May 04, 2016

 LAW & MOTION TENTATIVE RULINGS                   UPDATED

WEDNESDAY, MAY 4, 2016, 3:00pm        

COURTROOM 19 – Judge Allan D. Hardcastle  

3055 Cleveland Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA  95403

Court Call is available for all Law and Motion appearances, EXCEPT parties in small claims cases and motions for claims of exemption which are mandatory appearances. ** To set up Court Call- Please call them 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, it will be necessary for you to contact Judge Hardcastle’s Judicial Assistant by telephone at (707) 521-6730 by 4:00 p.m. on TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2016.  Any party requesting an appearance must notify all other parties of their intent to appear.

 


 

1.      SCV-256377 Hanley v. Gavriloff:

            Defendant’s Demurrer to the Fifth Cause of Action for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress is overruled.  The First Amended Complaint sets forth detailed allegations of Defendant’s extreme and outrageous conduct, sufficiently identifies the targets of Defendant’s campaign of intimidation and harassment, and provides enough detail about the severe emotional distress suffered by each Plaintiff to give Defendant fair notice of the claims against him.

            The motion to strike is also denied.  Plaintiff to prepare an order consistent with the Court’s ruling.

 

2.      SCV-257340 Redding v. CPG:

             The Demurrer is Overruled in its Entirety.

            The First Amended Complaint is well-pleaded and well-grounded in law and fact. Plaintiff has stated claims for fraud via intentional misrepresentation, concealment, and promissory fraud arising out of the purchase of defective decking materials.

            The Motion to Strike is denied.

            The damages sought in this case are supported by the pending claims sounding in Fraud. Tort damages, as defendant concedes, can serve as the basis for the recovery at issue. Civil Code sec. 1709 provides that in an action for fraud, a defendant is liable for any damage which plaintiff suffers. While defendant has been very careful in choosing the words in its warranty, its fraudulent conduct allows plaintiff to seek recovery of all costs she will incur in removing and replacing the decking defendant falsely marketed and sold to her.

            Second, given the circumstances at bar, plaintiff can seek attorney fees via the “public benefit” doctrine. CCP sec. 1021.5 provides that attorney fees can be recovered in cases, such as the one at bar, where important rights affecting the public interest are at issue. After trial, and upon motion, a court may award attorneys’ fees to a successful party against the opposing party in any action which has resulted in the enforcement of an important right affecting the public interest if: (a) a significant benefit, whether pecuniary or nonpecuniary, has been conferred on the general public or a large class of persons, (b) the necessity and financial burden of private enforcement, or of enforcement by one public entity against another public entity, are such as to make the award appropriate, and (c) such fees should not in the interest of justice be paid out of the recovery, if any. In this case, the issue of attorney fees should be deferred. Plaintiff believes that she will be providing a substantial benefit to the public given the facts and circumstances in this case. It is premature to make that determination, the defendant’s motion to strike is denied in its entirety on that basis.

 

3.      MCV-235884 Collectronics v. Ghazi:

            Plaintiff’s motion is granted appointing Michael Brewer as Receiver to carry out the enforcement of the judgment entered in this case against Defendant Amar Mohamed Ghazi, Individually and as Personal Guarantor of Captain Liquor.

 

4.      SCV-255134 Mendez v. St. Joseph Health:

            The hearing in this matter re: the special needs trust shall be continued to the Probate calendar on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 2:30pm in Department 18.  Probate tentative rulings will be posted on the court’s website by 11:00am the previous Wednesday and may be viewed by going to the following web page:  http://sonoma.courts.ca.gov/online-services/tentative-rulings/probate

   

5.      SCV-255319 Vanguard v. Hall T-T:

Defendant’s Request for Production of Documents (as to both plaintiffs)

Defendant’s motion for further responses to Request Nos. 16-18 is granted.  The requests are relevant to the subject matter of this litigation as they seek Plaintiff’s listing agreements for sale of properties that are similar to Defendant’s, specifically properties that were pending subdivision, vineyard properties, or list prices above $18 million. Response to be provided within 10 days.

 Requests 19 & 20 requesting information about commission reductions with some of Plaintiff’s other clients is an invasion of privacy and a breach of the attorney-client privilege and work-product doctrine.  Defendant’s motion to compel further responses to Request Nos. 19 & 20 is denied.  

            Defendant’s Form Interrogatory 17.1(d) (as to both plaintiffs)

            Defendant’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Vanguard Properties and James Nunemacher to provide amended responses to Form Interrogatory 17.1(d) is granted.  The plaintiffs must act in compliance with their obligation to provide straightforward and complete answers within 10 days. 

            Defendant’s Request for Admissions (as to both plaintiffs)

            The parties have reached an agreement as to these requests.

            Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel Further Responses For Production

            Plaintiff claims that despite its meet and confer efforts, Defendant Hall has still failed to produce the Purchase Agreement from hall’s acquisition of the subject property, construction loan documents relating to the subdivision work at the subject property, appraisals relating to the subject property, due diligence materials relating to the acquisition of the subject property, disclosure documents Hall received from the seller of the subject property, soil reports regarding the subject property, vendor contracts and communications related to the subdivision, documents pertaining to the subdivision of Hall Ranch, and county documents and submittals related to the subdivision of the subject property.

            Defendant’s averment that the document requests are repetitive is belied by its own actions. On March 23, 2016, in response to Nunemacher’s Request for Production, Hall produced approximately 135 additional pages of documents to Plaintiffs that were not previously produced. (Supplemental Declaration of Jennifer Supman, Ex.11.) On April 22, 2016, in response to Nunemacher’s Request for Production, Hall produced for the first time the Listing Agreement that it entered into with Paul Spitler, another agent, in 2009. (Id., Ex. 12.) If all of Plaintiffs’ document requests are repetitive and only intended to harass, why are additional responsive documents being produced?

            Hall’s argument that Plaintiffs have not identified the documents they seek with the requisite specificity is without merit. In Plaintiff’s initial meet and confer letter, Plaintiff’s identify six specific categories of documents they seek. (See Declaration of Jennifer Supman, Ex. 7.) The meet and confer letter goes even further, identifying the documents sought with particularity. (Id.)

            Therefore, the motion is granted.

 Plaintiff’s Special Interrogatory No. 7

            Defendant Hall is compelled to properly respond to Special Interrogatory No. 7 by providing a summary of the terms of the listing agreement within 10 days.

            Sanctions

            Requests for sanctions are DENIED.

6.      SCV-256364 McDonald v. Hamdlin:
             For the third time, Plaintiff is attempting to file his First Amended Complaint (FAC) without showing good cause. In fact, during the December 4, 2015 hearing, Plaintiff’s counsel voluntarily and strategically withdrew Plaintiff’s FAC. Instead of presenting this critical fact to the Court in his Motion, Plaintiff ignores the withdrawal as a non-issue. (The Court notes in Plaintiff’s Reply this is characterized as “ a split second decision to withdraw the FAC.” Page 4, Lines 19-20.)
            Defendants claim they will be severely prejudiced if Plaintiff is permitted to file his FAC, adding his claims for meal and rest period violations, since Defendants will incur significant additional expenses to conduct discovery, vet experts and depose additional witnesses. Plaintiff filed his initial Complaint on or about November 18, 2014 and moving Plaintiff does not state any legitimate reasons for the nearly 1.5 year-long delay; a delay that will likely require the trial date to be continued again.  The parties have already exchanged several sets of written discovery and have taken key depositions including, but not limited to, the deposition of Plaintiff. The discovery emphasized Plaintiff’s wrongful termination, retaliation, unpaid overtime wages, and inaccurate wage statement claims against Defendants and did not focus on Plaintiff’s newly formulated claims for meal and rest period violations.
            On balance, Plaintiff has not shown good cause why his motion should be granted and the motion is denied. 

7.      SCV-257318 Fernandez v. Sonoma Valley:

            There is a compelling interest in maintaining the confidentiality of the settlement terms and subsequent Motion for Good Faith Determination.  Accordingly, based on good cause, the Court grants defendant’s motion requesting that the Application for Good Faith Settlement be filed under seal pursuant to California Rules of Court, Rule 2.550 and 2.551.  The Motion for Good Faith Settlement is approved.

 

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