Judge: Walter P. Schwarm, Case: 30-2021-01213345, Date: 2022-08-16 Tentative Ruling

Defendants’ (Fredy Alexander Santiago and Sophia Laura Heredia dba Sophies’ Trucking) unopposed Motion to Consolidate Matters and Set the Same Trial and All Dates for the Consolidated Matter (Motion), filed on 3-30-22 under ROA No. 31, is GRANTED.

 

Defendants move to consolidate the following five (5) cases for all purposes, including trial: (1) Bynes v. Santiago (Case No. 30-2021-01213345; (2) Lamping Jr. v. Santiago (Case No. 30-2021-01217912; (3) Garibay v. Santiago (Case No. 30-2021-01218556; (4) Cervantes v. Santiago (Case No. 30-2021-01219514; and (5) Geico General Insurance Co. v. Sophia Laura Heredia (Case No. 30-2021-01231456) (Motion; 2:7-25.).

 

As an initial matter, the court notes that moving parties have failed to comply with the procedural requirements set forth in California Rules of Court, rule 3.350(a).  However, given that all counsel in all five cases appear to have been served and no opposition has been filed, the court will rule on the merits of the instant motion.

 

Code of Civil Procedure section 1048, subdivision (a), states,  “When actions involving a common question of law or fact are pending before the court, it may order a joint hearing or trial of any or all the matters in issue in the action; it may order all the actions consolidated and it may make such orders concerning proceedings therein as may tend to avoid unnecessary costs or delay.” 

 

Here, there are common questions of law and fact, as all five actions arise out of the same alleged six-car motor vehicle accident that occurred on September 5, 2019, at about 3:45 p.m. on eastbound SR-91, west of Weir Canyon Road, in Anaheim, California. The various individual plaintiffs allege personal injury, the Geico matter is a subrogation case arises out of benefits paid in connection with this accident, and the Defendants in all five lawsuits are Fredy Alexander Santiago and Sophia Laura Heredia dba Sophie’s Trucking. (Toprakjian Decl., ¶¶ 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, and Exhibits A, B, C, De, E, and F.)

 

Defendants further contend that consolidation will avoid unnecessary duplication, avoid the risk of inconsistent adjudications and will be conducive to judicial expedience and economy. (Motion; 6:8-24.) Defendants also contend that no parties will suffer prejudice by consolidation.  Conversely, without consolidation the parties will have to participate in duplicative discovery, expert depositions, and trials. (Motion; 5:27-6:7.) Without consolidation, the parties will also be prejudiced by the increased costs. (Motion; 5:27-6:7.) 

 

The Motion is unopposed and these facts are undisputed. Thus, the Court finds that there are common questions of law and/or fact in this action and the four other matters noted above.  Therefore, the court GRANTS Defendants’ (Fredy Alexander Santiago and Sophia Laura Heredia dba Sophies’ Trucking) unopposed Motion to Consolidate Matters and Set the Same Trial and All Dates for the Consolidated Matter filed on 3-30-22 under ROA No. 31 

 

The court ORDERS The case Bynes v. Santiago (Case No. 30-2021-01213345), Lamping Jr. v. Santiago (Case No. 30-2021-01217912), Garibay v. Santiago (Case No. 30-2021-01218556), Cervantes v. Santiago (Case No. 30-2021-01219514), and Geico General Insurance Co. v. Sophia Laura Heredia (Case No. 30-2021-01231456).  The court DESIGNATES Bynes vs. Santiago (Case No. 30-2021-01213345) as the lead case. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.350(b).)

 

The court requests the parties to appear at the hearing on 8-16-22 to discuss a trial date for the consolidated matters.

 

Defendants are to give notice.