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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/08/2019 at 05:14:15 (UTC).

SOLUTIONS PLUS MANAGEMENT VS. NAUTILUS INSURANCE , ET AL

Case Summary

On 09/21/2017 SOLUTIONS PLUS MANAGEMENT filed a Contract - Insurance lawsuit against NAUTILUS INSURANCE . This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Van Nuys Courthouse East located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are VIRGINIA KEENY, SHIRLEY K. WATKINS and MICHAEL J. CONVEY. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****6247

  • Filing Date:

    09/21/2017

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Contract - Insurance

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Van Nuys Courthouse East

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

VIRGINIA KEENY

SHIRLEY K. WATKINS

MICHAEL J. CONVEY

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs and Appellants

BACKSTREET OUTLETS

SOLUTIONS PLUS MANAGEMENT LLC

Defendants and Respondents

NAUTILUS INSURANCE GROUP LLC

PIZZOLA INSURANCE AGENCY

NAUTILUS INSURANCE COMPANY

R.J. PIZZOLA INS & FIN SVC INC.

DOES 1-100

AMWINS ACCESS INSURANCE SERVICES LLC

PIZZOLA JUSTIN

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

FOSTER RICHARD MARTIN

Defendant Attorneys

SELMAN NEIL HOWARD

FITZGERALD KEVIN KIM

ROSING HEATHER LINN

MOORE MARIUM UMEKI

 

Court Documents

Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint

10/31/2017: Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint

Unknown

11/13/2017: Unknown

Unknown

11/13/2017: Unknown

Unknown

1/5/2018: Unknown

Unknown

1/19/2018: Unknown

Case Management Statement

1/23/2018: Case Management Statement

Unknown

5/14/2018: Unknown

Unknown

5/22/2018: Unknown

Declaration

8/1/2018: Declaration

Opposition

9/7/2018: Opposition

Answer

11/9/2018: Answer

Opposition

12/5/2018: Opposition

Reply

12/11/2018: Reply

Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (C.C.P., ? 170.6)

1/7/2019: Challenge To Judicial Officer - Peremptory (C.C.P., ? 170.6)

Unknown

1/8/2019: Unknown

Motion re:

1/17/2019: Motion re:

Unknown

2/21/2019: Unknown

Notice

3/20/2019: Notice

96 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 05/15/2019
  • Appeal - Notice Court Reporter to Prepare Appeal Transcript (;B295886; NOA 02/19/19;); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/29/2019
  • Appeal - Reporter Appeal Transcript Process Fee Paid; Filed by Solutions Plus Management, LLC (Appellant)

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  • 03/26/2019
  • Appeal - Ntc Designating Record of Appeal APP-003/010/103; Filed by Solutions Plus Management, LLC (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/25/2019
  • Appeal - Notice of Default Issued; Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/20/2019
  • Notice (of Entry of Order); Filed by Justin Pizzola (Defendant)

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  • 03/19/2019
  • at 08:30 AM in Department T, Shirley K. Watkins, Presiding; Case Management Conference - Not Held - Advanced and Vacated

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  • 03/12/2019
  • at 3:30 PM in Department T, Shirley K. Watkins, Presiding; Court Order

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  • 03/12/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for ([Minute Order (Court Order)] and dated 3-12-2019); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/12/2019
  • Certificate of Mailing for (Minute Order (Court Order) of 03/12/2019); Filed by Clerk

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  • 03/12/2019
  • Minute Order ( (Court Order)); Filed by Clerk

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133 More Docket Entries
  • 10/31/2017
  • Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint; Filed by Solutions Plus Management, LLC (Plaintiff); Backstreet Outlets (Legacy Party)

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  • 10/31/2017
  • Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint; Filed by Solutions Plus Management, LLC (Plaintiff); Backstreet Outlets (Legacy Party)

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  • 10/31/2017
  • Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint; Filed by Solutions Plus Management, LLC (Plaintiff); Backstreet Outlets (Legacy Party)

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  • 10/24/2017
  • Summons (on Complaint); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/20/2017
  • Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint; Filed by Solutions Plus Management, LLC (Plaintiff); Backstreet Outlets (Legacy Party)

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  • 10/18/2017
  • Proof of Service of Summons and Complaint; Filed by Solutions Plus Management, LLC (Plaintiff); Backstreet Outlets (Legacy Party)

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  • 09/21/2017
  • Notice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 09/21/2017
  • Summons; Filed by Solutions Plus Management, LLC (Plaintiff); Backstreet Outlets (Legacy Party)

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  • 09/21/2017
  • Complaint; Filed by Solutions Plus Management, LLC (Plaintiff); Backstreet Outlets (Legacy Party)

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  • 09/21/2017
  • Civil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by Solutions Plus Management, LLC (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: LC106247    Hearing Date: March 24, 2021    Dept: T

SOLUTIONS PLUS MANAGEMENT, LLC, etc.,

Plaintiff,

vs.

NAUTILUS INSURANCE GROUP, LLC, etc.; et. al.

Defendants.

And related case.

CASE NO: LC106247 r/w 19VECV01070

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE:

MOTION TO CONSOLIDATE RELATED CASES

Dept. T

8:30 a.m.

March 24, 2021

[TENTATIVE] ORDER: The Motion to Consolidate is GRANTED.

1. The following cases shall be tried together in a single trial in Department NWT of this Court:

Solutions Plus Management, LLC v. AmWINS Access Insurance Services, LLC and Justin Pizzola dba Pizzola Insurance Agency, LASC Case No. LC106247 and

Solutions Plus Management, LLC v. Nautilus Insurance Company, LASC Case No. 19VECV01070.

2. All further pleadings and papers will be filed only in Case No LC106247 and shall indicate as consolidated with Case No. 19VECV01070.

3. A copy of this order shall be filed in each action consolidated by this order.

INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Solutions Plus Management, LLC (“Plaintiff”) seeks to consolidate the two related cases for all purposes including trial.

DISCUSSION

Per CCP §1048, the Court finds that the related actions involve common questions of law or fact and consolidating the two related actions would be in the interest of judicial economy, of avoiding unnecessary costs or delay and avoiding inconsistent findings.

“Whether separate actions shall be consolidated for trial is a matter within the discretion of the trial court and its decision will not be disturbed on appeal absent a clear showing of abuse of discretion. (Citation omitted.) . . . ‘A consolidation of actions does not affect the rights of the parties. The purpose of consolidation is merely to promote trial convenience and economy by avoiding duplication of procedure, particularly in the proof of issues common to both actions.’ (Citation omitted.)” Estate of Baker (1982) 131 Cal.App.3d 471, 485.

The common question of law or fact is that the two related cases involve the same insurance policy and the same issue of whether there is theft coverage under the policy. There is no showing of any prejudice in consolidating the two actions. Specifically, the 19VECV01070 is a breach of contract/breach of implied covenant case against Nautilus and the LC106247 case is a negligence claim against Amwins and PIA, both of which incorporate the history (same in both cases) of a theft claim (same claim in both cases), that prior to the burglary (same burglary claim in both cases) plaintiff alleges that it requested that the policy (same policy in both cases) be renewed and further alleges there was confirmation of renewal under the same previous terms, that there was a burglary causing loss and although plaintiff alleges that the policy terms were supposed to have been the same, Amwins and PIA did not inform plaintiff that the renewal did not have theft coverage and that as a result there are damages. The damages against Amwins and PIA appear to include, among other things, whether there is theft coverage (same issue in both cases), the value of theft loss (same for both cases) if it is determined that the loss is denied by Nautilus because of failure to include theft coverage in the renewal (same issue in both cases). Determination of whether the theft loss is covered is a component of both cases. This issue cannot, in the interests of justice, be determined in separate trials and there is a substantial risk of inconsistent findings in two jury trials of several factual issues (there was coverage/there was no coverage, the burglary happened/it did not happen, the value of the loss, etc.)

Accordingly, the court finds consolidation for all purposes, including trial, is appropriate pursuant to CRC 3.350, CCP §1048 and LASC Local Rule 3.3(g).

Upon noticed motion by any party and after an opportunity to make a record and be heard, no later than 30 days before trial and prior to the Final Status Conference, the court will address pursuant to CCP §598 whether there should be bifurcation of certain issues to be tried to a jury first or to be tried last, or to be tried to the court, or to be tried in some other manner.

IT IS SO ORDERED, CLERK TO GIVE NOTICE.

Case Number: LC106247    Hearing Date: September 09, 2020    Dept: T

SOLUTIONS PLUS MANAGEMENT LLC, etc.,

Plaintiff,

vs.

NAUTILUS INSURANCE GROUP, LLC; et. al.

Defendants.

CASE NO: LC106247 r/t 19VECV01070

[TENTATIVE] ORDER DENYING

DEFENDANTS’ AMWINS ACCESS INSURANCE SERVICES, LLC (“AMWINS”) AND JUSTIN PIZZOLA DBA PIZZOLA INSURANCE AGENCY (“PIA”) (COLLECTIVELY “DEFENDANTS”) MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Dept. T

8:30 a.m.

September 9, 2020

[TENTATIVE] ORDER: The Motion for Summary Judgment by defendants AMWINS Access Insurance Services, LLC (“AMWINS”) and Justin Pizzola dba Pizzola Insurance Agency (“PIA”) (collectively “Defendants” ) is DENIED. Defendants’ Request for Judicial Notice is GRANTED as to the existence of the two pleadings and motion but not as to any hearsay within. Plaintiff’s Request for Judicial Notice is GRANTED as to the existence of the Court’s orders and motions but not as to any hearsay. Plaintiff’s request for a continuance is MOOT. Defendants’ objections to plaintiff’s facts as “irrelevant” are overruled.

  1. INTRODUCTION

    Defendants AMWINS Access Insurance Services, LLC (“AMWINS”) and Justin Pizzola dba Pizzola Insurance Agency (“PIA”) (collectively “Defendants”) move for summary judgment against the single cause of action alleged against them in the Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) in LC106247 – the third cause of action (“COA”) for negligence.

  2. DISCUSSION

Defendants AMWINS and PIA argue that there is no triable issue of material fact as to causation because there is no evidence that plaintiff suffered damages as a result of defendants’ negligence. Defendants argue that even if they were negligent in failing to include theft coverage, because the theft claim has not been denied, the plaintiff cannot have suffered a loss because of the failure to include theft coverage because it is premature.

However, the issue of whether the theft claim has been denied is in dispute. There is conflicting evidence on this issue. Defendants have failed to establish that either denial or no denial is uncontradicted: (a) defendants have failed to establish as a matter of law that the theft loss has been denied and (b) defendants have failed to establish as a matter of law that the theft loss has not been denied. Further, defendants use unsworn arguments by attorneys in motion papers as “evidence.”

Alternatively, defendants argue that if plaintiff’s theft claims have been denied or will be denied, it is not because of lack of theft coverage but because of plaintiff’s failure to comply with an insurance policy term to “cooperate” in investigation. However, whether plaintiff has or has not cooperated under the policy is in dispute. (See, MSJ by Nautilus, moving and opposition papers and evidence.) There is conflicting evidence on this issue. Defendants have failed to establish by admissible evidence that there is no triable issue of fact of plaintiff’s failure to cooperate. The issue of whether defendant Nautilus’ conduct and plaintiff’s conduct is reasonable is also in dispute.

Defendants present no admissible evidence that the theft loss claim has not been denied at all. Defendants alternatively argue that the theft loss claim has been denied but not based on the theft exclusion but instead for failure to cooperate, a term under the policy. In support of their contention as to the missing element of causation, defendants cite to argument made in defendant Nautilus’ motion for summary judgment (“MSJ”), specifically arguing that Nautilus “did not deny the claim based on the theft exclusion.” (Defendant’s Separate Statement (“DSS”) 30.) Argument is not a fact. As Nautilus has failed to establish that there is no triable issue of fact that plaintiff’s claim was not denied on the theft exclusion, AMWINS and Pizzola, having elected to rely on Nautilus’s proof, cannot prevail on that issue as well. The device is insufficient to meet their burden of proof. In order to prevail, the defendants must have uncontradicted evidence supporting these positions. They do not.

Not only must the court review the direct evidence for or against any particular fact, the court should consider reasonable inferences which may flow from those facts, as well as circumstantial evidence.

Therefore, there is also a triable issue of fact as to causation because one reasonable inference from Nautilus’ letter of 9/23/2015 can be that coverage is being denied based on the theft exclusion and that Nautilus will conduct an investigation to determine whether there is any part of the loss that does qualify for coverage. If a jury were to believe this is a denial of coverage due to the theft exclusion, then it flows that there would be damages as a result.

There is also a triable issue of fact that if defendants AMWINS and PIA were negligent in including the theft exclusion, and Nautilus eventually pays on the theft claim regardless of the theft exclusion, then plaintiff can seek damages incurred in having to “fight” for the theft coverage.

Another way in which there could be reasonable inference that the theft claim was “denied” is that a jury could deem Nautilus’ “failure” to pay the theft loss as a constructive denial of the claim. The claim has been pending since September 2015 and has not been paid. There is no dispute of that fact. If Nautilus were to say that “the claim” was never denied, but the claim has still not been paid for 5 years, a jury may elect to find that the claim has been, in effect, “denied” because it has not been paid. At trial, a jury may believe that 5 years without payment of the claim is effectively a “denial” of the claim.

The court notes that moving defendants’ “evidence” includes a citation to an unverified SAC, which was only judicially noticed for its existence and not as to any hearsay found therein.

Additionally, the moving defendants’ assume that the damages flowing from the denial of theft loss based on the theft exclusion would only be the actual out of pocket theft loss. However, there are other damages which may also flow, such as consequential damages from non-replacement of inventory, the costs involving in fighting to get the coverage, etc. Defendants have an extremely narrow characterization of the damages. The September 23, 2015 letter shows that Nautilus took the initial position that a theft exclusion existed in the 2015 Policy. Because Plaintiff had to expend monies to dispute Nautilus’ position in the September 23, 2015 letter, defendants’ failure to obtain a policy without a theft exclusion arguably caused injuries to plaintiff. “But for” defendants’ alleged negligence in failing to obtain the proper policy, plaintiff would not have to overcome Nautilus’ position as set forth in the letter.

Defendants further argue that it was Plaintiff’s failure to cooperate with Nautilus’ investigation (i.e.: alleged failure to sit for a second examination under oath) that caused any delay or harm. They have not established this fact as a matter of law. There are triable issues as to whether there was a “failure” to sit for a second exam or whether there was a “failure” to cooperate, or whether there was a right to a second exam.

The court, having read and reviewed defendants and plaintiff’s separate statements and the responses thereto, find that the following facts by defendants are disputed and the reasons therefore:

Defendants’ Fact Number and reasons why this fact is disputed:

5 – objections sustained

6 – objections sustained

10 – evidence was misstated, Wilcox declaration did not say “and as part of its investigation of the claim”

11 – evidence was misstated, Gore declaration does not say “first session”

12 – evidence was misstated, Gore’s declaration and exhibits do not say this

15 – contradicted by Rejwan declaration at 23-25

22 – incomplete statement of the evidence, fails to say that there was discussion about alternate dates

23 – disputed by Rejwan declaration at 23-25

24 – misstatement of the evidence and there was no “demand”

25 – disputed, some of the documents were new and some had been provided before

26 – misstatement of the evidence, no mention of “voluminous”

27 – misstatement of the evidence as alternate dates were suggested

29 – objections sustained

30 – objections sustained

31 – objections sustained

32 – objections sustained

The court finds that the following facts (by numbered paragraph in plaintiff’s separate statement) presented by plaintiff establishes additional facts in dispute: 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64, 65, 66, 68, 69.

This is a case in which the trier of fact will need to resolve multiple contested issues as to whether the theft claim has been denied or whether the claim is still pending, whether the theft claim has been denied for reasons unrelated to the theft exclusion or because of the theft exclusion, and whether plaintiff has suffered any damages as a result of the alleged negligence of the defendants. For these reasons, the MSJ is denied. Plaintiff’s request for a continuance is moot.

IT IS SO ORDERED, CLERK TO GIVE NOTICE.

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