Judge: Stephanie M. Bowick, Case: 21STCV19113, Date: 2023-03-20 Tentative Ruling

If you desire to submit on a tentative ruling, you may do so by e-mailing Dept. 19 before 08:00 a.m. on the day of the motion hearing. The e-mail address for submitting is SMCDept19@lacourt.org. The heading on your e-mail must contain the case name and number, and that you submit. For example, "Smith v. Jones BC551124, submit". The message should indicate your name, contact information, and the party you represent.

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Case Number: 21STCV19113    Hearing Date: March 20, 2023    Dept: 19

After consideration of the briefing filed, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff’s request for a continuance pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (h) and CONTINUES the Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment to May 9, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. in Department 19 of the Stanley Mosk Courthouse.

The Court also advances and continues the Post-Mediation Status Conference from May 5, 2023 to June 19, 2023, at 8:30 a.m.

Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (h) provides as follows:


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.

(Code Civ. Proc., § 437c(h).)

“A party seeking continuance or denial of a motion under section 437c, subdivision (h) must show that the facts to be obtained are essential to opposing the motion, that there is reason to believe such facts may exist, and that additional time is needed to obtain these facts.” (501 East 51st Street, Long-Beach-10 LLC v. Kookmin Best Insurance Co., Ltd. (2020) 47 Cal.App.5th 924, 939 (citing Wachs v. Curry (1993) 13 Cal.App.4th 616, 623, disapproved of on other grounds in Marathon Entertainment, Inc. v. Blasi (2008) 42 Cal.4th 974, 987).)

“The party's supporting declarations must show: ‘(1) ‘Facts establishing a likelihood that controverting evidence may exist and why the information sought is essential to opposing the motion’; (2) ‘The specific reasons why such evidence cannot be presented at the present time’; (3) ‘An estimate of the time necessary to obtain such evidence’; and (4) ‘The specific steps or procedures the opposing party intends to utilize to obtain such evidence.’ ’” (Id. (quoting Johnson v. Alameda County Medical Center (2012) 205 Cal.App.4th 521, 532).)

Here, the Court finds that the declaration of Julian B. Bellenghi sets forth a sufficient basis for a continuance pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (h). The declaration of Julian B. Bellenghi sufficiently shows that the deposition testimony of El Segundo Fire Chief Deena Lee revealed facts essential to justify opposition to the motion, that Plaintiff initially noticed Chief Lee’s deposition for February 20, 2023, but that the deposition was postponed twice to accommodate Chief Lee given that counsel for Chief Lee informed Plaintiff’s counsel that she had become ill, and that the deposition ultimately occurred on March 6, 2023, the day Plaintiff’s Opposition to the Motion was due. (See Julian B. Bellenghi Decl., ¶¶ 3-12.)

Based on these facts, the Court finds that Plaintiff has made the requisite showing for a continuance pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 437c, subdivision (h).

Plaintiff’s supplemental opposition and separate statement must be filed and served on or before April 20, 2023.

Defendant City of El Segundo’s supplemental reply papers must be filed and served on or before May 1, 2023.

Counsel for Plaintiff to give notice.