Judge: Barbara M. Scheper, Case: 21STCV40452, Date: 2022-08-03 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: 21STCV40452    Hearing Date: August 3, 2022    Dept: 30

Dept. 30

Calendar No.

Griffis, et. al. vs. 7520 S. Broadway, LLC, et. al., Case No. 21STCV40452


Tentative Ruling re:  Plaintiffs’ Motion for Trial Preference


            Plaintiffs move for an order for trial preference pursuant to Code Civ. Proc. § 36, subd. (b), setting this matter for trial within 120 days of granting of this motion. The motion is granted.


            Under Code Civ. Proc. § 36, subd. (b), a civil action to recover damages for personal injury shall be entitled to preference upon the motion of any party to the action who is under 14 years of age unless the court finds that the party does not have a substantial interest in the case as a whole.

            Upon the granting of such a motion for preference, the court shall set the matter for trial not more than 120 days from that date and there shall be no continuance beyond 120 days from the granting of the motion for preference except for physical disability of a party’s attorney, or a showing of good cause. (Code Civ. Proc. § 36, subd. (f).) Any continuance shall be for no more than 15 days and no more than one continuance for physical disability may be granted to any party. (Ibid.)


The First Amended Complaint (FAC) alleges Plaintiffs are tenants of apartment units at the property located at 7520 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, California. (FAC ¶¶ 1-2.) Plaintiffs Charvette Michelle Griffis and David Doye are tenants of Apartment #B. (FAC ¶ 1.) Plaintiffs Bryon Womack, Brielle Cain, Brylan Couch, Reign Crouch, Rya Crouch, and Ryan Crouch are tenants of Apartment #K. (FAC ¶ 2.) Plaintiffs John Pickering, Sadie Pickering, Trinity Pickering, John Pickering Jr., Ryan Pickering, and Chanel Pickering are tenants of Apartment #P. (FAC ¶ 3.)

Plaintiffs Brielle Cain, Brylan Crouch, Reign Crouch, Rya Crouch, Trinity Pickering, John Pickering Jr., Ryan Pickering, and Chanel Pickering (the Minor Plaintiffs) are under the age of fourteen. (FAC ¶¶ 1-3; Motion Ex. 1.)


            The requirements under Code Civ. Proc. § 36, subd. (b) are satisfied. First, this is a civil action to recover damages for personal injury. The FAC alleges that Defendant 7520 S. Broadway LLC (Defendant), the owners and managers of Plaintiffs’ apartment building, failed to maintain the habitability of the premises and Plaintiffs’ respective units. (FAC ¶¶ 11-12.) As a result of the conditions of the property, including water intrusion, mold, and vermin, the Minor Plaintiffs have allegedly suffered personal injuries. (FAC ¶¶ 29, 34, 40.) Plaintiffs have established that the Minor Plaintiffs are all under the age of 14. (Motion Ex. 1.)


            Defendant requests that the motion be denied on the basis that the Minor Plaintiffs lack “a substantial interest in the case as a whole.” (Code Civ. Proc. § 36, subd. (b).) Defendant fails to present any valid reason for finding that Minor Plaintiffs lack a substantial interest in this action. All Minor Plaintiffs allege causes of action against Defendant for breach of implied warranty of habitability, negligence, and nuisance, and have requested damages. Any plaintiff who asserts claims and seeks damages in a case clearly has a “substantial interest” in that case. Defendant has presented no substantive argument indicating otherwise.

            Because this is a civil action to recover for personal damages and the Minor Plaintiffs have a substantial interest in the case as a whole, a grant of trial preference is mandatory. (Code Civ. Proc. § 36, subd. (b).)