This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/27/2019 at 01:59:32 (UTC).

RAYNON LAWSON VS JOLEN THOMAS ET AL

Case Summary

On 04/27/2018 a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle case was filed by RAYNON LAWSON against JOLEN THOMAS in the jurisdiction of Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****3990

  • Filing Date:

    04/27/2018

  • 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

 

Party Details

Petitioner and Plaintiff

LAWSON RAYNON

Defendants and Respondents

DOES 1-10

THOMAS JOLEN

ADVANTAGE RENT-A-CAR

ADVANTAGE RENT-A-CAR DBA ADVANTAGE RENT-A-CAR

 

Court Documents

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

5/22/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

5/22/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

CIVIL DEPOSIT

7/5/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT

STIPULATION AND ORDER STRIKING PUNITIVE DAMAGE PRAYER FROM COMPLAINT AGAINST ADVANTAGE OPCO LLC D.B.A. ADVANTAGE RENT A CAR ONLY

8/7/2018: STIPULATION AND ORDER STRIKING PUNITIVE DAMAGE PRAYER FROM COMPLAINT AGAINST ADVANTAGE OPCO LLC D.B.A. ADVANTAGE RENT A CAR ONLY

CROSS-COMPLAINT FOR EQUITABLE INDEMNIFICATION AND CONTRIBUTION, DECLARATORY RELIEF AND APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT

8/14/2018: CROSS-COMPLAINT FOR EQUITABLE INDEMNIFICATION AND CONTRIBUTION, DECLARATORY RELIEF AND APPORTIONMENT OF FAULT

Summons on Cross Complaint

8/14/2018: Summons on Cross Complaint

DFF?FNDANT ADVANTAGE OPCO, LLC, D.B.A. ADVANTAGE RENT-A-CAR'S ANSWER TO COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL; NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

8/14/2018: DFF?FNDANT ADVANTAGE OPCO, LLC, D.B.A. ADVANTAGE RENT-A-CAR'S ANSWER TO COMPLAINT; DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL; NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

CIVIL DEPOSIT

8/14/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT

Declaration

7/10/2019: Declaration

Declaration

7/10/2019: Declaration

Separate Statement

7/10/2019: Separate Statement

Notice of Lodging

7/10/2019: Notice of Lodging

Memorandum of Points & Authorities

7/10/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Request for Judicial Notice

7/10/2019: Request for Judicial Notice

Motion for Summary Judgment

7/10/2019: Motion for Summary Judgment

SUMMONS

4/27/2018: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

4/27/2018: COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

5 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 07/10/2019
  • Declaration (Declaration of Michelle Y. Dixon, Esq. in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by Advantage Opco, LLC Erroneously Sued As Advantage Rent-A-Car (Defendant)

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  • 07/10/2019
  • Motion for Summary Judgment; Filed by Advantage Opco, LLC Erroneously Sued As Advantage Rent-A-Car (Defendant)

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  • 07/10/2019
  • Declaration (Declaration of Tatiana Morales in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by Advantage Opco, LLC Erroneously Sued As Advantage Rent-A-Car (Defendant)

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  • 07/10/2019
  • Notice of Lodging (Notice of Lodgment of Exhibits in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment); Filed by Advantage Opco, LLC Erroneously Sued As Advantage Rent-A-Car (Defendant)

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  • 07/10/2019
  • Separate Statement; Filed by Advantage Opco, LLC Erroneously Sued As Advantage Rent-A-Car (Defendant)

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  • 07/10/2019
  • Request for Judicial Notice; Filed by Advantage Opco, LLC Erroneously Sued As Advantage Rent-A-Car (Defendant)

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  • 07/10/2019
  • Memorandum of Points & Authorities; Filed by Advantage Opco, LLC Erroneously Sued As Advantage Rent-A-Car (Defendant)

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  • 08/14/2018
  • Summons; Filed by Advantage Opco, LLC Erroneously Sued As Advantage Rent-A-Car (Defendant)

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  • 08/14/2018
  • Receipt; Filed by Advantage Opco, LLC Erroneously Sued As Advantage Rent-A-Car (Defendant)

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  • 08/14/2018
  • Answer; Filed by Advantage Opco, LLC Erroneously Sued As Advantage Rent-A-Car (Defendant)

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6 More Docket Entries
  • 08/07/2018
  • STIPULATION AND ORDER STRIKING PUNITIVE DAMAGE PRAYER FROM COMPLAINT AGAINST ADVANTAGE OPCO LLC D.B.A. ADVANTAGE RENT A CAR ONLY

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  • 07/05/2018
  • Receipt; Filed by Advantage Opco, LLC Erroneously Sued As Advantage Rent-A-Car (Defendant)

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  • 07/05/2018
  • CIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 05/22/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 05/22/2018
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Raynon Lawson (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/22/2018
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Raynon Lawson (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/22/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 04/27/2018
  • SUMMONS

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  • 04/27/2018
  • Complaint; Filed by Raynon Lawson (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/27/2018
  • COMPLAINT-PERS. INJURY, PROP DAMAGE, WRONGFUL DEATH (2 PAGES)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC703990    Hearing Date: December 04, 2019    Dept: 4A

Motion for Summary Judgment

Having considered the moving, opposing, and reply papers, the Court rules as follows.

BACKGROUND

On April 27, 2018, Plaintiff Raynon Lawson (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendants Jolen Thomas and Advantage Rent-A-Car alleging motor vehicle negligence, general negligence, and intentional tort for an automobile collision that occurred on June 28, 2016.

On August 14, 2018, Defendant/Cross-Complainant Advantage OPCO, LLC d.b.a. Advantage Rent-A-Car filed a cross-complaint against Defendant/Cross-Defendant Jolen Thomas seeking equitable indemnification, contribution, declaratory relief, and apportionment of fault.

On September 3, 2019, the Court entered default against Defendant Jolen Thomas.

On July 10, 2019, Defendant Advantage OPCO, LLC d.b.a. Advantage Rent-A-Car filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 437c.

On September 17, 2019, the Court continued the hearing on Defendant Advantage OPCO, LLC d.b.a. Advantage Rent-A-Car’s motion for summary judgment to September 27, 2019.

On September 23, 2019, the Court continued the hearing on Defendant Advantage OPCO, LLC d.b.a. Advantage Rent-A-Car’s motion for summary judgment to December 4, 2019.

Trial is set for January 15, 2020.

PARTYS REQUEST

Defendant Advantage OPCO, LLC d.b.a. Advantage Rent-A-Car (“Moving Defendant”) asks the Court to enter summary judgment against Plaintiff because the Graves Amendment preempts Moving Defendant’s liability.

LEGAL STANDARD

The purpose of a motion for 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. Atl. Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 843.) “Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (c), requires the trial judge to grant summary judgment if all the evidence submitted, and ‘all inferences reasonably deducible from the evidence’ and uncontradicted by other inferences or evidence, show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” (Adler v. Manor Healthcare Corp. (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1110, 1119.)

“On a motion for summary judgment, the initial burden is always on the moving party to make a prima facie showing that there are no triable issues of material fact.” (Scalf v. D. B. Log Homes, Inc. (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 1510, 1519.) A defendant moving for summary judgment “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 . . . cannot be established.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).) “Once the defendant . . . has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff . . . to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto.” (Ibid.) “If the plaintiff cannot do so, summary judgment should be granted.” (Avivi v. Centro Medico Urgente Med. Ctr. (2008) 159 Cal.App.4th 463, 467.)

“When deciding whether to grant summary judgment, the court must consider all of the evidence set forth in the papers (except evidence to which the court has sustained an objection), as well as all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from that evidence, in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment.” (Avivi, supra, 159 Cal.App.4th at p. 467; see also Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (c).)

DISCUSSION

This action involves an automobile collision between a vehicle driven by Defendant Thomas and a vehicle driven by Plaintiff.  (See Motion, p. 2:6-2:14; Opposition, p. 3:3-3:20.)  The vehicle driven by Defendant Thomas was stolen from a person named Amara Pender, who rented the vehicle from Moving Defendant.  (Ibid.)

The Graves Amendment states:

(a) In general.-- An owner of a motor vehicle that rents or leases the vehicle to a person (or an affiliate of the owner) shall not be liable under the law of any State or political subdivision thereof, by reason of being the owner of the vehicle (or an affiliate of the owner), for harm to persons or property that results or arises out of the use, operation, or possession of the vehicle during the period of the rental or lease, if—

(1) the owner (or an affiliate of the owner) is engaged in the trade or business of renting or leasing motor vehicles; and

(2) there is no negligence or criminal wrongdoing on the part of the owner (or an affiliate of the owner).

(42 U.S.C. § 30106.)

Moving Defendant’s undisputed material facts establish the following.  Plaintiff alleges she was injured from an automobile collision that occurred on June 28, 2016.  (UMF Nos. 1-2, p. 2:13-2:23.)  Moving Defendant was the owner of the 2015 Volkswagen Passat that was involved in the incident.  (UMF No. 4, p. 3:4-3:7.)  Moving Defendant was in the business of short-term vehicle renting. (UMF No. 5, p. 3:8-3:10.)  On July 26, 2016, a renter entered into a rental contract with Moving Defendant that resulted in the rental of a 2015 Volkswagen Passat for a period of less than 30 days.  (UMF No. 6, p. 3:11-3:15.)  The renter presented a valid driver’s license at the time the rental contract was prepared.  (UMF No. 7, p. 3:16-3:18.)  The renter was not an employee of Moving Defendant nor was the renter affiliated with Moving Defendant.  (UMF No. 8, p. 3:19-3:21.)  The rental contract provided that the vehicle was to be in the possession of the renter at the time of the collision.  (UMF No. 10, p. 3:22-3:24.) entered into.  (UMF No. 13, p. 4:11-4:13.)  Plaintiff has provided no facts tending to show that Moving Defendant was negligent.  (UMF No. 14, p. 4:14-4:16.)

The Court finds Moving Defendant has met its initial burden.  Moving Defendant has established it is in the business of leasing vehicles, it leased the vehicle that caused Plaintiff’s injuries, and there is no indication of negligence or criminal wrongdoing on the part of Moving Defendant.  Accordingly, because the Graves Amendment applies, Moving Defendant cannot be found liable.  The burden shifts to Plaintiff.

Plaintiff only disputes one material fact, which is Moving Defendant’s undisputed fact number fourteen.  In his response, Plaintiff presents evidence seeking to show that Moving Defendant negligently failed to take measures to prevent its rental vehicle from being stolen because Moving Defendant failed to use anti-theft devices or post-theft recovery devices in the vehicle in question.  (PUMF No. 14, pp. 3:9-4:7.)

Additionally, Plaintiff presents evidence suggesting that Moving Defendant did not have adequate procedures and measures to allow for  prompt discovery that its rental vehicle was stolen.  (Ibid.)  This is because Moving Defendant did not find out about the theft until the renter reported the theft on July 1, 2016, four days after the collision occurred.  (Ibid.)  Moreover, Moving Defendant failed to demobilize and/or recover the vehicle before Defendant Thomas injured Plaintiff with the vehicle on June 28, 2019.  (Ibid.)

Plaintiff has submitted no evidence showing that Moving Defendant’s failure to take theft prevention actions caused Plaintiff’s injuries.  As Moving Defendant states, there is no indication that using any post-theft recovery devices would have averted the accident that caused Plaintiff’s injuries. The facts show that Moving Defendant first learned about the rental car theft on July 1, 2016 – two days after the accident. Thus, even if Moving Defendant had employed post-theft devises or procedures that would have recovered the car, any such action could not have prevented the accident that occurred two days before it received notice of the theft.

The Court finds Plaintiff has failed to raise a triable issue of fact as to whether there was negligence on the part of Moving Defendant pursuant to 42 United States Code section 30106, subdivision (a)(1).

The motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

Moving Defendant is ordered to give notice of this ruling.