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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/02/2021 at 05:34:46 (UTC).

ELSA RUIZ-DE-CHAVEZ VS STATE OF CALIFORNIA, ET AL.

Case Summary

On 12/31/2019 ELSA RUIZ-DE-CHAVEZ filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against STATE OF CALIFORNIA. 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:

    *******1824

  • Filing Date:

    12/31/2019

  • 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

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

RUIZ-DE-CHAVEZ ELSA

Defendants

STATE OF CALIFORNIA

KEESHAN OFFICER

CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL

WILDE JARED DAVID

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

YEAGER KENNETH

Defendant Attorneys

DIAMOND ALEXIS

CHU-FUJITA BETTY

DIAMOND ALEXIS DANIELLE

 

Court Documents

Stipulation (name extension) - No Order - Stipulation - No Order to Continue Trial Date and Related Dates

5/14/2021: Stipulation (name extension) - No Order - Stipulation - No Order to Continue Trial Date and Related Dates

Answer - Answer

4/16/2021: Answer - Answer

Order - Dismissal - Order - Dismissal

3/16/2021: Order - Dismissal - Order - Dismissal

Request for Judicial Notice - Request for Judicial Notice

2/4/2021: Request for Judicial Notice - Request for Judicial Notice

Reply (name extension) - Reply Separate Statement of Undisputed Material Facts in Support of Defendants State of California, Acting by and Through the California Highway Patrol, and Officer Keeshan's

2/4/2021: Reply (name extension) - Reply Separate Statement of Undisputed Material Facts in Support of Defendants State of California, Acting by and Through the California Highway Patrol, and Officer Keeshan's

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition To Defendant's Separate Statement of Material Facts

1/27/2021: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition To Defendant's Separate Statement of Material Facts

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment or In the Alternative Summary Adjudication

1/27/2021: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment or In the Alternative Summary Adjudication

Request for Judicial Notice - Request for Judicial Notice

11/13/2020: Request for Judicial Notice - Request for Judicial Notice

Motion for Summary Judgment - Motion for Summary Judgment

11/13/2020: Motion for Summary Judgment - Motion for Summary Judgment

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Betty Chu-Fujita

11/13/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Betty Chu-Fujita

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

8/20/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery...)

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

4/16/2020: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

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

4/16/2020: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

Answer - Answer

2/21/2020: Answer - Answer

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

2/11/2020: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

1/30/2020: Proof of Personal Service - Proof of Personal Service

Complaint - Complaint

12/31/2019: Complaint - Complaint

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

12/31/2019: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

34 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 12/27/2021
  • Hearing12/27/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 05/14/2021
  • DocketStipulation - No Order to Continue Trial Date and Related Dates; Filed by: State of California, acting by and through the California Highway Patrol Erroneously Sued As State of California (Defendant); State of California, acting by and through the California Highway Patrol Erroneously Sued As California Highway Patrol (Defendant); Jared David Wilde (Defendant)

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  • 05/14/2021
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 01/03/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 05/14/2021

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  • 05/14/2021
  • DocketPursuant to written stipulation, Non-Jury Trial scheduled for 06/29/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Party was rescheduled to 12/27/2021 08:30 AM

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  • 04/16/2021
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Jared David Wilde (Defendant); As to: Elsa Ruiz-De-Chavez (Plaintiff)

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  • 04/16/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Alexis Diamond (Attorney): Organization Name changed from Office of the Attorney General to DOJ - Office of the Attorney General; Middle Name: blank

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  • 03/19/2021
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: Elsa Ruiz-De-Chavez (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/16/2021
  • DocketOrder - Dismissal; Filed by: Court

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  • 03/16/2021
  • DocketOn the Complaint filed by Elsa Ruiz-De-Chavez on 12/31/2019, entered Order for Dismissal without prejudice as to Officer Keeshan

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  • 03/16/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for [Minute Order (Ruling on Submitted Matter)]; Filed by: Clerk

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54 More Docket Entries
  • 01/30/2020
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: Elsa Ruiz-De-Chavez (Plaintiff); As to: State of California (Defendant); Service Date: 01/23/2020; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 01/30/2020
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: Elsa Ruiz-De-Chavez (Plaintiff); As to: California Highway Patrol (Defendant); Service Date: 01/23/2020; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 12/31/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 06/29/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 12/31/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 01/03/2023 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 12/31/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Elsa Ruiz-De-Chavez (Plaintiff); As to: State of California (Defendant); California Highway Patrol (Defendant); Officer Keeshan (Defendant)

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  • 12/31/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Elsa Ruiz-De-Chavez (Plaintiff); As to: State of California (Defendant); California Highway Patrol (Defendant); Officer Keeshan (Defendant)

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  • 12/31/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Elsa Ruiz-De-Chavez (Plaintiff); As to: State of California (Defendant); California Highway Patrol (Defendant); Officer Keeshan (Defendant)

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  • 12/31/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 12/31/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 12/31/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC11824    Hearing Date: March 15, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE:   Mon., March 15, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Ruiz De Chavez v. State of California, et alCOMPL. FILED: 12-31-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC11824 DISC. C/O: 05-30-21

NOTICE:   OK DISC. MOT. C/O:    06-14-21

TRIAL DATE: 06-29-21

PROCEEDINGS    MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT’S ADMISSIONS ALTERNATIVELY, MOTION FOR RELIEF FROM ORDER UNDER CCP 2033.300

MOVING PARTY:   Plaintiff Elsa Ruiz De Chavez

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION WITHDRAW ADMISSIONS

(CCP § 2033.300)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Elsa Ruiz De Chavez’s Motion for Relief from Order Under CCP 2033.300 is GRANTED. The Requests for Admission, Set One, deemed admitted on August 20, 2020, are hereby WITHDRAWN.

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 11, 2021 [   ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of March 11, 2021 [   ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On December 31, 2019, Plaintiff Elsa Ruiz-de-Chavez (“Plaintiff”) filed an action alleging motor vehicle negligence against Defendants State of California, acting by and through the California Highway Patrol, erroneously sued as State of California and California Highway Patrol (“CHP”). Defendants CHP and Officer Keeshan filed a joint Answer on February 21, 2020.

On April 16, 2020, Defendants CHP and Officer Keeshan filed a motion to compel responses to form interrogatories and request for production of documents and a motion to deem requests for admissions admitted against Plaintiff. The Court granted the discovery motions on August 20, 2020. (8/20/20 Minute Order.)

Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Reconsideration of Order Granting Defendants’ Motions to Establish Admissions, Alternatively, Motion for Relief from Order Under CCP 2033.300 (the “Motion”). No opposition was filed.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

Plaintiff seeks relief from the order deeming Requests for Admission admitted against Plaintiff on August 20, 2020. (Mot., pp. 1-2.)

Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.300 provides, in pertinent part:

“(a) A party may withdraw or amend an admission made in response to a request for admission only on leave of court granted after notice to all parties.

(b) The court may permit withdrawal or amendment of an admission only if it determines that the admission was the result of mistake, inadvertence, or excusable neglect, and that the party who obtained the admission will not be substantially prejudiced in maintaining that party's action or defense on the merits.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.300, subds. (a), (b).)

As noted above, Defendants CHP and Officer Keeshan filed a motion to deem Requests for Admission admitted against Plaintiff on April 16, 2020. Plaintiff’s counsel explains that he delivered complete responses to the discovery on July 14 via first class mail. (Mot., Yeager Decl., ¶ 4, Exh. B.) Plaintiff’s counsel also submits a copy of an email from Defendants’ counsel wherein she confirmed receipt of the discovery responses on July 16, 2020. (Id. at ¶ 5, Exh. A.) Therein, she confirms receipt but notes that no responses to Form Interrogatory No. 17.1 for the corresponding denials to the Requests for Admission, Set One, were provided. (Id.) This demonstrates Defendants’ counsel received responses to the Requests for Admission, Set One. In that email, Defendant’s counsel also stated there were three motions to compel on calendar for August 20, and that if Plaintiff’s counsel provided the remainder of the verified responses, she would take the motions off calendar. (Id.) Plaintiff did not respond, and the morning of the August 20 hearing on the discovery motions, Defendants’ counsel notified Plaintiff’s counsel she would be making a telephonic appearance. (Id.)

Plaintiff’s counsel states that he filed oppositions to the motions to compel discovery, but inadvertently failed to attach Plaintiff’s responses to the discovery to demonstrate the motions were moot. (Id. at ¶¶ 7-8.) Because Plaintiff’s counsel sent the responses to the Requests for Admission, he believed the motion would be taken off calendar. (Id. at ¶ 10.) Further complicating the matter, Plaintiff’s counsel left the county on a pre-planned vacation on August 18, 2020 and returned on August 23, 2020. (Id. at ¶¶ 9-12.) Plaintiff’s counsel states that he was surprised by Defendant’s counsel’s August 20, 2020 email stating she would be appearing at the hearing for the discovery motions because he mistakenly believed the matters would be taken off calendar. (Id. at ¶ 12.) For this same reason, he did not appear and did not arrange to have substitute counsel to make an appearance in his stead. (Id. at ¶ 13.)

Based on the above, the Court finds Plaintiff is entitled to have the admissions deemed admitted against Plaintiff withdrawn. In addition, because Defendants’ counsel received responses to the Requests for Admission, Set One, at least since July 16, 2020, the Court finds Defendants would not be prejudiced by the withdrawal of admissions. Defendants have not submitted an opposition demonstrating otherwise or explaining why they did not inform the Court they received responses to the Requests for Admission, Set One, at the August 20 hearing.

Thus, Plaintiff’s Motion is GRANTED.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Elsa Ruiz De Chavez’s Motion for Relief from Order Under CCP 2033.300 is GRANTED. The Requests for Admission, Set One, deemed admitted on August 20, 2020, are hereby WITHDRAWN.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC11824    Hearing Date: August 20, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Thu., August 20, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Ruiz de Chavez v. State of California, et al. COMPL. FILED: 12-31-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC11824 DISC. C/O: 05-30-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O: 06-14-21

TRIAL DATE: 06-29-21

PROCEEDINGS: (1) MOTION FOR ORDER ESTABLISHING ADMISSIONS AND FOR SANCTIONS

(2) MOTION FOR ORDER COMPELLING RESPONSE TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION, SET ONE, AND SANCTIONS

(3) MOTION FOR ORDER COMPELLING RESPONSE TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, AND SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendants State of California, acting by and through the California Highway Patrol, and Officer Keeshan

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff Elsa Ruiz de Chavez

MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION AND INTERROGATORIES; MOTION TO DEEM REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP §§ 2030.290, 2031.300, 2033.280)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendants’ (1) Motion for Order Establishing Admissions, (2) Motion for Order Compelling Response to Request for Production, and (3) Motion for Order Compelling Response to Form Interrogatories, are GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to serve responses without objections to the Request for Production and Form Interrogatories within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Defendants’ request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $440.00 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 July 15, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

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

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On December 31, 2019, Plaintiff Elsa Ruiz-de-Chavez (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendant State of California, acting by and through the California Highway Patrol (erroneously sued as the State of California and the California Highway Patrol), and Officer Keeshan (collectively, “Defendants”). On February 21, 2020, Defendants filed an Answer.

On April 16, 2020, Defendants filed the instant (1) Motion for Order Establishing Admissions and for a Sanction (the “RFA Motion”), (2) Motion for Order Compelling Response to Form Interrogatories, Set One, and Imposing a Sanction (the “Interrogatories Motion”), and (3) Motion for Order Compelling Response to Request for Production, Set One, and Imposing a Sanction (the “Production Motion”) (collectively, the “Motions”). On July 15, 2020, Plaintiff filed an opposition to each discovery Motion. To date, no reply briefs have been filed.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

A. Requests for Admission

A party must respond to requests for admissions within 30 days after service of such requests. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.250, subd. (a).) “If a party to whom requests for admission are directed fails to serve a timely response…(a) [that party] waives any objection to the requests, including one based on privilege or on the protection for work product…” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280, subd. (a).) “The requesting party may move for an order that the genuineness of any documents and the truth of any matters specified in the requests be deemed admitted, as well as for a monetary sanction under Chapter 7.” (Id. at subd. (b).) A motion dealing with the failure to respond, rather than with inadequate responses, does not require the requesting party to meet and confer with the responding party. (Deymer v. Costa Mesa Mobile Home Estates (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 393, 395, fn. 4 [disapproved on other grounds in Wilcox v. Birtwhistle (1999) 21 Cal.4th 973]. There is no time limit within which a motion to have matters deemed admitted must be made. (Brigante v. Huang (1993) 20 Cal.App.4th 1569, 1585.)

Here, Defendants served Plaintiff with Requests for Admissions, Set One, on February 11, 2020, via regular mail. (RFA Motion, Diamond Decl., ¶ 3, Exh. A.) Although not statutorily required, Defendants’ counsel sent Plaintiff’s counsel a letter regarding the lack of responses to their discovery requests. (Id. at ¶ 6, Exh. B.) As of the date of this Motion, Plaintiff had not provided any responses to the Request for Admissions. (Id. at ¶ 7.) In her opposition, filed, dated, and served on July 15, 2020, Plaintiff argues that Defendants’ RFA Motion is moot because she “filed complete responses to Defendant’s [sic] Request for Admissions, Set One on or about July 17, 2020.” (RFA Oppo., p. 1:22-24.) (Italics added.) However, the record does not reflect Plaintiff filed any responses with the Court. In addition, Plaintiff’s opposition is wholly unsupported, as it does not include a copy of the discovery responses purportedly filed or served or a declaration from counsel attesting to the service.

Thus, Defendants are entitled to an order deeming the Requests for Admissions admitted against Plaintiff. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280.)

B. Form Interrogatories and Requests for Production

 

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.)

Defendants served Plaintiff with Form Interrogatories, Set One, and Request for Production, Set One, on February 11, 2020 via regular mail. (Interrogatories Mot. & Production Mot., Diamond Decl., ¶ 3, Exh. A.) Although not required, on April 1, 2020, Defendants’ counsel sent Plaintiff’s counsel a letter regarding the lack of discovery responses. (Id. at ¶ 4, Exh. B.) As of the date of this Motion, Plaintiff had not provided any responses to the Form Interrogatories or Request for Production. (Id. at ¶ 5.) As with the RFA Motion, Plaintiff argues that Defendants’ Production Motion and Interrogatories Motion are moot because she filed complete responses to the discovery requests on or about July 17, 2020. (Interrogatories Oppo & Production Oppo., p. 1:22-24.) (Italics added.) However, the record does not reflect Plaintiff filed any responses with the Court. In addition, Plaintiff’s opposition is wholly unsupported, as it does not include a copy of the discovery responses purportedly filed or served, or a declaration from counsel attesting to the service.

Thus, Defendants are entitled to an order compelling Plaintiff to provide verified responses to Form Interrogatories and Request for Production without objections. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2030.290; 2031.300.)

C. 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 to submit to an authorized method of discovery. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.010, subd. (d).) Furthermore, it is “mandatory that the Court impose a monetary sanction…on the party or attorney, or both, whose failure to serve a timely response to requests for admission necessitated this motion.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280, subd. (c).)

The Court finds Plaintiff’s failure to respond to Defendants’ discovery requests a misuse of the discovery process. In addition, the Court is required to impose a monetary sanction on Plaintiff for her failure to respond to the Request for Admissions under Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.280, subdivision (c).

Defendants’ counsel requests a total of $1,980.00, which includes nine hours of attorney time billed at $220.00 per hour. (RFA Mot., Diamond Decl., ¶ 8; Interrogatories Mot. & Production Mot., ¶ 6.) However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of these nearly identical motions and the lack of reply. The Court finds $440.00, based on two hours of attorney time, to be reasonable. Plaintiff is ordered to pay sanctions within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

 

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendants’ (1) Motion for Order Establishing Admissions, (2) Motion for Order Compelling Response to Request for Production, and (3) Motion for Order Compelling Response to Form Interrogatories, are GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to serve responses without objections to the Request for Production and Form Interrogatories within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Defendants’ request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $440.00 to be paid within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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