This case was last updated from Los Angeles County Superior Courts on 04/23/2021 at 01:12:26 (UTC).

SONIA ESCOBAR VS CATALINA SERMENO

Case Summary

On 12/19/2018 SONIA ESCOBAR filed a Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle lawsuit against CATALINA SERMENO. This case was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Courts, Spring Street Courthouse located in Los Angeles, California. The Judge overseeing this case is WENDY CHANG. The case status is Pending - Other Pending.

Case Details Parties Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    *******5073

  • Filing Date:

    12/19/2018

  • Case Status:

    Pending - Other Pending

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Motor Vehicle

  • Courthouse:

    Spring Street Courthouse

  • County, State:

    Los Angeles, California

Judge Details

Judge

WENDY CHANG

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

ESCOBAR SONIA

Defendant

SERMENO CATALINA

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorney

FIRESTONE ALAN E.

Defendant Attorney

LEE J. JAMES

Court Documents

Court documents are not available for this case.

 

Docket Entries

  • 11/30/2021
  • Hearing11/30/2021 at 08:30 AM in Department 26 at 312 North Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012; Jury Trial

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  • 04/20/2021
  • DocketStipulation and Order to Continue Trial; Signed and Filed by: Catalina Sermeno (Defendant); As to: Sonia Escobar (Plaintiff); Catalina Sermeno (Defendant)

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  • 04/20/2021
  • DocketPursuant to written stipulation, Jury Trial scheduled for 04/21/2021 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 Not Held - Continued - Stipulation was rescheduled to 11/30/2021 08:30 AM

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  • 10/05/2020
  • DocketUpdated -- Motion to Compel Discovery (not Further Discovery) - 1 moving party, 1 motion: Filed By: Sonia Escobar (Plaintiff); Result: Denied; Result Date: 10/05/2020

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  • 10/05/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery"))

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  • 10/05/2020
  • DocketHearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") scheduled for 10/05/2020 at 09:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 updated: Result Date to 10/05/2020; Result Type to Held - Motion Denied

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  • 08/17/2020
  • DocketMinute Order (Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery"))

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  • 08/17/2020
  • DocketOn the Court's own motion, Hearing on Motion to Compel Discovery (not "Further Discovery") scheduled for 08/17/2020 at 10:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 Held - Continued was rescheduled to 10/05/2020 09:30 AM

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  • 04/30/2020
  • DocketNotice Re: Continuance of Hearing and Order; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 04/30/2020
  • DocketReset - Court Unavailable, Non-Jury Trial scheduled for 06/17/2020 at 08:30 AM in Spring Street Courthouse at Department 26 Not Held - Advanced and Continued - by Court was rescheduled to 04/21/2021 08:30 AM

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26 More Docket Entries
  • 05/16/2019
  • DocketNotice of Posting of Jury Fees; Filed by: Catalina Sermeno (Defendant)

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  • 03/21/2019
  • DocketProof of Personal Service; Filed by: Sonia Escobar (Plaintiff); As to: Catalina Sermeno (Defendant); Service Cost Waived: No

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  • 12/27/2018
  • DocketNon-Jury Trial scheduled for 06/17/2020 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 12/27/2018
  • DocketOrder to Show Cause Re: Failure to File Proof of Service scheduled for 12/22/2021 at 08:30 AM in Stanley Mosk Courthouse at Department 94

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  • 12/27/2018
  • DocketCase assigned to Hon. Wendy Chang in Department 94 Stanley Mosk Courthouse

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  • 12/19/2018
  • DocketComplaint; Filed by: Sonia Escobar (Plaintiff); As to: Catalina Sermeno (Defendant)

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  • 12/19/2018
  • DocketSummons on Complaint; Issued and Filed by: Sonia Escobar (Plaintiff); As to: Catalina Sermeno (Defendant)

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  • 12/19/2018
  • DocketCivil Case Cover Sheet; Filed by: Sonia Escobar (Plaintiff); As to: Catalina Sermeno (Defendant)

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  • 12/19/2018
  • DocketNotice of Case Assignment - Limited Civil Case; Filed by: Clerk

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  • 12/19/2018
  • DocketFirst Amended Standing Order; Filed by: Clerk

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Tentative Rulings

Case Number: 18STLC15073    Hearing Date: October 05, 2020    Dept: 26

Escobar v. Sermeno, et al.

MOTION TO COMPEL COMPLIANCE WITH COURT ORDER AND FOR MONETARY, ISSUE OR TERMINATING SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2030.250, 2023.010)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Sonia Escobar’s Motion to Compel Compliance with Discovery Order and for Sanctions is DENIED. INTERVENOR’S REQUEST FOR SANCTIONS IS ALSO DENIED.

ANALYSIS:

On December 19, 2018, Plaintiff Sonia Escobar (“Plaintiff”) filed this action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendant Catalina Sermeno (“Defendant”). On October 29, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff’s motion compelling Defendant’s verified responses to form interrogatories and monetary sanctions. On December 5, 2019, the Court granted Loya Casualty Insurance Co. (“Intervenor”) leave to intervene in this action on Defendant’s behalf.

On January 29, 2020, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Compel Compliance with the Court’s Order and for Sanctions. Intervenor filed an opposition on March 25, 2020.

The Motion initially came for hearing on August 17, 2020 at which time the Court found good cause to continue the hearing because Plaintiff did not have notice of the opposition. (Minute Order, 8/17/20.) The Court ordered that Plaintiff may file and serve a Reply pursuant to the Code. (Ibid.) To date, no Reply has been filed.

Discussion

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.250, Plaintiff moves to compel Defendant’s compliance with the Court’s order of October 29, 2019 to provide verified responses to the form interrogatories propounded by Plaintiff. Plaintiff further moves for monetary, evidentiary or terminating sanctions against Defendant for failing to comply with the Court’s order pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.010, et seq. In opposition, Intervenor contends that compelling compliance is in bad faith and contrary to the spirit of its intervention given that Plaintiff knows Defendant is absent and that Intervenor is defending the action on Defendant’s behalf. Intervenor further points out that it paid the sanctions ordered by the Court on October 29, 2019 and this motion is simply an end-run to obtain further monetary sanctions or summary adjudication of issues.

The Court agrees. While conceding that the Court previously ordered Defendant to provide verified responses to the form interrogatories, a duplicative order compelling compliance with the Court’s order can have no effect on an absent party, as Defendant is in this case. The Court has already ordered Defendant to provide verified responses under Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.250 and simply reiterating the order would serve no purpose.

Plaintiff also bears the burden of demonstrating that an award of sanctions is appropriate under Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.010, et seq. Furthermore, an award of any such sanctions is in the Court’s discretion. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.030.) The Court finds that an award of further sanctions would not assist in moving this action towards resolution given Defendant’s current absentee-status. The Court allowed Intervenor’s entry into this action based on well-established grounds for protecting an insurance company’s interests given that Defendant cannot be located. A liability insurer has a clear interest in the “success” of its insured because it may be liable for an adverse judgment; it therefore may seek leave to intervene in a third party lawsuit against its insured in order to prevent a default and to defend against the claim. (Royal Indem. Co. v. United Enterprises, Inc. (2008) 162 Cal.App.4th 194, 206-207.)

Here, Intervenor has demonstrated its active and good faith participation in the action by seeking intervention and paying the sanctions ordered against Defendant. The Court, therefore, exercises its discretion and declines the award of additional sanctions against Defendant. Plaintiff is well-aware that Defendant compliance with the Court’s October 29, 2019 cannot be achieved and that Intervenor is acting on Defendant’s behalf.

Plaintiff Sonia Escobar’s Motion to Compel Compliance with Discovery Order and for Sanctions is DENIED. To the extent Intervenor requests sanctions against Plaintiff for bringing the instant Motion, no legal authority is cited for the award of such sanctions. Therefore, Intervenor’s request for sanctions is also denied.

Court clerk to give notice.

Case Number: 18STLC15073    Hearing Date: August 17, 2020    Dept: 26

MOTION TO COMPEL COMPLIANCE WITH COURT ORDER AND FOR MONETARY, ISSUE OR TERMINATING SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2030.250, 2023.010)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Sonia Escobar’s Motion to Compel Compliance with Discovery Order and for Sanctions is DENIED. Intervenor’s request for sanctions is also denied.

On December 19, 2018, Plaintiff Sonia Escobar (“Plaintiff”) filed this action for motor vehicle negligence against Defendant Catalina Sermeno (“Defendant”). On October 29, 2019, the Court granted Plaintiff’s motion compelling Defendant’s verified responses to form interrogatories and monetary sanctions. On December 5, 2019, the Court granted Loya Casualty Insurance Co. (“Intervenor”) leave to intervene in this action on Defendant’s behalf.

Discussion

Pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.250, Plaintiff moves to compel Defendant’s compliance with the Court’s order of October 29, 2019 as it has yet to be provided with verified responses to the form interrogatories propounded on Defendant. It further moves for monetary, evidentiary or terminating sanctions against Defendant for failing to comply with the Court’s order pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.010, et seq. In opposition, Intervenor contends that compelling compliance is in bad faith and contrary to the spirit of its intervention given that Plaintiff knows Defendant is absent and that Intervenor is defending the action on Defendant’s behalf. Intervenor further points out that it paid the sanctions ordered by the Court on October 29, 2019 and this motion is simply an end-run to obtain further monetary sanctions or summary adjudication of issues.

The Court agrees. While conceding that the Court previously ordered Defendant to provide verified responses to the form interrogatories, a duplicative order compelling compliance with the Court’s order can have no effect on an absent party, as Defendant is in this case. The Court has already ordered Defendant to provide verified responses under Code of Civil Procedure section 2030.250 and simply reiterating the order, therefore, would serve no purpose.

Plaintiff also bears the burden of demonstrating that an award of sanctions is appropriate under Code of Civil Procedure section 2023.010, et seq. Furthermore, an award of any such sanctions is in the Court’s discretion. (Code Civ. Proc., § 2023.030.) The Court finds that an award of further sanctions would not assist in moving this action towards resolution given Defendant’s current absentee-status. The Court allowed Intervenor’s entry into this action based on well-established grounds for protecting an insurance company’s interests given that Defendant cannot be located. A liability insurer has a clear interest in the “success” of its insured because it may be liable for an adverse judgment; it therefore may seek leave to intervene in a third party lawsuit against its insured in order to prevent a default and to defend against the claim. (Royal Indem. Co. v. United Enterprises, Inc. (2008) 162 Cal.App.4th 194, 206-207.)

Here, Intervenor has demonstrated its active and good faith participation in the action by seeking intervention and paying the sanctions ordered against Defendant. The Court, therefore, exercises its discretion and declines the award of additional sanctions against Defendant. Plaintiff is well-aware that Defendant compliance with the Court’s October 29, 2019 cannot be achieved and that Intervenor is acting on Defendant’s behalf.

Plaintiff Sonia Escobar’s Motion to Compel Compliance with Discovery Order and for Sanctions is DENIED. To the extent Intervenor requests sanctions against Plaintiff for bringing the instant Motion, no legal authority is cited for the award of such sanctions. Therefore, Intervenor’s request for sanctions is also denied.

Court clerk to give notice

Case Number: 18STLC15073    Hearing Date: December 05, 2019    Dept: 94

MOTION FOR LEAVE TO INTERVENE

(CCP § 387)

TENTATIVE RULING:

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On December 19, 2018, Plaintiff Sonia Escobar (“Plaintiff”) filed this motor-vehicle-negligence action against Defendant Catalina Sermeno (“Defendant”). Non-party Loya Casualty Insurance Co. (“Loya”) filed the instant Motion for Leave to Intervene on October 11, 2019. Loya seeks to intervene in this action on behalf of its insured, Defendant, under CCP § 387(d)(1). Plaintiff untimely filed an opposition to the Motion to Intervene on November 4, 2019.

The Motion initially came for hearing on November 12, 2019 at which time the Court continued the hearing to consider the late opposition.

II. Legal Standard

CCP § 387(d)(1) states: “[t]he court shall, upon timely application, permit a nonparty to intervene in the action or proceeding if either of the following conditions is satisfied:

(A) A

(B) The  is the subject of the action and that person is so situated that the disposition of the action may impair or impede that person’s ability to protect that interest, unless that person’s interest is adequately represented by one or more of the existing parties.”

(Emphasis added.)

III. Discussion

Loya’s counsel states that Loya is Defendantsautomobile insurer, so Loya seeks to intervene because Defendant’s insurance policy is at issue in this action. (Oakes Decl. ¶¶ 3, 11.) Loya thus has a direct interest in this action within the meaning of Section 387(d)(1), and intervention is appropriate to protect its interest. (Reliance Ins. Co. v. Superior Court ].).

Plaintiff’s opposition does not demonstrate that Loya lacks an interest in this action. Defendant filed an Answer (through counsel) to the action and has since failed to participate by failing to respond to discovery requests. (Opp., Finestone Decl., ¶¶4-8.) Defendant, therefore, is not adequately representing the interests of his insurer, Loya. Nor does the Court find the Motion to be untimely. Defendant was served with the Summons and Complaint in late March, 2019 and answered in May, 2019. Attempts to obtain locate Defendant and obtain responses to the discovery requests were made from May to August, 2019. (Motion, Oakes Decl., ¶¶5-11.) The instant Motion to Intervene was filed on September 11, 2019. Accordingly, there has been no great delay in seeking to intervene once Loya realized Defendant could not be located.

IV. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, the unopposed Motion is GRANTED.

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.

Case Number: 18STLC15073    Hearing Date: November 12, 2019    Dept: 94

MOTION FOR LEAVE TO INTERVENE

(CCP § 387)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Non-party Loya Casualty Insurance Co.’s Motion for Leave to Intervene is GRANTED.

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On December 19, 2018, Plaintiff Sonia Escobar (“Plaintiff”) filed this motor-vehicle-negligence action against Defendant Catalina Sermeno (“Defendant”). Non-party Loya Casualty Insurance Co. (“Loya”) filed the instant Motion for Leave to Intervene on October 11, 2019. Loya seeks to intervene in this action on behalf of its insured, Defendant, under CCP § 387(d)(1).

II. Legal Standard

CCP § 387(d)(1) states: “[t]he court shall, upon timely application, permit a nonparty to intervene in the action or proceeding if either of the following conditions is satisfied:

(A) A

(B) The  is the subject of the action and that person is so situated that the disposition of the action may impair or impede that person’s ability to protect that interest, unless that person’s interest is adequately represented by one or more of the existing parties.”

(Emphasis added.)

III. Discussion

Loya’s counsel states that Loya is Defendantsautomobile insurer, so Loya seeks to intervene because Defendant’s insurance policy is at issue in this action. (Oakes Decl. ¶¶ 3, 11.) Loya thus has a direct interest in this action within the meaning of Section 387(d)(1), and intervention is appropriate to protect its interest. (Reliance Ins. Co. v. Superior Court ].). Plaintiff has not opposed the instant Motion.

IV. Conclusion & Order

For the foregoing reasons, the unopposed Motion is GRANTED.

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.

Case Number: 18STLC15073    Hearing Date: October 29, 2019    Dept: 94

MOTION TO COMPEL DEFENDANT’S RESPONSES TO FORM INTERROGATORIES AND FOR MONETARY SANCTIONS

(CCP § 2030.290)

TENTATIVE RULING:

Plaintiff Sonia Escobar’s Motion to Compel Defendant’s Responses to Form Interrogatories and for Monetary Sanctions is GRANTED.

ANALYSIS:

I. Background

On May 22, 2019, Plaintiff Sonia Escobar (“Plaintiff”) served Form Interrogatories (the “FROG”) on Defendant Catalina Sermeno (“Defendant”). (Finestone Decl. ¶ 2, Exh. 1.) On July 25, Defendant’s counsel served unverified responses to the FROG on Plaintiff on behalf of his client. (Id. ¶ 4, Exh. 4.) But unverified discovery responses are tantamount to no response at all, and the propounded party is subject to a motion to compel responses. (Appleton v. Superior Court (1988) 206 Cal. App. 3d 632, 635-36.) To date, Defendant has not remedied the unverified responses. (Id. ¶ 2, Exh. 4.) As a result, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion to Compel Defendant’s Responses to Form Interrogatories and for Monetary Sanctions (the “Motion”) on September 11, 2019. Defendant’s counsel filed an Opposition October 15, asking the Court not to impose sanctions against him. Plaintiff replied on October 22.

II. Discussion & Order

Because Defendant has failed to serve any verified responses to Plaintiff’s discovery requests, the unopposed Motion is GRANTED. Pursuant to CCP § 2030.290, Defendant is ordered to serve verified responses, without objections, to Plaintiff’s Form Interrogatories within twenty (20) days of the date of Plaintiff serving a notice of this Order.

Since the Motion has been granted, monetary sanctions are mandatory under CCP § 2030.290(c). Given the simplicity of the Motion, the Court awards Plaintiff $620 in reasonable attorney’s fees and costs as monetary sanctions against Defendant only. Sanctions are to be paid within thirty (30) days from the date of Plaintiff serving a notice of this Order on Defendant.

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.