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Earnest A. Davis sued an auto repair shop, his employer, and his auto insurance company alleging that they conspired to destroy his convertible Porsche so that it could not be repaired and another customer of the repair shop could buy it. On appeal, he challenged the trial judge’s rulings in favor of the defendants and dismissed his entire case.
In Earnest A. Davis v. Government Employees Insurance Company et al.E074317, California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Second Division (August 15, 2022) the trial court gave the plaintiff four opportunities to state his claims against them even though he admitted that accrual was a suit that he filed after the operation of the law. of limits.
Prior to his statement on demurrer, Davis filed four motions during his trial. For a short time—defending against the first group of defendants—Davis was represented by counsel. In the remaining cases, he represented himself, as he does on appeal.
The downside of Davis’ lawsuit is that the defendants are the defendants Walter’s Auto Sales and Service, Inc. and their operations manager Conrad Castillon (together, Walter’s) deliberately wrecked his 1998 Porsche 993 Series 911 Carrera Cabriolet to force him to sell it. another customer. Later in the trial, Davis added as a defendant his auto insurance company, Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO), alleging that he conspired with Walter to make sure his car was lost.
Mr. Davis said that after Walter installed a new wiring harness (to fix the problem), he devised the following strategy to sell his car to another customer at a salvage price. Walter then told GEICO that the vehicle could not be repaired and GEICO issued a total loss declaration, which resulted in the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) labeling the vehicle as salvage.
First Amended Complaint (FAC)
The FAC, which was filed on July 2, 2018, recounts Walter’s actions but cites 12 factors that led to his actions. Like the original complaint, the FAC did not name GEICO as a defendant or allege wrongdoing by the insurance company. Instead, Davis simply claimed that GEICO approved and paid for the repairs, and later, declared the vehicle a total loss to the DMV in reliance on Walter’s misrepresentations.
Second Amended Complaint (SAC)
The SAC, filed on November 30, 2018, affirmed 16 actions against Mr. Walter, and is 90 pages long and more than 170 pages long. At this time, Davis named GEICO as a defendant because, as explained in the motion to amend, GEICO is The only agency that can repossess his vehicle is the DMV.
Davis reiterated what he knew, based on his experience as a mechanical engineer, that Walter was lying when he told him on November 6, 2014 that parts of the upper harness had melted. As for Davis’ claim against GEICO, at one point in the SAC he stated that “GEICO he committed a conspiracy and Walter to use lies to mislead [his car] a total loss,” but in many other places it just says that GEICO lost its car because of Walter’s false claims.
Walter’s Cross Complaints
Walter sued Davis seeking $4,320 for unpaid work on the car and daily maintenance fees.
Walter’s prosecutor said, among other things, that Davis’ claims were barred by the three-year statute of limitations because his statements showed he knew of the alleged wrongdoing by January 27, 2015 but didn’t file his case until April 2018 – nearly three months after the deadline. sue him.
GEICO’s plaintiffs argued Davis’ claims against them failed as a matter of law and were time barred. Walter’s and GEICO requested oral argument on the trial order, but Davis did not. During the trial, his attorney at the time did not comment on GEICO’s offer and, when asked by the judge, said he had nothing to add. The judge made his decision provisional, explaining that he was giving Davis “one more chance” in the arguments against “Walter” to see if. [he] they can help with late problems. “
Third Amended Complaint (TAC)
The TAC was eight pages long, presented only two counts of negligence against Walter—and argued for a different theory of fault than the three previous complaints. In fact, under the heading, “Delayed Discovery,” the TAC claims that Davis did not learn that removing the damaged cables was negligent until a year and a half later, in July 2016 against his claim to avoid a restraining order.
The judge concluded the complaint citing Walter’s objections on January 27, 2015 as recently as January 27, 2015, and admonished the plaintiff with prejudice.
Davis Loses All Opposition to GEICO’s Demurrer
Davis did not file an objection to GEICO’s demurrer (even after GEICO asked him if he intended to do so) nor did he request oral argument after receiving the judge’s decision. And, when asked directly if he had anything to add to the GEICO case, Davis’ attorney said no, thereby accepting the judge’s decision to proceed with the lawsuit.
The statute of forfeiture is in effect when the appellate party received the judge’s temporary decision and did not challenge it. Because the courts must be independent to the same standards as attorneys, it does not matter that they are not represented by a judge and represent themselves on appeal. A doctrine that requires or permits special treatment of self-represented parties may cause controversy in the courts, and may be unfair to certain litigants.
Davis’s challenge to GEICO’s demurrer may fail even if the court must consider its merits. That’s because all of his claims against GEICO are based on fraud, which requires an intentional misrepresentation. and GEICO. In order to be guilty of fraud, the accused must have lied with the knowledge that it was false and with the intention of causing someone to rely on the information. Davis failed to allege that GEICO intentionally tampered with the condition of his vehicle at the DMV. Instead, he argued that GEICO relied on Walter’s misrepresentations. Therefore, because the only intentional false claims made by Walter’s to GEICO, Davis’s claim against the insurance company fails as a matter of law.
Claims Against Walter’s Are Temporarily Restricted
Unless the discovery rule applies, the judgment is reached on the date of the injury. The incident was not a time when Davis knew or should have suspected that he could do well against Walter in court – that is, when he suspected that Walter was guilty. Rather, her statements were made when she suspected or should have suspected that Walter had wronged and harmed her.
The statute of limitations for negligent acts that cause damage to personal property is three years. And without dispute, the allegations in Davis’ first three complaints—which, at the demurrer stage, we think are true—reveal that he suspected Walter of wrongdoing as early as November 2014, when he told him the high-tech equipment had melted. The contents of the first three complaints show that Davis knew that Walter had committed a crime against her as recently as January 27, 2015. That was the day he said he inspected his car and found that he had “ruined it” by removing the new cable he had just installed. According to Davis, that “damage” made future repairs much more expensive.
Davis sought to avoid the necessity of this claim when he filed the TAC by simply dismissing it, but a party cannot avoid pre-existing wrongdoing by omitting facts that rendered the complaint moot or asserting facts contrary to the claims. old grievances. In such cases, the trial judge is allowed to consider the facts already stated to be true and ignore the objections.
Davis had several opportunities to amend his complaint to explain why his claims were not time-barred. So the judgment was confirmed
It is surprising to see the plaintiff claiming that he was defrauded to try to save the time barred lawsuit, in his fourth attempt to file a lawsuit, he fraudulently changed the accrual date of his claim. The California Court of Appeals refused to fall for his plan.
(c) 2022 Barry Zalma & ClaimSchool, Inc.
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to working as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance litigation, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He has practiced law in California for over 44 years as an insurance and claims attorney and over 54 years in the insurance business. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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