This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 08/15/2019 at 09:42:58 (UTC).

SERGIO FLORES ET AL VS STATE FARM GENERAL INSURANCE CO ET AL

Case Summary

On 09/25/2017 SERGIO FLORES filed a Contract - Other Contract lawsuit against STATE FARM GENERAL INSURANCE CO. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Norwalk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are JOHN P. DOYLE, STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH and MARGARET MILLER BERNAL. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****7076

  • Filing Date:

    09/25/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Other Contract

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Norwalk Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

JOHN P. DOYLE

STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH

MARGARET MILLER BERNAL

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Petitioners

FLORES VERONICA

FLORES SERGIO

SANCHEZ RAMON

Defendants and Respondents

BLAKE DENNIS

STATE FARM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY

BLAKE SERVICES INC.

BETTER FLOORS AND RESTORATION

STARKEY JOHN

PARK SUNHEE

DOES 1 THROUGH 200

DISASTER KLEENUP BETTER FLOORS & RESTORA-

ROSSTAMIAN ANDEREH

SERVPRO OF DOWNEY

FLOORIAN TRADE

BLAKE ENTERPRISES

TRADES FLOORIAN

TRC INVESTMENTS LLC DBA SERVPRO OF DOWNEY

BLAKE ENTERPRISES INC. DBA DISASTER KLEENUP BETTER FLOORS & RESTORATION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff and Petitioner Attorneys

ZELIG STEVEN L. ESQ.

ZELIG STEVEN L.

Defendant Attorneys

D'ANDREA MICHAEL A JR

MCNAMARA KEVIN PATRICK

MCGUIRE MICHAEL JOHN

BARNES CRAIG ALAN

MASTER ANNE MARIE

 

Court Documents

Notice

7/15/2019: Notice

Case Management Statement

7/17/2019: Case Management Statement

ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

3/13/2018: ANSWER TO COMPLAINT

SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY

8/1/2018: SUBSTITUTION OF ATTORNEY

DECLARATION OF KEVIN MCNAMARA IN SUPPORT OF TRC INVESTMENTS, LLC D/B/A SERVPRO OF DOWNEY'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL FORM INTERROGATORIES (SET ONE) TO PLAINTIFF SERGIO FLORES

8/8/2018: DECLARATION OF KEVIN MCNAMARA IN SUPPORT OF TRC INVESTMENTS, LLC D/B/A SERVPRO OF DOWNEY'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL FORM INTERROGATORIES (SET ONE) TO PLAINTIFF SERGIO FLORES

DEFENDANT TRC INVESTMENTS, LLC D/B/A SERVPRO OF DOWNEY'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION (SET ONE) TO VERONICA FLORES; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES I

8/8/2018: DEFENDANT TRC INVESTMENTS, LLC D/B/A SERVPRO OF DOWNEY'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION (SET ONE) TO VERONICA FLORES; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES I

DECLARATION OF KEVIN MCNAMARA IN SUPPORT OF TRC INVESTMENTS, LLC D/B/A SERVPRO OF DOWNEY'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES. (SET ONE) TO VERONICA FLORES

8/8/2018: DECLARATION OF KEVIN MCNAMARA IN SUPPORT OF TRC INVESTMENTS, LLC D/B/A SERVPRO OF DOWNEY'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES. (SET ONE) TO VERONICA FLORES

NOTICE OF ERRATA RE DEFENDANT TRC IN VESTMENTS, LLC DIB/A SERVPRO OF DOWNEY'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION (SET ONE) TO VERONICA FLORES; MEMORANDUM OF POI

8/16/2018: NOTICE OF ERRATA RE DEFENDANT TRC IN VESTMENTS, LLC DIB/A SERVPRO OF DOWNEY'S NOTICE OF MOTION AND MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION (SET ONE) TO VERONICA FLORES; MEMORANDUM OF POI

DEFENDANT STATF FARM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY'S DEFENDANT REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES AND SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, WITHOUT OBJECTIONS AND REQUES

8/20/2018: DEFENDANT STATF FARM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY'S DEFENDANT REPLY TO OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES AND SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, WITHOUT OBJECTIONS AND REQUES

NOTICE OF RULING RE DEFENDANT TRC INVESTMENTS, LLC D/B/A SERYPRO OF DOWNEY?S MOTIONS TO COMPEL

9/6/2018: NOTICE OF RULING RE DEFENDANT TRC INVESTMENTS, LLC D/B/A SERYPRO OF DOWNEY?S MOTIONS TO COMPEL

Opposition

11/6/2018: Opposition

Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

11/20/2018: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore

Declaration

5/3/2019: Declaration

Motion for Summary Judgment

5/8/2019: Motion for Summary Judgment

Separate Statement

5/8/2019: Separate Statement

Minute Order

12/20/2017: Minute Order

DEFENDANT TRC INVESTMENTS, LLC D/B/A SERVPRO OF DOWNEY'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT

2/2/2018: DEFENDANT TRC INVESTMENTS, LLC D/B/A SERVPRO OF DOWNEY'S ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT

SUMMONS

9/25/2017: SUMMONS

127 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 01/23/2020
  • Hearingat 13:30 PM in Department C at 12720 Norwalk Blvd., Norwalk, CA 90650; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment

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  • 01/14/2020
  • Hearingat 13:30 PM in Department C at 12720 Norwalk Blvd., Norwalk, CA 90650; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment

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  • 10/03/2019
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department F at 12720 Norwalk Blvd., Norwalk, CA 90650; Order to Show Cause Re: (name extension)

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  • 10/03/2019
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department F at 12720 Norwalk Blvd., Norwalk, CA 90650; Mandatory Settlement Conference (MSC)

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  • 10/03/2019
  • Hearingat 08:30 AM in Department F at 12720 Norwalk Blvd., Norwalk, CA 90650; Trial Setting Conference

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  • 08/02/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department F, Margaret Miller Bernal, Presiding; Trial Setting Conference - Held

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  • 08/02/2019
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department F, Margaret Miller Bernal, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Held

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  • 08/02/2019
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Case Management Conference; Trial Setting Conference) of 08/02/2019); Filed by Clerk

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  • 08/02/2019
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Case Management Conference; Trial Setting Conference)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 07/30/2019
  • DocketCase Management Statement; Filed by Servpro of Downey Erroneously Sued As TRC Investments, LLC (Defendant)

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189 More Docket Entries
  • 12/20/2017
  • DocketMinute Order

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  • 12/18/2017
  • DocketReceipt; Filed by Sergio Flores (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/18/2017
  • DocketCIVIL DEPOSIT

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  • 10/02/2017
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/02/2017
  • DocketORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARING

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  • 10/02/2017
  • DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/02/2017
  • DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE

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  • 09/25/2017
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Sergio Flores (Plaintiff); Veronica Flores (Plaintiff); Ramon Sanchez (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/25/2017
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR COMPENSATORY AND PUNITIVE DAMAGES: 1. BREACH OF IMPLIED COVENANT OF GOOD FAITH AND FAIR DEALING; ETC

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  • 09/25/2017
  • DocketSUMMONS

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: BC677076    Hearing Date: March 24, 2020    Dept: SEC

FLORES, et al. v. STATE FARM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY, et al.

CASE NO.:  BC677076

HEARING 3/24/20

#4

TENTATIVE ORDER

Defendants Blake Enterprises, Inc., Blake Services, Inc., Blake, and Starkey’s motion for summary judgment is taken OFF-CALENDAR. Defendants were dismissed on 3/3/20.

Case Number: BC677076    Hearing Date: January 30, 2020    Dept: SEC

FLORES v. STATE FARM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY

CASE NO.: BC677076

HEARING: 01/30/2020

JUDGE: MARGARET M. BERNAL

#12

TENTATIVE ORDER

Defendant STATE FARM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY's Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the Alternative, Summary Adjudication is GRANTED in part, DENIED in part, and MOOT in part.

Opposing Party to give notice.

Defendant STATE FARM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY's Request for Judicial Notice is GRANTED as to the existence of the documents, but not as to any hearsay statements contained therein. (Cal. Ev. Code 5452.)

This is an action arising from Defendant STATE FARM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY's ("State Farm") alleged bad faith denial of Plaintiffs' benefits under a homeowners' insurance policy. The relevant facts, as alleged in the operative pleading, are as follows: "On January 10, 2016, a covered loss occurred damaging the Subject Property and contents contained therein. Plaintiffs promptly made claim to STATE FARM which breached its contract, and acted in bad faith in various ways, i.e., by failing to conduct a legitimate investigation, by misrepresenting coverages, by concealing the availability of benefits, by unreasonably and fraudulently withholding benefits, and ultimately engaging in extraordinary delay. [T]he STATE FARM Defendants steadfastly refused to properly and legally investigate and adjust." (Complaint 1124.)

Plaintiffs' Complaint asserts the following causes of action: (1) Breach of the

Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing; (2) Breach of Contract; (3) Fraud; (4) Negligent Misrepresentation; (5) Intentional Interference with Contract;

(6) Negligence; and (7) Breach of Contract/Third-Party Beneficiary.

On May 17, 2018, the Court sustained State Farm's Demurrer to the third and fourth causes of action with 30 days leave to amend. Plaintiffs did not amend their Complaint. Therefore, the only remaining claims against State Farm are the first and second causes of action.

State Farm moves for summary judgment, or alternatively summary adjudication of the first and second causes of action, and of Plaintiffs' claim for punitive damages.

First Cause of Action — Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing

To support a breach of the implied covenant claim, so as to give rise to extracontractual damages, the denial must be a "bad faith" breach. (California Shoppers. Inc. v. Royal Globe Ins. Co. (1985) 175 Cal.App.3d 1, 54.) Thus, the decision not to pay a claim must not only be wrong, but must be done unreasonably, without proper cause, and in bad faith. (Frommoethelydo v. Fire Ins. Exchange (1986) 42 Cal.3d 208, 214-215; Kardly v. State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co. (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 1746, 1752.) An implied covenant claim can be resolved by summary adjudication if the insurer can prove that there was a genuine dispute as to whether the insured was entitled to benefits. (Tomaselli v. Transamerica Ins. Co. (1994) 25 Cal.App.4th 1269, 1280-1281 This is usually referred to as the "genuine dispute doctrine." Under the doctrine, if "the insurer denies a claim based on the opinions of experts [citations], it may have shown a

genuine dispute and can negate a claim for bad faith. (Chateau Chamberay Homeowners Assn. v. Associated Internat. Ins. Co. (2001) 90 Cal.App.4th 335, 346.)

The Court finds that State Farm has carried its initial burden under CCP S437c(p). State Farm has shown that the genuine dispute doctrine applies because it reasonably relied on the opinions of its experts in determining the scope of repairs and repair costs. State Farm's evidence in support of the Motion establishes that the parties exchanged reports and correspondence. There was a genuine disagreement as to the extent of the damage caused by the "water loss" at Plaintiffs' home.

In Opposition, Plaintiffs have not carried their responsive burden. Plaintiffs'

Opposition hinges on a collection of unsupported assertions of wrongdoing on State Farm's part which rest entirely on speculation, not evidence. Specifically, Plaintiffs conclusory accuse Contractor Blake's opinion as "biased" due to his previous relationship with State Farm. Speculation is insufficient to raise a triable issue of material fact. (See e.g., Sangster v. Paetkau (1998) 68 Cal.App.4th 151 , 162-163.)

The Court finds that there existed a genuine dispute as to the extent of damages

caused by the "water loss" and the amount due to Plaintiffs under the Subject Insurance Policy. Thus, State Farm is entitled to summary adjudication of the first cause of action.

Second Cause of Action — Breach of Contract

The existence of actual, cognizable damages is an essential element of an insurance breach of contract and bad faith claim. (First Commercial Mortgage co. v. Reece (2001) 89 Cal.App.4th 731 , 745; Love v. Fire Ins. Exch. (1990) 221 Cal.App.3d 1 136, 1 156.)

State Farm argues that it is entitled to summary adjudication of the second cause of action because: (1 ) State Farm Fully Discharged its contractual obligations as to the policy's Dwelling Coverage (Coverage A), and therefore, State Farm has no duty to pay further Coverage A benefits; (2) State Farm Fully Discharged its contractual obligations as to the policy's Personal Property Coverage (Coverage B), and therefore, State Farm has no duty to pay further Coverage B benefits; and (3) State Farm Fully Discharged its contractual obligations as to the policy's Loss of Use Coverage (Coverage C), and therefore, State Farm has no duty to pay further Coverage C benefits.

In Opposition, Plaintiffs contend that State Farm has not fully discharged its obligations with respect to Coverage A, and that additional covered repairs are owed. Specifically, Plaintiffs proffer the declarations of Frank Arbiso and David Spiegel to establish that additional amounts are owed by State Farm to replace Plaintiffs' travertine flooring.

With respect to Coverage A, State Farm contends that "[o]n April 29, 2016, TM Wiese, CR Park, PA Arbiso, Contractors Blake and Starkey, Mr. Rosstamian, and Mr. Lewis of Servpro attended an inspection at the Property. During the inspection, PA Arbiso claimed the travertine flooring required replacement due to hollow sounds that occurred when a golf ball was dropped. PA Arbiso also claimed the flooring was stained. Mr. Rosstamian demonstrated that hollow sounds occurred in areas unaffected by the water and cleaned the stains. TM Wiese noted that the flooring was not loose and the grout was not cracked.... (State Farm's SS no. 27.) Consequently, State Farm maintains that that Plaintiffs' claimed additional repairs are speculative. "Whatever the proper measure of damages may be, in a given case, the recovery therefor is still subject to the fundamental rule that damages which are speculative, remote, imaginary, contingent, or merely possible cannot serve as a legal basis for recovery. [Citation.]" (Lueter v. State of California (2002) 94 Cal.App.4th 1285, 1302.)

The Court finds that there are triable issues of material fact with respect to whether State Farm fully discharged its obligations with respect to Coverage A— specifically regarding Plaintiffs' travertine flooring. Notwithstanding State Farm's arguments to the contrary, Plaintiffs' claimed additional repairs are not based on speculation and conjecture, but are rather supported by the expert opinions of Mr. Arbiso and Mr. Spiegel. Both Mr. Arbiso and Mr. Spiegel opine that Plaintiffs damages exceed $100,000.00 and that complete replacement of Plaintiffs' travertine flooring is required.

"A motion for summary adjudication shall be granted only if it completely disposes of a cause of action, an affirmative defense, a claim of damages, or an issue of duty." (CCP S437c(f)(1).) Given the Court's findings above, State Farm's Motion did not completely dispose of Plaintiffs' breach of contract claim. Further,

State Farm's Motion failed to completely dispose of the issue of duty, where Plaintiffs' Policy constitutes one contact—not three individual contracts/three individual bases for duty.

The motion for summary adjudication of the second cause of action is denied.

Punitive Damages

To overcome this Motion regarding punitive damages, Plaintiffs have the burden of affirmatively establishing by "clear and convincing" evidence, the basis for their punitive damage claim. (Cal. Civ. Code 53294.) Since State Farm's motion for summary adjudication of Plaintiffs' first cause of action for insurance bad faith is granted, State Farm's request for summary adjudication of Plaintiffs' request for punitive damages in connection with the cause of action for insurance bad faith is rendered MOOT.

Plaintiffs' Objections to the Separate Statement of State Farm:

Objections to the Separate Statement are somewhat misplaced, as the statement itself is not evidence, nor is Counsel's characterization of the underlying evidence cited therein.

Defendants’ Evidentiary Objections 1-98

1. Overruled

2. Overruled

3. Overruled

4. Sustained

5. Sustained

6. Overruled

7. Overruled

8. Overruled

9. Sustained

10. Sustained

11. Overruled

12. Sustained

13. Sustained

14. Sustained

15. Sustained

16. Sustained

17. Overruled

18. Sustained

19. Overruled

20. Sustained

21. Sustained as to “it was clearly below the standard of practice in the industry to remove the dry-out equipment in light of the elevated moisture levels….” Otherwise, Overruled.

22. Sustained

23. Sustained

24. Overruled

25. Sustained

26. Overruled

27. Sustained

28. Overruled

29. Overruled

30. Sustained

31. Overruled

32. Overruled

33. Overruled

34. Sustained

35. Overruled

36. Overruled

37. Overruled

38. Sustained

39. Overruled

40. Sustained

41. Overruled

42. Overruled

43. Overruled

44. Sustained

45. Sustained

46. Overruled

47. Sustained

48. Sustained

49. Sustained

50. Overruled

51. Sustained

52. Overruled

53. Sustained

54. Sustained

55. Moot

56. Moot

57. Moot

58. Moot

59. Moot

60. Moot

61. Overruled

62. Overruled

63. Overruled

64. Overruled

65. Sustained

66. Overruled

67. Overruled

68. Sustained

69. Sustained

70. Sustained

71. Sustained

72. Sustained

73. Sustained

74. Overruled

75. Sustained

76. Overruled

77. Sustained

78. Sustained

79. Sustained

80. Sustained

81. Sustained

82. Sustained

83. Sustained

84. Sustained

85. Sustained

86. Sustained

87. Sustained

88. Sustained

89. Overruled

90. Sustained

91. Sustained

92. Sustained

93. Sustained

94. Sustained

95. Sustained

96. Sustained

97. Sustained

98. Overruled

Case Number: BC677076    Hearing Date: January 23, 2020    Dept: SEC

FLORES v. STATE FARM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY

CASE NO.: BC677076

HEARING: 01/23/2020

JUDGE: OLIVIA ROSALES

#8

TENTATIVE ORDER

Defendant STATE FARM GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY’s Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the Alternative, Summary Adjudication is CONTINUED to Thursday, January 30, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. in Dept. SE-C.

Moving Party to give notice.