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
GLENN SOLOMON, et al.,
[TENTATIVE] ORDER RE: MOTION TO STRIKE
Date: December 22, 2020
Time: 8:30 a.m.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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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