The primary purpose of the good faith requirement is to protect the interests of nonsettling defendants. (City of Grand Terrace v. Super. Ct. (1987) 192 Cal.App.3d 1251, 1263.)
“[Code of Civil Procedure] Section 877.6 was enacted by the Legislature in 1980 to establish a statutory procedure for determining if a settlement by an alleged joint tortfeasor has been entered into in good faith and to provide a bar to claims of other alleged joint tortfeasors for equitable contribution or partial or comparative indemnity when good faith is shown.” (IRM Corp. v. Carlson (1986) 179 Cal. App. 3d 94, 104.)
“[O]f the hundreds of motions for good faith determination presented for trial court approval each year, the overwhelming majority are unopposed and granted summarily by the trial court.... That is to say, when no one objects, the barebones motion which sets forth the ground of good faith, accompanied by a declaration which sets forth a brief background of the case is sufficient.” (City of Grand View Terrace v. Super. Ct. (1987) 192 Cal. App. 3d 1251, 1261.)
Once the settling party has demonstrated that a settlement exists, a presumption of good faith exists. A party asserting that a settlement was reached in bad faith bears the burden of proof of demonstrating bad faith. (Schultz v. Super. Ct. (1980) 104 Cal.App.3d 250, 252.)
Procedurally, a motion for determination of good faith settlement must list each party and pleading, or portion thereof, affected by the settlement, and the date that pleading was filed. (Rules of Court 3.1382.)
“If the good faith settlement is contested, section 877.6, subdivision (d), sets forth a workable ground rule for the hearing by placing the burden of proving the lack of good faith on the contesting party. Once there is a showing made by the settlor of the settlement, the burden of proof on the issue of good faith shifts to the nonsettlor who asserts that the settlement was not made in good faith. If contested, declarations by the nonsettlor should be filed which in many cases could require the moving party to file responsive counterdeclarations to negate the lack of good faith asserted by the nonsettling contesting party.” (City of Grand View Terrace v. Super. Ct. (1987) 192 Cal. App. 3d 1251, 1260-1261.)
“[A] defendant's settlement figure must not be grossly disproportionate to what a reasonable person, at the time of the settlement, would estimate the settling defendant's liability to be. The party asserting the lack of good faith, who has the burden of proof on that issue (Code Civ. Proc., § 877.6, subd. (d)), should be permitted to demonstrate, if he can, that the settlement is so far ‘out of the ballpark’ in relation to these factors as to be inconsistent with the equitable objectives of the statute. Such a demonstration would establish that the proposed settlement was not a 'settlement made in good faith' within the terms of section 877.6.” (Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488, 499-500.) To carry this burden, the party opposing the settlement must necessarily produce evidence for the court to review. The trial court is not expected to calculate the “reasonable range” with precision. (No. County Contractor's Assoc. v. Touchstone Ins. Servs. (1994) 27 Cal.App.4th 1085, 1090.) “An educated guess is the best a judge can do when deciding whether a settlement is made in good faith.” (Id. at 1095.)
The trial court enjoys broad discretion in determining whether a settlement was entered in good faith and in allocating potential liability and exposure among joint tortfeasors. (Norco Delivery Services v. Owens Corning Fiberglass (1998) 64 Cal.App.4th 955, 962.) A reviewing court will “assess whether the trial court’s food faith determination is buttressed by any substantial evidence.” (Id.)
The evaluation of whether a settlement was made in good faith is required to “be made on the basis of information available at the time of settlement.” (Tech-Bilt, 38 Cal.3d at 499.)
The California Supreme Court identified the following nonexclusive factors courts are to consider in determining if a settlement is in good faith under section 877.6:
(Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Assoc. (1985) 38 Cal.3d 488, 499.)
The question of whether a settlement meets the statutory requirement of good faith presents an issue of fact. (City of Grand Terrace, supra, 192 Cal.App.3d at p. 1264.) “[T]he trial court’s consideration of the settlement agreement and its relationship to the entire litigation in a contested setting must proceed upon a sufficient evidentiary basis to enable the court to consider and evaluate the various aspects of the settlement.” (City of Grand Terrace, supra, 192 Cal.App.3d at p. 1263.)
“[A] key factor a trial court should consider is whether the amount paid in settlement bears a reasonable relationship to the settlor’s proportionate share of liability. This is because one of the main goals of section 877.6 is ‘allocating costs equitably among multiple tortfeasors.’” (TSI Seismic Tenant Space, Inc. v. Super. Ct. (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 159, 166.) Conclusory allegations as to the settling parties' liability are insufficient. Even an expert's opinion must be substantiated by facts. (Greshko v. County of L.A. (1987) 194 Cal.App.3d 822, 834; Mattco Forge, Inc. v. Arthur Young & Co. (1995) 38 Cal.App.4th 1337, 1351.)
“Accordingly, a court not only looks at the alleged tortfeasor's potential liability to the plaintiff, but it must also consider the culpability of the tortfeasor vis-à-vis other parties alleged to be responsible for the same injury. Potential liability for indemnity to a nonsettling defendant is an important consideration for the trial court in determining whether to approve a settlement by an alleged tortfeasor.” (TSI Seismic Tenant Space, Inc. v. Super. Ct. (2007) 149 Cal.App.4th 166.) “A ‘good faith’ settlement does not call for perfect or even nearly perfect apportionment of liability. In order to encourage settlement, it is quite proper for a settling defendant to pay less than his proportionate share of the anticipated damages. What is required is simply that the settlement not be grossly disproportionate to the setllor’s fair share.” (Abbott Ford, Inc. v. Super. Ct. (1987) 43 Cal.3d 858, 874-875.)
Other courts have similarly held that: “the court should not be burdened with the obligation to determine the actual value of such an agreement by the use of actuarial or other valuation methods. Rather, the parties to such an agreement, since they are in the best position to place a monetary figure on its value, should have the burden of establishing the monetary value of the sliding scale agreement.” (Abbott Ford, Inc. v. Superior Court (1987) 43 Cal.3d 858, 879.) In a motion for good faith settlement, “the moving party must set forth the value of the consideration paid and an evidentiary basis for that valuation, and must demonstrate that the valuation ‘was reached in a sufficiently adversarial manner to justify the presumption that a reasonable valuation was reached.’ A nonsettling defendant may then challenge the settlement by ‘attempt[ing] to prove that the parties' assigned value is too low and that a greater reduction in plaintiff's claims against the remaining defendants is actually warranted.’” (Franklin Mint Co. v. Super. Ct. (2005) 130 Cal.App.4th 1550, 1558.)
California’s Supreme Court has expressly stated that “[u]nder the procedure prescribed by section 877.6, the good faith of a settlement will be determined before trial.” (Tech-Bilt, Inc. v. Woodward-Clyde & Associates (1985) 35 Cal.3d 488, 500, fn. 8.) While it has been held that in certain circumstances a court may determine good faith during trial, there is no authority that permits such determination after the liability phase. (See, e.g., Price Pfister, Inc. v. William Lyon Co. (1993) 14 Cal.App.4th 1643, 1648-1649.)
Nature of Proceedings: Motion: Good Faith Settlement TENTATIVE RULING: The motion contesting good faith settlement is denied in its entirety. Background: On June 1, 2017, plaintiff Ryan Kaufman was installing a security camera on what he believed to be a catwalk above a utility closet, on commercial premises located at 71 S. Los Carneros Road in Goleta. He was drilling a pilot hole for a screw...
..and Allergan Inc. (Allergan), alleging causes of action for strict products liability, negligence per se, breach of warranty, and ultrahazardous activity. His First Amended Complaint (FAC) was filed on November 16, 2018. Numerous additional parties were brought in by Doe amendment and by cross-complaints. Prior to the incident, the property had been owned by Los Carneros Business Park L.P. (LCBP)...
May 15, 2019
Santa Barbara County, CA
TENTATIVE RULINGCalendar: 5Date: 6/14/19Case No: BC 703916 Trial Date: None SetCase Name: Fang v. Li, et al.MOTIONS FOR DETERMINATION OF GOOD FAITH SETTLEMENT (3)[CCP §877.6]Moving Party: Defendants and Cross-Complainants Real Estate Elite Corporation andKuan SungDefendant Re/Max, LLCDefendant/Cross-Complainant and Cross-Defendnt Tina LaiResponding Party: Defendants Fusheng Li and Lei ZhaoRELIEF R...
..er agents for the lease,...
Jun 14, 2019
Los Angeles County, CA
Ramon Urrutia v. Joe’s Auto Parks, et al., BC617965 Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement by Defendant/Cross-Defendant Birds and Bees, LLC: the unopposed motion is GRANTED Background On April 21, 2016, Plaintiff Ramon Urrutia filed the Complaint for Damages against Defendants Joe’s Auto Parks; L and R Auto Parks, Inc.; Broadway Civic Center, LP; Broadway Civic Center, LLC; Abraham F...
..arks located at 201 through 215 South Broadway, Los Angeles, California, when Plaintiff fell into a deep trench located in or about the parking lot area. It is alleged that the trench had inadequate protective fencing, lighting, or warnings. On June 27, 2016, L and R Auto Parks, Inc. filed a cross-complaint against Broadway Civic Center LP, Broadway Civic Center LLC, and Roes 1 through 20 for: (1...
May 06, 2019
Los Angeles County, CA
The court upon review of the timely filed yet late received Reply of Hewitt, revises its tentative ruling as follows:Defendants/Cross-Complainants 530 Hewitt Real Estate, LLC’s Motion for Determination of Good Faith Settlement is GRANTED.At the original hearing on this motion on September 26, 2016, this court continued the hearing until October 17, 2016 so that 530 Hewitt Real Estate LLC could fil...
..evant part: “Any party to an action in which it is alleged that two or more parties are joint tortfeasors or co-obligors on a contract debt shall be entitled to a hearing on the issue of the good faith of a settlement entered into by the plaintiff or other cl...
Oct 17, 2016
Los Angeles County, CA
MOVING PARTY: Cross-defendant, cross-complainant Sami AbualsoudRESPONDING PARTY: NoneMotion for Good Faith SettlementThe court considered the moving papers. No opposition was filed.BACKGROUNDOn February 2, 2017, plaintiff Jennifer Deiuliis filed a complaint against defendant City of Los Angeles for dangerous condition of public property at an intersection.On March 14, 2017, City of Los Angeles fil...
..r equitable indemnity, equitable contribution, and declaratory relief arising out of this action be dismissed.In City of Grand View Terrace v. Superior...
Oct 05, 2017
Personal Injury/ Tort
Los Angeles County, CA
Rose Development, LLC, et al. v. Ezzy Construction Inc., et al., BC555388 Tentative Rulings for April 11, 2018 Motion by Cross-Defendant Southland Windows, Inc. for Determination of Good Faith Settlement: the unopposed motion is GRANTED 2. Motion by Cross-Defendant J.K. Electrical, Inc. for Good Faith Settlement: the unopposed motion is GRANTED Background This is a construction defect action ar...
..ed warranty; (3) breach of implied warranty of fitness; (4) negligence; (5) breach of April 6, 2006 contract; and (6) breach of March 1, 2014 contract. Plaintiff asserts all six causes of action against Defendant and Cross-Complainant Ezzy Construction Inc. (“Ezzy”) and alleges the first four causes of action against Defendant Eto Doors Corporation (“Eto”). On January 30, 2015, Plaintiff dismiss...
Apr 11, 2018
Los Angeles County, CA
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