This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/13/2022 at 19:34:09 (UTC).

MATTHEW AARON PICKART VS MALCOLM S WATSON ET AL

Case Summary

On 04/18/2017 MATTHEW AARON PICKART filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against MALCOLM S WATSON. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are JON R. TAKASUGI, THOMAS D. LONG, AUDRA MORI, RUTH ANN KWAN and HOLLY E. KENDIG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****8162

  • Filing Date:

    04/18/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

JON R. TAKASUGI

THOMAS D. LONG

AUDRA MORI

RUTH ANN KWAN

HOLLY E. KENDIG

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

PICKART MATTHEW AARON

PICKART MATTHEW

Cross Defendants, Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

SEALS CANDACE

NULL THOMAS

WATSON MALCOLM SINCLAIR

NULL BLANTON THOMAS

WATSON MALCOLM S.

NABER BASSAM MICHAEL

HUGHES CURTIS FRANKLIN

JERRY RAGLAND TRUSTEE OF THE THOMAS B. NULL TRUST

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Petitioner and Plaintiff Attorneys

NOVIK ERICK B.

KLEIN MEGAN

NGUYEN MINH TRI

NOVIK ERICK BEN-ARIE

Respondent, Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

WESIERSKI & ZUREK LLP

ZYMAN STELLA H. ESQ.

MOTOOKA MARJORIE EMIKO

ZUREK RONALD

O'CONNOR EDWARD RICHARD

Cross Defendant and Defendant Attorney

MOTOOKA MARJORIE EMIKO

 

Court Documents

Request for Dismissal

3/23/2022: Request for Dismissal

Request for Dismissal

3/23/2022: Request for Dismissal

Notice of Ruling

4/15/2022: Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE)

4/15/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE)

Application for Determination of Good Faith Settlement

3/28/2022: Application for Determination of Good Faith Settlement

Notice of Ruling

3/28/2022: Notice of Ruling

Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO REMOTE PROCEEDING AT TRIAL

3/23/2022: Opposition - OPPOSITION OPPOSITION TO REMOTE PROCEEDING AT TRIAL

Notice - NOTICE OF REMOTE APPEARANCE DAN PICKART

3/23/2022: Notice - NOTICE OF REMOTE APPEARANCE DAN PICKART

Notice - NOTICE OF REMOTE APPEARANCE RAMIN SHAMTOB, M.D.

3/23/2022: Notice - NOTICE OF REMOTE APPEARANCE RAMIN SHAMTOB, M.D.

Notice - NOTICE OF REMOTE APPEARANCE TRICIA WEST, RN

3/23/2022: Notice - NOTICE OF REMOTE APPEARANCE TRICIA WEST, RN

Notice - NOTICE PLAINTIFF MATTHEW AARON PICKART'S PAGE AND LINE DESIGNATION FOR DEPOSITION OF FORMER TESTIMONY OF DAVID HOENIG, M.D.

3/23/2022: Notice - NOTICE PLAINTIFF MATTHEW AARON PICKART'S PAGE AND LINE DESIGNATION FOR DEPOSITION OF FORMER TESTIMONY OF DAVID HOENIG, M.D.

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE)

3/24/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE)

Order - [PROPOSED] ORDER RE EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL

7/24/2019: Order - [PROPOSED] ORDER RE EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL [STIPULATED]

7/26/2019: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL [STIPULATED]

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL [STIPULATED])

7/26/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL [STIPULATED])

Notice of Ruling

8/6/2019: Notice of Ruling

Order - ORDER GRANTING EX PARTE APPLICATION TP CONTINUE TRIAL AND RELATED DATES

8/27/2019: Order - ORDER GRANTING EX PARTE APPLICATION TP CONTINUE TRIAL AND RELATED DATES

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL)

8/27/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL)

261 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/16/2022
  • Hearing05/16/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 31 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal (Settlement)

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  • 04/21/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Audra Mori, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 04/15/2022
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 31, Audra Mori, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Held

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  • 04/15/2022
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Final Status Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/15/2022
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Matthew Pickart (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/28/2022
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Matthew Aaron Pickart (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/28/2022
  • DocketApplication for Determination of Good Faith Settlement; Filed by Malcolm S. Watson (Defendant)

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  • 03/25/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Audra Mori, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 03/24/2022
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 31, Audra Mori, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 03/24/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 31, Audra Mori, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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348 More Docket Entries
  • 05/26/2017
  • DocketCross-Complaint (Apportionment of Fault; Declaratory Relief; Indemnification); Filed by Malcolm Sinclair Watson (Cross-Complainant); Candace Seals (Cross-Complainant)

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  • 05/26/2017
  • DocketGENERAL DENIAL TO COMPLAINT

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  • 05/26/2017
  • DocketGeneral Denial; Filed by Candace Seals (Defendant); Malcolm S. Watson (Defendant)

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  • 05/26/2017
  • DocketNotice; Filed by Candace Seals (Defendant); Malcolm S. Watson (Defendant)

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  • 05/26/2017
  • DocketCROSS-COMPLAINT PERSONAL INJURY, PROPERTY DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH - APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT - DECLARATORY RELIEF - INDEMNIFICATION

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  • 05/26/2017
  • DocketCIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 05/26/2017
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Candace Seals (Defendant); Malcolm S. Watson (Defendant)

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  • 04/18/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Matthew Aaron Pickart (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/18/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: 1. MOTOR VEHICLE 2. GENERAL NEGLIGENCE

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  • 04/18/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

b"

Case Number: ****8162 Hearing Date: September 21, 2021 Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

MATTHEW AARON PICKART,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

MALCOLM S. WATSON, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

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CASE NO: ****8162 (R/T 20STCV00674)

[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO AUGMENT EXPERT WITNESS LIST

Dept. 31

1:30 p.m.

September 21, 2020

1. Background

Plaintiff, Matthew Aaron Pickart (“Plaintiff”) filed two lawsuits for damages arising out of three separate automobile accidents. ****8162, filed against defendants Malcolm S. Watson a.k.a. Malcolm Sinclair Watson; Candace Seals; and Thomas Blanton Null a.k.a. Thomas Null, arises out of accidents that occurred on April 30, 2015, and January 6, 2016. 20STCV00674 filed against defendants Curtis Franklin Hughes and Bassam Michael Naber, arises out of a subsequent accident that occurred on August 31, 2019. Plaintiff complains of overlapping injuries as a result of each of the three accidents. On July 6, 2020, the matters were ordered consolidated with ****8162 being designated the lead case. Trial in this matter is currently set for November 10, 2021.

On August 25, 2021, Plaintiff filed the instant motion to augment Plaintiff’s expert witness list. Defendants Malcolm S. Watson (“Watson”) and Candice Seals (“Seals”), erroneously sued as Candace Seals, and Defendant Jerry Ragland, Administrator of the Estate of Thomas Blanton Null aka Thomas Null (“Ragland”) each oppose the motion. Plaintiff filed a joint reply to both oppositions.

2. Motion to Augment Expert Witness List

CCP ; 2034.610 governs motions to augment expert witness lists. A party who has engaged in a timely exchange of expert witness information may move to add the name and address of a subsequently retained witness or to amend the statement of the testimony a previously designated expert is expected to give. The motion must be accompanied by a declaration showing a reasonable and good faith attempt at an informal resolution of each issue presented. (CCP ;2034.610.)

CCP ; 2034.620 states:

The court shall grant leave to augment or amend an expert witness list or declaration only if all of the following conditions are satisfied:

(a) The court has taken into account the extent to which the opposing party has relied on the list of expert witnesses.

(b) The court has determined that any party opposing the motion will not be prejudiced in maintaining that party's action or defense on the merits.

(c) The court has determined either of the following:

(1) The moving party would not in the exercise of reasonable diligence have determined to call that expert witness or have decided to offer the different or additional testimony of that expert witness.

(2) The moving party failed to determine to call that expert witness, or to offer the different or additional testimony of that expert witness as a result of mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect, and the moving party has done both of the following:

(A) Sought leave to augment or amend promptly after deciding to call the expert witness or to offer the different or additional testimony.

(B) Promptly thereafter served a copy of the proposed expert witness information concerning the expert or the testimony described in Section 2034.260 on all other parties who have appeared in the action.

(d) Leave to augment or amend is conditioned on the moving party making the expert available immediately for a deposition under Article 3 (commencing with Section 2034.410), and on any other terms as may be just, including, but not limited to, leave to any party opposing the motion to designate additional expert witnesses or to elicit additional opinions from those previously designated, a continuance of the trial for a reasonable period of time, and the awarding of costs and litigation expenses to any party opposing the motion.

Notably, granting or denial of relief in these cases lies within the court's sound discretion, and is subject to appellate review only for abuse of discretion. (Bonds v. Roy (1999) 20 Cal.4th 140, 149.)

Here, Ragland’s ex parte application for a protective requiring Plaintiff to reduce his non-retained expert witness list was heard on February 5, 2021, where the court granted it in part and issued the following order: “Plaintiff will name only one doctor in each discipline as an expert of any type (retained or nonretained) and provide an amended expert list meeting this requirement within 10 calendar days. This is without prejudice to plaintiff's right to move to augment its list by a noticed motion for good cause shown.” (Min. Order, Feb. 5, 2021.)

Following the order, Plaintiff provides he served Defendants with his Amended Designation of Expert Witnesses on February 15, 2021. Plaintiff designated Dr. Vikram Singh (“Dr. Singh”) as a retained expert for pain management, but Plaintiff contends that prior to treating with Dr. Singh, he also treated with Drs. Shamtob, Shirazy, and Root (collectively, “Proposed Additional Experts”). Plaintiff contends Dr. Singh cannot testify about Plaintiff’s treatment with the Proposed Additional Experts, and so Plaintiff moves to augment his expert witness list to include the Proposed Additional Experts for them to provide testimony regarding the medical treatment and procedures each rendered to Plaintiff.

Plaintiff argues the Proposed Additional Experts’ treatment is indispensable to Plaintiff’s case-in-chief to lay the foundation on the treatment and procedures administered to Plaintiff and to explain why Plaintiff will require ongoing ablations to his neck and back. Otherwise, Plaintiff believes there will be objections raised based upon People v. Sanchez, (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665. Further, Plaintiff asserts prior lawsuits brought against Dr. Singh may cause Plaintiff undue prejudice or confuse the issues. Plaintiff asserts there will be no prejudice to Defendants because the Proposed Additional Experts were previously disclosed as non-retained experts in prior expert disclosures.

In opposition, Watson and Seals argue Plaintiff’s motion is untimely because Plaintiff has done nothing to have this motion heard for the last six months. Additionally, Watson and Seals contend the Proposed Additional Experts are not required because plaintiff’s counsel is experienced enough to figure out another way to avoid Sanchez issues and calling four pain management doctors at trial is merely cumulative. Watson and Seals further asserts that Dr. Singh’s history has been known to Plaintiff since March 2021, but Plaintiff has done nothing to replace Dr. Singh as an expert.

Ragland, in opposition, contends the motion is an improper motion for reconsideration and not filed promptly. Ragland also argues Plaintiff must have other methods to present evidence of treatment from other doctors without having Dr. Singh testify in a hearsay manner about everything in their medical records.

First, as Plaintiff contends in his reply, the instant motion to augment expert witness list is not a motion for reconsideration of the court’s February 5, 2021, Order requiring Plaintiff name only one doctor in each discipline as an expert of any type. Rather, Plaintiff is moving to augment his expert witness list pursuant to CCP ; 2034.610.

Second, given the evidence Plaintiff previously moved ex parte to augment his expert witness list and trial is currently scheduled for November 10, 2021, the court does not find Plaintiff’s motion is untimely.

Finally, opposing Defendants do not identify any prejudice they will suffer such as to warrant denying the motion. While they contend that the motion should have been brought sooner, they do not deny that time remains to depose the experts. Plaintiff avers there will be no prejudice to Defendants because the parties are still completing expert discovery, so Defendants will have sufficient time to depose Plaintiff’s Proposed Additional Experts. According to Plaintiff, as of the date of the reply brief, Defendants had deposed Plaintiff’s retained experts but had yet to produce for deposition Defendants’ own experts. Consequently, Defendants will have adequate time to prepare for trial.

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiffs’ motion to augment Plaintiff’s expert witness list with the Proposed Additional Experts is granted.

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. If the parties do not submit on the tentative, they should arrange to appear remotely.

Dated this 21st day of September, 2021

Hon. Audra Mori

Judge of the Superior Court

"


Case Number: ****8162    Hearing Date: July 06, 2020    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

MATTHEW AARON PICKART,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

MALCOLM S. WATSON, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

CASE NO: ****8162 (R/T 20STCV00674)

[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE

Dept. 31

8:30 a.m.

July 6, 2020

  1. Cases at Issue

    Plaintiff, Matthew Aaron Pickart has filed two lawsuits for damages arising out of three separate automobile accidents. ****8162 arises out of accidents that occurred on 4/30/15 and 1/06/16. 20STCV00674 arises out of a subsequent accident that occurred on 8/31/19. Plaintiff complains of overlapping injuries as a result of each of the three accidents.

  2. Related Cases

    ****8162 and 20STCV00674 have been deemed related and are pending in D-31. See minute order relating cases, 1/27/20.

  3. Motion to Consolidate

    At this time, Plaintiff moves to consolidate ****8162 and 20STCV00674.

    CCP ;1048 grants discretion to the trial courts to consolidate actions involving common questions of law or fact. The trial court's decision will not be disturbed on appeal absent a clear showing of abuse of discretion. A consolidation of actions does not affect the rights of the parties. The purpose of consolidation is to avoid unnecessary costs or delay, avoid duplication of procedure, particularly in the proof of issues common to both action, and avoid inconsistent results by hearing and deciding common issues together. (See Estate of Baker (1982) 131 Cal.App.3d 471, 485.) The granting or denial of a motion to consolidate rests in the trial court's sound discretion, and will not be reversed except upon a clear showing of abuse of discretion. (Feliner v. Steinbaum (1955) 132 Cal.App.2d 509, 511.) Each case presents its own facts and circumstances, but the court generally considers the following: (1) timeliness of the motion: i.e., whether granting consolidation would delay the trial of any of the cases involved; (2) complexity: i.e., whether joining the actions involved would make the trial too confusing or complex for a jury; and (3) prejudice: i.e, whether consolidation would adversely affect the rights of any party. (See State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (1956) 47 Cal.2d 428, 430–431.)

    In deciding whether to grant a motion to consolidate, the court should weigh whether the common issues predominate over the individual issues and whether any risks of jury confusion or prejudice to the parties outweighs the reduction in time and expense that would result from consolidation. (Todd-Stenberg v. Shield (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 976, 978.)

    Consolidation is a procedure for uniting separate lawsuits for trial, where they involve common questions of law or fact and are pending in the same court. (See CCP ;1048.) The purpose is to enhance trial court efficiency (i.e., to avoid unnecessary duplication of evidence and procedures); and to avoid the substantial danger of inconsistent adjudications (i.e., different results because tried before different juries, or a judge and jury, etc.). (See Todd-Stenberg v. Dalkon Shield Claimants Trust (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 976, 978–979.)

    A consolidation of actions does not affect the rights of the parties. The purpose of consolidation is merely to promote trial convenience and economy by avoiding duplication of procedure, particularly in the proof of issues common to both actions. (See Estate of Baker (1982) 131 Cal.App.3d 471, 485.) In deciding whether to grant a motion to consolidate, the court should weigh whether the common issues predominate over the individual issues and whether any risks of jury confusion or prejudice to the parties outweighs the reduction in time and expense that would result from consolidation. (Todd-Stenberg v. Shield (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 976, 978.)

    Landau v. Salam (1971) 4 Cal.3d 901, 903 supports the relief sought. Landau involved an April automobile accident and an August premises liability accident. The trial court in Landau granted the premises liability defendants’ motion to dismiss on grounds of misjoinder of the parties. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a claim can be stated against two different sets of defendants so long as the plaintiff alleges (1) an injury, (2) negligence by successive tortfeasors, and (3) doubt as to which is liable, as required by CCP ;379c. Of note, ;379c was repealed and has been replaced by ;379(c), which provides, “(c) Where the plaintiff is in doubt as to the person from whom he or she is entitled to redress, he or she may join two or more defendants, with the intent that the question as to which, if any, of the defendants is liable, and to what extent, may be determined between the parties.”

    In this case, Plaintiff has suffered substantial injuries, but he is in doubt concerning which of the defendants is liable to him for those injuries. Consolidation of the two actions is necessary to ensure these issues are properly determined. The Court finds the risk of inconsistent findings at trial outweighs Defendants, Watson and Seals’s claimed prejudice. The Court is aware that Watson and Seals will have to endure a continued trial date and the re-opening of discovery, but finds this prejudice is outweighed by the risk of inconsistent rulings if the cases are not consolidated.

  4. Trial Date

    ****8162 is currently set for trial on 9/14/20. 20STCV00674 is currently set for trial on 7/06/21. Plaintiff seeks an order vacating the trial date in ****8162. The Court vacates all trial dates in the two related (now consolidated) cases and sets the consolidated cases for trial one year from today’s date, Wednesday, 3/17/21 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 31 of the Spring Street Courthouse. The Court sets an FSC for Wednesday, 3/03/21 at 10:00 a.m. in D-31.

    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. If the parties do not submit on the tentative they should arrange to appear remotely.

Dated this 6th day of July, 2020

Hon. Thomas D. Long

Judge of the Superior Court



Case Number: ****8162    Hearing Date: March 17, 2020    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

MATTHEW AARON PICKART,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

MALCOLM S. WATSON, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

)

CASE NO: ****8162 (R/T 20STCV00674)

[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE

Dept. 31

1:30 p.m.

March 17, 2020

  1. Cases at Issue

    Plaintiff, Matthew Aaron Pickart has filed two lawsuits for damages arising out of three separate automobile accidents. ****8162 arises out of accidents that occurred on 4/30/15 and 1/06/16. 20STCV00674 arises out of a subsequent accident that occurred on 8/31/19. Plaintiff complains of overlapping injuries as a result of each of the three accidents.

  2. Related Cases

    ****8162 and 20STCV00674 have been deemed related and are pending in D-31. See minute order relating cases, 1/27/20.

  3. Motion to Consolidate

    At this time, Plaintiff moves to consolidate ****8162 and 20STCV00674.

    CCP ;1048 grants discretion to the trial courts to consolidate actions involving common questions of law or fact. The trial court's decision will not be disturbed on appeal absent a clear showing of abuse of discretion. A consolidation of actions does not affect the rights of the parties. The purpose of consolidation is to avoid unnecessary costs or delay, avoid duplication of procedure, particularly in the proof of issues common to both action, and avoid inconsistent results by hearing and deciding common issues together. (See Estate of Baker (1982) 131 Cal.App.3d 471, 485.) The granting or denial of a motion to consolidate rests in the trial court's sound discretion, and will not be reversed except upon a clear showing of abuse of discretion. (Feliner v. Steinbaum (1955) 132 Cal.App.2d 509, 511.) Each case presents its own facts and circumstances, but the court generally considers the following: (1) timeliness of the motion: i.e., whether granting consolidation would delay the trial of any of the cases involved; (2) complexity: i.e., whether joining the actions involved would make the trial too confusing or complex for a jury; and (3) prejudice: i.e, whether consolidation would adversely affect the rights of any party. (See State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (1956) 47 Cal.2d 428, 430–431.)

    In deciding whether to grant a motion to consolidate, the court should weigh whether the common issues predominate over the individual issues and whether any risks of jury confusion or prejudice to the parties outweighs the reduction in time and expense that would result from consolidation. (Todd-Stenberg v. Shield (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 976, 978.)

    Consolidation is a procedure for uniting separate lawsuits for trial, where they involve common questions of law or fact and are pending in the same court. (See CCP ;1048.) The purpose is to enhance trial court efficiency (i.e., to avoid unnecessary duplication of evidence and procedures); and to avoid the substantial danger of inconsistent adjudications (i.e., different results because tried before different juries, or a judge and jury, etc.). (See Todd-Stenberg v. Dalkon Shield Claimants Trust (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 976, 978–979.)

    A consolidation of actions does not affect the rights of the parties. The purpose of consolidation is merely to promote trial convenience and economy by avoiding duplication of procedure, particularly in the proof of issues common to both actions. (See Estate of Baker (1982) 131 Cal.App.3d 471, 485.) In deciding whether to grant a motion to consolidate, the court should weigh whether the common issues predominate over the individual issues and whether any risks of jury confusion or prejudice to the parties outweighs the reduction in time and expense that would result from consolidation. (Todd-Stenberg v. Shield (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 976, 978.)

    Landau v. Salam (1971) 4 Cal.3d 901, 903 supports the relief sought. Landau involved an April automobile accident and an August premises liability accident. The trial court in Landau granted the premises liability defendants’ motion to dismiss on grounds of misjoinder of the parties. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that a claim can be stated against two different sets of defendants so long as the plaintiff alleges (1) an injury, (2) negligence by successive tortfeasors, and (3) doubt as to which is liable, as required by CCP ;379c. Of note, ;379c was repealed and has been replaced by ;379(c), which provides, “(c) Where the plaintiff is in doubt as to the person from whom he or she is entitled to redress, he or she may join two or more defendants, with the intent that the question as to which, if any, of the defendants is liable, and to what extent, may be determined between the parties.”

    In this case, Plaintiff has suffered substantial injuries, but he is in doubt concerning which of the defendants is liable to him for those injuries. Consolidation of the two actions is necessary to ensure these issues are properly determined. The Court finds the risk of inconsistent findings at trial outweighs Defendants, Watson and Seals’s claimed prejudice. The Court is aware that Watson and Seals will have to endure a continued trial date and the re-opening of discovery, but finds this prejudice is outweighed by the risk of inconsistent rulings if the cases are not consolidated. Defendant expresses the concern that “Plaintiff will be involved in additional accidents such that Defendants may never get to trial if plaintiff continues to file additional personal injury lawsuits and seeks consolidation.” (Opp. at 2:28-3:2.) If, God forbid, Plaintiff is involved in additional accidents, the balance of hardships among the parties may change such that further consolidation may be inappropriate. But on the facts today, Plaintiff faces a risk of inconsistent adjudications that outweighs the hardships facing Defendant.

  4. Trial Date

    ****8162 is currently set for trial on 9/14/20. 20STCV00674 is currently set for trial on 7/06/21. Plaintiff seeks an order vacating the trial date in ****8162. The Court vacates all trial dates in the two related (now consolidated) cases and sets the consolidated cases for trial one year from today’s date, Wednesday, 3/17/21 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 31 of the Spring Street Courthouse. The Court sets an FSC for Wednesday, 3/03/21 at 10:00 a.m. in D-31.

    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.

Dated this 17th day of March, 2020

Hon. Thomas D. Long

Judge of the Superior Court



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