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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 04/04/2021 at 00:16:57 (UTC).

MARIA GUERRERO VS WEI ZHANG

Case Summary

On 10/04/2019 MARIA GUERRERO filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against WEI ZHANG. 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:

    *******9153

  • Filing Date:

    10/04/2019

  • 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

GUERRERO MARIA

Defendant

ZHANG WEI

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Defendant Attorney

DIXON MICHELLE Y.

 

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

8/17/2020: 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

8/17/2020: 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 (name extension) - Motion to Compel Plaintiff's Attendance at Deposition with Document Production

8/17/2020: Motion to Compel (name extension) - Motion to Compel Plaintiff's Attendance at Deposition with Document Production

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

8/17/2020: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

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

1/21/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery"))

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

1/26/2021: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

2/16/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Court Order)

Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 02/16/2021

2/16/2021: Certificate of Mailing for - Certificate of Mailing for (Court Order) of 02/16/2021

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

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

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

3/8/2021: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

3/5/2020: Demand for Jury Trial - Demand for Jury Trial

Answer - Answer

3/5/2020: Answer - Answer

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Demurring Party in Support of Automatic Extension Code of Civil Procedure 430.41(A)(2)

11/21/2019: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration of Demurring Party in Support of Automatic Extension Code of Civil Procedure 430.41(A)(2)

Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

10/4/2019: Civil Case Cover Sheet - Civil Case Cover Sheet

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

10/4/2019: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

10/4/2019: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

10/4/2019: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

Complaint - Complaint

10/4/2019: Complaint - Complaint

12 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 10/07/2022
  • Hearing10/07/2022 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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  • 08/26/2021
  • Hearing08/26/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 25 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 05/03/2021
  • Hearing05/03/2021 at 10:00 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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  • 03/08/2021
  • DocketBrief Supplemental Brief in Support of Defendant's Notice of Motion and Motion for an Order to Deem Defendant's Requests for Admissions, Set One, Admitted and for an Order Imposing Sanctions; Filed by: Wei Zhang (Defendant)

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  • 03/08/2021
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: Wei Zhang (Defendant)

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  • 03/03/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") scheduled for 05/03/2021 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 03/03/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery"))

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  • 03/03/2021
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") scheduled for 03/03/2021 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Held - Continued was rescheduled to 05/03/2021 10:00 AM

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  • 03/02/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Event scheduled for 08/26/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Type changed from Non-Jury Trial to Jury Trial

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  • 02/16/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") scheduled for 03/03/2021 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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26 More Docket Entries
  • 10/04/2019
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Maria Guerrero (Plaintiff); As to: Wei Zhang (Defendant)

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  • 10/04/2019
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 10/07/2022 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 10/04/2019
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by: Maria Guerrero (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/04/2019
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Signed and Filed by: Clerk; As to: Maria Guerrero (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/04/2019
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Maria Guerrero (Plaintiff)

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  • 10/04/2019
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Clerk

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  • 10/04/2019
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 10/04/2019
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 10/04/2019
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 10/04/2019
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 04/02/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 19STLC09153    Hearing Date: March 03, 2021    Dept: 25


Case Number: 19STLC11741    Hearing Date: March 03, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Wed., March 3, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Casey v. Dennington COMP. FILED: 12-27-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC11741 DISC. C/O: 09-21-21

NOTICE: NO (continued hearing) DISC. MOT. C/O: 10-06-21

TRIAL DATE: 10-21-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO COMPEL THE DEPOSITION OF PLAINTIFF AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Scott Dennington

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2025.450)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Scott Dennington’s Motion is GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Defendant files a proof of service demonstrating he gave Plaintiff notice of the February 16 continuance. If Defendant files the requested proof of service, Plaintiff will be ordered to appear for deposition at a time and date 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. Defendant’s request for sanctions will also be GRANTED in the amount of $635.00 to be paid by Plaintiff only within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

If no proof of service is filed, then the hearing will be CONTINUED TO MAY 3, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. If continued, Defendant must file supplemental papers as requested at least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing. Failure to do so could 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 March 1, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of March 1, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On December 27, 2019, Plaintiff Cornelius Casey (“Plaintiff”) filed an action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendant Scott Dennington (“Defendant”). Defendant filed his Answer on March 2, 2020.

On August 25, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Compel the Deposition of Plaintiff and Request for Sanctions (the “Motion”) which was originally scheduled for hearing for February 17, 2021. On February 16, due to the Court’s unavailability, the Court continued the hearing to March 3, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. (2/16/21 Minute Order.) Defendant was ordered to give notice of the continuance. (Id.)

To date, Defendant has not filed a proof of service demonstrating he gave notice of the February 16 continuance and Plaintiff has not filed an opposition to the Motion.

  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

On February 28, 2020, Defendant’s counsel served Plaintiff’s counsel with a notice of deposition scheduled for May 12, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at Defendant’s counsel’s office. (Mot., Miller Decl., ¶ 3, Exh. A.) Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the parties rescheduled the deposition to June 30, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. (Id. at ¶ 4, Exh. B.) Defendant’s counsel sent Plaintiff’s counsel notice of the rescheduled deposition on April 13, 2020 via email. (Id.) On June 29, 2020, one day before the scheduled deposition, Plaintiff’s counsel contacted Defendant’s counsel to inform him that Plaintiff was not cooperating and to request that the deposition be rescheduled. (Id. at ¶ 5, Exh. C.) The deposition was rescheduled for August 4, 2020 and Defendant’s counsel sent Plaintiff’s counsel notice of the continued deposition on July 2, 2020 via email. (Id., ¶ 7, Exhs. D, E.) On July 30, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel contacted Defendant’s counsel to inform him he had lost contact with Plaintiff and therefore would not be appearing for the August 4 deposition. (Id. at ¶ 8, Exh. F.) Plaintiff did not appear for the properly noticed August 4 deposition. (Id. at ¶ 9, Exh. G.)

Defendant’s evidence demonstrates that it is entitled to an order compelling Plaintiff to appear for deposition.

Defendant also requests sanctions against Plaintiff. 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 a 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).)

The Court finds Plaintiff’s failure to appear for deposition a misuse of the discovery process. The imposition of sanctions is also mandatory under Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.450.

Defendant seeks sanctions of $1,344.95, based on 5 hours of attorney time billed at $200.00 per hour, one deposition “no-show” appearance fee of $275.00, one filing fee of $60.00, and additional filing fees of $9.95. (Mot., Miller Decl., ¶ 11.) However, Defendant’s request is excessive given the simplicity of this Motion and the lack of opposition and reply. In addition, it is unclear what the additional $9.95 in filing fees pertains to. The Court finds $635.00, based on 1.5 hours of attorney time, one no-show fee, and one filing fee, to be reasonable.

Although the Court is inclined to grant Defendant’s Motion, the Court notes Defendant’s counsel did not give Plaintiff’s counsel notice of the February 16 continuance and of this hearing. However, in the interest of judicial economy, the Motion is GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Defendant files a proof of service demonstrating Plaintiff was given adequate notice of this hearing. Otherwise, the matter will be CONTINUED.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Scott Dennington’s Motion is GRANTED ON THE CONDITION THAT, before the hearing, Defendant files a proof of service demonstrating he gave Plaintiff notice of the February 16 continuance. If Defendant files the requested proof of service, Plaintiff will be ordered to appear for deposition at a time and date 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. Defendant’s request for sanctions will also be GRANTED in the amount of $635.00 to be paid by Plaintiff only within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

If no proof of service is filed, then the hearing will be CONTINUED TO MAY 3, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. in Department 25 at the SPRING STREET COURTHOUSE. If continued, Defendant must file supplemental papers as requested at least 16 court days before the next scheduled hearing. Failure to do so could result in the Motion being placed off calendar or denied.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC09153    Hearing Date: January 26, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Tue., January 26, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Guerrero v. Zhang COMPL. FILED: 10-04-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC09153 DISC. C/O: 03-03-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O: 03-18-21

TRIAL DATE: 04-02-21

PROCEEDINGS: (1) MOTION FOR ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF’S RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, AND FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS

(2) MOTION FOR ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF’S DEPOSITION AND FOR PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS AND FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Wei Zhang

RESP. PARTY: None

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

(CCP §§ 2031.300; 2025.450)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Wei Zhang’s Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff’s Responses to Form Interrogatories, Set One, is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to provide verified responses within thirty (30) days’ notice of this order. In addition, Defendant’s Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff’s Deposition and Production of Documents is also GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to appear for deposition at a time and date 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. Defendant’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $495.90 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: None filed as of January 22, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of January 22, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On October 4, 2019, Plaintiff Maria Guerrero (“Plaintiff”) filed an action, in pro per, alleging motor vehicle negligence against Wei Zhang (“Defendant”). Defendant filed an Answer on March 5, 2020.

On August 17, 2020, Defendant filed the instant (1) Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff’s Responses to Defendant’s Form Interrogatories, Set One, and for Monetary Sanctions (the “Interrogatories Motion”) and (2) Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff’s Deposition, For Production of Documents and for Monetary Sanctions (the “Deposition Motion”) (collectively, the “Motions”). To date, no oppositions have been filed.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

A. Form Interrogatories

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

Here, Defendant served Plaintiff with Form Interrogatories, Set One, on March 16, 2020 via regular mail. (Interrogatories Mot., Dixon Decl., ¶ 2, Exh. A.) Although not required, Defendant’s counsel’s office sent Plaintiff letters regarding the lack of discovery responses on April 29, 2020 and August 14, 2020. (Id. at ¶¶ 4, 6, Exh. B.) To date, Plaintiff has not provided any discovery responses. (Id. at ¶ 7.) Thus, Defendant is entitled to an order compelling Plaintiff to provide verified responses without objections. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290.)

B. Deposition

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).)

Here, Defendant served Plaintiff with a Notice of Taking Oral Deposition and Request for Production of Documents and Things at the Time of Deposition (the “Notice of Deposition”) on May 20, 2020 via regular mail. (Deposition Mot., Dixon Decl., ¶ 2, Exh. A.) The deposition was noticed for June 29, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. via Zoom, but Plaintiff did not appear. (Id. at ¶ 4.) Defendant’s counsel sent a meet and confer letter to Plaintiff regarding her failure to appear for her noticed deposition on July 20, 2020 and August 14, 2020. (Id. at ¶¶ 5, 6, Exhs. B, C.) As of the date of this Deposition Motion, Plaintiff has not contacted Defendant’s counsel’s office to reschedule the deposition. (Id. at ¶ 7.)

Defendant’s evidence demonstrates the meet and confer requirement was met and that Defendant is entitled to an order compelling Plaintiff to appear for deposition. Plaintiff is ordered to appear for deposition at a time and date 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.

C. 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 a 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).)

The Court finds Plaintiff’s failure to respond to the Form Interrogatories and failure to appear for, and cooperate in, rescheduling her depositions a misuse of the discovery process. In addition, the imposition of sanctions is mandatory under Code of Civil Procedure section 2025.450.

Defendant seeks sanctions of $1,800.00, which includes two filing fees of $61.65. (Motions, Dixon Decls., ¶¶ 8.) Counsel explains that a monthly amount of $738.00 in fees is allocated on this matter regardless of the amount of work done, that she has spent 3 hours preparing Motions, and that she expects to spend an additional 6 hours attending and preparing for the hearing. (Id.) However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of these motions and the lack of opposition and reply. The Court finds $495.90, based on 2 hours of attorney time billed at $186.30 per hour and two filing fees, to be reasonable.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Wei Zhang’s Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff’s Responses to Form Interrogatories, Set One, is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to provide verified responses within thirty (30) days’ notice of this order. In addition, Defendant’s Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff’s Deposition and Production of Documents is also GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to appear for deposition at a time and date 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. Defendant’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $495.90 to be paid within thirty (30) days’ notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 19STLC09153    Hearing Date: January 21, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Thu., January 21, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Guerrero v. Zhang COMPL. FILED: 10-04-19

CASE NUMBER: 19STLC09153 DISC. C/O: 03-03-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O: 03-18-21

TRIAL DATE: 04-02-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION FOR AN ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF’S RESPONSES TO DEFENDANT’S DEMAND TO PRODUCE AND FOR AN ORDER IMPOSING MONETARY SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Wei Zhang

RESP. PARTY: None

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

(CCP §2031.300)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Wei Zhang’s Motion for an Order Compelling Plaintiff’s Responses to Defendant’s Demand to Produce is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to provide responses to Defendant’s discovery request within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. Defendant’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $341.10 to be paid to Defendant’s counsel 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: None filed as of January 19, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

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

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On October 4, 2019, Plaintiff Maria Guerrero (“Plaintiff”) filed an action, in pro per, alleging motor vehicle negligence against Wei Zhang (“Defendant”). Defendant filed an Answer on March 5, 2020.

On August 17, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Motion for an Order Compelling Plaintiff’s Responses to Defendant’s Demand to Produce and for an Order Imposing Monetary Sanctions (the “Motion”). To date, no opposition has been filed.

II. 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 served Plaintiff with a Demand to Produce, Set One, on March 16, 2020 via regular mail. (Mot., Dixon Decl., ¶ 2, Exh. A.) Although not statutorily required, Defendant’s counsel’s office sent Plaintiff letters on April 29, 2020 and August 14, 2020 regarding the lack of responses. (Id. at ¶¶ 4-6, Exh. B.) To date, Plaintiff has not responded to the discovery request. (Id. at ¶ 7.) Thus, Defendant 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’s discovery requests a misuse of the discovery process.

Defendant’s counsel seeks $900.00 in sanctions, which includes a $61.65 filing fee. (Mot., Dixon Decl., ¶ 8.) Counsel explains that a monthly amount of $738.00 in fees is allocated on this matter regardless of the amount of work done, that she has spent 1.5 hours preparing this Motion, and that she expects to spend an additional 3 hours to attend and prepare for the hearing. (Id.) However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of this Motion and the lack of opposition and reply. The Court finds, $341.10, based on 1.5 hours of attorney time billed at $186.30 per hour and one filing fee, to be reasonable.

III. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Wei Zhang’s Motion for an Order Compelling Plaintiff’s Responses to Defendant’s Demand to Produce is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to provide responses to Defendant’s discovery request within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. Defendant’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $341.10 to be paid to Defendant’s counsel within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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