On 04/20/2018 YESENIA AVITIA filed a Labor - Other Labor lawsuit against BYD COACH BUS LLC. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Stanley Mosk Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is MICHELLE WILLIAMS COURT. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.
Pending - Other Pending
Los Angeles County Superior Courts
Stanley Mosk Courthouse
Los Angeles, California
MICHELLE WILLIAMS COURT
CASTELLON CHRISTIAN D.
CASTELLON CHRISTHIAN D.
BYD COACH & BUS LLC
DOES 1 TO 80
MIRROKNIAN REZA ESQ.
LUDWIG MICHAEL L. ESQ.
BARRITT DOUGLAS A. ESQ.
BARRITT DOUGLAS A.ESQ.
BARRITT DOUGLAS ALAN ESQ.
LUDWIG MICHAEL LESTER ESQ.
10/4/2019: Separate Statement
10/4/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION DEFENDANT BYD'S APPENDIX OF EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF MOTION FOR SUMMARY ADJUDICATION
10/4/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities
10/4/2019: Notice of Motion
11/12/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION . OF RM IN SUPPORT OF OPP. TO DEF. BYD'S MOTION FOR JOP
1/16/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR (COURT ORDER) OF 01/16/2020
1/21/2020: Notice - NOTICE OF OSC RE DISMISSAL
3/22/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - CERTIFICATE OF MAILING FOR MINUTE ORDER (RULING ON SUBMITTED MATTER) OF 03/22/2019
3/14/2019: Proof of Personal Service
3/11/2019: Declaration - DECLARATION OF NATALIE ALAMEDDINE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT'S OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO THE DEMAND FOR INSPECTION OF DOCUMENTS AND REQUEST FOR MONETAR
3/11/2019: Opposition - OPPOSITION TO PLAINTIFFS' MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO THE DEMAND FOR INSPECTION OF DOCUMENTS AND REQUEST FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS
2/28/2019: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses
2/8/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Post-Mediation Status Conference)
9/18/2018: Minute Order -
8/20/2018: CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER
6/29/2018: Minute Order -
7/9/2018: ANSWER TO PLAINTIFFS' COMPLAINT
5/11/2018: NOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE
Hearing04/16/2020 at 08:30 AM in Department 74 at 111 North Hill Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: DismissalRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 10:00 AM in Department 74; Jury Trial - Held - ContinuedRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 74; Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment - Not Held - Advanced and VacatedRead MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 74; Final Status Conference - Held - ContinuedRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice ( of OSC re Dismissal); Filed by Yesenia Avitia (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 08:30 AM in Department 74; Court OrderRead MoreRead Less
DocketMinute Order ( (Court Order)); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketCertificate of Mailing for ((Court Order) of 01/16/2020); Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Settlement; Filed by Yesenia Avitia (Plaintiff); Christhian D. Castellon (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
Docketat 3:30 PM in Department 74; Informal Discovery Conference (IDC)Read MoreRead Less
DocketPROOF OF SERVICE SUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice and Acknowledgment of Receipt; Filed by Plaintiff/PetitionerRead MoreRead Less
DocketNOTICE OF ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT - CIVILRead MoreRead Less
DocketORDER TO SHOW CAUSE HEARINGRead MoreRead Less
DocketNotice of Case Management Conference; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketNOTICE OF CASE MANAGEMENT CONFERENCERead MoreRead Less
DocketOSC-Failure to File Proof of Serv; Filed by ClerkRead MoreRead Less
DocketComplaint; Filed by Yesenia Avitia (Plaintiff); Christhian D. Castellon (Plaintiff)Read MoreRead Less
DocketCOMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES 1. EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION - (GOV. CODE 12940(A));ETCRead MoreRead Less
DocketSUMMONSRead MoreRead Less
Case Number: BC703670 Hearing Date: January 06, 2020 Dept: 74
BC703670 YESENIA AVITIA ET AL VS BYD COACH & BUS LLC ET AL
Defendant BYD Coach & Bus LLC’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
TENTATIVE RULING: The motion is DENIED as to judicial estoppel and GRANTED as to lack of standing. Plaintiffs may file an amended complaint within 15 days. Defendant is ordered to give notice.
Defendant BYD Coach & Bus LLC (“Defendant”) moves for judgment on the pleadings on two grounds: (1) judicial estoppel and (2) lack of standing. Plaintiff Avitia (“Plaintiff”) opposes.
Request for Judicial Notice
Defendant’s request for judicial notice of records filed in a bankruptcy proceeding (RJN, Exhs. 1-3, 7) is GRANTED. (Evid. Code, § 452(d)(2).)
Defendant’s request for judicial notice of records filed with EEOC and DFEH (RJN, Exhs. 4, 5) is GRANTED. (Evid. Code, § 452(c), (d), (h).)
Defendant’s request for judicial notice of records filed in this court (RJN, Exhs. 6) is GRANTED. (Evid. Code, § 452(d)(1).)
Defendant contends Plaintiff Avitia’s lawsuit is barred by judicial estoppel because Plaintiff failed to disclose her potential lawsuit against Defendant in her personal bankruptcy proceeding that commenced on March 20, 2018. In opposition, Plaintiff Avitia contends she omitted this lawsuit from the bankruptcy proceeding by mistake or inadvertence, which should persuade this Court from dismissing this lawsuit based on the doctrine of judicial estoppel. Further, Plaintiff contends her declaration, as extrinsic evidence, supports the mistake/inadvertence theory, so a motion for judgment on the pleadings is inappropriate to determine whether the doctrine applies because the court cannot consider extrinsic evidence in this type of motion. In reply, Defendant contends the court can find Plaintiff’s lack of mistake, or intentional bad faith to omit this lawsuit as an asset, as a matter of law based on the judicially noticeable documents. Overall, the Court cannot find Plaintiff acted without mistake or with bad faith by omitting this lawsuit from the bankruptcy proceeding without considering extrinsic evidence.
Where a debtor commences a bankruptcy proceeding and then files a lawsuit, which is not a lender liability case and is not against a defendant who is a creditor in the bankruptcy proceeding, that was omitted as an asset in the bankruptcy proceeding, the application of judicial estoppel to the lawsuit requires a finding of intentional bad faith by the plaintiff-debtor. (See Cloud v. Northrop Grumman Corp. (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 995, 1019; see also Hamilton v. Greenwich Investor XXVI, LLC (2011) 195 Cal.App.4th 1602, 1610-1612.)
In Cloud, the court found the defendant’s “effort to invoke judicial estoppel to bar plaintiff’s claims raised factual issues which could not be answered by exclusive reference to plaintiff’s complaint and plaintiff’s bankruptcy filings, and hence could not be determined on a motion for judgment on the pleadings.” (Cloud v. Northrop Grumman Corp., supra, 67 Cal.App.4th at 1018-1019.) The court stated, “nondisclosure in bankruptcy filings, standing alone, is insufficient to support the finding of bad faith intent necessary for the application of judicial estoppel. Yet nondisclosure, and nothing more, is all that could be established in this case by a review limited to plaintiff's complaint plus her bankruptcy filings.” (Id. at 1019, emphasis added [citing and discussing Ryan Operations G.P. v. Santiam–Midwest Lumber Co. (3rd Cir.1996) 81 F.3d 355, 362].) The court observed more was required, stating “judicial estoppel applies only when the debtor engages in an effort to obtain ‘unfair advantage’ and engages in a ‘scheme to mislead the court,’ that any inconsistencies in the debtor’s position must be ‘attributable to intentional wrongdoing’ and ‘tantamount to a knowing misrepresentation to or even fraud on the court,’ and that a ‘good faith mistake’ cannot support judicial estoppel.” (Ibid.) Making such determinations “have generally been decided after a fact-finding or evidence-reviewing proceeding of some sort.” (Ibid.) The court also noted that the plaintiff’s declaration submitted with the opposition papers could provide evidence to negate the findings necessary to support the application of judicial estoppel. (Id. at 1020.)
Here, Defendant’s motion exclusively relies on allegations from the operative pleading and judicially noticed documents from Plaintiff’s bankruptcy proceeding. These documents merely establish Plaintiff failed to disclose the lawsuit in the bankruptcy proceeding. As stated in Cloud, nondisclosure in bankruptcy filings, standing alone, is insufficient to support bad faith intent necessary for the application of judicial estoppel. Thus, a factual issue remains whether Plaintiff intentionally in bad faith omitted this lawsuit from the bankruptcy proceeding. Therefore, refence to these documents exclusively cannot resolve the factual issues raised by the application of the doctrine of judicial estoppel. Further, Plaintiff’s declaration tends to negate the bad faith intent finding because Plaintiff states she provided the paralegal who prepared her bankruptcy filing with the existence of her DFEH charge, indicating she intended the bankruptcy proceeding to include this lawsuit, but Plaintiff failed to review the bankruptcy filing was made. (Avitia Decl. ¶¶ 6, 7.)
Defendant contends the Court should apply the “narrow exception” from Ah Quin v. County of Kauai DOT for whether Plaintiff omitted this lawsuit by mistake or inadvertence because Plaintiff has not reopened her bankruptcy proceeding to amend her list of assets. ((9th Cir. 2013) 733 F.3d 267, 271 [holding that the narrow exception, which applies when a plaintiff-debtor has not reopened her bankruptcy, considers “only whether the debtor knew about the claim when he or she filed the bankruptcy schedules and whether the debtor had a motive to conceal the claim.”]; Reply 6:1.) Here, however, Plaintiff filed a declaration stating the bankruptcy has reopened, and the proceeding will include this lawsuit as an asset. (Supp. Mirroknian Decl., filed 11/20/19, ¶¶ 2, 5.) So, “where, as here, the plaintiff-debtor reopens bankruptcy proceedings, corrects her initial error, and allows the bankruptcy court to re-process the bankruptcy with the full and correct information, a presumption of deceit no longer comports with [precedent].” (Ah Quin, supra, 733 F.3d at 273.) Further, where “the plaintiff-debtor did not obtain an unfair advantage” by omitting the lawsuit-asset, applying the doctrine of judicial estoppel to bar the lawsuit does not meet a purpose of the doctrine. (Id. at 274, emphasis original.) Here, Defendant does not show Plaintiff obtained an unfair advantage. Lastly, the procedural posture of Ah Quin was appeal of a summary judgment, which allowed the trial court to consider extrinsic evidence. Based on the foregoing, the Court does not presume, under the “narrow exception” from Ah Quin, Plaintiff acted with deceit by omitting this lawsuit from the bankruptcy proceeding.
Defendant also contends the failure to read an instrument and instead rely off the advice of processionals is not a defense to judicial estoppel. (Reply, 7:19.) In Thomas v. Gordon, the court noted that “Appellant stated in her declaration that she did not read the bankruptcy petitions or schedules before signing them, and relied on the advice of professionals concerning which assets to list, but did not specifically discuss with anyone whether her alleged interest in Women's Health should have been included in the bankruptcy petitions or schedules.” ((2000) 85 Cal.App.4th 113, 121.) The court determined “[t]his is not the type of ignorance which permits a party to avoid the impact of signing a legal document.” (Ibid.) The court held there is “no reason to encourage willful blindness to the content of documents signed under penalty of perjury by allowing a party to use the excuse of failure to read as a basis for rejecting application of the doctrine of judicial estoppel.” (Ibid.) Here, the facts are not as egregious as in Thomas, and therefore, the Court is not inclined to find Plaintiff’s declaration cannot raise a question of fact over mistake or inadvertence as a matter of law. Importantly, Plaintiff declares she provided her paralegal with documents of her DFEH charge, thus indicating Plaintiff intended for the lawsuit resulting from the DFEH charge to be included in the bankruptcy proceeding. This is unlike Thomas, where the debtor did not discuss with anyone whether the subject asset should be included in the bankruptcy proceeding.
Next, Defendant contends a lack of mistake can still be found based on Plaintiff’s course of conduct. (Reply, 8:3.) Defendant cites International Engine Parts, Inc. v. ¬¬Feddersen & Co. (1998) 64 Cal.App.4th 345, 354, as an example of a court’s finding that a plaintiff’s lack of mistake from inference based on a totality of the circumstances. However, “International Engine was a summary judgment case. The court stated that ‘[t]he determination of the existence of judicial estoppel is a factual finding ...,’ and noted that application of judicial estoppel ‘should be done with great circumspection.’” (Cloud v. Northrop Grumman Corp., supra, 67 Cal.App.4th at 1019 [citing International Engine, supra, 64 Cal.App.4th at 354].)
Defendant further argues the material facts relevant to this motion are undisputed and thus conclude the court may grant this motion based on a question of law. (Reply, 10:10.) “[T]he application of judicial estoppel tenders a question of fact only if a determination of fact is necessary to make a ruling on the claim. [citation] If the facts material to a determination of judicial estoppel are undisputed, a question of law is presented.” (The Swahn Group, Inc. v. Segal (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 831, 843.) Here, applying the doctrine of judicial estoppel requires determining a question of fact whether Plaintiff mistakenly or inadvertently omitted the lawsuit as an asset in the bankruptcy proceeding. The determination of this fact is necessary to making a ruling because the fact could except the application of the doctrine.
Accordingly, the court DENIES the motion’s ground that judicial estoppel bars this lawsuit.
Lack of Standing
After the commencement of a bankruptcy proceeding, the debtor’s existing claims for economic and personal injury damages become property of the bankruptcy estate. (See Cloud v. Northrop Grumman Corp., supra, 67 Cal.App.4th at 1002; see also Harris v. St. Louis University (E.D. Misso.) 114 B.R. 647 [determining debtor’s causes of action for discrimination and harassment employment claims belonged to the property of the estate after commencement of bankruptcy proceeding].)
It is undisputed that Plaintiff’s claims in this lawsuit existed prior to the commencement of the bankruptcy proceeding. Thus, these claims belong to the property of the estate, enforceable by the bankruptcy trustee. Plaintiff appears to concede this legal conclusion. (Opp. 14:20-15:3.)
“The California Supreme Court has held that if the facts of the cause of action against the defendant would not be “wholly different” after amendment, a complaint filed by a party without standing may be amended to substitute in the real party in interest.” (Cloud v. Northrop Grumman Corp., supra, 67 Cal.App.4th at 1005.)
Defendant concedes the complaint may be properly amended by allowing the bankruptcy trustee, i.e., the real party in interest, to be substituted in as the plaintiff. (Mot. 16:12.) Plaintiff does not dispute this position.
Accordingly, the motion for the ground of lack of standing is GRANTED. Plaintiff may file an amended complaint within 15 days.