This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/08/2019 at 02:09:45 (UTC).

RANDOLPH MORTON ET AL VS 3M COMPANY ET AL

Case Summary

On 04/18/2018 RANDOLPH MORTON filed a Personal Injury - Asbestos Product Liability lawsuit against 3M COMPANY. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are BRIAN S. CURREY, KENNETH R. FREEMAN and DAVID S. CUNNINGHAM. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****2643

  • Filing Date:

    04/18/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Asbestos Product Liability

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

BRIAN S. CURREY

KENNETH R. FREEMAN

DAVID S. CUNNINGHAM

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

MORTON RANDOLPH

MORTON EDNA S.

Defendants and Respondents

ABB LTD AS SUCCESSOR-IN-INTEREST TO

ASTRA FLOORING COMPANY

BALDOR ELECTRIC COMPANY

3M COMPANY

ABB LTD

BORGWARNER MORSE TEC LLC

MINNESOTA MINING & MANUFACTURING COMPANY

SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC USA INC

COUNTY MOTOR PARTS CO INC.

E.F. BRADY COMPANY INC.

BORG-WARNER MORSE TEC LLC

BATTERSBY & COMPANY

FORD MOTOR COMPANY

TRIPLE A MACHINE SHOP

CARLSON & BEAULOYE MACHINE SHOP INC.

FRASER'S BOILER SERVICE INC.

PORSCHE CARS NORTH AMERICA INC.

GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY

12 More Parties Available

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

H.W. TREY JONES

JONES H.W. TREY

Defendant Attorneys

BESSETTE PAUL MORGAN

MCDOUGAL LOVE BOEHMER FOLEY LYON & CANLAS

BARONIAN ROBERT H

BISHOP CHARLES STEWART

BECKLEY JULIA MARTINESCU

YUKEVICH JAMES J

GALFAYAN ARPI

JAMISON KEVIN DOUGLAS

ELFORD KATHERINE COURTNEY

NICHOLS STEPHEN MATTHEW

K&L GATES LLP

TRUONG CINDY

ORJIAKOR NICOLE C.

LANKFORD PAUL VINCENT

MEYERS LESA MARIE

POND FRANCIS D

GOLDBERG MATTHEW

KHARE VIIU SPANGLER

6 More Attorneys Available

 

Court Documents

Order

12/4/2018: Order

Notice

12/11/2018: Notice

Separate Statement

3/28/2019: Separate Statement

Declaration

3/29/2019: Declaration

Motion in Limine

4/16/2019: Motion in Limine

Motion in Limine

4/16/2019: Motion in Limine

Objection

4/16/2019: Objection

Minute Order

4/17/2019: Minute Order

Minute Order

4/24/2019: Minute Order

Objection

4/25/2019: Objection

Trial Brief

4/26/2019: Trial Brief

Statement of the Case

4/29/2019: Statement of the Case

Exhibit List

4/29/2019: Exhibit List

Other -

4/29/2019: Other -

Notice of Ruling

6/11/2019: Notice of Ruling

Minute Order

6/13/2019: Minute Order

Ex Parte Application

6/24/2019: Ex Parte Application

Minute Order

5/21/2018: Minute Order

537 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/02/2019
  • Substitution of Attorney; Filed by Henry Louis Whitehead (Attorney)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/01/2019
  • Brief (Re: testimony of Craig Mountz); Filed by HENNESSY INDUSTRIES INC (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/01/2019
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by HENNESSY INDUSTRIES INC (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/01/2019
  • Brief (Re: Dr. Arnold Brody Testimony); Filed by HENNESSY INDUSTRIES INC (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/01/2019
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) (for Subpoena for Frank Eckis); Filed by Randolph Morton (Plaintiff); Edna S. Morton (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 07/01/2019
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by HENNESSY INDUSTRIES INC (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/28/2019
  • at 09:00 AM in Department I; Jury Trial ((ReBC702643))

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/28/2019
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by HENNESSY INDUSTRIES INC (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/28/2019
  • Declaration (of Ian Williamson in support of Hennessy Industries objections to Plaintiff's proposed use of discovery responses at trial); Filed by HENNESSY INDUSTRIES INC (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/28/2019
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by HENNESSY INDUSTRIES INC (Defendant)

    Read MoreRead Less
665 More Docket Entries
  • 06/06/2018
  • Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 06/06/2018
  • Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/31/2018
  • Proof of Service of Summons

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/31/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by Randolph Morton (Plaintiff); Edna S. Morton (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/21/2018
  • at 00:00 AM in Department 12; (Order-Complex Determination; Case Determined to be Complex) -

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/21/2018
  • Minute Order

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 05/21/2018
  • Minute order entered: 2018-05-21 00:00:00; Filed by Clerk

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/18/2018
  • Summons

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/18/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by Randolph Morton (Plaintiff); Edna S. Morton (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 04/18/2018
  • Complaint COMPLAINT FOR PERSONAL INJURY(SURVIVORSHIP)

    Read MoreRead Less

Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC702643    Hearing Date: January 07, 2020    Dept: I

Morton v. # M Company et al.

BC702643

Tentative Decision RE: Plaintiff’s Motion To Tax Costs of Defendant Pneumo Abex LLC

Pneumo Abex LLC prevailed over the plaintiffs. Randolph and Edna Morton in this asbestos trial following a 7 week trial. Pneumo Abex filed a Costs Memorandum seeking $171,687.69 pursuant to the provisions of C.C.P. sec. 1033.5. The Mortons seek to tax the costs sought by Pneumo Abex with respect to five categories of costs totalling $157,894.11. The items of costs in dispute are: 1) a filing fee for the pro haec vice admission of one of Pneum Abex’ attorneys in the amount of $550; 2) $1,462.85 for the deposition costs of 3 witnesses; 3) witness fees for Pneumps Abex’ experts in the amount of $101,202.70; 4) court reporters fees in the amount of $46,476.53; and 5) copying charges in the amount of $8,202.03.

The Pro Haec Vice Fee

The Court will allow the pro haec vice fee in the amount of $550. As noted by Pneumo Abex in its opposition, every party has a right to appear by counsel of its choice. [Opp. At 6.] here, Pneumo Abex chose to hire Mr. Tom Radcliffe as trial counsel. Mr. Radcliffe appeared for Pneumo Abex throughout the trial. Accordingly, the court finds that this cost was reasonably necessary for conduct of the litigation and is authorized by the express provisions of C.C.P. 1033.5(a)(1).

The Deposition Costs

The Court will allow the deposition costs sought by Pneumo Abex. The depositions of Mr. Chandler and Mr. Grill. The Plaintiffs’ argument that their stipulation that these witnesses would not be testifying to automotive exposures does not end the inquiry. [Motion at8.] As pointed out by Pneumo Abex in its Opposition, both witnesses provided testimony regarding alternate exposures from other than automotive products that could have contributed to Mr. Morton’s cancer. Thus, the Court finds that both depositions were reasonably necessary to Pneumo Abex’ defense and will allow the costs in the amount of $682.05 for the Chandler deposition and $683.55 for the Grill deposition.

Plaintiff also seek to tax $97.25 for travel costs incurred in connection with the deposition of their expert, Steven Paskal on the ground that the deposition was taken by telephone, so no travel costs were incurred. However, Pneumo Abex notes in its Opposition that charge was actually a charge made by the court reporting service that transcribed the deposition for the cost of the telephone conference call that allowed the4 parties to attend. The Court finds that the cost was reasonable and necessary fro the litigation and will allow it in full.

The Expert Witness Costs

Plaintiffs make two arguments in support of their challenge to the recovery of expert witness costs by Pneumo Abex. First, they argue that the language of the offer failed to satisfy the condition of C.c.P. 998 and thus was invalid. [Motion at 9.] Second they argue that the offer, when made by Pneumno Abex, was not made in good faith because there was no reasonable prospect that it would be accepted. [Motion at 10.] The Court disagrees with both claims.

As to the invalidity of the format of the offer, Plainitffs argue that the Offer did not include “a provision that allows the accepting party to indicate acceptance of the offer by signing a statement that the offer is accepted.” [Motion at 9 and Exh. 2.] However, as Plaintiffs admit, the Pneumo Abex 998 Offers did contain signature blocks for Randolph Morton and Edna Morton following the phrase “OFFER Accepted”, as well as a signature block for Plaintiffs’ attorneys following the phrase “Agreed to by and on Behalf of Plaintiffs.” The Court is satisfied that this language is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of C.C.P. 998 as to the form of an offer.

As to the reasonableness of the offers when they were made, Plaintiffs argue that the fact that Pneumo Abex knew of Mr. Morton’s stage 4 cancer and that he had been exposed to asbestos while working on brake products, including those manufactured by Pneumo Abex is sufficient to establish that the offer was made in bad faith. However, as the Second District Court of Appeal held in Melendrez v Ameron International Corp. (2015) 217 Cal.App.4th 632, “when a defendant perceives himself to be free of fault and has concluded that he has a very significant likelihood of prevailing at trial, it is consistent with the legislative purpose of section 998 to make a modest settlment offer.” [Melendrez, supra at 650.] As Pneumo Abex notes in its Opposition, a plaintiff’s subjective belief in the value of his case. [Oppositon at 10.] Here, Pneumo Abex was fully warranted in assessing its risk of losing at trial as minimal given the evidence that had been developed concerning limited nature of any exposure Mr. Moton could have had to asbestos from its products at the time the offer was made. [See, Opposition at 10.] Moreover, the fact that the jury ultimately agreed with Pneumo Abex assessment is compelling evidence of the reasonableness of their offer. [Najah v. Scottsdale Ins. Co. (2014) 230 Cal.App.4th 125, 143.]

Court Reporters’ Fees

The Court has reviewed all of the invoices from Aiken Welch Court Reporters for the fees claimed by Pneumo Abex. The Court has concluded that the fees for expedited transcripts and the additional reporter billed by that firm to permit daily transcripts are not recoverable because they were incurred for the convenience of counsel. [C.C.P. 1033.5(b)(2).] Accordingly, the Court will tax the sum of $27,065.76 from the requested sum of $46,476.53.

Copies of Documents

Plaintiffs seek to tax the costs claimed by Pneumo Abex for photocopying costs incurred during discovery in the amount of $$8,202.03. Pneumo Abex argues that because the records secured were relevant to the issues in the case, the copying charges should be awarded. However, the Court finds two separate provisions of C.C.P. 1033.5 preclude tht result. Section 1033.5(a)(13) provides that “. . .photocopies of exhibits may be allowed if they were reasonably helpful to aid the trier of fact.” Section 1033.5(b)(3) provides : The following items are not allowable as costs, except when expressly authorized by law: (3) Postage, telephone and photocopying charges, except of exhibits.” It is clear from these two provisions that the Legislature intended to limit allowable copying charges to those incurred for copying exhibits used at trial. Pneumo Abex has made no attempt to show that the costs it seeks to recover were solely for exhibits used at trial. Accordingly, the Court will tax this cost in the amount of $8,202.03.

Conclusion

The Court will tax the costs sought by Pneumo Abex in this matter in the total amount of $35,267.79. The Clerk will amend the judgment in this matter to award allowable costs in the amount of $136,419.90.

Case Number: BC702643    Hearing Date: November 04, 2019    Dept: I

Morton v. Hennessy Industries

BC702643

Tentative Decision – Plaintiff’s Motion To Tax Costs

Hennessy Industries, LLC (“Hennessy”) filed a Memorandum of Costs seeking to recover $82,054.16 as the prevailing party at the trial of this matter. Plaintiff seeks to tax a significant amount of those costs on various grounds. The Court will grant the motion in part and deny it in part.

DEPOSITION COSTS

Plaintiff seeks to tax $20,339.50 on the ground that no evidence was presented that Hennessy actually incurred the costs. Alternatively, plaintiff seeks to tax $4,423.13 on the ground that certain depositions were not necessary. In its opposition, Hennessy provided evidence that it actually incurred all of the disputed costs. As for the issue of reasonable necessity, the Court largely agrees with Hennessy’s claim that the depositions of Anderson, Chandler, Deem, Grill, Moscow, Mummert, Mountz and Stockman were reasonably necessary to preparation of the case by Hennessy. However, the Court will tax the claimed travel costs to the first Mountz deposition in the amount of $75.95 and the deposition and travel costs to the second Mountz deposition in the amount of $534.45. As to the travel costs, Hennessy provided no evidence or explanation as to why it should recover travel costs for a deposition taken at its counsel’s office. As to the second deposition cost, the Court notes that it was ordered as a sanction for a discovery violation. The Court declines to award sanctions as a cost. The total amount taxed is $610.40.

SERVICE OF PROCESS

Plaintiff seeks to tax $195 for service of process on the witness Kathryn Bolin on the ground that the deposition was not taken and the witness was not presented at trial. However, Hennessy provides evidence that the decision not to take the witness’ deposition was made after service had been accomplished and a stipulation by plaintiff not to call Dr. Bolin as a witness. Accordingly, the Court will not tax this cost.

COURT REPORTER FEES

Hennessy seeks to recover $41,655.79 for court reporter fees and real time transcribing ordered by the Court. The Court has carefully reviewed the billing of Hennessy’s court reporting service for the trial of this case. The Court notes that many of the bills contain charges for daily transcripts and expedited transcripts which are not a recoverable cost. The Court also notes that it did not order transcripts for this trial, although, once the reporters were in Court, the Court requested real-time copies.

In addition, the Court notes that Government Code sections 68,086(a)(2) and (c) provide that the fees for court reporters appointed pursuant to C.C.P. section 269 shall be recoverable as costs to the prevailing party. C.C.P. section 269 provides in part:

“An official reporter or official reporter pro tempore of the superior court shall take down in shorthand all testimony . . . in the following cases:

  1. In a civil case, on the order of the court or at the request of a party.”

Here, the Court did sign an order appointing the court reporters as official reporters pro tempore as requested by the parties.

Accordingly, the Court will allow the court reporter fees for the trial, the charges for real-time reporting, and the reporter’s processing charges. The total amount allowed is $12,172.95. The Court will tax a total of $29,482.89.

MODELS, ENLARGEMENTS AND COPIES OF EXHIBITS

Hennessy seeks to recover $6,922.58 for its 1/3 share of the costs of trial technology consultant used to project evidence and transcripts for the jury ($5,200.00) and $1,722.58 for making copies of exhibits and poster boards used at trial. The Court finds that these items were reasonably helpful to the jury and thus, recoverable.

PHOTOCOPIES OF MEDICAL RECORDS

Plaintiff seeks to tax $5,493.76 for the costs incurred by Hennessy for securing plaintiff’s medical records from Pike Photocopy pursuant to the JCCP Order in JCCP Case number 4674 Regarding Plaintiff’s Authorizations. [See, Exh. D to Opposition papers.] That order effectively substitutes the authorization process ordered by the JCCP for this case for deposition subpoenas as the preferred method of allowing the parties to discover medical records relevant to the case. For the reasons cited in the opposition papers, the Court declines to tax this cost.

CONCLUSION

The Court will tax a total of $30,093.29 from Hennessy’s Memorandum of Costs. Accordingly, the Court will allow $51,960.87. The Clerk will amend the judgment accordingly.