May 24, 2015

Friday, May 22, 2015, 1:30 p.m.
Courtroom 17 –  Hon. Gary Nadler
3035 Cleveland Avenue, Suite 200, Santa Rosa

CourtCall is available for all Law & Motion appearances, EXCEPT parties in small claims cases and motions for claims of exemption which are mandatory appearances. Please contact CourtCall directly at (888) 882-6878.

The following tentative rulings will become the ruling of the Court unless a party desires to be heard. If you desire to appear and present oral argument as to any motion, YOU MUST notify Judge Nadler’s Judicial Assistant by telephone at (707) 521-6725, and all other opposing parties of your intent to appear by 4:00 p.m. today, Thursday, May 21, 2015. Parties in small claims cases and motions for claims of exemption are exempt from this requirement.





1. MCV-189736, Worldwide Asset Purchasing, LLC v. Repetto
Appearance required.

2. MSC-184555, Martinovich v. Harriott
Appearance required.

3. SCV-230846, Hogan v. DeAngelis
DeAngelis’ motion to enter satisfaction of judgment, and for an order authorizing release of undertaking posted, is denied. Objections are overruled.

The motion of Engstrom is denied.

4. SCV-254361, Estate of Llamas v. Rogers
DROPPED from calendar at the request of counsel for moving party; notice of settlement filed 5/15/15.

5. SCV-255502, Beckmann v. Sack
Defendant’s unopposed motion to serve a tardy expert witness list is granted.

Defendant’s request to allow the expert witness disclosure is twofold. First, Defendant maintains that an expert witness demand was never served pursuant to CCP § 2034.210, or that it was never received. Based on that, Defendant did not believe that he was required to submit an expert witness list. Plaintiff may maintain that he unilaterally served an expert witness disclosure; however, the service of a disclosure, absent a demand, is not sufficient to require a simultaneous exchange of experts pursuant to CCP § 2034.260, and thus, the prohibition of the use of any experts at trial.

Second, as outlined in CCP § 2034.720, the court may allow a late disclosure if certain requirements are met.

Here, Plaintiff had already retained an arborist, surveyor, and medical doctors for trial. Plaintiff’s counsel and his experts conducted a site inspection on March 18, 2015. Defendant’s disclosure does not list any experts outside of the areas of expertise which Plaintiff’s experts hold. Consequently, Plaintiff is not required to hire any additional experts and there should not be any reliance on the absence of said disclosure.

Plaintiff had already retained experts in all fields in which Defendant wished to declare experts. This was required of him considering his burden to show possession/maintenance of said property, a defect, and knowledge of any defect. Hence, there is no prejudice to the Plaintiff as his experts were required to prove his case.

Here, a showing was made that Defendant failed to submit the information as the result of mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect. Defense counsel was taken by surprise at the time of the Settlement Conference that a disclosure had been made. Further, defense counsel did not serve a Demand for Exchange of Expert Witnesses pursuant to CCP § 2034.210, nor did defense counsel knowingly receive such a demand from Plaintiff’s counsel. Defense counsel learned of the potential issue at the Settlement Conference of May 6, 2015. On May 7, 2015 Defendant proceeded ex parte to address this matter. On May 7, 2015, the day after learning of the potential issue, Defendant faxed and served his disclosure of expert witnesses.

6. SCV-255545, Bertoli v. Irish Beach Clusterhomes Association
Defendants’ motion to stay pending appeal is granted.

In this action, Plaintiffs sued Defendants, seeking declaratory relief. Plaintiffs seek such relief to determine either that the “CORPORATION” has “stepped into the shoes of the ASSOCIATION,” or alternatively, for an order dissolving and terminating the “ASSOCIATION” and that its assets be taken over by the “CORPORATION.” In addition to the foregoing, declaratory relief is sought as to the right of Defendants to operate and vote with respect to the “ASSOCIATION.” Further relief sought includes allegations of breach of fiduciary duty as to Defendants. Plaintiffs seek damages and various equitable relief.

Defendants here move for a stay of proceedings based on the fact that there are two cases pending in Mendocino County involving the same parties and identical issues as here involved. Defendants assert that the outcome of those Mendocino County cases will have a material impact on the instant matter and should be resolved before this matter is heard. Defendants seek judicial notice of Mendocino County action SCUK CVG 10 56629, which request is granted. In the Mendocino County matter as to which judicial notice was taken, plaintiffs moved to stay the subject proceeding during the pendency of the appeal of another matter stemming from another Mendocino County case.

Plaintiffs oppose the request for stay. Plaintiffs argue that the instant action, in contrast to the Mendocino County action, is one for breach of fiduciary duty and damages, declaratory relief concerning the right to vote which is no longer an issue, and declaratory relief as to the successor organization Irish Beach Cluster Homes Association, Incorporated.

Despite the fact that the causes of action and specific claims or actions or interest at issue in this action appear at first blush to differ from those in the related actions, they all appear to be based on fundamentally some of the same issues, namely voting rights, validity of actions based on a determination of those voting rights, and a determination as to the “true” home owners association. All actions involve inherently intertwined, and in part identical, material issues so that the specific claims at issue here necessarily involve a determination regarding facts and issues that form the core of the related actions. This includes factual and legal issues concerning voting rights, and the proper home owners association, which all of these cases appear to be based on. The instant matters, and related matters, are so closely intertwined so as to warrant staying this action.

7. SCV-255708, Flynn v. County of Sonoma
Petitioner’s motion for attorney’s fees is granted to the extent addressed below.

Petitioner seeks her attorney’s fees and costs in accord with Gov. Code § 6259(d), the California Public Records Act (CPRA). She argues that the action, via the stipulation, ultimately resulted in disclosure of compiled information which Respondent previously refused to disclose. In opposing the motion, Respondent argues that Petitioner did not request disclosure of the data compilation in her request, and that had she done so, Respondent would have provided it. Further, Respondent argues that the petition did not cause it to disclose anything, asserting that the information which it agreed to produce was not the sensitive information in the CHP 180 Forms. It also contends that the billing is unreasonable.

Petitioner seeks the fees and costs pursuant to Gov. Code § 6259(d). Section 6259 is part of the CPRA authority governing petitions to compel public officers or agencies to produce records or information which the court finds have been improperly withheld. Subdivision (d) provides for attorney’s fees and costs and it states, in full and with emphasis added,

“[t]he court shall award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the plaintiff should the plaintiff prevail in litigation filed pursuant to this section. The costs and fees shall be paid by the public agency of which the public official is a member or employee and shall not become a personal liability of the public official. If the court finds that the plaintiff's case is clearly frivolous, it shall award court costs and reasonable attorney fees to the public agency.”

As explained in Galbiso v. Orosi Public Utility Dist. (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 1063, at 1084 and quoting a string of prior cases, a party meets the requirement for recovering fees and costs under the CPRA when an action is filed which results in defendant releasing a copy of a previously withheld document. Further, as explained in Galbiso, an action under the Public Records Act results in the release of previously withheld documents if the lawsuit motivated the defendants to produce the documents.

Here, the petition, as set forth at paragraph 6 and in the prayer, expressly sought both the forms and “any electronic date where the data was derived from CHP 180 forms” and requested relief including either providing all the requested forms, “records, materials, and information,” or providing her with access to all “the records” containing the information. Petitioner’s letter requesting information from Respondent, attached to the petition as Ex. A, likewise asked for the copies of the forms plus “[i]n electronic format . . . electronically stored data derived from CHP 180 forms. This includes, but is not limited to, any database file containing data from CHP 180- forms.”

Respondent refused production: it refused to produce the forms, it refused to produce any information or data, it never offered to provide a compilation in lieu of the forms, and it even argued that the very information at issue was exempt from disclosure because it was compiled into other files.

The information which Respondent ultimately agreed to produce included information from the forms and information from investigations related to the incident for which the forms were generated. As discussed in the petition itself, the forms were used to document the seizure, towing, and storage of vehicles. Petitioner may not have “specifically asked” for a “compilation” but that is irrelevant because she did clearly ask for the information which Respondent has now agreed to compile. She simply asked for it in the form of the forms or simply in electronic files or databases. The only difference between what Petitioner requested and what she received is that she did not request that the information be “compiled.” The information is the same. Further, in refusing to produce or allow access to the information, and in opposing the petition, Respondent argued both that the forms and the information itself were exempt from disclosure, expressly arguing that even if the forms were not themselves records of investigation, and thus may be theoretically subject to disclosure, Respondent compiles their data into investigatory files, thereby rendering them exempt under this subdivision anyway. Thus, Respondent expressly argued that even if Petitioner were able to obtain such forms, she could not obtain access to a “compilation” of the data, which is exactly what Respondent claims Petitioner never sought and what Respondent now claims it would have produced had Petitioner asked.

Petitioner is entitled to recover fees and costs because she filed an action which induced Respondent to produce previously withheld information.

Respondent contends that the fees sought, $23,425, are unreasonable. It contends that Petitioner hired out-of-town counsel yet fails to show that it was not practical to hire local counsel. Further, Respondent contends that Petitioner also hired local counsel who provided few legal services, and the high rates requested are for complex actions in major cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. It also argues that the total number of hours billed is unreasonable and insupportable, and that the court should reduce the hours to reflect a limited success.

Petitioner contends that while the attorneys’ rates may have been lower in the past, the amount claimed now, $550 an hour for one non-local attorney and $650 an hour for the other, plus $300 an hour for the local attorney, are the current rates and are appropriate.

The “reasonable hourly rate is that prevailing in the community for similar work.” PLCM Group, Inc. v. Drexler (2000) 22 Cal.4th 1084, 1095, as quoted in Nichols v. City of Taft (2007) 155 Cal.App.4th 1233, 1243. The result is that a party seeking higher fees for out-of-town counsel generally should make some threshold showing that hiring locals was impracticable. Nichols, supra. The Nichols court, at 1243, explained that a party could meet this by showing that “a potential defendant is too intimidating to the local bar or so replete with resources as to potentially overwhelm local counsel, or if the local plaintiffs' bar has not the resources to engage in complex litigation on a contingency-fee basis, the public interest in the prosecution of meritorious civil rights cases requires that the financial incentives be adjusted to attract attorneys who are sufficient to the cause.”

The court determines that Petitioner’s attorneys’ fees are, to a certain extent, too high. The local attorney’s rate of $300 an hour is on the high end for local rates, but is generally consistent with higher local fees while actually at the lower end of the range of commercial litigation rates which Respondent’s attorney, Keck cites in her declaration at paragraph 9(d). It is also only slightly higher than the $250 hourly rate which Keck states would be proper throughout. Paragraph 9.

Respondent points to the rates paid to its own attorneys in representing public agencies, although this is generally a lower rate than commercial rates. At the same time, Petitioner fails to demonstrate why she could not reasonably have hired local attorneys and, as noted by Respondent, this is not a huge or complex case.

The number and subject matter of the hours billed is reasonable, and will not be reduced. However, the court does determine that different billing rates shall be applied.

The court does not modify the hours associated with the $300 an hour rate for the local attorney. The remaining rates are reduced to $400 per hour for the higher billed rate, and $350 per hour for the other. The court awards total fees in the amount of $15,365 instead of $23,425 as requested.

8. SCV-256185, Collectronics, Inc. v. Sullivan
DROPPED from calendar; Plaintiff has failed to file proof of service of the Order and Notice Re-Setting Hearing on Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Answers filed 4/30/15 as required by 5/15/15.

9. SCV-256192, The Tuxhorn Company v. City of Santa Rosa
CONTINUED to Wed., June 3, 2015, at 3:00 p.m., pursuant to the stipulation and order filed 5/20/15.

10. SCV-256324, Kermaninejad v. Kappos
Defendants Stephen M. Kappos and the Law Office of Robinson-Kappos bring an anti-SLAPP motion to strike. Defendant Creditors Trade Association, Inc. (“CTA”) likewise brings an anti-SLAPP motion to strike.

Plaintiffs also move for order authorizing anti-SLAPP discovery.

Plaintiffs’ Request for Judicial Notice is granted.

Defendants’ Request for Judicial Notice is granted.

Objections are overruled.

Defendants bring two special motions to strike SLAPP suit under CCP § 425.16, one for CTA and one for Kappos. Aside from the parties, they are identical. Defendants argue that Plaintiffs cannot show a probability of success because the dismissal of the prior action was not a termination on the merits; Plaintiffs must show that Defendants brought the prior action without probable cause; and Plaintiffs must demonstrate malice.

Plaintiffs oppose the motion and move the court to allow them to conduct discovery specific to the issues in this motion. Plaintiffs seek leave to depose, and obtain records from, Defendant Kappos, Gary Looney (Looney), CEO of CTA; CTA’s office manager Kim Minton (Minton), and the person most knowledgeable for Youngs.

The motions to strike are denied. The motion to allow discovery is denied as moot.

Defendants assert that Plaintiffs cannot show a probability of success because the dismissal of the prior action was not a termination on the merits; Plaintiffs must show that Defendants brought the prior action without probable cause; and that Plaintiffs must demonstrate malice.

The threshold question is whether Defendants demonstrate that the lawsuit arises from, and attacks, their exercise of the rights of free speech or petition as covered by the statute. Defendants clearly satisfy this issue here because Plaintiffs are suing them for conduct in a lawsuit, bringing the lawsuit, and filing papers. Plaintiffs do not dispute this point. As this requirement is satisfied, the burden shifts to Plaintiffs to demonstrate a probability of success.

The elements of malicious prosecution are a) institution or instigation of a proceeding; b) lack of probable cause; c) malice: actual ill will or other improper motive; d) favorable termination of the proceeding. Gogue v. MacDonald (1950) 35 Cal.2d 482, 218.

However, a person who had no part in commencing the action, but who participated in it at a later time, may be held liable for malicious prosecution. Lujan v. Gordon (1977) 70 Cal.App.3d 260, 263. Collins v. Owens (1947) 77 Cal.App.2d 713, 716; Bulkley v. Klein (1962) 206 Cal.App.2d 742 [quoting Prosser]; Collins v. San Francisco (1975) 50 Cal.App.3d 671, 676. “Malice” may mean ill-will or other improper motive, and can be reasonably inferred from a lack of probable cause. Malice may exist if the person initiating the claim does not believe that the claim may be held valid. Sierra Club Foundation v. Graham (1999) 72 Cal.App.4th 1135, 1158. The plaintiff must plead and prove actual ill will or some improper ulterior motive, which may range anywhere from open hostility to indifference. Downey Venture v. LMI Ins. Co. (1998) 66 Cal.App.4th 478, 494.

Probable cause is based on a reasonable and good-faith belief that the action is valid. Probable cause is present unless any reasonable attorney would agree that the action is totally and completely without merit. Roberts v. Sentry Life Insurance (1999) 76 Cal.App.4th 375. Notably, the absolute privilege for communications under Civil Code § 47 is a defense to all tort causes of action except malicious prosecution. Silberg v. Anderson (1990) 50 Cal.3d 205, 213-214; Kimmel v. Goland (1990) 51 Cal.3d 202, 209.

As Plaintiffs argue, “[a] voluntary dismissal is presumed to be a favorable termination on the merits, unless otherwise proved to a jury. [Citations.]” Sycamore Ridge Apartments LLC v. Naumann (2007) 157 Cal.App.4th 1385, 1399, quoted in Oviedo v. Windsor Twelve Properties, LLC (2012) 212 Cal.App.4th 97, at 112-113.

Plaintiffs provide much evidence showing that the claims which Defendants raised in the prior action were groundless, indicating lack of probable cause. Francis Dec.; Tara Dec.; Nosrat Dec.; Clausen Dec.; Zatman Dec. These include statements by the attorneys working for Defendants in the prior action which demonstrate what Defendants seemed to know, and how Defendants handled the prior action, all of which not only goes to the underlying merits but to Defendants knowledge and the information on which they were basing their claims.

Defendants’ own evidence, as Plaintiffs point out, actually admits that the claims against Tara and Nosrat were in error and based on incorrect assumptions, including the admittedly incorrect assumption that Nosrat had signed a personal guaranty when in fact nothing shows he ever did. Looney Dec., ¶¶ 3-6. Defendants try to blame this on employee/office-staff errors and the like but the key point is that even Defendants admit that their alleged bases for some of their claims were in fact groundless. Plaintiffs also show that in reviewing the pleadings in the prior action, they easily determined that Nosrat had not signed the personal guaranty on which Defendants relied and they explained this to Defendants then. Francis Dec.; Clausen Dec. Plaintiffs add that they have found repeated instances of Defendants bringing identical claims as boilerplate pleadings in cases, indicating that this seems on its face to be a stock practice without regard to the actual facts in any specific case. Zatman Dec.

Plaintiffs have met their burden of showing lack of probable cause.

Plaintiffs persuasively argue that the evidence showing lack of probable cause is so strong that it also indicates possible malice. The court determines that Plaintiffs have met their burden as to this issue.

Pursuant to this court’s ruling as to the motions to strike, the motion for discovery is moot and is thus denied.

11. SCV-256403, Bucher v. Bucher
Plaintiff’s motion to compel and for sanctions has been DROPPED from calendar at the request of counsel for moving party.

Defendant Bucher Farms, Inc.’s motion to stay proceedings has been CONTINUED to Wed., June 3, 2015, 3:00 p.m. pursuant to stipulation and order filed 5/19/15.

12. SCV-256427, Cowlin v. Shiomoto
The petition for writ of mandate is denied.

Petitioner’s request for judicial notice is denied.

Substantial evidence supports the hearing officer’s findings and decision to suspend Petitioner’s driver’s license.

Reasonable suspicion, not probable cause, is the legal standard for justifying a warrantless detention. People v. Superior Court (1972) 7 Cal.3d 186, 200. This comports with federal constitutional law, as an investigatory detention of an individual in a vehicle is permissible under the Fourth Amendment if supported by a reasonable suspicion that the individual has violated the law. Ornelas v. United States (1996) 517 U.S. 690, 693. Here, the Administrative Record (“AR”) supports reasonable suspicion to detain. There need not be a Vehicle Code violation to stop a driver for an investigation – erratic driving is sufficient. People v. Russell (2000) 81 Cal.App.4th 96, 102, 104 [drifting in lane]; People v. Bracken (2000) 83 Cal.App.4th Supp. 1, 3-5 [traveling 30 mph below the speed limit]. In Russell, the Court of Appeal flatly rejected the petitioner’s argument that the driving had to amount to a Vehicle Code violation in order to constitute reasonable cause for an investigatory stop. Russell, supra, 81 Cal.App., 4th at 102. Reasonable suspicion of a California Vehicle Code violation will justify an investigative stop. People v. Castellon (1999) 76 Cal.App.4th 1369, 1373 [expired registration]; Kodani v. Snyder (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 472, 477 [no seat belt]. Reasonable suspicion can be based on the totality of the circumstances at the time of the detention or arrest, including the officer’s training, experience, and expertise. People v. Profit (1986) 183 Cal.App.3d 849, 881.

Here, circumstances exist which justify Petitioner’s detention. Officer T. Raymond of the Santa Rosa Police Department observed Petitioner exit from a one-way city parking lot entrance at the intersection of B Street and Ross Street in Santa Rosa, California. (Exs. 1 & 3 [p. 1 of narrative].) Thereafter, Petitioner made a left turn onto southbound B Street, and quickly accelerated as it passed another patrol car where Officer Woods was conducting a separate traffic stop. (Ibid.) Officer Raymond believed that Petitioner’s acceleration was an “unsafe speed for conditions.” (Hearing Transcript [“HT”] 28:21-29:15.) When he pulled behind the Petitioner, the Officer noticed that the car had expired registration tabs. (Ibid.) The expired registration tabs were the reason Officer Raymond initiated a traffic stop. (HT 30:14-19.)

Vehicle Code section 23152(a) states, in full, that “[i]t is unlawful for any person who is under the influence of any alcoholic beverage or drug, or under the combined influence of any alcoholic beverage and drug, to drive a vehicle.”

Vehicle Code section 23612 governs chemical tests. Subdivision (a)(1)(A) states that any person driving a motor vehicle is deemed to have given consent to a blood or breath test for the purpose of determining blood alcohol content (BAC). Subdivision (a)(1)(C) states that the test shall be incidental to a lawful arrest upon reasonable cause to believe that the person was driving a motor vehicle in violation of Vehicle Code sections 23140, 23152, or 23153. Subdivision (a)(1)(D) states that the person shall be told that the “failure to submit to, or the failure to complete, the required chemical testing will result in a fine, mandatory imprisonment if convicted of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, and (i) the suspension of the person’s privilege to operate a . . . vehicle . . . .” Emphasis added. Notably, subdivision (2)(A) states that the person has a choice of tests but that if “the person arrested is either incapable, or states that he or she is incapable, of completing the chosen test, the person shall submit to the remaining test.”

Sections 13558(c)(1) and 13557(b) provide, in pertinent part, that a hearing on an order of suspension is limited to determining whether the petitioner refused or failed to complete a chemical test after an officer requested one, and whether the officer had reasonable cause to believe that the petitioner had been driving a motor vehicle in violation of the law. Here, Petitioner cooperated and submitted to chemical testing; therefore, the adequacy of the advisement is immaterial. As stated in Vehicle Code section 23614, subd. (d), “No failure or omission to advise pursuant to this section shall affect the admissibility of any evidence of the alcoholic content of the blood of the person arrested.” Petitioner cites to a Riverside Superior Court appellate case, People v. Harris (2014) 225 Cal.App.4th Supp.1. That case involved a driver who exhibited signs of being under the influence of drugs, and the only advisement given to the driver by the arresting officer was that he needed to submit to a blood test, to which he agreed. (Ibid. at 4.) That court stated:

“But it does mean that such a person who cooperates with a chemical test pursuant to the implied consent law has given real and voluntary consent, excusing police from obtaining a warrant. This is exactly what happened in this case. After the officer informed him that he was required to submit to a blood draw, defendant responded ‘okay.’ Later, at the police station, all indications are that defendant went along with the blood draw through to its completion. He never, at any point, gave either the slightest resistance or suggestion that he wished to revoke his consent. Under the legal principles discussed above, defendant's positive cooperation with the blood draw therefore constituted valid Fourth Amendment consent.” (Ibid. at 10.)

Here, there is no evidence of any “coercion” of Petitioner by Officer Raymond. As Petitioner concedes, (Petitioner’s memorandum at p. 7): “Here, the only thing the officer told Petitioner was that he was legally required to submit to a breath or blood test.” There is nothing wrong or coercive about that advice, as that choice is clearly what the law prescribes. Petitioner’s election of breath testing allowed it to be performed at the scene, rather than at a hospital, and made it possible for Officer Raymond to release Petitioner and his care to the custody of his father. If Petitioner was advised of these accommodations, coercion is not indicated.

Although no such argument was made at his administrative hearing, and is thus waived, Petitioner argues that the administrative per se laws entail an unconstitutional delegation of judicial power to an administrative agency. Contrary to Petitioner’s assertion, California courts have long rejected this argument and have held that due process is not offended by delegation of fact-finding authority to an administrative agency, and in particular to a DMV hearing officer when he or she acts as both accuser and judge. Poland v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1995) 34 Cal.App.4th 1128, 1134; Finley v. Orr (1968) 262 Cal.App.2d 656, 665-666 [petition for hearing in Supreme Court denied July 31, 1968], cited with approval in Hernandez v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1981) 30 Cal.3d 70, 74 fn. 2.

The administrative per se scheme comports with due process, and Petitioner is unable to cite any authority to the contrary. Nick v. Department of Motor Vehicles (1993) 12 Cal.App.4th 1407, 1415-1418.

Petitioner argues that the hearing officer was unduly biased, apparently for not agreeing with Petitioner’s arguments. Petitioner reasons that because the hearing officer “took one day” to issue a decision (the hearing was conducted October 28, 2014 and the decision issued on October 30, 2014), that can only mean that “the ‘dye had been cast’ and the decision made even before the hearing started.” Petitioner’s argument is without merit and completely unsupported by the record. The hearing presented no complicated issue that would even require lengthy deliberation. Petitioner further accuses the hearing officer of pre-judging the matter, although he cites no evidence whatsoever in support of the contention.

Lastly, Petitioner argues that because the decision determined that Petitioner’s argument was baseless, that somehow “showcases” personal bias of the fact finder. Again, Petitioner cites no evidence in support of this contention.

In sum, substantial evidence supports the hearing officer’s findings and decision to suspend Petitioner’s driver’s license. Petitioner has failed to present any evidence or legal authority to negate the admissibility of the DMV’s documents, therefore greater weight should be given to the DMV’s evidence.

The evidence does not support Petitioner’s contention that a Fourth Amendment violation occurred. Several circumstances exist which justify Petitioner’s detention. Officer T. Raymond of the Santa Rosa Police Department observed Petitioner exit out of a one-way city parking lot entrance at the intersection of B Street and Ross Street in Santa Rosa, California. (Exs. 1 & 3 [p. 1 of narrative].) Thereafter, Petitioner made a left turn onto southbound B Street, and quickly accelerated as it passed another patrol car where Officer Woods was conducting a separate traffic stop. (Ibid.) Officer Raymond believed that Petitioner’s acceleration was an “unsafe speed for conditions.” (HT 28:21-29:15.) When he pulled behind the Petitioner, the Officer noticed that the car had expired registration tabs. (Ibid.) The expired registration tabs were the reason Officer Raymond initiated a traffic stop. (HT 30:14-19.)

In addition, there is no evidence that supports the notion that Petitioner was coerced into taking a breath test. Finally, there is no evidence that the hearing officer was unduly biased.

13. SCV-256849, A-C Transportation Services, Inc. v. Su
Petitioners’ motion to seal financial records is granted.

Petitioners’ motion for waiver of security bond required by California Labor Code is denied. Petitioners’ own evidence demonstrates that the corporation is operating at a net profit, has substantial gross income for the last two years, has significant assets, and has been paying the “officers,” apparently the individual Petitioners, substantial sums that amount to one of the largest expenses of the corporation. Petitioners fail to demonstrate that the individual Petitioners are indigent since their evidence is limited to an unexplained, unsupported, and equivocal conclusory statement that they have no “significant” assets and have liabilities exceeding income. They do not demonstrate or explain what exactly this vague and equivocal statement means. Finally, at the very least, the corporation appears unable to seek indigent status due to the simple fact that it is a corporation and not a “person” for purposes of indigence. Williams v. Freedomcard (2004) 123 Cal.App.4th 609, 615.




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