This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/03/2019 at 02:56:49 (UTC).

MARIA MEZA VS CITY OF LOS ANGELES ET AL

Case Summary

On 12/22/2017 a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury case was filed by MARIA MEZA against CITY OF LOS ANGELES 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:

    ****8009

  • Filing Date:

    12/22/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

MEZA MARIA

Respondents and Defendants

UNITED AIRLINES INC.

LOS ANGELES CITY OF

DOES 1 TO 10

LOS ANGELES WORLD AIRPORTS

 

Court Documents

Unknown

3/22/2019: Unknown

Answer

3/22/2019: Answer

Demand for Jury Trial

3/22/2019: Demand for Jury Trial

Proof of Personal Service

3/26/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Proof of Personal Service

3/26/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Proof of Personal Service

3/26/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Stipulation to Continue Trial/FSC [and Related Motion/Discovery Dates] Personal Injury Courts Only (Department 91, 92, 93, 97)

5/8/2019: Stipulation to Continue Trial/FSC [and Related Motion/Discovery Dates] Personal Injury Courts Only (Department 91, 92, 93, 97)

Association of Attorney

5/13/2019: Association of Attorney

SUMMONS

12/22/2017: SUMMONS

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

12/22/2017: COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/13/2019
  • Association of Attorney; Filed by Maria Meza (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/08/2019
  • [Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Personal Injury Courts Only (Central District); Filed by United Airlines, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 03/26/2019
  • Proof of Personal Service; Filed by Maria Meza (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/26/2019
  • Proof of Personal Service; Filed by Maria Meza (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/26/2019
  • Proof of Personal Service; Filed by Maria Meza (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/22/2019
  • Demand for Jury Trial; Filed by United Airlines, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 03/22/2019
  • Answer (to Unverifed Complaint); Filed by United Airlines, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 03/22/2019
  • Notice of Deposit - Jury; Filed by United Airlines, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 12/22/2017
  • COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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  • 12/22/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by Maria Meza (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/22/2017
  • SUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC688009    Hearing Date: December 03, 2019    Dept: 4B

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: DEEFENDANT UNITED AIRLINES INC.’S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

On December 22, 2017, plaintiff Maria Meza (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against defendants United Airlines, Inc. (“United”) and Los Angeles World Airports (“LAWA”) for premises liability arising from a trip and fall on January 5, 2017 at Los Angeles International Airport (“LAX”). Plaintiff tripped on the stairs outside Gate 76 at Terminal 7 at LAX. (Defendant’s Undisputed Material Fact (“UMF”) Nos. 1-3.) United moves for summary judgment on the grounds that there is no triable issue of material fact as to the premises liability claim because Plaintiff cannot establish that United owned, possessed, or controlled the stairs at LAX where Plaintiff fell.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, courts must apply a three-step analysis: “(1) identify the issues framed by the pleadings; (2) determine whether the moving party has negated the opponent’s claims; and (3) determine whether the opposition has demonstrated the existence of a triable, material factual issue.” (Hinesley v. Oakshade Town Center (2005) 135 Cal.App.4th 289, 294.)

“A party may move for summary adjudication as to one or more causes of action within an action, one or more affirmative defenses, one or more claims for damages, or one or more issues of duty, if that party contends that the cause of action has no merit or that there is no affirmative defense thereto, or that there is no merit to an affirmative defense as to any cause of action, or both, or that there is no merit to a claim for damages . . . or that one or more defendants either owed or did not owe a duty to the plaintiff or plaintiffs. A motion for summary adjudication shall be granted only if it completely disposes of a cause of action, an affirmative defense, a claim for damages, or an issue of duty.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (f)(1).) A motion for summary adjudication shall proceed in all procedural respects as a motion for summary judgment. (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (f)(2).)

“[T]he initial burden is always on the moving party to make a prima facia showing that there are no triable issues of material fact.” (Scalf v. D. B. Log Homes, Inc. (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 1510, 1519.) A defendant moving for summary judgment or summary adjudication “has met his or her burden of showing that a cause of action has no merit if the party has shown that one or more elements of the cause of action . . . cannot be established, or that there is a complete defense to the cause of action.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).) A moving defendant need not conclusively negate an element of plaintiff’s cause of action. (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 854.)

To meet this burden of showing a cause of action cannot be established, a defendant must show not only “that the plaintiff does not possess needed evidence” but also that “the plaintiff cannot reasonably obtain needed evidence.” (Aguilar, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 854.) It is insufficient for the defendant to merely point out the absence of evidence. (Gaggero v. Yura (2003) 108 Cal.App.4th 884, 891.) The defendant “must also produce evidence that the plaintiff cannot reasonably obtain evidence to support his or her claim.” (Ibid.)  The supporting evidence can be in the form of affidavits, declarations, admissions, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and matters of which judicial notice may be taken. (Aguilar, supra, 25 Cal.4th at p. 855.)

“Once the defendant . . . has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff . . . to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).) The plaintiff may not merely rely on allegations or denials of its pleadings to show that a triable issue of material fact exists, but instead, “shall set forth the specific facts showing that a triable issue of material fact exists as to the cause of action.” (Ibid.) “If the plaintiff cannot do so, summary judgment should be granted.” (Avivi v. Centro Medico Urgente Medical Center (2008) 159 Cal.App.4th 463, 467.)

III. EVIDENTIARY OBJECTIONS

Plaintiff’s Objection Nos. 1, 2, and 3 are SUSTAINED.

IV. DISCUSSION

“A defendant cannot be held liable for the defective or dangerous condition of property which it did not own, possess, or control. Where the absence of ownership, possession, or control has been unequivocally established, summary judgment is proper. [Citation.]” (Isaacs v. Huntington Memorial Hospital (1985) 38 Cal.3d 112, 134.)

United argues that a lease between LAX and United (“Lease”) shows that LAWA and not United owns, controls and maintains the stairs where Plaintiff fell. The Lease is over 100 pages of small, single spaced text. The only portion of the Lease cited in United’s Separate Statement to support the assertion that United does not own, control or maintain the stairs is page 23. (UMF No. 5.) Page 23 of the Lease contains various definitions including “Airport Facilities.” The Lease defines Airport Facilities as: “any (i) building and associated land and (ii) land identified in Schedule 2 attached hereto. When the context requires, use of the term “Airport Facility” may mean any building and/or land identified in Schedule 2.” That definition does not state that United does not own, control or maintain the stairs at issue.

Schedule 2 to the Lease is entitled “Airport Facilities Identified in Airport Layout Plan Drawing 20090002-200A Effective 12/07/2009.” It contains a long list of facilities including “United Airlines Maintenance Hangars” as No. 405 and “United Cargo Building” as No. 417. Also attached is a very blurry drawing that looks like a map of LAX but is not legible. Schedule 2 does not appear to state anything about whether United owns, controls, or maintains the stairs at issue.

United’s brief refers to page 5 of the Lease, which states at paragraph 5 that a Facility User will maintain the Facility User’s Areas and will make all repairs to the Facility User’s Areas. Apparently, United is a “Facility User,” although United did not identify the part of the Lease naming United as such. Thus paragraph 5 states that a Facility User has certain maintenance duties under the Lease. If United is a Facility User under the Lease and if the stairs are part of its Facility User’s Area, it may have a duty to maintain the stairs pursuant to paragraph 5. But on this inadequate record, the Court cannot reach any conclusion about United’s obligations or lack of obligations.

In sum, United failed to show that the stairs at issue are not include as an area that United rents or is required to maintain under the Lease. United’s citations to the Mauro Declaration are unavailing because the statements in that declaration are conclusory and not supported by any specific provision of the Lease identified by United.

Accordingly, United’s motion for summary judgment is DENIED.

Moving party to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT4B@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative.