This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 09/19/2021 at 01:25:43 (UTC).

LEILANI TUANO VS SOTA NAM

Case Summary

On 10/05/2018 LEILANI TUANO filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against SOTA NAM. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is JON R. TAKASUGI. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******2756

  • Filing Date:

    10/05/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

TUANO LEILANI

Defendant

NAM SOTA

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

REYES MARGARET

Defendant Attorneys

WARD KATHLEEN M.

HAHN JEANETTE JIHAE

 

Court Documents

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Jury Trial) of 08/04/2021

8/4/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Jury Trial) of 08/04/2021

Trial Brief - Trial Brief

8/3/2021: Trial Brief - Trial Brief

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 06/22/2021

6/22/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 06/22/2021

Motion to Compel (name extension) - Motion to Compel Deposition

8/24/2020: Motion to Compel (name extension) - Motion to Compel Deposition

Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Motion to Compel Deposition and opposition to request for Sanctions

10/8/2020: Opposition (name extension) - Opposition to Motion to Compel Deposition and opposition to request for Sanctions

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Plaintiff's Final Demand of Compensation

1/19/2021: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Plaintiff's Final Demand of Compensation

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet EXHIBITS IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFFS DEPOSITION AND REQUEST FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS

1/19/2021: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet EXHIBITS IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFFS DEPOSITION AND REQUEST FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Plaintiff's Final Demand for Compensation

1/20/2021: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Plaintiff's Final Demand for Compensation

Notice (name extension) - Notice NOTICE OF ERRATA

1/21/2021: Notice (name extension) - Notice NOTICE OF ERRATA

Reply (name extension) - Reply REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFFS DEPOSITION AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS & AUTHORITIES

1/21/2021: Reply (name extension) - Reply REPLY TO PLAINTIFFS OPPOSITION TO DEFENDANTS MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFFS DEPOSITION AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS; MEMORANDUM OF POINTS & AUTHORITIES

Reply (name extension) - Reply Brief to Plaintiff's Opposition to Motion to Compel

2/1/2021: Reply (name extension) - Reply Brief to Plaintiff's Opposition to Motion to Compel

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

10/8/2019: Notice of Posting of Jury Fees - Notice of Posting of Jury Fees

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application Ex Parte Application For An O...)

3/10/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Ex Parte Application Ex Parte Application For An O...)

Order (name extension) - Order Proposed Order

3/10/2020: Order (name extension) - Order Proposed Order

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

3/12/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

12/14/2018: Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

10/5/2018: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

Civil Case Cover Sheet

10/5/2018: Civil Case Cover Sheet

28 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 12/13/2021
  • Hearing12/13/2021 at 10:00 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Hearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion)

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  • 10/19/2021
  • Hearing10/19/2021 at 09:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Status Conference

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  • 08/12/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Motion to Reclassify FOR i\ECLASSIFJCATJON FROM LIMITED TO CIVIL UNLIMITED JURJSDICTJON: Name Extension: FOR i\ECLASSIFJCATJON FROM LIMITED TO CIVIL UNLIMITED JURJSDICTJON; As To Parties: removed

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  • 08/12/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Motion to Reclassify FOR RECLASSIFICATION FROM LIMITED TO CIVIL UNLIMITED JURJSDICTJON: Name Extension changed from FOR i\ECLASSIFJCATJON FROM LIMITED TO CIVIL UNLIMITED JURJSDICTJON to FOR RECLASSIFICATION FROM LIMITED TO CIVIL UNLIMITED JURJSDICTJON; As To Parties: removed

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  • 08/12/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Reclassify (Walker Motion) scheduled for 12/13/2021 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 08/11/2021
  • DocketMotion to Reclassify; Filed by: Leilani Tuano (Plaintiff)

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  • 08/04/2021
  • DocketStatus Conference Re: Reclassification scheduled for 10/19/2021 at 09:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 08/04/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Jury Trial)

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  • 08/04/2021
  • DocketCertificate of Mailing for (Jury Trial) of 08/04/2021; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 08/04/2021
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Jury Trial scheduled for 08/04/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 08/04/2021

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52 More Docket Entries
  • 12/14/2018
  • DocketDemand for Jury Trial; Filed by: Sota Nam (Defendant)

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  • 12/14/2018
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Sota Nam (Defendant)

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  • 11/26/2018
  • DocketProof of Service by Substituted Service; Filed by: Leilani Tuano (Plaintiff); As to: Sota Nam (Defendant); Proof of Mailing Date: 11/17/2001; Service Cost: 75.00; Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 10/12/2018
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 04/03/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 10/12/2018
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 10/08/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 10/05/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Leilani Tuano (Plaintiff); As to: Sota Nam (Defendant)

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  • 10/05/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Leilani Tuano (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/05/2018
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Clerk

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  • 10/05/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 10/05/2018
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Jon R. Takasugi in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 18STLC12756    Hearing Date: April 7, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE:   Wed., April 7, 2021    JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Tuano v. Nam COMPL. FILED: 10-05-18

CASE NUMBER:     18STLC12756 DISC. C/O: 06-14-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O:     06-29-21

   TRIAL DATE: 07-14-21

PROCEEDINGS:     MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFF’S DEPOSITION AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY:   Defendant Sota Nam  

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff Leilani Tuano, in pro per

MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2025.450)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Sota Nam’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Deposition is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to appear for deposition at a date and time to be noticed by Defendant. However, at either party’s election, the deposition may take place remotely as provided by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.310. In addition, Defendant’s request for sanctions is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to pay sanctions of $1,114.20 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

1ST OPPOSITION:    Filed on October 10, 2020 [   ] Late [   ] None

2ND OPPOSITION:   Filed on January 20, 2021 [   ] Late [   ] None

REPLY: Filed on January 21, 2021 [   ] Late [   ] None

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

 

On October 5, 2018, Plaintiff Leilani Tuano (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendant Sota Nam (“Defendant”). Defendant filed an Answer on December 14, 2018.

On August 24, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Deposition and Request for Sanctions (the “Motion”). Plaintiff filed an Opposition on October 10, 2020, and a second Opposition on January 20, 2021. The Court only considers the second Opposition here. Defendant filed a Reply on January 21, 2021. Plaintiff filed a Sur-Reply on February 1, 2021. A sur-reply is generally not permitted but is considered here as Defendant has had ample time to object and has not done so.

At the initial February 4, 2021 hearing, the Court noted trial was scheduled for February 10, 2021, and thus the discovery and discovery motion hearing deadlines had passed. (2/4/21 Minute Order.) On its own motion, the Court continued the non-jury trial to July 14, 2021, with the discovery and motion deadlines to follow the new trial date. (Id.)

 

II. Legal Standard

 

Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.450, section (a) provides:

“If, after service of a deposition notice, a party to the action or an officer, director, managing agent, or employee of a party, or a person designated by an organization that is a party under Section 2025.230, without having served a valid objection under Section 2025.410, fails to appear for examination, or to proceed with it, or to produce for inspection any document, electronically stored information, or tangible thing described in the deposition notice, the party giving the notice may move for an order compelling the deponent’s attendance and testimony, and the production for inspection of any document, electronically stored information, or tangible thing described in the deposition notice.”

(Code Civ. Proc., § 2025.450, subd. (a).)

The motion must “be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration under Section 2016.040, or, when the deponent fails to attend the deposition…by a declaration stating that the petitioner has contacted the deponent to inquire about the nonappearance.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2025.450, subd. (2).) A court shall impose monetary sanctions if the motion to compel is granted unless the one subject to sanctions acted with substantial justification or other circumstances would make the imposition of the sanction unjust. (Code. Civ. Proc., § 2025.450, subd. (g)(1).)

III. Discussion

A. Deposition

Defendant seeks to compel Plaintiff to appear for deposition based on her failure to comply with a noticed June 29, 2020 deposition.

Given Plaintiff’s lengthy opposition, a discussion of Defendant’s efforts to schedule a deposition is warranted.

On March 6, 2020, Defendant nerved notice of an in-person deposition scheduled for March 26, 2020 via email and regular mail to 399 Calvaletti Lane, Norco, CA 92860 (the “Calvaletti Address”), which was taken off calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Mot., Hahn Decl., ¶¶ 3-4, Exh. A.) A second notice of taking deposition scheduled to take place on June 8, 2020 via Zoom was mailed to Plaintiff on May 20, 2020 to the Calvaletti Address. (Id. at ¶ 5, Exh. B.) After speaking with Plaintiff on June 5, 2020, Defendant’s counsel’s office discovered the notices for the March 26 and June 8 depositions were mailed to the wrong address. (Id. at ¶ 6.) Notwithstanding the error, Plaintiff agreed to appear for the June 8 deposition. (Id.) Although Plaintiff and Defendant’s counsel appeared via Zoom for the June 8 deposition, the Court reporter was late, and at 10:16 a.m., Plaintiff exited the Zoom deposition. (Id. at ¶ 7.)

Defendant sent a third deposition notice for June 29, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. via mail to 6179 Stover Ave, Riverside, CA 92505 (the “Stover Ave. Address”), Plaintiff’s correct address. (Id. at ¶ 9, Exh. D.) Defendant’s counsel’s office called and emailed Plaintiff to confirm the June 29 deposition, but could not reach her. (Id. at ¶ 11, Exh. F.) Plaintiff did not appear at the deposition on June 29 and Defendant obtained a Certificate of Non-Appearance. (Id. at ¶ 12, Exh. G.) Defendant’s counsel thereafter contacted Plaintiff who indicated she did not intend to appear and that she mailed an objection to the June 29 deposition the week before. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Defendant’s counsel received the objections on July 2, 2020. (Id. at ¶ 14, Exh. H.) The objections discuss the June 8 deposition, stating that the notice was sent to the wrong address, improperly served via email, and notes that Plaintiff left the June 8 Zoom deposition due to the Court reporter’s tardiness. (Id.) The objections do not discuss the June 29 deposition and do not state that Plaintiff would not appear for deposition on that date. (Id.) The objections were mailed to Defendant’s counsel on June 24, 2020. (Id.)

Plaintiff’s Opposition largely focuses on the deficiencies in notice of the June 8 deposition and the Court reporter’s failure to timely appear at the Zoom conference. However, the June 8 deposition is not what is at issue in this Motion; the June 29 deposition is.

The notice for the June 29 deposition was served more than ten (10) days before it was scheduled as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.270, subdivision (a), at Plaintiff’s Stover Ave. Address. (Id. at ¶ 9, Exh. D.) Thus, notice of the June 29 deposition was proper. Plaintiff also admits service for the notice of the June 29 deposition was proper. (Sur-Reply, p. 2:21-24.)  

Plaintiff argues that she timely and promptly served written objections three days before the June 29 deposition as permitted by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.410. (Oppo., p. 7:10-19.) However, as noted above, the objections served do not discuss the June 29 deposition nor state that Plaintiff would not appear. (Mot., Hahn Decl., ¶ 14, Exh. H.) Instead, Plaintiff raises objections regarding the service and notice of the June 8 deposition. (Id.)  

Plaintiff further argues that she is not required to comply with the document requests in the June 29 deposition notice because said documents have already been produced. (Oppo., Tuano Decl., ¶ 12, Exh. J.) As evidence, Plaintiff attached about 50 documents that she claims have already been provided to Defendant’s counsel. (Id.) However, this does not justify Plaintiff’s failure to attend her properly noticed June 29 deposition. Nor can the Court confirm these documents have previously been requested and produced because Plaintiff did not attach copies of the discovery previously requested. In any event, Defendant’s Motion only seeks to compel Plaintiff to attend the deposition. Defendant does not state she also seeks to compel Plaintiff to produce any additional documents.  

Notably, Plaintiff’s Opposition does not demonstrate a willingness to attend a deposition. Plaintiff states that liability and damages have already been established, and thus discovery is no longer needed. (Oppo., p. 10:21-25, Tuano Decl., ¶¶ 13, 15.) As evidence, she cites to a letter from the Department of Insurance, which states, in part: “However, it does appear that the responsible insurance carrier Mercury has accepted liability and are in the process of resolving your repairs.” (Id., Exh. K.) However, in that same letter, the Department of Insurance also explicitly stated: “State law does not provide the Department with the authority to determine coverage or decide how much should be paid on a claim. When two parties disagree on the facts of how an incident occurred, or the appropriate amount of damages to be paid, the ultimate decision is left to a court of law. Only a court of law has the authority to weigh the evidence and the merits of each party’s position and arrive at a formal binding decision.” (Id.) (Emphasis added.) Here, the Court has not issued a decision on the merits of this case. Thus, liability has not been established.

Defendant’s evidence demonstrates Defendant’s counsel has satisfied the meet and confer requirements and that she is entitled to an order compelling Plaintiff to appear for deposition. Plaintiff is ordered to appear for deposition at a date and time to be noticed by Defendant. At either party’s election, the deposition may take place remotely as provided by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.310.

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 to submit to an authorized method of discovery. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.010, subd. (d).) In addition, a court shall impose monetary sanctions if the motion to compel a deposition is granted unless the one subject to sanctions acted with substantial justification or other circumstances would make the imposition of the sanction unjust. (Code. Civ. Proc., § 2025.450, subd. (g)(1).)

Plaintiff argues the imposition of sanctions is irrational and retaliatory. (Sur-reply, p. 2:24-25.) The Court disagrees. As noted above, the imposition of a monetary sanction is mandatory if a motion to compel a deposition is granted under Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.450, subdivision (g)(1). Plaintiff admitted notice of the June 29 deposition was proper (Sur-Reply, p. 2:21-24) and has not demonstrated she acted with substantial justification in failing to attend the deposition or that other circumstances would make the imposition of sanctions unjust.

The Court finds Plaintiff’s failure to appear for her June 29 properly noticed deposition a misuse of the discovery process and finds that Plaintiff did not act with substantial justification in failing to do so.

Defendant seeks sanctions of $1,114.20 based on 3 hours of attorney time billed at $250.00 per hour, one filing fee of $60.00, one remote appearance fee of $25.00, and one court reporter fee for the June 29, 2020 deposition of $279.20. (Mot., Hahn Decl., ¶ 16.) The Court finds this request to be reasonable. Plaintiff is ordered to pay sanctions within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. 

IV. Conclusion & Order

 

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Sota Nam’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Deposition is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to appear for deposition at a date and time to be noticed by Defendant. However, at either party’s election, the deposition may take place remotely as provided by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.310. In addition, Defendant’s request for sanctions is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to pay sanctions of $1,114.20 within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice. 

Case Number: 18STLC12756    Hearing Date: April 6, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Wed., April 7, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Tuano v. Nam COMPL. FILED: 10-05-18

CASE NUMBER: 18STLC12756 DISC. C/O: 06-14-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O: 06-29-21

TRIAL DATE: 07-14-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFF’S DEPOSITION AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Sota Nam

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff Leilani Tuano, in pro per

MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2025.450)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Sota Nam’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Deposition is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to appear for deposition at a date and time to be noticed by Defendant. However, at either party’s election, the deposition may take place remotely as provided by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.310. In addition, Defendant’s request for sanctions is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to pay sanctions of $1,114.20 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

1ST OPPOSITION: Filed on October 10, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

2ND OPPOSITION: Filed on January 20, 2021 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on January 21, 2021 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On October 5, 2018, Plaintiff Leilani Tuano (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendant Sota Nam (“Defendant”). Defendant filed an Answer on December 14, 2018.

On August 24, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Deposition and Request for Sanctions (the “Motion”). Plaintiff filed an Opposition on October 10, 2020, and a second Opposition on January 20, 2021. The Court only considers the second Opposition here. Defendant filed a Reply on January 21, 2021. Plaintiff filed a Sur-Reply on February 1, 2021. A sur-reply is generally not permitted but is considered here as Defendant has had ample time to object and has not done so.

At the initial February 4, 2021 hearing, the Court noted trial was scheduled for February 10, 2021, and thus the discovery and discovery motion hearing deadlines had passed. (2/4/21 Minute Order.) On its own motion, the Court continued the non-jury trial to July 14, 2021, with the discovery and motion deadlines to follow the new trial date. (Id.)

  1. Legal Standard

Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.450, section (a) provides:

“If, after service of a deposition notice, a party to the action or an officer, director, managing agent, or employee of a party, or a person designated by an organization that is a party under Section 2025.230, without having served a valid objection under Section 2025.410, fails to appear for examination, or to proceed with it, or to produce for inspection any document, electronically stored information, or tangible thing described in the deposition notice, the party giving the notice may move for an order compelling the deponent’s attendance and testimony, and the production for inspection of any document, electronically stored information, or tangible thing described in the deposition notice.”

(Code Civ. Proc., § 2025.450, subd. (a).)

The motion must “be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration under Section 2016.040, or, when the deponent fails to attend the deposition…by a declaration stating that the petitioner has contacted the deponent to inquire about the nonappearance.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2025.450, subd. (2).) A court shall impose monetary sanctions if the motion to compel is granted unless the one subject to sanctions acted with substantial justification or other circumstances would make the imposition of the sanction unjust. (Code. Civ. Proc., § 2025.450, subd. (g)(1).)

  1. Discussion

A. Deposition

Defendant seeks to compel Plaintiff to appear for deposition based on her failure to comply with a noticed June 29, 2020 deposition.

Given Plaintiff’s lengthy opposition, a discussion of Defendant’s efforts to schedule a deposition is warranted.

On March 6, 2020, Defendant nerved notice of an in-person deposition scheduled for March 26, 2020 via email and regular mail to 399 Calvaletti Lane, Norco, CA 92860 (the “Calvaletti Address”), which was taken off calendar due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Mot., Hahn Decl., ¶¶ 3-4, Exh. A.) A second notice of taking deposition scheduled to take place on June 8, 2020 via Zoom was mailed to Plaintiff on May 20, 2020 to the Calvaletti Address. (Id. at ¶ 5, Exh. B.) After speaking with Plaintiff on June 5, 2020, Defendant’s counsel’s office discovered the notices for the March 26 and June 8 depositions were mailed to the wrong address. (Id. at ¶ 6.) Notwithstanding the error, Plaintiff agreed to appear for the June 8 deposition. (Id.) Although Plaintiff and Defendant’s counsel appeared via Zoom for the June 8 deposition, the Court reporter was late, and at 10:16 a.m., Plaintiff exited the Zoom deposition. (Id. at ¶ 7.)

Defendant sent a third deposition notice for June 29, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. via mail to 6179 Stover Ave, Riverside, CA 92505 (the “Stover Ave. Address”), Plaintiff’s correct address. (Id. at ¶ 9, Exh. D.) Defendant’s counsel’s office called and emailed Plaintiff to confirm the June 29 deposition, but could not reach her. (Id. at ¶ 11, Exh. F.) Plaintiff did not appear at the deposition on June 29 and Defendant obtained a Certificate of Non-Appearance. (Id. at ¶ 12, Exh. G.) Defendant’s counsel thereafter contacted Plaintiff who indicated she did not intend to appear and that she mailed an objection to the June 29 deposition the week before. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Defendant’s counsel received the objections on July 2, 2020. (Id. at ¶ 14, Exh. H.) The objections discuss the June 8 deposition, stating that the notice was sent to the wrong address, improperly served via email, and notes that Plaintiff left the June 8 Zoom deposition due to the Court reporter’s tardiness. (Id.) The objections do not discuss the June 29 deposition and do not state that Plaintiff would not appear for deposition on that date. (Id.) The objections were mailed to Defendant’s counsel on June 24, 2020. (Id.)

Plaintiff’s Opposition largely focuses on the deficiencies in notice of the June 8 deposition and the Court reporter’s failure to timely appear at the Zoom conference. However, the June 8 deposition is not what is at issue in this Motion; the June 29 deposition is.

The notice for the June 29 deposition was served more than ten (10) days before it was scheduled as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.270, subdivision (a), at Plaintiff’s Stover Ave. Address. (Id. at ¶ 9, Exh. D.) Thus, notice of the June 29 deposition was proper. Plaintiff also admits service for the notice of the June 29 deposition was proper. (Sur-Reply, p. 2:21-24.)

Plaintiff argues that she timely and promptly served written objections three days before the June 29 deposition as permitted by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.410. (Oppo., p. 7:10-19.) However, as noted above, the objections served do not discuss the June 29 deposition nor state that Plaintiff would not appear. (Mot., Hahn Decl., ¶ 14, Exh. H.) Instead, Plaintiff raises objections regarding the service and notice of the June 8 deposition. (Id.)

Plaintiff further argues that she is not required to comply with the document requests in the June 29 deposition notice because said documents have already been produced. (Oppo., Tuano Decl., ¶ 12, Exh. J.) As evidence, Plaintiff attached about 50 documents that she claims have already been provided to Defendant’s counsel. (Id.) However, this does not justify Plaintiff’s failure to attend her properly noticed June 29 deposition. Nor can the Court confirm these documents have previously been requested and produced because Plaintiff did not attach copies of the discovery previously requested. In any event, Defendant’s Motion only seeks to compel Plaintiff to attend the deposition. Defendant does not state she also seeks to compel Plaintiff to produce any additional documents.

Notably, Plaintiff’s Opposition does not demonstrate a willingness to attend a deposition. Plaintiff states that liability and damages have already been established, and thus discovery is no longer needed. (Oppo., p. 10:21-25, Tuano Decl., ¶¶ 13, 15.) As evidence, she cites to a letter from the Department of Insurance, which states, in part: “However, it does appear that the responsible insurance carrier Mercury has accepted liability and are in the process of resolving your repairs.” (Id., Exh. K.) However, in that same letter, the Department of Insurance also explicitly stated: “State law does not provide the Department with the authority to determine coverage or decide how much should be paid on a claim. When two parties disagree on the facts of how an incident occurred, or the appropriate amount of damages to be paid, the ultimate decision is left to a court of law. Only a court of law has the authority to weigh the evidence and the merits of each party’s position and arrive at a formal binding decision.” (Id.) (Emphasis added.) Here, the Court has not issued a decision on the merits of this case. Thus, liability has not been established.

Defendant’s evidence demonstrates Defendant’s counsel has satisfied the meet and confer requirements and that she is entitled to an order compelling Plaintiff to appear for deposition. Plaintiff is ordered to appear for deposition at a date and time to be noticed by Defendant. At either party’s election, the deposition may take place remotely as provided by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.310.

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 to submit to an authorized method of discovery. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.010, subd. (d).) In addition, a court shall impose monetary sanctions if the motion to compel a deposition is granted unless the one subject to sanctions acted with substantial justification or other circumstances would make the imposition of the sanction unjust. (Code. Civ. Proc., § 2025.450, subd. (g)(1).)

Plaintiff argues the imposition of sanctions is irrational and retaliatory. (Sur-reply, p. 2:24-25.) The Court disagrees. As noted above, the imposition of a monetary sanction is mandatory if a motion to compel a deposition is granted under Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.450, subdivision (g)(1). Plaintiff admitted notice of the June 29 deposition was proper (Sur-Reply, p. 2:21-24) and has not demonstrated she acted with substantial justification in failing to attend the deposition or that other circumstances would make the imposition of sanctions unjust.

The Court finds Plaintiff’s failure to appear for her June 29 properly noticed deposition a misuse of the discovery process and finds that Plaintiff did not act with substantial justification in failing to do so.

Defendant seeks sanctions of $1,114.20 based on 3 hours of attorney time billed at $250.00 per hour, one filing fee of $60.00, one remote appearance fee of $25.00, and one court reporter fee for the June 29, 2020 deposition of $279.20. (Mot., Hahn Decl., ¶ 16.) The Court finds this request 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, Defendant Sota Nam’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Deposition is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to appear for deposition at a date and time to be noticed by Defendant. However, at either party’s election, the deposition may take place remotely as provided by Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.310. In addition, Defendant’s request for sanctions is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to pay sanctions of $1,114.20 within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 18STLC12756    Hearing Date: February 04, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Thu., February 4, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Tuano v. Nam COMPL. FILED: 10-05-18

CASE NUMBER: 18STLC12756 DISC. C/O: 01-11-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O: 01-26-21

TRIAL DATE: 02-10-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFF’S DEPOSITION AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Sota Nam

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff Leilani Tuano, in pro per

MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2025.450)

TENTATIVE RULING:

To allow for the resolution of Defendant Sota Nam’s motion to continue trial, Defendant’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Deposition is CONTINUED TO APRIL 7, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

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

1ST OPPOSITION: Filed on October 10, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

2ND OPPOSITION: Filed on January 20, 2021 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on January 21, 2021 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On October 5, 2018, Plaintiff Leilani Tuano (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendant Sota Nam (“Defendant”). Defendant filed an Answer on December 14, 2018.

On August 24, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Deposition and Request for Sanctions (the “Motion”). Plaintiff filed an Opposition on October 10, 2020 and a second Opposition on January 20, 2021. Defendant filed a Reply on January 21, 2021.

Before considering the merits of the instant Motion, the Court notes that Code of Civil Procedure section 2024.020 provides that parties must complete discovery on or before the 30th day before trial and must have any discovery motions heard on or before the 15th day before trial. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2024.202, subd. (a).)

As trial is scheduled for February 10, 2021, both the discovery cut-off and the discovery motion cut-off deadlines have passed. However, the Court notes that a motion to continue trial is scheduled for February 16, 2021. Thus, the Court CONTINUES this motion pending the outcome of Defendant’s request to continue the trial.

II. Conclusion and Order

To allow for the resolution of Defendant Sota Nam’s motion to continue trial, Defendant’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Deposition is CONTINUED TO APRIL 7, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.