This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/27/2022 at 18:13:38 (UTC).

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, EX REL. MEREDITH WILLIAMS, DIRECTOR OF THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTR VS CLEAN HARBORS WILMINGTON, LLC, A LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 09/29/2021 PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, EX REL MEREDITH WILLIAMS, DIRECTOR OF THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTR filed an Other - Environment lawsuit against CLEAN HARBORS WILMINGTON, LLC, A LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******5911

  • Filing Date:

    09/29/2021

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Other - Environment

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

MITCHELL L. BECKLOFF

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA EX REL. MEREDITH WILLIAMS DIRECTOR OF THE CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF TOXIC SUBSTANCES CONTROL

Defendants

CLEAN HARBORS ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES INC. A CORPORATION

CLEAN HARBORS INC. A CORPORATION

CLEAN HARBORS WILMINGTON LLC A LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

LOBATO ADRIANNA DEPUTY ATTORNEYS GENERAL

TORGUN GEORGE

PERRY SOMERSET MILES

Defendant Attorney

ELLIOTT MARK

 

Court Documents

Notice of Case Management Conference

10/18/2021: Notice of Case Management Conference

Proof of Service by Mail

12/2/2021: Proof of Service by Mail

Proof of Service by Mail

12/2/2021: Proof of Service by Mail

Proof of Service by Mail

12/2/2021: Proof of Service by Mail

Notice of Related Case

12/9/2021: Notice of Related Case

Declaration - DECLARATION OF ELLIOTT IN SUPPORT OF DEMURRER

12/15/2021: Declaration - DECLARATION OF ELLIOTT IN SUPPORT OF DEMURRER

Request for Judicial Notice

12/15/2021: Request for Judicial Notice

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

12/15/2021: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

12/15/2021: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

12/15/2021: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

1/13/2022: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

Case Management Statement

1/13/2022: Case Management Statement

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 01/13/2022

1/13/2022: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 01/13/2022

Case Management Statement

1/13/2022: Case Management Statement

Notice - NOTICE AMENDED NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER

1/19/2022: Notice - NOTICE AMENDED NOTICE OF DEMURRER AND DEMURRER

Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER RELATING CASES

1/19/2022: Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER RELATING CASES

Consent to Electronic Service and Notice of Electronic Service Address

1/20/2022: Consent to Electronic Service and Notice of Electronic Service Address

Consent to Electronic Service and Notice of Electronic Service Address

1/21/2022: Consent to Electronic Service and Notice of Electronic Service Address

18 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/19/2023
  • Hearing05/19/2023 at 09:30 AM in Department 86 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Petition for Writ of Mandate

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  • 12/07/2022
  • Hearing12/07/2022 at 09:30 AM in Department 86 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Trial Readiness Conference

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  • 06/23/2022
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 53; Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike (to Complaint;) - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court

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  • 05/26/2022
  • DocketNotice of Appearance; Filed by People of the State of California, ex rel. Meredith Williams, Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/23/2022
  • DocketAnswer (VERIFIED ANSWER OF DEFENDANTS CLEAN HARBORS WILMINGTON, LLC, CLEAN HARBORS ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INC., AND CLEAN HARBORS, INC. TO COMPLAINT FOR CIVIL PENAL TIES AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF); Filed by Clean Harbors Wilmington, LLC, a limited liability company (Defendant); Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc., a corporation (Defendant); Clean Harbors, Inc., a corporation (Defendant)

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  • 05/13/2022
  • DocketNotice (of Entry of Order); Filed by People of the State of California, ex rel. Meredith Williams, Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/11/2022
  • Docketat 09:30 AM in Department 86; Trial Setting Conference - Held

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  • 05/11/2022
  • Docketat 09:30 AM in Department 86, Mitchell L. Beckloff, Presiding; Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike (to Complaint;) - Held

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  • 05/11/2022
  • DocketOrder (Overruling Demurrer to Complaint); Filed by Clerk

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  • 05/11/2022
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike Complaint; Tri...)); Filed by Clerk

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17 More Docket Entries
  • 12/15/2021
  • DocketDemurrer - without Motion to Strike; Filed by Clean Harbors Wilmington, LLC, a limited liability company (Defendant); Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc., a corporation (Defendant); Clean Harbors, Inc., a corporation (Defendant)

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  • 12/09/2021
  • DocketNotice of Related Case; Filed by Clean Harbors Wilmington, LLC, a limited liability company (Defendant); Clean Harbors Environmental Services, Inc., a corporation (Defendant); Clean Harbors, Inc., a corporation (Defendant)

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  • 12/02/2021
  • DocketProof of Service by Mail; Filed by People of the State of California, ex rel. Meredith Williams, Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/02/2021
  • DocketProof of Service by Mail; Filed by People of the State of California, ex rel. Meredith Williams, Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/02/2021
  • DocketProof of Service by Mail; Filed by People of the State of California, ex rel. Meredith Williams, Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/18/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/29/2021
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by People of the State of California, ex rel. Meredith Williams, Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/29/2021
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/29/2021
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by People of the State of California, ex rel. Meredith Williams, Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/29/2021
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by People of the State of California, ex rel. Meredith Williams, Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: *******5911 Hearing Date: May 11, 2022 Dept: 86

People of the State of California v. CLEAN HARBORS WILMINGTON LLC, et al.

Case Number: *******591120 [related w/20STCP03897]

Hearing Date: May 11, 2022

[Tentative] ORDER OVERRULING DEMURRER TO COMPLAINT


The People of the State of California ex rel. Meredith Williams, Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (the Department) bring this complaint for civil penalties and injunctive relief against Defendants, the operators of a hazard waste treatment facility in Wilmington. The complaint alleges four causes of action against Defendants: (1) failure to comply with the terms of a hazardous waste permit; (2) failure to properly maintain a hazardous waste containment system; (3) failure to record an inspection; and (4) unlawful storage of incompatible hazardous waste.

Defendants demur to the complaint’s first and fourth causes of action. Defendants argue Plaintiff is precluded from proceeding with those claims on the grounds the Department failed to assert the claims in a compulsory cross-complaint in a matter now pending before this court, Clean Harbors Wilmington, LLC v. Department of Toxic Substances Control et al., LASC Case No. 20STCP03897 filed on November 24, 2020 and tried this date (the VSP Proceeding). In the VSP Proceeding, Defendants alleged a single claim for writ of mandate against the Department.[1]

The demurrer is opposed.

The demurrer is overruled.

Defendant’s request for judicial notice (RJN) of Exhibits A through D is granted.

Plaintiff’s RJN is denied as irrelevant.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

A demurrer tests the sufficiency of a pleading, and the grounds for a demurrer must appear on the face of the pleading or from judicially noticeable matters. (Code Civil Proc. 430.30, subd. (a); Blank v. Kirwan (1985) 39 Cal.3d 311, 318.) “We assume the truth of the allegations in the complaint, but do not assume the truth of contentions, deductions, or conclusions of law.” (California Logistics, Inc. v. State (2008) 161 Cal.App.4th 242, 247.)

A demurrer may be sustained without leave to amend when there is no reasonable possibility that the defect can be cured by amendment. (Blank v. Kirwan, supra, 39 Cal.3d at 318.) Indeed, where the facts are not in dispute and the nature of the plaintiff's claim is clear, but no liability exists under substantive law and no amendment would change the result, the sustaining of a demurrer without leave to amend is proper. (City of Ceres v. City of Modesto (1969) 274 Cal. App. 2d 545, 554.) The burden is on the plaintiff to show how the complaint might be amended so as to cure the defect. (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now v. Department of Industrial Relations (1995) 41 Cal.App.4th 298, 302.)

ANALYSIS

Resolution of the demurrer requires the court to determine whether the first and fourth causes of action are barred based on the Department’s failure to assert them in a cross-complaint in the VSP Proceeding.

A cross-complaint is compulsory when a related cause of action existed at the time defendant’s answer to the complaint is served. (Code Civ. Proc., 426.30, subd. (a); see also Crocker Nat. Bank v. Emerald (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 852, 864.) “ ‘Related cause of action’ means a cause of action which arises out of the same transaction, occurrence, or series of transactions or occurrences as the cause of action which the plaintiff alleges in his complaint.” (Code Civ. Proc. 426.10, subd. (c).)

The Department argues Code of Civil Procedure section 426.30 does not apply under the circumstances here. The Department argues the compulsory cross-complaint statute “applies only to civil actions and does not apply to special proceedings.” (Code Civ. Proc. 426.60, subd. (a).)

A writ proceeding is a special proceeding. (California Redevelopment Ass’n v. Matosantos (2011) 53 Cal.4th 231, 253 [“ ‘special proceedings’ such as petitions for writs of mandate”]; Best v. California Apprenticeship Council (1987) 193 Cal.App.3d 1448, 1460. [“Indeed, the writ of mandate proceeding involved here is described as a special proceeding, not an action.”]) Writ proceedings are in Part III of four parts in the act known as the Code of Civil Procedure. (Code Civ. Proc. 1.) Part III is that part of the Code of Civil Procedure governing “Special Proceedings of a Civil Nature.” As a writ proceeding, the VSP Proceeding is a special proceeding. Therefore, according to the Department, the compulsory cross-complaint statute did not apply, and it was not required to assert any claims against Defendants in the VSP Proceeding.

Relying on Code of Civil Procedure section 1109, Defendant’s argue the compulsory cross-complaint statute applied in the VSP Proceeding. Code of Civil Procedure section 1109 provides:

“Except as otherwise provided in this Title, the provisions of Part II of the Code are applicable to and constitute the rules of practice in the proceedings mentioned in this Title.” Part II of the Code of Civil Procedure includes Code of Civil Procedure section 426.30—the compulsory cross-complaint statute. Part II of the Code of Civil Procedure includes sections 307 through 1062.20.

Nonetheless, the plain language of Code of Civil Procedure sections 426.10 and 426.30 reveals the problem with Defendants’ argument. The compulsory cross-complaint statute applies only to a complaint or a cross-complaint. It does not apply to a petition. (Code Civ. Proc. 426.10, subdivision (a).) Such a rule is verified through Code of Civil Procedure section 426.60—the compulsory cross-complaint statute does not apply in special proceedings. Thus, even if Part II of the Code of Civil Procedure applies to mandate proceedings, Part II makes clear the compulsory cross-complaint statute does not.

While Defendants argue the Legislature generally prefers a policy to prevent duplicative, piecemeal litigation relating to the same or related issues or transactions, the Legislature expressly deemed the compulsory cross-complaint statute inapplicable to special proceedings like the VSP Proceeding. The Legislature’s general policy preference does not override a specific statutory mandate.

Accordingly, the court finds the Department was not required to assert its first and fourth causes of action as a cross-petition in the VSP Proceeding; the demurrer is therefore overruled. No further analysis is required.

CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing, the demurrer is overruled.

IT IS SO ORDERED.

May 11, 2022

Hon. Mitchell Beckloff

Judge of the Superior Court


[1] The Department incorrectly states Defendants filed a complaint for declaratory relief as well as a petition for writ of mandate to initiate the VSP Proceeding. (Opposition 4:1.)


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