Feb 20, 2017

TENTATIVE RULINGS                                                                      
FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 17, 2017, 3:00 p.m.
Courtroom 18 –René Auguste Chouteau
3055 Cleveland Avenue, 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 the Court by telephone at (707) 521-6547, and all other opposing parties of your intent to appear by 4:00 p.m. today, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2017. Parties in small claims cases and motions for claims of exemption are exempt from this requirement.





1. MCV-239955; Bank of American v. Bagley

Defendant’s motion to quash service of summons and complaint is denied.


No proof of service of the motion was filed with the court, and plaintiff has opposed this motion for lack of adequate notice pursuant to CCP §1005.


Additionally, defendant has failed to support his motion with a declaration. (See School Dist. of Okaloosa County v. Superior Court (1997) 58 Cal.App.4th 1126, 1131; “Defendant is the moving party and must present some admissible evidence (declarations or affidavits) to place the issue before the court.”)


Accordingly, the court denies defendant’s motion without prejudice to refile.


Plaintiff shall submit an order consistent with this ruling.



2. SCV-259982; Harvey v. Sonoma Valley Health Care District
Petitioner’s unopposed petition for relief from provisions of Government Code §945.4 is granted.


The court finds petitioner’s counsel’s mistake in filing the claim with the wrong entity was excusable.  (Gov. Code, §946.6(c)(1); Bettencourt v. Los Rios Community College Dist. (1986) 42 Cal.3d 270, 276-277.)  Per counsel’s declaration, he did not know that the County of Sonoma and the Sonoma Valley Health Care District were separate entities.  (Friedman Decl., ¶6.)  It was not unreasonable for petitioner’s counsel, whose firm is in San Francisco, to have believed the District was a County entity.  Counsel attempted to correct his mistake promptly by filing an application for leave to present a late claim with the District just 10 days past the 6-month statutory deadline. Nevertheless, the District denied petitioner’s application.


The District has failed to oppose this motion and to meet its burden of proving it will be prejudiced if this court grants relief.  (Gov. Code, §946.6(c)(1).)


Accordingly, the petition is granted.  Suit on the cause of action to which the claim relates shall be filed with the court within 30 days pursuant to Government Code §946.6(f).


Petitioner shall submit an order consistent with this ruling.



3. SCV-258391; Franklin v. Ford Motor Company

Appearances required.


Plaintiff moves to compel further responses to requests for production (numbers 24, 26, 35-40 and 85-86) from defendant Ford Motor Co.


Defendant’s request for judicial notice of hearing transcripts and court orders in other, unrelated cases is denied as irrelevant.


“The court is not required to grant an order for document production.  It may properly weigh whatever probative value the records are likely to have against the cost, time, expenses and disruption of normal business likely to result from an order compelling production thereof.  [Volkswagen of America, Inc. v. Sup.Ct. (Rusk) (2006) 139 CA4th 1481, 1497, 43 CR3d 723, 733 (citing text); Calcor Space Facility, Inc. v. Sup.Ct. (Thiem Industries, Inc.) (1997) 53 CA4th 216, 223, 61 CR2d 567, 571; see ¶8:544.1 ff.]” (Weil and Brown, Cal. Prac. Guide Civ. Pro. Before Trial Ch. 8H-8, §8:1482.)

This is a straight forward action alleging violations of the Song-Beverly Act and fraudulent concealment and misrepresentation.  Plaintiff’s core arguments in support of good cause for production are related to the Song-Beverly Act violations.  However, the requests are not narrowly drawn to limit production to documents that are relevant to proving those warranty claims.  It seems likely considerable time and expense will result from production of responsive documents which are of little probative value. Furthermore, trial is upcoming; it is set for March 24, 2017.


While some of the documents sought may be relevant to plaintiff’s claims and discoverable, the court finds plaintiff has failed to establish good cause for the overly broad requests for production as currently framed.  The motion papers and the opposition deal in generalities which make it impossible for the court to draft an order which properly limits plaintiff’s overly broad requests.  In addition, Ford fails to submit any declaration(s) in support of its opposition arguments.


The court is prepared to consider oral argument as to whether partial discovery is justified.  If sufficient argument is presented to show good cause for partial discovery, and Ford does not demonstrate such discovery is unduly burdensome or otherwise objectionable, the court may grant plaintiff’s motion, in part.



4. SCV-258651; Hassett v. Q&S Automotive

Petitioner Hassett’s motion to tax $595.00 in costs is denied.


Hassett’s petition to compel arbitration pursuant to CCP §1281.2 was denied by this court and the action has been dismissed.  Therefore, respondent “was the prevailing party as a matter of law because it defeated the only contract claim before the trial court in this discrete special proceeding.”  (Otay River Constructors v. San Diego Expressway (2008) 158 Cal.App.4th 796, 807.)

As in Otay, “the merits of the contract claims under the [lease agreements] that [Hassett] sought to send to arbitration [before JAMS] were not at issue in the court proceedings to compel arbitration and the fact that the parties will probably pursue these claims in another action does not lessen [respondent’s] victory in this discrete legal proceeding.”  (Id. at p. 808.) 

Hassett argues an award of costs is premature because the ultimate victor on the merits has yet to be determined.  This argument ignores the reasoning in Otay, and the fact that this discrete legal action was only a petition to compel arbitration, which has been denied and dismissed.

Respondent shall submit an order consistent with this ruling.



© 2017 Superior Court of Sonoma County