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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 07/29/2020 at 19:13:46 (UTC).

LISA DAVIDSON VS OFFICE DEPOT, INC.

Case Summary

On 01/27/2020 LISA DAVIDSON filed a Civil Right - Other Civil Right lawsuit against OFFICE DEPOT, INC. 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:

    *******0869

  • Filing Date:

    01/27/2020

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Civil Right - Other Civil Right

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

DAVIDSON LISA

Defendant

OFFICE DEPOT INC.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

DAVIDSON PERRIN

Defendant Attorney

DOW DAVID J

 

Court Documents

Answer - Answer

3/25/2020: Answer - Answer

Complaint - Complaint

1/27/2020: Complaint - Complaint

Summons - Summons on Complaint

1/27/2020: Summons - Summons on Complaint

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

1/27/2020: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

1/27/2020: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

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

1/27/2020: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

 

Docket Entries

  • 01/30/2023
  • Hearing01/30/2023 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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  • 07/26/2021
  • Hearing07/26/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Non-Jury Trial

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  • 03/25/2020
  • DocketAnswer; Filed by: Office Depot, Inc. (Defendant); As to: Lisa Davidson (Plaintiff)

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  • 01/29/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 07/26/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 01/29/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 01/30/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 01/29/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 25 Spring Street Courthouse

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  • 01/27/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Lisa Davidson (Plaintiff); As to: Office Depot, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 01/27/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Lisa Davidson (Plaintiff); As to: Office Depot, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 01/27/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Lisa Davidson (Plaintiff); As to: Office Depot, Inc. (Defendant)

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  • 01/27/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 01/27/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 20STLC00869    Hearing Date: January 04, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Mon., January 4, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Davidson v. Office Depot, Inc. COMP. FILED: 01-27-20

CASE NUMBER: 20STLC00869 DISC. C/O: 06-26-21

NOTICE: OK MOTION C/O: 07-11-21

TRIAL DATE: 07-26-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFF’S FURTHER RESPONSES TO REQUEST FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, SET ONE, AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Office Depot, Inc.

RESP. PARTY: Plaintiff Lisa Davidson

MOTION TO COMPEL FURTHER RESPONSES AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2031.310)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Office Depot, Inc.’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Further Responses to Request for Production of Documents, Set One is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART. Plaintiff is ordered to serve further responses to Request for Production Nos. 2-11 within thirty (30) days’ notice of this order. However, Defendant’s request for further responses as to Request No. 12 is DENIED AS MOOT.

Defendant’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED. Sanctions of $1,666.00 are awarded, jointly and severally, against Plaintiff and her counsel of record and are to be paid within thirty (30) days’ 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 December 18, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

REPLY: Filed on December 23, 2020 [ ] Late [ ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On January 27, 2020, Plaintiff Lisa Davidson (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act against Defendant Office Depot, Inc. (“Defendant”). Defendant filed its Answer on March 25, 2020.

On November 20, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Further Responses to Requests for Production of Documents, Set One, and Request for Sanctions (the “Motion”). Plaintiff filed an Opposition on December 18, and Defendant filed a Reply on December 23.

  1. Legal Standard

Code of Civil Procedure section 2031.210 provides that a response to a request for production must with (1) a statement that the party will comply with the demand, (2) a representation that the responding party lacks the ability to comply with the demand, or (3) an objection. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.210, subd. (a).) “On receipt of a response to demand for inspection . . ., the demanding party may move for an order compelling further response if the demanding party deems that (1) [a] statement of compliance with the demand is incomplete; (2) [a] representation of inability to comply is inadequate, incomplete, or evasive; [or] (3) [a]n objection in the response is without merit or too general.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.310, subd. (a).) If the motion is granted, the Court shall impose monetary sanctions, “unless it finds that the one subject to the sanction acted with substantial justification or that other circumstances make the imposition of the sanction unjust.” (Id. § 2031.310(h).)

Notice of the motion must be given within 45 days of service of the verified response, otherwise the propounding party waives any right to compel a further response. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.310, subd. (c).) The motion must also be accompanied by a meet and confer declaration. (Code Civ Proc., § 2031.310, subd. (b)(2).)

Finally, California Rules of Court, rule 3.1345 requires that all motions involving further discovery contain a separate statement with the text of each request, the response, and a statement of factual and legal reasons for compelling further responses. (Cal. Rules of Court, Rule 3.1345, subd. (a)(3)).

  1. Discussion

  1. Procedural Requirements

Defendant seeks to compel a further response to Request for Production, Nos. 2-12. Defendant served Plaintiff with its Request for Production of Documents, Set One, on September 2, 2020. (Mot., Dow Decl., ¶ 4, Exh. B.) Plaintiff responded to the discovery on October 5, 2020 via email. (Id. at ¶ 5, Exh. C.) Because responses were served by email, the 45-day time limitation is extended by 2 court days under Code of Civil Procedure section 1010.6, subdivision (a)(4)(B). Defendant’s deadline to bring the instant Motion fell on November 21, 2020. Thus, the Motion, filed on November 20, is timely.

The Motion is also accompanied by a meet and confer declaration. (Id. at ¶ 6.) On October 7, 2020, Defendant’s counsel sent Plaintiff’s counsel a letter regarding what he believed were deficiencies in the initial responses. (Id.) Defendant’s counsel then attempted to schedule a phone call with Plaintiff’s counsel to discuss the discovery responses but was unsuccessful. (Id. at ¶¶ 7-10.) The sufficiency of the meet and confer process is addressed in further detail below.

  1. Substantive Basis

The following Requests for Production are at issue. (Mot., Dow Decl., ¶ 4, Exh. B.)

  1. Request No. 2 asks that Plaintiff produce “[a]ny and all DOCUMENTS which refer, relate to or support YOUR contention that “On the morning of November 7nd [sic], while trying to enter the premises to shop At Defendant OFFICE (where Plaintiff frequently shops), Plaintiff experienced difficulty in accessing the facility due to the lack of handicap compliant parking lot. Plaintiff was not able to access the PREMISES’ as alleged in Paragraph 3 of YOUR Complaint.”

  2. Request No. 3 asks that Plaintiff produce “[a]ny and all DOCUMENTS which refer to, relate to, or support YOUR contention that ‘on the afternoon of December 2nd, 2019, Plaintiff again attempted to, but was unable to access the parking lot of [Defendant] in order to shop at its store because of the above described lack of identified compliant parking spaces available at Defendant’s establishment’ as alleged in Paragraph 4 of YOUR Complaint.”

  3. Request No. 4 asks that Plaintiff produce “[a]ny and all DOCUMENTS which refer to, relate to or support YOUR contention that ‘Again, on the morning of December 27th, 2019, Plaintiff again attempted to, but was unable to access the parking lot of [Defendant] in order to shop at its store because of the above described lack of identified compliant parking spaces available at Defendant’s establishment’ as alleged in Paragraph 5 of YOUR Complaint.”

  4. Request No. 5 asks that Plaintiff produce “[a]ny and all DOCUMENTS which refer to, relate to or support YOUR contention that ‘Again, on the morning of January 16th, 2019, Plaintiff again attempted to, but was unable to access the parking lot of [Defendant] in order to shop at its store because of the above described lack of identified compliant parking spaces available at Defendant’s establishment’, as alleged in Paragraph 6 of YOUR Complaint.”

  5. Request No. 6 asks that Plaintiff produce “[a]ny and all DOCUMENTS which refer to, relate to or support YOUR contention that ‘there is a lack of identified ADA compliant, visible parking space in the parking lot for use by persons with disabilities’, as alleged in Paragraph 7 of YOUR Complaint.”

  6. Request No. 7 asks that Plaintiff produce “[a]ny and all DOCUMENTS which refer to, relate to or support YOUR contention that ‘That handicap parking spaces lack the correct pole-mounted signages in front of the stall which would indicate that such a parking space exists; specifically the parking spaces lacked International Symbols of Access (also known as International Wheelchair Symbol in blue background) placed in front of the parking spaces mounted at least five feet (60 inches) above ground’, as alleged in Paragraph 8 of YOUR Complaint.”

  7. Request No. 8 asks that Plaintiff produce “[a]ny and all DOCUMENTS which refer to, relate to or support YOUR contention that ‘The same handicap parking is unrecognizable over the faded and discolored paint, and one cannot recognize that such a parking space exists as the symbol is painted in more than one direction confusing it meaning and purpose’, as alleged in Paragraph 9 of YOUR Complaint.”

  8. Request No. 9 asks that Plaintiff produce “[a]ny and all DOCUMENTS which refer to, relate to or support YOUR contention that ‘the International Symbols of Access (also known as International Wheelchair Symbol in blue background) was once painted on the asphalt within the handicap parking stalls but are all now faded beyond recognition’, as alleged in Paragraph 9 of YOUR Complaint.”

  9. Request No. 10 asks that Plaintiff produce “[a]ny and all DOCUMENTS which refer to, relate to or support YOUR contention that ‘There are no markings with the words NO PARK.ING [sic] (in white letters, a minimum of 12 inches in height) within the access aisle (commonly known as the “loading/unloading zone” identified by hashed blue lines)’, as alleged in Paragraph 10 of YOUR Complaint.”

  10. Request No. 11 asks that Plaintiff produce “[a]ny and all DOCUMENTS which refer to, relate to or support YOUR contention that ‘the parking spaces also lacked ‘Van accessible’ and ‘minimum fine S250’ signs which should have been mounted along with the pole-mounted signage at least five feet (60 inches) above the ground. The only signage is non-compliant and does not denote a handicap spot exists’, as alleged in Paragraph 11 of YOUR Complaint.”

  11. Request No. 12 asks that Plaintiff produce “[a]ny and all photographs of the parking spaces, including signage relating thereto, which are the subject of your Complaint.”

Plaintiff’s responses to the discovery included objections to each of these requests on the basis that the documents sought are not described with sufficient particularity, that the requests are “vague, ambiguous, and unintelligible, especially as to the language ‘…refer to, relate to, or support your contention…’”, and that the requests are overbroad and overly burdensome. (Id. at ¶ 5, Exh. C.)

Defendant argues that the discovery sought relates to Plaintiff’s Complaint, which alleges the disabled parking spaces at Defendant’s store fail to meet accessibility standards. (Mot., pp. 6-7:26-5.) It also argues that Plaintiff’s nearly identical objections are meritless. (Id. at p. 7:7-11.) In Opposition, Plaintiff explains she objects to the use of “any and all” in each production demand and argues the documents sought are not described with “reasonable particularity” as required by Code of Civil Procedure section 2031.030, subdivision (c)(1). (Oppo., p. 3:10-18.) Section 2031.030, subdivision (c)(1) requires that the propounding party “[d]esignate the documents, tangible things, land or other property, or electronically stored information to be inspected, copied, tested or sampled either by specifically describing each individual item or by reasonably particularizing each category of item.”

Plaintiff’s Opposition also argues Defendant’s requests are overly broad and vague and that the nature of the requests include documents that are likely to be irrelevant and disproportionate to the needs of the case. (Oppo., p. 4:23-25.) Plaintiff further argues that Defendant did not provide any explanation as to why the information sought is relevant or calculated to lead to the discovery of relevant evidence. (Id. at p. 6:3-8.) Finally, Plaintiff’s counsel states that on December 11, 2020, Plaintiff provided all photographs in her possession, but reiterates that no other documents have been produced as the remaining requests “are wholly unclear” and the requests should be rewritten before being required to respond. (Id. at pp. 5-6:8-8, Davidson Decl., ¶ 11.)

The Court disagrees. To the extent Plaintiff argues the word “documents” is vague, the Discovery Act defines this term. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2016.020, subd. (c).) In addition, the term “any and all,” on its own, does not make a request overly broad or burdensome. Relying on Pacific Auto Insurance Co. v. Superior Court (1969) 273 Cal.App.2d 63, Plaintiff argues that Defendant’s use of “any and all” language in each request, “without further narrowing the scope of the demand” results in an unreasonable burden on Plaintiff. (Oppo. p. 4:7-18.) However, when Request Nos. 2-11 are read in their entirety, the category of documents sought is described with sufficient particularity. Specifically, Request Nos. 2-5 seek documents relating to Plaintiff’s inability to patronize Defendant’s store on 4 specific dates and Request Nos. 6-11 seek documents that relate to specific aspects of Defendant’s parking spaces. (Mot., Dow Decl., ¶ 4, Exh. B.) These requests clearly relate to the subject of Plaintiff’s Complaint alleging Unruh Civil Rights Act violations. Lastly, Plaintiff’s objection that the phrase “…refer to, relate to, or support your contention…” is vague, ambiguous, and unintelligible not persuasive. Plaintiff did not address the merits of this objection in her Opposition. Thus, the Court finds that the documents sought are described with sufficient particularity, that the documents sought relate to Plaintiff’s accessibility violation allegations, and that the requests are not overly burdensome, vague, ambiguous, or unintelligible.

As for Request No. 12, Plaintiff provided all photographs in her possession on December 11, 2020. (Oppo., Davidson Decl., ¶ 11.) Thus, Defendant’s Motion as to Request No. 12 is MOOT.

Defendant is entitled to an order compelling further responses to the Request for Production, Set One, Nos. 2-11, within thirty (30) days of service of this order. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.310, subd. (a).)

  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 making, without substantial justification, an unmeritorious objection to discovery. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.010, subd. (e).) In addition, the Court must impose sanctions against a party who unsuccessfully makes or opposes a motion to compel a further response to a demand unless it finds that the one subject to sanctions acted with substantial justification or the imposition of sanctions is unjust. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.310, subd. (h).) Lastly, regardless of the result of a particular discovery motion, the Court must impose a monetary sanction against a party or attorney who fails to meet and confer reasonably and in good faith. (Code Civ Proc., §§ 2016.040, 2023.020.)

The Court finds Plaintiff’s objections to the discovery lacked merit. The Court is also required to impose a sanction on Plaintiff as the party who unsuccessfully opposed this Motion. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.310, subd. (h).)

The Court notes that both parties accuse the other of not meeting and conferring reasonably and in good faith. (Mot., pp. 4-5:8-14; Oppo., p. 9:9-19.) Defendant’s counsel states he sent a meet and confer letter via email on October 7, 2020 to Plaintiff’s counsel summarizing the reasons why Plaintiff’s responses were insufficient. (Mot., Dow Decl., ¶ 6, Exh. D.) Plaintiff’s counsel responded by stating the October 7 letter was insufficient as Defendant’s positions were not supported by legal authority. (Id. at ¶ 7, Exh. E.) The attorneys scheduled a phone call for October 27, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. to discuss the discovery dispute, but Plaintiff’s counsel did not answer the call and did not immediately respond to voicemails or email messages regarding the call. (Id. at ¶ 8.) The attorneys spoke over the phone again on October 29, 2020, but when Defendant’s counsel attempted to discuss the responses, Plaintiff’s counsel stated he was not prepared to discuss individual responses and would call back the following afternoon. (Id. at ¶ 9.) Plaintiff’s counsel did not call Defendant’s counsel and instead sent an e-mail at 6:11 p.m. stating he had a mediation that ran longer than expected and suggested a call at 3:30 p.m. on November 3, 2020. (Id. at ¶ 10.) Shortly before the scheduled November 3rd call, Plaintiff’s counsel emailed Defendant’s counsel stating he was “tied up” and suggested the following Thursday afternoon for a call. (Id.) Defendant’s counsel agreed to a call at 4:00 p.m. but expressed concern that the time to file a motion to compel was drawing short and requested a 2-week extension to file a motion to compel. (Id.) Plaintiff’s counsel did not call on November 4th and admits that he did not respond to Defendant’s counsel’s request for an extension. (Id.; Oppo., Davidson Decl., ¶ 7.)

In Opposition, Plaintiff’s counsel argues Defendant’s counsel “jumped the gun” by filing the instant Motion while in contact with him and that this Motion was unnecessary as the discovery issues could have been resolved by simply redrafting and reserving the discovery. (Oppo. pp. 6-7:14-3.) Plaintiff’s arguments are unpersuasive. Defendant’s evidence demonstrates Defendant’s counsel attempted to confer with Plaintiff’s counsel on multiple occasions but Plaintiff’s counsel either rescheduled the call at the last minute, was unprepared to discuss the matter, or did not answer. (Mot., Dow Decl., Exh. E.) Furthermore, Defendant was not required to redraft the discovery because, as noted above, the requests are code compliant. Thus, Plaintiff’s counsel’s failure to meet and confer in good faith provides an additional basis upon which to award sanctions.

Defendant’s counsel seeks $11,373.00, based on 15 hours of attorney time billed at $315.00 per hour for attorney Elliot Wilson, 13.5 hours of attorney time billed at $488.00 per hour for attorney David Dow, and one filing fee of $60.00. (Mot., Dow Decl., ¶ 12.) However, the Court finds this amount to be excessive. Using the lodestar method, the Court finds $1,666.00, based on 4 hours of attorney time (2 hours for attorney Wilson and 2 hours for attorney Dow) and one filing fee, to be reasonable.

  1. Conclusion

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Office Depot, Inc.’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Further Responses to Request for Production of Documents, Set One is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART. Plaintiff is ordered to serve further responses to Request for Production Nos. 2-11 within thirty (30) days’ notice of this order. However, Defendant’s request for further responses as to Request No. 12 is DENIED AS MOOT.

Defendant’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED. Sanctions of $1,666.00 are awarded, jointly and severally, against Plaintiff and her counsel of record and are to be paid within thirty (30) days’ notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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