Apr 21, 2018



Wednesday, April 18, 2018, 3:00 p.m.

Courtroom 18 – Hon. René Auguste Chouteau

3055 Cleveland Avenue, Santa Rosa



CourtCall is available for all Law & Motion appearances, EXCEPT parties in 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) 521-6730, and all other opposing parties of your intent to appear by 4:00 p.m. today, Tuesday, April 17, 2018.  Parties in motions for claims of exemption are exempt from this requirement.


PLEASE NOTE:  The Court no longer provides Court Reporters for this calendar.  If they wish, the parties may confer and arrange for one of the parties to bring a privately retained Court Reporter to serve in the matter.





1.         MCV-243595, Bell-Newman v. Packard


            Defendant’s unopposed motion to compel arbitration is granted.  Any award of costs is premature because there has been no determination of the prevailing party.  Therefore costs are denied without prejudice.


            Defendant shall submit an order consistent with this ruling.



2.         SCV-257268, Bercut v. Michaels Stores


            Plaintiffs’ unopposed motion for preliminary approval of a class action settlement is GRANTED. 


            The party seeking settlement approval has the burden of showing the settlement to be fair and reasonable but “a presumption of fairness exists where: (1) the settlement is reached through arm's-length bargaining; (2) investigation and discovery are sufficient to allow counsel and the court to act intelligently; (3) counsel is experienced in similar litigation; and (4) the percentage of objectors is small.”  (Dunk v. Ford Motor Co. (1996) 48 Cal.App.4th 1794, 1802.)


            Plaintiff has adequately demonstrated that the first three factors addressed in Dunk have been satisfied and the fourth factor shall be assessed at the final approval hearing.  Therefore, the settlement agreement is within the range of reasonableness and meets the requirements for preliminary approval. 


            The hearing to address whether the settlement should be finally approved is scheduled for Wednesday, September 19, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. in Department 18 of this court.  Plaintiffs are advised that in support of the motion for final approval they will be required to file declarations of counsel detailing tasks completed and hours spent in support of their request for attorney fees.  The briefing schedule for this hearing shall conform to Code of Civil Procedure section 1005(b).


            Plaintiffs shall submit an order consistent with this ruling.



3.         SCV-257533, Plichcik v. Plichcik


            Defendant’s motion to vacate judgment pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 663(1) is DENIED, but Defendant’s motion to set aside the default and default judgment pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 473(b) is GRANTED.



4.         SCV-260207, Watts v. Milber


            DROPPED from calendar pursuant to the April 11 court minutes.



5.         SCV-261514, Turner v. Barnes Family Company, Inc.


            DROPPED from calendar at the request of counsel for moving party; unconditional notice of settlement filed April 3.



6.         SPR-091179, Matter of Bridget B. Dempsey Trust


            Appearances required to set the matter for Case Management Conference and/or Trial.

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