actually it was on casters. Plaintiff fell and sustained injuries. She sued Defendant for negligence and premises liability. Defendant moves for summary judgment.
Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, the evidence is sufficient to establish the following material facts:
Defendant Mortgage Funding was the title holder of the mobile home. Mortgage Funding retained Defendant All Star Homes LLC to list and sell the mobile home. Madrigal was agent for dealer engaged by All Star to list and sell the mobile home. At the time of the incident, Mortgage Funding had accepted an offer by Plaintiff’s sister to buy the mobile home.
On 2/27/2016, Plaintiff, Meza and another sister sought to view the property. Meza had a conversation with Madrigal on the speaker phone in the car, which Plaintiff could overhear. Ms. Madrigal stated that she would not be able to meet the sisters at the property but that they would still be able to view the interior of the property by looking through the property’s windows.
When they arrived at the property, Plaintiff noticed an object that the parties have referred to as a “short staircase” or a “cart.” In the Court’s view, based on the photograph, the object is best characterized as a rough-hewn step ladder. The step ladder was positioned against the mobile home wall under the window. Plaintiff declares that it was necessary to stand on this ladder because the window was too high off the ground to look through. Plaintiff further declares that the step ladder appeared to her to be attached to the wall and did not appear to be on wheels or moveable in any way.
Plaintiff attempted to lift her niece up while they were both on the top step to allow her niece to look through the window. As she performed this act, the step ladder rolled away from the house, causing Plaintiff to fall and suffer injury.
Photographs of the object depict a wooden structure made with 2x4 pieces of lumber and planks, arranged to form a rough step stool. The planks serve as the treads; the vertical risers are formed by 2x4s. It is not clear from the photographs how high the risers are, but they appear to be much larger than an ordinary step. There is no handrail attached. A close inspection of the photograph reveals that there are small black casters on the bottom of the step stool. The Court cannot tell how obvious the casters would be to someone approaching the object in person. There are two horizontal 2x 4” pieces of lumber tacked on to the back of the step ladder that would allow it to rest against a wall.
No agent or employee of Mortgage Funding was aware of the step ladder, including Ms. Richardson Madrigal.
Premises liability is a form of negligence, which requires a premises owner to exercise ordinary care in the management of the premises to avoid exposing others to an unreasonable risk of harm. Brooks v. Eugene Burger Management Corp. (1989) 215 Cal.App.3d 1611, 1619. “The elements of premises liability are the same as those for negligence: duty, breach, causation and damages.” McIntyre v. The Colonies-Pacific LLC (2014) 228 Cal. App. 4th 664, 671. Plaintiff may establish breach of the duty of due care by proving that a dangerous condition existed; that the defendant knew or should have known of it; and that the person failed to remedy or warn of the condition. Vaughn v. Montgomery Ward & Co. (1950) 95 Cal.App.2d 553, 556.
Defendant claims that it cannot be liable for the claim because it did not have actual knowledge of the allegedly dangerous condition. As the moving party, Defendant bears the burden of making a prima facie showing that Plaintiff cannot establish one or more elements of her claim. Schmidt v. Citibank, N.A. (2018) 28 Cal. App. 5th 1109, 1119. The opposing party has no obligation to show a triable issue of material fact exists unless and until the moving party has met its burden. Id. Here, the test provides a plaintiff two options for proving the knowledge element, joined by the disjunctive “or” – that the defendant knew or should have known of the allegedly dangerous condition. As the party moving for summary judgment, Defendant bears the initial burden of proving that Plaintiff cannot establish either of those options. Peredia v. H.R. Mobile Services, Inc. (2018) 25 Cal. App. 5th 680, 697-98. Even if Defendant’s evidence is sufficient to establish that Defendant and its agent did not have actual knowledge of the condition, Defendant would not be entitled to summary judgment on this ground because Defendant does not address constructive notice and therefore does not meet its initial burden on this element.
Defendant claims that it had no duty to inspect the property to determine whether a dangerous condition exists. Defendant’s position is directly contrary to the law. “While a landowner is not the insurer of a visitor's safety, a landowner must exercise ordinary care by making reasonable inspections of the premises to ascertain whether any dangerous conditions exist on the property. [citation omitted] If a dangerous condition does exist, the landowner must, use the care required of a reasonably prudent [person] acting under the same circumstances. Failure to do so constitutes a breach of duty of care.” Jones v. Awad (2019) 39 Cal. App. 5th 1200, 1208.
Because Defendant presents no evidence regarding the constructive notice element, the Defendant did not meet its initial burden and the Court cannot grant summary judgment based on the notice element.
Defendant also claims that it is entitled to summary judgment because it claims that the fact that the step ladder was on casters and thus could roll was open and obvious. “Landowners have no duty to warn of open and obvious dangers on their property because such dangers serve as warnings themselves.” Id. at 1208-1209.
Here, the Court cannot conclude, based on the evidence submitted, that the fact that the step ladder might roll was an open and obvious condition. Defendant relies on photographs in which the casters are visible when one is looking for them, but difficult to see because they recede under the wooden platform on top. The evidence does not conclusively establish that the wheels would have been obvious to someone walking up to the steps in real life (as opposed to viewing them in a photograph). Further, the step ladder is affixed to two horizonal 2 x 4 pieces that allow it to be placed flush with the wall. A jury could conclude that this arrangement reasonably gave rise to Plaintiff’s impression that the step ladder was affixed to the wall and would not roll.
Defendant also raises a new argument for the first time in the reply brief, claiming that Plaintiff’s injury resulted from Plaintiff’s own negligence. This issue was not raised in Defendant’s moving papers. The Court cannot consider a ground for summary judgment raised for the first time on reply. In any event, Plaintiff’s own negligence is relevant to comparative fault, but would not negate Defendant’s own duty.
For the foregoing reasons, summary judgment is denied.
RULINGS ON OBJECTIONS
Defendant’s objections to the declaration of Plaintiff
1. Overruled. Plaintiff heard Ms. Madrigal make the statement because the conversation was on a speaker phone.
Defendant’s objection to the declaration of Ms. Soltero
1. Overruled. Ms. Soltero heard Ms. Madrigal make the statement because the conversation was on a speaker phone.
Moving party is ordered to give notice.
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