Garibotti v. HinkleAnnotate this Case
Nora Garibotti appealed an order granting Bruce Hinkle’s motion to vacate a default judgment and the revised judgment the trial court entered based on that order. Garibotti was comedian Joey Bishop’s girlfriend for over 20 years. Bishop died in October 2007, and Garibotti was one of his estate’s major beneficiaries. During his lifetime, Bishop had hired Hinkle to perform construction projects at the Lido Island residence Bishop and Garibotti shared, based on Hinkle’s claim he was a skilled and licensed contractor. Hinkle was neither. He often failed to appear at the job site during projects and the work he performed did not comply with the Uniform Building Code or other industry standards. After Bishop’s death, Hinkle convinced the Trust’s trustee that he was Bishop’s good friend and a licensed contractor who could help renovate the Lido Island residence and prepare it for sale. The trustee hired Hinkle to pack the residence’s furnishings and other contents, move those items to a storage facility, and perform construction work at the residence. Hinkle’s construction work again failed to comply with the Uniform Building Code and other industry standards. Hinkle also stole many of the items he was supposed to move to storage, vandalized other pieces of personal property, and damaged or lost many of the items during transport and storage. In October 2009, Garibotti sued Hinkle to recover the items he stole and also damages for his unlicensed and substandard construction work. After several unsuccessful attempts to prove up her claims and damages, Garibotti obtained a default judgment against Hinkle in January 2013. Hinkle challenged that default judgment, and the trial court granted his motion in part. In July 2013, the court entered a revised judgment against Hinkle, awarding Garibotti various amounts for the value of the missing personal property, prejudgment interest and costs. Garibotti timely appealed the trial court’s order granting Hinkle’s motion and the revised judgment. Hinkle cross-appealed. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded the trial court erred in granting Hinkle's motion, thereby voiding the revised judgment. The Court remanded this case for further proceedings.