On 04/10/2018 RONALD TRIBBLE filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against VICTOR A ASEMOTA. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are ELAINE LU, STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH, RICHARD E. RICO and JON R. TAKASUGI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH
RICHARD E. RICO
JON R. TAKASUGI
CITY OF LOS ANGELES
DOES 1 TO 20
ASEMOTA VICTOR A.
UBER TECHNOLOGIES INC.
RAISER LLC DOE 2
RASIER-CA LLC DOE 3
MEYERS MCCONNELL REISZ SIDERMAN
UBER TECHNOLOGIES INC.
YADEGARI MICHAEL ESQ.
YADEGARI MICHAEL MORDECHAI ESQ.
CORELESS THOMAS C
CORLESS THOMAS CONDIE
GOLD BARRY IAN
EISENBERG DANIEL ALEXANDER
11/5/2020: Complaint in Intervention
7/20/2020: Judgment - JUDGMENT OF DISMISSAL
6/30/2020: Case Management Statement
6/30/2020: Case Management Statement
3/20/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order
3/5/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 03/05/2020
2/7/2020: Declaration - DECLARATION OF THOMAS C. CORLESS IN SUPPORT
1/17/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE)
1/22/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF STATUS CONFERENCE
11/18/2019: Order - ORDER ORDER ON TENTATIVE RULING
9/30/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE)
10/3/2019: Notice of Ruling
8/27/2019: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (STATUS CONFERENCE)
7/8/2019: Notice of Status Conference and Order
4/24/2019: Proof of Service by Mail
4/15/2019: Separate Statement - SEPARATE STATEMENT INTERROGATORIES
9/13/2018: Defendant's Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court (Small Claims) - _First
4/10/2018: SUMMONS -
Hearing04/07/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 17 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Case Management ConferenceRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 11:00 AM in Department 17, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - HeldRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 11:00 AM in Department 17, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Court OrderRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 2:00 PM in Department 17, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC) - Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by CourtRead MoreRead Less
DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Informal Discovery Conference) of 01/20/2021); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Informal Discovery Conference)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketInformal Discovery Conference Form for Personal Injury Courts; Filed by Monika Abbe (Defendant); Victor A. Asemota (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 09:40 AM in Department 17, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Court OrderRead MoreRead Less
DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order re: Scheduling of Informal Discovery Conference) of 12/08/2020); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order re: Scheduling of Informal Discovery Conference)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 5; Unknown Event Type - Held - Motion GrantedRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute order entered: 2018-09-12 00:00:00; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketORDER RE:MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINTRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute OrderRead MoreRead Less
DocketOrder; Filed by CourtRead MoreRead Less
DocketDEFENDANTS VICTOR A. ASEMOTA AND MONIKA ABBE'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS AND PLAINTIFF'S COMPLAINT; ETCRead MoreRead Less
DocketMotion to Strike; Filed by Victor A. Asemota (Defendant); Monika Abbe (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCERead MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Ronald Tribble (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC701509 Hearing Date: July 07, 2020 Dept: 17
Superior Court of California
County of Los Angeles
VICTOR A. ASEMOTA, et al.
Case No.: BC701509
Hearing Date: July 7, 2020
Uber’s demurrer to Plaintiff’s TAC is sustained, without leave to amend.
On April 10, 2018, Plaintiff Ronald Tribble (Plaintiff) filed suit against Victor A. Asemota, Monika Abbe, Uber Technologies, Inc., and Raiser LLC, Rasier-CA LLC. On December 17, 2019, Plaintiff filed a third amended complaint (TAC) alleging a single cause of action for negligence.
Uber Technologies, Inc. (Uber) now demurs to the TAC.
A demurrer for sufficiency tests whether the complaint states a cause of action.¿ ¿When considering demurrers, courts read the allegations liberally and in context.¿ ¿(2006) 144 Cal.App.4th 1216, 1228.)¿ In a demurrer proceeding, the defects must be apparent on the face of the pleading or via proper judicial notice.¿ ¿ “A demurrer tests the pleadings alone and not the evidence or other extrinsic matters.¿ Therefore, it lies only where the defects appear on the face of the pleading or are judicially noticed.”¿ ¿ “The only issue involved in a demurrer hearing is whether the complaint, as it stands, unconnected with extraneous matters, states a cause of action.”¿
This is a personal injury action. Plaintiff Ronald Tribble sustained personal injuries when, on May 23, 2016, Defendant Victor Asemota’s Asemota Asemota Rasier-CA LLC [sic] are also named as Defendants. (TAC ¶ 16.)
Uber’s sole argument on this demurrer is that the statute of limitations has run such that Plaintiff may no longer maintain an action against Uber. Demurrer on the basis of a statute of limitations is appropriate when the material within the four corners of the pleadings, along with properly judicially noticeable materials, affirmatively show that the statute of limitations has run. (Lockley v. Law Office of Cantrell, Green, Pekich, Cruz & McCort (2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 874, 881.)
Two rules are applicable here: (1) The statute of limitations applicable to a personal injury claim arising out of an automobile accident is two years. (Code Civ. Proc., § 335.1; Litwin v. Estate of Formela (2010) 186 Cal.App.4th 607, 618-619.) (2) When a plaintiff amends a complaint to add a new defendant, the amendment “does not relate back to the date of filing the original complaint, and the statute of limitations is applied as of the date the amended complaint is filed, not the date the original complaint is filed. [Citations.]” (Woo v. Superior Court (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 169, 176; Ingram v. Superior Court (1979) 98 Cal.App.3d 483, 492).
Here, the accident occurred on May 23, 2016. Plaintiff filed his initial Complaint, which did not name Uber as a Defendant, on April 10, 2018. Then, on May 23, 2018, the deadline to name defendants within the two-year statute of limitations lapsed. Several months later, on September 13, 2018, Plaintiff named Uber as a Defendant for the first time in the First Amended Complaint. If the general rule regarding adding new Defendants is applied, the adding of Uber as a Defendant on September 13, 2018 was outside the limitations period and was therefore untimely.
However, Code of Civil Procedure section 474 provides an exception to the general rule that there is no relation back when defendants are added.
“Among the requirements for application of the¿section 474¿relation-back doctrine is that the new defendant in an¿amended¿complaint¿be substituted for an existing fictitious Doe defendant named in the¿original¿complaint.” (Woo, supra, 75 Cal.App.4th at p. 176.) Here, as in Woo, Plaintiff “made no apparent attempt to satisfy this procedural requirement.” (Ibid.). Plaintiff simply added Uber as a Defendant but “d[id] not identify [it] as a substitute for a previously named fictitious defendant.” (Ibid.) Nor did Plaintiff at that time file a Form LACIV 105 “Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name),” commonly used by parties to name Doe Defendants. Nevertheless, under the Court of Appeal’s guidance in Woo, this Court is to be “lenient in permitting rectification of the defect” and is to consider Plaintiff’s section 474 relation-back contention despite Plaintiff’s procedural errors. (Ibid.)
“A further and non-procedural requirement for application of the section 474 relation-back doctrine is that [Plaintiff] must have been genuinely ignorant of [Uber’s] identity at the time [he] filed [his] original complaint. [Citations.]” (Woo, supra, 75 Cal.App.4th at p. 177; Ingram, supra, 98 Cal.App.3d at p. 491 [“a party may only avail himself of the use of naming Doe defendants as parties when the true facts and identities are genuinely unknown to the plaintiff”].)
Here, the accident occurred in May 2016. Nearly two years later, on April 10, 2018, Plaintiff filed his original Complaint. Eight days later, on April 18, 2018, Plaintiff filed a second lawsuit, Tribble v. Asemota , Case No. BC702700. (See Uber’s Request for Judicial Notice (“RJN”) Exh. 1.) This second lawsuit is based on the same car accident that gave rise to the instant lawsuit, and in this second lawsuit, Plaintiff named Uber as a defendant.
The Court may take judicial notice of the existence of this Court filing. (Evid. Code, § 452, subd. (d); Johnson & Johnson v. Superior Court (2011) 192 Cal.App.4th 757, 768 [“While we may take judicial notice of the existence of judicial opinions, court documents, and verdicts reached, we cannot take judicial notice of the truth of hearsay statements in other decisions or court files [citation] or of the truth of factual findings made in another action”].) Here, the Court merely takes judicial notice of the existence of a court filing dated April 18, 2018 naming Uber as a Defendant in a lawsuit based on the same crash. The bare fact that Plaintiff sued Uber on April 18, 2018 for the same crash creates an immediate and necessary logical implication that Plaintiff was aware of Uber’s potential involvement when the instant suit was filed. (Ingram, supra, 98 Cal.App.3d at p. 491.) This implication arises from the mere existence of the April 18, 2018 court filing, not from the truth of any contents of the court filing.
This fact is incontrovertible. Nevertheless, Plaintiff boldly declares that “[o]n or about September, 2018, Plaintiff found out that Defendant Asemota Opp’n, p. 1:15-16.) This statement is clearly false in light of the judicially noticeable second suit, in which Plaintiff named Uber as a Defendant in this very controversy on April 18, 2018. Plaintiff repeats this factually false assertion as part of his arguments elsewhere in the brief. (See Opp’n, pp. 7:25-8:3.) Such assertions give the Court a jaundiced view in general of Plaintiff’s legal and factual arguments.
There is a third reason why the use of Doe amendment is improper here. Ingram, supra, cited by both parties, stands, among other things, for the proposition that the initial complaint must indicate that the plaintiff “had at all times intended” for the Doe defendant to have been a defendant charged with liability for the plaintiff’s injuries. (98 Cal.App.3d at p. 492.) Here, the original Complaint is devoid of any reference to Uber or any other rideshare company, despite the fact that Plaintiff filed a complaint in a different case based on the same crash naming Uber as a defendant about a week later. This shows that Plaintiff knew, at the time he filed the initial Complaint, that a rideshare company was involved. If, as Plaintiff contends, he was uncertain which rideshare company was the guilty one, he could have pled that company as “Doe Rideshare,” and this, at the very least, would have indicated that Plaintiff “had at all times intended” to add the driver’s rideshare company as a defendant, but was waiting to determine the specific identity of the company before doing so.
For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff may not take advantage of the section 474 relation back doctrine. Accordingly, the adding of Uber as a Defendant on September 13, 2018 does not relate back to the date the original Complaint was filed. But because Uber was added more than two years after the accident occurred, the statute of limitations has run, and no action may be maintained against Uber.
Dated: July , 2020
Hon. Jon R. Takasugi
Superior Court Judge
Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at firstname.lastname@example.org by 4 p.m. the day prior as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If a party submits on the tentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the party submitting on the tentative. If all parties to a motion submit, the court will adopt this tentative as the final order. If the department does not receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off calendar.
Due to Covid-19, the court is strongly discouraging in-person appearances. Parties, counsel, and court reporters present are subject to temperature checks and health inquiries, and will be denied entry if admission could create a public health risk. The court encourages the parties wishing to argue to appear via CourtCall. For more information, please contact the court clerk at (213) 633-0517. Your understanding during these difficult times is appreciated.