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, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JON R. TAKASUGI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
JON R. TAKASUGI
PICKART MATTHEW AARON
WATSON MALCOLM SINCLAIR
DOES 1 TO 100
NULL BLANTON THOMAS
WATSON MALCOLM S.
NOVIK ERICK B.
ZYMAN STELLA H. ESQ.
WESIERSKI & ZUREK LLP
4/26/2018: NOTICE OF ASSOCIATION OF COUNSEL
8/24/2018: ORDER AND STIPULATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL FSC AND RELATED MOTION DISCOVERY DATES PERSONAL INJURY COURTS ONLY CENTRAL DISTRICT
12/28/2018: Disassociation of Attorney
1/16/2019: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information
2/15/2019: Stipulation and Order
3/18/2019: Ex Parte Application
11/1/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS
10/27/2017: NOTICE OF CHANGE OF ADDRESS
4/18/2017: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: 1. MOTOR VEHICLE 2. GENERAL NEGLIGENCE
5/26/2017: NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES
8/15/2017: NOTICE OF CHANGE OF FIRM NAME
8/31/2017: ANSWER OF DEFENDANT THOMAS BLANTON NULL TO COMPLAINT
at 08:30 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 10:00 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (for an order to continue trial and the final status conference) - Held - Motion GrantedRead MoreRead Less
Minute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for an order to continue tria...)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Ex Parte Application (Defendant's ex parte application for an order to continue trial and the FSC; Memorandum of points and authorities in support thereof; Declaration of Sheral Hyde; Proposed Order); Filed by Blanton Thomas Null (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Order (Proposed order); Filed by Blanton Thomas Null (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Notice of Ruling; Filed by Blanton Thomas Null (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (for an order to continue trial and the final status conference) - Not Held - Rescheduled by PartyRead MoreRead Less
at 08:30 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - StipulationRead MoreRead Less
at 10:00 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - StipulationRead MoreRead Less
GENERAL DENIAL TO COMPLAINTRead MoreRead Less
Summons on Cross ComplaintRead MoreRead Less
General Denial; Filed by Malcolm S. Watson (Defendant); Candace Seals (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Notice; Filed by Malcolm S. Watson (Defendant); Candace Seals (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Summons; Filed by Malcolm S. Watson (Defendant); Candace Seals (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
CIVIL DEPOSITRead MoreRead Less
NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEESRead MoreRead Less
Complaint; Filed by Matthew Aaron Pickart (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: 1. MOTOR VEHICLE 2. GENERAL NEGLIGENCERead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC658162 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,
MALCOLM S. WATSON, ET AL.,
CASE NO: BC658162 (R/T 20STCV00674)
[TENTATIVE] ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE
March 17, 2020
Cases at Issue
Plaintiff, Matthew Aaron Pickart has filed two lawsuits for damages arising out of three separate automobile accidents. BC658162 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.
BC658162 and 20STCV00674 have been deemed related and are pending in D-31. See minute order relating cases, 1/27/20.
Motion to Consolidate
At this time, Plaintiff moves to consolidate BC658162 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.
BC658162 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 BC658162. 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 firstname.lastname@example.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