Judge: Upinder S. Kalra, Case: 22STCV06162, Date: 2022-07-25 Tentative Ruling

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Case Number: 22STCV06162    Hearing Date: July 25, 2022    Dept: 51

Tentative Ruling


Judge Upinder S. Kalra, Department 51


HEARING DATE:   July 25, 2022                                                  


CASE NAME:           CHA Hollywood Medical Center, LP v. Local Initiative Health Authority for Los Angeles County


CASE NO.:                22STCV06162




MOVING PARTY: Defendant L.A. Care Health Plan


RESPONDING PARTY(S): Plaintiff CHA Hollywood




1.      An order sustaining the Demurrer as to the complaint in its entirety



1.      Demurrer is SUSTAINED without leave to amend.


2.       Request for Judicial Notice is GRANTED.


Plaintiff CHA Hollywood Medical Center, L.P. (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendant Local Initiative Health Authority for Los Angeles County dba L.A. Healthcare Plan, an independent entity and Does 1 through 25 (“Defendant”) on February 18, 2022. The complaint alleged three causes of action: (1) Breach of Contract, (2) Breach of Implied in Fact Contract, and (3) Quantum Meruit. Plaintiff alleges that the parties entered a contract whereby Plaintiff would render medical services to members with an L.A. Care health plan and Defendant would pay for those services at the contracted rates. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant failed to pay for certain claims of members enrolled in the health plan.


Defendant filed this current Demurrer on April 15, 2022, requesting the complaint be sustained in its entirety and dismissed. Plaintiff filed its Opposition on July 13, 2022. Defendant’s Reply was filed on July 18, 2022.  





Judicial Notice:


The Court may take judicial notice of the existence of the records, but not the truth of matters asserted in such records. (Sosinsky v. Grant (1992) 6 Cal.App.4th 1548, 1565). As a result, although the court may take judicial notice that the documents exist, the Court may not take judicial notice of the truth of the facts in the documents.


            Additionally, Evidence Code only allows the Court to take judicial notice of certain types of documents. The court may take judicial notice of “official acts of the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of the United States and of any state of the United States,” “[r]ecords of (1) any court of this state or (2) any court of record of the United States or of any state of the United States,” and “[f]acts and propositions that are not reasonably subject to dispute and are capable of immediate and accurate determination by resort to sources of reasonably indisputable accuracy.” (Evid. Code § 452, subds. (c), (d), and (h).) The Evidence Code does not allow the Court to take judicial notice of discovery responses or parts of cases, such as depositions.


Defendant requests the Court take judicial notice of the following documents:


A.    Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Ordinance No. 94-0100

B.     State of California, Secretary of State, Statement of Facts Roster of Public Agencies Filing

C.     Plaintiff’s Government Claim Regarding Patient 1

D.    Plaintiff’s Government Claim Regarding Patient 2

E.     L.A. Care’s Notice of Rejection of Plaintiff’s Government Claims Regarding Patients 1 and 2

F.      Declaration of William Seldeen in support of L.A. Care’s Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint

The Request for Judicial Notice is GRANTED.


Meet and Confer:

The Declaration of Nicholas Fine indicates that the parties attempted to meet and confer regarding the perceived deficiencies in the Complaint. The parties could not come to an agreement. (Dec. Fine Re: Meet and Confer.)



Under CCP § 430.40(a), a party can file a demurrer 30 days after service, unless extended by stipulation or court order. The Proof of Service of the Summons indicates that substituted service was attempted on 2/23/2022 in the morning, but the process server was unable to serve as the documents were to be emailed. Later, on 2/23/2022, Sandra Felix emailed the documents as per the requirements. The email was answered, indicating that to accept service, the Notice and Acknowledge of Receipt was to be forwarded so the Defendant could sign and return accepting service. However, there is no indication that this Notice and Acknowledgement was forwarded. As such, there is no indication when service was perfected. In any event, the trial court has discretion to hear an untimely demurrer, especially where the plaintiff did not obtain a default and did not affect the plaintiff’s substantial rights. (Jackson v. Doe (2001) 192 Cal.App.4th 742, 750.)

Additionally, Defendant contends that since the Plaintiff’s opposition was untimely, the demurrer should be considered unopposed and sustained on this alone. However, the opposition was one day late, and Defendant still had an opportunity to substantively argue the merits in the reply. Accordingly, the court will reach the merits of the demurrer.




Demurrer is Sustained

Defendant demurs generally to the entire complaint on the grounds that the Plaintiff failed to state facts sufficient to state a cause of action. The Act sets time requirements in which a claim must be presented to a government agency and, if rejected, suit must be commenced. Defendant contends that damage claims against public entities must specifically allege facts indicating compliance with the Government Claims Act. (Govt. Code §§ 810, et seq. (“Act”).). Defendant asserts that the allegation by Plaintiff in paragraph 12 of the Complaint that “timely appeals and timely submission of government claims,” however, was conclusory and factually insufficient.


Cohran v. Herzog Engraving Co. (1984) 155 Cal.App.3d 405, 410 Fn. 2, and Shields v. County of San Diego (1984) 155 Cal.App.3d 103, 113, require setting forth facts with sufficient detail to support liability against a public agency. More specifically, Gong v. City of Rosemead (2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 363, holds that general allegations that the time requirements of the Act were met are subject to attack by demurrer. As such, Defendant’s position is well taken, Plaintiff’s decision to generally allege that these requirements were met are subject to demurrer since absent these specific dates, the Complaint fails to state a cause of action.


Accordingly, the Demurrer as to the entire Complaint is SUSTAINED.


Leave to Amend

Leave to amend should be liberally granted if there is a reasonable possibility an amendment could cure the defect.  (County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court (2022) 77 Cal.App.5th 1018,1035.) The Plaintiff has the burden of demonstrating that leave to amend should be granted. (Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal.3d 335, 349 [“Plaintiff must show in what manner he can amend his complaint and how that amendment will change the legal effect of his pleading.”].) Defendant argues that leave to amend would be futile because amendments cannot cure the defects. Defendant asserts that Exhibits C-E demonstrate that as to patients one and two, Plaintiff  failed to file this Complaint within six months after the claim was rejected on May 27, 2021. Defendant argues as to the remaining patients, public records demonstrate that Plaintiff failed to present any claims at any time to Defendant. 


Ordinarily judicial notice only indicates that the documents exist, not the truth of what is stated in the documents. However, there are exceptions. One such exception relates to public records relating to compliance with the time requirements of the Act. In particular, once a plaintiff alleges that they complied with the Act’s time presentation and filing requirements, a court can properly take judicial notice of the contents of the public records that contravene the allegations and show non-compliance. (Gong v. City of Rosemead, supra, 226 Cal.App.4th at p. 376.) The court rejects Plaintiff’s attempt to limit using such records only to timely presentation issues. The court also rejects Plaintiff’s argument that since Defendant did not reject patients claims within 45 days, that is akin to a non-response, so they get the benefit of the two-year time limit under Government Code section 945.6, subdivision (a)(2). A response, even an untimely response, is a response. As such, the six-month statute of limitations applies under Government Code section 945.6, subdivision (a)(1). Accordingly, since the contents of these records that the court has taken judicial notice of demonstrate that Defendant failed to comply with the filing requirements of patients one and two and the presentation requirements as to the remaining patients, it does not appear that there is reasonable possibility that Plaintiff can cure the defects of their Complaint. 


Further, even absent this court taking judicial notice of any records, there is another reason that there is no possibility to cure the defects in the second and third causes of action. In County of Santa Clara v. Superior Court, supra, 77 Cal.App.5th at pp. 1028-1029, in facts strikingly similar to the facts here, the Court held that, as a matter of law, a public entity is immune from causes of action based on breach of an implied in fact contract claim and quantum merit claim not based upon statute.


As such, the Demurrer is SUSTAINED, without leave to amend.





            For the foregoing reasons, the Court decides the pending motion as follows:


            The Demurrer is SUSTAINED, without leave to amend, as to the entire complaint.


Request for Judicial Notice is GRANTED.


Moving party is to give notice.




Dated:             July 25, 2022                          __________________________________                                                                                                                Upinder S. Kalra

                                                                                    Judge of the Superior Court