This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/08/2020 at 17:31:07 (UTC).

INTERINSURANCE EXCHANGE OF THE AUTOMBOILE CLUB VS RONALD PODELL

Case Summary

On 11/12/2019 INTERINSURANCE EXCHANGE OF THE AUTOMBOILE CLUB filed a Personal Injury - Uninsured Motor Vehicle lawsuit against RONALD PODELL. 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:

    *******0436

  • Filing Date:

    11/12/2019

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Uninsured 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

INTERINSURANCE EXCHANGE OF THE AUTOMBOILE CLUB

Defendant

PODELL RONALD

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

CHUN ARANG

Defendant Attorney

KINGSTON PAUL

 

Court Documents

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

6/4/2020: 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

6/4/2020: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Errata re Motion to Compelmatters with Plaintiffs Request for Admissions to be Admitted

6/5/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Errata re Motion to Compelmatters with Plaintiffs Request for Admissions to be Admitted

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Errata re Motion to Compel Defendant's responses to Plaintiff's Special Interrogatories

6/5/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Errata re Motion to Compel Defendant's responses to Plaintiff's Special Interrogatories

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Motion to Compel responses to Request for Admissions

6/25/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Motion to Compel responses to Request for Admissions

Reply (name extension) - Reply Plaintiff's reply to Deft Opposition to Plaintiff's MTC responses to Request for Production of Documents

6/25/2020: Reply (name extension) - Reply Plaintiff's reply to Deft Opposition to Plaintiff's MTC responses to Request for Production of Documents

Reply (name extension) - Reply Plaintiff's reply to Deft Opposition to Plaintiff's MTC responses to Special Interrogatories

6/25/2020: Reply (name extension) - Reply Plaintiff's reply to Deft Opposition to Plaintiff's MTC responses to Special Interrogatories

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Motion to Compel responses to Special Interrogatories

6/25/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Motion to Compel responses to Special Interrogatories

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Motion to Compel production of documents

6/26/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Motion to Compel production of documents

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

7/2/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

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

7/2/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery...)

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

7/7/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

3/3/2020: Request for Entry of Default / Judgment - Request for Entry of Default / Judgment

Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment - Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment

3/3/2020: Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment - Notice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment

Answer - Answer

3/3/2020: Answer - Answer

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

11/12/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

Summons - Summons on Complaint

11/12/2019: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Complaint - Complaint

11/12/2019: Complaint - Complaint

12 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/15/2022
  • Hearing11/15/2022 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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  • 05/11/2021
  • Hearing05/11/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 07/07/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFF'S SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES: Name Extension: RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFF'S SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES; As To Parties changed from Ronald Podell (Defendant) to Ronald Podell (Defendant)

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  • 07/07/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFF'S DEMAND FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS AND TANGIBLE THINGS: Name Extension: RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFF'S DEMAND FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS AND TANGIBLE THINGS; As To Parties changed from Ronald Podell (Defendant) to Ronald Podell (Defendant)

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  • 07/07/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion RESPONSES TO PLAINTIFF'S SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES: Filed By: Interinsurance Exchange of the Automboile Club (Plaintiff); Result: Denied; Result Date: 07/07/2020; As To Parties changed from Ronald Podell (Defendant) to Ronald Podell (Defendant)

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  • 07/07/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion REQUEST FOR ADMISSIONS BE DEEMED ADMITTED AND FOR SANCTIONS: Name Extension: REQUEST FOR ADMISSIONS BE DEEMED ADMITTED AND FOR SANCTIONS; As To Parties changed from Ronald Podell (Defendant) to Ronald Podell (Defendant)

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  • 07/07/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery"))

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  • 07/07/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") scheduled for 07/07/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 07/07/2020; Result Type to Held

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  • 07/02/2020
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: Interinsurance Exchange of the Automboile Club (Plaintiff)

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  • 07/02/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery...)

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18 More Docket Entries
  • 03/03/2020
  • DocketNotice of Rejection Default/Clerk's Judgment; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 03/03/2020
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Ronald Podell (Defendant); As to: Interinsurance Exchange of the Automboile Club (Plaintiff)

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  • 12/03/2019
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: Interinsurance Exchange of the Automboile Club (Plaintiff); As to: Ronald Podell (Defendant); Service Date: 11/24/2019; Service Cost: 97.02; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 11/13/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 05/11/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 11/13/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 11/15/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 11/13/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 11/12/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Interinsurance Exchange of the Automboile Club (Plaintiff); As to: Ronald Podell (Defendant)

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  • 11/12/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Interinsurance Exchange of the Automboile Club (Plaintiff); As to: Ronald Podell (Defendant)

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  • 11/12/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Interinsurance Exchange of the Automboile Club (Plaintiff); As to: Ronald Podell (Defendant)

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  • 11/12/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC10436    Hearing Date: July 07, 2020    Dept: 25

MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP §§ 2030.290)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club’s Motion for Order Compelling Defendant’s Responses to Special Interrogatories is DENIED AS MOOT. However, Plaintiff’s request for Sanctions is GRANTED in the amount of $245.00 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 June 25, 2020 [X] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on June 25, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On November 12, 2019, Plaintiff Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club (“Plaintiff”) filed an action against Defendant Ronald Podell (“Defendant”) for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. On March 3, 2020, Defendant filed an Answer.

On June 4, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Order Compelling Defendant’s Responses to Plaintiff’s Special Interrogatories and for Monetary Sanctions (the “Motion”). On June 25, 2020, Defendant filed a late Opposition. That same day, Plaintiff filed a timely Reply.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

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.)

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).)

Here, Plaintiff served Defendant with Special Interrogatories, Set, One, on January 27, 2020 via regular mail. (Motion, Chun Decl., ¶ 3; Notice of Errata, Exh. A.) Although not required, on March 13, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel sent Defendant’s counsel a letter regarding the lack of discovery responses. (Motion, Chun Decl., ¶ 4; Notice of Errata, Exh. B.)

In Opposition, Defendant argues that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on Defendant’s counsel’s law practice, his delay in responding to the discovery was justified. (Opposition, p. 3:15-24; Shomloo Decl., ¶ 2.) Specifically, he argues that, out of fear of the virus, his only legal assistant cut her workdays from five to one, and her daily hours to only five. (Id.) In addition, he mentions in passing without providing any additional details that Defendant’s counsel’s “persistent health problems” contributed to his failure to serve timely responses. (Id. at p. 3:6-9.) After California’s restrictions begun to ease, Defendant’s counsel prepared and personally served discovery responses on June 23, 2020. (Id.)

In Reply, Plaintiff argues that Defendant’s failure to provide responses is not the result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic because Defendant’s inaction and delay precede the Stay at Home Orders that went into effect on March 19, 2020. (Reply, p. 11-13.) Indeed, because Plaintiff propounded the discovery request on January 27, 2020, responses were due no later than March 2, 2020, which includes the extra five days allowed pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1013. In addition, Defendant’s Opposition brief does not allege or demonstrate that it sought an extension from Plaintiff. Furthermore, because Defendant’s counsel only vaguely references “health problems” without providing any additional details, the Court cannot find this justifies the failure to provide timely responses.

For these reasons, the Court finds that Defendant’s counsel did not act with substantial justification in failing to respond to Plaintiff’s discovery request and the failure to respond is a misuse of the discovery process. In addition, the Court may award sanctions pursuant to the Discovery Act in favor of a party that files a motion to compel responses even though the requested discovery is provided after the discovery motion is filed. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1348, subd. (a).)

Plaintiff’s counsel requests a total of $615.00 in sanctions, based on three hours of attorney time billed at $185.00 per hour plus one filing fee of $60.00. (Mot., Chun Decl., ¶¶ 6-8.) However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of this Motion. The Court finds $245.00, based on one hour of attorney time and one filing fee, to be reasonable.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club’s Motion for Order Compelling Defendant’s Responses to Special Interrogatories is DENIED AS MOOT. However, Plaintiff’s request for Sanctions is GRANTED in the amount of $245.00 to be paid within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC10436    Hearing Date: July 02, 2020    Dept: 25

MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS; MOTION TO DEEM REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP §§ 2031.300; 2033.280)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club’s (1) Motion for Order Compelling Defendant’s Responses to Plaintiff’s Demand for Production of Documents and (2) Motion for Order that Matters Contained within Plaintiff’s First Set of Request for Admissions be Deemed Admitted are DENIED AS MOOT.

In addition, Plaintiff’s request for Sanctions is GRANTED in the amount of $305.00 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 June 25, 2020 [X] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on June 25, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On November 12, 2019, Plaintiff Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club (“Plaintiff”) filed an action against Defendant Ronald Podell (“Defendant”) for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. On March 3, 2020, Defendant filed an Answer.

On June 4, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant (1) Motion for Order Compelling Defendant’s Responses to Plaintiff’s Demand for Production of Documents and for Monetary Sanctions (the “Production Motion”) and (2) Motion for Order that Matters Contained within Plaintiff’s First Set of Request for Admissions be Deemed Admitted and for Sanctions (the “RFA Motion”) (collectively, the “Motions”).

Defendant filed a late Opposition to the RFA Motion on June 25, 2020, and to the Production Motion on June 26, 2020. Plaintiff timely filed a Reply to both Opposition briefs on June 25, 2020.

  1. Legal Standard

A. Request for Admissions and Request for Production of Documents

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.)

In addition, a party must respond to requests for production of documents within 30 days after service. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.260, subd. (a).) If a party to whom 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., § 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., § 2031.300, subd. (a).) There is no time limit for a motion to compel responses to production of documents other than the cut-off on hearing discovery motions 15 days before trial. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2024.020, subd. (a); 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., § 2031.300; Sinaiko Healthcare Consulting, Inc. v. Pacific Healthcare Consultants (2007) 148 Cal.App.4th 390, 411.)

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).)

B. Discussion

Plaintiff served Defendant with Request for Admissions, Set One, and Demand for Production and Inspection of Documents, Set One, on January 27, 2020 via regular mail. (Motions, Chun Decl., ¶ 3; Notices of Errata, Exhs. A.) Although not required, on March 13, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel sent Defendant’s counsel a letter regarding the lack of discovery responses. (Production Motion, Chun Decl., ¶ 4; RFA Motion, Chun Decl., ¶¶ 5-6; Notices of Errata, Exhs. B.)

Defendant filed two nearly identical Opposition briefs arguing that, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on Defendant’s counsel’s law practice, his delay in responding to the discovery was justified. (Oppositions, p. 3:15-24; Shomloo Decl., ¶ 2.) Specifically, he argues that, out of fear of the virus, his only legal assistant cut her workdays from five to one, and her daily hours to only five. (Id.) In addition, he mentions in passing without providing any additional details that Defendant’s counsel’s “persistent health problems” contributed to his failure to serve timely responses. (Id. at p. 3:6-9.) After California’s restrictions begun to ease, Defendant’s counsel prepared and personally served discovery responses on June 23, 2020. (Id.)

In Reply, Plaintiff does not dispute it received responses to the discovery but argues that sanctions should be imposed because they are mandatory for failing to timely respond to the Request for Admissions. (RFA Reply, p. 2:10-24.) Plaintiff also argues that Defendant’s failure to provide responses is not the result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic because Defendant’s inaction and delay precede the Stay at Home Orders that went into effect on March 19, 2020. (Production Reply, p. 2:16-18.) Specifically, because Plaintiff propounded the two sets of discovery requests on January 27, 2020, responses were due no later than March 2, 2020, including an extra five days for service by mail pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1013. Defendant’s Opposition briefs do not allege or demonstrate that it sought an extension from Plaintiff on this basis. Furthermore, because Defendant’s counsel only vaguely references “health problems” without providing any additional details, the Court cannot find this justifies his failure to provide timely responses.

For these reasons, the Court finds that Defendant’s counsel did not act with substantial justification in failing to respond to Plaintiff’s discovery requests, and that his failure to respond is a misuse of the discovery process. Indeed, the Court may award sanctions pursuant to the Discovery Act in favor of a party that files a motion to compel responses even though the requested discovery is provided after the discovery motion is filed. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1348, subd. (a).)

Plaintiff’s counsel requests a total of $1,415.00 in sanctions, based on seven hours of attorney time billed at $185.00 per hour plus two filing fees of $60.00. (Production Motion, Chun Decl., ¶¶ 6-8; RFA Motion, Chun Decl., ¶¶8-9.) However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of these nearly identical Motions. The Court finds $305.00 to be reasonable, based on one hour of attorney time and two filing fees.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff Interinsurance Exchange of the Automobile Club’s (1) Motion for Order Compelling Defendant’s Responses to Plaintiff’s Demand for Production of Documents and (2) Motion for Order that Matters Contained within Plaintiff’s First Set of Request for Admissions be Deemed Admitted are DENIED AS MOOT.

In addition, Plaintiff’s request for Sanctions is GRANTED in the amount of $305.00 to be paid within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.