This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/20/2020 at 12:57:29 (UTC).

BLANCA LETICIA LYNN ALVAREZ, ET AL. VS GERARDO A. RODRIGUEZ

Case Summary

On 11/13/2018 BLANCA LETICIA LYNN ALVAREZ filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against GERARDO A RODRIGUEZ. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JON R. TAKASUGI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******3809

  • Filing Date:

    11/13/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

QUEZADA YVONEE

LYNN ALVAREZ BLANCA LETICIA

Defendants

RODRIGUEZ GERARDO A.

CORDERO BEATRIZ

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

ZIMMERMAN WILLIAM MARTIN

Defendant Attorney

JAMARNE JEAN PAUL

 

Court Documents

Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil - Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

8/19/2020: Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil - Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

6/12/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel - Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

6/12/2020: Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel - Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

6/24/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

11/18/2019: Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

Request for Dismissal - Request for Dismissal

1/3/2020: Request for Dismissal - Request for Dismissal

Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel - Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

1/16/2020: Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel - Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

1/16/2020: Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil - Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

1/16/2020: Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil - Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

2/13/2020: Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

2/13/2020: Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail

Motion to Compel (name extension) - Motion to Compel Motion to Compel to Answer

3/24/2020: Motion to Compel (name extension) - Motion to Compel Motion to Compel to Answer

Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

4/15/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel - Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

7/17/2019: Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel - Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

1/16/2019: Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

Answer - Answer

1/16/2019: Answer - Answer

Summons - Summons on Complaint

11/13/2018: Summons - Summons on Complaint

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

11/13/2018: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

31 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/16/2021
  • Hearing11/16/2021 at 10:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service

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  • 03/30/2021
  • Hearing03/30/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 08/19/2020
  • DocketOrder Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil; Signed and Filed by: William Martin Zimmerman (Attorney); As to: William Martin Zimmerman (Attorney); Blanca Leticia Lynn Alvarez (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/19/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil: Filed By: William Martin Zimmerman (Attorney); Result: Granted; As To Parties changed from William Martin Zimmerman (Attorney), Blanca Leticia Lynn Alvarez (Plaintiff) to William Martin Zimmerman (Attorney), Blanca Leticia Lynn Alvarez (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/19/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel)

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  • 08/19/2020
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel) of 08/19/2020; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 08/19/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Event scheduled for 09/30/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Type changed from Non-Jury Trial to Jury Trial

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  • 08/19/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel scheduled for 08/19/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 08/19/2020; Result Type to Held - Motion Granted

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  • 08/19/2020
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Jury Trial scheduled for 09/30/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court was rescheduled to 03/30/2021 08:30 AM

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  • 06/24/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: Gerardo A. Rodriguez (Defendant); Beatriz Cordero (Defendant)

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53 More Docket Entries
  • 01/16/2019
  • DocketNotice of Deposit - Jury; Filed by: Gerardo A. Rodriguez (Defendant)

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  • 01/16/2019
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Gerardo A. Rodriguez (Defendant)

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  • 11/13/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Blanca Leticia Lynn Alvarez (Plaintiff); Yvonee Quezada (Plaintiff); As to: Gerardo A. Rodriguez (Defendant)

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  • 11/13/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Blanca Leticia Lynn Alvarez (Plaintiff); Yvonee Quezada (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/13/2018
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Clerk

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  • 11/13/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 11/13/2018
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 11/13/2018
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Jon R. Takasugi in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 11/13/2018
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 05/12/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 11/13/2018
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 11/16/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 18STLC13809    Hearing Date: August 20, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Wed., August 19, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Alvarez, et al. v. Rodriguez, et al. COMP. FILED: 11-13-18

CASE NUMBER: 18STLC13809 DISC. C/O: 08-31-20

NOTICE: OK MOTION C/O: 09-15-20

TRIAL DATE: 09-30-20

PROCEEDINGS: PLAINTIFF’S COUNSEL’S MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Blanca Leticia Lynn Alvarez’s Counsel Lori S. DeCristo

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

(CCP § 284(2); CRC rule 3.1362)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff’s Counsel Lori S. DeCristo’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is GRANTED and the proposed order will be signed at the hearing. After the order is signed, a copy of the signed order must be served on the client and on all parties that have appeared in the case.” (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1362(e).) The Order on this Motion will not be effective “until proof of service of a copy of the signed order on [Plaintiff Alvarez ] has been filed with the court.” (Id.)

SERVICE:

[X] Proof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

[X] Correct Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

[X] 16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) OK

OPPOSITION: None filed as of August 14, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of August 14, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On November 13, 2018, Plaintiffs Blanca Leticia Lynn Alvarez (“Alvarez”) and Yvonne Quezada (“Quezada”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed an action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendants Gerardo A. Rodriguez (“Rodriguez”) and Beatriz Cordero (“Cordero”) (collectively, “Defendants”). On October 7, 2019, Plaintiff Quezada was dismissed from this action. Plaintiff Alvarez attempted to dismiss Defendant Cordero, but on January 6, 2020, the Court rejected Plaintiff’s Request for Dismissal due to a missing declaration. (1/3/20 Request for Dismissal.)

On July 17, 2019, Plaintiff Alvarez’s Counsel Lori S. DeCristo (“Counsel”) with the firm Pisegna & Zimmerman, LLC, filed the instant Motion to be Relieved as Counsel (the “Motion”). On October 29, 2019, the Court continued the Motion due to a defect in Counsel’s proof of service. (10/29/19 Minute Order.) Specifically, the Court found that the proof of service indicated that only a “Notice of Motion and Motion to be Relieved as Counsel,” Form MC-051, had been served. (Id.) This was insufficient either because it failed to serve forms MC-052 and MC-053 altogether as required by California Rules of Court, rule 3.1362, subdivision (d) or, if all forms were served, because it failed to set forth “the exact title of the document served and filed in the cause,” as required by Code of Civil Procedure 1013a. (Id.)

At the continued hearing on February 4, 2020, the Court found Counsel’s proof of service was still defective. (2/4/20 Minute Order.) In doing so, the Court pointed out that its previous order specifically noted that all forms, namely Forms MC-051, MC-052, and MC-053, had to be served on the parties. (Id.) The Court continued the hearing one last time to allow Plaintiff’s Counsel to file an amended proof of service. (Id.)

On June 12, 2020, Counsel refiled her Motion with the requested proof of service. No opposition has been filed to date.

II. Legal Standard

The court may order that an attorney be changed or substituted at any time before or after judgment or final determination upon request by either client or attorney and after notice from one to the other. (CCP § 284(2).) “The determination whether to grant or deny a motion to withdraw as counsel lies within the sound discretion of the trial court.” (Manfredi & Levine v. Superior Court (1998) 66 Cal.App.4th 1128, 1133.) An application to be relieved as counsel must be made on Judicial Council Forms MC-051 (Notice of Motion and Motion), MC-052 (Declaration), and MC-053 (Proposed Order). (CRC 3.1362(a), (c), (e).)

In addition, California Rules of Court, rule 3.1362 subsection (d) requires that the notice of motion and motion, declaration, and proposed order be served on the client and all other parties who have appeared in the case by personal service, electronic service, or mail. If the notice is served by mail, it must be accompanied by a declaration stating facts showing that either:

(A) The service address is the current residence or business address of the client; or

(B) The service address is the last known residence or business address of the client and the attorney has been unable to locate a more current address after making reasonable efforts to do so within 30 days before the filing of the motion to be relieved.

(Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1362, subd. (1)(A) & (2).) (Italics added.)

III. Discussion

Counsel seeks to be relieved due to differences that have arisen between Counsel’s firm and Plaintiff Alvarez that preclude the office from providing effective representation. (MC-052, ¶ 2.) Counsel mailed the instant Motion to Plaintiff’s current address, which was confirmed by telephone at most 30 days before filing. (Id. at ¶ 3.)

The Court is satisfied with Counsel’s reasons for seeking to be relieved and finds she has satisfied the requirements of California Rules of Court, rule 3.1362, subdivision (a) and (c)-(e). Although trial is scheduled for September 30, 2020, Plaintiff Alvarez has been on notice that Counsel sought to withdraw from representation since July 2019, when Counsel originally filed this Motion. Thus, Plaintiff has had ample time to seek other representation if she wished to continue prosecuting this action.

IV. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s Counsel Lori S. DeCristo’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is GRANTED and the proposed order will be signed at the hearing. After the order is signed, a copy of the signed order must be served on the client and on all parties that have appeared in the case.” (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1362(e).) The Order on this Motion will not be effective “until proof of service of a copy of the signed order on [Plaintiff Alvarez ] has been filed with the court.” (Id.)

Plaintiff’s Counsel is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 18STLC13809    Hearing Date: August 19, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Wed., August 19, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Alvarez, et al. v. Rodriguez, et al. COMP. FILED: 11-13-18

CASE NUMBER: 18STLC13809 DISC. C/O: 08-31-20

NOTICE: OK MOTION C/O: 09-15-20

TRIAL DATE: 09-30-20

PROCEEDINGS: PLAINTIFF’S COUNSEL’S MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Blanca Leticia Lynn Alvarez’s Counsel Lori S. DeCristo

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

(CCP § 284(2); CRC rule 3.1362)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff’s Counsel Lori S. DeCristo’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is GRANTED and the proposed order will be signed at the hearing. After the order is signed, a copy of the signed order must be served on the client and on all parties that have appeared in the case.” (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1362(e).) The Order on this Motion will not be effective “until proof of service of a copy of the signed order on [Plaintiff Alvarez ] has been filed with the court.” (Id.)

SERVICE:

[X] Proof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

[X] Correct Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

[X] 16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) OK

OPPOSITION: None filed as of August 14, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of August 14, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On November 13, 2018, Plaintiffs Blanca Leticia Lynn Alvarez (“Alvarez”) and Yvonne Quezada (“Quezada”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed an action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendants Gerardo A. Rodriguez (“Rodriguez”) and Beatriz Cordero (“Cordero”) (collectively, “Defendants”). On October 7, 2019, Plaintiff Quezada was dismissed from this action. Plaintiff Alvarez attempted to dismiss Defendant Cordero, but on January 6, 2020, the Court rejected Plaintiff’s Request for Dismissal due to a missing declaration. (1/3/20 Request for Dismissal.)

On July 17, 2019, Plaintiff Alvarez’s Counsel Lori S. DeCristo (“Counsel”) with the firm Pisegna & Zimmerman, LLC, filed the instant Motion to be Relieved as Counsel (the “Motion”). On October 29, 2019, the Court continued the Motion due to a defect in Counsel’s proof of service. (10/29/19 Minute Order.) Specifically, the Court found that the proof of service indicated that only a “Notice of Motion and Motion to be Relieved as Counsel,” Form MC-051, had been served. (Id.) This was insufficient either because it failed to serve forms MC-052 and MC-053 altogether as required by California Rules of Court, rule 3.1362, subdivision (d) or, if all forms were served, because it failed to set forth “the exact title of the document served and filed in the cause,” as required by Code of Civil Procedure 1013a. (Id.)

At the continued hearing on February 4, 2020, the Court found Counsel’s proof of service was still defective. (2/4/20 Minute Order.) In doing so, the Court pointed out that its previous order specifically noted that all forms, namely Forms MC-051, MC-052, and MC-053, had to be served on the parties. (Id.) The Court continued the hearing one last time to allow Plaintiff’s Counsel to file an amended proof of service. (Id.)

On June 12, 2020, Counsel refiled her Motion with the requested proof of service. No opposition has been filed to date.

II. Legal Standard

The court may order that an attorney be changed or substituted at any time before or after judgment or final determination upon request by either client or attorney and after notice from one to the other. (CCP § 284(2).) “The determination whether to grant or deny a motion to withdraw as counsel lies within the sound discretion of the trial court.” (Manfredi & Levine v. Superior Court (1998) 66 Cal.App.4th 1128, 1133.) An application to be relieved as counsel must be made on Judicial Council Forms MC-051 (Notice of Motion and Motion), MC-052 (Declaration), and MC-053 (Proposed Order). (CRC 3.1362(a), (c), (e).)

In addition, California Rules of Court, rule 3.1362 subsection (d) requires that the notice of motion and motion, declaration, and proposed order be served on the client and all other parties who have appeared in the case by personal service, electronic service, or mail. If the notice is served by mail, it must be accompanied by a declaration stating facts showing that either:

(A) The service address is the current residence or business address of the client; or

(B) The service address is the last known residence or business address of the client and the attorney has been unable to locate a more current address after making reasonable efforts to do so within 30 days before the filing of the motion to be relieved.

(Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1362, subd. (1)(A) & (2).) (Italics added.)

III. Discussion

Counsel seeks to be relieved due to differences that have arisen between Counsel’s firm and Plaintiff Alvarez that preclude the office from providing effective representation. (MC-052, ¶ 2.) Counsel mailed the instant Motion to Plaintiff’s current address, which was confirmed by telephone at most 30 days before filing. (Id. at ¶ 3.)

The Court is satisfied with Counsel’s reasons for seeking to be relieved and finds she has satisfied the requirements of California Rules of Court, rule 3.1362, subdivision (a) and (c)-(e). Although trial is scheduled for September 30, 2020, Plaintiff Alvarez has been on notice that Counsel sought to withdraw from representation since July 2019, when Counsel originally filed this Motion. Thus, Plaintiff has had ample time to seek other representation if she wished to continue prosecuting this action.

IV. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s Counsel Lori S. DeCristo’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is GRANTED and the proposed order will be signed at the hearing. After the order is signed, a copy of the signed order must be served on the client and on all parties that have appeared in the case.” (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1362(e).) The Order on this Motion will not be effective “until proof of service of a copy of the signed order on [Plaintiff Alvarez ] has been filed with the court.” (Id.)

Plaintiff’s Counsel is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 18STLC13809    Hearing Date: June 23, 2020    Dept: 25

MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO INTERROGATORIES; MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP §§ 2030.290; 2031.300)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendants Gerardo A. Rodriguez and Beatriz Cordero’s Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff Alvarez to Answer Form and Special Interrogatories is GRANTED. Plaintiff Alvarez is ordered to provide verified responses without objections within thirty (30) days of service of this order.

However, Defendants’ Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff Alvarez to Respond to Request for Production of Documents and Request for Sanctions is CONTINUED to SEPTEMBER 8 2020 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. At least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing, Defendants must pay one additional filing fee.

SERVICE:

[X] Proof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

[X] Correct Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

[X] 16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) OK

OPPOSITION: None filed as of June 18, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of June 18, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On November 13, 2018, Plaintiffs Blanca Leticia Lynn Alvarez (“Alvarez”) and Yvonne Quezada (“Quezada”) filed an action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendants Gerardo A. Rodriguez (“Rodriguez”) and Beatriz Cordero (“Cordero”) (collectively, “Defendants”). On January 16, 2019, Defendant Rodriguez filed an Answer. On October 4, 2019, Plaintiff Quezada was dismissed from the action with prejudice.

On March 24, 2020, Defendants filed the instant (1) Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff Alvarez to Answer Form and Special Interrogatories and Request for Sanctions (the “Interrogatories Motion”) and (2) Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff Alvarez to Respond to Request for Production of Documents and Request for Sanctions (the “Production Motion”). To date, no oppositions have been filed.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

A. Improper Combination of Discovery Motions and Failure to Pay Filing Fee

As an initial matter, the Court notes that Defendants impermissibly attempt to combine multiple requests for relief into a single motion. Specifically, Defendants move the Court to compel Plaintiff Alvarez’s responses to Form Interrogatories and Special Interrogatories in a single motion. (Interrogatories Motion, pp. 1-2.) However, filing as a single motion negatively impacts the Court’s calendar by placing more motions on the calendar than slots have been provided by the online reservation system.

In addition, combining discovery motions allows the moving party to avoid paying the requisite filing fees. Statutorily required filing fees are jurisdictional and “it is mandatory for the court clerks to demand and receive statutorily required filing fees.” (See Duran v. St. Luke’s Hospital (2003) 114 Cal.App.4th 457, 460.) Here, the Court’s record demonstrates that Defendants have only paid two filing fees for what should have been three separate motions.

Accordingly, the Court will only rule on Defendants’ Interrogatories Motion. Defendants are ordered to pay one additional filing fee before the Court can consider the Production Motion.

B. Interrogatories Motion

A party must respond to interrogatories within 30 days after service. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.260, subd. (a).) If a party to whom interrogatories are directed does not provide timely responses, the requesting party may move for an order compelling responses to the discovery. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290, subd. (b).) The party also waives the right to make any objections, including one based on privilege or work-product protection. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290, subd. (a).) There is no time limit for a motion to compel responses to interrogatories other than the cut-off on hearing discovery motions 15 days before trial. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2024.020, subd. (a); Code Civ. Proc., 2030.290.) No meet and confer efforts are required before filing a motion to compel responses to the discovery. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290; Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 390, 411.)

Here, Defendants served Plaintiff Alvarez with Form Interrogatories, Set One, and Special Interrogatories, Set One, on January 4, 2019, via regular mail. (Interrogatories Mot., Hakopian Decl., ¶ 3.) Although not statutorily required, on April 3, 2019, Defendants’ counsel sent Plaintiff’s counsel a letter regarding the lack of discovery responses. (Id. at ¶ 4.) To date, Defendants have not received any responses to the discovery. (Id. at ¶ 5.) Thus, Defendants are entitled to an order compelling Plaintiff Alvarez to provide verified responses to Form Interrogatories and Special Interrogatories without objections. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290.)

C. Sanctions

Defendants’ request for sanctions will be addressed at the next scheduled hearing.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendants Gerardo A. Rodriguez and Beatriz Cordero’s Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff Alvarez to Answer Form and Special Interrogatories is GRANTED. Plaintiff Alvarez is ordered to provide verified responses without objections within thirty (30) days of service of this order.

However, Defendants’ Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff Alvarez to Respond to Request for Production of Documents and Request for Sanctions is CONTINUED to SEPTEMBER 8, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. At least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing, Defendants must pay one additional filing fee.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 18STLC13809    Hearing Date: February 04, 2020    Dept: 25

MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

(CCP § 284(2); CRC rule 3.1362)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff’s Counsel Lori S. DeCristo’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is CONTINUED to APRIL 2, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 25.

SERVICE:

[X] Proof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

[X] Correct Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

[X] 16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) OK

OPPOSITION: None filed as of February 1, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of February 1, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On November 13, 2018, Plaintiffs Blanca Leticia Lynn Alvarez (“Alvarez”) and Yvonne Quezada (“Quezada”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed an action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendants Gerardo A. Rodriguez (“Rodriguez”) and Beatriz Cordero (“Cordero”) (collectively, “Defendants”). On October 7, 2019, Plaintiff Quezada was dismissed from this action. Plaintiff attempted to dismiss Defendant Cordero, but on January 6, 2020, the Court rejected Plaintiff’s Request for Dismissal due to a missing declaration.

On July 17, 2019, Plaintiff Alvarez’s Counsel Lori S. DeCristo (“Counsel”) filed the instant Motion to be Relieved as Counsel (the “Motion”). On October 29, 2019, the Court continued the Motion due to a defect in Counsel’s proof of service. (10/29/19 Minute Order.) Specifically, the Court found that the proof of service, which indicated only that a “Notice of Motion and Motion to be Relieved as Counsel,” Form MC-051, had been served. (Id.) This was insufficient either because it failed to serve forms MC-052 and MC-053 altogether as required by California Rules of Court, rule 3.1362, subdivision (d) or, if all forms were actually served, because it failed set forth “the exact title of the document served and filed in the cause,” as required by Code of Civil Procedure 1013a, subdivision (a). (Id.)

II. Legal Standard

The court may order that an attorney be changed or substituted at any time before or after judgment or final determination upon request by either client or attorney and after notice from one to the other. (CCP § 284(2).) “The determination whether to grant or deny a motion to withdraw as counsel lies within the sound discretion of the trial court.” (Manfredi & Levine v. Superior Court (1998) 66 Cal.App.4th 1128, 1133.) An application to be relieved as counsel must be made on Judicial Counsel Forms MC-051 (Notice of Motion and Motion), MC-052 (Declaration), and MC-053 (Proposed Order). (CRC 3.1362(a), (c), (e).)

In addition, California Rules of Court, rule 3.1362 subsection (d) requires that the notice of motion and motion, declaration, and proposed order be served on the client and all other parties who have appeared in the case by personal service, electronic service, or mail. If the notice is served by mail, it must be accompanied by a declaration stating facts showing that either:

(A) The service address is the current residence or business address of the client; or

(B) The service address is the last known residence or business address of the client and the attorney has been unable to locate a more current address after making reasonable efforts to do so within 30 days before the filing of the motion to be relieved.

(Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1362, subd. (1)(A) & (2).) (Italics added.)

III. Discussion

On January 16, 2020, Counsel re-filed the entire Motion, including a new proof of service. The proof of service indicates that on November 18, 2019, a “Notice of Motion and Motion to be Relieved as Counsel” and “Declaration in Support of Attorney’s Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel” was served on the parties. (1/16/20 Proof of Service.) In addition, the proof of service does not indicate the date it was signed by the person effectuating service. (Id.)

The Court finds that Counsel’s proof of service is still defective. The Court specifically noted in its October 29, 2019 order that all requisite forms had to be served on the client and all other parties that had appeared in the case. (10/29/19 Minute Order.) Despite this, Counsel’s proof of service does not indicate that required form MC-053, the Order Granting Attorney’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel, has also been served.

Accordingly, Counsel’s Motion is continued one last time to file an amended proof of service, properly dated, demonstrating all required forms have been served as required by California Rules of Court, rule 3.1362, subdivision (d).

IV. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s Counsel Lori S. DeCristo’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is CONTINUED to APRIL 2, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 25.

Case Number: 18STLC13809    Hearing Date: October 29, 2019    Dept: 94

MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

(CCP § 284(2); CRC, rule 3.1362)

TENTATIVE RULING:

For the reasons stated below, Plaintiff Blanca Leticia Lynn Alvarez’s Counsel Pisegna & Zimmerman’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is CONTINUED TO FEB. 4, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 94.

I. Discussion & Order

On July 7, 2019, Plaintiff Blanca Leticia Lynn Alvarez’s Counsel Pisegna & Zimmerman (“Counsel”) filed a Motion to be Relieved as Counsel (the “Motion”).

The court may order that an attorney be changed or substituted at any time before or after judgment or final determination upon request by either client or attorney and after notice from one to the other. (CCP § 284(2).) “The determination whether to grant or deny a motion to withdraw as counsel lies within the sound discretion of the trial court.” (Manfredi & Levine v. Superior Court (1998) 66 Cal.App.4th 1128, 1133.) An application to be relieved as counsel must be made on Judicial Counsel Forms MC-051 (Notice of Motion and Motion), MC-052 (Declaration), and MC-053 (Proposed Order). (CRC 3.1362(a), (c), (e).) The requisite forms must be served “on the client and on all parties that have appeared in the case.” (Id. 3.1362(d).)

The Proof of Service, filed on August 23, 2019, shows that only a “Notice of Motion and Motion to be Relieved as Counsel,” which is the title of Form MC-051, was served on Plaintiff Alvarez and Defendant Gerardo A. Rodriguez’s counsel by mail. Pursuant to CCP § 1013a(1), a proof of service by mail must set forth “the exact title of the document served and filed in the cause . . . .” (Emphasis added.) But based on the Proof of Service, Forms MC-052 (Declaration) and MC-053 (Proposed Order) were not served on Plaintiff Alvarez and Defendant Rodriguez’s counsel. Alternatively, if Counsel had served Forms MC-052 and MC-053, then it violated Section 1013a(1) by failing to state the exact title of each document served in the Proof of Service. Either way, the Court cannot grant the Motion until Counsel has demonstrated that proper service of all the requisite forms has been effectuated on Plaintiff Alvarez and Defendant Rodriguez.

Accordingly, the Motion is CONTINUED TO FEB. 4, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 94.

Counsel is ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMCdept94@lacourt.org as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.