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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 04/28/2021 at 00:22:11 (UTC).

CHRISTOPHER MARTINEZ VS GELSON'S MARKETS

Case Summary

On 04/14/2020 CHRISTOPHER MARTINEZ filed a Civil Right - Other Civil Right lawsuit against GELSON'S MARKETS. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JAMES E. BLANCARTE. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******3319

  • Filing Date:

    04/14/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Civil Right - Other Civil Right

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

MARTINEZ CHRISTOPHER

Defendant

GELSON'S MARKETS

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

MEHRBAN MORSE

Defendant Attorney

HYUN CHARLES P.

 

Court Documents

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Defendant Gelson's Market's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Defendant's Further Answers to Interrogatories and Request for Sanctions

4/13/2021: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Defendant Gelson's Market's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Defendant's Further Answers to Interrogatories and Request for Sanctions

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Charles P. Hyun In Support of Defendant Gelson's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Defendant's Further Answers to Interrogatories

4/13/2021: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Charles P. Hyun In Support of Defendant Gelson's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Defendant's Further Answers to Interrogatories

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses) of 04/26/2021

4/26/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses) of 04/26/2021

Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

11/17/2020: Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses - Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses

Answer - Answer

9/2/2020: Answer - Answer

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

8/26/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

8/24/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

Reply (name extension) - Reply Defendant Gelson's Markets' Reply In Support of Demurrer to Complaint

8/17/2020: Reply (name extension) - Reply Defendant Gelson's Markets' Reply In Support of Demurrer to Complaint

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re: Hearing on Demurrer without Motion to Strike)

6/19/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re: Hearing on Demurrer without Motion to Strike)

Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

6/3/2020: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike - Demurrer - without Motion to Strike

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

6/3/2020: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Request for Judicial Notice - Request for Judicial Notice

6/3/2020: Request for Judicial Notice - Request for Judicial Notice

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

6/9/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order Re: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike) of 06/09/2020

6/9/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Demurrer - without Motion to Strike) of 06/09/2020

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

4/14/2020: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Summons - Summons on Complaint

4/14/2020: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

4/14/2020: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

4/14/2020: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

14 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/18/2023
  • Hearing04/18/2023 at 08:30 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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  • 10/12/2021
  • Hearing10/12/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 04/26/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses)

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  • 04/26/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Hearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses) of 04/26/2021; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 04/26/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses scheduled for 04/26/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 04/26/2021; Result Type to Held

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  • 04/13/2021
  • DocketOpposition Defendant Gelson's Market's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Defendant's Further Answers to Interrogatories and Request for Sanctions; Filed by: Gelson's Markets (Defendant)

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  • 04/13/2021
  • DocketDeclaration of Charles P. Hyun In Support of Defendant Gelson's Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Defendant's Further Answers to Interrogatories; Filed by: Gelson's Markets (Defendant)

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  • 11/17/2020
  • DocketMotion to Compel Further Discovery Responses; Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff); As to: Gelson's Markets (Defendant)

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  • 11/17/2020
  • DocketSeparate Statement; Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff)

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  • 11/17/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Compel Further Discovery Responses scheduled for 04/26/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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18 More Docket Entries
  • 04/14/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff); As to: Gelson's Markets (Defendant)

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  • 04/14/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 25 Spring Street Courthouse

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  • 04/14/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff); As to: Gelson's Markets (Defendant)

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  • 04/14/2020
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/14/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff); As to: Gelson's Markets (Defendant)

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  • 04/14/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 04/14/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 04/14/2020
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Signed and Filed by: Clerk; As to: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/14/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 10/12/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 04/14/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 04/18/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STLC03319    Hearing Date: April 26, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Mon., April 26, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Chilton/25

CASE NAME: Martinez v. Gelson’s Markets COMP. FILED: 04-14-20

CASE NUMBER: 20STLC03319 DISC. C/O: 09-12-21

NOTICE: OK MOTION C/O: 09-27-21

TRIAL DATE: 10-12-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT’S FURTHER ANSWERS TO INTERROGATORIES

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff Christopher Martinez

RESP. PARTY: Defendant Gelson’s Markets

MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES TO INTERROGATORIES; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2030.300)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Christopher Martinez’s Motion to Compel Defendant’s Further Answers to Interrogatories is DENIED. In addition, Defendant’s request for sanctions is GRANTED in the amount of $1,387.50 against Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s counsel, jointly and severally, to be paid within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

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: Filed on April 13, 2021 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: None filed as of April 21, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On April 14, 2020, Plaintiff Christopher Martinez (“Plaintiff”) filed a Complaint alleging violations of the Unruh Civil Rights Act against Defendant Gelson’s Markets (“Defendant”). Defendant filed an Answer on September 2, 2020.

On November 17, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Compel Defendant’s Further Answers to Interrogatories (the “Motion”). Defendant filed an Opposition on April 13, 2021. No reply brief was filed.

II. Legal Standard

Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.300 provides that “[o]n receipt of a response to interrogatories, the propounding party may move for an order compelling a further response if the propounding party deems that . . .”[a]n answer to a particular interrogatory is evasive or incomplete.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.300, subd. (a).)

Notice of the motions must be given within 45 days of service of the verified response, otherwise, the propounding party waives any right to compel a further response. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.300, subd. (c).) The motions must also be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.300, subd. (b).)

Finally, Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 3.1345 requires that all motions or responses involving further discovery contain a separate statement with the text of each request, the response, and a statement of factual and legal reasons for compelling further responses. (Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 3.1345, subd. (a)(3)).

III. Discussion

Plaintiff’s Motion is timely and seeks a further response to Special Interrogatory Nos. 3 and 4. (Mot., p. 1:19-24.) Interrogatory No. 3 states, “Please identify all dates on which you provided live music at 2725 Hyperion Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027.” (Id., Mehrban Decl., ¶ 3, Exh. A.) Interrogatory No. 4 states, “For each date on which you provided live music at 2725 Hyperion Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027, please explain in detail why you did so.” (Id.)

Defendant opposes Plaintiff’s Motion on the basis that the interrogatories in question are overbroad and burdensome and that Plaintiff’s counsel failed to meet and confer in good faith before this Motion was filed. (Oppo., p. 1:14-27.)

The Court first examines the parties' meet and confer efforts.

A. Meet and Confer Efforts

“A meet and confer declaration in support of a motion shall state facts showing a reasonable and good faith attempt at an informal resolution of each issue presented by the motion.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2016.040.) Regardless of the outcome of a particular motion, the Court “shall impose a monetary sanction ordering that any party or attorney who fails to confer as required pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.020.)

California’s Discovery Act requires a “serious effort at negotiation and informal resolution” which “entails something more than bickering with [opposing counsel.]” (Clement v. Alegre (2009) 177 Cal.App.4th 1277, 1281.) In determining whether a meet and confer process was reasonable, the Court may consider whether the parties were at an impasse that could not be resolved through the meet and confer process, and whether, “from the perspective of a reasonable person in the position of the discovering party, additional efforts appeared likely to bear fruit.” (Id. at p. 1293-94.) Other factors courts may consider include the size and complexity of the case, the history of the litigation, the nature of the interaction between counsel, the type of discovery requested, and other similar factors. (Obregon v. Superior Court (1998) 67 Cal.App.4th 424, 431.) In addition, “[j]udges have broad powers and responsibilities to determine what measures and procedures are appropriate in varying circumstances.” (Id.)

1. Sufficiency of the Meet and Confer Process

Plaintiff served Special Interrogatories, Set One, on Defendant via regular mail on September 3, 2020. (Mot., Mehrban Decl., ¶ 3, Exh. A.) Defendant served initial responses to the discovery on October 6, 2020. (Oppo., Hyun Decl., ¶ 3, Exh. A.) As to Interrogatory No. 3, Defendant objected on the basis that the request was overly broad and that the time frame was not relevant to the subject matter. (Id.) As to Interrogatory No. 4, Defendant responded as follows: “On March 26, 2019, the live music was limited to an isolated small area of the supermarket where customers could dine-in and enjoy beverages and food for consumption. The live music was not piped into the supermarket areas.” (Id.)

Plaintiff’s counsel sent Defendant’s counsel an initial meet and confer letter on October 8, 2020. (Id. at ¶ 4, Exh. B.) In the October 8 letter, Plaintiff’s counsel argues that because Defendant denies being a live entertainment venue, Plaintiff is entitled to information regarding how frequently Defendant has provided live music. (Id.) Defendant’s counsel responded to the October 8 letter on October 9 stating that the request was overbroad and unlimited as to time and scope and thus overly burdensome. (Id. at ¶ 5, Exh. C.) Defendant’s counsel suggested that the time frame be limited to six months prior to March 26, 2019, the date of Plaintiff’s alleged visit to Defendant’s establishment, and requested that Plaintiff’s counsel confirm whether he agreed to the proposal. (Id.) That same day, Plaintiff’s counsel responded, simply stating he would “proceed with the motion to compel.” (Id. at ¶ 6, Exh. D.)

Defendant’s counsel sent Plaintiff’s counsel another meet and confer letter on October 14, 2020, reiterating that Defendant was willing to provide supplemental responses as long as Plaintiff reasonably limited the time scope of Interrogatory No. 3, invited Plaintiff’s counsel to make a counter-proposal, and stated that supplemental responses would be provided by October 22, 2020. (Id. at ¶ 7, Exh. E.) Defendant served supplemental responses on October 22, 2020. (Mot., Mehrban Decl., ¶ 4, Exh. B.) Subject to the previous objections, the supplemental response to Interrogatory No. 3 includes dates in 2018 and 2019 on which artist Rich Sheldon provided live music at Defendant’s establishment. (Id.) The supplemental response to Interrogatory No. 4 states: “Subject to and without waiving the foregoing objections, [Defendant’s] supplements its response to this Interrogatory as follows: For each date identified in response to Special Interrogatory No. 3, the purpose of the live music performance was to support local musician Rich Sheldon.” (Id.)

Plaintiff’s counsel sent another meet and confer letter on October 22, 2020. (Id. at ¶ 5, Exh. C.) The letter did not respond to Defendant’s counsel request that the interrogatories be limited to a certain time-frame, and instead reiterated Defendant had to provide all dates, without limitation, on which Defendant provided any kind of live music at the subject location because Defendant had asserted in its Answer it was “never” a live entertainment or music venue and that live music has “never” been part of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations that Defendant “normally” offers. (Id.) Plaintiff’s counsel also noted that the responses to Interrogatory Nos. 3 and 4 were evasive and incomplete as Defendant only provided dates in 2018 and 2019 for one artist, Rich Sheldon. (Id.) Having read the parties' meet and confer correspondence, the Court finds the process to be sufficient.

B. Interrogatory Nos. 3 & 4

The Court finds Interrogatory Nos. 3 and 4 to be overbroad. As worded, the Interrogatories could require Defendant to look back through decades worth of records. Indeed, Defendant states that, as worded, the Interrogatories would force Defendant to “search records going back decades.” (Oppo., p. 5:23-24.)

Plaintiff argues this information is required because it seeks to establish and determine whether live entertainment is “part of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations that Defendant ‘normally offers.’” (Mot., Sep. Statement, p. 3:7-17.) However, Plaintiff did not explain why limiting the scope of the interrogatory to several years, for example, would prevent him from determining what goods and services Defendant normally offers with significantly less burden to Defendant.

Thus, Plaintiff’s request to compel a further answer to Interrogatory Nos. 3 and 4 is DENIED.

C. Sanctions

The Court is required to impose a monetary sanction “against any party, person, or attorney who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel further responses to interrogatories, unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.300, subd. (d).)

Because the Motion was denied, sanctions against Plaintiff are mandatory. Defendant seeks $5,494.50 in sanctions based on 9.9 hours of attorney time billed at $555.00 per hour. (Oppo., Hyun Decl., ¶ 10.) However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of Plaintiff’s Motion and the lack of reply. The Court finds $1,387.50, based on 2.5 hours of attorney time, to be reasonable. Sanctions are awarded against Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s counsel, jointly and severally, and must be paid within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

IV. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Christopher Martinez’s Motion to Compel Defendant’s Further Answers to Interrogatories is DENIED. In addition, Defendant’s request for sanctions is GRANTED in the amount of $1,387.50 against Plaintiff and Plaintiff’s counsel, jointly and severally, to be paid within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 20STLC03319    Hearing Date: August 24, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Mon., August 24, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Martinez v. Gelson’s Markets COMPL. FILED: 04-14-20

CASE NUMBER: 20STLC03319 DISC. C/O: 09-12-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O: 09-27-21

TRIAL DATE: 10-12-21

PROCEEDINGS: DEMURRER TO COMPLAINT

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Gelson’s Markets

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff Christopher Martinez

DEMURRER

(CCP § 430.40, et seq.)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Gelson’s Markets’ Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint is OVERRULED.

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: Filed on June 22, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on August 17, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

Plaintiff Christopher Martinez (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act against Defendant Gelson’s Markets (“Defendant”) on April 14, 2020.

On June 3, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint (the “Demurrer”). Plaintiff filed an opposition on June 22, 2020, and Defendant filed a reply on August 17, 2020.

  1. Request for Judicial Notice

Defendant’s request for judicial notice of Appendix C to Part 36 of 28 C.F.R. is GRANTED. (Evid. Code, § 452, subd. (b).)

Defendant’s request for judicial notice of an article titled “Effective Communication” published by the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section and available at https://www.ada.gov/effective-comm.htm is GRANTED. (Evid. Code, § 452, subd. (c).)

Defendant’s request for judicial notice of Encino Market Co.’s Articles of Incorporation and Defendant’s Statement of Information filed with the Secretary of State are DENIED. (People v. Thacker (1985) 175 Cal.App.3d 594, 598-99 [finding that documents prepared by a private person on file with the Secretary of State and not previously part of the Court record cannot be judicially noticed].) In addition, it is unclear to the Court why the Articles of Incorporation for Encino Market Co., an entity not a party to this action, are relevant. Only relevant matters are judicially noticeable. (Aquila, Inc. v. Superior Court (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 556, 569 (citing Mangini v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. (1994) 7 Cal.4th 1057, 1063, overruled on other grounds).)

Lastly, the request for judicial notice of a print out from Defendant’s website is DENIED. Defendant argues this printout is not reasonably subject to dispute, and therefore judicially noticeable under Evidence Code section 452, subdivision (h), because Plaintiff relied on the website to support his position that the Demurrer should be overruled. (Dem., RJN, p. 2, ¶ 5.) However, facts contemplated by subdivision (h) generally include “facts which are widely accepted as established by experts and specialists in the natural, physical, and social sciences which can be verified by reference to treatises, encyclopedias, almanacs and the like or by persons learned in the subject matter.” (Gould v. Maryland Sound Industries, Inc. (1995) 31 Cal.App.4th 1137, 1145.) The print-out of Defendant’s webpage represents no such widely accepted matter. In addition, “[t]he contents of Web sites and blogs are ‘plainly subject to interpretation and for that reason not subject to judicial notice.’” (Ragland v. U.S. Bank National Assn. (2012) 209 Cal.App.4th 182, 194.)

  1. Legal Standard

“The primary function of a pleading is to give the other party notice so that it may prepare its

case [citation], and a defect in a pleading that otherwise properly notifies a party cannot be said to

affect substantial rights.” (Harris v. City of Santa Monica (2013) 56 Cal.4th 203, 240.)

“A demurrer tests the legal sufficiency of the factual allegations in a complaint.” (Ivanoff v. Bank of

America, N.A. (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 719, 725.) The Court looks to whether “the complaint alleges

facts sufficient to state a cause of action or discloses a complete defense.” (Id.) The Court does not

“read passages from a complaint in isolation; in reviewing a ruling on a demurrer, we read the

complaint ‘as a whole and its parts in their context.’ [Citation.]” (West v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,

N.A. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 780, 804.) The Court “assume[s] the truth of the properly pleaded

factual allegations, facts that reasonably can be inferred from those expressly pleaded and matters of

which judicial notice has been taken.” (Harris v. City of Santa Monica, supra, 56 Cal.4th p. 240.) “The court does not, however, assume the truth of contentions, deductions or conclusions of law. [Citation.]” (Durell v. Sharp Healthcare (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 1350, 1358.)

Leave to amend must be allowed where there is a reasonable possibility of successful amendment. (Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal.3d 335, 348.) The burden is on the complainant to show the Court that a pleading can be amended successfully. (Id.)

Finally, Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41 requires that “[b]efore filing a demurrer pursuant to this chapter, the demurring party shall meet and confer in person or by telephone with the party who filed the pleading that is subject to demurrer for the purpose of determining whether an agreement can be reached that would resolve the objections to be raised in the demurrer.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a).) The parties are to meet and confer at least five days before the date the responsive pleading is due. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a)(2).) Thereafter, the demurring party shall file and serve a declaration detailing their meet and confer efforts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a)(3).)

  1. Discussion

A. Service of the Opposition

As an initial matter, the Court addresses Defendant’s argument regarding service of the Opposition. Defendant argues it never received a copy of Plaintiff’s Opposition, and even if it had, service was improper as it was served by mail, not electronically. (Reply, p. 1:17-28.) On this basis, Defendant requests that the Court exercise its discretion to strike the Opposition in its entirety. (Id.)

Defendant relies on Local Rule 3.4, which requires represented parties to file documents with the Court electronically using an approved electronic service provider. (Super Ct. L.A. County, Local Rules, rule 3.4, subd. (a).) However, this rule does not require electronic service between the parties. (See id.) Defendant also cites California Rules of Court, rule 2.251, which requires electronic service pursuant to a local court rule or order. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 2.251, subd. (c).) Los Angeles Superior Court has no such local rule. In addition, because Defendant filed a Reply on the merits of Plaintiff’s Opposition, it has waived any challenges based on deficiencies in notice. (See Alliance Bank v. Murray (1984) 161 Cal.App.3d 1, 7 [“It is well-settled that the appearance of a party at the hearing of a motion and his or her opposition to the motion on its merits is a waiver of any defects or irregularities in the notice of motion”].)

B. Merits

Defendant’s Demurrer is accompanied by a meet and confer declaration as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41, subdivision (a). (Dem., Hyun Decl., ¶¶ 2-5.) Defendant demurs to Plaintiff’s Complaint on the basis that it does not state sufficient facts to constitute a cause of action. (Notice of Dem., p. 2:2-7.)

Plaintiff alleges Defendant discriminated against him on the basis of disability and thereby violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act. (Compl., ¶ 2-6.)

The Unruh Civil Rights Act states, in pertinent part, that all persons, no matter their disability, are “entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.” (Civ. Code, § 5 1, subds. (a), (b).) A violation under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990…shall also constitute a violation of this section.” (Civ. Code, § 51, subd. (f).) The Americans with Disabilities Act provides that discrimination by public accommodations includes “a failure to take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that no individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated or otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services, unless the entity can demonstrate that taking such steps would fundamentally alter the nature of the good, service, facility, privilege, advantage, or accommodation being offered or would result in an undue burden.” (42 U.S.C.A. § 12182, subd. (b)(2)(A)(iii).) Similarly, 28 C.F.R. section 36.303, subdivisions (a) and (c)(1), require that public accommodations take necessary steps so that no individual is denied access to a public accommodation due to the absence of auxiliary aids and services, and require that a public accommodation “furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities.” Public accommodations include concert halls or other places of exhibition or entertainment. (42 U.S.C.A. § 12181, subd. (7)(B).)

Here, Plaintiff alleges the following: that he suffers from partial hearing loss; that he has difficulty hearing without an assistive listening device; that Defendant operated a live entertainment venue at 2725 Hyperion Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90027 (the “Venue”); that Plaintiff patronized the Venue on or about March 26, 2019, and requested an assistive listening device but none was provided for him; that the Venue did not have any signage appraising Plaintiff of the availability of an assistive listening device; that as a result of being denied an assistive listening device, Plaintiff was unable to enjoy a live music performance; that live music performances are part of the “goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations” provided for the “benefit, entertainment, use, and enjoyment of patrons;” and that Plaintiff was “excluded, denied services, segregated, and otherwise treated differently” due to the absence of auxiliary aids. (Compl., ¶¶ 2-5.)

Defendant argues that a discrimination claim must be based on a denial of services a public accommodation normally offers. (Dem., p. 6:17-20.) Relying on the Articles of Incorporation for Encino Market, Co., the Statement of Information describing it as a “retail grocery” business, and a print out of its webpage, Defendant argues that it is not in the live entertainment business, but rather in the grocery business. (Id. at p. 7:1-3.) However, as noted above, the Court denied judicial notice of the Articles of Incorporation, Defendant’s webpage, and Defendant’s Statement of Information. Even if the Court was permitted to take judicial notice of the Articles of Incorporation or Statement of Information, the Court would not be able to take judicial notice of any factual matters stated therein, i.e., that Defendant is in the retail grocery business. (See Poseidon Development, Inc. v. Woodland Lane Estates (2007) 152 Cal.App.4th 1106, 1117 [“[T]he fact that a court may take judicial notice of a recorded deed, or similar document, does not mean that it may take judicial notice of factual matters stated therein”].) Thus, the Court cannot make a finding as to the types of goods and services Defendant offers.

Defendant also argues that a discrimination claim based on the absence of auxiliary services “must allege that the auxiliary aids were necessary to ensure effective communication and the failure to provide those auxiliary aids resulted in a denial of service.” (Dem., p. 8:11-15.) It further argues that there must be a nexus between the goods and services normally offered by the business and the auxiliary aids in question. (Id.)

Here, Plaintiff alleges Defendant is a live entertainment venue. (See Compl., ¶ 3.) Because Defendant has not submitted any judicially noticeable matter that may permit the Court to conclude otherwise, the Court takes Plaintiff’s allegation as true. (Harris v. City of Santa Monica, supra, 56 Cal.4th p. 240.) An auxiliary device for the enjoyment of a live musical performance is directly related to the types of goods and services, i.e., live entertainment, Plaintiff alleges Defendant provides. Indeed, “one is denied full and equal enjoyment of goods, services, and the like when, due to a disability and the lack of auxiliary aids, there is an absence of effective communication relating to those good and services.” (Martinez v. California Pizza Kitchen, Inc. (2018) 30 Cal.App.5th Supp. 14, 21.) (Italics added.)

Thus, because Plaintiff alleges he has a disability, that Defendant’s facility is a place of public accommodation, and that he was denied full and equal treatment on a particular occasion, the Court finds he has properly stated a cause of action for violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Accordingly, the Demurrer is OVERRULED.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Gelson’s Markets’ Demurrer to Plaintiff’s Complaint is OVERRULED.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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