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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/03/2019 at 03:01:29 (UTC).

MARIA DEL PILAR HERNANDEZ FELIX VS TUFESA USA LLC ET AL

Case Summary

On 09/28/2017 MARIA DEL PILAR HERNANDEZ FELIX filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against TUFESA USA LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are MARC D. GROSS and JON R. TAKASUGI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7607

  • Filing Date:

    09/28/2017

  • 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

MARC D. GROSS

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

FELIX MARIA DEL PILAR HERNANDEZ

Defendants and Respondents

TUFESA USA LLC

TUFESA LOS ANGELES

TUFESA INTERNATIONAL

DOES 1 TO 100

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

DORDICK LAW CORPORATION

COURTNEY R. BELLER (PRO HAC VICE PENDING

Defendant Attorney

PENDING COURTNEY R. BELLER PRO HAC VICE

 

Court Documents

ANSWER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

2/20/2018: ANSWER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

Stipulation and Order

3/5/2019: Stipulation and Order

Motion re:

5/1/2019: Motion re:

Minute Order

1/19/2018: Minute Order

ORDER OVERRULING THE DEMURRER IN ENTIRETY

1/19/2018: ORDER OVERRULING THE DEMURRER IN ENTIRETY

NOTICE OF RULING

1/22/2018: NOTICE OF RULING

FIRST AMENDED SUMMONS

1/18/2018: FIRST AMENDED SUMMONS

FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

1/18/2018: FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES

NOTICE OF NO RESPONSE TO TUFESA USA, LLC'S NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF MARIA DEL PILAR HERNANDEZ FELIX'S COMPLAINT; ETC.

1/12/2018: NOTICE OF NO RESPONSE TO TUFESA USA, LLC'S NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF MARIA DEL PILAR HERNANDEZ FELIX'S COMPLAINT; ETC.

TUFESA USA, LLC'S NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF MARIA DEL PILAR HERNANDEZ FELIX'S COMPLAINT; ETC.

12/15/2017: TUFESA USA, LLC'S NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF MARIA DEL PILAR HERNANDEZ FELIX'S COMPLAINT; ETC.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO PERMIT COURTNEY R. BELLER TO APPEAR AS COUNSEL PRO HAC VICE

12/1/2017: ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO PERMIT COURTNEY R. BELLER TO APPEAR AS COUNSEL PRO HAC VICE

Minute Order

12/1/2017: Minute Order

APPLICATION OF COURTNEY R. BELLER FOR ADMISSION TO APPEAR AS COUNSEL PRO HAC VICE FOR DEFENDANT TUFESA, USA, LLC

11/7/2017: APPLICATION OF COURTNEY R. BELLER FOR ADMISSION TO APPEAR AS COUNSEL PRO HAC VICE FOR DEFENDANT TUFESA, USA, LLC

NOTICE OF APPLICATION TO APPEAR AS COUNSEL PRO HAC VICE OF COURTNEY R. BELLER

11/7/2017: NOTICE OF APPLICATION TO APPEAR AS COUNSEL PRO HAC VICE OF COURTNEY R. BELLER

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

10/18/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

10/18/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

SUMMONS

9/28/2017: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

9/28/2017: COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

6 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/01/2019
  • Motion re: (PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SPECIAL APPOINTMENT OF PROCESS SERVER; DECLARATION OF DIANA S. DISKIN, ESQ., IN SUPPORT THEREOF); Filed by Maria Del Pilar Hernandez Felix (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/28/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 03/14/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 03/05/2019
  • Stipulation and Order (STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL ( PROPOSED ORDER)); Filed by Maria Del Pilar Hernandez Felix (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/20/2018
  • ANSWER TO FIRST AMENDED COMPLAINT

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  • 02/20/2018
  • Answer to First Amended Complaint; Filed by Tufesa USA, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 01/22/2018
  • NOTICE OF RULING

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  • 01/22/2018
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by Tufesa USA, LLC (Defendant)

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  • 01/19/2018
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 92; Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike (Hearing on Demurrer; Overruled) -

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  • 01/19/2018
  • Minute order entered: 2018-01-19 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

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15 More Docket Entries
  • 11/07/2017
  • NOTICE OF APPLICATION TO APPEAR AS COUNSEL PRO HAC VICE OF COURTNEY R. BELLER

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  • 11/07/2017
  • Notice; Filed by Defendant/Respondent

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  • 11/07/2017
  • APPLICATION OF COURTNEY R. BELLER FOR ADMISSION TO APPEAR AS COUNSEL PRO HAC VICE FOR DEFENDANT TUFESA, USA, LLC

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  • 10/18/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Maria Del Pilar Hernandez Felix (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/18/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 10/18/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 10/18/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Maria Del Pilar Hernandez Felix (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/28/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 09/28/2017
  • COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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  • 09/28/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by Maria Del Pilar Hernandez Felix (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC677607    Hearing Date: August 20, 2020    Dept: 58

Judge John P. Doyle

Department 58


Hearing Date: August 20, 2020

Case Name: Felix v. Tufesa USA, LLC, et al.

Case No.: BC677607

Matter: (1) Motion for Summary Judgment/Adjudication

(2) Motion to Bifurcate

Moving Party: Defendant Tufesa USA, LLC

Responding Party: Plaintiff Maria Felix


Tentative Ruling: The Motion for Summary Judgment/Adjudication is denied.

The Motion to Bifurcate is denied.


This is an action in which Plaintiff alleges she was injured in a bus accident in Sonora, Mexico due to Defendants’ negligence. On January 18, 2018, Plaintiff filed the operative First Amended Complaint (“FAC”) for (1) negligence, (2) negligent hiring, training, supervision, and retention, and (3) negligent entrustment.

  1. Motion for Summary Judgment/Adjudication

Defendant Tufesa USA, LLC moves for summary judgment or, alternatively, summary adjudication of all causes of action. Defendant contends it cannot be liable for negligence or negligent hiring, training, and retention because (1) it was not the employer of the driver (Defendant Francisco Caro) who is alleged to have caused the subject accident, and (2) it did not otherwise owe any duty to Plaintiff. Further, Defendant contends it cannot be liable for negligent entrustment because it (1) did not own, possess, or operate the bus at the time of the subject accident, (2) did not give Caro permission to drive the bus, and (3) was not aware Caro drove the bus. Defendant contends the driver was employed by Defendant Autotransportes Tufesa S.A. de C.V. (“Autotransportes”) who also owned and operated the bus during the subject accident. Defendant further asserts that it and Autotransportes are not joint venturers.

Plaintiff argues the Motion should be denied because there is evidence Tufesa USA, LLC and Autotransportes are joint venturers.

A joint venture is “an undertaking by two or more persons jointly to carry out a single business enterprise for profit. [Citations.]” (Nelson v. Abraham (1947) 29 Cal.2d 745, 749.) It requires a: “(1) joint interest in a common business; (2) with an understanding to share profits and losses; and (3) a right to joint control.” (Jacobs v. Locatelli (2017) 8 Cal. App. 5th 317, 328 n.10.)

“A joint venture resembles a partnership in that its members associate together as co-owners of a business enterprise, agreeing to share profits and losses. However, a partnership ordinarily engages in a continuing business for an indefinite or fixed period of time, while a joint venture is formed for a single transaction or single series of transactions, thus being more limited in both scope and duration.” (Rickless v. Temple (1970) 4 Cal.App.3d 869, 893.) “Such a venture or undertaking may be formed by parol agreement (Sly v. Abbott, 89 Cal.App. 209, 216, 264 P. 507), or it may be assumed as a reasonable deduction from the acts and declarations of the parties.” (Nelson, supra, 29 Cal.2d at pp. 749–50.)

“Where a joint venture is established, the parties to the venture are vicariously liable for the torts of the other in furtherance of the venture.” (Cochrum v. Costa Victoria Healthcare LLC (2018) 25 Cal.App.5th 1034, 1053.)

The Court finds that there are triable issues of fact as to whether Tufesa USA, LLC and Autotransportes are joint venturers. Indeed, among other things, Plaintiff points to evidence that (1) Tufesa USA, LLC has nine members, all of whom also have ownership interests in Autotransportes since at least 2016; (2) Arturo Monje is Tufesa USA, LLC’s general manager, but he coordinates operational matters with Luis Luna Medina, who serves in dual capacities as the managing member of Tufesa USA, LLC and general manager of Autotransportes; (3) both entities use the “Tufesa” name and utilize similar logos; (4) the entities’ websites—both of which are managed/operated by Autotransportes—allow customers to purchase bus tickets for the same international lines; (5) passengers do not change buses on these international lines between Mexico and the U.S.; (6) the entities coordinate to schedule and route lines; and (7) Autotransportes leases many buses crossing from Mexico into the U.S. to Tufesa USA, LLC for “10% of [Tufesa USA, LLC’s] total gross sales between Nogales Az., Tucson Az. and Phoenix, Az.” (Plaintiff’s Separate Statement of Undisputed Fact ¶¶ 85, 97, 101, 106, 136-137, 145, 148-154, 161, 173.)

Thus, the Motion for Summary Judgment/Adjudication is denied.[1] [2] [3]

  1. Motion to Bifurcate

Defendant Tufesa USA, LLC seeks to bifurcate trial between the issues of liability and damages. Defendant mainly contends that bifurcation would promote efficiency because the evidence for liability and damages differs and many of those who would testify as to damages reside outside of the U.S. Tufesa contends that the liability phase of trial may obviate the need for the damages phase.

“Whether separate actions shall be consolidated for trial, or whether there shall be a severance and separate trials of issues in a single action, is within the discretion of the trial court.” (Mellone v. Lewis (1965) 233 Cal.App.2d 4, 7, quoting McArther v. Shaffer (1943) 59 Cal.App.2d 724, 727). The objectives of bifurcated trials are to “expedite and simplify the presentation of evidence” (Foreman & Clark Corp. v. Fallon (1971) 3 Cal.3d 875, 888), and “avoidance of the waste of time and money caused by the unnecessary trial of damage questions in cases where the liability issue was resolved against the plaintiff” (Plaza Tulare v. Tradewell Stores, Inc. (1989) 207 Cal.App.3d 522, 524).

The Court has considered the matter and, in the exercise of the Court’s discretion under the circumstances, denies the Motion to Bifurcate.


[1] The objections are overruled.

[2] Defendant also contends the FAC does not properly plead joint venture liability, but the Court finds the FAC’s allegations to be sufficient. (See FAC ¶ 7.)

[3] While not relevant to the Court’s ruling, the Court notes that in Finegan v. Autotransportes Tufesa S.A. de C.V. (D. Ariz. Feb. 11, 2009) 2009 WL 331349—another lawsuit pertaining to a bus accident in Sonora, Mexico—the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona denied Tufesa USA, LLC’s motion for summary judgment finding that there were triable issues as to whether Tufesa, USA, LLC was in a joint venture with Autotransportes.

Case Number: BC677607    Hearing Date: August 13, 2020    Dept: 58


Hearing Date: August 13, 2020

Case Name: Felix v. Tufesa USA, LLC, et al.

Case No.: BC677607

Matter: Motion for Clarification

Moving Party: Defendants Tufesa USA, LLC

Responding Party: Plaintiff Maria Del Pilar Hernandez Felix


Tentative Ruling: The Motion for Clarification is granted.


The parties stipulated to discovery closing in August 2019. The Court thereafter twice continued the trial date in this matter without continuing discovery deadlines. Then on January 17, 2020, the Court issued a minute order in which it stated, “On the Court's own motion, the Jury Trial scheduled for 05/04/2020 is advanced to this date and continued to 09/21/2020 at 09:00 AM in Department 58 at Stanley Mosk Courthouse. All statutory cut-off dates shall follow the new trial date.” Defendant Tufesa USA, LLC did not appear for the January 17, 2020, proceeding.

Defendant Tufesa USA, LLC now seeks clarification of the aforementioned January 17, 2020, order. Specifically, Defendant seeks clarification as follows:

1. Whether the Court’s order that “all statutory cut-off dates shall follow the new trial date” was intended to include discovery deadlines.

2. If so, (i) whether the Court intends to allow all parties to complete unlimited discovery until the 30th day, and to have motions concerning discovery heard on or before the 15th day, before the date currently set for the trial of the action, which is September 21, 2020, or (ii) whether the Court, instead, intends to allow Plaintiff Maria Del Pilar Hernandez Felix to seek limited discovery solely for purposes of responding to Tufesa USA’s pending motion for summary judgment.

(Notice of Motion.) Defendant seems to indicate that the Court could not have continued discovery deadlines for all purposes because it was without power to do so without a motion to reopen discovery. (See Pelton-Shepherd Indus. Inc. v. Delta Packaging Prod., Inc. (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 1568, 1588.)

Plaintiff argues the instant Motion is an untimely motion for reconsideration. This lacks merit. Code Civ. Proc. § 1008(a) pertains to the situation “When an application for an order has been made to a judge, or to a court . . . .” The Court’s January 17, 2020, order did not relate to an application made to the Court. Rather, the Court’s ruling was made on its own motion at a “Status Conference (All-Purpose) [and] Conference Re: Mediation Setting.” (January 17, 2020, Minute Order.)

The Motion for Clarification is granted. The Court clarifies its January 17, 2020, as follows. All discovery deadlines were continued and tethered to the new trial date. Discovery was not limited in any way.

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