Saturday, August 17, 2019
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Honorable Matthew P. Guasco, Judge of the Superior Court

Courtroom 20 - Civil Trials, Law & Motion

Ex Parte Procedures Download Ex Parte Procedures PDF Document

The Court expects the parties to follow the Ventura Superior Court Local Rules and the California Rules of Court concerning ex parte applications, including the giving of notice.

The Court does not permit an applicant for ex parte relief to appear by telephone; the applicant must appear in person. The Court does permit the opposing party to appear telephonically.

The Court hears ex parte applications during the morning law and motion calendar, which is called at or shortly after 8:30 a.m. Parties appearing on an ex parte hearing shall check in with the judicial assistant in Courtroom 20 at 8:20 a.m.

The party seeking ex parte relief must submit a proposed order at the time the application and associated moving papers are filed.

The Court does not provide a court reporter for ex parte hearings, unless an indigent party who has been granted a fee waiver has timely requested a court reporter in compliance with Ventura Superior Court Administrative Order No. 18.06, which is available in the clerk's office and the court's website: http://www.ventura.courts.ca.gov/. Non-indigent parties are responsible for arranging and paying for a court reporter.

Law & Motion Procedures Download Law and Motion Procedures PDF Document

The Court calls the law and motion calendar Monday through Friday at or shortly after 8:30 a.m. Please check in with the judicial assistant in courtroom 20 at 8:20 a.m.

The Court may call the calendar out of order depending on the nature and complexity of the matters. The Court typically takes name change petitions first.

The Court issues written tentative decisions, time permitting. Typically, tentative decisions are published before 5:00 p.m. the day before the hearing on the Ventura Superior Court website: http://www.ventura.courts.ca.gov/. Tentative decisions are posted under the "Tentative Rulings" link on the website. Each tentative decision posted to the Court's website contains a notice concerning the option of the parties to appear or not appear at the hearing, or to submit on the tentative decision without argument or appearance.

The Court invites parties to address the tentative decision. Judge Guasco views tentative decisions as just that – tentative. They may change depending on points raised during argument.

The Court permits one round of argument, with the moving party addressing the Court first, followed by the opposing party responding, and then the moving party presenting brief rebuttal. Once argument in this fashion has concluded, the Court will advise the parties that it is adopting its tentative decision as its ruling with or without modification, or that the Court is taking the matter under submission and will rule at a later date.

The Court issues written rulings on submitted matters anywhere from one week to 60 days after the date of submission, depending upon the nature and complexity of the motion(s), as well as the press of other business before the Court. Most motions are resolved by adoption of the tentative decision as written or modified after argument. The Court takes very few matters under submission.

The Court requires that all exhibits submitted in support of or opposition to motions be tabbed with numbers (plaintiff) or letters (defendant) at the bottom of the pleadings. All exhibits must be identified and authenticated by a supporting declaration. The parties should make every effort to limit the number and volume of exhibits to only those relevant and necessary to the motion before the Court. If an exhibit consists of a document exceeding five (5) pages, please highlight the portions within the exhibit which are relevant to the motion or opposition.

The Court expects that most, if not all, discovery disputes can be resolved without the need for a formal motion and hearing if the parties meet and confer with reasonable diligence and in good faith. The Court expects the meet and confer process to narrow the disputed issues which will need to be resolved by a motion. No discovery motion will be heard unless the parties adhere to the requirement of a separate statement as directed by the Code of Civil Procedure and the Rules of Court.

The Court strictly adheres to the motion practice statutes and rules set forth in the Code of Civil Procedure and the Rules of Court, including but not limited to the format and content of pleadings, page limitations, and the required notice.

The Court expects that the litigation of motions will be limited to the following pleadings: (1) notice of motion and motion, memorandum, and supporting declarations and exhibits; (2) opposition, memorandum, and supporting declarations and exhibits; and (3) reply. The Court will not consider supplemental oppositions or replies filed without prior leave of the Court.

The Court typically directs the moving party to serve and file a notice of ruling and proposed order regardless of who prevails on the motion.

There is no "second call" on the law and motion calendar in Courtroom 20. While the Court attempts to accommodate calendar preferences, litigants should be prepared to have their matters heard during the time the Court is in session conducting the law and motion calendar. The law and motion calendar concludes when the last matter is heard, typically by no later than 10:00 a.m.

Summary judgment motions are heard on Mondays only at 8:20 a.m. Judge Guasco hears no more than two summary judgment motions on a Monday calendar. In those instances in which there are no available Monday dates on which to hear a summary judgment motion in the time required by the Code of Civil Procedure, the Court permits those motions to be heard on a law and motion calendar date other than a Monday by stipulation of the parties or otherwise at the direction of the Court. This is the exception and not the rule.

From time to time, the Court may ask the Legal Research Attorney to contact the attorneys (or self-represented litigants) concerning the need to continue a hearing to permit the Court and its research staff additional time to read and consider a motion.

Trial Rules and Procedures Download Trial Rules and Procedures PDF Document

1. Trial Briefs & In Limine Motions: All trial briefs and in limine motions shall be served on all parties and filed with the courtroom judicial assistant by no later than the date of the trial call, or otherwise at the direction of the Court. Service shall be either by personal service or by email service with pdf attachment.

In limine motions shall be limited to those necessary to resolve evidentiary or other legal issues before the selection of the jury. Each in limine motion shall not exceed five (5) pages. The Court expects that each side shall file no more than five (5) in limine motions, but no party may file more than ten (10) in limine motions without leave of the Court to do so.

Oppositions to in limine motions shall be served on all parties and filed with the courtroom judicial assistant by no later than the date of the trial call or the morning of the first day of trial, whichever is sooner, or otherwise at the direction of the Court. Service shall be either by personal service or by email service with pdf attachment.

2. Jury Questionnaires: If either party requests the use of a jury questionnaire, the requesting party(ies) shall serve and file a joint proposed jury questionnaire (including all written instructions to jurors) by the date of the trial call or the morning of the first day of trial, whichever is sooner, or otherwise by leave of the Court. Service shall be by personal service or email service with pdf attachment. The parties should specify whether they are requesting that jurors fill out written questionnaires in their own handwriting during jury selection, or whether the questionnaire is a list of questions to be asked by the Court during jury selection. The difference affects the consumption of time and logistics involved in jury selection. The parties must agree on which party will assume the responsibility of preparing and copying the questionnaires, otherwise the Court will appoint a party to do so. The Court will not prepare or copy questionnaires (except the Court's standard written questionnaire). Any questionnaires (including at least 80 copies of same) shall be present in Court before jury selection starts. Additional copies of the questionnaire shall be provided by the party appointed by agreement of the parties or order of the Court. If jurors fill out questionnaires (as opposed to questions being asked by the judge during voir dire), then the party appointed to copy questionnaires will also be the party providing copies of the completed questionnaires to all other parties, with the originals being provided to the Court. Failure to follow these procedures may result in the waiver of the use of juror questionnaires.

3. Jury Fees: All jury fees must be posted as required by the Code of Civil Procedure, the California Rules of Court, and the Ventura Superior Court Local Rules.

4. Jury or Court Trial: When the case is called out to trial, the parties must confirm with the judicial secretary immediately whether the case will be a jury trial or whether all parties waive jury. Any waiver of jury after the timely posting of jury fees shall be confirmed on the record on the first day of trial.

5. Time Estimate: Please confirm with the Court the reasonable time estimate for the trial, including jury selection and deliberations, upon receiving notice the case is being called out for trial.

6. Court Reporter: Please confirm that arrangements have been made for a court reporter upon receiving notice the case is being called out for trial. It is the parties' sole responsibility to hire and pay for a court reporter. If the parties waive a court reporter, the parties are advised that any challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support the verdict or any ruling by the Court will be deemed waived on appeal. (Aguilar v. Avis Rent A Car System, Inc. (1999) 21 Cal.4th 121, 132.) Accordingly, the Court strongly encourages the parties' retention of a court reporter for in limine hearings, jury selection, and all trial proceedings, including but not limited to the rendering of a verdict and any post-trial motions. The Court requests that the court reporter retained by the parties have Realtime® capability as of the beginning of opening statements. The court reporter may charge an additional fee for this service, but the Court finds it helpful in ruling on evidentiary objections during trial. Indigent parties who have received a fee waiver are entitled to a court reporter without charge upon timely written request in conformity with the Ventura Superior Court's Administrative Order No. 18.06, which is available in the clerk's office and the Court's website: http://www.ventura.courts.ca.gov/.

7. Emails: Judge Guasco does not accept emails directly from any of the parties. Instead, if Judge Guasco invites or approves an email from the parties, any such email shall be sent to the following email address: Courtroom20@ventura.courts.ca.gov (attn.: Claudine Nesbitt) or otherwise at the direction of the Court.

8. Exhibits: All exhibits shall be exchanged and pre-marked before the start of jury selection. To the extent that the parties' exhibits duplicate each other, the parties shall agree on a master set of exhibits with plaintiff assigned a range of numbers beginning with the number "1," and additional plaintiffs with subsequent number ranges consecutively thereafter, proceeding to each of the defendants being assigned consecutive number ranges thereafter. Each distinct exhibit shall have only one number (i.e., no one exhibit shall have more than a single exhibit number designation).

The parties shall exchange exhibit and witness lists as required by the Code of Civil Procedure, the Rules of Court, and the local rules, unless otherwise ordered by the Court.

9. Mini Opening Statements: Any request for "mini opening" statements during jury selection shall be made to the Court on the first day of trial. (Code of Civ. Proc., § 222.5, subd. (d).) The mini opening statements shall be neutral, non-argumentative descriptions of each party's claims and/or defenses, and they may include a general overview of the facts of the case. The mini opening statements shall not exceed two (2) minutes per party. The Court shall admonish the prospective jurors that: (a) the mini opening statements are not evidence; (b) they are provided only to permit the jurors to better understand the nature of the case and of the questions they may be asked in voir dire; (c) they are provided to permit the jurors to determine if they have any life experiences, opinions, or biases that may prevent them from objectively, fairly, and impartially hearing the evidence and rendering a verdict in the type of case described; and (d) the jurors are not to form any prejudgments, biases, or assumptions about the case or the evidence from the mini opening statements.

10. Jury Instructions: Counsel shall meet and confer for the purpose of submitting a joint set of agreed-upon jury instructions and verdict forms to the Court by no later than the first day of trial or otherwise at the direction of the Court. To the extent possible, the instructions and verdict forms shall be those approved by CACI. A party or parties shall be appointed by mutual agreement of the parties or order of the Court to prepare an initial and final set of CACI pattern instructions and verdict forms. The Court does not encourage special jury instructions or verdict forms which vary from the CACI forms. To the extent that special instructions are essential to correctly instruct the jury, the party requesting a special instruction approved by the Court shall be responsible for preparing and submitting the initial and final versions of any such special instructions.

11. Audio/Visual: Parties are responsible for their own audio/visual needs in the course of their presentations. The Court will not provide any technical support to any party. Any party showing a PowerPoint or similar projection presentation to the jury in opening statements or closing arguments shall provide a printed hard copy of the slides to counsel and the clerk not later than 15 minutes before the presentation. The clerk shall mark the slide presentation as a Court's special exhibit for purposes of appellate review. All slide presentations shall adhere to the Court's in limine and other rulings, the evidence, and the law. Any objections to slides proposed to be shown to the jury shall be addressed to the Court outside the presence of the jury.

12. Jury Selection: The Court uses a "six-pack" jury selection process. The six additional prospective jurors will be seated in chairs in front of the jury box and be numbered from "13" on the far left to "18" on the far right.

Challenges for cause are made either at bench or at breaks outside the presence of the jury. The Court will make a record of all challenges for cause and rulings thereon. Once the Court has ruled on all challenges for cause, the parties have passed the remaining prospective jurors for cause, and there are 12 jurors in the box, the Court will proceed to the exercise of peremptory challenges.

Peremptory challenges are to be exercised only as to the 12 prospective jurors seated in the box. For each prospective juror in the box removed by the exercise of a peremptory challenge, one prospective juror from the six-pack will be selected as a replacement, starting with number 13 and working up to number 18, before proceeding to the exercise of the next peremptory challenge. New prospective jurors are called up in a group of seven (7) once all of the six (6) prospective jurors in front of the box are gone and there are 11 prospective jurors in the box. Each of the seven (7) new prospective jurors will be seated beginning with the empty seat in the box, and then in seats 13-18 in front of the box.

Acceptance of Panel and Selection of Alternate Jurors: When all parties "pass" on the exercise of peremptory challenges as to the 12 prospective jurors in the box, the parties will be deemed to have accepted the panel. The clerk will swear the 12 jurors, and the Court will proceed to the selection of alternate jurors. Prospective alternate jurors will be seated according to the next prospective juror available in the six pack by lowest number first (starting with 13 and working up to 18). Each party will have a maximum of one (1) peremptory challenge for each prospective alternate juror (e.g., 1 alternate = each party has 1 peremptory challenge as to the alternate; 2 alternates = each party has 2 peremptory challenges as to the alternates).

13. Bench Conferences: The Court discourages bench conferences except by invitation of the Court. The parties should attempt in good faith and with due diligence to address any and all anticipated evidentiary or legal issues affecting the presentation of the evidence in limine. Bench conferences are not reported. The Court will make a record of any bench conference at the next available opportunity (typically at breaks).

14. Telephone Calls: Any telephone calls to the Court concerning scheduling issues must be directed to Judge Guasco's judicial secretary, Claudine Nesbitt, at (805) 289-8807. The Court will not receive or consider ex parte communications from any party or attorney.

15. Trial Schedule: Tuesday – Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. One, 15 minute break in the morning, and one, 15 minute break in the afternoon. The Court expects the parties, their attorneys, their witnesses, and the court reporter to be on time.

16. Entry of Judgment: The Court will direct the prevailing party(ies) to serve and file a proposed judgment(s) consistent with the jury’s verdict(s) and in conformity with the Rules of Court and the Code of Civil Procedure.

17. Trial Continuance Policy: The Court strives to resolve 100% of all civil cases within 24 months of filing. The Court grants continuances of the trial sparingly and only upon a showing of good cause in the stipulation, ex parte application, or motion. For cases older than 24 months, there must be a strong showing of good cause and of prejudice in the event a continuance is not granted in order for the Court to grant a continuance by stipulation or motion. The Court invites stipulations and proposed orders, as opposed to ex parte applications or noticed motions, in the event the parties unanimously agree in good faith that the above criteria exist to continue the trial.

Courtroom 20 Tentative Rulings

Case Number Event Type Event Date Event Time Department Document
56-2018-00514390-CU-PO-VTA Demurrer (CLM) 8/15/2019 8:20 AM 20 Tentative
56-2018-00514390-CU-PO-VTA Demurrer (CLM) 8/15/2019 8:20 AM 20 Tentative
56-2018-00514390-CU-PO-VTA Demurrer (CLM) 8/15/2019 8:20 AM 20 Tentative
56-2018-00514390-CU-PO-VTA Motion to Strike 8/15/2019 8:20 AM 20 Tentative
56-2018-00517303-CU-PO-VTA Motion to Compel 8/13/2019 8:20 AM 20 Tentative
56-2018-00517303-CU-PO-VTA Motion to Compel 8/13/2019 8:20 AM 20 Tentative
56-2018-00517303-CU-PO-VTA Motion - Other (CLM) 8/13/2019 8:20 AM 20 Tentative
56-2018-00512761-CU-PL-VTA Motion for Summary Judgment 8/12/2019 8:20 AM 20 Tentative

Courtroom 20 Calendar

Event Time Event Date Event Type Event Status Case Number Case Title Case Category Dept.
8:20 AM 8/19/2019 Motion for Summary Judgment VACATED 56-2017-00491746-CU-CO-VTA Pacific Homes vs Ketterling Civil - Unlimited 20
8:20 AM 8/19/2019 Motion for Summary Judgment VACATED 56-2016-00488460-CU-PO-VTA Kalenack vs County of Ventura Civil - Unlimited 20
8:20 AM 8/19/2019 Motion to Set Aside Default VACATED 56-2019-00523565-CU-OR-VTA Duane Farrant vs David Phan Civil - Unlimited 20
8:30 AM 8/19/2019 Court Trial (SHC) VACATED 56-2018-00514698-CL-CL-VTA Fidelity Capital Holdings Inc vs Thomas Civil - Limited 20
1:30 PM 8/19/2019 Jury Trial (LC) SCHEDULED 56-2017-00499800-CU-PO-VTA Ava Browne vs. Foxfield Riding School Civil - Unlimited 20
1:30 PM 8/19/2019 Jury Trial (LC) SCHEDULED 56-2017-00497972-CU-PA-VTA Anibal Perez vs. Peter Cole Whipple Civil - Unlimited 20
1:30 PM 8/19/2019 Jury Trial (LC) RESCHEDULED 56-2018-00510913-CU-PA-VTA Brittany Holmes vs. Ilona Uribe Civil - Unlimited 20
1:30 PM 8/19/2019 Jury Trial (LC) VACATED 56-2018-00510821-CU-BC-VTA Pacific Western vs. Pacific West Radio Civil - Unlimited 20
1:30 PM 8/19/2019 Jury Trial (LC) RESCHEDULED 56-2016-00483026-CU-PA-VTA Maria de la Luz Ragis vs. Kenneth Leon Lagree Civil - Unlimited 20
1:30 PM 8/19/2019 Jury Trial (LC) VACATED 56-2018-00508542-CU-OE-VTA Melanie Yen vs. The Board of Trustees of the California State University Civil - Unlimited 20
1:30 PM 8/19/2019 Jury Trial (LC) SCHEDULED 56-2017-00491523-CU-PA-VTA Pacheco vs Maki Civil - Unlimited 20
1:30 PM 8/19/2019 Jury Trial (LC) RESCHEDULED 56-2018-00509498-CU-OR-VTA Quirk v VCI Construction Co LLC Civil - Unlimited 20
1:30 PM 8/19/2019 Jury Trial (LC) VACATED 56-2017-00505002-CU-PO-VTA Mariana Ruelas vs The Oaks Shopping Center Civil - Unlimited 20
1:30 PM 8/19/2019 Jury Trial (LC) VACATED 56-2016-00477560-CU-MM-VTA Nicole Renee Flores vs. Nancy Gabrielle Price Hood DC Civil - Unlimited 20
1:30 PM 8/19/2019 Jury Trial (LC) VACATED 56-2018-00513188-CU-WT-VTA Oswaldo Lopez vs. City of Oxnard Civil - Unlimited 20
1:30 PM 8/19/2019 Jury Trial (LC) VACATED 56-2016-00486481-CU-BC-VTA Stevens vs Fischer Searl Civil - Unlimited 20
8:20 AM 8/20/2019 Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel of Record (CLM) SCHEDULED 56-2017-00497144-CU-OE-VTA Johnson vs Stantec Consulting Civil - Unlimited 20
8:20 AM 8/21/2019 OSC for Sanctions/Dismissal SCHEDULED 56-2018-00510124-CU-PO-VTA Renee Nelson vs. Goodwill Industries of Ventura Civil - Unlimited 20
8:20 AM 8/21/2019 Motion to Compel VACATED 56-2017-00491746-CU-CO-VTA Pacific Homes vs Ketterling Civil - Unlimited 20
8:20 AM 8/21/2019 Motion for Summary Judgment VACATED 56-2018-00513465-CU-PO-VTA Farmer vs. Ghausi Civil - Unlimited 20
10:00 AM 8/21/2019 Jury Trial (LC) SCHEDULED 56-2015-00475447-CU-BT-VTA Comella vs Covenant Transport Civil - Unlimited 20
8:20 AM 8/22/2019 Motion for Approval of Class Settlement SCHEDULED 56-2017-00492936-CU-OE-VTA Scoggins vs Crossmark Civil - Unlimited 20
8:20 AM 8/22/2019 Claim of Exemption - Levy (CLM) SCHEDULED 56-2018-00515692-CL-CL-VTA California Business Bureau vs Cala Civil - Limited 20
8:20 AM 8/23/2019 Motion to Compel VACATED 56-2018-00522303-CU-CO-VTA Christopher Gleason vs. Robert Marlin Civil - Unlimited 20
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