This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/30/2019 at 05:45:03 (UTC).

MELINDA BROWN ET AL VS CAROL MALLONEE ET AL

Case Summary

On 12/15/2017 MELINDA BROWN filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against CAROL MALLONEE. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6699

  • Filing Date:

    12/15/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

 

Party Details

Petitioners and Plaintiffs

REID MATHEW

BROWN MELINDA

Defendants and Respondents

MALLONEE TIFFANY

MALLONEE CAROL

DOES 1 TO 25

DIAZ JUAN NOE

PERGAMENT SETH TREVOR

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Petitioner and Plaintiff Attorneys

ASHOURI NATALIE; ESQ.

MILLER JENNIFER E

Defendant Attorneys

HURLEY BETH ESQ.

EPSTEIN BOB J. ESQ.

MYERS JEFFREY CABOT

 

Court Documents

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

1/19/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

2/15/2018: NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

CROSS COMPLAINT - PERS. INJURY PROPERTY DAMAGE, WRONG DEATH (2 PAGES)

2/15/2018: CROSS COMPLAINT - PERS. INJURY PROPERTY DAMAGE, WRONG DEATH (2 PAGES)

Unknown

2/15/2018: Unknown

GENERAL DENIAL TO COMPLAINT

2/15/2018: GENERAL DENIAL TO COMPLAINT

Unknown

2/15/2018: Unknown

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

4/3/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

ANSWER TO UNVERIFIED CROSS-COMPLAINT

5/11/2018: ANSWER TO UNVERIFIED CROSS-COMPLAINT

NOTICE OF ASSOCIATION OF COUNSEL

7/12/2018: NOTICE OF ASSOCIATION OF COUNSEL

NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR AN ORDER SEEKING LEAVE OF FILE COURT TO FILE A CROSS-COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF BETH HURLEY

8/2/2018: NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR AN ORDER SEEKING LEAVE OF FILE COURT TO FILE A CROSS-COMPLAINT; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES; DECLARATION OF BETH HURLEY

Minute Order

9/24/2018: Minute Order

ORDER RE: MOTION FOR AN ORDER SEEKING LEAVE TO FILE A CROSS-COMPLAINT

9/24/2018: ORDER RE: MOTION FOR AN ORDER SEEKING LEAVE TO FILE A CROSS-COMPLAINT

AMENDMENT TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

9/26/2018: AMENDMENT TO CROSS-COMPLAINT

NOTICE OF CHANGE OF FIRM ADDRESS

10/1/2018: NOTICE OF CHANGE OF FIRM ADDRESS

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

1/23/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

1/23/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Proof of Personal Service

1/29/2019: Proof of Personal Service

Answer

2/19/2019: Answer

16 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/06/2019
  • DocketRequest for Refund / Order

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  • 04/16/2019
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Seth Trevor Pergament (Defendant)

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  • 03/15/2019
  • DocketSubstitution of Attorney; Filed by Carol Mallonee (Defendant)

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  • 03/15/2019
  • DocketStipulation and Order (to Continue Trial); Filed by Carol Mallonee (Defendant); Tiffany Mallonee (Defendant)

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  • 03/07/2019
  • DocketAssociation of Attorney; Filed by Carol Mallonee (Defendant); Tiffany Mallonee (Defendant)

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  • 02/19/2019
  • DocketNotice of Deposit - Jury; Filed by Mathew Reid (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/19/2019
  • DocketDemand for Jury Trial; Filed by Mathew Reid (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/19/2019
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Mathew Reid (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/29/2019
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by Carol Mallonee (Defendant); Tiffany Mallonee (Defendant)

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  • 01/23/2019
  • DocketAmendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name); Filed by Melinda Brown (Plaintiff); Mathew Reid (Plaintiff)

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21 More Docket Entries
  • 02/15/2018
  • DocketGeneral Denial; Filed by Carol Mallonee (Defendant); Tiffany Mallonee (Defendant)

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  • 02/15/2018
  • DocketReceipt; Filed by Carol Mallonee (Defendant); Tiffany Mallonee (Defendant)

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  • 02/15/2018
  • DocketNotice; Filed by Carol Mallonee (Defendant); Tiffany Mallonee (Defendant)

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  • 02/15/2018
  • DocketSummons; Filed by Carol Mallonee (Defendant); Tiffany Mallonee (Defendant)

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  • 02/15/2018
  • DocketCross-Complaint; Filed by Carol Mallonee (Defendant); Tiffany Mallonee (Defendant)

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  • 01/19/2018
  • DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Melinda Brown (Plaintiff); Mathew Reid (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/19/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 12/15/2017
  • DocketSummons; Filed by null

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  • 12/15/2017
  • DocketComplaint

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  • 12/15/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Melinda Brown (Plaintiff); Mathew Reid (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: ****6699    Hearing Date: April 9, 2021    Dept: 28

Motions to Compel Responses to Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Requests for Production (All Set One)

Having considered the moving papers, the Court rules as follows.

BACKGROUND

On December 2, 2019, Plaintiff Leon Jones (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendants Serena Lewin and Robin Lewin (“Defendants”).  Plaintiff alleges general and motor vehicle negligence in the complaint arising from an automobile collision that occurred on December 17, 2017.

On March 12, 2021, Defendants filed motions to compel responses to Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Request for Production (All Set One) pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure sections 2030.290 and 2031.300.

Trial is set for December 10, 2021.

PARTYS REQUESTS

Defendants ask the Court to compel Plaintiff to serve verified responses without objections to Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Request for Production (All Set One) for failing to serve timely responses.

Defendants also ask the Court to impose $1,417.50 in monetary sanctions against Plaintiff for his abuse of the discovery process.

LEGAL STANDARD

If a party to whom interrogatories are directed fails to serve a timely response, the propounding party may move for an order compelling responses and for a monetary sanction.  (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2030.290, subd. (b).)  The statute contains no time limit for a motion to compel where no responses have been served.  All that need be shown in the moving papers is that a set of interrogatories was properly served on the opposing party, that the time to respond has expired, and that no response of any kind has been served.  (Leach v. Superior Court (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 902, 905-906.)

Where there has been no timely response to a demand for the production of documents, the demanding party may seek an order compelling a response.  (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2031.300, subd. (b).)  Failure to timely respond waives all objections, including privilege and work product.  (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2031.300, subd. (a).)  Thus, unless the party to whom the demand was directed obtains relief from waiver, he or she cannot raise objections to the documents demanded.  There is no deadline for a motion to compel responses.  Likewise, for failure to respond, the moving party need not attempt to resolve the matter outside court before filing the motion.

Under California Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030, subd. (a), “[t]he court may impose a monetary sanction ordering that one engaging in the misuse of the discovery process, or any attorney advising that conduct, or both pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct. . . . If a monetary sanction is authorized by any provision of this title, the court shall impose that sanction unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.”  Failing to respond or to submit to an authorized method of discovery is a misuse of the discovery process.  (Code Civ. Proc., ; 2023.010.)

Sanctions are mandatory in connection with motions to compel responses to interrogatories and requests for production of documents against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel unless the court “finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.”  (Code Civ. Proc., ;; 2030.290, subd. (c), 2031.300, subd. (c).)

California Rules of Court, rule 3.1348, subdivision (a) states: “[t]he court may award sanctions under the Discovery Act in favor of a party who files a motion to compel discovery, even though no opposition to the motion was filed, or opposition to the motion was withdrawn, or the requested discovery was provided to the moving party after the motion was filed.”

DISCUSSION

On January 14, 2020, Defendant Serena Lewin served Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Request for Production (All Set One) on Plaintiff by U.S. mail.  (All Three Ward Decl. (“Ward Decl.”), 4, Exh. A.)  Plaintiff has not provided responses as of the time Pamela M. Ward, Esq. signed her declarations on March 11, 2021.  (Ward Decl., 7.)

The Court finds the motions are properly granted.  Defendant Serena Lewin served written discovery requests on Plaintiff and Plaintiff failed to serve timely responses.  There is no indication that Plaintiff acted with a substantial justification or that there are other circumstances that would make an imposition of sanctions unjust.

Monetary sanctions cannot be awarded to Defendant Robin Lewin because Defendant Robin Lewin did not propound the written discovery subject to this motion.  Defendant Serena Lewin’s request for $1,417.50 in monetary sanctions for these straight-forward and nearly duplicative motions is unreasonable.  Rather, the Court finds $950.00 to be a reasonable amount of sanctions to be imposed against Plaintiff for his abuse of the discovery process.

CONCLUSION

The motions are GRANTED.

Plaintiff is ordered to serve verified responses without objections to Defendant Robin Lewin’s Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Request for Production (All Set One) within twenty days of this ruling.

Plaintiff is ordered to pay $950.00 in monetary sanctions to Defendant Robin Lewin within thirty days of this ruling.

Defendants are ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Defendants are ordered to file the proof of service of this ruling with the Court within five days.

The parties are directed to the header of this tentative ruling for further instructions.



Case Number: ****6699    Hearing Date: April 8, 2021    Dept: 28

Motion for a Determination of a Good Faith Settlement

Having considered the moving and opposing papers, the Court rules as follows. No reply papers have been filed.

BACKGROUND

On December 15, 2017, Plaintiffs Melinda Brown (“Plaintiff Brown”) and Mathew Reid (“Plaintiff Reid”) filed a complaint against Defendants Carol Mallonee and Tiffany Mallonee (collectively “Defendants”).

On February 15, 2018, Defendants filed a cross-complaint against Cross-Defendant Seth Pergament.

On September 26, 2018, Defendants filed an amendment to their cross-complaint to name Plaintiff Reid.

On September 9, 2020, Plaintiff Reid filed a motion for determination of a good faith settlement pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 877.6.

On February 17, 2021, the Court continued the hearing on Plaintiff Reid’s motion filed on September 9, 2020 to April 8, 2021.

On March 15, 2021, Plaintiff Reid an amended motion for a determination of a good faith settlement pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 877.6. Mallonee opposes the motion.

Trial is set for May 27, 2021.

PARTYS REQUEST

Plaintiff Reid asks the Court to find that his settlement with Plaintiff Brown to have been entered in good faith.

LEGAL STANDARD

California Code of Civil Procedure section 877.6, subdivision (a)(1), provides, in relevant part, that, on noticed motion, “[a]ny party to an action wherein it is alleged that two or more parties are joint tortfeasors or co-obligors on a contract debt shall be entitled to a hearing on the issue of the good faith of a settlement entered into by the plaintiff . . . and one or more alleged tortfeasors or co-obligors . . . . “A determination by the court that the settlement was made in good faith shall bar any other joint tortfeasor or co-obligor from any further claims against the settling tortfeasor or co-obligor for equitable comparative contribution, or partial or comparative indemnity, based on comparative negligence or comparative fault.” ; 877.6, subd. (c).Although a determination that a settlement was in good faith does not discharge any other party from liability, “it shall reduce the claims against the others in the amount stipulated” by the settlement. ; 877, subd. (a).)

“The party asserting the lack of good faith shall have the burden of proof on that issue.” ; 877.6, subd. (d).)

In City of Grand View Terrace v. Superior Court (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 1251, 1261, the court provided the following guidance regarding a motion for a good faith settlement determination:

This court notes that of the hundreds of motions for good faith determination presented for trial court approval each year, the overwhelming majority are unopposed and granted summarily by the trial court. At the time of filing in many cases, the moving party does not know if a contest will develop. If each motion required a full recital by declaration or affidavit setting forth a complete factual response to all of the Tech-Bilt factors, literally thousands of attorney hours would be consumed and inch-thick motions would have to be read and considered by trial courts in an exercise which would waste valuable judicial and legal time and clients’ resources. . . . That is to say, when no one objects, the barebones motion which sets forth the ground of good faith, accompanied by a declaration which sets forth a brief background of the case is sufficient.

If the good faith settlement is contested, section 877.6, subdivision (d), sets forth a workable ground rule for the hearing by placing the burden of proving the lack of good faith on the contesting party. Once there is a showing made by the settlor of the settlement, the burden of proof on the issue of good faith shifts to the nonsettlor who asserts that the settlement was not made in good faith. If contested, declarations by the nonsettlor should be filed which in many cases could require the moving party to file responsive counterdeclarations to negate the lack of good faith asserted by the nonsettling contesting party.

(192 Cal.App.3d 1251, 1260-1261 [citation omitted].)

In Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488, 499, the California Supreme Court identified the following nonexclusive factors courts are to consider in determining if a settlement is in good faith under section 877.6: “a rough approximation of plaintiffstotal recovery and the settlor's proportionate liability, the amount paid in settlement, the allocation of settlement proceeds among plaintiffs, and a recognition that a settlor should pay less in settlement than he would if he were found liable after a trial. Other relevant considerations include the financial conditions and insurance policy limits of settling defendants, as well as the existence of collusion, fraud, or tortious conduct aimed to injure the interests of nonsettling defendants.”

The evaluation of whether a settlement was made in good faith is required to “be made on the basis of information available at the time of settlement.” Tech-Bilt, Inc., supra, 38 Cal.3d at p. 499.“‘[A] defendant’s settlement figure must not be grossly disproportionate to what a reasonable person, at the time of the settlement, would estimate the settling defendant’s liability to be.’ [Citation.]” Ibid.)

“The party asserting the lack of good faith, who has the burden of proof on that issue (; 877.6, subd. (d)), should be permitted to demonstrate, if he can, that the settlement is so far ‘out of the ballpark’ in relation to these factors as to be inconsistent with the equitable objectives of the statute. Such a demonstration would establish that the proposed settlement was not a ‘settlement made in good faith’ within the terms of section 877.6.” Id. at pp. 499-500.)

“[A] court not only looks at the alleged tortfeasor's potential liability to the plaintiff, but it must also consider the culpability of the tortfeasor vis-à-vis other parties alleged to be responsible for the same injury. Potential liability for indemnity to a nonsettling defendant is an important consideration for the trial court in determining whether to approve a settlement by an alleged tortfeasor. [Citation.]” (TSI Seismic Tenant Space, Inc. v. Superior Court (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 159, 166.)

DISCUSSION

On June 24, 2020, Plaintiff Brown agreed to discharge Plaintiff Reid of liability for Plaintiff Brown’s bodily injuries for $15,000.00.  (Faal Decl., ¶ 5, 8, Exh. A.)  Plaintiff Brown’s bodily injury policy limits is $15,000.00/$30,000.00.  (Faal Decl., ¶ 7, Exh. B.) Faal Decl., 6, Exh. E.)  Plaintiff Reid was not acting within the course and scope of his employment and has no real property or other tangible assets.  (Ibid.)

Defendants argue the settlement was not entered into in good faith because Plaintiff Reid was the initial cause of the collision that underlies this action and Plaintiff Brown has claimed $123,073.78 in special medical damages.

The Court finds that Plaintiff Reid’s evidence establishes that the settlement was entered in good faith under the Tech-Bilt, Inc. Factors.  Not all factors have to weigh in favor of good faith, and some may be more relevant to the determination than others, depending on the case.  Here, the opposing parties are correct that if Reid liability, his $15,000 settlement would be disproportional.  Yet, Reid’s expert, Hammarstrom, offers an accounting of the accident which would render Reid liability free.  Mallonee no admissible evidence of Reid’s having a significant share of liability, and even the declaration of her counsel, if accepted , offers corroborative evidence of Reid’s version of the accident (the location of the damage to the Plaintiff’s vehicle, the sequencing of the deployment of the air bags).  All of Reid’s settlement is going to , so there is no issue as the allocation of the settlement among plaintiffs.  Reid should  pay less in settlement than he would if he were found liable after a trial.  Of great importance here is the fact that Reid is insolvent and that his only insurance carrier is paying it’s policy .  Finally, on the issue of the existence of collusion, fraud, or tortious conduct aimed to injure the interests of nonsettling defendants, Mallonee argues, “It is conceivable that the settlors reached a settlement to allow Mr. Reid to escape this case in order to avoid judgment against him to the detriment of Tiffany Mallonee. Perceived “conceivability” is not evidence, and the court disagrees that Malonee has put forward any evidence of collusion or fraud.  

CONCLUSION

The motion is GRANTED.

Plaintiff Reid ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Plaintiff Reid is ordered to file the proof of service of this ruling with the Court within five days.

The parties are directed to the header of this tentative ruling for further instructions.



Case Number: ****6699    Hearing Date: February 17, 2021    Dept: 28

Motion for a Determination of a Good Faith Settlement

Having considered the moving and opposing papers, the Court rules as follows. No reply papers have been filed.

BACKGROUND

On December 15, 2017, Plaintiffs Melinda Brown (“Plaintiff Brown”) and Mathew Reid (“Plaintiff Reid”) filed a complaint against Defendants Carol Mallonee and Tiffany Mallonee (collectively “Defendants”).

On February 15, 2018, Defendants filed a cross-complaint against Cross-Defendant Seth Pergament.

On September 26, 2018, Defendants filed an amendment to their cross-complaint to name Plaintiff Reid.

On September 9, 2020, Plaintiff Reid filed a motion for determination of a good faith settlement pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 877.6.

Trial is set for March 27, 2021.

PARTYS REQUEST

Plaintiff Reid asks the Court to find that his settlement with Plaintiff Brown to have been entered in good faith.

LEGAL STANDARD

California Code of Civil Procedure section 877.6, subdivision (a)(1), provides, in relevant part, that, on noticed motion, “[a]ny party to an action wherein it is alleged that two or more parties are joint tortfeasors or co-obligors on a contract debt shall be entitled to a hearing on the issue of the good faith of a settlement entered into by the plaintiff . . . and one or more alleged tortfeasors or co-obligors . . . .” “A determination by the court that the settlement was made in good faith shall bar any other joint tortfeasor or co-obligor from any further claims against the settling tortfeasor or co-obligor for equitable comparative contribution, or partial or comparative indemnity, based on comparative negligence or comparative fault.” ; 877.6, subd. (c).Although a determination that a settlement was in good faith does not discharge any other party from liability, “it shall reduce the claims against the others in the amount stipulated” by the settlement. ; 877, subd. (a).)

“The party asserting the lack of good faith shall have the burden of proof on that issue.” ; 877.6, subd. (d).)

In City of Grand View Terrace v. Superior Court (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 1251, 1261, the court provided the following guidance regarding a motion for a good faith settlement determination:

This court notes that of the hundreds of motions for good faith determination presented for trial court approval each year, the overwhelming majority are unopposed and granted summarily by the trial court. At the time of filing in many cases, the moving party does not know if a contest will develop. If each motion required a full recital by declaration or affidavit setting forth a complete factual response to all of the Tech-Bilt factors, literally thousands of attorney hours would be consumed and inch-thick motions would have to be read and considered by trial courts in an exercise which would waste valuable judicial and legal time and clients’ resources. . . . That is to say, when no one objects, the barebones motion which sets forth the ground of good faith, accompanied by a declaration which sets forth a brief background of the case is sufficient.

If the good faith settlement is contested, section 877.6, subdivision (d), sets forth a workable ground rule for the hearing by placing the burden of proving the lack of good faith on the contesting party. Once there is a showing made by the settlor of the settlement, the burden of proof on the issue of good faith shifts to the nonsettlor who asserts that the settlement was not made in good faith. If contested, declarations by the nonsettlor should be filed which in many cases could require the moving party to file responsive counterdeclarations to negate the lack of good faith asserted by the nonsettling contesting party.

(192 Cal.App.3d 1251, 1260-1261 [citation omitted].)

In Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488, 499, the California Supreme Court identified the following nonexclusive factors courts are to consider in determining if a settlement is in good faith under section 877.6: “a rough approximation of plaintiffstotal recovery and the settlor's proportionate liability, the amount paid in settlement, the allocation of settlement proceeds among plaintiffs, and a recognition that a settlor should pay less in settlement than he would if he were found liable after a trial. Other relevant considerations include the financial conditions and insurance policy limits of settling defendants, as well as the existence of collusion, fraud, or tortious conduct aimed to injure the interests of nonsettling defendants.”

The evaluation of whether a settlement was made in good faith is required to “be made on the basis of information available at the time of settlement.” Tech-Bilt, Inc., supra, 38 Cal.3d at p. 499.“‘[A] defendant’s settlement figure must not be grossly disproportionate to what a reasonable person, at the time of the settlement, would estimate the settling defendant’s liability to be.’ [Citation.]” Ibid.)

“The party asserting the lack of good faith, who has the burden of proof on that issue (; 877.6, subd. (d)), should be permitted to demonstrate, if he can, that the settlement is so far ‘out of the ballpark’ in relation to these factors as to be inconsistent with the equitable objectives of the statute. Such a demonstration would establish that the proposed settlement was not a ‘settlement made in good faith’ within the terms of section 877.6.” Id. at pp. 499-500.)

“[A] court not only looks at the alleged tortfeasor's potential liability to the plaintiff, but it must also consider the culpability of the tortfeasor vis-à-vis other parties alleged to be responsible for the same injury. Potential liability for indemnity to a nonsettling defendant is an important consideration for the trial court in determining whether to approve a settlement by an alleged tortfeasor. [Citation.]” (TSI Seismic Tenant Space, Inc. v. Superior Court (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 159, 166.)

DISCUSSION

On June 24, 2020, Plaintiff Brown agreed to discharge Plaintiff Reid of liability for Plaintiff Brown’s bodily injuries for $15,000.00.  (Faal Decl., ¶ 3, Exh. A.)  Cross-Defendant’s bodily injury policy limits is $15,000.00/$30,000.00.  (Faal Decl., ¶ 2, Exh. B.)

Defendants argue the settlement was not entered into in good faith because Plaintiff Reid was the initial cause of the collision that underlies this action and Plaintiff Brown has claimed $123,073.78 in special medical damages.

The Court finds that Reid’s evidence does not establish that the settlement was entered in good faith.  Reid’s application consists only of a recitation, not under oath, that there was an accident, and that Reid is paying his passenger, Plaintiff Brown, $15,000, the limits of Brown’s insurance policy.  Reid does not inform the Court whether he has his own individual insurance.  Reid provides no evidence of a rough approximation of Browns total recovery nor of Reid’s proportionate liability the Mallonees or PergamentThe Court cannot determine whether the settlement is being made in good faith upon this limited showing.  

CONCLUSION

The motion is DENIED.

Plaintiff Reid ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Plaintiff Reid is ordered to file the proof of service of this ruling with the Court within five days.

The parties are directed to the header of this tentative ruling for further instructions.



Case Number: ****6699    Hearing Date: March 16, 2020    Dept: 28

The court considered the moving papers. 

BACKGROUND

On December 15, 2017, Plaintiffs Melinda Brown (“Brown”) and Matthew Reid (“Reid”) (collectively “Plaintiffs”) filed a complaint against Defendants Carole Mallonee and Tiffany Mallonee (collectively “Defendants”), asserting causes of action for motor vehicle and general negligence.

On February 15, 2018, Defendants filed an answer to the complaint.  Defendants also filed a cross-complaint against Cross-Defendant Seth Pergament (“Pergament”), asserting causes of action for apportionment of fault, indemnification, and declaratory relief. 

On May 11, 2018, Pergament filed an answer to the cross-complaint. 

On September 26, 2018, Defendants filed an Amendment to Cross-Complaint, naming Reid as DOE 1. 

On January 23, 2019, Plaintiffs filed an Amendment to Complaint, naming Pergament as DOE 1.

On February 19, 2019, Reid filed an answer to the cross-complaint.

On April 16, 2019, Pergament filed an answer to the complaint.

REQUESTS

Bob J. Epstein (“Counsel”) moves to be relieved as counsel for Pergament in this action. 

LEGAL STANDARD

C.C.P. ;284 provides, as follows:

The attorney in an action or special proceeding may be changed at any time before or after judgment of final determination, as follows:

1. ;Upon the consent of both client and attorney, filed with the clerk, or entered upon the minutes;

2. ;Upon the order of the court, upon the application of either client or attorney, after notice from one to the other.

DISCUSSION

Counsel moves to be relieved as counsel for Pergament.

Counsel did not file a proof of service showing Pergament was timely and properly served with the Notice of Motion and Motion to be Relieved as Counsel (MC-051), Declaration (MC-052), and Proposed Order (MC-053). (See CRC 3.1362(d).)

Assuming proper and timely service, Counsel is entitled to an order relieving him as the attorney for Pergament. Counsel filed forms MC-051, MC-052, and MC-053. Counsel also provided a proper reason for the withdrawal - an irreparable breakdown of the attorney-client relationship. (Declaration of Epstein, pg. 1.) Additionally, Pergament will not suffer prejudice if the motion is granted. Trial is set for May 6, 2020.  The Court can continue the trial and related dates, if warranted. 

Based on the foregoing, the motion to be relieved as counsel is granted provided Counsel establishes Pergament was timely and properly served with MC-051, MC-052, and MC-053. 

CONCLUSION

The motion to be relieved as counsel is granted provided Counsel establishes Pergament was timely and properly served with the Notice of Motion and Motion to be Relieved as Counsel (MC-051), Declaration (MC-052), and Proposed Order (MC-053). 



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