United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER RE: APPLICATION FOR GOOD FAITH
WILLIAM B. SHUBB UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Tim Moore filed this lawsuit against defendants ANG
Transport, Inc. (“ANG”), Tuff Machinery LLC
(“Tuff”), Moore Brokers Inc., doing business as
Moore Transportation Services (“Moore
Transportation”), and Does 1-10. (Docket No. 1.)
Plaintiff alleges the following causes of action: breach of
contract against defendant Tuff, liability under 49 U.S.C.
§ 14706 against ANG, and negligence against Moore
Transportation. Currently before the court is Defendant Moore
Transportation's Application for Good Faith Determination
under California Code of Civil Procedure section 877.6.
(Docket No. 19.)
about October 26, 2017, the plaintiff contracted to purchase
a John Deere Model 650H LT Tractor for $49, 597 from
defendant Tuff. (Compl. ¶ 7 (Docket No. 1).) Pursuant to
that agreement, Tuff hired Moore Transportation to act as the
shipping broker for the tractor shipment. (Id.
¶ 11.) Moore Transportation Services then hired ANG
Transport Inc. to deliver the tractor. (Id. ¶
12.) While the tractor was en route from Texas to California,
it was destroyed in a traffic accident. (Id. ¶
13.) Plaintiff alleges financial damages stemming from this
loss. (Id. ¶ 14.)
alleges that Moore Transportation breached a duty to
plaintiff when it failed to ensure that the common carrier it
hired to transport the tractor, i.e., defendant ANG,
maintained sufficient cargo insurance coverage to cover any
claims for the cargo being transported. (Compl. ¶¶
36-46.) Plaintiff and Moore Transportation have periodically
communicated about plaintiff's claims (Kehagiaras Decl.
¶ 4 (Docket No. 26)) and on May 17, 2019, they signed a
Settlement Agreement conditionally settling plaintiff's
negligence claim against defendant Moore Transportation in
exchange for a one-time payment of $7, 500 to plaintiff.
(See Settlement Agreement (Docket No. 19-1).)
settling party may seek a determination that a settlement was
made in good faith under California Code of Civil Procedure
section 877.6 in federal court. Fed. Sav. & Loan Ins.
Corp. v. Butler, 904 F.2d 505, 511 (9th Cir. 1990)
(holding that while the “section 877.6 procedures do
not govern a federal action . . . the substantive provisions
. . . are applicable”); Maxwell v. MortgageIT,
Inc., No. 1:08-CV-01329 OWW SKO, 2010 WL 2219190, at *1
(E.D. Cal. June 1, 2010) (stating that “federal courts
may enter . . . determinations” under section 877.6);
Sunterra Corp. v. Perini Bldg. Co., No.
2:04-cv-00784 MCE EFB, 2009 WL 2136108, at *1 (E.D.Cal. July
15, 2009) (stating that “[a] district court may
properly consult the provisions of § 877.6 in
determining whether an early settlement meets the requisite
good faith scrutiny”).
877.6 provides that “[a]ny party to an action in which
it is alleged that two or more parties are joint tortfeasors
. . . shall be entitled to a hearing on the issue of the good
faith of a settlement entered into by the plaintiff or other
claimant and one or more alleged tortfeasors, upon giving
notice.” Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 877.6(a)(1).
Alternatively, the statute allows a settling party to
“give notice of settlement to all parties and to the
court, together with an application for determination of good
faith settlement and a proposed order.” Id.
§ 877.6(a)(2). Notably, the statute states that
“[a] determination by the court that the settlement was
made in good faith shall bar any other joint tortfeasor . . .
from any further claims against the settling tortfeasor . . .
for equitable comparative contribution, or partial or
comparative indemnity, based on comparative negligence or
comparative fault.” Id. § 877.6(c).
the motion is unopposed by the non-settling defendants, and
the court finds that the settlement was made in good faith
based on the factors announced in Tech-Bilt, Inc. v.
Woodward-Clyde & Associates, 38 Cal.3d 488, 500-01,
213 Cal.Rptr. 256, 698 P.2d 159 (1985) (holding that a court
should consider, inter alia, the rough approximation
of plaintiff's total recovery and the settling
party's proportionate liability, the amount of the
settlement, and the existence of collusion, fraud or tortious
conduct aimed to injure the nonsettling party's
instant case, there is no suggestion of collusion or fraud,
and the fact that plaintiff is willing to accept a settlement
amount less than what Moore Transportation might ultimately
have been required to pay suggests that it is in the range of
appropriate settlement amounts, especially considering the
fact that Moore Transportation does not feature prominently
in the complaint's factual allegations. In other words,
relative to the other defendants, Moore Transportation does
not appear to be the primary target of this action.
Additionally, under California Code of Civil Procedure
section 877.6(a)(2), “[i]f none of the nonsettling
parties files a motion within 25 days of mailing of the
notice, application, and proposed order, or within 20 days of
personal service, the court may approve the
settlement.” Non-settling defendants ANG and Tuff
received notice of the settlement, did not file any response
to defendant Moore's motion for a good faith
determination, and apparently do not contend that the
settlement was not made in good faith. “The absence of
an opposition or objection from any other party is highly
telling and is clearly indicative of reasonableness and good
faith.” Coppola v. Smith, No. 1:11-CV-1257 AWI
BAM, 2017 WL 4574091, at *5 (E.D. Cal. Oct. 13, 2017).
light of the above factors, the settlement between plaintiff
and Moore Transportation was made in good faith pursuant to
section 877.6, and the court will grant Moore
Transportation's motion for determination of good faith
THEREFORE ORDERED that Moore Transportation's motion for
a good faith settlement determination (Docket No. 19) be, and
the same hereby is, GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the
settlement bars ANY claims for contribution or ...