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This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 05/24/2021 at 06:49:36 (UTC).

RICHARD JETER, JR., ET AL. VS MARCOS RIVAS

Case Summary

On 09/24/2018 RICHARD JETER, JR filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against MARCOS RIVAS. 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 Disposed - Judgment Entered.

Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******2109

  • Filing Date:

    09/24/2018

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Judgment Entered

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Court:

    Los Angeles County Superior Courts

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

JON R. TAKASUGI

 

Party Details

Plaintiffs

JETER RICHARD JR.

MAYS ALVIN DESHON

Defendants

RIVAS MARCOS

DCH GARDENA HONDA

LITHIA MOTORS INC.

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

CASADO KELLY LAWRENCE

1541 Wilshire Blvd Ste 508

Los Angeles, CA 90017

Defendant Attorneys

MCGREEVY RICHARD EARL

LEACH BRIAN E

 

Court Documents

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)

2/9/2021: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)

Motion for Summary Judgment - Motion for Summary Judgment

10/6/2020: Motion for Summary Judgment - Motion for Summary Judgment

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

5/29/2020: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted - Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted

5/29/2020: Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted - Motion to Deem RFA's Admitted

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration DECLARATION OF ATTORNEY BRIAN LEACH IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO DEEM REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION TO PLAINTIFF RICHARD JETER JR., SET ONE, ADMITTED, AND FOR MONETARY S

5/29/2020: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration DECLARATION OF ATTORNEY BRIAN LEACH IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO DEEM REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION TO PLAINTIFF RICHARD JETER JR., SET ONE, ADMITTED, AND FOR MONETARY S

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

5/29/2020: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

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

5/29/2020: Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint) - Proof of Service (not Summons and Complaint)

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Terminating Sanctions)

12/4/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion for Terminating Sanctions)

Notice (name extension) - Notice of Entry of Judgment or Order

12/30/2019: Notice (name extension) - Notice of Entry of Judgment or Order

Motion for Terminating Sanctions - Motion for Terminating Sanctions

5/22/2019: Motion for Terminating Sanctions - Motion for Terminating Sanctions

Notice (name extension) - Notice Notice of Entry of Judgment or Order

5/7/2019: Notice (name extension) - Notice Notice of Entry of Judgment or Order

Order (name extension) - Order [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFF ALVIN DESHON MAYSS ANSWERS TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, AND FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS

1/14/2019: Order (name extension) - Order [PROPOSED] ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFF ALVIN DESHON MAYSS ANSWERS TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, AND FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS

Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel PLAINTIFF RICHARD JETER JR'S ANSW...)

3/12/2019: Minute Order - Minute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel PLAINTIFF RICHARD JETER JR'S ANSW...)

Memorandum of Points & Authorities - Memorandum of Points & Authorities

1/14/2019: Memorandum of Points & Authorities - Memorandum of Points & Authorities

Declaration (name extension) - Declaration DECLARATION OF ATTORNEY BRIAN LEACH IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFF RICHARD JETER JR.S ANSWERS TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, AND FOR MONETARY S

1/14/2019: Declaration (name extension) - Declaration DECLARATION OF ATTORNEY BRIAN LEACH IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFF RICHARD JETER JR.S ANSWERS TO FORM INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, AND FOR MONETARY S

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

1/14/2019: Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion - Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion

Proof of Personal Service

10/10/2018: Proof of Personal Service

Civil Case Cover Sheet

9/24/2018: Civil Case Cover Sheet

52 More Documents Available

 

Docket Entries

  • 04/14/2021
  • DocketMemorandum of Costs (Summary); Filed by: Marco Rivas Erroneously Sued As Marcos Rivas (Defendant); LLL Sales Co LLC d/b/a DCH Gardena Honda Erroneously Sued As DCH Gardena Honda, (Defendant); Total Costs: 3882.17

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 03/23/2021
  • DocketJury Trial scheduled for 05/26/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 Not Held - Vacated by Court on 03/23/2021

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  • 02/17/2021
  • DocketNotice OF ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR ORDER; Filed by: Marco Rivas Erroneously Sued As Marcos Rivas (Defendant); LLL Sales Co LLC d/b/a DCH Gardena Honda Erroneously Sued As DCH Gardena Honda, (Defendant)

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  • 02/09/2021
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion for Summary Judgment)

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  • 02/09/2021
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Summary Judgment scheduled for 02/09/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25 updated: Result Date to 02/09/2021; Result Type to Held - Motion Granted

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  • 10/07/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion for Summary Judgment scheduled for 02/09/2021 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 25

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  • 10/06/2020
  • DocketMotion for Summary Judgment; Filed by: LLL Sales Co LLC d/b/a DCH Gardena Honda Erroneously Sued As DCH Gardena Honda, (Defendant)

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  • 10/06/2020
  • DocketMemorandum of Points & Authorities; Filed by: LLL Sales Co LLC d/b/a DCH Gardena Honda Erroneously Sued As DCH Gardena Honda, (Defendant)

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  • 10/06/2020
  • DocketDeclaration DECLARATION OF ATTORNEY BRIAN LEACH IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS MARCO RIVAS AND LLL SALES CO LLC dba DCH GARDENA HONDA?S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT; Filed by: LLL Sales Co LLC d/b/a DCH Gardena Honda Erroneously Sued As DCH Gardena Honda, (Defendant)

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  • 10/06/2020
  • DocketSeparate Statement; Filed by: LLL Sales Co LLC d/b/a DCH Gardena Honda Erroneously Sued As DCH Gardena Honda, (Defendant)

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77 More Docket Entries
  • 09/25/2018
  • DocketUpdated -- Request to Waive Court Fees: Result: Granted

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  • 09/25/2018
  • DocketUpdated -- Request to Waive Court Fees: Result: Granted

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  • 09/24/2018
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Filed by: Clerk; As to: Alvin Deshon Mays (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/24/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Richard Jeter, Jr. (Plaintiff); Alvin Deshon Mays (Plaintiff); As to: Marcos Rivas (Defendant)

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  • 09/24/2018
  • DocketOrder on Court Fee Waiver (Superior Court); Filed by: Clerk; As to: Richard Jeter, Jr. (Plaintiff)

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  • 09/24/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 09/24/2018
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Clerk

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  • 09/24/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Richard Jeter, Jr. (Plaintiff); Alvin Deshon Mays (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 09/24/2018
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by: Alvin Deshon Mays (Plaintiff)

    Read MoreRead Less
  • 09/24/2018
  • DocketRequest to Waive Court Fees; Filed by: Richard Jeter, Jr. (Plaintiff)

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 18STLC12109    Hearing Date: February 09, 2021    Dept: 25


Case Number: 19STLC01868    Hearing Date: February 09, 2021    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Tue., February 9, 2021 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

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

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

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O: 05-24-21

TRIAL DATE: 06-08-21

PROCEEDINGS: MOTION FOR ORDER COMPELLING PLAINTIFF’S ATTENDANCE AND TESTIMONY AT DEPOSITION AND FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendant Daniyal Hameed

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO COMPEL DEPOSITION; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2025.450)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Daniyal Hameed’s Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff’s Attendance and Testimony at Deposition and for Monetary Sanctions is GRANTED. Plaintiff Jocelyn Lopez is ordered to appear for deposition at a time, date, and place 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 against Plaintiff only. Plaintiff is ordered to pay $704.67 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 February 5, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of February 5, 2021 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

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

Plaintiff’s counsel filed a motion to be relieved as counsel on July 14, 2020. This motion was continued twice due to Plaintiff’s counsel’s failure to give Plaintiff notice of the continued hearings and is currently scheduled to be heard on February 23, 2021. (10/14/20 & 12/3/20 Minute Orders.)

On September 3, 2020, Defendant filed the instant Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff’s Attendance and Testimony at Deposition and for an Order Imposing Monetary Sanctions (the “Motion”). No opposition has been filed.

  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 September 13, 2019, Defendant served Plaintiff with the first Notice of Deposition set for November 25, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at Defendant’s counsel’s office. (Mot., Boiadjian Decl., ¶ 2, Exh. A.) Plaintiff’s counsel contacted Defendant’s counsel on November 21, 2019 to inform her Plaintiff could not be located. (Id. at ¶ 3.) Both attorneys agreed to reschedule the deposition to January 20, 2020, and on December 10, 2019, Defendant’s counsel served a Notice of Continuance of Taking Deposition. (Id. at ¶ 4, Exh. B.) Plaintiff and her counsel appeared for the January 20 deposition but thirty minutes into her testimony, Plaintiff requested a break and, without notice, left the proceeding. (Id. at ¶ 5.) On the record, Plaintiff’s counsel stated that Plaintiff had an anxiety attack and was unable to continue without her medication, which she did not have on hand that day. (Id.) On February 11, 2020, Defendant’s counsel served a second Notice of Taking Deposition for March 19, 2020. (Id. at ¶ 6, Exh. D.) After confirming with Plaintiff’s counsel, Defendant’s counsel then rescheduled the deposition for April 28, 2020. (Id. at ¶ 8.) On April 27, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel informed Defendant’s counsel Plaintiff was unavailable for the April 28 deposition and that she would not be available until June 10, 2020. (Id. at ¶ 9.) On May 4, 2020, Defendant’s counsel sent a fourth Notice of Continuance of Taking Deposition scheduling the deposition for June 10. (Id. at ¶ 10, Exh. G.) On June 4, 2020, Defendant’s counsel granted Plaintiff’s request to have the deposition take place remotely. (Id. at ¶ 11.) On June 10, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel and Defendant’s counsel appeared for deposition but Plaintiff did not. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Plaintiff’s counsel noted on the record that Plaintiff had contacted him earlier that day via text and email, but did not hear from her after 10:15 a.m. (Id.) The proceeding concluded at 10:40 a.m. and Defendant’s counsel took a certificate of nonappearance. (Id., Exh. H.) Both attorneys agreed to continue the deposition to July 13, 2020 and on June 23, Defendant’s counsel served Plaintiff’s counsel with a fifth Notice of Continuance of Taking Deposition. (Id. at ¶ 13, Exh. J.) On July 2, 2020, Plaintiff’s counsel informed Defendant’s counsel he had lost communication with Plaintiff and for that reason, the July 13 deposition would likely not proceed. (Id. at ¶ 14, Exh. K.) Despite multiple continuances, Defendant has not been able to depose Plaintiff. (Id. at ¶ 16.)

Defendant’s evidence demonstrates that Defendant’s counsel conferred with Plaintiff’s counsel, that Plaintiff’s counsel lost contact with Plaintiff, and that Defendant is entitled to an order compelling Plaintiff to appear for deposition. Plaintiff is ordered to appear for deposition at a time, date, and place 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).) Furthermore, it is “mandatory that the Court impose a monetary sanction…on the party or attorney, or both, whose failure to serve a timely response to requests for admission necessitated this motion.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280, subd. (c).) 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).)

The Court finds Plaintiff’s failure to appear for the June 10, 2020 deposition and failure cooperate in rescheduling the deposition 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 $776.55, based on 2 hours of attorney time billed at $143.75 per hour, one filing fee of $60.00, one remote appearance fee of $15.00, and one Court Reporter fee of $414.05 for the June 10, 2020 deposition. The Court finds 1.5 hours of attorney time and the remaining costs requested to be reasonable. Plaintiff Jocelyn Lopez is ordered to pay $704.67 to Defendant’s counsel within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendant Daniyal Hameed’s Motion for Order Compelling Plaintiff’s Attendance and Testimony at Deposition and for Monetary Sanctions is GRANTED. Plaintiff Jocelyn Lopez is ordered to appear for deposition at a time, date, and place 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 against Plaintiff only. Plaintiff is ordered to pay $704.67 to Defendant’s counsel within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 18STLC12109    Hearing Date: September 09, 2020    Dept: 25

HEARING DATE: Wed., September 9, 2020 JUDGE /DEPT: Blancarte/25

CASE NAME: Jeter, et al. v. Rivas, et al. COMPL. FILED: 09-24-18

CASE NUMBER: 18STLC12109 DISC. C/O: 09-06-20

NOTICE: OK DISC. MOT. C/O: 09-21-20

TRIAL DATE: 10-06-20

PROCEEDINGS: (1&2) MOTIONS TO COMPEL PLAINTIFFS’ RESPONSES TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORIES, SET ONE, AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(3&4) MOTIONS TO DEEM REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED AGAINST PLAINTIFFS AND REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

MOVING PARTY: Defendants Marco Rivas and LLL Sales, Co., LLC dba DCH Gardena Honda, erroneously sued as DCH Gardena Honda

RESP. PARTY: None

MOTION TO COMPEL RESPONSES TO INTERROGATORIES; MOTION TO DEEM REQUESTS FOR ADMISSION ADMITTED; REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS

(CCP §§ 2030.290; 2033.280)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendants Marco Rivas and LLL Sales Co., LLC dba DCH Gardena Honda’s motions to deem Requests for Admission, Set One, admitted against each Plaintiff are GRANTED. In addition, Defendants’ motions to compel Plaintiffs’ responses to Special Interrogatories, Set One, are GRANTED. Plaintiffs are ordered to serve responses without objections to the Special Interrogatories within thirty (30) days of this order. Finally, Defendants’ requests for sanctions are also GRANTED. Plaintiffs are ordered to pay sanctions in the amount of $940.00 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 September 3, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

REPLY: None filed as of September 3, 2020 [ ] Late [X] None

ANALYSIS:

  1. Background

On September 24, 2018, Plaintiffs Richard Jeter Jr. (“Jeter”) and Alvin Deshon Mays (“Mays”) (collectively, “Plaintiffs”) filed this action for motor vehicle negligence and general negligence against Defendants Marco Rivas (“Rivas”), Lithia Motors, Inc. (“Lithia Motors”), and LLL Sales Co., LLC dba DCH Gardena Honda, erroneously sued as DCH Garden Honda (“DCH Honda”) (collectively, “Defendants”). On December 4, 2019, Defendant Lithia Motors was dismissed from the action. (12/4/19 Minute Order.)

Defendants Rivas and DCH Honda filed a joint Answer on April 15, 2020. Thereafter, on May 29, 2020, they filed the instant (1) Motion to Compel Plaintiff Richard Jeter Jr.’s Answers to Special Interrogatories, Set One, and for Monetary Sanctions; (2) Motion to Compel Plaintiff Alvin Deshon Mays’ Answers to Special Interrogatories, Set One, and for Monetary Sanctions; (3) Motion to Deem Requests for Admission to Plaintiff Alvin Deshon Mays, Set One, Admitted and for Monetary Sanctions; and (4) Motion to Deem Requests for Admission to Plaintiff Richard Jeter Jr., Set One, Admitted and for Monetary Sanctions (collectively, the “Motions”). To date, no opposition briefs have been filed.

  1. Legal Standard & Discussion

A. Interrogatories & Requests for Admission

 

A party must respond to requests for admissions within 30 days after service of such requests. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.250, subd. (a).) “If a party to whom requests for admission are directed fails to serve a timely response…(a) [that party] waives any objection to the requests, including one based on privilege or on the protection for work product…” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280, subd. (a).) “The requesting party may move for an order that the genuineness of any documents and the truth of any matters specified in the requests be deemed admitted, as well as for a monetary sanction under Chapter 7.” (Id. at subd. (b).) A motion dealing with the failure to respond, rather than with inadequate responses, does not require the requesting party to meet and confer with the responding party. (Deymer v. Costa Mesa Mobile Home Estates (1995) 36 Cal.App.4th 393, 395, fn. 4 [disapproved on other grounds in Wilcox v. Birtwhistle (1999) 21 Cal.4th 973]. There is no time limit within which a motion to have matters deemed admitted must be made. (Brigante v. Huang (1993) 20 Cal.App.4th 1569, 1585.)

In addition, 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); Code Civ. Proc., § 2031.300, 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), 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, Defendants Rivas and DCH Honda served Requests of Admission, Set One, and Special Interrogatories, Set One, on each Plaintiff on April 15, 2020 via first-class mail and email. (Motions, Leach Decl., ¶¶ 2, Exh. A.) As of the date these Motions were filed, Plaintiffs have not provided any responses to the discovery requests. (Id. at ¶¶ 3.) Thus, Defendants Rivas and DCH Honda are entitled to an order deeming the Requests for Admissions admitted against each Plaintiff and to an order compelling Plaintiffs to provide verified responses to the Special Interrogatories without objections. (Code Civ. Proc., §§ 2030.290; Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280.)

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).) Furthermore, it is “mandatory that the Court impose a monetary sanction…on the party or attorney, or both, whose failure to serve a timely response to requests for admission necessitated this motion.” (Code Civ. Proc., § 2033.280, subd. (c).)

The Court finds Plaintiffs’ failure to respond to Defendant Rivas and DCH Honda’s discovery requests a misuse of the discovery process. In addition, the Court is required to impose a monetary sanction on Plaintiffs for their failure to respond to the Requests for Admissions under Code of Civil Procedure section 2033.280, subdivision (c).

Defendants Rivas and DCH Honda’s counsel requests $1,640.00 in sanctions based on 4 hours of attorney time billed at $350.00 per hour and 4 filing fees of $60.00. (Motions, Leach Decl., ¶¶ 4.) However, the amount sought is excessive given the simplicity of these nearly identical motions and the lack of opposition and reply. The Court finds $940.00, based on two hours of attorney time and four filing fees, to be reasonable. Plaintiffs are ordered to pay sanctions within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

  1. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, Defendants Marco Rivas and LLL Sales Co., LLC dba DCH Gardena Honda’s motions to deem Requests for Admission, Set One, admitted against each Plaintiff are GRANTED. In addition, Defendants’ motions to compel Plaintiffs’ responses to Special Interrogatories, Set One, are GRANTED. Plaintiffs are ordered to serve responses without objections to the Special Interrogatories within thirty (30) days of this order. Finally, Defendants’ requests for sanctions are also GRANTED. Plaintiffs are ordered to pay sanctions in the amount of $940.00 within thirty (30) days of notice of this order.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Case Number: 18STLC12109    Hearing Date: December 04, 2019    Dept: 94

Jeter et al. v. Rivas, et al.

MOTIONS FOR TERMINATING SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2023.030)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Defendant Lithia’s Motion for Terminating Sanctions is GRANTED.

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On September 24, 2018, Plaintiffs Richard Jeter Jr. (“Jeter”) and Alvin Deshon Mays (“Mays”) (jointly, “Plaintiffs”) filed this motor vehicle negligence action against Defendants Marco Rivas; Lithia Motors, Inc.; and DCH Gardenia Honda arising out of an accident that occurred on January 13, 2017.

On March 12, 2019, the court ordered Plaintiffs to serve verified responses, without objections, to Defendant Lithia Motors, Inc.’s (“Lithia”) Form Interrogatories within 45 days of the date of Lithia serving a notice of the Order. The court also awarded Lithia $410 in monetary sanctions against each plaintiff, which was to be paid within 30 days from the date of Lithia serving notice of the order. Defendant Lithia served notice on May 7, 2019.

To date, Plaintiff Mays has failed to comply with any part of the court’s orders from March 12, 2019. (Motion, Leach Decl. ¶ 4, Exh. C.) Plaintiff Jeter’s responses fail to answer seven of the 35 propounded interrogatories and four additional interrogatories are incomplete and/or nonresponsive. (Id. at ¶ 5, Exh. D.) Defense counsel contacted Jeter requesting his complete and verified supplemental responses, however, to date, Jeter has not served a supplemental response to Lithia’s Form Interrogatories, Set One. (Id. at ¶¶ 5-6, Exhs. D-E.) On May 10, 2019, Defense counsel sent Plaintiffs’ counsel a letter, by mail and email, offering to waive the $820.00 in monetary sanctions in exchange for a dismissal. (Id. at ¶ 7, Exh. F.) Defense counsel received no response. (Id.)

 

On May 22, 2019, Lithia filed the instant motion seeking terminating sanctions, or in the alternative, issue, evidence, and/or monetary sanctions against Plaintiffs.

II. Legal Standard

“The court may impose a terminating sanction by one of the following orders:

  1. An order striking out the pleadings or parts of the pleadings of any party engaging in the misuse of the discovery process.

  2. An order staying further proceedings by that party until an order for discovery is obeyed.

  1. An order dismissing the action, or any part of the action, of that party.

  2. An order rendering a judgment by default against that party.”

(CCP § 2023.030(d).)

The Court may impose terminating sanctions against anyone engaging in conduct that is a misuse of the discovery process. (Id.) Misuse of the discovery process includes failure to respond to an authorized method of discovery or disobeying a court order to provide discovery. (Id. §§ 2023.010(d), (g).) The court should look to the totality of the circumstances in determining whether terminating sanctions are appropriate. (See Lang v. Hochman (2000) 77 Cal.App.4th 1225, 1229.) “[W]here a violation is willful, preceded by a history of abuse, and the evidence shows that less severe sanctions would not produce compliance with the discovery rules, the trial court is justified in imposing the ultimate sanction.’ [Citation.]” (Los Defensores, Inc. v. Gomez (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 377, 39.)

III. Discussion

While “sanctions are generally imposed in an incremental approach, with terminating sanctions being the last resort,” “even under the Civil Discovery Act’s incremental approach, the trial court may impose terminating sanctions as a first measure in extreme cases, or where the record shows lesser sanctions would be ineffective. [Citations.]” (Department of Forestry & Fire Protection v. Howell (2017) 18 Cal.App.5th 154, 191-192.) For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that lesser sanctions would be ineffective in compelling Plaintiffs to comply with their discovery obligations.

Over a year after Lithia served form interrogatories on Plaintiffs in October 2018, they still have not complied with their discovery obligations. (Minute Order, 03/12/19.) More egregiously, Plaintiffs have disobeyed the court’s March 12, 2019, orders to comply with their discovery obligations and pay monetary sanctions. Compounding upon Plaintiffs’ egregious acts, Plaintiffs have not opposed this motion to explain why terminating sanctions should not be imposed. Taken together, it appears that Plaintiffs are no longer interested in litigating this action and complying with their discovery obligations.

In view of the totality of the circumstances, Plaintiffs’ abuse of the discovery process can no longer be tolerated, and the court cannot reasonably interpret their pattern of non-compliance as anything less than willful. The Court is persuaded that less severe sanctions would not bring Plaintiffs into compliance with their discovery obligations and court orders. “The court [is] not required to allow this pattern of abuse to continue ad infinitum.” (Mileikowsky v. Tenet Healthsystem (2005) 128 Cal.App.4th 262, 280.) The Court, therefore, finds that terminating sanctions are appropriate here.

IV. Conclusion & Order

In light of the foregoing, the Motion for Terminating Sanctions is GRANTED. The court orders this action dismissed against Defendant Lithia with prejudice.

Moving party is ordered to give notice.

Parties who intend to submit on this tentative must send an email to the Court at SMCdept94@lacourt.org as directed by the instructions provided on the court website at www.lacourt.org. If the department does not receive an email and there are no appearances at the hearing, the motion will be placed off calendar.

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