June 2, 2020

Civil Tentative Ruling Announcement

If the Tentative Ruling in your case is satisfactory, you need not appear at the scheduled time, the ruling becomes final, and the prevailing party prepares the order.

However, if you are not satisfied with the Tentative Ruling, and wish to appear and argue the matter, YOU MUST NOTIFY the Clerk’s Office and opposing counsel of your intent before 4:00 p.m. TODAY. If a TELEPHONIC HEARING is requested per CCP §367.5, COURT CALL MUST be notified AND the Clerk’s Office MUST also be notified before 4:00 p.m. TODAY.

When doing so, you must indicate as to which issue(s) and/or motion(s) a hearing is being requested. If requesting a hearing for clarification of a tentative ruling, specify what matter(s) and/or issue(s) need clarification.

You may request a hearing by calling the calendar line at (209) 530-3162 or the main line at (209) 530-3100, prior to 4:00 p.m. - OR- by e-mailing at civil.tentatives@stanct.org Email requests must be made prior to 4:00 p.m. AND confirmed by return e-mail. If you do not receive confirmation e-mail from the clerk, you MUST call (209) 530-3162 to request your hearing.

Please refer to Local Rule of Court 3.12 concerning Court reporter fees.

If a Hearing is required or you have requested a Hearing for a Law and Motion Matter Scheduled in Department 21, 22, 23 or 24 in Modesto, please contact the Court Reporter Coordinator at (209) 530-3105 to request a reporter and determine availability. If a Staff Reporter is not available, you may need to provide your own.

Effective April 2, 2012

Staff Court Reporters may be available, though it is not guaranteed, to report law and motion matters on the following schedule:

Department 21 -- Wednesdays and Fridays only. Staff Reporters may be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please call to confirm.
Department 22 -- Tuesdays and Thursdays only. Staff Reporters may be available on Wednesdays and Fridays. Please call to confirm.
Department 23 -- Wednesdays and Fridays only. Staff Reporters may be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Please call to confirm.
Department 24 -- Tuesdays and Thursdays only. Staff Reporters may be available on Wednesdays or Fridays. Please call to confirm.

If a Staff Reporter is not available, counsel can make arrangements to have their hearing reported by a private CSR. Please contact the Court Reporter Coordinator at (209)530-3105 to request a Staff Reporter and to determine if a Staff Reporter will be available for your hearing.

June 3, 2020



The following are the tentative rulings for cases calendared before Judge Marie S. Silveira in Department 21:



CV-20-000607 – ADAMS, LOEL VS. FITZGERALD, JE LECOCQ – Plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to Serve by Publication – DENIED without prejudice. 


In order for a plaintiff to demonstrate that one is entitled to serve a defendant by publication under section 415.50 of the Code of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must demonstrate either that a cause of action exists against the party upon whom service is to be made; that the person to be served is a necessary or proper party to the action; or that the person to be served has or claims an interest in the real property at issue.  Plaintiff here has made no such demonstration.


The Court noted a discrepancy regarding whether the defendant is known to frequent the Oakdale or the Oakley library.  When the matter is resubmitted, assuming that it will be, that discrepancy should be clarified.



2028910 – BARRIOS, JESSICA VS. AMERICAN PROPERTY MANAGEMENT INC – Plaintiff’s Motion for Final Approval of Class Action Settlement – HEARING REQUIRED.


Based on the moving papers and supporting evidence, the Court is inclined to GRANT the motion.  It appears that proper notice to the settlement class has been given in compliance with the law and as required by the Court’s order granting preliminary approval.  Having considered the unopposed motion for final approval and the supporting declarations and evidence, the Court finds that the settlement was entered into good faith, is fair, reasonable and adequate, and satisfies the standards for final approval under California law.  (Civil Code section1781; Code Civ. Proc. section382; Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 3.769.)  Good cause appearing to the satisfaction of the Court, the proposed settlement and the associated fees and costs are approved as set forth in the motions and supporting papers, as follows:


Fees and costs of Settlement Administrator: $5,000

Payment to Class Representative: $2,500

PAGA allocation to LWDA (75%) and class members (25%):  $5,000

Class Counsel’s attorney’s fees:  $122,500

Class Counsel’s costs:  $6,855.39


In accordance with the provisions of Code Civ. Proc. section 384, the Court sets a compliance hearing for October 20, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 21 to confirm full administration of the settlement.  Class counsel shall submit a compliance report no later than five (5) court days before the date of the hearing, which shall include the total amount that was actually paid to the class members pursuant to the subject settlement.  At the time of the compliance hearing, the Court shall amend the judgment to direct that the sum of the unpaid funds, plus interest as required by the statute, be distributed as set forth in the Settlement Agreement.


Due to the pandemic, the dates set forth for the completion of the settlement in Plaintiff’s proposed Order have come and gone.  The Court therefore orders that the following schedule be incorporated into Plaintiff’s new order:



Last day for Defendant to fund settlement and employer tax payments


July 6, 2020


Last day for Claims Administrator to deliver payment of Class Counsel’s attorney’s fees and costs, Enhancement Payment, PAGA Payment, Settlement Administration Costs, and payment to Qualified Claimants


July 13, 2020




Last day for Qualified Members to cash settlement checks


October 13, 2020


Last day for Claims Administrator to deliver value of uncashed settlement checks to Unclaimed Property Division as identified in Section 5.6


October 27, 2020



In addition, the Court orders that Notice of the Court’s Order Granting Final Approval and Judgment shall be posted on the Settlement Administrator’s website for a period of at least 90 days.  (Civ. Code section 1781(g); Cal. Rules of Ct., Rule 3.771(b).)


Class Counsel shall submit a revised proposed order incorporating the above revisions for the Court’s signature.




The following is the tentative ruling for a case calendared before Judge Stacy P. Speiller in Department 22:



PR-19-000251 – ESTATE OF DUKE, PAULINE – Christopher W Duke’s Motion to Compel Further Responses to Request for Production & Inspection of Documents & Request for Monetary Sanctions Originally Filed 06/17/20 – HEARING REQUIRED.


The parties shall be prepared to discuss the following issues:  1) Petitioner David Duke’s request that the Court cite Respondent Christopher Duke in Case No. PR19000251; 2) Respondent Christopher Duke’s Motion to Compel Further Responses to Discovery in Case No. PR19000251; 3) Petitioner David Duke’s first account of trustee in Case No. PR19000754.


With regard to Item No. 1 – the Court is inclined to deny the request at this time, as it doesn’t appear that Petitioner has sought to move to compel Respondent to provide answers (or further answers) to discovery.


With regard to Item No. 2 - the Court asked counsel to meet and confer on the discovery issues and file status reports five (5) days before the hearing date (which was continued to this date) – but there don’t appear to be any status reports in the file as of June 1, 2020.  The parties have filed briefs with regard to Petitioner David Duke’s assertion of the attorney/client privilege as to actual billing statements from his attorneys, and the Court finds that Petitioner may assert that privilege and need not provide the actual statements – as long as Petitioner provides the total amount and a breakdown thereof sufficient to allow Respondent to determine if Petitioner is using trust funds to pay for his own personal attorney fees.  See Evidence Code section 952; Los Angeles County Bd. Of Supervisors v. Superior Court (2016) 2 Cal. 5th 282.   It is unclear to the Court if there are any other outstanding issues related to Christopher’s motion.


Additionally, based on the Court’s review of the file, it appears that the case requires a long cause hearing to resolve several of the issues raised between Petitioner and Respondent.  Therefore, the parties shall be prepared to discuss scheduling.



The following are the tentative rulings for cases calendared before Judge John D. Freeland in Department 23:



CV-19-004531 – US BANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION VS. VALADEZ, MARCO A – Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment or, in the alternative, Summary Adjudication – GRANTED, and unopposed.


Having considered the moving papers, the separate statement of undisputed material facts, and the evidence submitted in conjunction with the supporting declaration, the Court finds that Plaintiff, as the moving party, has met its burden of demonstrating that there is no defense to any of the causes of action set forth in Plaintiff’s Complaint by producing evidence of each element of the cause of action asserted therein. (Code Civ. Proc. §437c(p)(1).) Therefore, Plaintiff is entitled to judgment as a matter of law in the principal amount of $6,077.35.



CV-20-001350 – MERCEDESBENZ FINANCIAL SERVICES USA LLC VS. DTL LOGISTICS INC – Plaintiff’s Application for Writ of Possession and Hearing – DROPPED, as MOOT in view of dismissal of the action on 5-27-20.



The following are the tentative rulings for cases calendared before Judge Sonny S. Sandhu in Department 24:



CV-18-003221 – THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA VS. ZUNIGA, RICARDO – Petitioner’s Motion to Compel Responses and for Order that Admissions be Deemed Admitted – DENIED, without prejudice.


The Amended Proof of Service demonstrates that the matter was served with insufficient notice.  Specifically, service by mail on 5-11-20 did not provide for the 5 additional calendar days required by Code Civ. Proc. §1005(b) in connection with that method of service.



CV-19-002936 – POLHEMUS, KEVIN VS. COUTRAKIS, TAMERA – Plaintiff’s Motion to Dismiss without Prejudice – HEARING REQUIRED.



CV-19-006635 – BANK OF AMERICA VS. POTTLE, DEBORAH K – Plaintiff’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings – GRANTED, and unopposed.


Based on the moving papers and the matters subject to judicial notice herein, the Court finds that the Complaint states facts sufficient to constitute the stated cause of action against the Defendant, and the Answer does not state facts sufficient to constitute a defense. (Code Civ. Proc. §438(c)(1)(A).) Therefore, the Motion is GRANTED.  Judgment shall be entered on the underlying debt in the amount of $9,168.20.


As Plaintiff has failed to submit admissible evidence establishing his entitlement to the costs claimed in the moving papers, the Court is unable to award the requested costs at this time.   Plaintiff may submit a memorandum of costs within the time period prescribed by statute.



The following are the tentative rulings for cases calendared before Commissioner Jared D. Beeson in Department 19 located at the Turlock Division at 300 Starr Avenue, Turlock, CA:



***There are no tentative rulings for Department 19***