This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 11/26/2021 at 11:08:33 (UTC).

STEPAN MURADYAN ET AL VS KHACHIK UNANYAN ET AL

Case Summary

On 02/16/2018 STEPAN MURADYAN filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against KHACHIK UNANYAN. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH, MICHAEL E. WHITAKER and FREDERICK C. SHALLER. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    ****4839

  • Filing Date:

    02/16/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

STEPHEN I. GOORVITCH

MICHAEL E. WHITAKER

FREDERICK C. SHALLER

 

Party Details

Petitioners and Plaintiffs

MANUKYAN GOHAR

MURADYAN STEPAN

Respondents, Defendants and Cross Defendants

YELLOW CAB COMPANY

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES COOPERATIVE INC.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY OF

CALIFORNIA STATE OF

L.A. TAXI COOPERATIVE INC.

LOS ANGELES CITY OF

CALTRANS

DOES 1 THROUGH 20

BEVERLY HILLS CITY OF

LOS ANGELES YELLOW CAB

UNANYAN KHACHIK

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES COOPERATIVE INC. DBA LOS ANGELES YELLOW CAB

CITY OF LOS ANGELES

L.A. TAXI COOPERATIVE INC. DBA YELLOW CAB COMPANY

Respondent, Defendant and Cross Plaintiff

BEVERLY HILLS CITY OF

Defendants, Respondents and Cross Defendants

L.A. TAXI COOPERATIVE INC.

UNANYAN KHACHIK

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES COOPERATIVE INC. DBA LOS ANGELES YELLOW CAB

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Petitioner and Plaintiff Attorneys

MARDIROSSIAN & ASSOCIATES INC. A.P.C.

AKARAGIAN ARMEN KEVORK

Defendant Attorneys

D'ANDREA MICHAEL D. ESQ.

TROSTLER MATTHEW J

WEINSTEIN ESQ MARK A.

Cross Plaintiff Attorney

NEBENZAHL MICHAEL

Cross Defendant Attorney

STEINBERG ANDREW H

 

Court Documents

Notice of Ruling

10/20/2021: Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND ALL REL...)

10/15/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND ALL REL...)

Brief - BRIEF JOINT DISCOVERY PLAN

10/12/2021: Brief - BRIEF JOINT DISCOVERY PLAN

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE)

9/30/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (FINAL STATUS CONFERENCE)

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND ALL RELATED DATES

10/4/2021: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND ALL RELATED DATES

Notice of Ruling

10/6/2021: Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND ALL REL...)

10/6/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION TO CONTINUE TRIAL AND ALL REL...)

Judgment - JUDGMENT AMENDED [PROPOSED] JUDGMENT

9/13/2021: Judgment - JUDGMENT AMENDED [PROPOSED] JUDGMENT

Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR ORDER

9/15/2021: Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR ORDER

Declaration - DECLARATION OF KEVIN RILEY

6/8/2021: Declaration - DECLARATION OF KEVIN RILEY

Brief - BRIEF CITY OF BEVERLY HILLS SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

6/8/2021: Brief - BRIEF CITY OF BEVERLY HILLS SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Informal Discovery Conference Form for Personal Injury Courts

6/21/2021: Informal Discovery Conference Form for Personal Injury Courts

Opposition - OPPOSITION SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF IN OPPOSITION TO THE CITY OF BEVERLY HILLS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

6/29/2021: Opposition - OPPOSITION SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF IN OPPOSITION TO THE CITY OF BEVERLY HILLS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Declaration - DECLARATION SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF ROCK MILLER, P.E., IN OPPOSITION TO THE CITY OF BEVERLY HILLS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

6/29/2021: Declaration - DECLARATION SUPPLEMENTAL DECLARATION OF ROCK MILLER, P.E., IN OPPOSITION TO THE CITY OF BEVERLY HILLS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Brief - BRIEF CITY OF BEVERLY HILLS SUPPLEMENTAL REPLY BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

7/6/2021: Brief - BRIEF CITY OF BEVERLY HILLS SUPPLEMENTAL REPLY BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF ITS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC))

7/7/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (INFORMAL DISCOVERY CONFERENCE (IDC))

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT FILED BY BEVERY HILLS,...)

7/13/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT FILED BY BEVERY HILLS,...)

Notice of Ruling

8/9/2021: Notice of Ruling

70 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 03/10/2022
  • Hearing03/10/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department 32 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 02/24/2022
  • Hearing02/24/2022 at 10:00 AM in Department 32 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Final Status Conference

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  • 10/22/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Michael E. Whitaker, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Party's Motion

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  • 10/22/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Michael E. Whitaker, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Party's Motion

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  • 10/20/2021
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Administrative Services Cooperative, Inc. (Defendant); L.A. Taxi Cooperative, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 10/15/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Michael E. Whitaker, Presiding; Hearing on Ex Parte Application (to Continue Trial and All Related Dates) - Held - Motion Granted

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  • 10/15/2021
  • DocketMinute Order ( (Hearing on Ex Parte Application to Continue Trial and All Rel...)); Filed by Clerk

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  • 10/12/2021
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 32, Michael E. Whitaker, Presiding; Jury Trial - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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  • 10/12/2021
  • DocketBrief (JOINT DISCOVERY PLAN); Filed by Administrative Services Cooperative, Inc. (Defendant); L.A. Taxi Cooperative, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 10/06/2021
  • Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 32, Michael E. Whitaker, Presiding; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion

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112 More Docket Entries
  • 07/16/2018
  • DocketProof of Service of Summons and Complaint

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  • 07/10/2018
  • DocketDEFENDANT L.A. TAXI COOPERATIVE INC.DBA YELLOW CAB COMPANYS ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

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  • 07/10/2018
  • DocketDEFENDANT AMINISTRATIVE SERVICES COOPERATIVE INC.DBA LOS ANGELES YELLOW CABS ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

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  • 07/10/2018
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Administrative Services Cooperative, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 07/10/2018
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by Khachik Unanyan (Defendant)

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  • 07/10/2018
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by L.A. Taxi Cooperative, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 07/10/2018
  • DocketDEFENDANT KHACHIK UNANYANS ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT

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  • 02/16/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by Stepan Muradyan (Plaintiff); Gohar Manukyan (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/16/2018
  • DocketSUMMONS

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  • 02/16/2018
  • DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. NEGLIGENCE- WRONGFUL DEATH ;ETC

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Tentative Rulings

b"

Case Number: BC694839 Hearing Date: July 13, 2021 Dept: 32

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PLEASE NOTE: Parties who intend to submit on this\r\ntentative must send an email to the court at sscdept32@lacourt.org indicating intention to submit on the\r\ntentative as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at\r\nwww.lacourt.org. If the department does\r\nnot receive an email indicating the parties are submitting on the tentative and\r\nthere are no appearances at the hearing, the motion may be placed off\r\ncalendar. If a party submits on the\r\ntentative, the party’s email must include the case number and must identify the\r\nparty submitting on the tentative. If\r\nthe parties do not submit on the tentative, they should arrange to appear\r\nin-person or remotely.

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TENTATIVE\r\nRULING

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\r\n\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
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DEPARTMENT

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32

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HEARING DATE

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May\r\n 18, 2021 – CONTINUED TO July 13, 2021

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CASE NUMBER

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BC694839

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MOTION

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Motion\r\n for Summary Judgment or Summary Adjudication

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MOVING PARTY

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Defendant\r\n City of Beverly Hills

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OPPOSING PARTY

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Defendant\r\n Khachik Unanyan

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MOVING PAPERS:

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  1. Notice\r\n of Motion and Motion for Summary Judgment or in the alternative Motion for\r\n Summary Adjudication; Memorandum of Points and Authorities
  2. \r\n
  3. Declaration\r\n of Bijan Vaziri in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  4. \r\n
  5. Declaration\r\n of Gerald P. Bretting in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  6. \r\n
  7. Declaration\r\n of Sharon L’Heureux-Dressel in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  8. \r\n
  9. Declaration\r\n of Kevin Riley in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  10. \r\n
  11. Declaration\r\n of Monica M. Schwartz in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  12. \r\n
  13. Declaration\r\n of Jonathan Arendt in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  14. \r\n
  15. Request\r\n for Judicial Notice in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  16. \r\n
  17. Exhibits\r\n in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  18. \r\n
  19. Notice\r\n of Lodging Exhibit in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  20. \r\n
  21. Separate\r\n Statement of Undisputed Material Facts in Support of Motion for Summary\r\n Judgment
  22. \r\n
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OPPOSITION PAPERS:

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  1. Opposition\r\n to Motion for Summary Judgment; Memorandum of Points and Authorities
  2. \r\n
  3. Exhibit\r\n Log in Support of Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment
  4. \r\n
  5. Declaration\r\n of Serena L. Nervez in Support of Opposition to Motion for Summary\r\n Judgment
  6. \r\n
  7. Defendant’s\r\n Evidentiary Objections to Evidence in Support of Motion for Summary\r\n Judgment
  8. \r\n
  9. Response\r\n to Separate Statement of Undisputed Material Facts in Support of Motion\r\n for Summary Judgment
  10. \r\n
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REPLY PAPERS:

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  1. Reply\r\n to Co-Defendant’s Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment; Memorandum of\r\n Points and Authorities
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SUPPLEMENTAL PAPERS:

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  1. Supplemental\r\n Brief in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  2. \r\n
  3. Supplemental\r\n Declaration of Kevin Riley in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  4. \r\n
  5. Supplemental\r\n Brief in Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment
  6. \r\n
  7. Supplemental\r\n Declaration of Rock Miller in Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment
  8. \r\n
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BACKGROUND

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Plaintiffs Stepan Muradyan and Gohar Manukyan (“Plaintiffs”) sued\r\nDefendant City of Beverly Hills (“Defendant”) based on the death of Decedent\r\nVahe Muradyan (“Decedent”). Decedent\r\ndied in motor vehicle collision with Defendant Khachik Unanyan (“Unanyan”) at\r\nan intersection in Defendant’s city limits. \r\nIn the complaint, Plaintiffs\r\nallege that the dangerous condition at the intersection was “the lack of\r\na left turn traffic signal, lack of guidance, striping, signal light phasing,\r\ndesign, layout, and line of sight and visibility issues.” (Complaint, ¶ 34.)

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Defendant moves for summary judgment or summary adjudication on\r\nPlaintiffs’ complaint. Plaintiffs filed\r\na notice of non-opposition to the motion. \r\nUnanyan opposes the motion.

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LEGAL STANDARDS – SUMMARY JUDGMENT / SUMMARY\r\nADJUDICATIION

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“[T]he party moving for\r\nsummary judgment bears the burden of persuasion that there is no triable issue\r\nof material fact and that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law[.]\r\nThere is a triable issue of material fact if, and only if, the evidence would\r\nallow a reasonable trier of fact to find the underlying fact in favor of the\r\nparty opposing the motion in accordance with the applicable standard of proof.”\r\n (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 850.)\r\n “[T]he party moving for summary judgment bears an initial burden of\r\nproduction to make a prima facie showing of the nonexistence of any triable\r\nissue of material fact; if he carries his burden of production, he causes a\r\nshift, and the opposing party is then subjected to a burden\r\nof production of his own to make a prima facie showing of the existence of a\r\ntriable issue of material fact.” (Ibid.; Smith v. Wells\r\nFargo Bank, N.A. (2005) 135 Cal.App.4th 1463, 1474 [summary judgment\r\nstandards held by Aguilar apply to summary adjudication motions].) Further, in line with Aguilar v. Atlantic\r\nRichfield Co., “[o]n a motion for summary adjudication, the trial court has\r\nno discretion to exercise. If a triable\r\nissue of material fact exists as to the challenged causes of action, the motion\r\nmust be denied. If there is no triable issue of fact, the motion must be granted.” (Fisherman's Wharf Bay Cruise Corp. v.\r\nSuperior Court (2003) 114 Cal.App.4th 309, 320.)

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EVIDENCE

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Unanyan’s\r\nEvidentiary Objection Nos. 2 and 4 are sustained. Unanyan’s other evidentiary objections are\r\noverruled.

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DISCUSSION

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Government Code section 815\r\nprovides that “[a] public entity is not liable for an injury, whether such\r\ninjury arises out of an act or omission of the public entity or a public\r\nemployee or any other person” except as provided by statute. (Gov. Code, § 815, subd. (a); see Hoff v. Vacaville Unified School Dist.\r\n(1998) 19 Cal.4th 925, 932.) “[D]irect\r\ntort liability of public entities must be based on a specific statute declaring\r\nthem to be liable, or at least creating some specific duty of care, and not on\r\nthe general tort provisions of Civil Code section 1714. Otherwise, the general\r\nrule of immunity for public entities would be largely eroded by the routine\r\napplication of general tort principles.” \r\n(Eastburn v. Regional Fire Protection Authority (2003) 31 Cal.4th\r\n1175, 1183.)

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Government Code section 835\r\nsets out the exclusive conditions under which a public entity is liable for\r\ninjuries caused by a dangerous condition of public property. (Metcalf\r\nv. County of San Joaquin (2008) 42 Cal.4th 1121, 1129, citing Brown v. Poway Unified School Dist.\r\n(1993) 4 Cal.4th 820, 829; see also Zelig\r\nv. County of Los Angeles (2002) 27 Cal.4th 1112.) A “dangerous condition” is a condition of\r\npublic property that “create[s] a substantial (as distinguished from a minor,\r\ntrivial or insignificant) risk of injury when such property or adjacent\r\nproperty is used with due care in a manner in which it was reasonably\r\nforeseeable that it would be used.” (Gov. Code, § 830.2.)

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Per Section 835, “a public\r\nentity is liable for injury caused by a dangerous condition of its property if\r\nthe plaintiff establishes that the property was in a dangerous condition at the\r\ntime of the injury, that the injury was proximately caused by the dangerous\r\ncondition, that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk\r\nof the kind of injury which was incurred, and that either: [¶] (a) A negligent\r\nor wrongful act or omission of an employee of the public entity within the\r\nscope of his employment created the dangerous condition; or [¶] (b) The public\r\nentity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition . . . a\r\nsufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect against\r\nthe dangerous condition.” (Gov. Code, §\r\n835.)

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A public entity has actual\r\nnotice of a dangerous condition “if it had actual knowledge of the existence of\r\nthe condition and knew or should have known of its dangerous character.” (Gov. Code, § 835.2, subd. (a).) A public entity has constructive notice of a\r\ndangerous condition only if “the condition had existed for such a period of\r\ntime and was of such an obvious nature that the public entity, in the exercise\r\nof due care, should have discovered the condition and its dangerous character.”\r\n (Gov. Code, § 835.2, subd. (b).)

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Defendant contends that the\r\nintersection was not a dangerous condition. \r\n

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Defendant advances the\r\nDeclaration of Gerald P. Bretting (“Bretting”), who is a mechanical\r\nengineer. Bretting inspected the\r\nintersection and created a scale diagram of the intersection. Bretting also reviewed the surveillance video\r\nof Decedent’s accident. Bretting\r\nconcludes that Decedent entered the intersection at a speed of at least 70\r\nmiles per hour, and up to 85 miles per hour. \r\n(Declaration of Gerald P. Bretting, ¶ 10.)

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Defendant also advances the\r\nDeclaration of Bijan Vaziri (“Vaziri”), who is a senior transportation engineer\r\nfor Defendant. Vaziri states that\r\nDefendant’s Department of Transportation calculated the accident rate per million\r\nvehicles arriving at the intersection, and determined that for every four\r\nmillion vehicles arriving at the intersection, there was one accident. (Declaration of Bijan Vaziri, ¶ 16.)

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Defendant’s evidence shows\r\nthat, at the time of the accident, Decedent was not using due care, but rather\r\nwas travelling at a high rate of speed. Further,\r\nDefendant’s evidence shows that the intersection poses a minor risk of injury\r\nfor persons who use the intersection with due care. Defendant has met its burden to show that the\r\nintersection did not constitute a dangerous condition of public property.

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Defendant also contends it did\r\nnot have notice of any dangerous condition at the intersection. Defendant advances the declaration of Sharon L’Heureux-Dressel\r\n(“L’Heureux-Dressel”), who is Defendant’s risk manager. L’Heureux-Dressel states that Defendant received\r\none prior tort claim regarding the intersection in the ten years before Decedent’s\r\naccident. (Declaration of Sharon L’Heureux-Dressel,\r\n¶ 6.) Defendant’s evidence does not show\r\nthat Defendant lacked notice of any dangerous condition at the intersection. Instead, Defendant’s evidence suggests that\r\nif a dangerous condition existed at the intersection, Defendant did have notice\r\nof it. However, it is unnecessary to\r\nreach this issue because, as discussed above, Defendant’s evidence shows that\r\nthe intersection did not constitute a dangerous condition of public property.

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Defendant also moves for\r\nsummary judgment based on design immunity. \r\n“A public entity claiming design immunity must establish three elements:\r\n(1) a causal relationship between the plan or design and the accident; (2)\r\ndiscretionary approval of the plan or design prior to construction; and (3)\r\nsubstantial evidence supporting the reasonableness of the plan or design.” (Cornette v. Department of Transp. (2001)\r\n26 Cal.4th 63, 66.) “Causal relationship\r\nis proved by evidence the injury-producing feature was actually a part of the\r\nplan approved by the governmental entity: Design immunity is intended to\r\nimmunize only those design choices which have been made.” (Higgins\r\nv. State of Cal. (1997) 54 Cal.App.4th 177, 185, overruled on\r\nother grounds in Cornette v. Department of Transp. (2001) 26\r\nCal.4th 63.)

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To establish discretionary approval\r\nof the plan or design, the public entity must show “approval in advance of\r\nconstruction by the legislative body or officer exercising authority.” (Alvarez v. State of Cal. (1999) 79\r\nCal.App.4th 720, 734.) In determining\r\nwhether there was substantial evidence supporting the reasonableness of design,\r\n“the question is whether the facts adduced reasonably inspire confidence and\r\nare of solid value.” (Ramirez v. City of\r\nRedondo Beach (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 515, 526, internal quotations &\r\ncitations omitted.) The court is “not\r\nconcerned with whether the evidence of reasonableness is undisputed; the\r\nstatute provides immunity when there is substantial evidence of reasonableness,\r\neven if contradicted.” (Grenier v.\r\nCity of Irwindale (1997) 57 Cal.App.4th 931, 940.)

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Defendant relies on Vaziri’s\r\ndeclaration. Vaziri states that Defendant\r\nupgraded the intersection in 1994 due to a construction project at the Beverly\r\nHills Hotel, which is adjacent to the intersection. Vaziri reviewed the plan for the modification\r\nof the intersection, and determined that the plan conformed with the California\r\nManual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and Defendant’s engineering\r\nstandards. (Declaration of Bijan Vaziri,\r\n¶¶ 8, 14.) Vaziri states that, in\r\ndetermining a plan for the intersection, Defendant considered, but ultimately\r\nrejected, altering the signal phasing for the intersection, and adding a left\r\nturn arrow. (Declaration of Bijan Vaziri,\r\n¶¶ 9-13.) Vaziri further states that\r\nDefendant’s Deputy Director of Public Works and City Engineer David Gustavson\r\napproved the modification plan in December 1994. (Declaration of Bijan Vaziri, ¶ 15.)

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Defendant’s evidence meets its\r\nburden to show that design immunity bars Plaintiffs’ claims against it based on\r\nthe condition of the intersection. \r\nVaziri’s declaration shows that Defendant considered the signal phasing\r\nfor the intersection and the possibility of adding a left turn arrow, which are\r\nthe dangerous conditions Plaintiff identifies. \r\nFurther, Vaziri’s declaration shows that evidence supported the\r\nreasonableness of the design of the intersection was reasonable, as the plan\r\nconformed with the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and Defendant’s\r\nengineering standards.

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In opposition, Unanyan\r\nadvances the declaration of Rock E. Miller (“Miller”), who is a civil and\r\ntraffic engineer. Miller reviewed Defendant’s\r\nmotion, as well as discovery materials from this case. Miller also inspected the intersection. Miller states that it is not possible for\r\nMiller to evaluate Defendant’s claimed collision index rate pertaining to the subject\r\nintersection, as Defendant has not advanced evidence on the methodology or raw\r\ndata Defendant used to calculate the rate. \r\n(See Declaration of Rock E. Miller, ¶¶ 15-22 & 35.) Miller further states that, without such\r\ninformation, Miller cannot evaluate Defendant’s claim that reasonable evidence\r\nsupports Defendant’s decision not to install a dedicated left turn lane at the\r\nintersection. (Declaration of Rock E.\r\nMiller, ¶ 26; see Cornette v. Department of Transp. (2001) 26 Cal.4th 63, 72.)

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In response to the Court’s\r\norder of May 18, 2021, Defendant advances the declaration of Kevin Riley (“Riley”),\r\nwho is the Traffic Engineer for Defendant. \r\nAs such, Riley has access to traffic signal plans and phasing diagrams,\r\nincluding those for the subject intersection. \r\n(Declaration of Kevin Riley, ¶ 4.) \r\nRiley reviewed Vaziri’s declaration and Miller’s April 7, 2021 declaration. (Declaration of Kevin Riley, ¶¶ 4 &\r\n13.) Riley determined that for every 2.3\r\nmillion cars that enter the intersection, there is one accident. (Declaration of Kevin Riley, ¶ 14.) Riley provides the accident rate formula Defendant\r\nutilized to determine the rate at the subject intersection. (Declaration of Kevin Riley, ¶ 8, Exhibit 1.)\r\n To perform his calculation, Riley collected\r\nthe injury collision data maintained by the Beverly Hills Police Department for\r\nthe years of 2008 through 2012. (Declaration\r\nof Kevin Riley, ¶ 9.) Because Riley was\r\nunable to locate records which measure the average daily traffic for the\r\nsubject intersection in 2012, he instead utilized data from a traffic count around\r\nthe subject intersection Defendant conducted in 2002 in conjunction with a multiplier\r\nused by traffic engineers to account for the increase in traffic over time to estimate\r\ntraffic counts at the intersection in 2012. \r\n(Declaration of Kevin Riley, ¶ 11-12.) \r\nRiley also used Miller’s estimated daily traffic volume for Beverly\r\nDrive. (Declaration of Kevin Riley, ¶ 13.) Using these numbers, Riley calculated the accident\r\nratio from 2008 through 2012 to be 0.43. \r\n(Declaration of Kevin Riley, ¶ 14.) \r\nRiley does not account for the discrepancy in calculation.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

In the supplemental reply, Unanyan\r\nadvances the supplemental declaration of Miller, who states that Defendant has\r\nstill not presented adequate information regarding its calculation of the now\r\nhigher collision rate. (Supplemental Declaration\r\nof Rock E. Miller, ¶ 11.) Particularly, Miller\r\nstates that Defendant does not reveal how the data from the Beverly Hills\r\nPolice Department was derived and whether Defendant discounted otherwise\r\nrelevant reports that may have been similar to the accident in this case. (Ibid.) More importantly, according to Miller, Defendant’s\r\ncalculations do not accurately reflect the traffic collision rate because Defendant\r\ndoes not present collision data more recent than 2012. (Supplemental\r\nDeclaration of Rock E. Miller, ¶ 11.) Miller\r\ncontends that conclusions about intersection safety should be based on crash\r\ndata from 2013 to the collision date to assure they accurately represent current\r\nconditions. (Supplemental Declaration of Rock E. Miller, ¶ 13.) Miller continues to be of the opinion that\r\nthere is a likelihood that the subject left turn has experienced five or more\r\ncollisions in a recent year. (Supplemental Declaration of Rock E. Miller, ¶ 15.) Unanyan therefore meets its burden of raising\r\na genuine issue of material fact as to whether the subject intersection constituted\r\na dangerous condition of public property at the time of the incident.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

Unanyan does not, however, meet\r\nhis burden as to Defendant’s claim of design immunity. Unanyan once again relies on Miller’s declarations\r\nto advance his theory that more recent collision history showing an increase in\r\ncollisions constitutes a change in circumstances rendering Defendant’s original\r\ndesign defective. Design immunity may be\r\nlost where the plan or design has become dangerous because of a change in\r\nphysical conditions, the public entity had actual or constructing notice of the\r\ndanger, and either the public had a reasonable time to obtain funds and take\r\ncorrective measures or the entity was unable to remedy the condition due to\r\npractical impossibility or lack of funds and did not reasonably attempt to\r\nprovide adequate warnings. (Gov. Code, §\r\n830.6.) Increased traffic and accidents\r\nare not changes in a road’s physical conditions rendering its design\r\nunreasonable. (Weinstein v.\r\nCalifornia Department of Transportation (2006) 139 Cal.App.4th 52, 60-61.) Because Unanyan does not demonstrate a change\r\nin the intersection’s physical conditions rendering it unreasonable, he does\r\nnot meet his burden to oppose Defendant’s design immunity defense.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

The court further notes that,\r\nin reply, Defendant argues that Unanyan lacks standing to oppose the motion. Defendant cites multiple federal\r\ndistrict court orders in support of this argument. “Neither federal district court procedures\r\nnor decisions are binding on this court.” (Thomas G. Ferruzzo, Inc. v.\r\nSuperior Court (1980) 104 Cal.App.3d 501, 503.) The Court declines to\r\nrely on those orders. Per Code of Civil\r\nProcedure, section 437c, subdivision l, “In an action arising out of an injury\r\nto the person or to property, if a motion for summary judgment is granted on\r\nthe basis that the defendant was without fault, no other defendant during\r\ntrial, over plaintiff's objection, may attempt to attribute fault to, or comment on, the\r\nabsence or involvement of the defendant who was granted the motion.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (l).) Thus, if the Court grants Defendant’s motion,\r\nUnanyan will be unable to attribute fault to Defendant at trial. As such, Unanyan has standing to dispute\r\nDefendant’s motion.

\r\n\r\n

CONCLUSION\r\nAND ORDER

\r\n\r\n

Therefore, the Court finds that Defendant has met its burden to show that\r\ndesign immunity bars Plaintiffs’ claims against it based on the condition of\r\nthe intersection. The Court thus grants Defendant’s\r\nmotion for summary judgment.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

The Court orders Defendant to give\r\nnotice of the Court’s ruling, and to file a proof of service of such.

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n

\r\n\r\n"

Case Number: BC694839    Hearing Date: May 18, 2021    Dept: 32

PLEASE NOTE: Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the court at sscdept32@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 in-person or remotely.

 

TENTATIVE RULING

DEPARTMENT

32

HEARING DATE

May 18, 2021

CASE NUMBER

BC694839

MOTION

Motion for Summary Judgment or Summary Adjudication

MOVING PARTY

Defendant City of Beverly Hills

OPPOSING PARTY

Defendant Khachik Unanyan

MOVING PAPERS:

  1. Notice of Motion and Motion for Summary Judgment; Memorandum of Points and Authorities
  2. Declaration of Bijan Vaziri in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  3. Declaration of Gerald P. Bretting in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  4. Declaration of Sharon L’Heureux-Dressel in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  5. Declaration of Kevin Riley in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  6. Declaration of Monica M. Schwartz in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  7. Declaration of Jonathan Arendt in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  8. Request for Judicial Notice in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  9. Exhibits in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  10. Notice of Lodging Exhibit in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  11. Separate Statement of Undisputed Material Facts in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment

OPPOSITION PAPERS:

  1. Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment; Memorandum of Points and Authorities
  2. Exhibit Log in Support of Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment
  3. Declaration of Serena L. Nervez in Support of Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment
  4. Defendant’s Evidentiary Objections to Evidence in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment
  5. Response to Separate Statement of Undisputed Material Facts in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment

REPLY PAPERS:

  1. Reply to Co-Defendant’s Opposition to Motion for Summary Judgment; Memorandum of Points and Authorities

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Stepan Muradyan and Gohar Manukyan (“Plaintiffs”) sued Defendant City of Beverly Hills (“Defendant”) based on the death of Decedent Vahe Muradyan (“Decedent”). Decedent died in motor vehicle collision with Defendant Khachik Unanyan (“Unanyan”) at an intersection in Defendant’s city limits. In the complaint, Plaintiffs allege that the dangerous condition at the intersection was “the lack of a left turn traffic signal, lack of guidance, striping, signal light phasing, design, layout, and line of sight and visibility issues.” (Complaint, ¶ 34.)

Defendant moves for summary judgment or summary adjudication on Plaintiffs’ complaint. Plaintiffs filed a notice of non-opposition to the motion. Unanyan opposes the motion.

LEGAL STANDARDS – SUMMARY JUDGMENT / SUMMARY ADJUDICATIION

“[T]he party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of persuasion that there is no triable issue of material fact and that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law[.] There is a triable issue of material fact if, and only if, the evidence would allow a reasonable trier of fact to find the underlying fact in favor of the party opposing the motion in accordance with the applicable standard of proof.”  (Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 850.)  “[T]he party moving for summary judgment bears an initial burden of production to make a prima facie showing of the nonexistence of any triable issue of material fact; if he carries his burden of production, he causes a shift, and the opposing party is then subjected to a burden of production of his own to make a prima facie showing of the existence of a triable issue of material fact.”  (Ibid.; Smith v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. (2005) 135 Cal.App.4th 1463, 1474 [summary judgment standards held by Aguilar apply to summary adjudication motions].) Further, in line with Aguilar v. Atlantic Richfield Co., “[o]n a motion for summary adjudication, the trial court has no discretion to exercise. If a triable issue of material fact exists as to the challenged causes of action, the motion must be denied. If there is no triable issue of fact, the motion must be granted.” (Fisherman's Wharf Bay Cruise Corp. v. Superior Court (2003) 114 Cal.App.4th 309, 320.)

EVIDENCE

Unanyan’s Evidentiary Objection Nos. 2 and 4 are sustained. Unanyan’s other evidentiary objections are overruled.

DISCUSSION

Government Code section 815 provides that “[a] public entity is not liable for an injury, whether such injury arises out of an act or omission of the public entity or a public employee or any other person” except as provided by statute. (Gov. Code, § 815, subd. (a); see Hoff v. Vacaville Unified School Dist. (1998) 19 Cal.4th 925, 932.) “[D]irect tort liability of public entities must be based on a specific statute declaring them to be liable, or at least creating some specific duty of care, and not on the general tort provisions of Civil Code section 1714. Otherwise, the general rule of immunity for public entities would be largely eroded by the routine application of general tort principles.” (Eastburn v. Regional Fire Protection Authority (2003) 31 Cal.4th 1175, 1183.)

Government Code section 835 sets out the exclusive conditions under which a public entity is liable for injuries caused by a dangerous condition of public property. (Metcalf v. County of San Joaquin (2008) 42 Cal.4th 1121, 1129, citing Brown v. Poway Unified School Dist. (1993) 4 Cal.4th 820, 829; see also Zelig v. County of Los Angeles (2002) 27 Cal.4th 1112.) A “dangerous condition” is a condition of public property that “create[s] a substantial (as distinguished from a minor, trivial or insignificant) risk of injury when such property or adjacent property is used with due care in a manner in which it was reasonably foreseeable that it would be used.” (Gov. Code, § 830.2.)

Per Section 835, “a public entity is liable for injury caused by a dangerous condition of its property if the plaintiff establishes that the property was in a dangerous condition at the time of the injury, that the injury was proximately caused by the dangerous condition, that the dangerous condition created a reasonably foreseeable risk of the kind of injury which was incurred, and that either: [¶] (a) A negligent or wrongful act or omission of an employee of the public entity within the scope of his employment created the dangerous condition; or [¶] (b) The public entity had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition . . . a sufficient time prior to the injury to have taken measures to protect against the dangerous condition.” (Gov. Code, § 835.)

A public entity has actual notice of a dangerous condition “if it had actual knowledge of the existence of the condition and knew or should have known of its dangerous character.” (Gov. Code, § 835.2, subd. (a).) A public entity has constructive notice of a dangerous condition only if “the condition had existed for such a period of time and was of such an obvious nature that the public entity, in the exercise of due care, should have discovered the condition and its dangerous character.” (Gov. Code, § 835.2, subd. (b).)

Defendant contends that the intersection was not a dangerous condition.

Defendant advances the Declaration of Gerald P. Bretting (“Bretting”), who is a mechanical engineer. Bretting inspected the intersection and created a scale diagram of the intersection. Bretting also reviewed the surveillance video of Decedent’s accident. Bretting concludes that Decedent entered the intersection at a speed of at least 70 miles per hour, and up to 85 miles per hour. (Declaration of Gerald P. Bretting, ¶ 10.)

Defendant also advances the Declaration of Bijan Vaziri (“Vaziri”), who is a senior transportation engineer for Defendant. Vaziri states that Defendant’s Department of Transportation calculated the accident rate per million vehicles arriving at the intersection, and determined that for every four million vehicles arriving at the intersection, there was one accident. (Declaration of Bijan Vaziri, ¶ 16.)

Defendant’s evidence shows that, at the time of the accident, Decedent was not using due care, but rather was travelling at a high rate of speed. Further, Defendant’s evidence shows that the intersection poses a minor risk of injury for persons who use the intersection with due care. Defendant has met its burden to show that the intersection did not constitute a dangerous condition of public property.

Defendant also contends it did not have notice of any dangerous condition at the intersection. Defendant advances the declaration of Sharon L’Heureux-Dressel (“L’Heureux-Dressel”), who is Defendant’s risk manager. L’Heureux-Dressel states that Defendant received one prior tort claim regarding the intersection in the ten years before Decedent’s accident. (Declaration of Sharon L’Heureux-Dressel, ¶ 6.) Defendant’s evidence does not show that Defendant lacked notice of any dangerous condition at the intersection. Instead, Defendant’s evidence suggests that if a dangerous condition existed at the intersection, Defendant did have notice of it. However, it is unnecessary to reach this issue because, as discussed above, Defendant’s evidence shows that the intersection did not constitute a dangerous condition of public property.

Defendant also moves for summary judgment based on design immunity. “A public entity claiming design immunity must establish three elements: (1) a causal relationship between the plan or design and the accident; (2) discretionary approval of the plan or design prior to construction; and (3) substantial evidence supporting the reasonableness of the plan or design.” (Cornette v. Department of Transp. (2001) 26 Cal.4th 63, 66.) “Causal relationship is proved by evidence the injury-producing feature was actually a part of the plan approved by the governmental entity: Design immunity is intended to immunize only those design choices which have been made.” (Higgins v. State of Cal. (1997) 54 Cal.App.4th 177, 185, overruled on other grounds in Cornette v. Department of Transp. (2001) 26 Cal.4th 63.)

To establish discretionary approval of the plan or design, the public entity must show “approval in advance of construction by the legislative body or officer exercising authority.” (Alvarez v. State of Cal. (1999) 79 Cal.App.4th 720, 734.) In determining whether there was substantial evidence supporting the reasonableness of design, “the question is whether the facts adduced reasonably inspire confidence and are of solid value.” (Ramirez v. City of Redondo Beach (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 515, 526, internal quotations & citations omitted.) The court is “not concerned with whether the evidence of reasonableness is undisputed; the statute provides immunity when there is substantial evidence of reasonableness, even if contradicted.” (Grenier v. City of Irwindale (1997) 57 Cal.App.4th 931, 940.)

Defendant relies on Vaziri’s declaration. Vaziri states that Defendant upgraded the intersection in 1994 due to a construction project at the Beverly Hills Hotel, which is adjacent to the intersection. Vaziri reviewed the plan for the modification of the intersection, and determined that the plan conformed with the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and Defendant’s engineering standards. (Declaration of Bijan Vaziri, ¶¶ 8, 14.) Vaziri states that, in determining a plan for the intersection, Defendant considered, but ultimately rejected, altering the signal phasing for the intersection, and adding a left turn arrow. (Declaration of Bijan Vaziri, ¶¶ 9-13.) Vaziri further states that Defendant’s Deputy Director of Public Works and City Engineer David Gustavson approved the modification plan in December 1994. (Declaration of Bijan Vaziri, ¶ 15.)

Defendant’s evidence meets its burden to show that design immunity bars Plaintiffs’ claims against it based on the condition of the intersection. Vaziri’s declaration shows that Defendant considered the signal phasing for the intersection and the possibility of adding a left turn arrow, which are the dangerous conditions Plaintiff identifies. Further, Vaziri’s declaration shows that evidence supported the reasonableness of the design of the intersection was reasonable, as the plan conformed with the California Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, and Defendant’s engineering standards.

In opposition, Unanyan advances the declaration of Rock E. Miller (“Miller”), who is a civil and traffic engineer. Miller reviewed Defendant’s motion, as well as discovery materials from this case. Miller also inspected the intersection. Miller states that it is not possible for Miller to evaluate Defendant’s claimed collision index rate pertaining to the subject intersection, as Defendant has not advanced evidence on the methodology or raw data Defendant used to calculate the rate. (See Declaration of Rock E. Miller, ¶¶ 15-22 & 35.) Miller further states that, without such information, Miller cannot evaluate Defendant’s claim that reasonable evidence supports Defendant’s decision not to install a dedicated left turn lane at the intersection. (Declaration of Rock E. Miller, ¶ 26; see Cornette v. Department of Transp.

Accordingly, the Court continues the hearing to July 13, 2021 at 1:30 p.m. Defendant shall file and serve on or before June 8, 2021 any supplemental evidence regarding the methodology and data relied upon to calculate the collision index rate for the subject intersection. Unanyan may file a supplemental opposition on or before June 29, 2021, and Defendant may file a supplemental reply on or before July 6. Any supplemental evidence and papers shall be limited to addressing the collision index rate for the subject intersection.

The court further notes that, in reply, Defendant argues that Unanyan lacks standing to oppose the motion. Defendant cites multiple federal district court orders in support of this argument. “Neither federal district court procedures nor decisions are binding on this court.”  (Thomas G. Ferruzzo, Inc. v. Superior Court (1980) 104 Cal.App.3d 501, 503.)  The Court declines to rely on those orders. Per Code of Civil Procedure, section 437c, subdivision l, “In an action arising out of an injury to the person or to property, if a motion for summary judgment is granted on the basis that the defendant was without fault, no other defendant during trial, over plaintiff's objection, may attempt to attribute fault to, or comment on, the absence or involvement of the defendant who was granted the motion.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (l).) Thus, if the Court grants Defendant’s motion, Unanyan will be unable to attribute fault to Defendant at trial. As such, Unanyan has standing to dispute Defendant’s motion.

Defendant is ordered to give notice of the Court’s order, and to file a proof of service of same.

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