This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/27/2022 at 09:37:08 (UTC).

THE TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANY VS LEAR SIEGLER, INC., ET AL.

Case Summary

On 11/22/2019 THE TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANY filed an Other - Environment lawsuit against LEAR SIEGLER, INC . This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Santa Monica Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judges overseeing this case are H. JAY FORD III and MARK A. YOUNG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******2042

  • Filing Date:

    11/22/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Other - Environment

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Presiding Judges

MARK A. YOUNG

H. JAY FORD III

 

Party Details

Cross Defendant and Plaintiff

THE TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANY

Defendants and Cross Plaintiffs

LEAR SIEGLER INC.

LEAR SIEGLER DIVERSIFIED HOLDINGS CORP.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Cross Defendant and Plaintiff Attorney

WAISMAN SONIA SHEBER

Defendant and Cross Plaintiff Attorney

JORDAN ASHLEY

 

Court Documents

Joint Status Conference Report - JOINT STATUS CONFERENCE REPORT AND STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] ORDER TO EXTEND LITIGATION STAY AND CONTINUE JULY 6, 2022 STATUS CONFERENCE

6/22/2022: Joint Status Conference Report - JOINT STATUS CONFERENCE REPORT AND STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] ORDER TO EXTEND LITIGATION STAY AND CONTINUE JULY 6, 2022 STATUS CONFERENCE

Joint Status Conference Report

6/22/2022: Joint Status Conference Report

Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER PROPOSED ORDER

8/6/2021: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER PROPOSED ORDER

Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER

8/11/2021: Notice - NOTICE NOTICE OF ENTRY OF ORDER

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR CONTINUANCE AND TO SPECIALLY SET HEARING DATES FOR DISPOSITIVE MOTIONS

9/15/2021: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR CONTINUANCE AND TO SPECIALLY SET HEARING DATES FOR DISPOSITIVE MOTIONS

Declaration in Support of Ex Parte Application

9/15/2021: Declaration in Support of Ex Parte Application

Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 09/16/2021

9/16/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 09/16/2021

Joinder to Motion - LEAR SIEGLER, INC. AND LEAR SIEGLER DIVERSIFIED HOLDINGS CORP.S JOINDER IN TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANYS EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR CONTINUANCE AND TO SPECIALLY SET HEARING DATES FOR

9/16/2021: Joinder to Motion - LEAR SIEGLER, INC. AND LEAR SIEGLER DIVERSIFIED HOLDINGS CORP.S JOINDER IN TRAVELERS INDEMNITY COMPANYS EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR CONTINUANCE AND TO SPECIALLY SET HEARING DATES FOR

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

9/16/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (COURT ORDER)

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR A CONTINUANCE)

9/22/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR A CONTINUANCE)

Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR LEAVE TO FILE OVERLENGTH BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF TRAVELERS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

12/16/2021: Ex Parte Application - EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR LEAVE TO FILE OVERLENGTH BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF TRAVELERS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION

Ex Parte Application - JOINT EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR THREE-MONTH STAY OF PROCEEDINGS OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, CONTINUANCE OF TRIAL AND RELATED DATES

12/16/2021: Ex Parte Application - JOINT EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR THREE-MONTH STAY OF PROCEEDINGS OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, CONTINUANCE OF TRIAL AND RELATED DATES

Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR THREE-MONTH STAY OF PROCE...)

12/17/2021: Minute Order - MINUTE ORDER (HEARING ON EX PARTE APPLICATION FOR THREE-MONTH STAY OF PROCE...)

Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER JOINT STATUS CONFERENCE STATEMENT AND STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] ORDER TO EXTEND LITIGATION STAY AND CONTINUE MARCH 18, 2022 STATUS CONFERENCE

3/10/2022: Stipulation and Order - STIPULATION AND ORDER JOINT STATUS CONFERENCE STATEMENT AND STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] ORDER TO EXTEND LITIGATION STAY AND CONTINUE MARCH 18, 2022 STATUS CONFERENCE

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

4/28/2022: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Notice of Continuance

5/4/2022: Notice of Continuance

Declaration in Support of Ex Parte Application

6/2/2021: Declaration in Support of Ex Parte Application

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

6/2/2021: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

94 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/30/2022
  • Hearing09/30/2022 at 08:30 AM in Department M at 1725 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90401; Status Conference

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  • 07/06/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department M; Status Conference - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 06/22/2022
  • DocketJoint Status Conference Report (AND STIPULATION AND [PROPOSED] ORDER TO EXTEND LITIGATION STAY AND CONTINUE JULY 6, 2022 STATUS CONFERENCE); Filed by The Travelers Indemnity Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 06/17/2022
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department M; Status Conference - Not Held - Rescheduled by Court

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  • 05/24/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department M; Hearing on Motion for Summary Adjudication - Not Held - Rescheduled by Court

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  • 05/04/2022
  • DocketNotice of Continuance; Filed by The Travelers Indemnity Company (Plaintiff); Lear Siegler, Inc. (Defendant); Lear Siegler Diversified Holdings Corp. (Defendant)

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  • 04/28/2022
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by Clerk

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  • 04/25/2022
  • Docketat 09:30 AM in Department M; Jury Trial - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 04/18/2022
  • Docketat 09:00 AM in Department M; Final Status Conference - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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  • 03/22/2022
  • Docketat 08:30 AM in Department M; Hearing on Motion for Summary Adjudication - Not Held - Vacated by Court

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128 More Docket Entries
  • 02/28/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Non-Appearance Case Review: Recusal Pursuant to Code of Civil...) of 02/28/2020); Filed by Clerk

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  • 02/11/2020
  • DocketStipulation and Order (Stipulation and (Proposed} Order to Further Extend Time To Respond to Complaint); Filed by Lear Siegler, Inc. (Defendant); Lear Siegler Diversified Holdings Corp. (Defendant)

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  • 01/13/2020
  • DocketStipulation and Order (STIPULATION AND PROPOSED ORDER TO EXTEND TIME TO RESPOND TO COMPLAINT); Filed by Lear Siegler, Inc. (Defendant); Lear Siegler Diversified Holdings Corp. (Defendant)

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  • 12/17/2019
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by The Travelers Indemnity Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/17/2019
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by The Travelers Indemnity Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/22/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by The Travelers Indemnity Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/22/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by Clerk

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  • 11/22/2019
  • DocketSummons (on Complaint); Filed by The Travelers Indemnity Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/22/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by The Travelers Indemnity Company (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/22/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Unlimited Civil Case; Filed by Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: *******2042    Hearing Date: April 14, 2021    Dept: M

CASE NAME: 8825 Wilshire, LLC v. Roundtree Automotive Group, LLC, et al.

CASE NUMBER: *******2042

MOTION: Motion for admission pro hac vice of Jay A. Ferguson

HEARING DATE: 04/14/2021

Motion

Roundtree Automotive Group, LLC apply for an order allowing attorney Jay A. Ferguson, a member of the State Bar of Texas, to appear as counsel in this action pro hac vice.

Legal Standard

Pursuant to California Rules of Court 9.40, an application for appearance pro hac vice must be served on all parties who have appeared in the case and on the State Bar of California at its San Francisco Office. (CRC Rule 9.40(c)(1).) In addition, the application must state:

(1)The applicant's residence and office address;

(2)The courts to which the applicant has been admitted to practice and the dates of admission;

(3)That the applicant is a member in good standing in those courts;

(4)That the applicant is not currently suspended or disbarred in any court;

(5)The title of court and cause in which the applicant has filed an application to appear as counsel pro hac vice in this state in the preceding two years, the date of each application, and whether or not it was granted; and

(6)The name, address, and telephone number of the active member of the State Bar of California who is attorney of record.

(CRC Rule 9.40(d)(1)-(6).)

Analysis

Here, the application is defective. The proof of service does not indicate that the application has been served on the State Bar of California. The application also does not state whether Attorney Jay Ferguson’s pro hac vice applications were granted or not and also does not state the date of each application. In addition, neither Ferguson nor counsel of record Steven Weber have stated whether the $50 fee has been paid to State Bar of California. Therefore, the Court continues the hearing on this application to a future date to be discussed at the hearing so that the applicant can cure the identified defects.



Case Number: *******2042    Hearing Date: April 9, 2021    Dept: M

CASE NAME: The Travelers Indemnity Company v. Lear Siegler, Inc., et al.

CASE NO.: *******2042

MOTION: Motion in Limine – Choice of Law

HEARING DATE: 4/09/2021

BACKGROUND

On March 15, 2021, Defendants and Cross-Complainants Lear Siegler, Inc. and Lear Siegler Diversified Holdings Corp. (collectively “Lear Siegler”) filed a motion in limine seeking an order that Indiana law governs the pollution exclusion contained in policy no. TL-NSL-186T711-6-83, issued by Plaintiff and Cross-Defendant The Travelers Indemnity Company (“Travelers”), with respect to the underlying Indiana Action and the underlying Indiana Site.

The at issue provision is commonly known as the “qualified pollution exclusion.” (See Ex. A to Newman Decl. pp. 4-11.) The policy excludes, among other things:

H. to bodily injury or property damage arising out of the discharge, dispersal, release or escape of smoke, vapors, soot, fumes, acid, alkalis, toxic chemicals, liquids or gases, waste materials or other irritants, contaminants or pollutants into or upon land, the atmosphere or any watercourse or body of water; but this exclusion does not apply if such discharge, dispersal, release or escape is sudden and accidental;

(Ex. A to Newman Decl., p. 9.) This policy covers the period of July 1, 1983 to July 1, 1986. (See Ex. at p. 6.)

LEGAL STANDARD

“A motion to determine applicable law, though not expressly provided for in the Code of Civil Procedure, is the equivalent of an in limine motion that seeks to resolve a conflict of laws or choice of law issue.” (State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co. v. Superior Court (2004) 121 Cal.App.4th 490, 502 [citations omitted].)

In California, “general choice-of-law rules have been formulated by courts through judicial decisions rendered under  the common law, rather than by the legislature through statutory enactments.” (McCann v. Foster Wheeler LLC 2010) 48 Cal.4th 68, 83, 105 Cal.Rptr.3d 378, 225 P.3d 516 (McCann) [collecting cases].) As the forum state, California will apply its own law “unless a party litigant timely invokes the law of a foreign state.” (Hurtado v. Superior Court Reichsupra, 67 Cal.2d at p. 553, 63 Cal.Rptr. 31, 432 P.2d 727.)

(Chen v. Los Angeles Truck Centers, LLC

Under Chen, to determine which jurisdiction’s law governs, the Court is to apply the Governmental Interest test. The first step is to determine whether the “relevant law of each of the potentially affected jurisdictions” as to the particular issue is the same or different. (Chen, 7 Cal.5th at 867 [quoting Kearney v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 95, 107-108].) The Court reaches the second step if there is a difference. Under the second step, “if there is a difference, the court examines each jurisdiction’s interest in the application of its own law under the circumstances of the particular case to determine whether a true conflict exists.” (Id. at 867–868.) Finally, under the third step, “if the court finds that there is a true conflict, it carefully evaluates and compares the nature and strength of the interest of each jurisdiction in the application of its own law ‘to determine which state’s interest would be more impaired if its policy were subordinated to the policy of the other state’ [citation], and then ultimately applies ‘the law of the state whose interest would be the more impaired if its law were not applied.’” (Id. at 868 [quoting Kearney v. Salomon Smith Barney, Inc. (2006) 39 Cal.4th 95, 107-108].)

Civil Code section 1646 provides, “A contract is to be interpreted according to the law and usage of the place where it is to be performed; or, if it does not indicate a place of performance, according to the law and usage of the place where it is made.” (Civ. Code, ; 1646.)

ANALYSIS

As a preliminary matter, Traveler’s unopposed motion to seal is granted.

Lear Siegler argues that Indiana law applies under the Government Interest Test. In addition, Lear Siegler argues that Indiana law also applies under California Civil Code ; 1646. In opposition, Travelers argues that this motion is premature and that Lear Siegler has failed to show that there is an actual conflict in the laws, specifically that “the substantive law of California leads to a different result than the substantive law” of Indiana. (Stonewall Surplus Lines Ins. Co. v. Johnson Controls, Inc. (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 637, 645.) Travelers also argues that under both the Government Interest Test and Civil Code section 1646, California law applies.

The Court finds that this motion is not premature. The Court also finds that the Government Interest Test applies.[1]

The issue identified by Lear Siegler is the interpretation of the phrase “sudden and accidental.” Lear Siegler argues that the insurance contract does not define the phrase “sudden and accidental.” Indeed, the insurance policy contains a section with Definitions and the phrase “sudden and accidental” does not appear in the Definitions portion of the Contract. (See Ex. A at pp. 16-19.) Lear Siegler argues that California Courts take a different position on the definition of the phrase “sudden and accidental” than Indiana Law. Lear Siegler presents case law demonstrating that California law has a narrow reading of the “sudden and accidental,” relying upon Truck Ins. Exchange v. Pozzuoli (1993) 17 Cal.App.4th 856, 859. Lear Siegler also presents Indiana case law that indicates that Indiana courts have treated the phrase “sudden and accidental” as ambiguous. (See American States Ins. Co. v. Kiger (Ind. 1996) 662 N.E.2d 945, 948 [“When the insurance industry itself has offered differing interpretations of the same language, we must assume that the insured understood the coverage in the more expansive way. [Citation omitted.] Accordingly, the pre–1987 insurance policy is properly construed to provide coverage for damage done by discharges of gasoline.”].)

Travelers does not specifically dispute Lear Siegler’s characterization of California’s narrow reading of the phrase “sudden and accidental.” Travelers, however, argues that California has an interest in applying its own law under the circumstances of this case because California has an interest in regulating insurance contracts. Travelers further contends that California is more committed to its interpretation of the pollution exclusion than Indiana law, which has an admittedly ambiguous interpretation. Travelers argues that the purpose of California’s rule is to ensure the parties’ intent is fulfilled based on the plain text of the insurance contracts’ terms.

In Kiger, the Indiana Supreme Court recognized that the drafters of language adding “sudden and accidental” meant the additional language to be a clarification, which made explicit the fact that the insurance did not cover those acts which were expected or intended. (See American States Ins. Co. v. Kiger (Id. at 948.) Lear Siegler also argues that Indiana has recognized that it consistently construes pollution exclusion provisions narrowly and that interpretation of such provisions are of great public importance. (See Id. at 850; State Auto. Mut. Ins. Co. v. Flexdar, Inc. (Ind. 2012) 964 N.E.2d 845, 850.). Depending on the choice of law and jurisdiction, the interpretation of phrase “sudden and accidental” may either bar coverage or grant coverage. Here, Lear Siegler has demonstrated that California and Indiana interpret the at-issue phrase differently and are in actual conflict.

As to the third step, the Court assesses the following relevant contacts: (a) the place of contracting; (b) the place of negotiation of the contract; (c) the place of performance; (d) the location of the subject matter of the contract; and (e) the domicile, residence, nationality, place of incorporation and place of business of the parties. (Stonewall Surplus Lines Ins. Co. v. Johnson Controls, Inc. (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 637, 645, 646.) In addition, “These contacts are to be evaluated according to their relative importance with respect to the particular issue.” (Id.)

Lear Siegler identifies two interests of Indiana. First, Lear Siegler argues that Indiana has a legitimate interest in applying its own law to the qualified pollution provision because the underlying actions giving rise to the Indiana lawsuit occurred in Indiana and that the place of performance is Indiana. Lear Siegler also argues that Travelers is not a California resident. Second, Lear Siegler argues that Indiana has an interest in ensuring that responsible parties pay for clean-up costs of pollution. Lear Siegler contends that California does not have an interest in applying its own law because, although Lear Siegler was headquartered in California when it obtained the policy, Lear Siegler has not conducted business in California for the last 25 years.

In response, Travelers argues that California has a significant interest in applying its own law in this action because Lear Siegler obtained the policy in California, was a California resident during the duration of the policy, and the policy makes no mention of Indiana. Travelers also argues that the place of performance should be California since there is no specific mention of any location and the contract was entered into in California. Travelers also argues that Indiana’s interests are theoretical. In reply, Lear Siegler argues courts have routinely held that the state of residence of the policyholder’s interests are minimal in comparison to the overriding interest of the state where the underlying injury was suffered. Lear Siegler also argues that under the government interest test, “p­articular importance is placed on the location of the subject matter of the contract, i.e. the location of the insured risk. [Citations omitted]” (Stonewall Surplus Lines Ins. Co. v. Johnson Controls, Inc. Lear Siegler argues that, due to Lear Siegler’s prior worldwide operations, Travelers’ policy is best viewed a separate policies covering separate risks. (See id. at 646–647.) Lear Siegler also cites to evidences that shows that Travelers understood that the Indiana Property was one of the locations of performance (See, e.g., Newman Decl., Ex. E at TRAV002736; id. Ex. F.)

Weighing these competing interests, the Court determines that Indiana has a superior interest in the application of Indiana Law to the disputed contractual provision. The location of the underlying action and the place of performance is in Indiana. Therefore, Lear Siegler’s motion in limine is granted.


[1] While not necessary to reach, the Court would further conclude that under Civil Code section 1646, Indiana law would also apply. While the place of a contract’s performance need not be explicit (Frontier Oil Corp. v. RLI Ins. Co.) (2007) 153 Cal. App. 4th, 1436, 1450), in this case there is evidence from Travelers’ underwriting files that Travelers understood that Lear’s operations in Indiana were among the risks being insured. (See, e.g., Newman Decl., Ex. E at TRAV002736; id. Ex. F.)



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