The opinion of the court was delivered by: VIRGINIA A. Phillips United States District Judge
[Motion filed on June 28, 2010]
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
The Court has received and considered all papers filed in support of, and opposition to, Defendant Renee Tillman's ("Defendant") motion for summary judgment ("Motion"), and has considered the arguments of counsel at the hearing on the Motion held on August 23, 2010. For the reasons set forth below, the Court DENIES the Motion.
The following material facts are supported adequately by admissible evidence and are uncontroverted. They are "admitted to exist without controversy" for the purposes of this Motion. See Local Rule 56-3.
On January 19, 2002, Timmy Wayne Tillman ("Decedent") died in a single-vehicle accident in Riverside County when he became trapped inside his truck after it caught fire. (Second Am. Compl. ("SAC") ¶ 4; Answer ¶ 4; Second Am. Third Party Compl. ("SATPC") ¶ 10; Answer to SATPC ¶ 10.) Decedent was survived by his wife Renee Tillman ("Defendant"), as well as Sean Tillman, his son by a previous marriage, and his stepdaughters Brittani Melissa Rose and Briana Tucker.*fn1
Defendant filed a lawsuit in 2002 in this Court, Case No. 5:03-cv-78 VAP (SGL), against Freightliner, LLC*fn2 for, inter alia, product liability and wrongful death (the "Underlying Action"). Defendant ultimately obtained a judgment of $8,010,000.00 against Freightliner, later reduced to $4,010,368.00 by the Ninth Circuit on appeal.
No party to the Underlying Action joined Plaintiff Sean Tillman as a party.*fn3 Evidence concerning Plaintiff was presented to the jury in the Underlying Action. (Stmt. of Uncontroverted Facts ¶ 11; SGI ¶ 11.)
On March 24, 2009, Plaintiff filed his Original Complaint against Renee Tillman ("Defendant"); Rheingold, Valet, Rheingold, Shkolnik & McCartney, LLP (the "Rheingold Firm"); Paul Rheingold; Hunter J. Shkolnik; and Freightliner, LLC.
On September 14, 2009, Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint against the above-mentioned Defendants, as well as Defendant Terrence McCartney (together with the Rheingold Firm, Hunter J. Shkolnik, and Paul Rheingold, the "Rheingold Defendants"). On October 26, 2010, the Court granted the Rheingold Defendants' motion to dismiss the First Amended Complaint, and granted Plaintiff leave to file a Second Amended Complaint.
Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint on November 6, 2009, asserting claims against Defendant for "fraud, deceit and/or concealment" and "intentional breach of duty," and against Daimler*fn4 for wrongful death, product liability, and negligence. On December 17, 2009, the Court granted Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiff's claim for "fraud, deceit, and/or concealment." On July 6, 2010, Plaintiff and Daimler filed a notice of settlement of Plaintiff's claims against Daimler, and on July 16, 2010, the Court approved a stipulation of dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against Daimler. On August 10, 2010, the Court granted the Panish Firm's motion for summary judgment and dismissed Plaintiff's sole remaining claim with prejudice.
Defendant separately filed a Third Party Complaint against her attorneys in the Underlying Action, the Rheingold Firm; the Panish Firm; Greene, Broillet, & Wheeler, LLP (the "Greene Firm"); and Kevin Boyle. Defendant filed a First Amended Third Party Complaint on February 9, 2010, and a Second Amended Third Party Complaint on May 24, 2010, asserting claims against these same third party defendants for (1) negligence - legal malpractice; (2) return of an unconscionable fee; and (3) fiduciary ...