This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/19/2019 at 00:29:42 (UTC).

SANTIAGO CASTILLA VS NIJAR REALTY INC ET AL

Case Summary

On 11/16/2017 SANTIAGO CASTILLA filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against NIJAR REALTY INC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is LAURA A. SEIGLE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****3775

  • Filing Date:

    11/16/2017

  • 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 Judge

LAURA A. SEIGLE

 

Party Details

Defendants and Respondents

DOE PROPERTY OWNER

PAMA MANAGEMENT INC

DOES 1 TO 50

NIJAR REALTY INC

Minor

CASTILLA SANTIAGO

Guardian Ad Litem

CARBAJAL SANDRA

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Defendant and Respondent Attorneys

CIMINELLI CRISTINA M

CIMMARUSTI PATRICK JOHN

SCHLAGEL CAMERON JAMES

CIMINELLI CRISTINA MARIA

Minor Attorneys

YAHOUDAI YOSI ESQ.

BELL JOHN V.

Other Attorneys

YAHOUDAI YOSEF ESQ.

SANVICTORES MARGUERITE SISNEY

BELL JOHN VICTOR

 

Court Documents

DEFENDANT NIJJAR REALTY,INC .,DBA PAMA MANEGEMENT,INC.'S ANSWER TO COMPLAINT;DEMEND FOR JURY TRAIL

2/1/2018: DEFENDANT NIJJAR REALTY,INC .,DBA PAMA MANEGEMENT,INC.'S ANSWER TO COMPLAINT;DEMEND FOR JURY TRAIL

NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

2/1/2018: NOTICE OF POSTING JURY FEES

SUMMONS

12/11/2017: SUMMONS

SUMMONS

12/18/2017: SUMMONS

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

1/3/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: 1. PREMISES LIABILITY 2. NEGLIGENCE

11/16/2017: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: 1. PREMISES LIABILITY 2. NEGLIGENCE

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/11/2019
  • Defendant Nijjar Realty, Inc.'s Opposition To Plaintiffs Motion For Issue Sanctions, Evidentiary Sanctions, And or An Evidentiary Presumption For Spoliation Of Evidence; Request For Monetary Sanctions Against Plaintiffs Counsel; Filed by NIJAR REALTY INC (Defendant); PAMA MANAGEMENT, INC (Legacy Party)

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  • 06/03/2019
  • Motion for Sanctions; Filed by SANTIAGO CASTILLA (Legacy Party)

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  • 05/16/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 05/02/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 04/23/2019
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") - Not Held - Taken Off Calendar by Party

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  • 04/22/2019
  • [Proposed Order] and Stipulation to Continue Trial, FSC (and Related Motion/Discovery Dates) Personal Injury Courts Only (Central District); Filed by SANTIAGO CASTILLA (Legacy Party)

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  • 04/16/2019
  • Notice of Ruling; Filed by NIJAR REALTY INC (Defendant)

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  • 04/04/2019
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 4B, Laura A. Seigle, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Held - Motion Denied

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  • 04/04/2019
  • Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore ((Marco Neilly, CSR 13564)); Filed by NIJAR REALTY INC (Defendant)

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  • 04/04/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment) of 04/04/2019); Filed by Clerk

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22 More Docket Entries
  • 02/01/2018
  • DEFENDANT NIJJAR REALTY,INC .,DBA PAMA MANEGEMENT,INC.'S ANSWER TO COMPLAINT;DEMEND FOR JURY TRAIL

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  • 01/03/2018
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by SANDRA CARBAJAL (Legacy Party); SANTIAGO CASTILLA (Legacy Party)

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  • 01/03/2018
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 12/18/2017
  • Summons Issued; Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/18/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 12/18/2017
  • Summons; Filed by Clerk

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  • 12/11/2017
  • SUMMONS APPLICATION AND ORDER FOR APPOINTMENT OF GUARDIAN AD LITEM

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  • 12/11/2017
  • Application ; Filed by Plaintiff/Petitioner

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  • 11/16/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES: 1. PREMISES LIABILITY 2. NEGLIGENCE

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  • 11/16/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by null

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC683775    Hearing Date: December 11, 2019    Dept: 4B

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: PETITION TO APPROVE COMPROMISE OF PENDING ACTION

Claimant Santiago Castilla (“Claimant”), a disabled minor, by and through her Guardian Ad Litem, Marvel Brown (“Petitioner”), has agreed to settle his claims against Defendant Nijjar Realty, Inc. dba Pama Management Inc. in exchange for $3,250,000.00. If approved, $5,126.01 will be used for medical expenses, $1,462,500.00 will be used for attorney’s fees, and $256,080.86 will be used for non-medical expenses, leaving a balance of $1,526,293.13 for Claimant. Of the amount for Claimant, $772,504.27 will be invested in an annuity and $753,788.86 will be paid or transferred to the trustee of a special needs trust (“SNT”).

Court approval is required for all settlements of claims by a person with a disability. (Probate Code §§ 3500, 3600, et seq.; Code Civ. Proc. § 372.) The Court finds the settlement amount to be fair and reasonable.

Petitioner’s counsel submitted additional evidence further explaining the work performed by the attorneys. California Rule of Court 7.955 lists factors the Court must and may consider in determining the reasonableness of attorney’s fees. The Court must consider the terms of the retainer agreement and evaluate the agreement based on the facts and circumstance existing at the time the agreement was made. The Court may consider the fact that a minor is involved, the amount of the fee in proportion to the value provided, the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved and skill required, the amount involved, time limitations and constraints, nature and length of the professional relationship, experience and ability of the attorneys, time and labor required, informed consent and sophistication of the minor’s representative, likelihood the employment would preclude other employment, and the risk and costs borne or advanced by the attorneys.

The retainer agreement has an escalating fee provision, with a term that the attorneys shall receive 45% of the gross recovery if the recovery is obtained after mediation, which is what occurred here. The minor’s representative (his mother) is not sophisticated, but there is no indication she did not understand the fee arrangement. Petitioner’s counsel performed a significant amount of work on this case, detailed in the petition. The Court observed the motion practice and, in deciding the motions, found the quality of counsel’s work to be first rate. The development of the facts was challenging as at least one witness gave inconsistent testimony, and there were allegations of lost or destroyed evidence. The case involved a relatively complicated issue of duty – whether the defendant owed a duty to secure or repair the window and screen at issue – that was the subject of a summary judgment motion, as well as a substantial motion on the alleged spoliation. Counsel presented evidence of numerous depositions and extensive expert discovery. The case settled shortly before the trial date after some trial documents were filed and after the attorneys engaged in substantial trial preparation explained in the petition. Counsel did not present evidence of time billed by the attorneys or the amount of damages claimed. Counsel states that due to the demands of this case, he had to limit his work on other cases. Counsel advanced a significant amount of fees in this case. In sum, while the proportion of the fee to the recovery is quite high – higher than in most cases – the attorneys here performed a substantial amount of high quality work on difficult issues right up to trial and obtained a successful result. Accordingly, the fee request is approved.

Counsel’s additional submission also substantiated the legal costs incurred, except for one item. Counsel gave Petitioner a loan of $52,000 for her and the family’s living expenses. That is not an amount counsel appropriately deducted from Claimant’s settlement. The settlement amount is for Claimant and his future special needs, not for the family’s living expenses. Accordingly, the $52,000 expense is not approved. Petitioner is to submit a revised proposed order that does not include the $52,000 as a recoverable expense.

SNT

When a settlement proposes the establishment of a special needs or other trust as provided in Probate Code sections 3600 to 3612, the terms of the proposed trust must be reviewed by the Probate Department. (L.A. County Sup. Ct. Rule 4.115(c).) The Probate Department has reviewed the proposed SNT and made its recommendations.

As required by Probate Code section 3604(b), the Court makes the following findings based on the information in the Petition: (1) Claimant has a disability which substantially impairs his ability to provide for his own care or custody and constitutes a substantial handicap; (2) Claimant is likely to have special needs that will not be met without the trust; and (3) the money to be paid to the trust does not exceed the amount that appears reasonably necessary to meet Claimant’s special needs.

The proposed SNT is ready for approval. The trustee is ordered to open a separate action for the SNT in the Probate Court by filing a certified copy of the settlement order establishing the SNT and a copy of the trustee’s bond. (LASC Rule 4.115(e)(1).) The trustee is to file a Notice of Commencement of Proceedings of Court Created Trust on LASC Form PRO 044 and the bond within 60 days of the date of this order.

The Court sets an OSC for March 2, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 4B for proof of commencement of a separate Probate Court action and the bond. If proof of commencement of a separate probate court action and the bond are submitted before the OSC, no appearance will be required.

Petitioner and Claimant must appear at the December 11, 2019 hearing, unless the Court finds good cause to excuse their appearance. The Court finds that Claimant’s appearance is not necessary, but will require Petitioner to appear.

Moving party to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT4B@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative.

Case Number: BC683775    Hearing Date: December 03, 2019    Dept: 4B

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: PETITION TO APPROVE COMPROMISE OF PENDING ACTION

Claimant Santiago Castilla (“Claimant”), a disabled minor, by and through her Guardian Ad Litem, Marvel Brown (“Petitioner”), has agreed to settle his claims against Defendant Nijjar Realty, Inc. dba Pama Management Inc. in exchange for $3,250,000.00. If approved, $5,126.01 will be used for medical expenses, $1,462,500.00 will be used for attorney’s fees, and $256,080.86 will be used for non-medical expenses, leaving a balance of $1,526,293.13 for Claimant. Of the amount for Claimant, $772,504.27 will be invested in an annuity and $753,788.86 will be paid or transferred to the trustee of a special needs trust (“SNT”).

Court approval is required for all settlements of claims by a person with a disability. (Probate Code §§ 3500, 3600, et seq.; Code Civ. Proc. § 372.) The Court finds the settlement amount to be fair and reasonable. However, some information is missing regarding the requested fees and expenses.

First, the retainer agreement with Javaheri & Yahoudai, APLC is attached both as Exhibit 1 to the Lucas Declaration and as Attachment 18(a). No retainer agreement with Panish, Shea & Boyle is attached.

Second, no backup substantiates the $256,080.86 claimed in Item 14.b. as expenses, and there is no explanation of the $52,000 in living expenses paid to Petitioner.

Third, in considering the reasonableness of attorney’s fees, California Rule of Court 7.955 states the Court may consider the time and labor required. The Lucas declaration explains the labor but not the time spent by each of the attorneys at the two firms representing Claimant and does not explain the role of Javaheri & Yahoudai in the litigation. The amount of fees requested is quite high – 45% – and this information would be helpful in substantiating the reasonableness of the fees.

Before the hearing, Claimant’s counsel is to file a declaration containing this additional information. If the declaration cannot be filed in time for the December 13, 2019 hearing, counsel should contact the department about continuing the hearing date.

SNT

When a settlement proposes the establishment of a special needs or other trust as provided in Probate Code sections 3600 to 3612, the terms of the proposed trust must be reviewed by the Probate Department. (L.A. County Sup. Ct. Rule 4.115(c).) The Probate Department has reviewed the proposed SNT and made its recommendations.

As required by Probate Code section 3604(b), the Court makes the following findings based on the information in the Petition: (1) Claimant has a disability which substantially impairs his ability to provide for his own care or custody and constitutes a substantial handicap; (2) Claimant is likely to have special needs that will not be met without the trust; and (3) the money to be paid to the trust does not exceed the amount that appears reasonably necessary to meet Claimant’s special needs.

Subject to approval of the attorney’s fees and expenses, the proposed SNT is ready for approval. The trustee is ordered to open a separate action for the SNT in the Probate Court by filing a certified copy of the settlement order establishing the SNT and a copy of the trustee’s bond. (LASC Rule 4.115(e)(1).) The trustee is to file a Notice of Commencement of Proceedings of Court Created Trust on LASC Form PRO 044 and the bond within 60 days of the date of this order.

The Court sets an OSC for March 2, 2019 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 4B for proof of commencement of a separate Probate Court action and the bond. If proof of commencement of a separate probate court action and the bond are submitted before the OSC, no appearance will be required.

Petitioner and Claimant must appear at the December 3, 2019 hearing, unless the Court finds good cause to excuse their appearance. The Court finds that Claimant’s appearance is not necessary, but will require Petitioner to appear.

Moving party to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SSCDEPT4B@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative.