On 04/05/2018 SUSAN KOEPKE GREEN filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against SCOTT ALLAN SITNIK. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are CHRISTOPHER K. LUI and DANIEL M. CROWLEY. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
CHRISTOPHER K. LUI
DANIEL M. CROWLEY
SITNIK SCOTT ALLAN
STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY
BERGENER JAMES M.
BERGENER JAMES MICHAEL
ALGORRI MARK STEVEN
NOLAN PATRICK SEAN
GATES O'DOHERTY GONTER & GUY LLP
GATES PETER JOHN
NG JASMINE H
3/2/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER SETTING MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL) OF 03/02/2020
3/3/2020: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF WITHDRAWAL OF NOTICE OF INTENT TO VACATE JUDGMENT AND MOVE FOR A NEW TRIAL
2/19/2020: Notice of Ruling
2/13/2020: Order Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore - ORDER APPOINTING COURT APPROVED REPORTER AS OFFICIAL REPORTER PRO TEMPORE CESAR RODRIGUEZ, CSR #13269
2/18/2020: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER, DEFENDANT ALAN SITNIK'S MOTION FO...)
11/22/2019: Response - RESPONSE TO STATEMENT OF DISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS AND SUPPORTING EVIDENCE
11/8/2019: Brief - BRIEF STATEMENT OF DISPUTED FACTS RE: BIFURCATED TRIAL AS TO ISSUE OF SETTLEMENT ONLY
8/7/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO SEVER/BIFURCATE THE LITIGATION AND FOR ADVANCEMENT OF TRIAL ONTHE ISSUE THAT THE CASE HAS SETTLED; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTH
7/22/2019: Reply - REPLY TO PLAINTIFF'S OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANT'S DEMURRER TO COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF; OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, TO STAY THE DECLARATORY RELIEF ACTION; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS AND AUTHORITIES
7/3/2019: Notice - NOTICE OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR ORDER
9/10/2018: NOTICE OF NAME CHANGE
11/16/2018: Association of Attorney
4/5/2019: Notice of Deposit - Jury
6/19/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER RE: NOTICE OF RELATED CASES) OF 06/19/2019
5/17/2018: DEFENDANTS ANSWER TO COMPLAINT
5/17/2018: DEFENDANT'S DEMAND FOR JURY TRIAL
4/27/2018: PROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONS -
4/5/2018: COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES
Hearing04/05/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 28 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: DismissalRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 1:30 PM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Hearing on Motion for New Trial - Not Held - Vacated by CourtRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice (Notice of Withdrawal of Notice of Intent to Vacate Judgment and Move for A New Trial); Filed by Susan Koepke-Green (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 5:46 PM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Court OrderRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order Setting Motion for New Trial)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order Setting Motion for New Trial) of 03/02/2020); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Intent to Move for New Trial; Filed by Susan Koepke-Green (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by Scott Allan Sitnik (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 11:30 AM in Department 28, Daniel M. Crowley, Presiding; Ruling on Submitted Matter - HeldRead MoreRead Less
DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Ruling on Submitted Matter, Defendant Alan Sitnik's Motion fo...) of 02/18/2020); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice; Filed by Scott Allan Sitnik (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketAnswer; Filed by Scott Allan Sitnik (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketDEFENDANT'S DEMAND FOR JURY TRIALRead MoreRead Less
DocketDemand for Jury Trial; Filed by Scott Allan Sitnik (Defendant)Read MoreRead Less
DocketDEFENDANTS ANSWER TO COMPLAINTRead MoreRead Less
DocketProof of Service (not Summons and Complaint); Filed by Susan Koepke-Green (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Susan Koepke-Green (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGESRead MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC700611 Hearing Date: February 13, 2020 Dept: 28
Motion for Summary Judgment, or in the Alternative Summary Adjudication
Having considered the moving, opposing and reply papers, the Court rules as follows.
On April 5, 2018, Plaintiff Susan Koepke-Green (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendant Scott Allan Sitnik (“Defendant”) alleging negligence for an automobile collision that occurred on April 7, 2017.
On June 19, 2019, the Court found case number BC700611 to be related to case number 19STCV02276.
On August 20, 2019, the Court granted Defendant’s motion to bifurcate trial in allowing Defendant’s fourth affirmative defense for good faith settlement to be tried before Plaintiff’s negligence claim.
On October 9, 2019, the Court ordered Defendant to reserve a motion for summary judgment in the Court’s Reservation System for February 13, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. The Court also ordered a briefing schedule in relation to the February 13, 2020 hearing in order.
A trial setting conference is set for February 13, 2020.
Defendant/Cross-Complainant Pasadena Athletic Association (“Moving Party”) asks the Court to enter summary judgment against Plaintiff Peter Tamny (“Opposing Party”) and in favor of Moving Party because Moving Party did not owe a duty to Opposing Party.
The purpose of a motion for summary judgment “is to provide courts with a mechanism to cut through the parties’ pleadings in order to determine whether, despite their allegations, trial is in fact necessary to resolve their dispute.” (Aguilar v. Atl. Richfield Co. (2001) 25 Cal.4th 826, 843.) “Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (c), requires the trial judge to grant summary judgment if all the evidence submitted, and ‘all inferences reasonably deducible from the evidence’ and uncontradicted by other inferences or evidence, show that there is no triable issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” (Adler v. Manor Healthcare Corp. (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1110, 1119.)
“On a motion for summary judgment, the initial burden is always on the moving party to make a prima facie showing that there are no triable issues of material fact.” (Scalf v. D. B. Log Homes, Inc. (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 1510, 1519.) A defendant moving for summary judgment “has met his or her burden of showing that a cause of action has no merit if the party has shown that one or more elements of the cause of action . . . cannot be established.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (p)(2).) “Once the defendant . . . has met that burden, the burden shifts to the plaintiff . . . to show that a triable issue of one or more material facts exists as to the cause of action or a defense thereto.” (Ibid.) “If the plaintiff cannot do so, summary judgment should be granted.” (Avivi v. Centro Medico Urgente Med. Ctr. (2008) 159 Cal.App.4th 463, 467.)
“When deciding whether to grant summary judgment, the court must consider all of the evidence set forth in the papers (except evidence to which the court has sustained an objection), as well as all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from that evidence, in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment.” (Avivi, supra, 159 Cal.App.4th at p. 467; see also Code Civ. Proc., § 437c, subd. (c).)
The Court initially notes that this motion is not a typical motion for summary judgment. On October 9, 2019, the Court heard the parties at a trial setting conference. The Court sought to limit the issues to be tried through creating a summary judgment briefing schedule regarding whether the parties have entered into a settlement agreement or not. As such, the Court now addresses this issue.
The existence of a contract “requires parties capable of contracting, their consent, a lawful object, and a sufficient cause of consideration.” (J.B.B. Investment Partners Ltd. v. Fair (2019) 37 Cal.App.5th 1, 9 (citing Civ. Code § 1550).) Consent requires an offer an acceptance. (DeLeon v. Verizon Wireless, LLC (2012) 207 Cal.App.4th 800, 813.) The inclusion of a different term in an alleged acceptance constitutes a counteroffer. (See Bias v. Wright (2002) 103 Cal.App.4th 811, 820.) A counteroffer extinguishes the original offer. (Apex Engineering Co. v. North Am. Oil Consolidation (1926) 76 Cal.App. 683, 687-688.)
Plaintiff and Defendant have submitted a joint statement of facts regarding the whether a settlement agreement has been entered into. This statement establishes the following. On April 7, 2017, Plaintiff and Defendant were involved in an automobile collision. (Joint Statement (“JS”), ¶ 1.) On January 15, 2018, Plaintiff sent a letter to Defendant offering to settle Plaintiff’s claims against Defendant for the available insurance policy limits of $25,000. (JS, ¶ 2.) The offer was subject to a number of terms and conditions. (JS, ¶¶ 2A-2K.)
The joint statement of facts also establishes the following. The settlement offer included a term stating Plaintiff will not agree to indemnify or hold harmless Defendant or State Farm for any claims arising out of the settlement other than for statutory liens in certain circumstances explained in the offer. (JS, ¶ 2I.) Additionally, the offer was to expire on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 12:00 p.m., Pacific Standard Time unless a Plaintiff’s counsel received a signed acceptance, requested declarations, requested documentation, release, and the settlement check at a certain location before the deadline. (JS, ¶ 2K.) Further, a proposed acceptance that did not comply with the exact and precise terms and conditions set forth within the conditions would be deemed a rejection of the offer. (Ibid.)
The joint statement of further establishes the following. On January 26, 2019, Walter Allen, a representative for Defendant’s insurer called Plaintiff’s counsel and mailed Plaintiff’s counsel a letter asking about issues regarding an agreement to hold State Farm harmless and issues regarding specificity of liens and the required declaration. (JS, ¶¶ 6-7.) On February 12, 2018, Mr. Allen contacted Plaintiff’s counsel and advised Plaintiff’s policy limit offer was accepted and faxed a release in the amount of $25,000. (JS, ¶ 8, Exh. C.) ¶ 9.)
Defendant’s undisputed material facts are irrelevant. The first material fact states the demand letter was not faxed to State Farm on January 15, 2018 or January 16, 2018, but rather sent by email and mail on January 16, 2018. The second material fact states Mr. Allen did not receive a response from Plaintiff’s counsel to his clarification letter dated January 26, 2018, so Mr. Allen called Plaintiff’s counsel to follow up on February 12, 2018. Neither of these facts are probative to show that Plaintiff and Defendant entered into a settlement agreement.
Further, the Court finds the parties have not entered a settlement agreement. The terms of the release State Farm faxed to Plaintiff states Plaintiff releases Defendant, four other named parties, and their agents liable from all claims arising from the April 7, 2017 collision. This term is directly in conflict with the terms of Plaintiff’s settlement offer, which provided Plaintiff does not release State Farm from liability. Accordingly, this constituted a counteroffer, extinguishing State Farm’s ability to accept Plaintiff’s original offer. There is no evidence submitted to the Court showing Plaintiff accepted State Farms’ counteroffer. Plaintiff’s mere acknowledgement of receiving the counteroffer does not show Plaintiff assented to be bound by its terms. Accordingly, the motion is properly denied.
The motion is DENIED.
Defendant is ordered to give notice of this ruling.