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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 06/11/2021 at 08:36:36 (UTC).

JOCELYN LOPEZ VS DANIYAL HAMEED

Case Summary

On 02/22/2019 JOCELYN LOPEZ filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against DANIYAL HAMEED. 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:

    *******1868

  • Filing Date:

    02/22/2019

  • 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

LOPEZ JOCELYN

Defendant

HAMEED DANIYAL

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

HALPERN JASON SALINAS

Defendant Attorneys

BOIADJIAN ANGELA

SANTIAGO CHRISTEN DENISE

 

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

5/10/2021: 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

5/10/2021: 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 Change of Handling Attorney

4/1/2021: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Change of Handling Attorney

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

2/23/2021: Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil - Order Granting Attorney's Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel-Civil

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Ruling

2/10/2021: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Ruling

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

1/14/2021: Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information - Notice of Change of Address or Other Contact Information

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

1/15/2021: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel - Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

11/9/2020: Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel - Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Declaration in Support of Motion to be Relieved as Counsel

11/9/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration Declaration in Support of Motion to be Relieved as Counsel

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 11/12/2020

11/12/2020: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 11/12/2020

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

11/12/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

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

10/14/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to be Relieved as Counsel)

Proof of Service - No Service - Proof of Service - No Service

8/28/2019: Proof of Service - No Service - Proof of Service - No Service

Notice of Rejection - Ex Parte Application Without Hearing - Notice of Rejection - Ex Parte Application Without Hearing for Publication re: Daniyal

10/9/2019: Notice of Rejection - Ex Parte Application Without Hearing - Notice of Rejection - Ex Parte Application Without Hearing for Publication re: Daniyal

Notice (name extension) - Notice NOTICE THAT MOTIONS FOR ORDER COMPELLING RESPONSES TO INTERROGATORIES AND DEMAND FOR INSPECTION HAVE BEEN TAKEN OFF CALENDAR

1/2/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice NOTICE THAT MOTIONS FOR ORDER COMPELLING RESPONSES TO INTERROGATORIES AND DEMAND FOR INSPECTION HAVE BEEN TAKEN OFF CALENDAR

Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel - Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

7/14/2020: Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel - Motion to Be Relieved as Counsel

Declaration in Support of Ex Parte Application - Declaration in Support of Ex Parte Application

7/14/2020: Declaration in Support of Ex Parte Application - Declaration in Support of Ex Parte Application

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

2/22/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

30 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

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

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  • 08/10/2021
  • Hearing08/10/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion for Terminating Sanctions

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  • 08/03/2021
  • Hearing08/03/2021 at 10:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery")

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  • 08/03/2021
  • Hearing08/03/2021 at 10:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery")

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  • 05/28/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Terminating Sanctions scheduled for 08/10/2021 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 05/27/2021
  • DocketMotion for Terminating Sanctions; Filed by: Daniyal Hameed (Defendant); As to: Jocelyn Lopez (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/11/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") scheduled for 08/03/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 05/11/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") scheduled for 08/03/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 05/10/2021
  • DocketMotion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion; Filed by: Daniyal Hameed (Defendant); As to: Jocelyn Lopez (Plaintiff)

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  • 05/10/2021
  • DocketMotion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion; Filed by: Daniyal Hameed (Defendant); As to: Jocelyn Lopez (Plaintiff)

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62 More Docket Entries
  • 09/03/2019
  • DocketApplication for Publication; Filed by: Jocelyn Lopez (Plaintiff); As to: Daniyal Hameed (Defendant)

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  • 08/28/2019
  • DocketProof of Service - No Service; Filed by: Jocelyn Lopez (Plaintiff); As to: Daniyal Hameed (Defendant)

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  • 02/25/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 02/25/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 02/25/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 08/21/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 02/25/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 02/22/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 02/22/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 02/22/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Jocelyn Lopez (Plaintiff); As to: Daniyal Hameed (Defendant)

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  • 02/22/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Jocelyn Lopez (Plaintiff); As to: Daniyal Hameed (Defendant)

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  • 02/22/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Jocelyn Lopez (Plaintiff); As to: Daniyal Hameed (Defendant)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC01868    Hearing Date: April 29, 2021    Dept: 25

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO CONTINUE THE TRIAL AND TRIAL BASED DATES

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Daniyal Hameed

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO CONTINUE TRIAL

(CRC, Rule 3.1332)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Daniyal Hameed’s Motion to Continue the Trial and Trial Based Dates is GRANTED. Trial is CONTINUED TO FEBRUARY 8, 2022 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. Motion and discovery cut-off dates are to follow the new trial date.

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 April 27, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of April 27, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On February 22, 2019, Plaintiff Jocelyn Lopez (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendant Daniyal Hameed (“Defendant”). Defendant filed an Answer on September 13, 2019. The action was initially set for trial for August 21, 2020.

On July 14, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel Jason S. Halpern with Halpern & Associates filed a motion to be relieved as counsel.

On May 18, 2020, the parties filed a Stipulation to Continue Trial, which was granted that same day. The trial was continued and set for October 5, 2020. On the Court’s own motion, the trial was rescheduled a second time and set for June 8, 2021.

Defendant filed a motion for order compelling Plaintiff’s deposition on September 3, 2020, which was granted on February 9, 2021. (2/9/21 Minute Order.) Plaintiff was ordered to appear for deposition at a time, date, and place to be noticed by Defendant, but could take place remotely at the election of either party pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.310. (Id.)

Plaintiff’s counsel’s motion to be relieved was granted on February 23, 2021. (2/23/21 Minute Order.)

Defendant filed the instant Motion to Continue Trial and Trial Based Dates (the “Motion”) on April 1, 2021. No opposition was filed.

II. Legal Standard & Discussion

Although continuances of trials are disfavored, each request for a continuance must be considered on its own merits. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1332, subd. (c).) The Court may grant a continuance only on an affirmative showing of good cause requiring the continuance. (Id.) The Court may look to the following factors in determining whether a trial continuance is warranted: (1) proximity of the trial date; (2) whether there was any previous continuance or delay of trial due to any party; (3) the length of the continuance requested; (4) the availability of alternative means to address the problem that gave rise to the motion; (5) the prejudice that parties or witnesses will suffer as a result of the continuance; and (6) whether trial counsel is engaged in another trial. (See generally, Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1332, subd. (d)(1)-(11).) Additional factors for the Court to consider include: a party’s excused inability to obtain essential testimony, documents, or other material evidence despite diligent efforts; the proximity of the trial date; whether all parties have stipulated to a continuance; and any other fact or circumstance relevant to the fair determination of the motion or application. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 3.1332, subds. (c), (d).)

Defendant has demonstrated good cause exists for a trial continuance. The parties have only requested one trial continuance, in May 2020, during the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic when the Court was not holding any trials. In addition, as Defendant points out, a party’s inability to obtain essential testimony, documents, or other material evidence despite diligent efforts constitutes good cause for a trial continuance. (Mot., p. 5:4-6.) Defendant explains he obtained an order to compel Plaintiff to appear for deposition on February 9, 2021 and noticed a remote deposition for March 8, 2021 pursuant to that order, but Plaintiff advised she would not appear. (Id. p. 5:10-14; Santiago Decl., ¶ 6.) As of the date this Motion was filed, Plaintiff had not yet appeared for deposition. (Id.) As a result, Defendant argues he cannot adequately evaluate Plaintiff’s claims or prepare for trial. (Id. at p. 5:18-20.) Defendant’s counsel further states she sent a letter to Plaintiff via email and regular mail on March 23, 2021 requesting a stipulation to continue the trial before seeking court intervention but Plaintiff did not respond. (Id. at p. 5:16-18, Santiago Decl., ¶ 7.)

Defendant plans to file a motion to dismiss the action for failure to obey the Court’s orders but the soonest date he could reserve for the hearing was August 10, 2021, well after the currently scheduled June 8, 2021 trial. (Id., p. 5:21-23; Santiago Decl., ¶ 9.)

Defendant requests an eight-month continuance to allow sufficient time not only to continue investigating the merits of Plaintiff’s claim but also to allow the Court to hear his motion to dismiss. (Id. at pp. 6:17-7:2.) Notably, Plaintiff may benefit from the continuance. As of February 23, 2021, when Plaintiff’s former counsel’s motion to be relieved was granted, Plaintiff is a self-represented litigant. The continuance can provide Plaintiff with additional time to find and secure counsel to assist her in prosecuting her claim. Importantly, Plaintiff has not opposed Defendant’s request.

Thus, Defendant’s request for a trial continuance is GRANTED.

III. Conclusion & Order

Based on the foregoing, Defendant Daniyal Hameed’s Motion to Continue the Trial and Trial Based Dates is GRANTED. Trial is CONTINUED TO FEBRUARY 8, 2022 at 8:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. Motion and discovery cut-off dates are to follow the new trial date.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC01868    Hearing Date: February 23, 2021    Dept: 25


Case Number: 19STLC05457    Hearing Date: February 23, 2021    Dept: 25

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

CASE NAME: Alejandro v. Guerra COMPL. FILED: 06-05-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC05457 DISC. C/O: 04-27-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O: 05-12-21

TRIAL DATE: 05-27-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION OF DEFENDANT RUBEN GUERRA FOR ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF ALEJANDRO OMANA TO RESPOND TO REQUESTS FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, SET ONE, AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Ruben Guerra

RESP. PARTY: None

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

(CCP § 2031.300)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Ruben Guerra’s Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to Requests for Production of Documents is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to serve verified responses without objections to the Requests for Production of Documents within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. Defendant Guerra’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $540.00 to be paid to Defendant’s counsel within thirty days (30) 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: None filed as of February 17, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of February 17, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On June 5, 2019, self-represented Plaintiff Alejandro Omana dba Engraved Graphics (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for breach of contract, common counts, and fraud against Defendants Ruben Guerra (“Guerra”) and Energy Solutions by R.G., LLC (“Energy Solutions”). Defendant Guerra filed an Answer on December 23, 2019.

On August 25, 2020, Defendant Guerra filed the instant Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to First Set of Requests for Production of Documents and for Sanctions (the “Motion”). To date, no oppositions have been filed.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

A. Request for Production

A party must respond to interrogatories and 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 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); 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.)

Here, Defendant Guerra’s counsel served Plaintiff with Requests for Production of Documents, Set One, on June 1, 2020 via regular mail. (Mot., Lara Decl., ¶ 3, Exhs. A.) As of the date of this Motion, Plaintiff has not served any responses. (Id. at ¶ 3.) Thus, Defendant Guerra is entitled to an order compelling Plaintiff to provide verified responses without objections. (Code Civ. Proc., § 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 Defendant Guerra’s discovery requests a misuse of the discovery process.

Defendant Guerra’s counsel seeks $1,020.00 in sanctions based on three hours of attorney time billed at $320.00 per hour and one $60.00 filing fee. (Mot., Lara Decl., ¶ 4.) However the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of this motion and the lack of opposition and reply. The Court finds $540.00, based on 1.5 hours of attorney time and one filing fee, to be reasonable.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Ruben Guerra’s Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff to Respond to Requests for Production of Documents is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to serve verified responses without objections to the Requests for Production of Documents within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. Defendant Guerra’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $540.00 to be paid to Defendant’s counsel within thirty days (30) of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC01868    Hearing Date: December 03, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE:    Thu., December 3, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Lopez v. Hameed COMPL. FILED: 02-22-19

CASE NUMBER:     19STLC01868 DISC. C/O:    05-09-21

NOTICE:   NO (continued hearing) DISC. MOT. C/O:     05-24-21

TRIAL DATE: 06-08-21

PROCEEDINGS:     MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

MOVING PARTY:   Plaintiff’s Counsel Jason S. Halpern

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

(CCP § 284(2); CRC rule 3.1362)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff’s Counsel Jason S. Halpern’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Counsel files a proof of service demonstrating he gave Plaintiff proper notice of the November 12th continuance and December 3rd hearing. 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.)

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 December 1, 2020    [   ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of December 1, 2020    [   ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On February 22, 2019, Plaintiff Jocelyn Lopez (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendant Daniyal Hameed (“Defendant”). Defendant filed an Answer on September 13, 2019.

On July 14, 2020, Plaintiff’s Counsel Jason S. Halpern with Halpern & Associates (“Counsel”) filed the instant Motion to be Relieved as Counsel. At the initial October 14, 2020 hearing, the Court noted it was inclined to grant the Motion, but did not do so because Plaintiff was not given adequate notice of the hearing. (10/14/20 Minute Order.) The matter was thus continued to November 17. (Id.) On November 12, the Court, on its own motion, continued the hearing to December 3, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. and ordered Plaintiff’s Counsel to give notice. (11/12/20 Minute Order.)

To date, Plaintiff’s Counsel has not filed a proof of service demonstrating he gave Plaintiff notice of the November 12th continuance.

 

II. Legal Standard

(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.

 

III. Discussion

As noted at the previous hearing, Plaintiff’s Counsel seeks to be relieved because he has lost communication with Plaintiff. (MC-052, ¶ 2.) Counsel explains his office has attempted to call Plaintiff’s last known phone number on several occasions but has been unable to reach her. (Id.) Counsel’s office has also sent several correspondences to Plaintiff’s last known address which have not been returned as undeliverable. (Id.) Despite Counsel’s attempts, Plaintiff has not communicated with Counsel. (Id.) Counsel served Plaintiff with the Motion, supporting declaration, and proposed order by mail at Plaintiff’s current address, which was confirmed via a skip trace search using Accruint at most 30 days before this Motion was filed. (Id. at ¶ 3.) Importantly, trial is scheduled for June 8, 2021, giving Plaintiff sufficient time to find other legal representation should she wish to continue prosecuting this action.

 

The Court is satisfied with Counsel’s reasons for seeking to be relieved. Although the Court is again inclined to grant the Motion, Plaintiff’s Counsel did not file a proof of service demonstrating he gave Plaintiff notice of the November 12th continuance. In the interest of judicial economy, however, the Motion is GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Plaintiff’s Counsel files a proof of service demonstrating he gave adequate notice of this hearing. Otherwise, the hearing will be CONTINUED.

 

IV. Conclusion & Order

 

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s Counsel Jason S. Halpern’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Counsel files a proof of service demonstrating he gave Plaintiff proper notice of the November 12th continuance and December 3rd hearing. 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 will be CONTINUED TO January 20, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. If continued, Plaintiff’s Counsel must file supplemental papers demonstrating he gave Plaintiff proper notice of the next scheduled hearing.  Failure to do so may result in the Motion being placed off calendar or denied.

Plaintiff’s Counsel is ordered to give notice. 

Case Number: 19STLC01868    Hearing Date: October 14, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Wed., October 14, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Lopez v. Hameed COMPL. FILED: 02-22-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC01868 DISC. C/O: 05-09-21

NOTICE: NO (hearing) DISC. MOT. C/O: 05-24-21

TRIAL DATE: 06-08-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

MOVING PARTY: Plaintiff’s Counsel Jason S. Halpern

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO BE RELIEVED AS COUNSEL

(CCP § 284(2); CRC rule 3.1362)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff’s Counsel Jason S. Halpern’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Counsel files a proof of service demonstrating he gave Plaintiff proper notice of the October 14th hearing. 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 will be CONTINUED TO NOV 17, 2020 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 and serve supplemental papers addressing the deficiencies identified herein. Failure to do so may 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

[X] 16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) OK

OPPOSITION: None filed as of October 7, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of October 7, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On February 22, 2019, Plaintiff Jocelyn Lopez (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendant Daniyal Hameed (“Defendant”). Defendant filed an Answer on September 13, 2019.

On July 14, 2020, Plaintiff’s Counsel Jason S. Halpern with Halpern & Associates (“Counsel”) filed the instant Motion to be Relieved as Counsel. To date, no opposition has been 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(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 communication with Plaintiff. (MC-052, ¶ 2.) Counsel explains his office has attempted to call Plaintiff’s last known phone number on several occasions, but has been unable to reach her. (Id.) Counsel’s office has also sent several correspondences to Plaintiff’s last known address which have not been returned as undeliverable. (Id.) Despite Counsel’s attempts, Plaintiff has refused to communicate with Counsel. (Id.) Counsel served Plaintiff with the Motion, supporting declaration, and proposed order by mail at Plaintiff’s current address, which was confirmed via a skip trace search using Accruint at most 30 days before this Motion was filed. (Id. at ¶ 3.) Importantly, trial is scheduled for June 8, 2021, giving Plaintiff sufficient time to find other legal representation should she wish to continue prosecuting this action.

The Court is satisfied with Counsel’s reasons for seeking to be relieved. Although the Court is inclined to grant the Motion, it is unclear whether Plaintiff was given adequate notice of this hearing. Plaintiff’s Counsel’s moving papers state that the hearing is scheduled for July 20, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. and October 14, 2020 at 10:00 p.m. [sic].

In the interest of judicial economy, however, the Motion is GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Plaintiff’s Counsel files a proof of service demonstrating he gave adequate notice of the October 14th hearing. Otherwise, the hearing will be CONTINUED.

 

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiff’s Counsel Jason S. Halpern’s Motion to be Relieved as Counsel is GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Counsel files a proof of service demonstrating he gave Plaintiff proper notice of the October 14th hearing. 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 will be CONTINUED TO NOV 17, 2020 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 and serve supplemental papers addressing the deficiencies identified herein. Failure to do so may result in the Motion being placed off calendar or denied.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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