This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/03/2021 at 00:36:16 (UTC).

FREDDIE BEVERLY VS LOS ANGELES COUNTY METRO TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

Case Summary

On 05/29/2018 FREDDIE BEVERLY filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against LOS ANGELES COUNTY METRO TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is GEORGINA T. RIZK. The case status is Disposed - Dismissed.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******7721

  • Filing Date:

    05/29/2018

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Dismissed

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

GEORGINA T. RIZK

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

BEVERLY FREDDIE

Long Beach, CA 90813

Defendant

LOS ANGELES COUNTY METRO TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

AGU KENECHI REUBEN

Defendant Attorney

PRECIADO ARTHUR C.

 

Court Documents

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

9/11/2020: Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil - Declaration in Support of Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information - Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

9/16/2020: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information - Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted - Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted

10/7/2020: Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted - Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted

Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail Amended

10/7/2020: Proof of Service by Mail - Proof of Service by Mail Amended

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

10/7/2020: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition TO MOTION FOR AN ORDER ESTABLISHING ADMISSIONS AGAINST PLAINTIFF FREDDIE BEVERLY AND REQUEST FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS; DECLARATION OF KENECHI R. AGU

1/4/2021: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition TO MOTION FOR AN ORDER ESTABLISHING ADMISSIONS AGAINST PLAINTIFF FREDDIE BEVERLY AND REQUEST FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS; DECLARATION OF KENECHI R. AGU

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

1/21/2021: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition TO MOTION FOR MOTION FOR AN ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF TO RESPOND TO DEFENDANTS FORM INTERROGATORIES, MONETARY SANCTIONS, AND TERMINATING SANCTIONS; DECLARATI

3/2/2021: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition TO MOTION FOR MOTION FOR AN ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF TO RESPOND TO DEFENDANTS FORM INTERROGATORIES, MONETARY SANCTIONS, AND TERMINATING SANCTIONS; DECLARATI

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition TO MOTION FOR MOTION FOR AN ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF TO RESPOND TO DEFENDANTS REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION, MONETARY SANCTIONS, AND TERMINATING SANCTIONS; DECLAR

3/2/2021: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition TO MOTION FOR MOTION FOR AN ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF TO RESPOND TO DEFENDANTS REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION, MONETARY SANCTIONS, AND TERMINATING SANCTIONS; DECLAR

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

3/15/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery...)

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

3/16/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery"))

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

3/16/2021: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

3/16/2021: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Notice of Posting of Jury Fees - Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

1/10/2020: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees - Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Non-Jury Trial) of 11/26/2019

11/26/2019: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Non-Jury Trial) of 11/26/2019

Minute Order - Minute Order (Non-Jury Trial)

11/26/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Non-Jury Trial)

Complaint

5/29/2018: Complaint

31 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 06/01/2021
  • DocketOn the Complaint filed by Freddie Beverly on 05/29/2018, entered Order for Dismissal without prejudice as to the entire action

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  • 06/01/2021
  • DocketOrder Appointing Court Approved Reporter as Official Reporter Pro Tempore Gail R. Davidson #12823; Filed by: Los Angeles County Metro Transportation Authority (Defendant)

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  • 06/01/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Jury Trial; Order to Show Cause Re: Dismissal)

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  • 06/01/2021
  • DocketJury Trial scheduled for 06/01/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 06/01/2021; Result Type to Held

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  • 06/01/2021
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Dismissal scheduled for 06/01/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 06/01/2021; Result Type to Held

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  • 05/28/2021
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Order to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 06/01/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court was rescheduled to 06/01/2021 08:30 AM

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  • 05/28/2021
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 06/01/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 05/28/2021

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  • 05/28/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Event scheduled for 06/01/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Type changed from Non-Jury Trial to Jury Trial

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  • 03/25/2021
  • DocketProof of Service by Mail; Filed by: Freddie Beverly (Plaintiff); As to: Freddie Beverly (Plaintiff)

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  • 03/23/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel: Filed By: Kenechi Reuben Agu (Attorney); Result: Granted; Result Date: 03/23/2021

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47 More Docket Entries
  • 11/25/2019
  • DocketSubstitution of Attorney; Filed by: Freddie Beverly (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/29/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 05/29/2018
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Clerk

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  • 05/29/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Freddie Beverly (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/29/2018
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Signed and Filed by: Clerk; As to: Freddie Beverly (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/29/2018
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by: Freddie Beverly (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/29/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Freddie Beverly (Plaintiff); As to: Los Angeles County Metro Transportation Authority (Defendant)

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  • 05/29/2018
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Georgina T. Rizk in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 05/29/2018
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 11/26/2019 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 05/29/2018
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause - Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 06/01/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 18STLC07721    Hearing Date: March 23, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Tue., March 23, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Beverly v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

CASE NUMBER: 18STLC07721 COMPL. FILED: 05-29-18

NOTICE: OK DISC. C/O: 05-02-21

DISC. MOT. C/O: 05-17-21

TRIAL DATE: 06-01-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff’s Counsel Kenechi R. Agu

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

(CCP § 284(2); CRC rule 3.162)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff’s Counsel Kenechi R. Agu’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 19, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of March 19, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On May 29, 2018, Plaintiff Freddie Beverly (“Plaintiff”) filed an action, in pro per, for motor vehicle negligence and general negligence against Defendant Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“Defendant”). Plaintiff filed a Substitution of Attorney on November 25, 2019 indicating he was now being represented by Kenechi R. Agu (“Counsel”). Defendant filed an Answer on January 10, 2020.

On September 11, 2020, Plaintiff’s Counsel filed the instant Motion to be Relieved as Counsel (the “Motion”). No opposition was filed.

  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, subd. (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, subds. (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. (d)(1)(A) & (2).)

  1. Discussion

Plaintiff’s Counsel seeks to be relieved because communication between Counsel and Plaintiff has broken down irrevocably. (MC-052, ¶ 2.) Counsel also states that continued representation of Plaintiff will be prejudicial to Plaintiff due to Counsel’s inability to communicate with him. (Id.) Counsel served this Motion at Plaintiff’s last known address, which was confirmed as current via telephone at most 30 days before this motion was filed. (Id. at ¶ 3(b).)

The Court is satisfied with Counsel’s reasons for seeking to be relieved and finds he has satisfied the requirements of California Rules of Court, rule 3.1362, subdivisions (a) and (c)-(e). Importantly, the trial is scheduled for June 1, 2021, giving Plaintiff sufficient time to obtain new counsel should he wish to continue prosecuting this action.

Accordingly, the unopposed Motion is GRANTED.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s Counsel Kenechi R. Agu’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.)

Plaintiff’s Counsel is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 18STLC07721    Hearing Date: March 16, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Tue., March 16, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Beverly v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

CASE NUMBER: 18STLC07721 COMPL. FILED: 05-29-18

NOTICE: OK DISC. C/O: 05-02-21

DISC. MOT. C/O: 05-17-21

TRIAL DATE: 06-01-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION FOR AN ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF TO RESPOND TO DEFENDANT’S SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES AND FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff Freddie Beverly

MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO INTERROGATORIES; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2030.290)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Motion for an Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to Defendant’s Special Interrogatories, Set One, is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to file and serve verified responses without objections within thirty (30) days of service of this order.

Defendant’s requests for sanctions are also GRANTED in the amount of $600.50 against Plaintiff only. Plaintiff is to pay sanctions 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 March 2, 2021 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on March 5, 2021 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On May 29, 2018, Plaintiff Freddie Beverly (“Plaintiff”) filed an action, in pro per, for motor vehicle negligence and general negligence against Defendant Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“Defendant”). Plaintiff filed a Substitution of Attorney on November 25, 2019 indicating he was now being represented by Kenechi R. Agu. Defendant filed an Answer on January 10, 2020.

On September 11, 2020, Plaintiff’s attorney filed a motion to be relieved as counsel which is scheduled to be heard on March 23, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.

On October 7, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Motion for an Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to Defendant’s Special Interrogatories and Request for Sanctions (the “Motion”). Plaintiff filed an Opposition on March 2, and Defendant filed a Reply on March 5.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

  1. Special Interrogatories

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

Here, Defendant served Plaintiff’s counsel with Special Interrogatories, Set One, on June 18, 2020 via regular mail and email. (Mot., Shanto Decl., ¶ 4, Exh. 1.) On August 11, 2020, Defendant’s counsel sent Plaintiff’s counsel a meet and confer letter regarding the lack of responses. (Id. at ¶ 6, Exh. 3.) As of the date this Motion was filed, Plaintiff had not provided any responses. (Id. at ¶ 7.) Thus, Defendant is entitled to an order compelling Plaintiff to provide verified responses without objections. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290.)

  1. 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).)

Defendant seeks sanctions against both Plaintiff and his counsel for failing to respond to the discovery. (Mot., p. 5.) In Opposition, Plaintiff’s counsel argues that, although responses have not been provided, sanctions are not warranted because he has been unable to reach Plaintiff and because counsel filed a motion to be relieved as Plaintiff’s attorney. (Oppo., pp. 2-3; Agu Decl., ¶¶ 3-9.) He also states that Defendant was unwilling to grant Plaintiff’s counsel’s extension request. (Id.) However, the discovery was propounded to Plaintiff over eight months ago. Defendant is not required to continue granting extensions to Plaintiff until he decides to participate in the litigation.

The Court finds Plaintiff’s failure to respond to the discovery a misuse of the discovery process. However, as Plaintiff’s counsel has been unable to reach his client, monetary sanctions against counsel are not warranted.

Defendant seeks a total of $1,260.50 in sanctions based on 7.5 hours of attorney time billed at $165.00 per hour and one remote appearance fee of $23.00. (Mot., Shanto Decl., ¶¶ 10-11.) However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of this Motions. The Court finds $600.50, based on 3.5 hours of attorney time and one remote appearance fee, reasonable. Sanctions are to be paid to Defendant’s counsel within thirty (30) days of this order.

The Court declines to award terminating sanctions at this time. However, Plaintiff is advised that failure to comply with this order order may be sufficient to grant a motion for terminating sanctions in the future.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Motion for an Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to Defendant’s Special Interrogatories, Set One, is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to file and serve verified responses without objections within thirty (30) days of service of this order.

Defendant’s requests for sanctions are also GRANTED in the amount of $600.50 against Plaintiff only. Plaintiff is to pay sanctions within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 18STLC07721    Hearing Date: March 15, 2021    Dept: 25

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

CASE NAME Beverly v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

CASE NUMBER: 18STLC07721 COMPL. FILED: 05-29-18

NOTICE:   OK DISC. C/O: 05-02-21

DISC. MOT. C/O:    05-17-21

TRIAL DATE: 06-01-21

PROCEEDINGS    (1) MOTION FOR AN ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF TO RESPOND TO DEFENDANT’S REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION, SET ONE, AND FOR SANCTIONS

(2) MOTION FOR AN ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF TO RESPOND TO DEFENDANT’S FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, AND FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY:   Defendant Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff Freddie Beverly

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

(CCP §§ 2030.290; 2031.300)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (1) Motion for an Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to Defendant’s Requests for Production, Set One, and (2) Motion for An Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to Defendant’s Form Interrogatories, Set One, are GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to serve verified responses without objections within thirty (30) days of service of this order.

Defendant’s requests for sanctions are also GRANTED in the amount of $848.00 against Plaintiff only. Plaintiff is to pay sanctions 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 March 2, 2021 [   ] Late [   ] None

REPLY: Filed on March 5, 2021 [   ] Late [   ] None

  1. Background

On May 29, 2018, Plaintiff Freddie Beverly (“Plaintiff”) filed an action, in pro per, for motor vehicle negligence and general negligence against Defendant Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“Defendant”). Plaintiff filed a Substitution of Attorney on November 25, 2019 indicating he was now being represented by Kenechi R. Agu. Defendant filed an Answer on January 10, 2020.

On September 11, 2020, Plaintiff’s attorney filed a motion to be relieved as counsel which is scheduled to be heard on March 23, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.

On October 7, 2020, Defendant filed a motion to deem Requests for Admission admitted against Plaintiff. This motion was granted on January 19, 2020. (1/19/20 Minute Order.)

Also on October 7, Defendant filed the instant (1) Motion for an Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to Defendant’s Form Interrogatories, Set One, and Request for Sanctions; and (2) Motion for an Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to Defendant’s Requests for Production and Request for Sanctions (collectively, the “Motions”). Plaintiff filed an Opposition on March 2, and Defendant filed a Reply on March 5.

  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, Defendant served Plaintiff’s counsel with Request for Production of Documents, Set One, and Form Interrogatories, Set One, on June 18, 2020 via regular mail and email. (Motions, Shanto Decls., ¶¶ 4, Exhs. 1.) On August 11, 2020, Defendant’s counsel sent Plaintiff’s counsel a meet and confer letter regarding the lack of responses. (Id. at ¶¶ 6, Exhs. 3.) As of the date these Motions were filed, Plaintiff had not provided any responses. (Id. at ¶¶ 7.) Thus, Defendant is 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).)

Defendant seeks sanctions against both Plaintiff and his counsel for failing to respond to the discovery. (Motions, pp. 5.) In Opposition, Plaintiff’s counsel argues that, although responses have not been provided, sanctions are not warranted because he has been unable to reach Plaintiff and because counsel filed a motion to be relieved as Plaintiff’s attorney. (Oppositions, pp. 2-3; Agu Decl., ¶¶ 3-10.) He also states that Defendant was unwilling to grant Plaintiff’s counsel’s extension request. (Id.) However, the discovery was propounded to Plaintiff over eight months ago. Defendant is not required to continue granting extensions to Plaintiff until he decides to participate in the litigation.

The Court finds Plaintiff’s failure to respond to the discovery a misuse of the discovery process. However, as Plaintiff’s counsel has been unable to reach his client, monetary sanctions against counsel are not warranted.

Defendant seeks a total of $2,521.00 in sanctions based on 15 hours of attorney time billed at $165.00 per hour and two remote appearance fees of $23.00. (Motions, Shanto Decl., ¶¶ 10-11.) However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of these nearly identical Motions. The Court finds $848.00, based on 5 hours of attorney time and one remote appearance fee, reasonable. Sanctions are to be paid to Defendant’s counsel within thirty (30) days of this order.

As a final note, the Court declines to award terminating sanctions at this time. However, Plaintiff is advised that failure to comply with this order and the January 19 Order may be sufficient to grant a motion for terminating sanctions in the future.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (1) Motion for an Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to Defendant’s Requests for Production, Set One, and (2) Motion for An Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to Defendant’s Form Interrogatories, Set One, are GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to serve verified responses without objections within thirty (30) days of service of this order.

Defendant’s requests for sanctions are also GRANTED in the amount of $848.00 against Plaintiff only. Plaintiff is to pay sanctions within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 18STLC07721    Hearing Date: January 19, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Tue., January 19, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Beverly v. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

CASE NUMBER: 18STLC07721 COMPL. FILED: 05-29-18

NOTICE: OK DISC. C/O: 05-02-21

DISC. MOT. C/O: 05-17-21

TRIAL DATE: 06-01-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION FOR AN ORDER ESTABLISHING ADMISSIONS AGAINST PLAINTIFF AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff Freddie Beverly

MOTION TO DEEM REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2033.280)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Motion for an Order Establishing Admissions Against Plaintiff is GRANTED. Defendant’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $435.50 against Plaintiff only. Plaintiff is to pay sanctions 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 January 4, 2021 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on January 11, 2021 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On May 29, 2018, Plaintiff Freddie Beverly (“Plaintiff”) filed an action, in pro per, for motor vehicle negligence and general negligence against Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (“Defendant”). Plaintiff filed a Substitution of Attorney on November 25, 2019 indicating he was now being represented by Kenechi R. Agu. Defendant filed an Answer on January 10, 2020.

On September 11, 2020, Plaintiff’s attorney filed a motion to be relieved as counsel which is scheduled to be heard on March 23, 2021 at 10:00 a.m.

Defendant filed the instant Motion for an Order Establishing Admissions Against Plaintiff and Request for Monetary Sanctions (the “Motion”) on October 7, 2020. Plaintiff filed an Opposition on January 4, 2021, and Defendant filed a Reply on January 11, 2021.

  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, Defendant served Plaintiff’s counsel with Requests for Admission, Set One, on June 18, 2020 via regular mail and e-mail. (Mot., Shanto Decl., ¶ 4, Exh. 1.) On August 11, 2020, Defendant’s counsel sent Plaintiff’s counsel a meet and confer letter regarding the lack of responses. (Id. at ¶ 6, Exh. 3.) On August 17, 2020, Defendant’s counsel informed Plaintiff’s counsel that he would be preparing and filing motions to compel Plaintiff’s responses. (Id. at ¶ 8.) As of the date of this Motion, Plaintiff has not provided any responses. (Id. at ¶ 7.) Thus, Defendant is entitled to an order deeming the Requests for Admission, Set One, admitted against Plaintiff. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280.)

B. Request for 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).)

Defendant seeks sanctions against both Plaintiff and his counsel for failing to respond to the Requests for Admission. (Mot., pp. 2:25-3:14.) In Opposition, Plaintiff’s counsel argues that, although responses have not been provided, sanctions are not warranted against either of them because counsel has been unable to reach Plaintiff and because counsel filed a motion to be relieved. (Oppo., pp. 2:19-4:3.) However, the discovery was propounded to Plaintiff six months ago. Defendant is not required to continue granting extensions to Plaintiff until he decides to participate in the litigation.

The Court finds Plaintiff’s failure to respond to the discovery a misuse of the discovery process. The Court is also required to impose a monetary sanction on Plaintiff for his failure to respond to the Requests for Admission under Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.280, subdivision (c). However, as Plaintiff’s counsel has been unable to reach his client, monetary sanctions against counsel are not warranted.

Defendant requests a total of $1,260.50 in sanctions based on 7.5 hours of attorney time billed at $165.00 per hour and one remote appearance fee of $23.00. (Mot., Shanto Decl., ¶¶ 10-11.) However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of this Motion. The Court finds $435.50, based on 2.5 hours of attorney time and one remote appearance fee, to be reasonable. Sanctions are to be paid to Defendant’s counsel within thirty (30) days of this order.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Motion for an Order Establishing Admissions Against Plaintiff is GRANTED. Defendant’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $435.50 against Plaintiff only. Plaintiff is to pay sanctions within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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