UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
May 16, 2011
ALLSTATE INSURANCE CO., PLAINTIFF,
RICHARD THACHER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Ronald S.W. Lew Senior, U.S. District Court Judge
On March 1, 2011, the Court held a status conference regarding this Action and vacated the court trial set for March 15, 2011. Counsel for both parties informed the Court that they would meet and confer to discuss how they intend to proceed with this Action. The Court is now in receipt of the Joint Status Report submitted by Plaintiff Allstate Insurance Company and Defendants Richard Thacher, Valerie Ann Thacher, and Guadalupe Trujillo . Plaintiff Allstate has informed the Court that it elects to have this case proceed as a trial de novo. On the other hand, Defendants have informed the Court that they would like to proceed with a court trial on the Court's determination of damages only.
While the Court found that the damages awarded to Defendant Trujillo in the arbitration were unconscionable in light of Defendant's actual injuries and the settlement figures proposed initially, upon further review, the Court finds that proceeding with a trial de novo could lead to a similar verdict to the one returned by the jury in the first trial. Specifically, the jury could not determine the amount of damages to award to the Defendants. Rather, the jury was limited to determining whether the arbitration award was unreasonable or the product of fraud or collusion. The jury in a new trial will be limited to resolving this same issue, which could potentially lead to a similar verdict to the one returned by the jury in the first trial.
As such, in the interests of judicial economy, the Court informs the parties that it is now contemplating vacating its November 23, 2009 Order  granting Plaintiff's Motion for a New Trial on the sole issue of damages as well as the Motion to Alter or Amend the Judgment. The Court would instead reinstate the September 18, 2009 Judgment , and that Judgment would then serve as a final judgment that may be reviewed upon appeal.
Accordingly, the Court orders the parties to submit their position papers with respect to the Court's position stated in this Order on or before May 31, 2011.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
© 1992-2011 VersusLaw Inc.