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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/05/2021 at 01:17:28 (UTC).

DAMIEN CHOU VS MARC PHILLPPE SERION LIU, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 11/25/2019 DAMIEN CHOU filed a Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury lawsuit against MARC PHILLPPE SERION LIU. 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:

    *******0887

  • Filing Date:

    11/25/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Other Personal Injury

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

CHOU DAMIEN

Defendants

RABOR KARLA

LIU MARC PHILLPPE SERION

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

ZADOURIAN ARMEN

Defendant Attorney

HAMILTON SUSAN

 

Court Documents

Motion for Order (name extension) - Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff to Answer. Pay Cost and Sanctions

6/10/2020: Motion for Order (name extension) - Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff to Answer. Pay Cost and Sanctions

Motion for Order (name extension) - Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond, Pay Cost and Sanctions

6/10/2020: Motion for Order (name extension) - Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond, Pay Cost and Sanctions

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Motions to Compel) of 07/08/2020

7/8/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order Re: Motions to Compel) of 07/08/2020

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Order COMPELLING PLAINTIFF, DAMIEN CHOU...)

11/10/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Order COMPELLING PLAINTIFF, DAMIEN CHOU...)

Motion re: (name extension) - Motion re: Proof of Service demonstrating Motion to be Relieved, Supporting Declaration, and proposed order on Plaintiff and Defendants

12/22/2020: Motion re: (name extension) - Motion re: Proof of Service demonstrating Motion to be Relieved, Supporting Declaration, and proposed order on Plaintiff and Defendants

Motion re: (name extension) - Motion re: Proof of Service demonstrating Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to be Relieved as Counsel-Civilon Plaintiff and Defendants

1/12/2021: Motion re: (name extension) - Motion re: Proof of Service demonstrating Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to be Relieved as Counsel-Civilon Plaintiff and Defendants

Motion re: (name extension) - Motion re: Proof of Service demonstrating Order Granting Attorney's Motion to be Relieved as Counsel-Civil on Plaintiff and Defendants

1/12/2021: Motion re: (name extension) - Motion re: Proof of Service demonstrating Order Granting Attorney's Motion to be Relieved as Counsel-Civil on Plaintiff and Defendants

Motion for Sanctions - Motion for Sanctions

1/21/2021: Motion for Sanctions - Motion for Sanctions

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

2/16/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Continuance of Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel

2/22/2021: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Continuance of Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for Order Continuing Trial Date)

3/16/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application for Order Continuing Trial Date)

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

3/17/2021: Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil - Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel)

3/17/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel)

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Signed Order Granting Attorney's Motion to be Relieved as Counsel - Civil as to Plaintiff and Defendants

4/6/2021: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Signed Order Granting Attorney's Motion to be Relieved as Counsel - Civil as to Plaintiff and Defendants

Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

2/4/2020: Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

1/8/2020: Proof of Service by Substituted Service - Proof of Service by Substituted Service

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

11/25/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

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

11/25/2019: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

28 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/28/2022
  • Hearing11/28/2022 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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  • 09/27/2021
  • Hearing09/27/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 06/24/2021
  • Hearing06/24/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Sanctions

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  • 04/06/2021
  • DocketNotice of Signed Order Granting Attorney's Motion to be Relieved as Counsel - Civil as to Plaintiff and Defendants; Filed by: Damien Chou (Plaintiff); As to: Marc Phillppe Serion Liu (Defendant); Karla Rabor (Defendant)

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  • 03/17/2021
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: Marc Phillppe Serion Liu (Defendant)

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  • 03/17/2021
  • DocketOrder Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil; Signed and Filed by: Armen Zadourian (Attorney); As to: Damien Chou (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/17/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel)

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  • 03/17/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel scheduled for 03/17/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 03/17/2021; Result Type to Held - Motion Denied

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  • 03/16/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Ex Parte Application for Order Continuing Trial Date: Filed By: Karla Rabor (Defendant),Marc Phillppe Serion Liu (Defendant); Result: Granted; Result Date: 03/16/2021

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  • 03/16/2021
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 09/27/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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57 More Docket Entries
  • 01/08/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: Damien Chou (Plaintiff); As to: Karla Rabor (Defendant); Proof of Mailing Date: 01/05/2020; Service Cost: 40.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 01/08/2020
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: Damien Chou (Plaintiff); As to: Marc Phillppe Serion Liu (Defendant); Proof of Mailing Date: 01/05/2020; Service Cost: 70.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 11/26/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 05/24/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 11/26/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 11/28/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 11/26/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 11/25/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Damien Chou (Plaintiff); As to: Marc Phillppe Serion Liu (Defendant); Karla Rabor (Defendant)

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  • 11/25/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Damien Chou (Plaintiff); As to: Marc Phillppe Serion Liu (Defendant); Karla Rabor (Defendant)

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  • 11/25/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Damien Chou (Plaintiff); As to: Marc Phillppe Serion Liu (Defendant); Karla Rabor (Defendant)

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  • 11/25/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 11/25/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC10887    Hearing Date: March 17, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Wed., March 17, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Chou v. Liu, et al. COMPL. FILED: 11-25-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC10887 DISC. C/O: 04-24-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O: 05-09-21

TRIAL DATE: 05-24-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff’s Counsel Armen Zadourian

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

(CCP § 284(2); CRC rule 3.1362)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff’s Counsel Armen Zadourian’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is GRANTED and the 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] 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 March 15, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of March 15, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background & Discussion

On November 25, 2019, Plaintiff Damien Chou (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for general negligence and motor vehicle negligence against Defendants Marc Philippe, Serion Liu, and Karla Rabor (collectively, “Defendants”). On February 4, 2020, Defendants filed a joint Answer.

Plaintiff’s counsel Armen Zadourian (“Counsel”) filed the instant Motion to be Relieved as Counsel (the “Motion”) on September 1, 2020.

At the initial hearing on November 10, 2020, the Court noted that although it was inclined to grant Counsel’s Motion, Counsel did not file a proof of service demonstrating the Motion was properly served on Plaintiff and Defendants. (11/10/20 Minute Order.) The Court continued the hearing, ordered Counsel to file a proof of service, and warned that failure to do so could result in the Motion being placed off calendar.

At the continued January 6, 2021 hearing, the Court ordered Counsel to file supplemental papers. (1/6/21 Minute Order.)

Counsel re-filed his Motion on January 12, 2021 with proofs of service demonstrating the Motion was properly served on Plaintiff and Defendants’ counsel via mail and email that same day. (1/21/21 Motion, Proofs of Service.)

On February 16, 2021, the Court, on its own motion, continued the hearing to March 17, 2021. (2/16/21 Minute Order.) Counsel filed a Notice of Continuance on February 22, 2021 demonstrating that Plaintiff and Defendants’ counsel were given notice. (2/22/21 Notice of Continuance.)

As the Court previously found it was satisfied with Plaintiff’s Counsel’s reasons for seeking to be relieved, and as Counsel has now remedied the Court’s concerns regarding service, the Motion is GRANTED.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s Counsel Armen Zadourian’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is GRANTED and the 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] has been filed with the court.” (Id.)

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC10887    Hearing Date: January 06, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Wed., January 6, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Chou v. Liu, et al. COMPL. FILED: 11-25-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC10887 DISC. C/O: 04-24-21

NOTICE: NO DISC. MOT. C/O: 05-09-21

TRIAL DATE: 05-24-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff’s Counsel Armen Zadourian

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

(CCP § 284(2); CRC rule 3.1362)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff’s Counsel Armen Zadourian’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is CONTINUED ONE LAST TIME TO Feb 17, 2021 AT 11:00 A.M. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. At least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing, Plaintiff’s Counsel must file supplemental papers addressing the service issues noted herein. Failure to do so will result in the Motion being placed off calendar or denied.

SERVICE:

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

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

[ ] 16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) NO

OPPOSITION: None filed as of January 4, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of January 4, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background & Discussion

On November 25, 2019, Plaintiff Damien Chou (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for general negligence and motor vehicle negligence against Defendants Marc Philippe Serion Liu and Karla Rabor (collectively, “Defendants”). On February 4, 2020, Defendants filed a joint Answer.

Plaintiff’s counsel Armen Zadourian (“Counsel”) filed the instant Motion to be Relieved as Counsel (the “Motion”) on September 1, 2020.

At the initial hearing on November 10, 2020, the Court noted that although it was inclined to grant Counsel’s Motion, Counsel did not file a proof of service demonstrating the Motion was properly served on Plaintiff and Defendants. (11/10/20 Minute Order.) The Court continued the hearing, ordered Counsel to file a proof of service, and warned that failure to do so could result in the Motion being placed off calendar.

Plaintiff’s Counsel refiled his Motion with the requested proof of service on December 22, 2020. However, this remains insufficient. The proof of service states only that the Notice of Motion was served on September 3, 2020, not the Motion itself or the supporting declaration. (12/22/20 Mot., Proof of Service.) This is important because Code of Civil Procedure section 1013a requires that the proof of service set forth the exact title of the document being served and filed. Thus, the Court cannot simply assume the Motion and supporting declaration were served with the Notice of Motion. In addition, Plaintiff’s Counsel did not give Plaintiff notice of this continued hearing.

Accordingly, the Motion is CONTINUED one last time to allow Plaintiff’s Counsel an opportunity to address the errors noted above.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s Counsel Armen Zadourian’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is CONTINUED ONE LAST TIME TO FEB 17, 2021 AT 11:00 A.M. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. At least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing, Plaintiff’s Counsel must file supplemental papers addressing the service issues noted herein. Failure to do so will result in the Motion being placed off calendar or denied.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC10887    Hearing Date: November 10, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Tue., November 10, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Chou v. Liu, et al. COMPL. FILED: 11-25-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC10887 DISC. C/O: 04-24-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O: 05-09-21

TRIAL DATE: 05-24-21

PROCEEDINGS: (1, 2, & 3) MOTION FOR ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF TO ANSWER FORM INTERROGATORIES, SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES, AND DEMAND FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendants Marc Philippe, Serion Liu, and Karla Rabor

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff Damien Chou

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

(CCP §§ 2030.290; 2031.300)

PROCEEDINGS: (4) MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff’s Counsel Armen Zadourian

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

(CCP § 284(2); CRC rule 3.1362)

TENTATIVE RULING:

  1. Defendants Marc Philippe, Serion Liu, and Karla Rabor’s Discovery Motions are GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to provide responses to Defendants’ Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Demand for Production of Documents within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. Defendants’ requests for sanctions are also GRANTED against Plaintiff Damien Chou only in the amount of $530.00 to be paid within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

  1. Plaintiff’s Counsel Armen Zadourian’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Counsel files a proof of service demonstrating he served the Motion to be Relieved, supporting declaration, and proposed order on Plaintiff and Defendants. If granted, 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] has been filed with the court.” (Id.) Otherwise, the Motion to be Relieved will be CONTINUED TO JAN 6, 2020 at 10:30  a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. If continued, Plaintiff’s Counsel must file supplemental papers addressing the deficiencies noted herein at least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing. Failure to do so may result in the Motion being placed off calendar or denied.

SERVICE:

[ ] Proof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) NO (Mtn to be Relieved)

[ ] Correct Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) NO (Mtn to be Relieved)

[ ] 16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) NO (Mtn to be Relieved)

Discovery Motions

OPPOSITION: Filed on October 15, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: None filed as of November 6, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

Motion to be Relieved as Counsel

OPPOSITION: None filed as of November 6, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of November 6, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On November 25, 2019, Plaintiff Damien Chou (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for general negligence and motor vehicle negligence against Defendants Marc Philippe, Serion Liu, and Karla Rabor (collectively, “Defendants”). On February 4, 2020, Defendants filed a joint Answer.

On June 10, 2020, Defendants filed the instant (1) Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff to Answer Form Interrogatories, Set One, and Request for Sanctions; (2) Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff to Answer Special Interrogatories, Set One, and Request for Sanctions; and (3) Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to Demand for Production, Set One, and Request for Sanctions (collectively, the “Discovery Motions”).

On July 8, 2020, the Court scheduled the Discovery Motions for hearing for September 23, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. (7/8/20 Minute Order.) The Court also ordered Defendants to give notice to Plaintiff of the scheduled hearings. (Id.)

Plaintiff’s counsel Armen Zadourian (“Counsel”) filed the instant Motion to be Relieved as Counsel on September 1, 2020, which was originally set for hearing for March 17, 2021.

The Discovery Motions came up for hearing on September 23, 2020. At that time, the Court noted it was inclined to grant the Motions. (9/23/20 Minute Order.) It did not do so, however, because Defendants did not file a proof of service demonstrating Plaintiff was given notice of the Court’s July 8th order scheduling the Discovery Motions for hearing. (Id.) The Court also advanced the hearing on Plaintiff’s Counsel’s Motion to be Relieved to November 10, 2020. (Id.)

On October 15, 2020, Plaintiff filed an opposition to the Discovery Motions. To date, no opposition to the Motion to be Relieved as been filed.

  1. Discovery Motions

A. Request for Production & Interrogatories

A party must respond to interrogatories and requests for production of documents within 30 days after service. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.260, subd. (a); Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.260, subd. (a).) If a party to whom interrogatories or requests for production of documents 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); Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300, subd. (c).) 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); Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300, subd. (a).) There is no time limit for a motion to compel responses to interrogatories or production of documents other than the cut-off on hearing discovery motions 15 days before trial. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2024.020, subd. (a), 2030.290; Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300.) 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.)

Here, Defendants served Plaintiff with Form Interrogatories, Set One, and Special Interrogatories, Set One, on February 4, 2020 and with Demand for Production, Set One, on February 3, 2020. (Discovery Motions, Hamilton Decl., ¶¶ 2, Exhs. A.) On May 4, 2020, Defendants’ counsel called Plaintiff’s counsel regarding the lack of discovery responses and granted a 14-day extension to respond. (Id. at ¶ 3.) As of the date of this Motion, Plaintiff has not provided any responses. (Id. at ¶ 4.) Thus, Defendants are entitled to an order compelling Plaintiff to provide verified responses without objections. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2030.290, 2031.300.)

B. Sanctions

Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030, subdivision (a) provides, in pertinent part, that the court may impose a monetary sanction on a party engaging in the misuse of the discovery process to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct. A misuse of the discovery process includes failing to respond or submit to an authorized method of discovery. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.010, subd. (d).)

Plaintiff’s Counsel opposes the imposition of sanctions on the basis that he has been unable to communicate with Plaintiff. (10/15/20 Oppo., p. 4:9-16, Zadourian Decl., ¶¶ 4-5.) However, Plaintiff’s Counsel’s Opposition demonstrates that Plaintiff received the discovery and confirmed the discovery responses with his attorney over the phone, but then failed to mail Plaintiff’s counsel the discovery verifications. (Id.) The Court finds Plaintiff’s failure to provide appropriate responses to Defendants’ discovery requests a misuse of the discovery process.

Defendants’ counsel requests a total of $2,280.00 in sanctions based on 12 hours of attorney time billed at $175.00 an hour and three filing fees of $60.00. (Discovery Motions, Hamilton Decl., ¶ 5.) However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of these nearly identical motions and the lack of reply. The Court finds $530.00, based on two hours of attorney time and three filing fees, to be reasonable.

  1. Plaintiff’s Counsel’s Motion to be Relieved

  1. 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. (Code Civ. Proc., § 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). (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 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).)

  1. Discussion

Plaintiff’s Counsel seeks to be relieved because he has lost contact with Plaintiff. (MC-052, ¶ 2.) Counsel states that he has made numerous attempts to contact Plaintiff via telephone, email, and regular mail without success. (Id.) Counsel states he served this Motion to be Relieved at Plaintiff’s last known address, which he was unable to confirm despite mailing the moving papers with a return receipt requested and calling Plaintiff’s last known phone number. (Id. at ¶ 3.)

The Court is satisfied with Plaintiff’s Counsel’s reasons for seeking to be relieved. Importantly, trial is scheduled for May 24, 2021, giving Plaintiff sufficient time to retain new counsel should he wish to continue prosecuting this action.

Although the Court is inclined to grant Counsel’s request, Counsel did not file a proof of service demonstrating the Motion was properly served. Counsel filed a Notice of Continuance of Hearing, demonstrating he gave Plaintiff and Defendants notice that the hearing on the Motion to be Relieved was advanced to November 10, 2020, but not for the Motion itself. (9/23/20 Notice of Continuance.) However, in the interest of judicial economy, the Motion is GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Counsel files a proof of service demonstrating he served the Motion to be Relieved, supporting declaration, and proposed order on Plaintiff and Defendants. Otherwise, the Motion will be CONTINUED.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons:

  1. Defendants Marc Philippe Serion Liu and Karla Rabor’s Discovery Motions are GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to provide responses to Defendants’ Form Interrogatories, Special Interrogatories, and Demand for Production of Documents within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. Defendants’ requests for sanctions are also GRANTED against Plaintiff Damien Chou only in the amount of $530.00 to be paid within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

  1. Plaintiff’s Counsel Armen Zadourian’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Counsel files a proof of service demonstrating he served the Motion to be Relieved, supporting declaration, and proposed order on Plaintiff and Defendants. If granted, 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] has been filed with the court.” (Id.) Otherwise, the Motion to be Relieved will be CONTINUED TO JAN 6. 2020 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. If continued, Plaintiff’s Counsel must file supplemental papers addressing the deficiencies noted herein at least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing. Failure to do so may result in the Motion being placed off calendar or denied.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC10887    Hearing Date: September 23, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE:   Wed., September 23, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Chou v. Liu, et al. COMPL. FILED: 11-25-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC10887 DISC. C/O: 04-24-21

NOTICE:   NO (hearing) DISC. MOT. C/O:    05-09-21

TRIAL DATE: 05-24-21

PROCEEDINGS    (1) MOTION FOR ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF TO ANSWER FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(2) MOTION FOR ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF TO ANSWER SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(3) MOTION  FOR ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF TO RESPOND TO DEMAND FOR PRODUCTION, SET ONE, AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY:   Defendants Marc Philippe Serion Liu and Karla Rabor

RESP. PARTY: None

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

(CCP §§ 2030.290; 2031.300)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendants Marc Philippe Serion Liu and Karla Rabor’s Discovery Motions are GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Defendants file a proof of service demonstrating they gave Plaintiff adequate notice of the Court’s July 8, 2020 Minute Order scheduling the Motions for hearing for September 23, 2020. If granted, Plaintiff will be ordered to provide responses to Defendants’ discovery requests within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. Defendants’ requests for sanctions will also be granted in the amount of $530.00 to be paid to Defendants’ counsel within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. 

Otherwise, the hearings will be CONTINUED TO NOV 10, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. If continued, at least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing, Defendants must file and serve supplemental papers addressing the deficiencies noted herein. Failure to do so may result in the Motions being placed off calendar or denied.

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 September 21, 2020  [   ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of September 21, 2020  [   ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On November 25, 2019, Plaintiff Damien Chou (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for general negligence and motor vehicle negligence against Defendants Marc Philippe Serion Liu and Karla Rabor (collectively, “Defendants”). On February 4, 2020, Defendants filed a joint Answer.

On June 10, 2020, Defendants filed the instant (1) Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff to Answer Form Interrogatories, Set One, and Request for Sanctions; (2) Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff to Answer Special Interrogatories, Set One, and Request for Sanctions; and (3) Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to Demand for Production, Set One, and Request for Sanctions (collectively, the “Discovery Motions”).

On July 8, 2020, the Court scheduled the Discovery Motions for hearing for September 23, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. (7/8/20 Minute Order.) The Court also ordered Defendants to give notice to Plaintiff of the scheduled hearings. (Id.) To date, Defendants have not filed a proof of service demonstrating Plaintiff was given notice of the scheduled hearings.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

A. Request for Production & Interrogatories

 

A party must respond to interrogatories and requests for production of documents within 30 days after service. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.260, subd. (a); Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.260, subd. (a).) If a party to whom interrogatories or requests for production of documents 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); Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300, subd. (c).) 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); Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300, subd. (a).) There is no time limit for a motion to compel responses to interrogatories or production of documents other than the cut-off on hearing discovery motions 15 days before trial. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2024.020, subd. (a), 2030.290; Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300.) 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.) 

Here, Defendants served Plaintiff with Form Interrogatories, Set One, and Special Interrogatories, Set One, on February 4, 2020 and with Demand for Production, Set One, on February 3, 2020. (Discovery Motions, Hamilton Decl., ¶¶ 2, Exhs. A.) On May 4, 2020, Defendants’ counsel called Plaintiff’s counsel regarding the lack of discovery responses and granted a 14-day extension to provide responses. (Id. at ¶ 3.) As of the date of this Motion, Plaintiff has not provided any responses. (Id. at ¶ 4.) Thus, Defendants are entitled to an order compelling Plaintiff to provide verified responses without objections. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2030.290, 2031.300.) 

B. Sanctions

Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.030, subdivision (a) provides, in pertinent part, that the court may impose a monetary sanction on a party engaging in the misuse of the discovery process to pay the reasonable expenses, including attorney’s fees, incurred by anyone as a result of that conduct. A misuse of the discovery process includes failing to respond or submit to an authorized method of discovery. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.010, subd. (d).)

The Court finds Plaintiff’s failure to respond to Defendants’ discovery requests a misuse of the discovery process.

Defendants’ counsel requests a total of $2,280.00 in sanctions based on 12 hours of attorney time billed at $175.00 an hour and three filing fees of $60.00. (Discovery Motions, Hamilton Decl., ¶ 5.) However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of these nearly identical motions and the lack of opposition and reply. The Court finds $530.00, based on two hours of attorney time and three filing fees, to be reasonable.

C. Notice of Hearing

Although the Court is inclined to grant these Discovery Motions for the reasons noted above, Defendants did not file a proof of service as ordered demonstrating they gave Plaintiff notice of the scheduled hearings. However, in the interests of judicial economy, the Motions are GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Defendants file a proof of service demonstrating Plaintiff was given proper notice of the scheduled hearings.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendants Marc Philippe Serion Liu and Karla Rabor’s Discovery Motions are GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Defendants file a proof of service demonstrating they gave Plaintiff adequate notice of the Court’s July 8, 2020 Minute Order scheduling the Motions for hearing for September 23, 2020. If granted, Plaintiff will be ordered to provide responses to Defendants’ discovery requests within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. Defendants’ requests for sanctions will also be granted in the amount of $530.00 to be paid to Defendants’ counsel within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. 

Otherwise, the hearings will be CONTINUED TO NOV 10, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. If continued, at least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing, Defendants must file and serve supplemental papers addressing the deficiencies noted herein. Failure to do so may result in the Motions being placed off calendar or denied.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.