This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 10/02/2020 at 07:50:06 (UTC).

CHRISTOPHER MARTINEZ VS HANLON ENTERPRISES, INC.

Case Summary

On 02/05/2019 CHRISTOPHER MARTINEZ filed a Civil Right - Other Civil Right lawsuit against HANLON ENTERPRISES, INC. 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:

    *******1179

  • Filing Date:

    02/05/2019

  • 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

Defendants

HANLON ENTERPRISES INC.

HANLON DAMIAN P.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

MEHRBAN MORSE

15720 Ventura Blvd. Suite 228

Encino, CA 91436

Defendant Attorney

STONE STANLEY H.

 

Court Documents

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

9/10/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment (CCP 473))

8/31/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment (CCP 473))

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery"))

9/23/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery"))

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Entry of Judgment or Order

10/4/2019: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Entry of Judgment or Order

Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

10/4/2019: Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name) - Amendment to Complaint (Fictitious/Incorrect Name)

Clerk of Court Notice of Clerical Error and Correction - Clerk of Court Notice of Clerical Error and Correction

10/30/2019: Clerk of Court Notice of Clerical Error and Correction - Clerk of Court Notice of Clerical Error and Correction

Response (name extension) - Response AMENDED RESPONSES TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES, SET 1; DECLARATION OF STANLEY H. STONE

12/20/2019: Response (name extension) - Response AMENDED RESPONSES TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES, SET 1; DECLARATION OF STANLEY H. STONE

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment (CCP 473))

1/15/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment (CCP 473))

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

1/22/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Plaintiff's Supplemental Points & Authorities in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Reconsider the Court's September 23, 2019 Order

1/22/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition Plaintiff's Supplemental Points & Authorities in Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Reconsider the Court's September 23, 2019 Order

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

7/17/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

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

8/4/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

6/13/2019: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

General Denial - General Denial

4/3/2019: General Denial - General Denial

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

2/8/2019: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

2/5/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

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

2/5/2019: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

Summons - Summons on Complaint

2/5/2019: Summons - Summons on Complaint

17 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 02/08/2022
  • Hearing02/08/2022 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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  • 02/08/2021
  • Hearing02/08/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 09/10/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: Hanlon Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant); Damian P. Hanlon (Defendant)

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  • 08/31/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment (CCP 473))

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  • 08/31/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment (CCP 473) scheduled for 08/31/2020 at 09:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 08/31/2020; Result Type to Held - Motion Denied

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  • 08/04/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 08/04/2020
  • DocketThere being no judge available this date, Hearing on Motion to Set Aside/Vacate Judgment (CCP 473) scheduled for 08/11/2020 at 09:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court was rescheduled to 08/31/2020 09:30 AM

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  • 07/17/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 07/17/2020
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Non-Jury Trial scheduled for 08/04/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Continued - Court's Motion was rescheduled to 02/08/2021 08:30 AM

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  • 04/23/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by: Clerk

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33 More Docket Entries
  • 02/05/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff); As to: Hanlon Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 02/05/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 02/05/2019
  • DocketUpdated -- Request to Waive Court Fees: Filed By: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff); Result: Granted; As To Parties: removed

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  • 02/05/2019
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Filed by: Clerk

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  • 02/05/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 02/08/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 02/05/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 08/04/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 02/05/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 02/05/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 02/05/2019
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/05/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Christopher Martinez (Plaintiff); As to: Hanlon Enterprises, Inc. (Defendant)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC01179    Hearing Date: August 31, 2020    Dept: 25

MOTION TO SET ASIDE/VACATE COURT ORDER

(CCP § 473(b))

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Hanlon Enterprises, Inc.’s Motion to Vacate Court Order of September 23, 2019 is DENIED. In addition, Plaintiff’s request for additional monetary sanctions against Defendant and Defendant’s counsel is DENIED. Furthermore, the Court finds that an award of sanctions against Plaintiff’s counsel for filing the June 13, 2019 motion to compel discovery is unwarranted. 

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 December 9, 2019 [   ] Late [   ] None

REPLY: None filed as of August 26, 2020 [   ] Late [X] None

PLF. SUPP. PAPERS: Filed on January 22, 2020 [   ] Late [   ] None

DEF. SUPP. PAPERS: Filed on March 11, 2020 [   ] Late [   ] None

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On February 5, 2019, Plaintiff Christopher Martinez (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act against Defendant Hanlon Enterprises, Inc. (“Defendant”). Defendant filed an Answer on April 3, 2019.

On June 13, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel Defendant’s Answers to Interrogatories (the “Motion to Compel”). On September 23, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel noting that “Defendant had not provided any responses to the Special Interrogatories.” (9/23/19 Minute Order.) The Court ordered Defendant to provide verified responses to the interrogatories and to pay sanctions in the amount of $475.00. (Id.)

On November 13, 2019, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Vacate Court Order of September 23, 2019 (the “Motion to Vacate”). Plaintiff filed an opposition on December 9, 2019. Defendant did not file a reply brief but did file amended responses to the Special Interrogatories on December 20, 2019.

The Motion to Vacate came up for hearing on January 15, 2020. At that time, the Court ordered both parties to file supplemental briefing regarding the Court’s reconsideration of the September 23, 2019 Order and to discuss whether sanctions should be imposed on Plaintiff’s attorney. (1/15/20 Minute Order.)

On January 22, 2020, Plaintiff filed a Supplemental Brief and on March 11, 2020, Defendant filed its Supplemental Brief.

II. Legal Standard & Discussion

 

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 473, subdivision (b), an application for relief must be made no more than six months after entry of the order from which relief is sought and must be accompanied by an affidavit of fault attesting to the mistake, inadvertence, surprise or neglect of the moving party or its attorney. (Code Civ. Proc., § 473, subd. (b); English v. IKON Business Solutions (2001) 94 Cal.App.4th 130, 143.)

In addition, either the moving or opposing party can seek reconsideration by the same judge within ten days upon showing “new or different facts, circumstances, or law.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 1008, subd. (a).) However, the Court has the inherent power to reconsider its own interim orders at any time on its own motion. (Le Francois v. Goel (2005) 35 Cal.4th 1094, 1107; Nieto v. Blue Shield of Calif. Life & Health Ins. Co. (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 60, 73.)

Defendant seeks relief from the September 23, 2019 Order granting Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel on the basis that he failed to appear at the hearing for the Motion to Compel, but had previously provided responses to the requested discovery. (Mot. to Vacate, p. 1:2-15.) At the previous hearing, the Court noted that Defendant’s evidence demonstrated Defendant’s counsel sent Plaintiff’s counsel responses to the discovery twice before the Motion to Compel was filed, and a third time after Defendant’s counsel received the Motion to Compel. (1/15/20 Minute Order.) In light of Defendant’s evidence, the Court, on its own motion, set a Hearing for Reconsideration of the September 23, 2019 Order. (Id.) The Court ordered both parties to file supplemental briefs regarding the Court’s reconsideration of the September 23, 2019 Order and discuss whether sanctions against Plaintiff’s attorney should be imposed. (Id.)

In its Supplemental Brief, Plaintiff argues that Defendant’s unsworn responses, under the law, did not constitute answers as they are equal to no responses at all. (1/22/20. Supp. Brief, p. 1:16-17.) Indeed, an unverified response is tantamount to no response at all. (Appleton v. Superior Court (1988) 206 Cal.App.3d 632, 636.) Notably, Defendant’s counsel served amended, verified responses to Plaintiff’s discovery on December 19, 2019, after Plaintiff filed his supplemental brief reiterating the discovery responses previously provided were unverified. (12/9/19 Oppo., pp. 1:20-2:3; 12/20/19 Defendant’s Amended Responses to Special Interrogatories, Set One.) Plaintiff also argues that he had no legal duty to reach out to Defense counsel regarding his failure to serve verified answers, and that he had no duty to educate Defense counsel on the difference between verified and unverified answers before filing a motion to compel. (1/22/20 Supp. Brief, p. 1:19-24; Mehrban Decl., ¶ 3.) Indeed, no meet and confer efforts are required before filing a motion to compel responses to the discovery. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290; Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300; Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 390, 411.)  Defendant’s Supplemental Brief does not cite any legal authority for imposing sanctions under the circumstances. (3/11/20 Def. Supp. Brief, p. 2:7-16.) He merely argues that Plaintiff’s counsel could have and should have advised him that the responses were unverified. (Id.)

Therefore, the Court finds that sanctions against Plaintiff’s counsel for filing the June 13, 2019 Motion to Compel are unwarranted. In addition, the Court declines to make any changes to the September 23, 2019 Order. Although Defendant provided Plaintiff with its discovery responses on three separate occasions, the responses were unverified and thus tantamount to no response at all. (See Mot. to Vacate, Stone Decl., ¶¶ 3-7, Exhs. B-D.) Thus, Plaintiff was entitled to an order compelling verified responses without objections. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290.)

Plaintiff’s counsel seeks an additional award of monetary sanctions against Defendant and Defendant’s counsel for filing this Motion to Vacate and having to expend additional attorney time in bringing the underlying Motion to Compel to fruition. (12/9/19 Oppo., p. 2:4-9.) However, the additional time expended in opposing this Motion to Vacate could easily have been avoided. Specifically, Plaintiff’s counsel could have provided Defendant’s counsel the professional courtesy of informing him the responses were unverified instead of filing an opposition to the Motion to Vacate. Thus, Plaintiff’s request for imposition of additional monetary sanctions against Defendant and Defendant’s counsel is DENIED.

III. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Hanlon Enterprises, Inc.’s Motion to Vacate Court Order of September 23, 2019 is DENIED. In addition, Plaintiff’s request for additional monetary sanctions against Defendant and Defendant’s counsel is DENIED. Furthermore, the Court finds that an award of sanctions against Plaintiff’s counsel for filing the June 13, 2019 motion to compel discovery is unwarranted. 

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC01179    Hearing Date: January 15, 2020    Dept: 94

Martinez v. Hanlon Enterprises, Inc.

MOTION TO VACATE COURT ORDER

(CCP § 473(b))

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Hanlon Enterprises, Inc.’s Motion to Vacate Court Order of September 23, 2019 is CONTINUED to April 8, 2020 at 10:30 a.m.

The parties are ordered to file supplemental briefing regarding the Court’s Reconsideration of the September 23, 2019 Order, and discuss whether sanctions against Plaintiff’s attorney should be imposed. Supplemental briefings must be filed by both parties at least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing.

ANALYSIS

Background

On February 5, 2019, Plaintiff Christopher Martinez (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act against Defendant Hanlon Enterprises, Inc. (“Defendant”).

On June 13, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel Defendant’s Answers to Interrogatories (“Motion to Compel”). On September 23, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff’s Motion to Compel noting that “Defendant had not provided any responses to the Special Interrogatories” and that there was “no requirement for a prior meet and confer effort before a motion to compel initial responses can be filed.” (9/23/19 Minute Order.) (Italics added.) The Court ordered Plaintiff to provide verified responses to the interrogatories and to pay sanctions in the amount of $475.00. (Id.)

On November 13, 2019, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Vacate Court Order of September 23, 2019 (the “Motion to Vacate”). Plaintiff filed an opposition on December 9, 2019. To date, Defendant has not filed a reply brief, but it did file Amended Responses to Special Interrogatories on December 20, 2019.

Legal Standard & Discussion

A.  CCP § 473(b)

Defendant seeks relief from the Court’s September 23, 2019 Order pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure, section 473, subdivision (b). Under this statute, an application for relief must be made no more than six months after entry of the order from which relief is sought and must be accompanied by an affidavit of fault attesting to the mistake, inadvertence, surprise or neglect of the moving party or its attorney. (Code Civ. Proc., § 473, subd. (b); English v. IKON Business Solutions (2001) 94 Cal.App.4th 130, 143.)

Defendant’s Motion was filed on November 13, 2019, less than six months after the September 23, 2019 Minute Order. The Motion to Vacate is supported by an affidavit of fault that explains Defense counsel failed to appear at the hearing because he was involved in a major car accident. (Mot., Stone Decl., ¶ 8.) As a result of the accident, he was out of the office for almost a month and forgot about the calendared Motion to Compel. (Id.) In addition, and more importantly, he also explains Defendant’s counsel believed Plaintiff would take the Motion to Compel off calendar because he actually served the discovery responses three times. (Id., ¶ 7.) Defendant’s counsel submits evidence that he mailed the discovery responses on May 15, 2019 (Id., ¶ 3, Exh. B), emailed the responses on May 30, 2019 after receiving a e-mail from Plaintiff requesting the responses to avoid a Motion to Compel (Id., ¶ 4, Exh. C) and emailed the responses again on August 9, 2019 after Plaintiff e-mailed Defendant the Notice and Notice of Motion to Compel (Id., ¶ 6, Exh. D).

In his Opposition papers, Plaintiff does not deny he actually received Defendant’s responses, but requests that the Court award sanctions in the amount of $1,520 upon any terms as may be just under Code of Civil Procedure, section 473, subdivision (b). However, Plaintiff should not be rewarded with attorney’s fees if Plaintiff did receive timely discovery responses, eliminating the need for the June 13, 2019 Motion to Compel. The Court will not award sanctions until the September 23, 2019 Order is reconsidered.

B.  Reconsideration of September 23, 2019 Order

Either the moving or opposing party can seek reconsideration by the same judge within ten days upon showing “new or different facts, circumstances, or law.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 1008, subd.(a).) However, the Court has the inherent power to reconsider its own interim orders at any time on its own motion. (Le Francois v. Goel (2005) 35 Cal.4th 1094, 1107; Nieto v. Blue Shield of Calif. Life & Health Ins. Co. (2010) 181 Cal.App.4th 60, 73.)

In light of Defendant’s evidence demonstrating Defense counsel served Plaintiff with the discovery responses in question before Plaintiff filed the June 13, 2019 Motion to Compel, and Plaintiff’s counsel’s failure to dispute this evidence, the Court, on its own motion, sets a Hearing for Reconsideration of the September 23, 2019 Order.

Both parties are ordered to file supplemental briefings regarding the Court’s Reconsideration of the September 23, 2019 Order and discuss whether sanctions against Plaintiff’s attorney should be imposed. Supplemental briefings must be filed by both parties at least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing.

III. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Hanlon Enterprises, Inc.’s Motion to Vacate Court Order of September 23, 2019 is CONTINUED to April 8 at 10:30 a.m.

The parties are ordered to file supplemental briefing regarding the Court’s Reconsideration of the September 23, 2019 Order, and discuss whether sanctions against Plaintiff’s attorney should be imposed. Supplemental briefing must be filed by both parties at least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing.

Moving parties are 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.