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Franceen Hill v. United States of America

April 24, 2012

FRANCEEN HILL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Otis D. Wright, II United States District Judge

O JS-6

ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON PARTIAL FINDINGS

On April 3, 2012, a bench trial began for the instant personal injury action. Previously, the Court granted all of Defendant United States of America's motions in limine. (Dkt. Nos. 54, 55.) Thus, all of Plaintiff Franceen Hill's trial exhibits and expert witnesses were excluded. At trial, Plaintiff presented two witnesses, herself and the driver of the bus that hit her vehicle. At Plaintiff's close of evidence, Defendant moved for a Rule 52(c) judgment on partial findings. The Court granted the motion and entered judgment for Defendant.

I.LEGAL STANDARD

In a bench trial, the court may enter judgment against a party on a claim that, under the controlling law, can be maintained only with a favorable finding on that issue. Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(c). Under Rule 52(c), the court has express authority to resolve disputed issues of fact. Ritchie v. United States, 451 F.3d 1019, 1023 (9th Cir. 2006). The court may make findings in accordance with its own view of the evidence and is not required to draw any inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Id.

II.DISCUSSION

The Court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.

1. Plaintiff brings this action for negligence against the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346 & 2671 et seq. ("FTCA").

2. The FTCA authorizes claims against the United States for the negligent or wrongful act of a government employee acting within the scope of his or her employment under the circumstances where the United States, if it were a private individual, would be liable under the law of the State where the claim arose.

3. In a FTCA action, "a court must apply the law the state courts would apply in the analogous tort action, including federal law." Goodman v. United States, 298 F.3d 1048, 1054, n.6 (2002). Thus, California law is applicable here because the accident occurred in California.

4. To prove negligence under California law, a plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of evidence that: (1) the United States owed plaintiff a duty; (2) the United States breached its duty; and (3) the breach was the proximate or legal cause of plaintiff's resulting injuries, or damages. Ladd v. County of San Mateo, 12 Cal. 4th 913, 917 (1996).

5. The accident that is the subject of this action occurred on June 15, 2006, at approximately 7 p.m.

6. The accident occurred near the intersection of North Alameda Street and Arcadia Street in the City of Los Angeles.

7. At the time of the accident, Roland Leal was employed by the United States of America through the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He was driving a bus owned by the United States Immigration and Customs ...


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