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DEPARTMENT 56 JUDGE HOLLY J. FUJIE, LAW AND MOTION RULINGS. The court makes every effort to post tentative rulings by 5.00 pm of the court day before the hearing. The tentative ruling will not become the final ruling until the hearing [see CRC 3.1308(a)(2)], and are also available in the courtroom on the day of the hearing [see CRC 3.1308(b)]. If the parties wish to submit on the tentative ruling and avoid a court appearance, all counsel must agree and choose which counsel will give notice. That counsel must 1) call Dept 56 by 8:30 a.m. on the day of the hearing (213/633-0656) and state that all parties will submit on the tentative ruling, and 2) serve notice of the ruling on all parties. If any party declines to submit on the tentative ruling, then no telephone call is necessary and all parties should appear at the hearing in person or by Court Call. Court reporters are not provided, and parties who want a record of motions and other proceedings must hire a privately retained certified court reporter.


Case Number: 19STCV24611    Hearing Date: December 22, 2020    Dept: 56

 

 

 

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES - CENTRAL DISTRICT

 

KIMBERLY FAY, et al.,  

                        Plaintiffs,

            vs.

 

GLENN SOLOMON, et al.,

 

                        Defendants.

      CASE NO.: 19STCV24611

 

[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: MOTION TO STRIKE

 

Date:  December 22, 2020

Time: 8:30 a.m.

Dept. 56

 

 

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Glenn Solomon (“Moving Defendant”)

 

RESPONDING PARTIES: Plaintiffs Kimberly Fay; James Vitale; Tammy Solz; Jeffrey K. Schmidt; Jamie Rosenthal-Boyer; and Theodore Boyer

 

The Court has considered the moving, opposition, and reply papers.

 

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs’ operative Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) arises from their alleged tenancy and wrongful eviction from a property located at 336 North Ogden Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90036 (the “Subject Property”), alleging cause of action for: (1) violation of Civ. Code § 789.3; (2) forcible entry and detainer; (3) wrongful eviction; and (4) violation of Los Angeles Rent Stabilization Ordinance.

 

Moving Defendant filed a motion to strike (the “Motion”) all references to punitive and exemplary damages from the SAC. 

 

MEET AND CONFER

            The meet and confer requirement has been met.

 

DISCUSSION

Code Civ. Proc. § 436(a) allows a court to strike out any irrelevant, false, or improper matter inserted in any pleading.  Code Civ. Proc. § 436(b) allows a court to strike out all or any part of any pleading not drawn or filed in conformity with the laws of this state, a court rule, or an order of the court.

 

Issue No.1: Punitive Damages

             Civ. Code § 3294 authorizes punitive damages upon a showing of malice, fraud, or oppression.  Malice is defined as either conduct which is intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff or despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.  (Civ. Code § 3294(c)(1).)  Despicable conduct is conduct which is so vile, base, contemptible, miserable, wretched or loathsome that it would be looked down upon and despised by ordinary decent people.  (Mock v. Michigan Millers Mutual Ins. Co. (1992) 4 Cal. App. 4th 306, 331.)  Civ. Code § 3294(c)(3) means an intentional misrepresentation, deceit, or concealment of a material fact known to the defendant with the intention on the part of the defendant of thereby depriving a person of property or legal rights or otherwise causing injury.  Civ. Code § 3294(c)(2) defines oppression as despicable conduct that subjects a person to cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of that person’s rights.  Specific facts must be pled in support of punitive damages.  (Hillard v. A.H. Robins Co. (1983) 148 Cal.App.3d 374, 391-392.)  The law does not favor punitive damages and they should be granted with the greatest caution.  (Beck v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. (1976) 54 Cal.App.3d 347, 355.)

 

            Analysis

            The Court finds that Plaintiffs have not stated specific facts showing malice, fraud, or oppression on behalf of Moving Defendant.  The SAC is premised on Plaintiffs allegedly being able to return to their units but at one point being locked out of their units—due to the erection of a fence around the Subject Property after a fire damaged parts of the Subject Property— and notified that their leases were terminated.  The allegations set forth in the SAC are not sufficient to warrant the imposition of punitive damages against Moving Defendant. 

 

            Therefore, the Court finds it appropriate to strike punitive damages allegations from the SAC and GRANTS the Motion WITHOUT LEAVE TO AMEND.

 

Moving party is ordered to give notice of this ruling.

 

In consideration of the current COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Court strongly encourages that appearances on all proceedings, including this one, be made by LACourtConnect if the parties do not submit on the tentative.  If you instead intend to make an appearance in person at Court on this matter, you must send an email by 2 p.m. on the last Court day before the scheduled date of the hearing to SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org stating your intention to appear in person.  The Court will then inform you by close of business that day of the time your hearing will be held. The time set for the hearing may be at any time during that scheduled hearing day, or it may be necessary to schedule the hearing for another date if the Court is unable to accommodate all personal appearances set on that date.  This rule is necessary to ensure that adequate precautions can be taken for proper social distancing.

 

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMC_DEPT56@lacourt.org as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org.  If the department does not receive an email and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.

 

        Dated this 22nd day of December 2020

 

 

 

 

Hon. Holly J. Fujie

Judge of the Superior Court

 



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