This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 09/11/2021 at 00:46:04 (UTC).

PEDRO SANCHEZ VS TICKTOCKER TIMELESS

Case Summary

On 02/20/2020 PEDRO SANCHEZ filed a Civil Right - Other Civil Right lawsuit against TICKTOCKER TIMELESS. 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 Disposed - Dismissed.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******1683

  • Filing Date:

    02/20/2020

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Dismissed

  • Case Type:

    Civil Right - Other Civil Right

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JAMES E. BLANCARTE

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

SANCHEZ PEDRO

Defendants

TICKTOCKER TIMELESS TREASURES THRIFT SHOP

NATIONAL CHARITY LEAGUE

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Defendant Attorneys

KIEFER MARK

KIM ANGELA GIYUN

 

Court Documents

Reply (name extension) - Reply Defendant's Reply to Its Notice of Motion and Motion for Terminating Sanctions by Defendant National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter, and for Sanctions of $1

8/31/2021: Reply (name extension) - Reply Defendant's Reply to Its Notice of Motion and Motion for Terminating Sanctions by Defendant National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter, and for Sanctions of $1

Motion for Terminating Sanctions - Motion for Terminating Sanctions

8/2/2021: Motion for Terminating Sanctions - Motion for Terminating Sanctions

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

9/4/2020: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

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

11/12/2020: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

Reply (name extension) - Reply to Notice of Motion for RFA#1 to be Deemed Admitted

2/2/2021: Reply (name extension) - Reply to Notice of Motion for RFA#1 to be Deemed Admitted

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Deem Request for Admissions Admitted)

2/9/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Deem Request for Admissions Admitted)

Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

2/9/2021: Notice of Ruling - Notice of Ruling

Reply (name extension) - Reply to its notice of motion and motion to compel plaintiff Pedro Sanchez's responses

4/7/2021: Reply (name extension) - Reply to its notice of motion and motion to compel plaintiff Pedro Sanchez's responses

Notice (name extension) - Notice OF CONTINUANCE FOR DEFENDANT NATIONAL CHARITY LEAGUE, LOS ANGELES FOUNDER CHAPTERS DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT AND MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFFS COMP

8/24/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice OF CONTINUANCE FOR DEFENDANT NATIONAL CHARITY LEAGUE, LOS ANGELES FOUNDER CHAPTERS DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFFS COMPLAINT AND MOTION TO STRIKE PORTIONS OF PLAINTIFFS COMP

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10))

8/20/2020: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10))

Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) Amended

3/13/2020: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) Amended

Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) - Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

3/13/2020: Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10) - Demurrer - with Motion to Strike (CCP 430.10)

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

3/18/2020: Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order - Notice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Continuance of Demurrer and Motion to Strike

3/26/2020: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Continuance of Demurrer and Motion to Strike

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

2/20/2020: Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case - Notice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case

Summons - Summons on Complaint

2/20/2020: Summons - Summons on Complaint

First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

2/20/2020: First Amended Standing Order - First Amended Standing Order

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

2/21/2020: Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court) - Order on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court)

21 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 09/08/2021
  • DocketUpdated -- Complaint: Filed By: Pedro Sanchez (Plaintiff); Result: Stricken; Result Date: 09/08/2021

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  • 09/08/2021
  • DocketOn the Complaint filed by Pedro Sanchez on 02/20/2020, entered Order for Dismissal with prejudice as to the entire action

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  • 09/08/2021
  • DocketNotice of Ruling; Filed by: National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter Erroneously Sued As NATIONAL CHARITY LEAGUE (Defendant)

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  • 09/08/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion for Terminating Sanctions)

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  • 09/08/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Terminating Sanctions scheduled for 09/08/2021 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 09/08/2021; Result Type to Held - Motion Granted

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  • 09/08/2021
  • DocketJury Trial scheduled for 12/08/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 09/08/2021

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  • 09/08/2021
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 02/23/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 09/08/2021

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  • 08/31/2021
  • DocketReply Defendant's Reply to Its Notice of Motion and Motion for Terminating Sanctions by Defendant National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter, and for Sanctions of $1,860.00 from Plaintiff and Receipt of No Opposition; Filed by: National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter Erroneously Sued As NATIONAL CHARITY LEAGUE (Defendant)

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  • 08/02/2021
  • DocketMotion for Terminating Sanctions; Filed by: National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter Erroneously Sued As NATIONAL CHARITY LEAGUE (Defendant)

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  • 08/02/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Terminating Sanctions scheduled for 09/08/2021 at 10:00 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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33 More Docket Entries
  • 02/21/2020
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Signed and Filed by: Clerk; As to: Pedro Sanchez (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/21/2020
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. James E. Blancarte in Department 25 Spring Street Courthouse

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  • 02/21/2020
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 02/23/2023 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 02/21/2020
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 08/19/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 02/20/2020
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 02/20/2020
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 02/20/2020
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Pedro Sanchez (Plaintiff); As to: TICKTOCKER TIMELESS TREASURES THRIFT SHOP (Defendant)

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  • 02/20/2020
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by: Pedro Sanchez (Plaintiff)

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  • 02/20/2020
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Pedro Sanchez (Plaintiff); As to: TICKTOCKER TIMELESS TREASURES THRIFT SHOP (Defendant)

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  • 02/20/2020
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Pedro Sanchez (Plaintiff); As to: TICKTOCKER TIMELESS TREASURES THRIFT SHOP (Defendant); NATIONAL CHARITY LEAGUE (Defendant)

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Tentative Rulings

b'

Case Number: 20STLC01683 Hearing Date: September 8, 2021 Dept: 25

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION\r\nFOR TERMINATING AND MONETARY SANCTIONS

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MOVING PARTY: Defendant\r\nNational Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter

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RESP. PARTY: None

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MOTION FOR TERMINATING SANCTIONS

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(CCP § 2023.030)

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TENTATIVE RULING:

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Defendant National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder\r\nChapter’s Motion for Terminating and Monetary Sanctions is GRANTED. The\r\nComplaint filed by Plaintiff Pedro Sanchez on February 20, 2020 is HEREBY\r\nSTRICKEN and this action is DISMISSED. However, Defendant’s request for\r\nmonetary sanctions is DENIED.

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SERVICE: \r\n

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[X]\r\nProof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

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[X]\r\nCorrect Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

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[X]\r\n16/21 Court Days Lapsed (CCP §§ 12c, 1005(b)) OK

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OPPOSITION: None filed as of\r\nSeptember 2, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

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REPLY: None filed as\r\nof September 2, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

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ANALYSIS:

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I. \r\nBackground

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On February 20, 2020, Plaintiff Pedro Sanchez\r\n(“Plaintiff”), in pro per, filed a verified Complaint for disability\r\ndiscrimination against Defendant National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder\r\nChapter, erroneously separately sued as Ticktocker Timeless Treasures Thrift\r\nShop and National Charity League (“Defendant”). Defendant filed an Answer on\r\nOctober 2, 2020.

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Defendant filed a motion to deem\r\nRequests for Admission admitted and a motion to compel responses to Form\r\nInterrogatories on November 12, 2020. The Court granted the motions on February\r\n9, 2021 and April 15, 2021, respectively. (2/9/21 Minute Order; 4/15/21 Minute\r\nOrder.)

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Defendant filed the instant Motion\r\nfor Terminating Sanctions on August 2, 2021. No opposition was filed.

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II. \r\nLegal\r\nStandard

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Where a party willfully\r\ndisobeys a discovery order, courts have discretion to impose terminating,\r\nissue, evidence, or monetary sanctions. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2023.010, subd.\r\n(g), 2025.450, subd. (h); R.S. Creative,\r\nInc. v. Creative Cotton, Ltd. (1999) 75 Cal.App.4th 486, 495.) An evidence sanction prohibits a party that\r\nmisused the discovery process from introducing evidence on certain designated\r\nmatters into evidence. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.030, subd. (c).) Ultimate\r\ndiscovery sanctions are justified where there is a willful discovery order\r\nviolation, a history of abuse, and evidence showing that less severe sanctions\r\nwould not produce compliance with discovery rules. (Van\r\nSickle v. Gilbert (2011) 196 Cal.App.4th 1495, 1516.) “[A] penalty as severe as dismissal or\r\ndefault is not authorized where noncompliance with discovery is caused by an\r\ninability to comply rather than willfulness or bad faith.” (Brown\r\nv. Sup. Ct. (1986) 180 Cal.App.3d 701, 707.) The court may impose a terminating sanction\r\nby one of the following orders:

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(1) An\r\norder striking out the pleadings or parts of the pleadings of any party\r\nengaging in the misuse of the discovery process.

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(2) An\r\norder staying further proceedings by that party until an order for discovery is\r\nobeyed.

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(3) An\r\norder dismissing the action, or any part of the action, of that party.

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(4) An\r\norder rendering a judgment by default against that party.

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(Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.030, subd. (d).)

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III. \r\nDiscussion\r\n

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Defendant seeks a terminating sanction against Plaintiff\r\nfor his failure to obey the Court’s orders. (Mot., p. 2.)

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As briefly discussed above,\r\nDefendant filed a motion to deem Requests for Admissions admitted on November\r\n12, 2020. Plaintiff did not file an opposition to this motion or appear at the\r\nhearing. (2/9/21 Minute Order.) The Court granted this motion, deemed the\r\nRequests for Admission admitted against Plaintiff, and ordered Plaintiff to pay\r\nsanctions of $360.00 on February 9. (2/9/21 Minute Order.) That same day,\r\nDefendant served notice of the Court’s ruling via regular mail and email.\r\n(2/9/21 Notice of Ruling.)

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On November 12, Defendant also filed a motion to compel\r\nresponses to Form Interrogatories. Plaintiff did not file an opposition or appear\r\nat the April 15 hearing. (4/15/21 Minute Order.) The Court granted the motion\r\nto compel and ordered Plaintiff to serve verified responses without objections\r\nand to pay sanctions of $360.00. (4/15/21 Minute Order.) That same day,\r\nDefendant served notice of the Court’s ruling via regular mail and email.\r\n(4/15/21 Notice of Ruling.)

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Defendant’s counsel sent Plaintiff a letter on June 25,\r\n2021 regarding Plaintiff’s failure to pay sanctions and respond to the Form\r\nInterrogatories. (Mot., Kim Decl., ¶ 11, Exh. E.) Defendant’s counsel states\r\nthat, as of the date this Motion was filed, Plaintiff disobeyed the Court’s\r\norders by (1) failing to pay sanctions of $360.00 as ordered by the Court on\r\nFebruary 9 and (2) failing to serve responses and pay sanctions as ordered by\r\nthe Court on April 15. (Id. at ¶¶ 9-10.)

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Defendant argues that Plaintiff’s continuing contempt of\r\nthe discovery process and blatant disregard for Court orders makes it unlikely\r\nthat lesser sanctions will be effective. (Mot., p. 9.) Notably, Plaintiff did\r\nnot file an opposition to this Motion. Indeed, it appears that Plaintiff has\r\nwillfully abandoned this litigation and is no longer interested in prosecuting\r\nhis claim.

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Based on the above, the Court finds terminating sanctions\r\nare warranted. Although terminating sanctions are a harsh penalty, the evidence\r\ndemonstrates that Plaintiff’s compliance with the Court’s orders cannot be\r\nachieved through lesser means. However, the Court declines to award any further\r\nmonetary sanctions as such an award would be futile.

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IV. \r\nConclusion\r\n& Order

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For the foregoing reasons, Defendant National Charity League, Los\r\nAngeles Founder Chapter’s Motion for Terminating and Monetary Sanctions is\r\nGRANTED. The Complaint filed by Plaintiff Pedro Sanchez on February 20, 2020 is\r\nHEREBY STRICKEN and this action is DISMISSED. However, Defendant’s request for\r\nmonetary sanctions is DENIED.

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Moving party is ordered to give\r\nnotice.

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Case Number: 20STLC01683    Hearing Date: April 15, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Thu., April 15, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Sanchez v. Ticktocker Timeless COMPL. FILED: 02-20-20

CASE NUMBER: 20STLC01683 DISC. C/O: 07-20-21

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O: 08-04-21

TRIAL DATE: 08-19-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFF’ RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, AND FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendant National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter, erroneously sued as Ticktocker Timeless Treasures Thrift Shop and National Charity League

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO INTERROGATORIES; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2030.290)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Responses to Form Interrogatories, Set One, is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to serve verified responses without objections to Defendant’s discovery within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. Defendant’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $360.00 to be paid within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

SERVICE:

[X] Proof of Service Timely Filed (CRC, rule 3.1300) OK

[X] Correct Address (CCP §§ 1013, 1013a) OK

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

OPPOSITION: None filed as of April 13, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of April 13, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On February 20, 2020, Plaintiff Pedro Sanchez (“Plaintiff”), in pro per, filed a verified complaint for disability discrimination against Defendant National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter, erroneously sued as Ticktocker Timeless Treasures Thrift Shop and National Charity League (“Defendant”). Defendant filed an Answer on October 2, 2020.

Defendant filed the instant Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Responses to Form Interrogatories, Set One, and For Sanctions (the “Motion”) on November 12, 2020. Plaintiff did not file an opposition and Defendant filed a notice of non-opposition on April 7, 2021.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

  1. 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’s counsel served Plaintiff with Form Interrogatories, Set One, on September 2, 2020 via regular mail and email. (Mot., Kim Decl., ¶ 5, Exh. A.) Although not procedurally required, Defendant’s counsel sent Plaintiff a letter regarding the overdue responses on October 9, 2020 via regular mail and email. (Id. at ¶ 6, Exh. B.) Plaintiff did not serve any responses to the discovery. (Id. at ¶ 7.) Thus, Defendant is entitled to an order compelling Plaintiff to serve verified responses without objections. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2030.290.)

  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 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 request a misuse of the discovery process.

Defendant’s counsel seeks sanctions of $1,860.00, based on nine (9) hours of attorney time billed at $200.00 per hour and one filing fee of $60.00. (Id. at ¶¶ 9-10.) However, Defendant’s counsel’s request is excessive given the simplicity of this Motion and the lack of opposition. The Court finds $360.00, based on 1.5 hours of attorney time and one filing fee, to be reasonable. Plaintiff is ordered to pay sanctions to Defendant’s counsel within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter’s Motion to Compel Plaintiff’s Responses to Form Interrogatories, Set One, is GRANTED. Plaintiff is ordered to serve verified responses without objections to Defendant’s discovery within thirty (30) days of notice of this order. Defendant’s request for sanctions is also GRANTED in the amount of $360.00 to be paid within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 20STLC01683    Hearing Date: September 02, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE:    Wed., September 2, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME Sanchez v. Ticktoker Timeless Treasures Thirft Shop, at al.

COMP. FILED: 02-20-20

CASE NUMBER: 20STLC01683 DISC. C/O: 07-20-21

NOTICE:   OK MOTION C/O: 08-04-21

TRIAL DATE: 08-19-21

PROCEEDINGS    (1) DEFENDANT’S DEMURRER TO PLAINTIFF’S COMPLAINT

(2) DEFENDANT’S MOTION TO STRIKE

MOVING PARTY:   Defendant National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter (erroneously sued and served as Ticktocker Timeless Treasures Thrift Shop and National Charity League)

RESP. PARTY: None

DEMURRER; MOTION TO STRIKE

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter’s Demurrer to Complaint is OVERRULED as to the first and third causes of action and SUSTAINED without leave to amend as to the second cause of action.

Defendant’s Motion to Strike is GRANTED with leave to amend as to punitive damages and DENIED as to treble damages.

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 August 31, 2020 [   ] Late [X] None

REPLY: Filed on August 13, 2020 [   ] Late [   ] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On February 20, 2020, Plaintiff Pedro Sanchez (“Plaintiff”) filed a complaint against Defendants Ticktocker Timeless Treasures Thrift Shop and National Charity League for (1) violation of California Civil Code section 51(b) – The Unruh Civil Rights Act; (2) violation of California Civil Code section 51(f) – Unruh Civil Rights Act, and (3) violation of civil rights under California Accessibility Laws – Civil Code section 54.

On March 13, 2020, Defendant National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter (erroneously sued and served as Ticktocker Timeless Treasures Thrift Shop and National Chairty League) (“Defendant”) filed the instant demurrer to complaint and motion to strike.  No oppositions have been filed.

  1. Legal Standard

Demurrer

“The primary function of a pleading is to give the other party notice so that it may prepare its

case [citation], and a defect in a pleading that otherwise properly notifies a party cannot be said to

affect substantial rights.” (Harris v. City of Santa Monica (2013) 56 Cal.4th 203, 240.)

“A demurrer tests the legal sufficiency of the factual allegations in a complaint.” (Ivanoff v. Bank of

America, N.A. (2017) 9 Cal.App.5th 719, 725.) The Court looks to whether “the complaint alleges

facts sufficient to state a cause of action or discloses a complete defense.” (Id.) The Court does not

“read passages from a complaint in isolation; in reviewing a ruling on a demurrer, we read the

complaint ‘as a whole and its parts in their context.’ [Citation.]” (West v. JPMorgan Chase Bank,

N.A. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 780, 804.) The Court “assume[s] the truth of the properly pleaded

factual allegations, facts that reasonably can be inferred from those expressly pleaded and matters of

which judicial notice has been taken.” (Harris, supra, 56 Cal.4th p. 240.) “The court does not,

however, assume the truth of contentions, deductions or conclusions of law. [Citation.]” (Durell v.

Sharp Healthcare (2010) 183 Cal.App.4th 1350, 1358.)

Leave to amend must be allowed where there is a reasonable possibility of successful amendment. (Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal.3d 335, 348.)  The burden is on the complainant to show the Court that a pleading can be amended successfully. (Id.)

Finally, Code of Civil Procedure section 430.41 requires that “[b]efore filing a demurrer pursuant to this chapter, the demurring party shall meet and confer in person or by telephone with the party who filed the pleading that is subject to demurrer for the purpose of determining whether an agreement can be reached that would resolve the objections to be raised in the demurrer.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a).) The parties are to meet and confer at least five days before the date the responsive pleading is due. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a)(2).) Thereafter, the demurring party shall file and serve a declaration detailing their meet and confer efforts. (Code Civ. Proc., § 430.41, subd. (a)(3).)

Motion to Strike

California law authorizes a party’s motion to strike matter from an opposing party’s pleading if it is irrelevant, false, or improper. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 435, 436(a).) Motions may also target pleadings or parts of pleadings which are not filed or drawn in conformity with applicable laws, rules or orders. (Code Civ. Proc., § 436(b).) Motions to strike in limited jurisdiction courts may only challenge pleadings on the basis that “the damages or relief sought are not supported by the allegations of the complaint.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 92(d).) A motion to strike is used to address defects that appear on the face of a pleading or from judicially noticed matter but that are not grounds for a demurrer. (Pierson v Sharp Memorial Hospital (1989) 216 Cal.App.3d 340, 342; see also City & County of San Francisco v Strahlendorf (1992) 7 Cal.App.4th 1911, 1913 (motion may not be based on a party's declaration or factual representations made by counsel in the motion papers).) In particular, a motion to strike can be used to attack the entire pleading or any part thereof – in other words, a motion may target single words or phrases, unlike demurrers. (Warren v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co. (1971) 19 Cal.App.3d 24, 40.) California’s policy of liberal construction applies to motions to strike. (Code Civ. Proc., § 452; see also Duffy v. Campbell (1967) 250 Cal.App.2d 662, 666 (noting that courts must resolve all reasonable doubts in favor of the pleading when considering a motion to strike).) The Code of Civil Procedure also authorizes the Court to act on its own initiative to strike matter, empowering the Court to enter orders striking matter “at any time in its discretion, and upon terms it deems proper.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 436.)

  1. Discussion

Meet and Confer

Defense counsel states that she attempted to call Plaintiff on March 9, 2020 at the telephone number listed on the complaint regarding the issues in the complaint, but the number was disconnected.  (Kim Decl., ¶ 4.)  Defense counsel sent a meet and confer letter to Plaintiff by email and mail on March 9, 2020.  (Id., ¶ 5.)  To date, Plaintiff has not responded to the letter.  (Id., ¶ 6.)  Defendant has thus satisfied the meet and confer requirements pursuant to CCP section 430.41 and 435.5.

DEMURRER

First Cause of Action for Violation of California Civil Code Section 51(b) – The Unruh Civil Rights Act

Defendant argues Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts to state a violation of Civil Code section 51 against Defendant.  The Court disagrees.

The Unruh Civil Rights Act (“Unruh Act”) prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or sexual orientation.  (Civ. Code § 51(b).)  Civil Code Section 51 provides that any violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”) constitutes a violation of the Unruh Act.  (Id., § 51(f); Jankey v. Song Koo Lee (2012) 55 Cal.4th 1038, 1044 (finding violations of the ADA are per se violations of the Unruh Act).)  A plaintiff seeking damages for violation of the Unruh Act based on a violation of the ADA pursuant to section 51(f) need not prove intentional discrimination. (Munson v. Del Taco, Inc. (2009) 46 Cal.4th 661, 664-65.)

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of services, facilities, and accommodations of a place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases, or operates a place of public accommodation.  (42 U.S.C. § 12182(a).)  Discrimination under the ADA includes “a failiure to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedurs, when such modificaitons are necessary to afford such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations t individuals with disabilities” and “a failure to remove architectural barriers, and communication barriers that are structural in nature, in existing facilities . . . where such removal is readily achievable . . .”  (42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii), (iii).)  Furthermore, whether a facility provides full and equal access is defined in part by the ADA Accessibility Guidelines.  (See 28 C.F.R. pt. 36, app. A; Chapman v. Pier 1 Imports (U.S.) Inc. (9th Cir. 2015) 779 F.3d 1001, 1006.)

“[T]o prevail on a discrimination claim under Title III, a plaintiff must show that: (1) he is disabled within the meaning of the ADA; (2) the defendant is a private entity that owns, leases, or operates a place of public accommodation; and (3) the plaintiff was denied public accommodations by the defendant because of his disability.” (Arizona ex rel. Goddard v. Harkins Amusement Enterprises, Inc. (9th Cir. 2010) 603 F.3d 666, 670.)

Here, Plaintiff alleges that he is diabled and confined to a wheelchair for mobilitiy purposes.  (Complaint, ¶¶ 4, 15.)  Plaintiff alleges Defendant is the operator, owner, and/or landlord of a thrift shop located at 9441 Culver Blvd., Culver City, California and that the thrift shop is a place of public accommodation.  (Id., ¶¶ 1, 2, 5, 6, 15.)  Plaintiff alleges that he patronized Defendant’s premises on November 12, 2019 and November 17, 2019 and encountered access barriers which prevented him from the equal use and enjoyment of the premises.  (Id., ¶¶ 8, 9, 15.)  Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant’s premises did not have any designated disabled parking stalls such that he was unable to re-enter his vehicle because another person had parked their vehicle too close to Plaintiff’s vehicle and there was not enough room for Plaintiff to get his wheelchair between the vehicles.  (Id., ¶¶ 8, 15.)  Plaintiff lists various regulations and building code provisions Defendant, as the operator, owner, and/or landlord of the premises allegedly violated, including regulations and ADA provisions relating to the provision of disabled “van-accessible” parking spaces and access aisles.  (Id.)  Plaintiff alleges that he was denied full and equal access to Defendant’s business because of the violations.  (Id., ¶¶ 10, 15.)  These allegations are sufficient to state a cause of action for violation of Civil code section 51 against Defendant.

Accordingly, the demurrer to the first cause of action is overruled.

Second Cause of Action for Violation of California Civil Code Section 51(f) – Unruh Civil Rights Act

Defendant contends this cause of action is duplicative of the first cause of action.  The Court agrees.

A demurrer may be sustained when a cause of action is duplicative of another cause of action and “thus adds nothing to the complaint by way of fact or theory of recovery.”  (Rodrigues v. Campbell Industries (1978) 87 Cal.App.3d 494, 501; see Palm Springs Villas II Homeowners Association, Inc. v. Parth (2016) 248 Cal.App.4th 268, 290.)

The first cause of action is brought under subsection (b) of Civil Code section 51, while this cause of action is brought under subsection (f) of Civil Code section 51.  Regardless of this purported distinction, the Court finds that both causes of action are premised on the same primary right—i.e., Defendant’s alleged violation of Plaintiff’s rights pursuant to Civil Code section 51 by failing to provide designated disabled parking stalls.  This cause of action is thus duplicative of the first cause of action. 

Accordingly, the demurrer to the second cause of action is sustained without leave to amend.

Third Cause of Action for Violation of Civil Rights under California Accessibility Laws – Civil Code Section 54

Civil Code section 54 provides that “[i]ndividuals with disability or medical conditions have the same right as the general public to the full and free use of the streets, highways, sidewalks, walkways, public buildings, medical facilities, including hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ offices, public facilities, and other public places.  (Civ. Code, § 54(a).)  A violation of of an individual’s rights under the ADA also consituttes a violation of Civil Code section 54.  (Id., § 54(c).)

Defendant argues Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts to state this cause of action against Defendant.  Defendant’s argument is unavailing.  As discussed, Plaintiff has pled he is disabled and confined to a wheelchair; that Defendant is the operator, owner, and/or landlord of the premises; that Defendant’s premises lacked designated disabled parking stalls; and that the premises violated several regulations, building code provisions, and ADA provisions with respect to providing disabled parking stalls and access aisles.  (Complaint, ¶¶ 1-8, 30.)  Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant failed and continues to fail to provide access to its facitilities due to such violations pertaining to parking, passenger zones, and signage.  (Id., ¶¶ 31, 33.)  This is sufficient to state this cause of action against Defendant.

Accordingly, the demurrer to the third cause of acion is overruled.

MOTION TO STRIKE

Punitive Damages

Defendant moves to strike Plaintiff’s allegations pertaining to punitive damages set forth in paragraph 21 of the complaint on grounds that Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts to support punitive damages.

California Civil Code section 3294 authorizes the recovery of punitive damages in non-contract cases where “the defendant has been guilty of oppression, fraud, or malice . . . .” (Civ. Code § 3294(a).) “‘Malice’ means conduct which is intended by the defendant to cause injury to the plaintiff or despicable conduct which is carried on by the defendant with a willful and conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others.” (Id. § 3294(c)(1).)  “‘Oppression’ means despicable conduct that subjects a person to cruel and unjust hardship in conscious disregard of that person’s rights.” (Id.,§ 3294(c)(2).)  “‘Fraud’ means an intentional misrepresentation, deceit, or concealment of a material fact known to the defendant with the intention on the part of the defendant of thereby depriving a person of property or legal rights or otherwise causing injury.” (Id., § 3294(c)(3).)  Punitive damages thus require more than the mere commission of a tort. (See Taylor v. Superior Court (1979) 24 Cal.3d 890, 894-95.) Specific facts must be pleaded in support of punitive damages. (See Hillard v. A.H. Robins Co. (1983) 148 Cal.App.3d 374, 391-92.)

Plaintiff has failed to allege sufficient facts demonstrating Defendant acted maliciously, oppressively, or fraudulently in failing to provide designated disabled parking stalls and violating Civil Code section 51.

Accordingly, the motion to strike punitive damages is granted with leave to amend.

Treble Damages

Defendant also moves to strike Plaintiff’s prayer for treble damages pursuant to Civil Code section 52(a).

Civil Code section 52(a) specifically authorizes an award of up to three times the amount of act damages.  (Civ. Code, § 52(a) (“Whoever denies, aids or incites a denial, or makes any discrimination or distinciotn contrary to Section 51, 51.5, or 51.6, is liable for each and every offense for the actual damages, and any amount that may be determined by a jury, or a court sitting without a jury, up to a maximum of three times the amount of actual damage but in no case less than four thousand dollars ($4,000) . . . .”).)  Given treble damages are discretionary upon a finding of liability, the Court cannot determine such damages are improper at this stage.  Defendant has failed to provide arguments shwing the request for treble damages is otherwise improper.

Accordingly, the motion to strike the request for treble damages is denied.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant National Charity League, Los Angeles Founder Chapter’s demurrer to complaint is OVERRULED as to the first and third causes of action and SUSTAINED without leave to amend as to the second cause of action.

Defendant’s motion to strike is GRANTED with leave to amend as to punitive damages and DENIED as to treble damages.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

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