This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 11/29/2019 at 18:40:30 (UTC).

MICHAEL NAVARRO VS AMERICAN LIMOUSINE SERVICES ET AL

Case Summary

On 12/04/2017 MICHAEL NAVARRO filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against AMERICAN LIMOUSINE SERVICES. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are YOLANDA OROZCO, LAURA A. SEIGLE and RICHARD E. RICO. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****5564

  • Filing Date:

    12/04/2017

  • 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

YOLANDA OROZCO

LAURA A. SEIGLE

RICHARD E. RICO

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

NAVARRO MICHAEL

Defendants, Respondents and Cross Plaintiffs

AMERICAN LIMOUSINE SERVICES

BUSINESS ENTITIES FORM UNKNOWN

DOES 1 TO 100

EXCHANGE LOS ANGELES

LONNIE REYNOLDS (DOE 2)

LONNIE REYNOLDS DOE 2

HL & B CORPORATION BEVERLY HILLS BEST VALET

BEVERLY HILLS BEST VALET

HL & B CORPORATION

CROSSROADS INVESTMENTS INC. [DOE 1]

HL & B CORPORATION BEVERLY HILLS BEST VALET [DOE 3]

Defendants and Cross Defendants

HL & B CORPORATION BEVERLY HILLS BEST VALET

BEVERLY HILLS BEST VALET

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

COMMERCE LAW GROUP

MACKAY SASSAN AMIR

MACKAY SASSAN A. ESQ.

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

SALISBURY CORY T.

SALISBURY CORY TYLER

WATSON JOSEPH C.

WATSON JOSEPH CHARLES

KRAMER JEFFREY STEVEN

SALISBURY CORY TYLER ESQ.

Cross Plaintiff Attorneys

WHEELER KEVIN B

WINOKUR ADAM M

 

Court Documents

Opposition - OPPOSITION PLAINTIFF MICHAEL NAVARRO'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT HL& B CORPORATION MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

11/21/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION PLAINTIFF MICHAEL NAVARRO'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT HL& B CORPORATION MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Objection - OBJECTION PLAINTIFF'S EVIDENTIARY OBJECTION TO EXH B ATTACHED TO DECLARATION OF KATHLEEN STOSUY SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF MSJ ON BEHALF OF DEF. WERM INVESTMENTS, LLC DBA EXCHANGE LOS ANGELES

11/22/2019: Objection - OBJECTION PLAINTIFF'S EVIDENTIARY OBJECTION TO EXH B ATTACHED TO DECLARATION OF KATHLEEN STOSUY SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF MSJ ON BEHALF OF DEF. WERM INVESTMENTS, LLC DBA EXCHANGE LOS ANGELES

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

10/28/2019: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Case Management Statement

9/27/2019: Case Management Statement

Notice - NOTICE OF RESCHEDULED HEARING DATE FOR MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFFS DEPOSITION AND FOR SANCTIONS BY DOE 3 IDENTIFIED AS HL & B CORP., BEVERLY HILLS BEST VALET

9/27/2019: Notice - NOTICE OF RESCHEDULED HEARING DATE FOR MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFFS DEPOSITION AND FOR SANCTIONS BY DOE 3 IDENTIFIED AS HL & B CORP., BEVERLY HILLS BEST VALET

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR [NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE]

9/5/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR [NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE]

Declaration - DECLARATION OF ARMEN MANOUKIAN WITH EXHIBIT IN SUPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

8/23/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF ARMEN MANOUKIAN WITH EXHIBIT IN SUPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Declaration - DECLARATION HUGO CHAVEZ IN SUPPORT SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION

8/14/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION HUGO CHAVEZ IN SUPPORT SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTION

Motion for Summary Judgment

8/14/2019: Motion for Summary Judgment

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY (NOT "FURTHER DISCOVERY")) OF 08/15/2019

8/15/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (HEARING ON MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY (NOT "FURTHER DISCOVERY")) OF 08/15/2019

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NUNC PRO TUNC ORDER)

4/15/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (NUNC PRO TUNC ORDER)

Reply - REPLY BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF DEMURRER TO COMPLAINT

4/8/2019: Reply - REPLY BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF DEMURRER TO COMPLAINT

Request for Judicial Notice

3/18/2019: Request for Judicial Notice

Answer

12/6/2018: Answer

PLAINTIFF?S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT AMERICAN LIMOUSINE SERVICES? DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF?S COMPLAINT

4/20/2018: PLAINTIFF?S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT AMERICAN LIMOUSINE SERVICES? DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF?S COMPLAINT

Unknown

7/27/2018: Unknown

SUMMONS -

12/4/2017: SUMMONS -

93 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 01/26/2021
  • Hearing01/26/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 37 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 01/19/2021
  • Hearing01/19/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 37 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 09/10/2020
  • Hearing09/10/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department 37 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Status Conference

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  • 12/06/2019
  • Hearing12/06/2019 at 08:30 AM in Department 37 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment

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  • 11/22/2019
  • DocketObjection (Plaintiff's Evidentiary Objection to Exh B attached to Declaration of Kathleen Stosuy Submitted in Support of MSJ on behalf of Def. Werm Investments, LLc dba Exchange Los Angeles); Filed by Michael Navarro (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/22/2019
  • DocketProof of Service by Mail; Filed by Michael Navarro (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/22/2019
  • DocketReply (Plaintiif Michael Navarro's response to the Separated Statement of Undisputed Facts Ostensibly Submitted in Support of the MSj on behalf of Werm); Filed by Michael Navarro (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/22/2019
  • DocketObjection (Plaintiff's Objection to Declaration of Armen Manoukian Submitted in Support of MSJ for Def. Werm Investments, LLc dba Exchange Los Angeles); Filed by Michael Navarro (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/22/2019
  • DocketObjection (Plaintiff's Objection to Def. Werm Investments, LLc dba Exchange Los Angeles Request fro Judicial NTC in support of MSJ); Filed by Michael Navarro (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/22/2019
  • DocketOpposition (Plaintiff Michale Navarro's Opposition to Defendant Werm Investments, LLC, dba Exchange Los Angeles' Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by Michael Navarro (Plaintiff)

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113 More Docket Entries
  • 03/20/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Michael Navarro (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Michael Navarro (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2018
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Michael Navarro (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/20/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 03/20/2018
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 02/14/2018
  • DocketAmendment to Complaint; Filed by Michael Navarro (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/14/2018
  • DocketAMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT

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  • 12/04/2017
  • DocketVERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES CAUSE OF ACTION 1. NEGLIGENCE

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  • 12/04/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Michael Navarro (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/04/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC685564    Hearing Date: January 15, 2020    Dept: 37

HEARING DATE: January 15, 2020

CASE NUMBER: BC685564

CASE NAME: Michael Navarro v. American Limousine Services, et al.

MOVING PARTY: Defendant, HL&B Corporation (Doe 3)

OPPOSING PARTY: Plaintiff, Michael Navarro

TRIAL DATE: January 26, 2021

PROOF OF SERVICE: OK

MOTION: Defendant HL& B Corporation’s Motion for Reconsideration of December 6, 2019 Order Denying Motion for Summary Judgment

OPPOSITION: January 2, 2020

REPLY:

TENTATIVE: Defendant HL&B Corporation’s Motion for Reconsideration is denied. Plaintiff is to provide notice.

Background

This action arises out of Plaintiff, Michael Navarro’s (“Plaintiff”) visit to Exchange Los Angeles (“Exchange”) at 618 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, California on the evening of June 4, 2016. Plaintiff alleges that his friend, non-party Adam Rho, hired Defendant, American Limousine Services (“American”) to provide transportation for their friends from 3400 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa, California at 9:30pm on June 4, 2016 to Exchange, returning to Costa Mesa at 3:30am the following morning. Plaintiff further alleges that at about 2:00 am on June 5, 2016, American and its driver refused to bring the limousine to Exchange’s main entrance and directed Plaintiff and his friends to cross the street to board. As a result of having to cross the street, Plaintiff alleges that he was hit by a vehicle and suffered serious injuries. Plaintiff alleges that American was responsible for creating the dangerous condition which resulted in Plaintiff’s injury by requiring Plaintiff to cross the street.

Plaintiff’s Complaint, filed December 4, 2017, alleges one cause of action for negligence.

On January 25, 2019, Exchange filed a cross-complaint for implied indemnity, equitable indemnity and declaratory relief, naming HL&B Corporation (“HLB”) as a cross-defendant. On January 18, 2019, Plaintiff amended his complaint, naming HLB as a doe defendant. On February 25, 2019, Exchange filed a first amended cross-complaint.

On December 6, 2019, the court denied HLB’s motion for summary judgment. On December 11, 2019, the court granted Exchange’s motion for summary judgment in its entirety, finding that Exchange had no duty as a matter of law to Plaintiff to prevent his injuries based on its role as a bartender/operator of a business serving alcohol.

HLB now moves for reconsideration of the December 6, 2019 order denying its motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff opposes the motion.

Reconsideration

  1. Timeliness

Code of Civil Procedure, section 1008 allows a party to move for reconsideration of an order within 10 days after service upon the party of written notice of entry of the order, based on new or different facts, circumstances, or law. (Code Civ. Proc., § 1008, subd. (a).)

Here, the Minute Order of December 6, 2019 regarding HLB’s motion for summary judgment indicated that Plaintiff was to provide notice of the ruling. However, a review of the docket does not indicate that Plaintiff filed a notice of ruling with respect to HLB’s motion for summary judgment. The instant motion was filed December 16, 2019, which is exactly ten days from the date HLB’s motion for summary judgment was heard. Further, Plaintiff’s opposition does not contend that HLB’s motion for reconsideration is untimely.

As such, the motion for reconsideration is timely.

  1. Analysis

Code of Civil Procedure section 1008 requires the party moving for reconsideration to “state by affidavit what application was made before, when and to what judge, what order or decisions were made, and what new or different facts, circumstances, or law are claimed to be shown.”

HLB submits the declaration of its attorney, Joseph C. Watson (“Watson”) in support of its motion. Watson attests that since the time he filed the motion on behalf of HL&B, he believes new facts were introduced because counsel for Exchange, Armen Manoukian, submitted a declaration in which he attested that Exchange contracted with HL&B to provide valet services at the Exchange. (Watson Decl. ¶ 3.) Further, Watson attests that Manoukian’s declaration attesting to the foundation and validity of the surveillance video constitutes new facts. (Watson Decl. ¶ 4.) Moreover, Watson attests that the Court’s holding which adopted both Andrews v. Wells (1988) 204 Cal.App.3d 533 (Andrews) and Vasilenko v. Grace Family Church (2017) 3 Cal.5th 1077 (Vasilenko) constitutes new facts. (Watson Decl. ¶ 5.)

Plaintiff contends on opposition that HLB has failed to meet its burden under Code of Civil Procedure section 1008 because the motion and supporting Watson Declaration do not demonstrate that there have been new circumstances, new or different facts, or any changes in the controlling law. (Opposition, 4-7.) Plaintiff contends that there have been no new facts to justify reconsideration because the facts that Watson contends to be new existed at the time of the hearing on HLB Motion for Summary Judgment. (Opposition, 4.) Plaintiff contends HLB also fails to demonstrate that there has been a change in controlling law, as the cases HLB cites in support of its motion for reconsideration were decided and in part referenced in connection with the court’s ruling on HLB’s Motion for Summary Judgment. (Opposition, 6-7.)

The court agrees with Plaintiff that HLB failed to meet its burden under Code of Civil Procedure section 1008 to demonstrate the existence of new facts, circumstances or controlling law. As such, the court will not reconsider its December 6, 2019 ruling.

HLB’s motion contends that the ruling on Exchange’s motion constitutes “new” facts and/or law because of two reasons: (1) Exchange utilized the same surveillance video to support its motion, which the court deemed was properly authenticated as to Exchange, (2) the court’s ruling indicated that Vasilenko applied to defeat Plaintiff’s claims against Exchange. HLB appears to be attempting to utilize the court’s ruling on Exchange’s motion for summary judgment to remedy the deficiencies in HLB’s motion for summary judgment; however, that is not grounds for a motion for reconsideration.

First, the surveillance video in question was available to both HLB and Exchange for several weeks, or perhaps months, prior to the December 6, 2019 hearing on HLB’s motion. When HLB filed its motion for summary judgment, it failed to include a declaration appropriately authenticating the surveillance video. The fact that Exchange, on the other hand, did include a declaration which did appropriately authenticate the video does not constitute new facts or circumstances.

Second, with respect to the court’s application of Vasilenko and discussion of Andrews in the ruling on Exchange’s motion for summary judgment, this does not constitute a change in controlling law. The holdings in Vasilenko and Andrews remained the same when the court decided Exchange’s motion as when the court decided HLB’s motion. Exchange made factual and legal arguments the HLB did not make. Thus, different rulings about the affect of Vasilenko and Andrews on the two different showings does not mean that the court “adopted new law.”

Accordingly, HLB’s motion is denied.

Conclusion

Defendant HL&B Corporation’s Motion for Reconsideration is denied. Plaintiff is to provide notice.

Case Number: BC685564    Hearing Date: December 11, 2019    Dept: 37

HEARING DATE: December 11, 2019

CASE NUMBER: BC685564

CASE NAME: Michael Navarro v. American Limousine Services, et al.

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Werm Investments, LLC, dba Exchange Los Angeles

OPPOSING PARTY: Plaintiff, Michael Navarro

TRIAL DATE: January 26, 2021

PROOF OF SERVICE: OK

PROCEEDING: Defendant Werm Investments, LLC dba Exchange Los Angeles’ Motion for Summary Judgment

OPPOSITION: November 22, 2019

REPLY: December 2, 2019

TENTATIVE: Exchange’s Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED. Plaintiff is to give notice.

Background

This action arises out of Plaintiff, Michael Navarro’s (“Plaintiff”) visit to Exchange Los Angeles (“Exchange”) at 618 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, California on the evening of June 4, 2016. Plaintiff alleges that his friend, non-party Adam Rho, hired Defendant, American Limousine Services (“American”) to provide transportation for their friends from 3400 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa, California at 9:30pm on June 4, 2016 to Exchange, returning to Costa Mesa at 3:30am the following morning. Plaintiff further alleges that at about 2:00 am on June 5, 2016, American and its driver refused to bring the limousine to Exchange’s main entrance and directed Plaintiff and his friends to cross the street to board. As a result of having to cross the street, Plaintiff alleges that he was hit by a vehicle and suffered serious injuries. Plaintiff alleges that American and exchange were both responsible for creating the dangerous condition which resulted in Plaintiff’s injury by requiring Plaintiff to cross the street.

Plaintiff’s Complaint, filed December 4, 2017, alleges one cause of action for negligence.

On January 25, 2019, Exchange filed a cross-complaint for implied indemnity, equitable indemnity and declaratory relief, naming HL&B Corporation (“HLB”) as a cross-defendant. On January 18, 2019, Plaintiff amended his complaint, naming HLB as a doe defendant. On February 25, 2019, Exchange filed a first amended cross-complaint.

Exchange now moves for summary judgment as to Plaintiff’s Complaint on the grounds that Exchange owes Plaintiff no duty as a matter of law. Plaintiff opposes the motion.

Evidentiary Objections

Plaintiff’s Objection to Declaration of Armen Manoukian

Objection 1: sustained.

Plaintiff’s Objection to Declaration of Kathleen Stosuy

Overruled: 3-4, 8, 11, 13

Sustained: 1-2, 5-7, 9-10, 12.

Request for Judicial Notice

Exchange requests the court take judicial notice of the following, pursuant to Evidence Code section 452, subdivisions (d):

  1. Declaration of Hugo Chavez submitted in support of HLB’s Motion for Summary Judgment (exhibit B to Declaration of Kathleen Stosuy.)

Plaintiff objects to the request for judicial notice because he contends Exchange has failed to provide the court information sufficient to evaluate whether the document is a proper matter for judicial notice. (see Opposition to Request for Judicial Notice.) This is not the standard as to Evidence Code section 452 (d).

The court GRANTS Exchange’s request for judicial notice. The existence and legal effect of these documents are properly subject to judicial notice as records of the courts of the State of California. (Evidence Code § 452 (d)(1).)

Factual Background

Exchange contends that it is entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiff cannot provide evidence to raise a triable issue of material fact as to its negligence. Exchange further contends that as a matter of law, it owes Plaintiff no duty. As with HLB, whose summary judgment motion the court recently decided, Exchange relies on the Declaration of Hugo Chavez, for which it requests judicial notice, as well as the Vasilenko v. Grace Family Church (2017) 3 Cal.5th 1077 (Vasilenko) decision. Exchange further relies on a video tape it contends depicts the incident, which it submits by authentication by its attorney, Armen Manoukian.

Plaintiff contends that Exchange’s motion must be denied because it has failed to demonstrate the absence of material fact as to Exchange’s negligence and that, further, Exchange has not demonstrated it owes Plaintiff no duty as a matter of law. Nevertheless, Plaintiff also does not submit evidence in support of his opposition, other than citations to his Complaint as well as citation to the Chavez declaration.

Because a review of Exchange’s Separate Statement indicates that it contains little to no evidence, the court will summarize the facts as Plaintiff alleges in his Complain for purposes of this ruling, with reference to the Chavez declaration where applicable.

Defendant, Werm Investments, LLC dba Exchange Los Angeles (“Exchange”) owns and operates a nightclub, the Exchange, located at 618 South Spring Street, Los Angeles. (Separate Statement in Support of Motion (“DSS”), ¶ 1, Declaration of Armen Manoukian (“Manoukian Decl.”), ¶ 4.)

On June 4, 2016, Plaintiff was dropped off by limousine at the Exchange. (DSS, ¶ 2, Complaint, ¶ 10.) On the morning of June 5, 2016, Plaintiff crossed the street in front of the Exchange and was struck by a vehicle. (DSS, ¶ 3; Complaint, ¶ 22; Manoukian Decl., Exhibit 1 (videotape.

At the time Plaintiff crossed the street on June 5, 2016, pedestrian crosswalks with traffic lights were available at the corners of both South Spring Street and 6th Street and South Spring Street and 7th Street. (DSS, ¶ 4; Declaration of Kathleen Stosuy (“Stosuy Decl.”) Exhibit B, ¶ 10.)

The Exchange did not make or place any impairments in the street that would cause Plaintiff to be unable to see oncoming cars. (DSS, ¶ 5; Manoukian Decl., ¶ 6; Exhibit 1.) The Exchange also did not make or place any impairments that would impact traffic in the street from being unable to see Plaintiff. (DSS, ¶ 6, Manoukian Decl., ¶ 6, Exhibit 1.) Plaintiff contends in his separate statement that he is unable to admit or dispute these facts, but notes that Exchange has not submitted expert testimony in support of same. (Separate Statement in Support of Opposition (“PSS”), ¶¶ 5-7.)

Finally, the Exchange argues that it is undisputed Plaintiff caused his own injuries by deciding to cross the street in the video, leading to the adverse driver’s inability to avoid the collision. (DSS, ¶ 8, Manoukian Decl., Exhibit 1.) Plaintiff disputes this fact and contends that there is no expert testimony as to the “cause” of his injuries. (PSS, ¶ 8.) Plaintiff further contends that Exchange has submitted insufficient foundation to authenticate the video tape. (Id.)

Discussion

I. Legal Standard

“The purpose of the law of summary judgment is to provide courts with a mechanism to cut through the parties’ pleadings in order to determine whether, despite their allegations, trial is in fact necessary to resolve their dispute.” (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 843.) Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure, section 437c, subdivision (a):

A party may move for summary judgment in any action or proceeding if it is contended that the action has no merit or that there is no defense to the action or proceeding. The motion may be made at any time after 60 days have elapsed since the general appearance in the action or proceeding of each party against whom the motion is directed or at any earlier time after the general appearance that the court, with or without notice and upon good cause shown, may direct…. The motion shall be heard no later than 30 days before the date of trial, unless the court for good cause orders otherwise. The filing of the motion shall not extend the time within which a party must otherwise file a responsive pleading.

(Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (a).) A motion for summary judgment may be granted “if all the papers submitted show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (c).)

“The motion shall be supported by affidavits, declarations, admissions, answers to interrogatories, depositions, and matters of which judicial notice shall or may be taken. The supporting papers shall include a separate statement setting forth plainly and concisely all material facts that the moving party contends are undisputed. Each of the material facts stated shall be followed by a reference to the supporting evidence. The failure to comply with this requirement of a separate statement may in the court’s discretion constitute a sufficient ground for denial of the motion.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (b)(1); see also Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1350(c)(2) & (d).)

In analyzing motions 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 (Hinsley).) Pursuant to Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subdivision (p)(2):

A defendant or cross-defendant 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, even if not separately pleaded, cannot be established, or that there is a complete defense to the cause of action. Once the defendant or cross-defendant has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff or cross-complainant to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto. The plaintiff or cross-complainant shall not rely upon the 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 or a defense thereto.

(Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).) The court must “view the evidence in the light most favorable to the opposing party and accept all inferences reasonably drawn therefrom.” (Hinesley, 135 Cal.App.4th at p. 294; Dore v. Arnold Worldwide, Inc. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 384, 389 [Courts “liberally construe the evidence in support of the party opposing summary judgment and resolve doubts concerning the evidence in favor of that party.”].) A motion for summary judgment must be denied where the moving party’s evidence does not prove all material facts, even in the absence of any opposition (Leyva v. Sup. Ct. (1985) 164 Cal.App.3d 462, 475).

Exchange moves for summary judgment against Plaintiff on the grounds that Exchange does not owe Plaintiff any duty as a matter of law and as such, there is no triable issue of material fact as to HLB’s negligence. Exchange’s motion is largely an analysis of Vasilenko and its application to the instant action, together with citations to the inadmissible video tape.

Plaintiff opposes Exchange’s motion on the grounds that it has not submitted sufficient evidence to establish that there is no triable issue of material fact, or to establish that Exchange does not owe Plaintiff a duty as a matter of law.

II. Analysis

As a general principle, “(a) Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.” (Civil Code § 1714.)

Negligence consists of the following elements: (1) the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, (2) the defendant breached that duty, and (3) the breach proximately caused the plaintiff’s damages or injuries. (Lueras v. BAS Home Loan Servicing, LP (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 49, 62.) “Whether a duty of care exists is a question of law to be determined on a case-by-case basis.” (Ibid.)

Exchange contends that it is entitled to summary judgment because pursuant to Vasilenko, Exchange owes Plaintiff no duty as a matter of law. As such, Exchange contends that there is no triable issue of material fact regarding whether it committed negligence. Exchange further contends that it should not be held to have a duty to Plaintiff solely on the basis of its provision of alcohol to Plaintiff. (DSS, ¶ 7; Stosuy Decl., Exhibits C and D [Response to Special Interrogatories, Number 1.]).

In Vasilenko, Plaintiff was struck by a car as he crossed a public street between the main premises of defendant church and the defendant’s overflow parking area. (Vasilenko, supra, 3 Cal.5th 1077 at p. 1081.) Plaintiff alleged that the church owed him a duty of care to assure that he crossed the street safely and the church disputed that it owed any duty. (Id.) The Supreme Court held that the church, as a landowner, without more, owed no duty to assist invitees such as Plaintiff to cross a public street when the landowner does no more than “site and maintain a parking lot that requires invitees to cross the street,” so long as the street’s dangers are not obscured by any action of the landowner. (Id. at 1082.) In reaching this holding, the Supreme Court considered the factors set out in Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108 (Rowland). (Id. at 1085.) The Supreme Court found that while it was foreseeable and certain that Plaintiff was injured when he crossed the street, the connection between Plaintiff and the defendant church’s conduct, if any, was distant because a driver striking plaintiff on the public street is independent of anything the church did or did not do. (Id. at 1086.) As to the remaining Rowland factors, the Supreme Court found that the burden of imposing a duty on the church would be high, as it would create many increased costs for landowners who maintain similar overflow parking. (Id. at 1090-1091.) The Supreme Court also found that the moral blame attached to the church’s alleged failure to prevent Plaintiff’s injury is low because “the danger of crossing public streets is one that almost all adults encounter every day.” (Id. at 1091.)

Plaintiff contends on opposition that HLB’s reliance on Vasilenko is misplaced. (Opposition, 13-17.) Specifically, Plaintiff contends that Vasilenko dealt with a landowner, the church, while Exchange is not alleged to be a landowner. (Id.) Plaintiff also contends that “it is significant that the church in that case had no one present to monitor or control anyone attempting to navigate from the church to its off-site parking lot.” (Opposition, 14.)[1] The opposition then also discusses Vasilenko as it applies to this action and concludes that contrary to Vasilenko, the burden of imposing a duty on Exchange would not be high because Exchange’s job was to “coordinate with limousine drivers and other drivers in order for them to position those waiting vehicles to a location where they could safely retrieve their charges.” (Opposition, 15.)

Applying Vasilenko to the instant action, the court agrees with Plaintiff, but not for the reasons stated. As Plaintiff correctly asserts, Vasilenko deals with whether a church by its status as a landowner adjacent to the roadway owes an invitee a duty to ensure that he crosses a public street safely. Here, Exchange owns and operates a night club that serves alcoholic beverages to its patrons. It also has a 2:00 a.m. closing time where it discharges its customers out of a door next to a busy downtown street at night. As such, it is reasonably foreseeable that some of the patrons may be impaired in their decision making and in their sensory acuity. Indeed, patrons who arrange for limousines, may well do so precisely because they expect to experience such impairment. As Defendant has not negated those factors in its moving papers, there remains a triable issue of whether Exchange should have done more to protect its patrons at or about closing time.

Overall, Exchange’s motion and supporting evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiff, does not establish that the absence of a material fact as to Exchange’s negligence. Further, Exchange’s motion and supporting evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiff, does not establish that Exchange owed Plaintiff no duty as a matter of law.

A motion for summary judgment must be denied where the moving party’s evidence does not prove all material facts, even in the absence of any opposition (Leyva v. Sup. Ct. (1985) 164 Cal.App.3d 462, 475). Accordingly, the court finds that Exchange has failed to establish that no triable issue of fact exists as to its negligence or as to whether it owes no duty to Plaintiff as a matter of law.

III. Conclusion

Exchange’s Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED. Plaintiff is to give notice.


[1] This argument is not entirely accurate. The “Church had posted crossing volunteers at the intersection of Marconi and Root Avenues.” (Vasilenko, supra, 3 Cal.5th 1077 at p. 1082.)

Case Number: BC685564    Hearing Date: December 06, 2019    Dept: 37

HEARING DATE: December 6, 2019

CASE NUMBER: BC685564

CASE NAME: Michael Navarro v. American Limousine Services, et al.

MOVING PARTY: Defendant HL& B Corporation

OPPOSING PARTY: Plaintiff, Michael Navarro

TRIAL DATE: January 26, 2021

PROOF OF SERVICE: OK

PROCEEDING: Defendant HL & B Corporation’s Motion for Summary Judgment

OPPOSITION: November 21, 2019

REPLY: December 2, 2019

TENTATIVE: HLB’s Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED. Plaintiff is to give notice.

Background

This action arises out of Plaintiff, Michael Navarro’s (“Plaintiff”) visit to Exchange Los Angeles (“Exchange”) at 618 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles, California on the evening of June 4, 2016. Plaintiff alleges that his friend, non-party Adam Rho, hired Defendant, American Limousine Services (“American”) to provide transportation for their friends from 3400 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa, California at 9:30pm on June 4, 2016 to Exchange, returning to Costa Mesa at 3:30am the following morning. Plaintiff further alleges that at about 2:00 am on June 5, 2016, American and its driver refused to bring the limousine to Exchange’s main entrance and directed Plaintiff and his friends to cross the street to board. As a result of having to cross the street, Plaintiff alleges that he was hit by a vehicle and suffered serious injuries. Plaintiff alleges that American was responsible for creating the dangerous condition which resulted in Plaintiff’s injury by requiring Plaintiff to cross the street.

Plaintiff’s Complaint, filed December 4, 2017, alleges one cause of action for negligence.

On January 25, 2019, Exchange filed a cross-complaint for implied indemnity, equitable indemnity and declaratory relief, naming HL&B Corporation (“HLB”) as a cross-defendant. On January 18, 2019, Plaintiff amended his complaint, naming HLB as a doe defendant. On February 25, 2019, Exchange filed a first amended cross-complaint.

HLB now moves for summary judgment as to Plaintiff’s Complaint on the grounds that HLB owes Plaintiff no duty as a matter of law. HLB also contends that this is a “no evidence” summary judgment motion. Plaintiff opposes the motion.

Evidentiary Objections

Plaintiff’s Objection to Videotape

Sustained

Plaintiff’s Objection to Declaration of Hugo Chavez

Overruled: 3-4, 8, 11, 13

Sustained: 1-2, 5-7, 9-10, 12.

Request for Judicial Notice

HLB requests the court take judicial notice of both of the following, pursuant to Evidence Code section 452, subdivisions (d) and (h):

  1. Plaintiff’s Complaint in the instant action;

  2. The entire case file in the matter Michael Navarro v. Tirfesha Egu (BC632859).

Plaintiff objects to the request for judicial notice because he contends that both documents are disputed and are hearsay. (see Opposition to Request for Judicial Notice.) This is not the standard.

The court GRANTS HLB’s request for judicial notice, in part. The existence and legal effect of these documents are properly subject to judicial notice as records of the courts of the State of California. (Evidence Code § 452 (d).) However, the request regarding the “entire case file” is too general. Specific documents need to be identified and copies provided.

Factual Background

HLB contends that the instant motion is a “no evidence” summary judgment motion. HLB submits the declaration of its owner, Hugo Chavez, in support of its motion. HLB also relies on citations to Plaintiff’s Complaint and the case Vasilenko v. Grace Family Church (2017) 3 Cal.5th 1077 (Vasilenko). HLB further relies on a video tape it requested by lodged with the court as evidence. However, as discussed above, the declaration of Joseph Watson submitted to authenticate the video tape lacks sufficient foundation for its contention that the video tape is a true and correct copy. As such, the court does not consider the video tape in evaluating HLB’s motion.

Plaintiff contends that a “no evidence” summary judgment motion does not exist and as such, HLB’s motion must be denied. Nevertheless, Plaintiff also does not submit evidence in support of his opposition, other than citations to his Complaint as well as citation to the Chavez declaration.

Because a review of HLB’s Separate Statement indicates that it contains little to no evidence, the court will summarize the facts as Plaintiff alleges in his Complaint for purposes of this ruling, with reference to the Chavez declaration where applicable.

On or about July 4, 2016, Plaintiff’s friend, Adam Rho, allegedly hired and contracted American for the purpose of transporting Plaintiff and his friends to and from Exchange between the hours of 9:30pm and 3:30am. (Complaint, ¶ 9.) American allegedly transported Plaintiff, Rho and their friends to Exchange from 3400 Avenue of the Arts, Costa Mesa, California, and waited parked at the location. (Complaint, ¶ 10.) On or about 2:00 am, American’s driver allegedly received a call from Plaintiff or his friend and allegedly refused to drive to Exchange’s main entrance for pickup. (Complaint, ¶ 11.) Instead, American’s employee allegedly demanded Plaintiff and his friends to cross the street from Exchange in order to board. (Complaint, ¶ 12.) Exchange also allegedly refused to allow American to pick up its passengers at its main entrance. (Complaint, ¶ 13.)

According to HLB, HLB’s personnel never spoke with the limousine driver. (Separate Statement in Support of Motion (“DSS”) ¶ 3, Declaration of Hugo Chavez (“Chavez Decl.”), ¶ 3.) According to Plaintiff, HLB has failed to establish foundation through the Chavez Declaration that each and every one of their employees never spoke to the limousine’s driver. (Separate Statement in Support of Opposition (“PSS”), ¶ 3.) Further, according to HLB, it does not have a policy of telling its drivers that they may not load or unload passengers from Exchange loading/unloading zone. (DSS, ¶ 4, Chavez Decl., ¶ 4.) Plaintiff appears to dispute this but does not submit any evidence in support of his contention.

Chavez attests that, in his experience with limousines, the type of limousine which Plaintiff hired could not have safely pulled into the Exchange loading zone. (DSS, ¶ 7, Chavez Decl., ¶ 7.) Plaintiff disputes this statement and contends that it is untrue because Plaintiff was dropped off in front of Exchange’s main entrance. (PSS, ¶ 7, Complaint, ¶ 10.) Plaintiff only cites to his own Complaint in support of this statement.

HLB further contends that Plaintiff did not speak to any HLB personnel when he came out of Exchange and before he crossed the street. (DSS ¶ 26, Chavez Decl., ¶ 11.) HLB also contends that Plaintiff did not utilize HLB’s services on the evening/morning of June 4 to June 5, 2016. (DSS ¶ 27, Chavez Decl. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff disputes each of these contentions and asserts that HLB has not submitted evidence from its employees that Plaintiff did not speak with them. (PSS, ¶¶ 26-27.)

Discussion

I. Legal Standard

“The purpose of the law of summary judgment is to provide courts with a mechanism to cut through the parties’ pleadings in order to determine whether, despite their allegations, trial is in fact necessary to resolve their dispute.” (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 843.) Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure, section 437c, subdivision (a):

A party may move for summary judgment in any action or proceeding if it is contended that the action has no merit or that there is no defense to the action or proceeding. The motion may be made at any time after 60 days have elapsed since the general appearance in the action or proceeding of each party against whom the motion is directed or at any earlier time after the general appearance that the court, with or without notice and upon good cause shown, may direct…. The motion shall be heard no later than 30 days before the date of trial, unless the court for good cause orders otherwise. The filing of the motion shall not extend the time within which a party must otherwise file a responsive pleading.

(Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (a).) A motion for summary judgment may be granted “if all the papers submitted show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (c).)

“The motion shall be supported by affidavits, declarations, admissions, answers to interrogatories, depositions, and matters of which judicial notice shall or may be taken. The supporting papers shall include a separate statement setting forth plainly and concisely all material facts that the moving party contends are undisputed. Each of the material facts stated shall be followed by a reference to the supporting evidence. The failure to comply with this requirement of a separate statement may in the court’s discretion constitute a sufficient ground for denial of the motion.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (b)(1); see also Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1350(c)(2) & (d).)

In analyzing motions 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 (Hinsley).) Pursuant to Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subdivision (p)(2):

A defendant or cross-defendant 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, even if not separately pleaded, cannot be established, or that there is a complete defense to the cause of action. Once the defendant or cross-defendant has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff or cross-complainant to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto. The plaintiff or cross-complainant shall not rely upon the 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 or a defense thereto.

(Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).) The court must “view the evidence in the light most favorable to the opposing party and accept all inferences reasonably drawn therefrom.” (Hinesley, 135 Cal.App.4th at p. 294; Dore v. Arnold Worldwide, Inc. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 384, 389 [Courts “liberally construe the evidence in support of the party opposing summary judgment and resolve doubts concerning the evidence in favor of that party.”].) A motion for summary judgment must be denied where the moving party’s evidence does not prove all material facts, even in the absence of any opposition (Leyva v. Sup. Ct. (1985) 164 Cal.App.3d 462, 475).

HLB moves for summary judgment against Plaintiff on the grounds that HLB does not owe Plaintiff any duty as a matter of law and as such, there is no triable issue of material fact as to HLB’s negligence. HLB’s motion is largely an analysis of Vasilenko and its application to the instant action.

Plaintiff opposes HLB’s motion on the grounds that it has not submitted sufficient evidence to establish that there is no triable issue of material fact.

II. Analysis

As a general principle, “(a) Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.” (Civil Code § 1714.)

Negligence consists of the following elements: (1) the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, (2) the defendant breached that duty, and (3) the breach proximately caused the plaintiff’s damages or injuries. (Lueras v. BAS Home Loan Servicing, LP (2013) 221 Cal.App.4th 49, 62.) “Whether a duty of care exists is a question of law to be determined on a case-by-case basis.” (Ibid.)

HLB contends that it is entitled to summary judgment because pursuant to Vasilenko, HLB owes Plaintiff no duty as a matter of law. As such, HLB contends that there is no triable issue of material fact regarding whether it committed negligence in operating its valet services.

In Vasilenko, Plaintiff was struck by a car as he crossed a public street between the main premises of defendant church and the defendant’s overflow parking area. (Vasilenko, supra, 3 Cal.5th 1077 at p. 1081.) Plaintiff alleged that the church owed him a duty of care to assure that he crossed the street safely and the church disputed that it owed any duty. (Id.) The Supreme Court held that the church, as a landowner, owed no duty to assist invitees such as Plaintiff to cross a public street when the landowner does no more than “site and maintain a parking lot that requires invitees to cross the street,” so long as the street’s dangers are not obscured by any action of the landowner. (Id. at 1082.) In reaching this holding, the Supreme Court considered the factors set out in Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108 (Rowland). (Id. at 1085.) The Supreme Court found that while it was foreseeable and certain that Plaintiff was injured when he crossed the street, the connection between Plaintiff and the defendant church’s conduct, if any, was distant because a driver striking plaintiff on the public street is independent of anything the church did or did not do. (Id. at 1086.) As to the remaining Rowland factors, the Supreme Court found that the burden of imposing a duty on the church would be high, as it would create many increased costs for landowners who maintain similar overflow parking. (Id. at 1090-1091.) The Supreme Court also found that the moral blame attached to the church’s alleged failure to prevent Plaintiff’s injury is low because “the danger of crossing public streets is one that almost all adults encounter every day.” (Id. at 1091.)

Plaintiff contends on opposition that HLB’s reliance on Vasilenko is misplaced. (Opposition, 14-18.) Specifically, Plaintiff contends that Vasilenko dealt with a landowner, the church, while HLB is not alleged to be a landowner. (Id.) Plaintiff also contends that “it is significant that the church in that case had no one present to monitor or control anyone attempting to navigate from the church to its off-site parking lot.” (Opposition, 14.) The opposition then also discusses Vasilenko as it applies to this action and concludes that contrary to Vasilenko, the burden of imposing a duty on HLB would not be high because “HLB’s chief, if not only, job was to manage the passage of vehicles.” (Opposition, 17.)

Applying Vasilenko to the instant action, the court agrees with Plaintiff, but not for the reasons stated. As Plaintiff correctly asserts, Vasilenko deals with whether a landowner church owes an invitee a duty to ensure that he crosses a public street safely. Here, HLB is a valet company that provides valet services at Exchange and is not alleged to be the owner of Exchange. As a preliminary matter, HLB’s Separate Statement is largely unsupported by admissible evidence to disprove the allegations of the complaint, which are very ambiguous. Viewed favorably to the party opposing summary judgment, the complaint essentially alleges that HLB was a valet provider for Exchange that exercised control over the drop off and pick up of all limousines. HLB’s Separate Statement, viewed as a whole only attempts, unsuccessfully, to establishes that Plaintiff did not speak to any HLB employees before crossing the street from Exchange and that HLB did not give instructions to the driver of the limousine that was picking up Plaintiff. HLB’s remaining facts are disputed or otherwise appear to be conclusions supported only by reference to their nonexistence in the Complaint. This does not establish whether HLB had a role in controlling the access to the loading area, whether it exercised or failed to exercise the control that it had, and whether those actions or inactions were causally connected to Plaintiff’s injury. Those remain triable issues of fact.

A motion for summary judgment must be denied where the moving party’s evidence does not prove all material facts, even in the absence of any opposition (Leyva v. Sup. Ct. (1985) 164 Cal.App.3d 462, 475). Viewing what evidence was submitted in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, the court finds that HLB has failed to establish that no triable issue of fact exists as to its duty to Plaintiff. Accordingly, HLB’s motion for summary judgment is denied.

III. Conclusion

HLB’s Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED. Plaintiff is to give notice.