Judge: Lee W. Tsao, Case: 19STCV19908, Date: 2023-03-28 Tentative Ruling

Case Number: 19STCV19908    Hearing Date: March 28, 2023    Dept: C


CASE NO.:  19STCV19908

HEARING: 3/28/23 @ 1:30 PM





Defendant Estes Terminals of California, LLC’s motion for summary judgment, or in the alternative, summary adjudication as to Plaintiffs’ fourth amended complaint is CONTINUED to Tuesday, August 6, 2023 at 1:30 pm in Dept. C.


Moving Party to give NOTICE.



Defendant Estes Terminals of California, LLC (“Estes Terminals”) moves for summary judgment, or alternatively, summary adjudication pursuant to CCP § 437c.




The operative Fourth Amended Complaint (“4AC”) alleges that on December 4, 2017, Decedent Gilbert Dominguez was working at a trucking terminal owned and operated by Defendants Estes Terminals.  “Without warning, a yellow 2014 ACTT terminal-tractor… driven by another employee began to reverse towards Decedent… Partially because the subject tractor… was not equipped with a back-up safety alarm or other safety measures… Decedent… was struck by the vehicle, resulting in severe and life-altering injuries… which ultimately resulted in his death on October 28, 2019.”  (4AC, ¶ 11.)  Based thereon, the 4AC asserts causes of action for:


1.    Negligence

2.    Premises Liability

3.    Strict Products Liability

4.    Negligence – Products Liability

5.    Medical Negligence

6.    Fraud


If it appears from the affidavits submitted in opposition to a motion for summary judgment or summary adjudication, or both, that facts essential to justify opposition may exist but cannot, for reasons stated, be presented, the court shall deny the motion, order a continuance to permit affidavits to be obtained or discovery to be had, or make any other order as may be just. The application to continue the motion to obtain necessary discovery may also be made by ex parte motion at any time on or before the date the opposition response to the motion is due.”  (CCP § 437c(h).)


Prior to the incident, Defendants Estes Terminals, Estes Express Lines, and GI
Trucking dba Estes West advised Cal-OSHA that the City of La Mirada required
Defendants to remove all back-up alarms from yard goats and tractors used at the subject Estes Terminal in La Mirada, including the subject tractor that crushed Decedent Gilbert Dominguez.  (Plaintiff’s Separate Statement 5.) Plaintiffs’ attorney declares that a further deposition of Angela Maidment, as Vice President of Corporate Real Estate and Legal Affairs for Estes Express Lines, is necessary.  At Estes Terminal’s PMQ deposition, Maidment, as President of Estes Terminal, was instructed not to answer any questions regarding information and knowledge of Estes Express Lines.  (Mortimer Decl., ¶ 7, Ex. D, Maidment Depo, 16:17-28:6.)  If Maidment has knowledge about the removal of the back-up alarms or other security measures like installation of available computer systems taken to guard employees in the absence of yard goat back-up alarms, Plaintiffs are entitled to this information.  If further discovery reveals that the Defendant corporations are agents or alter egos of each other, Plaintiffs are entitled to this information.


A continuance is necessary to obtain facts essential to the opposition regarding Defendant’s control of the property, and which Estes entity removed the back-up alarms.  The court finds that Plaintiffs were not dilatory in seeking the information.  Plaintiffs attempted to discover information, but Defendant instructed the deponent not to answer certain questions.


Accordingly, the motion is CONTINUED to Tuesday, August 6, 2023 at 1:30 pm in Dept. C.