This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/25/2020 at 03:44:36 (UTC).

RODRIGO SALAS VS YEN LIN CHU ET AL

Case Summary

On 09/15/2017 RODRIGO SALAS filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against YEN LIN CHU. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are CHRISTOPHER K. LUI and DANIEL M. CROWLEY. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6123

  • Filing Date:

    09/15/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Stanley Mosk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

CHRISTOPHER K. LUI

DANIEL M. CROWLEY

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

SALAS RODRIGO

Defendants and Respondents

CHU YEN LIN TRUSTEE OF THE YEN LIN CHU

DOES 1 TO 50

CHIANG LAUREN YA FEN

CHU YEN LIN

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff

CHU YEN LIN

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

CHAHINE HUSSEIN A. ESQ.

CHAHINE HUSSEIN ALI ESQ.

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

MURCHISON & CUMMING LAW OFFICES OF

PARKER DAVID B. ESQ.

PARKER MILLS LLP

SUN MARY

BAZAZ TALINE GINA

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: JUDGEMENT)

10/22/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE RE: JUDGEMENT)

Notice of Ruling

9/22/2020: Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE)

9/22/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (TRIAL SETTING CONFERENCE)

Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

10/25/2019: Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF NON-OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT, YEN LIN CHU'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

2/26/2020: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF NON-OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT, YEN LIN CHU'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (DEFENDANT YEN LIU CHU'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; DEFENDAN...)

3/3/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (DEFENDANT YEN LIU CHU'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; DEFENDAN...)

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT

6/26/2020: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF MARY SUN

8/23/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF MARY SUN

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF YEN LIN CHU IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

8/23/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF YEN LIN CHU IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF JAMES N. KAHN IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT YEN LIN CHU'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

8/23/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION DECLARATION OF JAMES N. KAHN IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT YEN LIN CHU'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Separate Statement

8/23/2019: Separate Statement

Stipulation and Order - Stipulation and Order [Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC [And Related Motion/Discovery Dates] Personal Injury Courts Only (Centra

1/29/2019: Stipulation and Order - Stipulation and Order [Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC [And Related Motion/Discovery Dates] Personal Injury Courts Only (Centra

CIVIL DEPOSIT -

2/13/2018: CIVIL DEPOSIT -

SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY -

7/3/2018: SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY -

CROSS COMPLAINT OF YEN LIN CHU FOR: 1. IMPLIED INDEMN1TY; 2. EQUITABLE INDEMNITY; ETC.

12/4/2017: CROSS COMPLAINT OF YEN LIN CHU FOR: 1. IMPLIED INDEMN1TY; 2. EQUITABLE INDEMNITY; ETC.

SUMMONS CROSS-COMNLAINT

12/4/2017: SUMMONS CROSS-COMNLAINT

ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

11/22/2017: ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

SUMMONS -

9/15/2017: SUMMONS -

50 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/23/2020
  • Hearing11/23/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department 28 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal

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  • 10/22/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: (Judgement) - Held

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  • 10/22/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Yen Lin Chu (Defendant)

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  • 10/22/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Order to Show Cause Re: Judgement)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/05/2020
  • DocketJudgment ([Proposed] Judgmet); Filed by CHU, YEN LIN, TRUSTEE OF THE YEN LIN CHU (Defendant)

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  • 09/22/2020
  • Docketat 10:30 AM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Trial Setting Conference - Held

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  • 09/22/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by CHU, YEN LIN, TRUSTEE OF THE YEN LIN CHU (Defendant)

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  • 09/22/2020
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Trial Setting Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/15/2020
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 06/26/2020
  • DocketNotice (Notice of Entry of Judgment); Filed by Yen Lin Chu (Defendant)

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83 More Docket Entries
  • 11/22/2017
  • DocketANSWER TO COMPLAINT

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  • 10/10/2017
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 10/10/2017
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 10/10/2017
  • DocketProof-Service/Summons; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 10/10/2017
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 10/10/2017
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 10/10/2017
  • DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 09/15/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 09/15/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Rodrigo Salas (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/15/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR PERSONAL INJURIES: 1. NEGLIGENCE 2. NEGLIGENCE IPREMISE LIABILITYL

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC676123    Hearing Date: March 03, 2020    Dept: 28

Motion: Plaintiff’s Motion for Terminating Sanctions

Opposed: Yes

Proposed Ruling: DENY

Special Issues: None

Law Clerk: Joseph Scott, Ext. 0183

Plaintiff’s Motion for Terminating Sanctions

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

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Joe Dvoracek (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendant Northwest Dealerco Holdings, LLC (“Defendant”) on December 22, 2017, alleging causes of action for premises and product liability arising from a defective gas pump and subsequent slip and fall on Defendant’s premises. 

PARTYS REQUESTS

Plaintiff requests terminating sanctions in the following forms, in alternatives of diminishing gravity: (1) an order striking the Answer filed by Defendant; or (2) issue sanctions concluding that Golden State negligently owned, maintained, managed and operated the premises where Plaintiff was injured, that Plaintiff was harmed as a result of Golden State’s negligence, and that Golden State’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing Plaintiff’s harm; or (3) disallowing Defendant to rely on evidence pertaining to the fuel nozzle and disallowing Defendant to make allegations concerning liability. 

LEGAL STANDARD

The Court has the authority to impose sanctions against a party that engages in the misuse of the discovery process. (CCP § 2023.030.) A party engaging in this conduct may be subject to sanctions including monetary and terminating sanctions. (CCP § 2023.030(a), (d).)  

The court may impose a terminating sanction by one of the following orders:

  1. An order striking out the pleadings or parts of the pleadings of any party engaging in the misuse of the discovery process.

  1. An order staying further proceedings by that party until an order for discovery is obeyed.

  1. An order dismissing the action, or any part of the action, of that party.

  1. An order rendering a judgment by default against that party.

(Code Civ. Proc. § 2023.030(d).)

DISCUSSION

Plaintiff moves for terminating sanctions on the basis that Defendant allowed the gas nozzle—which is the crux of Plaintiff’s claim for premises liability and product liability—to leave its custody. 

Plaintiff’s Complaint alleges that

Joe Dvoracek (PLAINTIFF) was using a gas pump (the SUBJECT PUMP) as intended, and distributed by Defendant Northwest Dealerco Holdings, LLC (NORTHWEST), when it malfunctioned, sending gas all over the station. The gas flew into PLAINTIFF'S eyes, nose and mouth. While trying to escape the gas, PLAINTIFF slipped and fell in the gas causing significant injuries.

(Compl. Attach. 1.)

The incident which forms the basis of this action occurred on August 10, 2017. Plaintiff’s motion is premised on Defendant’s allegedly willful spoliation of the gas pump critical to Plaintiff’s product liability claim. 

Plaintiff declares that on August 14, 2017, upon his release from hospital, Plaintiff sent a letter by certified mail to Defendant, which was “signed by an employee of the 76 gas station and sent back to Plaintiff.” (Motion 1:17-20.) (Dvoracek Decl. ¶ 3.) The letter, which is attached as Exhibit 1 to Plaintiff’s declaration, reflects that Plaintiff sent a letter to “76 Gas Station, 8850 Glenoaks Blvd. Sun Valley, CA 91352.” The letter requests that the manager/owner of the gas station preserve footage depicting the incident and the fuel handle from pump number 12. (Id. Exh. 1.)

Defendant does not dispute receipt of the letter, but rather contends that it was not sent by certified mail as claimed by Plaintiff, and that it was received well after the gas nozzle had been removed by a third-party. Defendant’s District Manager for the district in which the incident occurred, Natt Kamonrata, declares that she was provided with a copy of the letter on August 29, 2017, when she visited the gas station. (Kamonrata Decl. ¶ 4.) Kamonrata declares that her last visit of the gas station was on August 21, 2019. (Id. ¶ 7.) It is thus Defendant’s argument that subject letter requesting that Defendant preserve the footage of the incident and the allegedly defective gas nozzle was received between August 22, 2017, and August 29, 2017. Kamonrata also declares that she does not recognize the signature affixed to the Return Receipt for the subject letter. (Id. ¶ 6.) 

As to the argument that the letter was not “Certified Mail,” Defendant attaches as Exhibit 5 to its “Evidence Submitted in Support of its Opposition” an example of a U.S. Postal Service Certified Mail Receipt. Indeed, Exhibit 5 of Defendant’s evidence, which is a “PS Form 3800” does not mirror what is attached to Plaintiff’s evidence, which is a “PS Form 3811.” Plaintiffs receipt is a “Return Receipt,” but is not a Certified Mail Receipt. 

In any case, the evidence before the Court reflects that Plaintiff dated his letter “August 14, 2017.” (Motion Exh. 2.) However, the Return Receipt does not contain a date; there is no evidence as to when Plaintiff’s letter was actually mailed to Defendant. In turn, Defendant submits evidence that it did not receive the letter until at the earliest August 22, 2017. 

Additionally, Defendant contends that it was Plaintiff himself who caused the gas nozzle to be replaced on August 15, 2017, by making a complaint to the Department of Weights and Measures. In his reply, Plaintiff claims that this argument consists of “victim-blaming,” and does not excuse Defendant from its failure to preserve the nozzle. (Reply 3:8.) However, the evidence reflects that the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures issued a Notice of Violation on August 15, 2017, which stated that “valve/insertion interlock mechanism not working properly. Will not shut off when nozzle is removed from vehicle,” and “Complaint is valid.” (Defendant Evidence, Exh. 6.) A Work Order No. 24057 issued by California Maintenance Environmental (“CME”) reflects that on August 15, 2017, it conducted a troubleshoot of the subject pump, and a subsequent invoice issued by CME billed Defendant for the following: “On arrival troubleshot dispenser #12-91 W&M NOV. Found nozzle dispensing without mini boot being compressed. Replaced defective mini boot. Tested. Replaced defective nozzle on dispenser #4-87. Tested. All ok. *Removed red tag and placed back on service #12-91. All ok. Healy Mini-Boot Kit EVR Certified. Rebuilt 900 EVR Certified Nozzle.” (Id. Exhs. 6-8.)

Thus, the evidence reflects that the subject nozzle was inspected and removed on August 15, 2017, by CME following Plaintiff’s complaint to the County of Los Angeles Agricultural Commissioner/Weights and Measures. Plaintiff has submitted no evidence that his August 14, 2017, letter was received by Defendant prior to the gas nozzle being removed the very next day as a result of Plaintiff’s own complaint. Plaintiff’s argument of “Victim-blaming” is irrelevant to the present matter as Plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating that Defendant willfully spoiled the relevant evidence. 

Although the evidence shows that the subject gas nozzle was out of operation at the time of the August 15, 2017, inspection and had a red tag to designate it as such, Plaintiff has not shown that Defendant spoliated evidence, nor that Defendant had notice of any claim or request for preservation of the nozzle. The evidence shoes that the nozzle was removed by a third party the day after Plaintiff drafted his letter. Even if the Court were to credit Plaintiff’s argument that he sent the letter on August 14, 2017—which he has not proven—Plaintiff has not shown that Defendant intentionally or negligently spoiled the evidence in this action, or that Defendant knew to preserve the nozzle when it was removed by third-party CME, five days after the incident, and one day after Plaintiff alleges to have sent his letter.

In reply, Plaintiff argues that “Defendant wants to make this spoliation about postal codes, dates and conspiracies of forgery, but provides no evidence to support that it didn’t want this spoliation to occur.” (Reply 3:1-3.) However, as the moving party, Plaintiff has not shown that Defendant intended for or negligently allowed this spoliation to occur. As to the argument that “Defendant allowed this evidence to be taken from them and made no attempts to keep track of the evidence, locate evidence or get the evidence back,” the papers in this matter show that Plaintiff initiated the complaint which caused third-party CME to remove the pump. Plaintiff has not shown that Defendant had any reason to believe at that time that it was required to preserve the nozzle, nor has Plaintiff shown that he could not have made efforts to do so. 

In its Opposition, Defendant requests terminating sanctions against Plaintiff. First, if Defendant seeks terminating sanctions against Plaintiff, it should do so in the form of a noticed motion. Second, aside from including a belabored recitation of law, Defendant’s argument that terminating sanctions should be imposed is not support by coherent argument or authority. 

CONCLUSION

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s Motion for Terminating Sanctions is DENIED. 

Case Number: BC676123    Hearing Date: December 03, 2019    Dept: 4A

Motion to be Relieved as Counsel

Having considered the moving papers, the Court rules as follows. opposing papers have been filed.

BACKGROUND

On September 15, 2017, Plaintiff Rodrigo Salas (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendants Yen Lin Chu, Yen Lin Chu, Trustee of the Yen Lin Chu Living Trust, Lauren Ya Fen Chiang alleging negligence and premises liability for a fall from scaffolding on September 28, 2015.

On December 4, 2017, Defendant/Cross-Complainant Yun Lin Chu filed a cross-complaint against Roes 1-50 seeking implied indemnity, equitable indemnity, total equitable indemnity, and declaratory relief.

On March 21, 2018, Defendant/Cross-Complainant Lauren Fen Chiang filed a cross-complaint against Moes 1-50 seeking implied indemnity, equitable indemnity, total equitable indemnity, and declaratory relief.

On October 25, 2019, Plaintiffs counsel; Eric H. Godoy and Chehine Law, APC.; filed a motion to be relieved as counsel pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 284, subdivision (2).

Trial is set for April 3, 2020.

PARTY’S REQUEST

Plaintiff’s counsel, Eric H. Godoy and Chehine Law, APC., seek to be relieved as counsel due to a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship.

LEGAL STANDARD

California Rule of Court rule 3.1362 (Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel) requires (1) notice of motion and motion to be directed to the client (made on the Notice of Motion and Motion to be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-051)); (2) a declaration stating in general terms and without compromising the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship why a motion under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(2) is brought instead of filing a consent under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(1) (made on the Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-052)); (3) service of the notice of motion and motion and declaration on all other parties who have appeared in the case; and (4) the proposed order relieving counsel (prepared on the Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-053)).

The court has discretion to allow an attorney to withdraw, and such a motion should be granted provided that there is no prejudice to the client and it does not disrupt the orderly process of justice. (See Ramirez v. Sturdevant (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 904, 915.)

DISCUSSION

Plaintiff’s counsel completed forms MC-051, MC-052, and MC-053.  All three of these documents were served on Plaintiff and Defendants/Cross-Complainants Yun Lin Chu and Lauren Fen Chaing on October 25, 2019 by U.S. Mail.  While no other party has been served, the parties that have been served are all of the parties who have appeared in this action.  Plaintiff’s counsel declares that there has been a complete breakdown in the attorney-client relationship.

The Court finds Plaintiff’s counsel’s declaration to be sufficient.  Further, granting the motion would not prejudice Plaintiff or the orderly process of justice because trial is set for April 3, 2020.

Accordingly, the motion is GRANTED.

Eric H. Godoy and Chehine Law, APC are relieved as counsel for Plaintiff effective upon the filing of the proof of service of Order Granting Attorney’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel–Civil form MC–053.

Eric H. Godoy and Chehine Law, APC are ordered to give notice of this ruling.

Case Number: BC676123    Hearing Date: November 27, 2019    Dept: 4A

Motion to be Relieved as Counsel

Having considered the moving papers, the Court rules as follows. opposing papers have been filed.

BACKGROUND

On September 15, 2017, Plaintiff Rodrigo Salas (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendants Yen Lin Chu, Yen Lin Chu, Trustee of the Yen Lin Chu Living Trust, Lauren Ya Fen Chiang alleging negligence and premises liability for a fall from scaffolding on September 28, 2015.

On December 4, 2017, Defendant/Cross-Complainant Yun Lin Chu filed a cross-complaint against Roes 1-50 seeking implied indemnity, equitable indemnity, total equitable indemnity, and declaratory relief.

On March 21, 2018, Defendant/Cross-Complainant Lauren Fen Chiang filed a cross-complaint against Moes 1-50 seeking implied indemnity, equitable indemnity, total equitable indemnity, and declaratory relief.

On October 25, 2019, Plaintiffs counsel; Eric H. Godoy and Chehine Law, APC.; filed a motion to be relieved as counsel pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 284, subdivision (2).

Trial is set for April 3, 2020.

PARTY’S REQUEST

Plaintiff’s counsel, Eric H. Godoy and Chehine Law, APC., seek to be relieved as counsel due to a breakdown in the attorney-client relationship.

LEGAL STANDARD

California Rule of Court rule 3.1362 (Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel) requires (1) notice of motion and motion to be directed to the client (made on the Notice of Motion and Motion to be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-051)); (2) a declaration stating in general terms and without compromising the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship why a motion under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(2) is brought instead of filing a consent under Code of Civil Procedure section 284(1) (made on the Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-052)); (3) service of the notice of motion and motion and declaration on all other parties who have appeared in the case; and (4) the proposed order relieving counsel (prepared on the Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel—Civil form (MC-053)).

The court has discretion to allow an attorney to withdraw, and such a motion should be granted provided that there is no prejudice to the client and it does not disrupt the orderly process of justice. (See Ramirez v. Sturdevant (1994) 21 Cal.App.4th 904, 915.)

DISCUSSION

Plaintiff’s counsel completed forms MC-051, MC-052, and MC-053.  All three of these documents were served on Plaintiff and Defendants/Cross-Complainants Yun Lin Chu and Lauren Fen Chaing on October 25, 2019 by U.S. Mail.  While no other party has been served, the parties that have been served are all of the parties who have appeared in this action.  Plaintiff’s counsel declares that there has been a complete breakdown in the attorney-client relationship.

The Court finds Plaintiff’s counsel’s declaration to be sufficient.  Further, granting the motion would not prejudice Plaintiff or the orderly process of justice because trial is set for April 3, 2020.

Accordingly, the motion is GRANTED.

Eric H. Godoy and Chehine Law, APC are relieved as counsel for Plaintiff effective upon the filing of the proof of service of Order Granting Attorney’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel–Civil form MC–053.

Eric H. Godoy and Chehine Law, APC are ordered to give notice of this ruling.