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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/03/2019 at 00:00:27 (UTC).

SENTRY INSURANCE COMPANY VS ISAIAH GABLE ET AL

Case Summary

On 10/31/2017 SENTRY INSURANCE COMPANY filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against ISAIAH GABLE. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JON R. TAKASUGI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****1824

  • Filing Date:

    10/31/2017

  • 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

Judge Details

Presiding Judge

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner

SENTRY INSURANE COMPANY

Defendants and Respondents

GALVAN JIMMY

GABLE ISAIAH

DOES 1 TO 10

MARTHA RUIZ DOE1

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorney

HAINES TODD F. ESQ.

Defendant and Respondent Attorney

DESOTO DANIEL A. ESQ.

 

Court Documents

REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

3/20/2018: REQUEST FOR ENTRY OF DEFAULT

ORDER DENYING REQUEST FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT WITHOUT PREJUDICE

8/30/2018: ORDER DENYING REQUEST FOR DEFAULT JUDGMENT WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Minute Order

8/30/2018: Minute Order

DEFENDANT MARTHA RUIZS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO VACATE SET ASIDE DEFAULT;AND ETC.

9/19/2018: DEFENDANT MARTHA RUIZS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO VACATE SET ASIDE DEFAULT;AND ETC.

Minute Order

11/20/2018: Minute Order

Order

11/20/2018: Order

Answer

11/28/2018: Answer

Stipulation and Order

2/13/2019: Stipulation and Order

Notice

3/20/2019: Notice

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

1/25/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

1/12/2018: REQUEST FOR DISMISSAL

AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT

1/4/2018: AMENDMENT TO COMPLAINT

ORDER ON COURT FEE WAIVER

12/14/2017: ORDER ON COURT FEE WAIVER

DEFENDANTS ISAIAH GABLE'S ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT OF SENTRY INSURANCE COMPANY

12/14/2017: DEFENDANTS ISAIAH GABLE'S ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT OF SENTRY INSURANCE COMPANY

PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

11/20/2017: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

Unknown

11/21/2017: Unknown

SUMMONS

10/31/2017: SUMMONS

COMPLAINT FOR MONEY

10/31/2017: COMPLAINT FOR MONEY

7 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/30/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 04/16/2019
  • at 10:00 AM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Stipulation

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  • 03/20/2019
  • Notice (Notice of Errata); Filed by SENTRY INSURANE COMPANY (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/13/2019
  • Stipulation and Order (TO CONTINUE TRIAL, FSC [AND RELATED MOTION/DISCOVERY DATES] PERSONAL INJURY COURTS ONLY); Filed by ISAIAH GABLE (Defendant)

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  • 11/28/2018
  • Answer; Filed by MARTHA RUIZ DOE1 (Defendant)

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  • 11/20/2018
  • at 1:30 PM in Department 3, Jon R. Takasugi, Presiding; Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and Default Judgment (CCP 473.5) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 11/20/2018
  • Order (granting motion to set aside default); Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/20/2018
  • Minute Order ((Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Default and Default Jud...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/19/2018
  • Motion; Filed by MARTHA RUIZ DOE1 (Defendant)

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  • 09/19/2018
  • DEFENDANT MARTHA RUIZS NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO VACATE SET ASIDE DEFAULT;AND ETC.

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15 More Docket Entries
  • 12/14/2017
  • DEFENDANTS ISAIAH GABLE'S ANSWER TO THE COMPLAINT OF SENTRY INSURANCE COMPANY

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  • 12/04/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 12/04/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by SENTRY INSURANE COMPANY (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/21/2017
  • Proof of Service by 1st Class Mail

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  • 11/21/2017
  • Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by SENTRY INSURANE COMPANY (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/20/2017
  • Proof-Service/Summons; Filed by SENTRY INSURANE COMPANY (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/20/2017
  • PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS

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  • 10/31/2017
  • SUMMONS

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  • 10/31/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by SENTRY INSURANE COMPANY (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/31/2017
  • COMPLAINT FOR MONEY

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC681824    Hearing Date: December 07, 2020    Dept: 31

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

SENTRY INSURANCE COMPANY,

Plaintiff(s),

vs.

ISAIAH GABLE, ET AL.,

Defendant(s).

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CASE NO: BC681824

[TENTATIVE] ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR AN ORDER AND ENTRY OF JUDGMENT

Dept. 31

1:30 p.m.

December 7, 2020

Plaintiff, Sentry Insurance Company (“Plaintiff”) filed this action against Defendants, Isaiah Gable (“Gable”) and Jimmy Galvan (“Galvan”) for subrogation. On 1/4/18, Plaintiff filed an Amendment to Complaint naming Doe 1 as Martha Ruiz (“Ruiz”). On 1/12/18, Plaintiff filed a Request for Dismissal as to Galvan. Thereafter, on 10/7/19, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Settlement of Entire Case, which provided the parties entered into a conditional settlement agreement, and that a request for dismissal would be filed no later than 7/25/20.

On 717/20, Plaintiff filed the instant motion to enforce settlement agreement against Gable and Ruiz (collectively, “Defendants”) pursuant to CCP § 664.6.

Plaintiffs asserts the parties entered into the settlement agreement on or about 8/6/19, whereby Defendants agreed to make monthly payments to Plaintiff commencing on 9/25/19. The agreement was in the sum of $3,000. Defendants made $600 in payments before failing to make the payment due 2/25/20, or any thereafter. Plaintiff states the stipulation provides that upon defaulting Defendants must pay interest beginning on 10/31/17, $34,925 as unpaid principal, and costs. Accordingly, Plaintiff requests judgment be entered against Defendants in the total amount of $44,585.81; calculated as $34,925 as unpaid principal, $9,109.21 as interest, and $551.60 as costs.

Pursuant to CCP § 664.6: “If parties to pending litigation stipulate, in a writing signed by the parties outside the presence of the court or orally before the court, for settlement of the case, or part thereof, the court, upon motion, may enter judgment pursuant to the terms of the settlement. If requested by the parties, the court may retain jurisdiction over the parties to enforce the settlement until performance in full of the terms of the settlement.”

Strict compliance with the statutory requirements is necessary before a court can enforce a settlement agreement under this statute. (Sully-Miller Contracting Co. v. Gledson/Cashman Construction, Inc. (2002) 103 Cal.App.4th 30, 37.) To enforce a written settlement agreement under CCP section 664.6, the following three elements must be met: (1) the parties must have come to a meeting of the minds on all material points; (2) there must be a writing that contains the material terms of the agreement; and (3) the writing must be signed by the parties. (Weddington Productions, Inc. v. Flick (1998) 60 Cal.App.4th 793, 797-98.)

Here, the settlement agreement submitted by Plaintiff is signed by Plaintiff and Defendants. (Mot. Exh. A.) Defendants were required to pay $300 installments on or before the 25th of each month, totaling $3,000.00, from September 2019 through June 2020. (Ibid at ¿ 2(a).) Upon all payments being made, Plaintiff was to dismiss the action with prejudice. (Ibid at ¿ 3.) Further, upon the failure of Defendants to make the installment payments, Plaintiff was authorized to file the stipulation and seek the full amount owed under paragraph 1. (Ibid at ¿ 5.) Paragraph 1 of the agreement provides that subject to certain conditions, judgment may entered in favor of Plaintiff against Defendants for damages in the principal sum of $35,525, interest from 10/31/17, and costs, less any payments made. In addition, the agreement provides that the amount set forth in paragraph 1 is the actual amount due and owing, and that the amount is not a penalty but reflects Plaintiff’s actual damages. (Ibid at ¿¿ 4, 7.) Defendant now seeks a stipulated judgment in the total amount of $44,585.81 based on Defendants’ default.

However, where a settlement agreement provides for a stipulated judgment significantly in excess of the settlement amount, recovery of that excess may be unenforceable as an illegal penalty because it bears “no reasonable relationship to actual damages suffered … as the result of delay but to the contrary appears grossly disproportionate in amount.” (Sybron Corp. v. Clark Hospital Supply Corp. (1978) 76 Cal.App.3d 896, 903; see also Greentree Financial Group, Inc. v. Execute Sports (2008) 163 Cal.App.4th 495; Purcell v. Schweitzer (2014) 224 Cal. App.4th 969; and Viatech International, Inc. v. Sporn (2017) 16 Cal.App.5th 796.) For example, a stipulated judgment is void as a matter of law where the parties entered into a settlement agreement requiring the payment $75,000, but the stipulated judgment was for more than $300,000. (Viatech International, Inc., 16 Cal.App.5th at 808-09.)

Furthermore, public policy concerning liquidated damages “may not be circumvented by words used in a contract; that whether or not a particular clause is a penalty or forfeiture or a bona fide provision for liquidated damages depends upon the actual facts existing at the time the contract is executed … The applicability of Civil Code section 1671 depends upon the actual facts not the words which may have been used in the contract.” (Purcell, supra, 224 Cal. App.4th at 975.)

In this case, the stipulation that allows for entry of judgment in the amount of $44,585.81 is an unenforceable penalty because the underlying settlement was for $3,000. There is no evidence to show the stipulated amount bears any relationship to the damages that could be expected if Defendants breached the agreement by failing to make any installment payments. (Id. at 975-76.) Moreover, there is no evidence to suggest that Plaintiff suffered damages in the amount of $44,585.81 because of the missed payments.

What is more, while the agreement provides that Defendants agree the amount stated in paragraph 1 of the settlement is the amount due and owing, and that it is not a penalty, the agreement only shows the parties agreed to settle a pending lawsuit for an amount less than claimed in Plaintiff’s complaint, and if Defendants breached the agreement, they would be required to pay a fixed amount of additional damages, which was disproportionately higher than the settlement amount. Further, the agreement does not contain any admission by Defendants of liability for the underlying claims. Plaintiff does not show the stipulated amount of $44,585.81 bears ay reasonable relationship to the range of damages the parties could have anticipated from a breach of the stipulation to settle the disputed matter for $3,000. “Rather, they simply selected the amount [the plaintiff] had claimed as damages in the underlying lawsuit, plus prejudgment interest, attorney fees, and costs. But the appellate record contains nothing showing [the plaintiff's] chances of complete success on the merits of its case.” (Viatech International, Inc., 16 Cal.App.5th at 809.)

The language in the agreement is, thus, “nothing more than an agreement to settle a disputed claim for less than the amount demanded and a penalty if [Defendants] fail timely to pay the settlement amount.” (Id. at 811; accord. Purcell, 224 Cal. App.4th at 976 [“The language in the stipulation … was an obvious attempt to circumvent the public policy expressed in section 1761.”] cf. Jade Fashion & Co., Inc. v. Harkham Industries, Inc. (2014) 229 Cal. App. 4th 635, 648 [“the agreement between [seller] and [buyer] was not an agreement to settle or compromise a disputed claim. Rather, it was an agreement to forbear on the collection of a debt that was admittedly owed for goods that had been delivered so long as timely installment payments were made.”].)

Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff’s motion to enforce settlement agreement and enter judgment against Defendants is denied.

Plaintiff is ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept31@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the tentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  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. 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 the parties do not submit on the tentative, they should arrange to appear remotely.

 

Dated this 7th day of December, 2020

Hon. Thomas D. Long

Judge of the Superior Court

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